India: Maoists Urban, Interrupted – Analysis
By SATP October 21, 2013
By Mrinal Kanta Das
The detention of Hem Chandra Mishra (30), a student of the New Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by the Nagpur Police in Aheri, Gadchiroli District, Maharashtra, on August 20, 2013, and his subsequent arrest by the State Police on August 23, has opened up an old debate about the Communist Party of India-Maoist’s (CPI-Maoist) penetration into the urban spaces of the country. Mishra was arrested along with Pandu Pora Narote (27) and Mahesh Tirki (24) of Morewada village in the Etapalli tehsil (revenue unit) of Gadchiroli District. He was carrying coded messages meant for the Maoist leadership in Dandakaranya forests in central India.
Confirming the arrest, a press release of the Gadchiroli District Police stated, on August 24, “The accused have accepted that they were going to give these documents to Senior Naxal [Left-Wing Extremist (LWE)] leader Narmada Akka. Pandu Narote and Mahesh Tirki also accepted that both of them were regular couriers of Narmada Akka and other senior Naxal leaders in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.” Further, within a week of Mishra’s arrest, Police searched the Delhi home of G.N. Saibaba, an Assistant Professor of English literature at Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University on September 12, 2013. He is the Joint Secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), a Maoist front organisation active in Delhi and in Gurgaon and Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. The Gadchiroli Police claim that Saibaba is a Maoist, known in his circles as Prashant alias Chetan, and uses these names to interact and hatch conspiracies with over ground Maoists through online chat forums. Police claim that Mishra went to Gadchiroli under Saibaba’s direction.
Though Saibaba admitted that he had met Mishra in the past, he denies sending him to Dandakaranya. It is significant that, on December 7, 2011, the then Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Jitendra Singh, while replying to a Parliamentary question, disclosed that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had listed the RDF as a Maoist front organisation along with the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI) and Democratic Students Union (DSU), each of which is active in Delhi. On September 1, 2013, Prashant Rahi (52), a free lance journalist from Uttarakhand, and his associate, Vijay Tikri, were arrested from Deori in the Gondia District of Maharashtra, on suspicion that Rahi was heading to meet a senior Maoist leader. Rahi is from Uttarakhand and he has been associated with number of social causes from time to time.
He has been arrested on an earlier occasion for his alleged Maoist links. Though he has rejected the charges levelled against him by the Gadchiroli Police, the Police still claim that they had enough evidence to arrest him. It is useful to recall the arrest of Kobad Ghandy, a CPI-Maoist Central Committee member and top Maoist ideologue, from Delhi on September 21, 2009. This was one of the first high profile arrests that threw light on the Maoists’ evolving networks with India’s cities. Subsequently, there have been numerous arrests in various cities.
The most prominent among these were:
December 3, 2010: Anil Ghosh alias Ajoyda, State Committee Member, was arrested from Kolkata in West Bengal.
February 8, 2010: Baccha Prasad Singh, CPI-Maoist Politbureau member was arrested from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Seven other Maoists, including top leader Banshidhar alias Chintan Da were also arrested along with him.
August 24, 2009: Amitabha Bagchi alias Anil, CPI-Maoist Politbureau member, was arrested from Ranchi in Jharkhand.
August 19, 2007: Krishnan Srinivasan alias Vishnu alias Vijay alias Sreedhar alias Shekar, Central Committee Member, was arrested from Mumbai in Maharashtra.
The Maoists’ efforts to extend their networks into India’s cities is guided by a detailed strategy that has been meticulously explained in their document, Urban Perspective: Our Work in Urban Areas, which notes, inter alia.
Work in the urban areas has a special importance in our revolutionary work… in our revolution, which follows the line of protracted people’s war, the liberation of urban areas will be possible only in the last stage of the revolution… However, we should not belittle the importance of the fact that the urban areas are the strong centres of the enemy. Building up of a strong urban revolutionary movement means that our Party should build a struggle network capable of waging struggle consistently by sustaining itself until the protracted people’s war reaches the stage of strategic offensive. With this long term perspective, we should develop a secret party, a united front and people’s armed elements; intensify the class struggle in the urban areas and mobilize the support of millions of urban masses for the people’s war.
The recent arrests point to the fact that, despite setbacks, the Maoists persist in their efforts to build a ‘struggle network’ across India’s cities, including the capital, Delhi, metros, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, as well as other cities like Patna, Ranchi, Kanpur, Nagpur and Pune. Preliminary inroads were made through various devices, including engagement with workers unions, university students, various ‘Rights’ organisations, and popular protest movements.
