Monday, February 08, 2010

Tribal vs non-tribal: Division in Bengal Maoist ranks

Caesar Mandal, TNN, 8 February 2010, 05:05am IST
MIDNAPORE: There is a clear division in the Maoist ranks in Bengal — for the first time since they started their bloody campaign 15 years ago.
Marshall, a dreaded ‘zonal leader’ and one of the architects of the insurgency in Jangalmahal, has turned into an acute headache for Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji.

After over a decade in the guerrilla ranks, Marshall has raised his voice against Kishanji and other ‘non-tribal leaders’, branding them ‘outsiders’ in Jangalmahal. The sons of the soil, who are at the frontlines of dangerous tasks and carry out the Maoist policymakers’ orders, are being sidelined by outsiders like Kishanji, he says.
This is the first time that the tribal/non-tribal divide in the Maoist ranks has been exposed in Bengal. What’s more, Marshall — who was born Gurucharan Kisku at a Purulia village — aims to float a new armed outfit to fight for the tribal cause. He claims to have 150 armed men with him, including some tribal leaders who are still with the Maoists.

Since CPI (Maoist) was formed, more than 11 splinter groups have been created, half of which are in Jharkhand. Most of them have turned into gangs of extortionists.

Marshall’s rebellion could turn out to be a potent weapon for both the administration and the ruling CPM to curb the Maoist dominance in the state. The disgruntl-ed guerrilla leader spoke to The Ti-mes of India at a remote, heavily guarded hideout in Jangalmahal.

Marshall, who is wanted for one of the deadliest attacks in Bengal — the ambush of a police party in Bandwan in 2003, where the OC and five other policemen were killed — today believes that the Maoists’ path of revolution cannot bring relief to the tribals of Lalgarh. "Maoist are also power-mongers, just like any other political party. They are interested only in expanding their territory by using the tribals, but are least bothered about the development of the local people," Marshall said
Criticising the excessive use of violence by Maoist politburo member Kishanji, he said: "In the organisational hierarchy of CPI (Maoist), tribal leaders like Sasadhar Mahato or Mansaram Hembram alias Bikash are merely executing the policy decided by non-tribal leaders like Kishanji, Deepak and others."

(Bikash’s real name was a mystery thus far. This is the first time any Maoist leader has exposed the identity of another wanted leader to the media.)

1 comment:

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