Below is the official statement issued by the Naxalites on the Darba Ghaati attack in Chhattisgarh. The statement was sourced through Shankar Anand, a Deputy Editor at Three Headed Lion.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)
DANDAKARANYA SPECIAL ZONAL COMMITTEE
May 26, 2013
Elimination of fascist Salwa Judum leader Mahendra Karma: Legitimate response to the inhuman atrocities, brutal murders and endless terror perpetrated on the Adivasis of Bastar!
Attack on top Congress leaders: Inevitable reprisal to the fascist Operation Green Hunt being carried on by the UPA government hand in glove with various state governments!
On May 25, 2013, a detachment of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army conducted a massive attack on the 20 plus vehicles convoy of Congress party which resulted in wiping out of at least 27 Congress leaders, activists and policemen including Mahendra Karma, the bitter enemy of the oppressed people of Bastar and Nand Kumar Patel, president of the Congress’ state unit. It took place when the Congress party leaders were touring in Bastar region as part of their ‘Parivartan Yatra’ program (i.e. March of Change) keeping their eye on forthcoming assembly elections. At least 30 others also were injured in this attack including ex-central minister and veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla. The dog’s death of Mahendra Karma, notorious tyrant, murderer, rapist, robber and maligned as corrupt, in this historic attack has created a festive atmosphere in entire Bastar region. Former state home minister Nand Kumar Patel was also had the history of suppressing the people. It was in his tenure, paramilitary force (CRPF) was deployed in Bastar region for the first time. It was also not hidden from anyone that the former central minister VC Shukla who had been in various portfolios including Home ministry, was also a people’s enemy who had acted as a loyal servant of imperialists, comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and landlords and had played a key role in formulating and implementing exploitative government policies. The goal of this attack was mainly to eliminate Mahendra Karma and some other reactionary Congress top leaders as well. However, during this massive attack some innocent people and some lower level Congress party activists who were in fact not our enemies, were also killed and injured caught in the two-hour long gun battle that ensued between our guerrilla forces and the armed police forces. Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) regrets for this and expresses condolence and sympathy to the families of the bereaved.
Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) takes absolute responsibility for this attack. We send our revolutionary greetings to the PLGA commanders who led this daring ambush, to the red fighters who contributed in this success, to the people who took part in it by lending active support and to the entire revolutionary masses of Bastar region. This attack has once again proved the historic fact that those fascists who perpetrate violence, atrocities and massacres on the people, will never be forgiven and they would inevitably be punished by the people.
The so-called tribal leader Mahendra Karma was born into a feudal manjhi family. Both his grandfather Masa Karma and father Bodda Manjhi were notorious harassers of the people in their times and were acted as trusted agents of colonial rulers. His family’s entire history is known of inhuman exploitation and oppression of Adivasis. Mahendra Karma’s political life was started in 1975 as a member of AISF while he was studying the law. He was elected as MLA from CPI first in 1978. Later in 1981, when he was denied ticket by CPI, he joined Congress. In 1996, he had gone with a breakaway faction of Madhavrao Scindhia and became member of Indian Parliament as an independent candidate. Later he rejoined the Congress party.
In 1996, a massive movement took place in Bastar demanding the implementation of Sixth Schedule. Though mainly CPI had led that movement, our party – it was CPI (ML) [People’s War] then – also took active part in that movement mobilizing the masses on a large scale. But Mahendra Karma took bitter stand against that movement proving himself as representative of the selfish urban business people, who had come to Bastar as settlers and had accumulated massive wealth. Then only his anti-adivasi and pro-comprador nature was clearly exposed before the people. Since the 1980s, he had strengthened the bonds with big business and capitalist classes in Bastar.
Then in 1999, Karma’s name was exposed in a big scam called ‘Malik Makbuja’. A Lokayukta report revealed that in the period of 1992-96, Mahendra Karma hand in glove with timber black-marketers had made millions of rupees by cheating adivasi people and colluding with revenue and forest officials and the district collector. Though a CBI probe was ordered into this scam, nothing harm was done to the culprits as always happen.
Mahendra Karma was minister of jails in undivided Madhya Pradesh. Later became industries and commerce minister in Ajit Jogi’s government when Chhattisgarh state was carved out of it. At that time a forceful land acquisition took place in Nagarnar for the proposed steel plant by Romelt/NMDC. While the local people refused to give up their lands, Mahendra Karma took stand against the people and in favor of the capitalists. He played a key role in forcibly taking away the lands by suppressing the people with support of brutal police force. The people who lost their lands in Nagarnar received neither compensation nor the employment as government had promised till now. They were forced to disperse.
