[Assam] The Naxal/Maoist Movement, Part 2?
uttamborthakur at yahoo.co.in
Tue Aug 24 09:01:55 IST 2010
There may be two possibilities. (1) The story is state propaganda and (2) The story may be true, partially or wholly.
If it is a propaganda, we cannot know whether it is a propaganda, then there is nothing to say, as warring sides do it by means fair or foul.
If it is true, partially or wholly, then the Naxals/ Maoists would lose support if those guilty of the crimes are not brought to books and awarded exemplary punishments either by their own courts, if any, or courts in which you would like to repose faith.
BTW: 2000 farmers from Chattisgarh in the meanwhile have petitioned the President asking for permission to commit suicide, because of hunger. You cannot discount the possibility that driven by hunger, some people may join the ranks of Maoists/ Naxals and continue to support them, in spite of some rapes. After all, you and I may not be able to appreciate the pain of chronic hunger.
Ram Sarangapani assamrs at gmail.com
Tue Aug 24 02:07:56 IST 2010Previous message: [Assam] for NRAs in MontrealNext message: [Assam] Fw: Two Moons on 27th August 2010Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]And we were led to believe that this movement (the Naxal/Maoist) was a
fight against the social injustices and radical changes.Oh Well!
Read on................ From one of our most forwarded source TOI :-)
*Raped repeatedly, Naxal leader quits Red ranks*
Somewhere On The Bengal-Jharkhand Border: The eerie calm in the dense sal
forest is deafening. Walking along a snaking dirt track, a clear patch
appears. Sitting on a rock, hidden by thick, emerald green foliage, is the
diminutive figure of a woman, a gamchha (thin towel) covering her head. Her
blue salwar-kameez meld with the surroundings. Her eyes dart around at the
slightest hint of sound. Shobha Mandi, alias Uma, alias Shikha, gives a
searching look and then smiles. The 23-year-old CPI-Maoist Jhargram area
commander says she was expecting us.
>From commanding 25-30 armed Maoist squad members,
fugitive four months ago. She fled her command post on the plea of
seeing a doctor. She hid with her aunt for a short while; and now she says
she wants the world to know her story. She wants to surrender and is likely
to give up Naxalism on August 26.
Why did she decide to shed her battle fatigues seven years after she joined
the Naxals? "They committed injustices against which they claimed they were
fighting," said Uma. "As a recruit, I protested against the habits of some
leaders in the presence of Kishanji. Nobody liked it. The leaders instructed
the squad members not to speak to me. I was isolated and warned of dire
consequences if I protested," she said.
What didn't she like about the leaders? "They rape," she shot back, eyes
flashing with rage. "After about a year of joining Naxals, I was put on
night-long sentry duty at a forest camp in Jharkhand. Suddenly, out of the
dark, Bikash (now, head of the state military commission) came up and asked
me for water. As I turned to fetch it, he grabbed me and tried to do 'kharap
kaaj' (indecent acts)." When she objected, Bikash threatened to strangle
her. After forcing her into submission, Bikash raped her, she said. She was
"He warned me against telling anyone about this. But, I told Akash
(Kishanji's confidant and a state committee member). He said he would look
into it but did nothing. In fact, Akash's wife, Anu, lives with Kishanji,"
Most women recruits are exploited by senior Maoists. Senior women leaders,
too, have multiple sexual partners, Uma said. "If a member gets pregnant,
she has no choice but to abort: A child is seen as a burden that hampers the
agility of guerrillas."
Uma has heard tales of brutalization of other women Naxals, too. "Seema
(then a recruit) told me that Akash raped her as well. Rahul (alias Ranjit
Pal) raped Belpahari squad commander Madan Mahato's wife, Jaba. In this
case, the party punished Rahul, who is a key weapons trainer at Maoist
camps. He was removed from the regional committee for three months," said
State committee secretary Sudip Chongdar, alias Goutam, was also punished
for similar acts, she said, and transferred to Jharkhand's West Singbhum
time between forest camps and hideouts in villages. Villagers can't
refuse shelter to gun-toting Maoists. Also, they must keep all night vigil
to alert them against police raids. "When Sudip took shelter in villages, he
raped women in their homes. They were too scared to protest," said Uma.
Many of her senior leaders exploited her sexually. One day, says Uma, Kamal
Maity, who is a Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa regional committee member, came to
her rescue. At a meeting attended by
other top Maoists, Kamal proposed a relationship with Uma. The leaders
agreed. "After Jaba's incident, I learnt that a woman cadre is protected
against sexual exploitation only if she is with a senior leader," she said.
That was a turning point and she rose steadily in Naxal ranks.
Uma is on the police's most wanted list. She is suspected to have planned
and executed a series of attacks, including the massacre of 24 EFR jawans in
Silda (February 2010); a raid on Sankrail
in which two policemen were killed and an officer abducted (October
2009). She is also one of the suspects in Jharkhand
Mahato's murder in 2007.
She mentored PCPA
including Bapi Mahato who is in jail for the
sabotage. Last year, when the joint central and state forces advanced
into Lalgarh <http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/search?q=Lalgarh> to
break an eight-month siege, she along with other Maoists fired at the
police. In Jhargram, she is known as didi. According to a source, Uma
single-handedly built up the PCPA at Jhargram.
Uma joined the rebels in 2003. CPI-Maoist hadn't been formed then. "I joined
the People's War (PW) which later merged with MCC in 2004 to form
CPI-Maoist," she said. She was given a new name, Uma. "I was plump.
wife; Kishanji's companion) said I looked like Uma Bharti. So, she
named me Uma."
Maoist leaders spotted her organizational skills. She was asked to mobilize
tribals women at Jamboni and Dahijuri in West Midnapore. She also underwent
three-month arms training at Jharkhand's Gorabandha forest. "First, we are
taught with dummy weapons using tree branches. All recruits have to fire
three bullets in their first session. Those who hit the target are picked
for armed squads," she said.
In spite of guns and guerrilla warfare, the woman in her sometimes longs for
simple pleasures like painting her nails or wearing earrings. But, she says,
"We were not permitted to use even fragrant soaps, lest we get detected.
Only Lifebuoy is used by cadres."
Did she join the rebels of her own free will? Circumstances, she said. Uma
is second of four siblings. Along with their parents, they worked as wage
earners on farms or collected sal leaves, mahua and red ants (kurkut) to
sell. "I was good in studies but weak in math. I worked all day and studied
at night," the girl from Khayerpahari village in West Bengal's Bankura
district recounted. "I couldn't pass the Class X board."
This was in 2002. Younger brother Sanjay, who was in Class VIII, was already
taken away by the extremists. He became a Lalgarh squad member and is in
jail now. "My father, Jamadar Mandi, was an alcoholic suffering from
tuberculosis. There was no money to buy him medicines. We sold our land and
also borrowed money," Uma said.
While the family struggled, some "party" members offered help. "They gave my
father some money and told me to join them. They said I could leave if I
didn't like working with them," said Uma. The prospect of a job spurred her.
But only after she signed up did she realize she could never go home.
"Whoever comes here, never returns," a senior leader told her. She wanted
freedom from poverty but found herself chained to an ideology she couldn't
After seven years of witnessing bloodletting, she has no fear of death. She
now hopes the state she has fought against will rehabilitate her. "There are
many in the Maoist ranks who would flee given half a chance," she said.
Read more: Raped repeatedly, Naxal leader quits Red ranks - India - The
Times of India<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6423200.cms#ixzz0xSlAEHOs>
Uttam Kumar Borthakur
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