(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 28, 2009
‘Maoists’ And Their
the seventies, a new term became popular in
History does not repeat itself but resemblances are not that rare.
2001, ‘Maoists’ (Peoples’ War Group and MCC
independently and from 2004 their joint party, CPI–Maoists) started a
attack on organised Left forces in
GAME PLAN BEHIND
What are the politics and the game plan behind these attacks?
Firstly, the above mentioned three districts are strong bases of the CPI(M). The base has not emerged one fine morning; it was achieved through long and arduous struggles on the question of land and livelihood. The CPI(M) and the panchayats after 1977 worked massively in poorer and backward areas of these districts, particularly for the upliftment of the tribals. There was a dramatic improvement in the standard of living of thousands of people in those areas during the last three decades. The CPI(M), naturally, has a strong political presence in most of these areas. The armed attacks were the only available option for other political forces to break that base. ‘Maoists’ were encouraged by anti-CPI(M) forces to achieve this goal, which they themselves could not do.
political geography is important here.
Despite a large area of influence, there were certain areas in these
particularly in Lalgarh, Binpur blocks in
In spite of development initiatives, many tribal-dominated areas in these districts are still backward. The Left Front government on its own initiated a Human Development Report in 2004 in which many villages in these areas were identified as backward. Interestingly, many of these villages, including villages in Belpahari, Kantapahari, Amlasol are run by Jharkhand Party panchayats. They lagged far behind others in implementing developmental projects. For the last six to seven years, it is the ‘Maoists’ who aggressively opposed any efforts of development. They have destroyed bridges, chased away road construction workers, and blasted tourism buildings, even panchayat offices. They killed doctors and nurses through mine blasts. And, from November last year, their font-organisation “Peoples’ Committee” has dug up roads, destroyed bridges, blocked all kinds of administrative activities.
Another reason why the ‘Maoists’ chose to operate in this area is that it lies in the West Bengal-Jharkhand border. It is well known that the ‘Maoists’ operate in hilly terrain, remote plateaus, densely forest areas in all the states where they are somewhat active. It is not because that they are concerned about the tribal people, but it is part of their military strategy. They choose areas where so-called ‘guerrilla activities’ can be run in a relatively easier way. Particularly in Jharkhand, the ‘Maoists’ enjoy a free run. For quite a long time now, the Jharkhand administration has shown very little seriousness in dealing with them. Moreover, there is virtually no influential political party in Jharkhand which challenges these forces politically. ‘Maoists’ followed a hit and run policy in the border areas. Whenever there was any security offensive, they crossed the border and took shelter in their safe havens in the neighbouring state.
CLOSE AFFINITY WITH
But most important of all and what can be considered as the special political perspective of ‘Maoists’ activities in West Bengal is their close affinity with the other anti-Left political forces, particularly Trinamool Congress, the main opposition force in the state. Their partnership expanded from western districts to other areas of the state, for example in Nandigram and Singur.
from numerous reports of ‘Maoists’ active
participation in Nandigram and their armed attacks along with the TMC
political and organisational documents of the ‘Maoists’ have also
complicity. They have, in fact, evolved a theoretical perspective for
justifying this complicity. In a document, published in December, 2008
circulated among the ‘Maoist’ rank and file, the ‘Maoist’ leaders have
the need of a “united front” with anti-CPI(M)
“ruling class parties” and particularly with the TMC. The
titled “Some important problems in our work and their solutions”,
that as the CPI(M) is a “social fascist force” , it is important to
“anti-fascist” front with other ruling class parties. Whoever wants to
such “fronts” are welcome. Without giving any scope of confusion, the
has stated that Mamata Banerjee, the leader who was in the forefront of
in Singur should be supported and ‘Maoist’ cadres should work closely
According to them,
During the ongoing security operation in Lalgarh, top ranking Maoist leader M Koteswar Rao alias “Kishenji” has given long interviews to the electronic media. In fact, he was busy in explaining things from morning to midnight in mobile phone interviews. Kishenji has categorically stated and the entire audience listened that ‘Maoists’ helped the TMC in Nandigram in “ousting” CPI(M) and in reciprocation they want Mamata Banerjee’s help to stop central security forces from entering Lalgarh. This mutual relationship was no secret though to any independent political observer in the state.
would be wrong to singularly identify the
Maoists though. A rainbow alliance emerged in
situation in some parts of
The complicity of TMC was evident here too. The secretary of “Peoples Committee” Chatradhar Mahato is a known Trinamool Congress activist while the president of this outfit Sidhu Soren is a squad member of the ‘Maoists’. Sashadhar Mahato, the younger brother of Chatradhar, is the zonal commander of the ‘Maoists’ and a declared absconder for many crimes. The story does not end here. On February 4, 2009, just before the elections were declared, Mamata Banerjee herself went to Lalgarh to attend a public meeting and shared the dais with Chatradhar Mahato. She declared, with grand fanfare, that the so-called Lalgarh agitation is another “Santhal Rebellion”. While no CPI(M) activists were even allowed to enter his own village in Lalgarh, Mamata Banerjee was welcomed by the ‘Maoists’. The attack against CPI(M) intensified after that meeting.
the TMC-Congress combine won 26 seats in
the recent Lok Sabha elections, murderous attacks against CPI(M)
many parts of the state. Party offices and the houses of CPI(M) leaders
burnt in Nandigram and Khejuri in
After the state government finally decided to take control of the situation in a firm manner and central security forces joined in, the TMC opposed any intervention by the security forces. Mamata Banerjee even went to the extent of calling this operation as “state sponsored terrorism”. She organised and participated in a march in Kolkata on June 22 to protest against the operation by the security forces in Lalgarh. But, as political pressure mounted, the railway minister has shrugged off her relationship with Maoists and Peoples Committee.