We may be down, but will bounce back, says Maoist leader Chalapati
Admitting that the Naxal movement has received serious setbacks in
recent times in the form of encounter deaths and surrender of leaders,
East Division secretary Pratapareddy Ramchandrareddy alias Appa Rao
alias Chalapati said security forces have made quite a few strikes but
claimed that the ‘people’s movement’ has not been suppressed and will
bounce back. In an exclusive interview with TOI in the interiors of the
Andhra Odisha Border (AOB) on the eve of the Martyr’s Week to be
observed by the Naxals from July 28-August 3, Chalapati said like their
comrades elsewhere in the country, the Naxals of the East Division too
need to change the strategy to match the changing socio-economic,
political and global scenario.
Where does the Maoist movement in AOB stand now? And why has it been facing such hard times?
n The multi-pronged attacks by the state government through its
security forces as well as own mistakes has led to the Maoists being in
the situation now. We have some weaknesses in waging the class struggle.
Moreover, we have not actively mobilised the people as well as our own
cadre to launch counter attacks against the security forces. We have to
re-examine our guerilla warfare techniques as well as strengthen our
So would it be correct to say that the Maoists have totally failed in mobilising the masses?
n That is not true. If we have failed in all aspects, we would have
ceased to exist. While admitting that we have faced setbacks, I would
like to remind you that the party has faced difficult times in the past
and regained its strength and lost glory. At the same time, I am willing
to concede that we have constraints in attracting the people in all
levels to the party ideology and policies. We shall do so now by
strengthening our political and organisational setups
There are allegations that some of the militia members have been
misguiding the party for their selfish motives and causing the death of
innocent people after branding them as police informers?
n Ours is a party of the masses. We will not take anybody’s word that
so and so is an informer and kill him. The party has been strictly
following the standard procedure laid down by the higher committees.
However, I must add that in the conspiracy to eliminate the Maoists
party, the ruling classes and the state government have been exploiting
people in the tribal areas by converting them as police informer and
agents. Such people are being given arms by the police and a special
police officer (SPO) network created. It is such elements that we are
Your party has lost the stronghold areas such as Narayanapatna,
Bandugaon in Odisha and many more places in Visakha and East Godavari
districts. Party leaders are not in a position to visit many villages in
both the Visakha Agency and AOB now as they have no support.
party analyse these conditions?
n Learning lessons from mistakes and failures is a continuous
process. The Naxalbari and Srikakulam armed struggles were formed
through the lessons learnt from the Telangana armed struggle. Likewise,
the Dandakaranya, Bihar and Jharkhand movements were based on the
lessons learnt from the Naxalbari and Srikakulam struggles. Losing or
gaining the dominance of areas or places would depend on the relative
strength of the movement as of its rivals. Therefore, you need to
examine the overall strength of the movement. For example, in China, the
revolutionaries had lost their strongholds several times before finally
taking over the entire country. The lessons from these struggles will
guide the future agitations.
Any particular reason why the party has lost its grip over its so called bastions in the AOB?
n The state through its security forces has launched a massive
repression on the movement since 1996 with a clear strategy. We failed
to counter it by involving people in large numbers. As a result, by
2006, the movement began growing once again after receiving many
setbacks in the AOB. We reduced the number of squads and converted them
into platoons to counter the increasing strength of the enemy. Since
then, the people of AOB are very much with us
If the movement is strong and is being backed by the people, why is
it seeing so many leaders surrendering to the police and coming
n Many of those who surrendered did so for health reasons. You need
to recall that the movement gained new strength in 2004 after the merger
of three parties. We lost many people and strongholds due to Operation
Greenhunt, an all-out offensive by paramilitary forces and the state
forces in 2009 along the borders of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra
Pradesh and Maharashtra. Following that, our Central Committee meeting
in 2013 analysed the present conditions and changed our strategy. These
hard times are only temporary. I can confidently say that the party will
overcome this situation. The movement will sustain till the oppressed
sections get the living rights and ownership of the land.