Tuesday, February 09, 2010

From JNU and Maoist choice for U-3

Lucknow, Feb. 9: Arrested social science scholar Chintan was working on a plan to make the Naxalites fill the vacuum caused by the elimination of dacoit gangs in Uttar Pradesh and pursue armed action for the rights of the poor.

Chintan, also known as Banshidhar Singh, has MPhil and PhD degrees in social science from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. The 64-year-old scholar from Bihar’s Champaran district, the epicentre of several uprisings involving land and social justice, was one of the leading guerrilla leaders of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) which later merged with the People’s War Group (PWG) to form the CPI (Maoist).

A former member of the organisation’s central committee and politburo, the apex decision-making body, Chintan was tipped to be the future head of the three Us: Uttar (north) Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Police said Chintan was a close associate of Khobad Ghandy, the Maoist ideologue who was arrested from Delhi last year.

To spread the Maoist network, Chintan was working in tandem with Balraj alias Baccha Prasad, a resident of Chapra district in Bihar. Prasad, 51, was a science student of Patna University and had participated in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement in the mid-seventies before joining the Naxalite outfit, becoming regional commander of Chapra-Siwan.

“He (Prasad) is soft-spoken, suave and well informed about the functioning of Maoist cadres,” said a police officer.

The Maoist duo were among 11 arrested in night raids on Saturday at Kanpur, Allahabad and Gorakhpur.

From the Maoist literature seized from the Naxalite leaders, the special task force has learnt that Chintan was targeting the poverty-racked districts in Bundelkhand region, many of which were dacoits hubs till recently.

Although most of the powerful dacoit gangs have been eliminated, a large chunk of backward caste leaders have plenty of weapons in their possession. These, the Maoists felt, could be used for future action.

Last week, the police had taken into custody Ratan Bahadur, 43, who was allegedly drafted by the Maoists to work among the families of the slain dacoits of Bundelkhand and make them join the Naxalite cause. Bahadur came in touch with the Maoists through a former Allahabad University union leader who has since gone underground.

To spread the network in Uttarakhand, the Maoists had supported to the movement against big dams. Chintan’s team was working for the thousands uprooted from their land by power projects in the hill state.

“The Maoists have got a cause for social action and support given that thousands of people have been rendered homeless and landless by the upcoming projects across the state, from Pithoragarh district in the Kumaon region to Chamoli in Garhwal. The projects have sounded the death knell for several towns and villages by submerging them,” said a police officer.

During the past three months, four suspects with alleged Maoist links have been arrested in Chamoli. They had earlier taken part in demonstrations on behalf of people ousted by power plants.

All these leaders were in touch with Chintan, according to information in the CDs seized from the arrested leaders.

“Chintan was in jail for several years and was out on bail too,” said Uttar Pradesh director-general of police Karamveer Singh.

Chintan, along with the other arrested Maoists, was produced before the Kanpur chief judicial magistrate today and remanded in judicial custody.

Activists of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) alleged that two of those arrested, Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay, were office-bearers of the organisation.

Social worker and PUCL official Sandeep Pandey said: “We know Seema Azad is our office-bearer. She cannot have Maoist leanings. We don’t know much about the other so-called Maoist suspects.”

S.R. Darapuri, organising secretary of the PUCL and a former inspector-general of police, also said Seema, the state secretary of the organisation, was innocent. “Possessing Maoist literature is no offence,” he said.

Karamveer Singh, the state police chief, took a hard stand when asked about the PUCL outcry. “Those sympathising with the arrested persons and trying to label them social workers ought to realise they are running the risk of associating with anti-nationals,” he said.


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