Saturday, February 27, 2010

Woman Maoists more ferocious than males

Sonali Das, TNN, Feb 17, 2010, 08.38pm IST

RANCHI: If Jagari Baskey is Bengal's dreaded woman Maoist leader, who conducted the Silda operation in that state, several major Naxalite operations in neighbouring Jharkhand have been led and conducted by women. "The women Maoists are known to be more ferocious than their male counterparts and have better leadership qualities," said a Naxalite observer here.

There are more than a dozen women Maoist leaders and several cadres lodged in various jails across the state, major ones among them being Sheela Di, who had led several operations in the state. Sheela Di is the wife of Kishan Da, a CPI(Maoist) central committee member. Being the wife of a top-notch leader, she was considered a member of the think-tank of the outfit, police said. Sheela Di is now lodged in Chaibasa jail.

According to the CPI(Maoist) themselves, at least 40% of its cadres are women. Police sources pointed out that like the male cadres, the women cadres also operate in the East Singbhum areas bordering West Bengal namely Patamda and Bundu, Tamar in Ranchi district. They also operate in the Parasnath area of Giridih, and Bokaro. In the Kundan Pahan group operating in Bundu, Tamar female leader Sushila Ji is also said to be very active.

Police say it is not necessary that the women lead these operations but are necessarily included in such raids so that the groups are not easily identified. "Woman leaders and cadres mix more easily with a crowd, which is an advantage for the Maoists," said a source.

Significantly, some woman leaders/cadres have joined the outfit to avenge the death of their kin in encounters. Malti, according to police records, had joined the outfit after she was betrayed by her paramour and then by her husband.

Women Maoists move from village to village to drive the Maoist ideology home in the minds of women, urging them to join the outfit and even use force at times. Although a number of them are from neighbouring West Bengal, these women are not in jeans or skirts and they speak the local language, thus moulding themselves with the village culture.

2001: At least 15 policemen were killed when a police picket in Topchanchi was attacked and arms looted by Maoists. The operation, according to police records, was led by a woman Maoist.

2001: Malti, another Naxalite, was arrested for the murder of Lohardaga superintendent of police, Ajay Kumar Singh.

2002: The Chandrapura Government Railway Police near Bokaro was plundered and arms looted. This operation, too, was led by Nirmala Chatterjee, a leader of the Maoist Communist Centre and widow of Sagar Chatterjee, who was shot by police in Bihar's Aurangabad district in 1992.

2004: JMM MP Sunil Mahto was killed by Maoists and the operation was headed by a woman commander, Kunti Devi alias Dula Di, who is now in jail.

2005: Homeguard headquarters in Giridih was attacked by Maoists in which several homeguards were killed and the armoury was looted. Again, this operation was led by women.

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