Monday, December 14, 2009

Maoists on the rampage

By Manju Gupta

Red Terror in Chhattisgarh: Civil Mark that Hides the Uncivil Reality, Kanchan Gupta, India Foundation, Pp 87 (PB), Rs 100.00

This timely report looks at some of the issues raised by certain Leftist organisations in defence of Maoists and their collaborators in Chhattisgarh. It specifically deals with the curious case of Dr Vinayak Sen. It traces the events from the time of the CPI(M) split from the CPI on the issue of ideological differences and when it was convulsed by a revolt within; the time when Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal, veteran communists of north Bengal, raised their voice against parliamentary democracy and advocated rural insurrection to seize power and that till this goal was achieved, the party should play the role of "revolutionary opposition", instead of becoming a part of the bourgeois system.

The report talks of early 1967 when Charu Majumdar had all but declared his split with the CPI(M) but the uprising that arose was hardly what it was expected to be. On May 25, the police opened fire on landless peasants at a remote hamlet called Naxalbari in North Bengal. This proved to be the fuse that lit the Naxalite movement based on Mao’s dictum that "power flows from the barrel of the gun," and spread like wild fire from West Bengal to Bihar to cover Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere. The CPI(ML) splintered into many groups, each propagating its own ideological line, with the cadre being referred to as Naxalites. In September 2009, the dominant factions - the People’s Writers Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh, the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in Bihar and the CPI(ML-Party Unity) in West Bengal came together to join forces and launched the CPI (Maoist). They stressed they were different from Naxalites and since then, there has been a spectacular rise in Maoist violence.

While Andhra Pradesh has been able to control Maoists to some extent, the latter have shifted base to Chhattisgarh, which is now the worst-affected state to witness gruesome massacres of innocent civilians and security personnel by the Red Terror Brigades. What has hampered efforts to quell Maoist violence is the role of NGOs and organisations that claim to stand for civil and human rights and which have used the media to question and thus weaken the action taken by the state government within a legal framework.

The report looks at some of the issues raised by the organisations in defence of Maoists and their collaborators in Chhattisgarh. It especially deals with the curious case of Dr Vinayak Sen, highlighting the mode of operation adopted by the Maoists who conducted their programme in three phases. In the first phase, they concentrated on winning over the tribals; in the second, the tribals were to be politicised; and in the third phase, they had to liberate the Dandakaranya area and use it as their base for launching a ‘people’s democratic revolution’. They gradually strengthened their expansion by militarisation of the movement through propaganda, planned attacks, destruction of public property and expansion of their base among the people. In the midst of all this came the virulent attack by human rights activists to free Dr Vinayak Sen, a physician with a track record of political activism and involvement in Maoist activities. All these activities proved an obstacle in freeing the area from Maoists. It is well known that Dr Vinayak Sen acted as a courier for Maoists, sympathised with Left extremists and facilitated their banned activities.

The book carries annexure at the end which carry excerpts from the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs; strategy and tactics employed by the Indian revolution, people’s uprising against Maoist repression at Bastar in Chhattisgarh and the Maoists’ secret red book and threat posed by the group.

(India Foundation, Flat No 343, Chaudauwadi Society, Sector 10, Dwarka, New Delhi-110 045)

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