On August 13, 2013, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh told the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament), “There is no intelligence/information to suggest that Naxal organizations are infiltrating through security agencies and factories to expand their network in the urban areas. However, a few cases have come to notice where the CPI-Maoist cadres have undertaken employment in urban areas primarily to earn livelihood and also evade police arrest. Also, the ‘front organizations’ of the banned CPI-Maoist party as well as organizations sympathetic to the said outfit have been supporting the cause of the workers employed in factories.Their objective is essentially to exploit the situation to gain a foot-hold among the working class.”
The Minister added, further, that the Maoists were operating under their Tactical United Front (TUF) to mobilise ‘working classes’ for carrying out subversive activities. During the 2012 Maruti plant strike in Manesar (Haryana) it was widely speculated in the media and security organisations that the Maoists’ affiliated front organisations may have had a role in the cycle of escalating violence in the plant. However, in November 2013, the Chief Secretary of Haryana claimed that there was no evidence of Maoist involvement in the incidents. Speaking on the Maruti plant strike in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) the then Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Jitendra Singh, observed, on August 22, 2012, “Subsequent to the incident (violence at Maruti Manesar plant), a number of front organizations of the banned CPI-Maoists, as well as bodies sympathetic to the outfit such as the Mehnatkash Mazdoor Morcha (MMM), Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI) and the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), have organized demonstrations supporting the cause of the workers of the Maruti factory.”
Though there was no concrete evidence of Maoist involvement in the violence at the Maruti plant, protest demonstrations organised in support of the workers after the incidents suggest that front organisations at least sought to exploit the situation to gain a foothold among workers, in line with the Maoists’ ‘urban perspective’. The arrest of Kanchan alias Sudip Chongdar alias Batash alias Gautam, the Maoists’ ‘state secretary’, in Kolkata on December 3, 2010, shed more light on how students were being used as new recruits to carry forward Maoists ideas. Kanchan revealed that a recruitment process was on for the outfit’s ‘military wing’ and Jadavpur University had emerged as a major centre for cadres.
He also revealed that 12 students from Presidency College were working actively as CPI-Maoist cadres in Lalgarh. However, the Maoists’ attempts to spread their network in Kolkata have suffered heavily, as many of their senior leaders have been arrested from Kolkata. These prominently include Sadanala Ramakrishna alias RK, the head of the Central Technical Committee (arrested on February 29, 2012); Venkateswar Reddy alias Telugu Dipak, a top CPI-Maoist leader (arrested on March 2, 2010); Mohan Vishwakarma, a senior member of the Central Technical Committee and Technical Research and Arms Manufacturing (TRAM) cell (arrested on July 26, 2012); Madhusudan Mondal alias Narayan alias Madhu alias Salim, Member – State Committee and Secretary Zonal Committee, Nandigram (arrested on June 29, 2010); Musafir Sahani alias Anand alias Alok da alias Manik, member of the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh State Committees (arrested on August 21, 2010).
According to the Maharashtra Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) wing, a “close watch” is being maintained on Mumbai’s St Xavier College, Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), and Fergusson College, Pune, for possible Maoist links. Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and ANO believe these institutions may be the new Maoist recruiting grounds. Separately, on June 3, 2013, a Hyderabad Central University student was arrested in Khammam District for escorting a top Maoist’s wife.
Maoist posters were also found pasted in the campus of Osmania University in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) in June 2013. Further, the Democratic Students Union (DSU), active in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, has been identified by the Union Home Ministry as a Maoist front organisation. According to a recent internal report prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Government has identified 128 Maoist front organisations. These organisations are present in 16 states, including relatively ‘unaffected’ states, which have not traditionally suffered Maoist violence, such as Uttarakhand, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. The IB report lists 17 such organizations operating in Jharkhand, 13 in Andhra Pradesh, 12 in Karnataka, 10 each in Bihar and Odisha, nine each in Delhi, Maharashtra and Bengal, eight in Haryana, six in Chhattisgarh, four each in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and three in Gujarat. Of Delhi’s 11 Districts, seven have been categorized as ‘marginally affected’ by Maoist activity – Central, South, New Delhi, North-West, North, South-West and North East Districts.
