Skip to main content

Gadchiroli encounter suggests Maoists have failed to 'properly' insulate themselves

By Harsh Thakor* 

At least 26 Maoists, all said to be belonging to CPI (Maoist), were recently killed in what was reported as a fierce encounter with security forces in a dense forest in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. Four policemen were also injured in the encounter and were taken to Nagpur for treatment.
Sources said, the operation was launched as cops had prior knowledge of CPI (Maoist) cadres camping in the forest. “The group mainly comprised Korchi Dalam members led by Sukhlal, member of the Gadchiroli divisional committee of the CPI (Maoist). But there must have been members of some other formation as well as the encounter was a prolonged one, indicating that there was stiff resistance by the Maoists,” they added.
With 26 Maoist casualties, this encounter is the second biggest in the history of Gadchiroli district. The Maoists had gone into action, say sources, to avenge the massacre they suffered in March when four of their cadres were assassinated. They are reported to have been given poison in the meal.
The encounter suggests that Maoists have hardly properly insulated themselves to counter the security forces, and intelligence is deeply penetrating their network.
In the first encounter, which took place on April 23, 2018, the Gadchiroli police gunned down 40 Maoists in two different skirmishes. While 34 were killed in the Boria-Kasnasur area of Etapalli tehsil, six from the same group were gunned down while they were reportedly on the run in Aheri tehsil.
The Maoists operate in the backdrop of sheer misery of the Adivasis and poor peasants, and the manner in which the ruling parties have given scant respect to their genuine grievances. Land reforms have been superficially implemented with the dominant castes and classes still exercising control. This is one reason why have penetrated very deeply into the lives of the tribals to build up organizational structures.
The recent attack in Gadricholi simply took the Maoist cadres by surprise, even though for countless times the Maoists have managed to resurrect from the grave like a phoenix from the ashes, moving like fish in water. In recent times, they appear to have enhanced their striking power and delivered many a knockout punch to the security forces.
There is reason to believe that if any rights the tribals have won in Gadricholi, it is only as a result of the sustained struggle by the Maoist squads. Like a surgeon stitching a wound they have confronted contractors and moneylenders who are patronised by landlords and politicians.
One may disagree with the Maoists’ line of people’s war as a strategy, yet, the fact is, there they have successful in enrolling Adivasis in large numbers in the ranks of the their guerrilla force.
Several left-wing journals, including 'Frontier Weekly', intellectuals like Sumanta Banerjee, and groups like CPI (ML) Red Star have classified the Maoists as terrorists or roving bands. Intellectuals like Bela Bhatia and Alpa Shah are also critical of the “sectarian practices” by the Maoists, particularly with respect to civil rights or abuse of democratic practices.
Milind Teltumbde
Among those killed during the latest encounter was Milind Teltumbde, younger brother of top Dalit Marxist scholar Anand Teletumbde, currently languishing in jail for his alleged involvement in Bhima-Koregaon violence. Milind originally worked as a union leader of mine workers.
The book ‘Maoist Road-Gates of Heaven’ by Amit Bhattacharya, has a detailed account of the socioeconomic conditions prevailing in Gadchiroli. It summarise how semi-feudalism is so deeply penetrated in Gadricholi.
In the chapter ‘Maoist Movement and Socio-economic Zones’, Bhattacharya says, credits significant achievements to Maoists in Gadricholi for healthcare, changes in the marriage system, changes in man-woman relations, improvement in the living condition of the people, rise of the petty bourgeois class at the village level, changes in the relations between landlords, landless farmers and agricultural labourers, development in market and commercial activities, abolishing of bonded labour and forms of non economic exploitation, economic changes and changes in rural loan facilities, money lending and bank loans.
The book points to how the Maoist squads mobilised farmers with the slogan “land to the tiller’ which ignited the Adivasis to challenge the forest department for rights over agricultural lands. Earlier, till 1980, State governments gave pattas for tribal land (land rights). But in 1980, issuing of pattas stopped. As many as 150,000 acres of land in the Etapalli taluka alone in Gadricholi was outside the purview of the patta system.
Before 1980, landlord families inherited a higher social status. They held the posts of police Patel, Bhumyal, Shendyal, etc. They controlled the village having an absolute say in matters. In case of any problems between tribal heads or problems related to more than more village, they used to met in a large gatherings and declare judgments.
It is in this context that Maoists obtained control over these areas. The poor peasants, labours and middle peasants began asserting themselves against exploitation. The Maoists ensured that the exploiting classes stepped down from the leadership of the villages by seizing power.
---
*Freelance journalist who has written for a number of blogs and travelled all around India

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult