‘Maoists will continue to fight against bauxite mining’
At a time when the CPI Maoists are gearing up to strengthen their movement in the Andhra-Odisha Border, AOB special zonal committee leader Ramchandra Reddy alias Chalapati says that increase in the problems of people gives the much-needed oxygen to the Maoist movement. While accepting that the movement has been pushed to a corner with the increasing presence of security forces, Chalapati hopes that the party would regain its strength to face the uphill task.
He says there has been a change in the attitude and behaviour of the state government. He says Maoists are making efforts to regain the lost glory. In an interview with Siva G of TOI, Chalapati speaks on several issues like coffee and bauxite agitations and the Maoist movement in the AOB area.
There is a talk that the Maoists have lost the confidence of people due to their dictatorial attitude. Do you agree?
The Maoist party would not have existed had it lost the confidence of people. The confidence of people is helping CPI Maoist to carry on the movement. The fact that we are sitting here without any fear of security forces shows that the people are supporting us. The CPI Maoists’ reach to the people has not been as expected. This is because the security forces have been suppressing us since 2006. However, even though the party faced several setbacks and continuous oppression by the state, it has been surviving because we are with people and struggling for them.
Do you think that the repression is more now than in the late 1990s?
Yes, definitely. The repression during the late 1990s was severe. It is more severe now. Moreover, we can’t compare the present repression with that of the 1990s or early 2000. However, the state government has also been facing difficulties fighting with the Maoists.
The Naxal movement had lost its grip in your stronghold areas and the AOB. Do you agree?
The present movement is faced with severe setbacks. The entire AP movement was affected and armed squads had vanished. The movement has been pushed to a corner. But, victory will depend on the strengths and weaknesses of both the parties. Even if you have people’s support and fight genuinely you may lose the battle sometimes. This is exactly the situation in AP. However, that doesn’t mean that our strategies are wrong or we do not have sufficient power. After the Balimela incident where a boat carrying anti-Naxalite police and Greyhound commandos was sunk, killing 38 personnel, the police had not entered the Agency area for almost six months. Till date, the security forces fear boarding a boat and using the water route.
Why did the party lose grip in the Agency?
There have been turning points and breakthroughs in the past and they will be there in the future too. Even in Dandakaranya there were attacks till the Mukaram incident. After that there were no such attacks till date, except a few minor incidents. AOB will have its own breakthrough and incidents will occur.
Are Maoists faced with an uphill task not only in AP but also in Odisha?
From 2006 to 2010 we had several victories in Tellarai, Paluru and Janniguda in Odisha. Even the behavior and attitude of the security forces in Odisha has changed. The government changed its focus like in AP and got strength from it. Our party should also mould itself and consolidate its position to face the situation.
How has the party sustained itself under severe oppression and how does it reach the public?
The party’s central regional bureau has come out with a document. It says that the revolution in India has been facing an uphill task. It has written about the reconstruction of the party, political situation and how to overcome these problems. Based on this, we have been moulding the cadre to strengthen the party. Our party has been fighting on behalf of people for the last 40 years. However, even now there is scope for spread and rise to greater heights.
Do you think that the Naxal movement will survive?
The party has the strength to recuperate from the losses and the central committee will do that. There are some difficulties. Despite the government’s efforts to suppress the party, the Maoists will keep gaining strength till the people’s problems are resolved. We will learn from our mistakes and develop the party. If you are with the people, they will protect you. This is a tough period for us. But we believe, if we can overcome the hurdles, then we will become a force to reckon with.
Do you think that the present uneducated armed cadres are strong enough to carry forward the movement?
There are no obstacles to recruitment. Recruitment is still going on. Our efforts have come down in some places where we have a strong presence. But, we are working on that aspect. Student recruitment had taken place through the Telangana movement and the process still continues. Many cadres are working under cover.
Why has the party failed to groom an effective second-rung leadership? Why is it dependent on old generation leaders, who are in their sixties or seventies?
This is not correct. The party has been moulding efficient cadre into leaders. The layer from the village level cell to the central committee level is not damaged. The flow of interchanges is also there and new persons have been inducted into the central committee recently. We have to take action to speed up the flow.
What about the coffee and bauxite agitations? The party had started the coffee agitation and it seems to have fizzed out?
We have not taken a back seat in the coffee agitation. Our party is still working on it and APFDC authorities are scared of venturing out to their estates. Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been cheating the people over bauxite mining issue. Everyone knows it. The people are themselves taking up agitation. We will support the people’s agitation. We can’t reveal our plans but we have our own strategy to support the people on the bauxite issue.
2 Naxals Held From Chhattisgarh, Telangana
RAIPUR: Two hardcore naxals, including a ‘self-styled’ teacher at a Maoist-run school, were today arrested from separate places by Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada Police. The duo was carrying a reward of Rs. 5 lakh each on their heads. “One cadre identified as Ludru Tamo (26) was nabbed from Geedam town of Dantewada district, while another, Muchaki Hadma (21) was held from Bhadrachalam of Telangana,” Dantewada Superintendent of Police, Kamlochan Kashayp, told PTI. Tamo, who was active as deputy commander of Aader LOS (local operation squad), was spotted by police informers in Gidam market where he had arrived to procure commodities of daily use and publicity items for ongoing Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army week of ultras, the SP said. Soon after getting information about Tamo’s presence, police swung into action and rounded him up from the market, the SP added.