The Maoists’ attempt to expand their base in India is not a new phenomenon. They have, however, had limited success in these efforts and have, in fact, suffered dramatic leadership losses as a result. Nevertheless, the effort appears sustained and can be expected to accelerate, precisely because of the increasing dearth of ‘ideological’ cadres, partly because of the recent leadership losses and also because of the fading appeal of the movement in some of its heartland areas and institutions.
These processes continue with no more than fitful interruption because of the limited capacities of state enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor activities of various Maoist fronts, as well as to document and interdict the development and activities of the urban ‘struggle networks’ that have been established, or are evolving. Unless far more comprehensive measures are available to discover and neutralize the Maoist presence in urban areas, the dangerous possibility of the rebels building the bases of a self-sustaining struggle in cities cannot be excluded.
Against the witch-hunt of students, intellectuals and activists who dare to stand up against systemic injustice, oppression and state repression, charged in the 'Operation Green hunt ' as 'terrorism' and 'relation with PCIm'!
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International committee support people's war in india
Down to the persecution against Professor GN Saibaba, from New Delhi University!
Down to the persecution against Professor GN Saibaba, from New Delhi University!
We strongly condemns the arbitrary action of the Indian forces of repression, in another desperate attempt to silence the voices of dissidence. On Sept. 12, 2013, the house of Professor GN Saibaba, was raided by 50 agents whit the pretext to search “stolen materials”.
In the arbitrary operation, the agents prevented Professor Saibaba and his family from go out home, receiving visitors, making and receiving phone calls and contact an attorney. They didn’t found any stolen material and went out from Saibaba’s house carrying personal belongings of the family, including mobile phones, pen-drives and copies of publications of the Revolutionary Democratic Front of India (RDF), the organization on which Dr. Saibaba is secretary.
The Indian state with its common practices and increasingly recurrent persecution, killings, arbitrary arrests and baseless accusations against the defenders of the people's struggle, try to stop the struggle of a people who will not surrender in the face of intimidation and harassment.
Because of his choice to work in behalf of people, his effort to denounce the Operation Green Hunt, his work as an academic professor, his democratic and committed role on the defense of Indian people in the struggle against oppression, violence and misery, we pay our solidarity and respect to Professor GN Saibaba. We also condemn the fascist Indian state for their crimes against the people and their leaders and declare that the Brazilian people stand in support of the Indian people in their just struggle for national and social liberation.
International Committee to support people’war in India in the meeting of 21 September 2013 in Milan, expressed its enthusiastic support for Ganapathy’s Document for International Conference Hamburg 24 november 2012 “Raise high the flag of proletarian internationalism!” It makes a very positive balance of the success of International Action Day First July 2013 in many countries in the world and decides new actions:
1 - the maximum mass diffusion and study of Ganapathy PCIm Document in all languages possible;
2 - the development on the organisational and political plan of the national committees and national coordination in all countries of all various forces that support people’s war India with the target of development of prolonged campaigns in the next 6 months – exemplar Month of Solidarity in Philippines, declared by PCF;
3 - the birth of a new and complete international website for information and counterinformation in the world, in english,spanish and original languages, ready for 25 november 2013;
4 - the launch of a new unified international campaign – starts 5 october 2013 – against indian governement’s attacks against SAIBABA, Students for Resistence, Artists and Intellectuals. This campaign must be developed in all Universities,Schools,Intellectual AREA in all countries
5 - the development of a new international day for the 4000 maoist and popular political prisoners and for the liberation of some PCIm leaders – this day will be fixed after 25 november after international consultation. 6 – for 2014 – International Commitee develops a planed work for an INTERNATIONAL DELEGATION IN INDIA WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF SOLIDARITY MILITANTS, INTELLECTUALS, PERSONALITIES, ETC FOR TO DENOUNCE AND TO OPPOSE Operation Green Hunt AND ALL FORMS OF REPRESSION AGAINST INDIAN PEOPLE STRUGGLING FOR NEW DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION !
7 - the most important decision – for the 10° anniversary of PCIm foundation – International Commitee support people’s war in India with all maoists, revolutionaries, antimperialists forces organised a Second International Conference of support – possibly not in Europe.A convocation for this new conference will be issued in the spring 2014.
8 - International Commitee SPW India supports the liberation struggle of Philippines and participates to all supporters initiatives, IC support all people’s wars and all armed ant imperialist struggles in the world .
9 - International Commitee declares that the best support to the people’s war in India is to make new democratic and proletarian revolution all countries
10 - International Commitee declares that the advancement of international unity of communist parties and organisations gives more force to the support for people’s war in India in the world