Red alert in Kerala
Saturday January 5 2008 17:31 IST
M P Prashanth
In 1980, a group of four Naxalites from Andhra Pradesh entered into southern tip of Maharashtra which is now part of the 'Dandakarnya region'. They were followed by six other small groups who went to Bastar, which was with Madhya Pradesh then. The mission of the teams was to spread the Karimnagar/Adilabad Movement in those areas.
After nearly three decades of sustained and well-orchestrated squad work, the Maoists are now a force to reckon with and are holding a parallel government in the 'liberated zones.' They have a support base of over 1.5 lakh with their own People's Liberation Guerilla Army and people's militia. (Details from People's March, January 2006 issue).
This piece of information is enough to send a chill down the spine of Kerala police because there are enough indications that the Maoists in the state are trying to replicate what they had done in Dandakaranya and many other parts of the country.
The fact that senior leaders of the CPI (Maoists) from Andhra — politburo member Sende Raja Mouli, Tamil Nadu state secretary Sunderamurthy and central committee member Malli Raja Reddy — had made vists to the state is enough reason for the police to press the panic button. Raja Reddy, who was picked up by the Andhra police from a hideout in Ernakulam district, had told the media that his mission was to build the party in Kerala and prepare its people for a revolution.
Kerala has the history of high-profile Naxalite activities which include annihilation of class enemies, attacks on police stations, taking officials as hostage and public trial of 'corrupt' government servants. Of late, their activities have been confined to more symbolic protests like attacking offices of the Asian Development Bank and retail outlets of big Indian companies.
The CPI-ML (Naxalbari) and the CPI (Maoist), the two Maoist outfits in Kerala, have a very limited presence in the state. There are only a handful of CPI (Maoists) activists in Kerala who were keeping a low profile till now. The outfit came under the scanner after the arrest of Raja Reddy. The arrest points to the fact that they have been engaged in underground activities of organising people from various sectors like migrant labourers, tribals and landless people.
That the Maoists would wait patiently for the right opportunity to strike is evident from their documents on protracted people's war. The document on 'Urban Perspective' details how to operate in cities where the 'enemies' are in full control. "In such a situation, where enemy is stronger, we cannot have a short-term approach of direct confrontation in order to achieve quick results," the document says.
It further addes that the cadres should "avoid engaging the enemy" and that "we should act chiefly on the defensive." The aim of the initial phase of people's war, it said, would be protecting, preserving, consolidating and expanding the party forces.
It also calls for forming legal and open mass organisations and to have secret party cells working underground. The document asks the cadres to actively engage in festivals like Durga Puja and sneak into sports clubs and gymnasiums.
How far the Maoists have penetrated into the Kerala society is yet to be acsertained. There are many who believe that the presence of the Maoists in Kerala is only negligible and is blown out of proportion by the media and the police.
They believe that innumerable splits in the movement have made it only a symbolic presence. Lack of leaders have incapacitated the activities of CPI (Maoists), which is now dependent on squads from Andhra Pradesh for carrying out the activities. Many of those who led the movement have now disowned it.
But the police are not taking any chances. They arrested P Govindan Kutty, the editor of People's March, the unofficial organ of the CPI (Maoists) and raided its office.
"Globalisation has made the lives of the people all over the country miserable and there are revolts from various corners. Maoists are offering resistannce at some places. But the government is raising the Maoist bogey to suppress all mass agitations," says K N Ramachandran, general secretary of the CPI-ML (Kanu Sanyal) group.
Ramachandran's reading is that the Maoists do not have the mass base without which no revolution is possible. And their activities amount to anarchism. "The Maoists have their base mainly among the adivasis. But Kerala is not Dandakaranya. What is needed now is a militant mass movement," he says.
M N Ravunni, the general convener of Poraattom, believes that mass base alone would not suffice. "The CPM and the CPI have the mass base which does not serve any purpose. We need to revolutionise the masses." Ravunni challenges the contention that people's war is not possible in Kerala. "It is being tried even in USA. Then why Kerala should be an exception?"
Earlier 'actions' of the Naxalites in Kerala were devoid of any purpose. "Actions like attacking police stations were not linked to the Maoist military line. But now the Maoists have a clearer idea," he says.
CPI-ML (Naxalbari) has some difference of opinion with CPI (Maoists). "But we have a friendly relationship. We want a principled unity of all revoutionaries in India and some moves in this regard is taking place at national and international level.
Both CPI (Maoists) and CPI-ML (Naxalbari) are the members of Revolutionary International Movement (RIM) and Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisation of South Asia (CCOMPOSA)
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Red alert in Kerala