Women Martyrs of The Indian Revolution-Comrade Devata Janaki

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Martyrdom : 17-05-1992

Every individual is unique in a way. If the lives of all martyrs are closely analyzed every one of them can be identified with some specific characteristic. Comrade Devata Janaki, while being in the village, stood in the forefront in leading armed resistance movement of oppressed peasantry. That was her unique identity in the movement. Comrade Janaki was born in a padmasali (weaver) family as the last child among six sisters.

She was from Sambhunipalem of Kamalapuram mandal of Karimnagar district All her sisters got married. Her father had died and her mother was old. They had no property. Work as agricultural labourer was their only source of subsistence. The mother went for work and sent Janaki to study up to 7th standard. As she could not send her for furhter studies, Janaki had to become an agriculture laborer too. She worked equally with the men and so demanded equal pay for equal work along with male laborers. At that time she did not know anything about the law regarding equal payment. But her life motivated her to think in those terms.

The realities that the bourgeois education could not teach her, she could exact from the real life. So her life as a labourer led to revolutionary politics. Though her mother was anxiously intending to get her daughter married, Janaki resisted the very idea and took keen interest in the RYL activities of the village. She became a member of RYL in 1990. She was the first woman to join RYL there.She used to sing revolutionary songs in the villages around and whereever she went for work, thus inspiring people.

However late night it may be, she used to meet the squad regularly. Some times her mother opposed but she convinced her and went to meet the guerillas. She organized women laboureres and conducted a strike for increase in their wages. She followed the instructions and advice of the party in all organizational matters. She ran village people’s panchayats. She led the people in punishing the wrong doers in the village, especially those who are anti people and anti-party. In this process due to her militant activities, she became a member of village protection squad (militia). When the state engaged in fake encounters killing the peasants, she played a key role in kidnapping the police, at Kesavapuram (Elkaturti mandalam) on April 14, 1992.

When the police tried to escape she shot and wounded one. The enemy became restless and frightened. So the repression on comrade Janaki became more serious and severe. To hoodwink the enemy who is very much keen on finishing the woman comrade who challenged them, Janaki changed her name as Jyothi. She was moving through villages around, organizing the people secretely. She gave encouragement to the squad members and people and won their love and confidence.

She could inspire confidence in strangers too. Many times strangers also helped her, because of her sheer initiative. Janaki was taking protection in Mallannapalli (Veenavanka mandal) at the house of a sympathizer. On 17-5-92 on the information leaked by a traitor, half a dozen police raided the house at 5 p.m. They arrested Comrade Janaki, beat her brutally with lathis, pricked pins into her nails and tortured her for three hours continuously.

But they could not make her speak. Those brutes gang raped her and later shot her. Again the “story” of encounter was released. Her dead body was also not handed over to her mother. She was cremated by the police. Her death was terrible and glorious simultaneously. Her death unveils once again the cruelty of this system and the bravery of its opponents. Such great antagonist of this society was Comrade Janaki. Red salutes to her memory!

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