From the very beginning, Mahendra Karma stood as an arch enemy of the revolutionary movement. The reason is clear – hailed from a typical feudal family and ‘grown up’ as an agent of big business and bourgeois classes. The first Jan Jagaran (‘awareness’) campaign was launched in 1990-91 against the revolutionary movement. The revisionist CPI had participated in that counter-revolutionary campaign. Karma and many of his relatives belonged to the landlord classes had actively participated in it. The second Jan Jagaran campaign was launched in 1997-98 led by Mahendra Karma himself. This was started in Mahendra Karma’s own village Faraspal and its surrounding villages and spread up to Bhairamgarh and Kutru areas. Hundreds of people were tortured and arrested and sent to jails. Many an incidents of looting and setting fire to houses took place. Womenfolk were raped. However, under the leadership of our party and mass organizations people came together and strongly countered this counter-revolutionary onslaught. Within a short time, this campaign was defeated.
Later the revolutionary movement became more consolidated. Anti-feudal struggles were intensified in many areas. Landlords like Podia Patel, the brother of Mahendra Karma, and some close relatives of him were killed as part of mass resistance actions. In many villages the power of feudal forces and bad gentry was thrown out and the process of establishment of People’s Revolutionary Power organs began. The feudal forces including Mahendra Karma were very furious as their lands were redistributed among the poor and landless peasants and the customs like unjustly forcing the people to pay penalties to the landlords were stopped. They opposed the progressive changes like stopping of forced marriages of women, discouraging polygamy etc. also. And at the same time, the revolutionary movement was seemed as a hurdle by the corporate houses like Tatas and Essars who started their attempts to plunder away the natural resources of Bastar region. So, they naturally colluded with the counter-revolutionary elements like Mahendra Karma. They fed him with millions of coffers in order to create conducive atmosphere for their arbitrary depredations. On the other hand, after the emergence of CPI (Maoist) as a country-wide consolidated party as an outcome of the merger between the genuine revolutionary organizations, exploitative ruling classes intensified their counter-revolutionary onslaught in the guidance of the imperialists so as to crush the revolutionary movement. Thus, a brutal attack in connivance with the Congress and the BJP has started in Bastar region namely ‘Salwa Judum’. So many followers and relatives of Mahendra Karma like Soyam Muka, Rambhuvan Kushwaha, Ajay Singh, Vikram Mandavi, Gannu Patel, Madhukarrao, and Gota Chinna etc. emerged as key leaders of Salwa Judum.
One can hardly find any examples in the history to compare the severity of the devastation and barbarity caused by Salwa Judum to the lives of the Bastar people. It killed more than one thousand people in cold blood; torched 640 villages into ashes, robbed thousands of houses; ate or took away chickens, goats, pigs, etc.; forced more than two million people to be displaced; dragged more than 50 thousand people into state-run ‘relief’ camps. Thus the Salwa Judum became anathema to the people. Hundreds of women were gang raped. Many women were murdered after rape. Massacres took place in many places. The atrocities perpetrated on the people and havoc created by the hooligans of Salwa Judum, the police and paramilitary forces, especially the Naga and Mizo battalions crossed all limits. There were several incidents in which people were brutally cut into pieces before being dumped in rivers. Cherli, Kotrapal, Mankeli, Karremarka, Mosla, Munder, Padeda, Paralnar, Pumbad, Gaganpalli… in many villages people were killed en masse. Hundreds of tribal youth were recruited as SPOs and were turned into hardened criminals. Mahendra Karma himself led the attacks on several villages in the name of conducting meetings and marches. Many women were raped by the goons with the direct instigation of Mahendra Karma. He was directly involved in many incidents of burning the villages, torturing and murdering the people. Thus, in the minds of the people of Bastar, Mahendra Karma remained as an inhuman killer, rapist, dacoit and a loyal broker of the big capitalists. In entire Bastar people have been demanding our party and the PLGA for many years that he must be punished. Many of them came forward voluntarily to give active support in this task. There were also a few attempts, but due to petty mistakes and other reasons he was able to escape.
With this action we have taken revenge of over a thousand adivasis who were brutally murdered in the hands of Salwa Judum goons and government armed forces. We also have taken revenge on behalf of those hundreds of mothers and sisters who were subjected to cruelest forms of violence, humiliation and sexual assault. We have taken revenge on behalf of the thousands of Bastarites who lost their homes, cattle, chickens, goats, bald, pottery, clothing, grain, crops … everything and were forced to live a miserable life in subhuman conditions.