In a separate operation, police received a tip-off about the movement of a cadre belonging to Malangir area committee of Maoists from Dantewada, in Telangana, following which police informers and local intelligence were mobilised behind him, the SP said. Security forces tracked him upto neighbouring Telangana and finally took him into custody at Bhadrachalam, he said. After joining the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in 2001, Muchaki was deployed as Kistaram and Golapalli LOS member during which his task was to teach at the ‘Janatana Sarkar’ (peoples government) run schools in the interiors forest pockets of south Bastar, the SP said. The interrogation of the two ultras may reveal crucial details about the status of naxal movement in the area, he added.
Hardcore Naxal arrested in Chhattisgarh
Raipur: A hardcore Naxal, carrying a bounty of Rs 5 lakh on his head, was arrested from the insurgency-hit Bastar district of Chhattisgarh and a weapon and explosives were recovered from his possession, police said on Monday.
The cadre identified as Aayta Madkami, a member of Kanger Valley Area Committee of Maoists, was rounded up from the jungles of Darbha police station limits by a joint team of CRPF, District Reserve Group (DRG) and district force last evening, Bastar Superintendent of Police RN Dash told PTI. A muzzle-loading gun and an 8-kg tiffin bomb were also recovered from his possession, he added. Madkami was a prominent cadre of Darbha Division, tagged as one of the most powerful wings of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in Bastar region, which had executed several deadly naxal incidents, the SP said.
Ch’garh sees rise in Maoist attacks
Chhattisgarh has witnessed a surge in Maoist attacks this year at a time when other Naxal-affected states have shown a decrease. The country as a whole has shown a marginal decrease in Maoist incidents this year — 972 incidents until November 20 this year as against 977 during the same period last year. Apart from Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, all the other 11 states, which have presence of Maoists, have shown a declining trend in Maoist violence.
Chhattisgarh has witnessed 411 incidents this year as against 291 during the corresponding period last year and this spike in numbers has resulted in keeping the country’s yearly figure almost similar to that of last year. Jharkhand, which is usually on the top of the list, has shown a decrease in incidents this year — from 338 incidents last year to 287 this year. This tribal state has recorded the most number of incidents in the past years but this time, Chhattisgarh has overtaken it. Though the number of incidents has shown a 141 per cent increase in Chhattisgarh, the number of civilian and security personnel deaths is steady. This year, 44 civilians were killed as against 48 last year while the number of security personnel killed in action remained at 45 both years.
Overall, there were 972 incidents in the country this year as against 977 last year. However, the civilian casualty has come down to 154 from 202. The number of security personnel killed has also come down from 72 to 56. The Union Home Ministry does not accept that there is an increase in Maoist attacks. In a written reply in Lok Sabha last week, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said that Naxal activities have been declining since 2011.
Additional Thunderbolt Team for Anti-Maoist Operations
PALAKKAD: It has been decided to post one additional company of Thunderbolt personnel in Mannarkad to combat the Maoist menace, as it is difficult for the group stationed at Attappadi, around 40km away to act immediately and reach on time. The team has undergone rigorous and specialised training to confront Maoists. N Vijayakumar, superintendent of police, told Express that 18 Thunderbolt personnel would be posted at Mannarkad. Recently, two groups of Maoists were sighted at Thenkara Thattengalam in the estate of the Plantation Corporation and also at Ambalapara near Thiruvazhamkunnu. He said that, at present, there were about 40 personnel of the Thunderbolts stationed in Attappadi area to counter the Maoist threat.
The police had recovered bullets, uniforms, pouches, mobile headsets and a country-made gun of Maoists, from one of the Maoist hideouts beneath Maleeswara Mudi. It is learnt that it was Ayyappan, a tribal of Panniyurpadam in Attappadi, who tipped-off the police. Ayyappan, who was initially made the second accused in the Kadakumanna firing on October 17, was taken into custody and later released stating that he was not involved.
Palakkad: A four-member Maoist gang was spotted near the Forest Department office at Ambalapara near Thiruvazhamkunnu in the Silent valley buffer zone on the outskirts of Mannarkad on Sunday evening. A woman labourer who saw them was reportedly threatened by the members of the gang not to reveal their presence to anyone.
Bauxite mining: Maoists call for protest week, bandh
The banned CPI (Maoist) which is observing its annual People’s Liberation Guerilla Army week, gave a call to the people in Agency area to observe ‘protest week’ from December 21 and a bandh on December 26 against the State and Central Governments’ move to take up bauxite mining in Agency area. Secretary of Maoist party’s Andhra-Odisha border special zonal committee Chandramouli in a press release sent to reporters in Agency area on Sunday urged the people to take up arms to assert their rights over the forest.
They must fight with inspiration from Alluri Sitaramaraju and support Manyam Pithuri Sena of the party and form revolutionary people’s committees to take up armed struggle. He said that temporary stalling of GO No. 97 that facilitates bauxite mining in Jerrela area was a ploy of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to douse the anger of people and to buy time to increase the attacks on people and to dump more police forces. He was trying to bring division among the Girijans by offering them false packages though he was aware of the fact that bauxite mining would bring great harm to the livelihood of the Girijans and displace a large number of them and also cause extremely serious environmental problem.
But the Chief Minister and Central Government are determined to hand over the natural wealth to Anrak company, the Maoist leader said. He also said the TDP, Congress, the YSR Congress, which is an offshoot of the Congress, and the Left parties have the track record of trying to go against the wishes of people. The party wanted the Girijans to drive away the TDP and BJP leaders from the Agency area.
Stalling of GO97 is a ploy of the Chief Minister to douse the anger of people, they say.