Condemn the cold blooded killing of ten Maoist cadres in a joint covert operation by the police and TPC in Chatra, Jharkhand!
Release the twenty persons abducted by TPC immediately and without harm!
Constitute a judicial enquiry into the killing and punish the perpetrators!
29 March 2013
The media has reported the claim made by the Jharkhand police that ten CPI (Maoist) cadres were gunned down by the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) during a “fierce gun battle” that started in the afternoon of 27 March 2013 and continued till the next morning in the Lakarbandha forests in Chatra district of Jharkhand, which falls under Kunda police station limits.
Around 25 other Maoists have been abducted after the battle as per media reports. Lalesh Yadav alias Prashant, Secretary of the Bihar Jharkhand North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee of CPI (Maoist), Jaikumar Yadav, Platoon Commander, Dharmendra Yadav alias Biru, Sub-Zonal Commander of Chatra Palamu, and Prafulla Yadav, Sub-Zonal Commander of Koleswari are reported to be among the dead. According to the police version of the incident, it had received information about an ongoing gun battle between the CPI (Maoist) cadres and TPC members in the evening of 27 March. Around a hundred armed men of CoBRA battalion of the CRPF and District Armed Police left at 10pm on the same evening, who reached the site of the encounter at 3am in the morning. The paramilitary and police forces engaged in a gunfight from 3 to 4 am in which they fired 80 to 90 rounds of bullets.
By daybreak, the police claims, the belligerent CPI(Maoist) and TPC cadres retreated from the spot. During a search of the area, the police is said to have recovered ten bodies of CPI (Maoist) members, nine in uniform, along with seven weapons, cane bombs, empty cartridges and Maoist literature from the encounter site. Though the police have said that two TPC members died as well, the bodies of the supposedly dead TPC members have not been recovered by the police. CPI(Maoist), however, has refuted the police story.
A spokesperson of the party in his telephonic statement to the PUCL Jharkhand told that there was no encounter or gun battle as claimed by the police. According to him, it was a joint operation planned and executed by the central paramilitary forces and state police in collusion with the TPC. The state armed forces and the TPC used covert operatives to mix poison in the food served to the Maoists. When they were in an unconscious state after consuming the poisoned food, their arms were first taken away and then were selectively killed by the TPC and the armed forces.
The rest of the 20 to 25 Maoists were later abducted and taken away by the TPC men. The spokesperson also confirmed that the four leaders named by the media are among the dead. The spokesperson has also confirmed that there were 200 armed personnel in the operation from TPC and paramilitary and Jharkhand police. The facts and circumstances of the incident, the modus operandi of the state’s armed forces and the history of the notorious TPC in Jharkhand indeed point strongly towards a covert operation, a staged ‘encounter’ and cold blooded murder of the ten Maoists.
It is difficult to believe that ten members in a large team of 30 odd armed Maoists fell in a gun battle while none of the TPC goons or the armed forces engaging them survived without any casualty. The police itself have admitted that none of their troops sustained even injuries. The claim by the police that two TPC members were killed and one was injured in the ‘encounter’ is highly doubtful, given the fact that the police did not recover the bodies of the TPC members.
In spite of the contrary claims by the government, the collusion between the Jharkhand police, the paramilitary forces and the TPC in conducting operations against the Maoists is well known. Therefore, it can be assumed that the state’s armed forces had full knowledge of the Maoist team’s presence in Lakarbandha forest, and that they directed and participated in this dastardly covert operation from the beginning to the end. TPC as a mercenary vigilante gang propped up by the government was one of the instruments in executing this extrajudicial killing.
This is not the first time that covert and deceptive means of poisoning was used by the Indian state to eliminate Maoist leaders and cadres by planting moles and informers. Three Central Committee members of the erstwhile CPI(ML) Peoples’ War – Shyam, Mahesh and Murli – were first poisoned by using an informer in Bangalore, abducted and flown to Andhra Pradesh, tortured and later shot dead in December 1999. Then the police floated the story that the three were killed in an ‘encounter’ in Karimnagar district of AP. A villager residing near the so-called encounter site was also picked up and killed by the police and shown as a squad member to bolster their Goebblesian lie. The demand by the civil rights organisations and democratic forces for a judicial enquiry into the incident was declined by the government. The guilty police officers and their political bosses are yet to be brought to book for this fascist murder, and indeed enjoy full state protection. Similarly, Chhattisgarh police claimed to have killed 14 members of a Maoist squad in Bijapur district on 18 March 2008 after a ‘fierce encounter’, even though not a single policeman was even injured as a result.
The villagers who were eyewitnesses later told the media and civil rights organisations that the police story of the ‘encounter’ was to cover up the fact that the squad members were poisoned by using spies and killed. The government and the police have never acknowledged this covert and cold blooded mass murder, and rather hailed it as “the biggest ever counter-insurgency operation in the state”. These are just two of the innumerable instances of fascist murder by the state’s forces against the revolutionary movement using spies, coverts and vigilante gangs, and then boasting of shooting down revolutionary leaders, cadres, sympathisers and civilians in ‘heroic’ battles.
The latest killing of ten Maoists in Chatra district of Jharkhand points to a similar cold blooded murder for which the Indian state and its armed forces are equally responsible as its foot-soldiers – the TPC. This covert operation smacks of the fascist former CRPF boss K Vijay Kumar’s involvement, who is presently the advisor to the governor of Jharkhand and virtually running the home ministry in the state which is presently under President’s rule. TPC was formed by renegades of the CPI(Maoist) after deserting the party in 2001.
The Indian state, its armed forces and intelligence agencies were instrumental in its formation and continued presence in Chatra, Latehar and Ranchi districts. TPC has established a reign of terror in these districts, indulging in killings, kidnapping, extortion and torture – all under the patronage of the state and its armed forces. It has particularly targeted the revolutionary organisations and their mass base during the twelve years of its existence. This is because TPC considers the revolutionary masses and their movement as the biggest impediment for its expansion, which is coterminous with the safeguarding the political power of the reactionary ruling classes comprising of the feudal forces and the comprador big bourgeoisie.
TPC is only one of the vigilante gangs run by the ruling classes. In Jharkhand itself, the Indian state has promoted other fascist execution squads which go by the names of Jharkhand Prastuti Committee, Shanti Sena. There is hardly any difference between TPC of Jharkhand and the Salwa Judum of Chhattisgarh, Ranvir Sena of Bihar, Sendra and Narsi Cobra of Andhra Pradesh, Shanti Sena of Odisha, Ikhwan of Kashmir and Sulfa of Asom. They are all sponsored, nurtured and used by the Indian state to crush the democratic and revolutionary movements of the oppressed peoples and nationalities. Only, TPC claims itself to be a ‘Maoist’ group, and the state too conveniently portrays them as such!
RDF demands that a judicial enquiry be immediately conducted to enquire into the killing of ten Maoists in Chatra, Jharkhand, so that the facts of the incident can be brought to light and those guilty of this cold blooded murder be brought to book. We also believe that the lives of the twenty people kidnapped by the TPC are in danger. Whether they are presently in the custody of the TPC or the police, all measures must be taken to save their lives. All of them must be produced before a magistrate immediately. In addition, TPC must be disbanded without delay, and the Indian state must stop its patronization of vigilante gangs in the country, including TPC in Jharkhand.
Varavara Rao, President
Rajkishore, General Secretary (09717583539)