Immediately after this attack, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh etc. dubbed this as an attack on democracy and democratic values. One wonders whether these pet dogs of exploiter classes have any moral qualification even to take the name of democracy! Of late, on May 17, when eight people including three innocent children were killed by police and paramilitary forces in Edsametta village of Bijapur district, then why did none of these leaders bother to think about ‘democracy’? Between January 20 to 23, when villages named Doddi Tumnar and Pidiya of Bijapur district were attacked by your forces who torched 20 houses and a school house run by the people, did your ‘democracy’ flourish there? Exactly 11 months ago, on the night of June 28, 2012 in Sarkinguda village, 17 adivasis were slaughtered and 13 women were gang raped. Were those incidents a part of your ‘democratic values’? Does your ‘democracy’ only applicable to the mass murderers like Mahendra Karma and ruling class agents like Nand Kumar Patel? Whether the poor adivasis of Bastar, the elderly, children and the women come under the umbrella of your ‘democracy’ or not? Are the massacres of adivasis a part of your ‘democracy’? Do any of those who are shouting loudly against this attack have any answer for these questions?
By the end of 2007, Salwa Judum was defeated by the resistance of the masses. Then in 2009, Congress-led UPA-2 has unleashed a countrywide offensive by name Operation Green Hunt (OGH). The US imperialists are not only giving guidance and help and support, but by deploying their special forces in India they also are actively participating in counter-insurgency operations. They are giving emphasis on killing the Maoist leadership. The Union government has so far sent more than 50 thousand paramilitary forces to Chhattisgarh as part of ongoing OGH, i.e. ‘War on People’. As a result, there has been manifold increase in massacres and destruction. 400 adivasis were killed by central and state armed forces here in Bastar so far since 2009. From mid-2011, Army troops have been creating bases in Bastar region in the name of setting up ‘training schools’. Both Chidambaram and Shinde, the former and present home ministers, including PM Manmohan Singh have been eagerly rendering all support to the Chhattisgarh government and expressing full satisfaction over Raman Singh government’s performance in crushing revolutionary movement. Raman Singh too has been expressing his gratitude on every occasion for Centre’s help. Therefore, in Chhattisgarh, there are no differences between ruling BJP and opposition Congress in terms of policies of suppressing the revolutionary movement. Only due to public pressure, as well as to gain electoral benefits, some of the local leaders of the Congress at times came in condemnation of incidents like Sarkinguda and Edsametta massacres. Their opposition is sham which is nothing more than opportunism. Both Congress and BJP are same in implementing corporate friendly and oppressive policies. The frequent penetration of Greyhounds forces across the Chhattisgarh borders from Andhra Pradesh, and the mass murders it committed first in Kanchal (2008) and recently in Puwwarti (May 16, 2013) are part and parcel of the oppressive policies adopted and implemented by Congress party. That’s why we have targeted top leaders of Congress.
Today, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar, Ministers Ramvichar Netam, Kedar Kashyap, Vikram Usendi, Governor Shekhar Dutt, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil etc.; DGP Ram Niwas, ADG Mukesh Gupta and other senior officials of the police, who are hell-bent on crushing the revolutionary movement of Dandakaranya, are in the big illusion that they are unbeatable. Mahendra Karma also has kept the illusion that Z plus Security and bullet-proof vehicles would save him forever. In the history of the world, Hitler and Mussolini were in the same pride that no one could beat them. In the contemporary history of our country, the fascists like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi also were victims of similar misgivings. But the People are invincible. People only are the makers of the history. Ultimately, a handful of exploiters and a few of their pet dogs will only be thrown in the dustbin of the history.
Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) calls upon the workers, peasants, students, intellectuals, writers, artists, media persons and all other democrats to demand the governments to stop the OGH immediately; to withdraw all kinds of paramilitary forces from Dandakaranya; to give up the conspiracy of deploying the Army in the name of ‘training’; to put an end to the interference of Air Force; to release all the revolutionary activists and ordinary adivasis languishing in various jails immediately; to scrap the cruel laws like UAPA, CSPSA, MACOCA, AFSPA, etc.; to cancel the all those MoUs signed with the corporate houses with the aim of plundering the natural wealth of the country.
Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee
(This is translated and slightly abridged version of Hindi original)