A massive operation termed as a ‘megacampaign for areadomination’, involving the para military, special commando troops and State forces from Chhattisgarh, Andhra, Telangana and Odhisha, was carried out in Sukuma, Bijapur and Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh (falling in the Dandakaranya war zone) starting from November 2014. It was launched as part of the 3rd Phase of Operation Green Hunt, the Indian state’s war on the people. Replete with all the fare of the OGH – loot, burning down of houses, torture of adivasi and nonadivasi peasants, illegal arrests, fake encounters and fake surrenders – this encirclement and suppression campaign had the added viciousness of targeting the peasantry right at the time of the harvests. This caused great disruption in the lives of the adivasi peasants of Kunta, Jagerkunta and Kisataram. Yet, other than this havoc and destruction imposed on the masses, the campaign was a megafailure. The Indian state’s troops failed to locate and engage with the PLGA.
Meanwhile, the PLGA not only succeeded in evading the enemy, it kept a constant track of their movement, probing for weak points, with the support of the masses. And the result came in the form of the Kasalbad attack of December 1st on the CRPF. 14 enemy troops were wiped out and 15 injured. The PLGA fighters seized a number of automatic weapons, including grenade launchers. This daring action, carried out not far from a very large force, was a big blow to the morale of the Indian state’s troops. In a desperate attempt to cover up their abject failure, the Central and State governments’ initially put out a story of Maoists using villagers as ‘human shields’ which prevented the CRPF from firing at will, thus forcing it to suffer losses. Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused the Maoists of being cowards.
All of this was dutifully reported by the media. But the truth was out soon. CRPF survivors revealed how they had let down their guard since the area was supposed to be ‘cleared’, how they were encircled and attacked, and how the PLGA combatants came close and made sure that each one of their bullets counted. There was not a word about any ‘human shield’. In fact a few days later reports came of villagers being caught and beaten up by the CRPF who accused them of aiding the Maoists. So much for the honesty of the Indian rulers and the concern of their troops for the people! The lies of the government are very much part of the Low Intensity Counterrevolutionary strategy it follows. Reports about surrenders of Maoist cadres and PLGA combatants, regularly put out by the reactionary state and duly echoed by the media, is another leg of this strategy. In many instances these have been staged managed. Persons who had backed out of the revolutionary movement years before are picked up and forced to act out a ‘surrender script’ under threat of arrest and imprisonment. This is part of the psychological war component of the Indian state’s ‘war on the people’.
As pointed out by Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of the CPI (Maoist) Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, it has an ugly monetary side too –– the loot of public money through embezzlement of the ‘head price’ of the ‘surrendered. Most probably as a fall out of the disgust this has generated, some sections of the media have started to expose ‘fake surrenders’. Thus the Indian Express reports, “Between June 1 and November 28, a total of 377 alleged Maoists are reported to have surrendered in the Maoistdominated Bastar division, 155 in November alone. A scrutiny of police records and meetings with these “surrendered” Maoists show that at least 270 of the 377 are actually ordinary villagers or routine criminals not eligible to be termed “surrendered Maoists”. The police is hoisting cases on hundreds of villagers without their knowledge, declaring them ‘absconders’ and then threatening them with arrest unless they carry out tasks imposed on them. This formed the context for a massive protest by the masses in end February, lasting for days and including blockading of an important highway.