Volume 5, No. 2-3, February-March 2004


Koraput Campaign in Orissa is a Milestone in the Annals of Indian Agrarian Revolution !

To Arm the People with State Arms to Defeat its Offensive War !

(Report received at the office on Feb. 29, 2004. Given its significance we are printing it in full — Editor)


At the time of colonial rule revolutionaries of India attacked the Chittagong police head quarters in East Bengal in 1930. Again almost 75 years later Maoist revolutionaries attacked Orissa’s Koraput district police Head Quarters (HQ) in India, with a different aim. At the time of the Chittagang attack they had the task to overthrow colonialism. This time around Maoists had the task to arm their Peoples Guerrilla Army (PGA) to transform it into Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) and to establish liberated areas, where the neo-colonial type of exploitation in the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system will be overthrown.

Koraput, an oldest district HQ, in Orissa has seen many a people’s movement. Since two decades back the CPI(ML)[PW] has been active in large parts of the district. It has been mobilizing the tribal people in various revolutionary movements. The 9th Congress of the CPI(ML)[PW], which was held in 2001, had taken a task to transform the Andhra-Orissa border region (AOB) as Liberated Zone. It has been putting in its efforts in a consolidated manner in that area to achieve its task. After the Party Congress the PW Party took the "Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign" (TCOC) to arm its PGA and to destroy the morale and advancement of state Special Forces and Para-Military forces in 8 Guerrilla Zones spread across AP, Chattisghar, Maharastra, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar. In its TCOC a good number of attacks on police and paramilitary forces were conducted in the entire above Zone in the last 3 years. But the attack which they executed on 6th February was a well-planned and meticulously executed one by mobilizing various PGA units, which was the first of its nature and type in the last 3 decades old revolutionary movement or to say second in the last 75 years history of the Indian new democratic revolution, which has given a nerve-breaking jolt to the entire ruling classes of the country, irrespective of their political identities.

Koraput A Seized City by People’s Guerrillas:

The massive attack took place on the night of 6th Feb. synchronising with similar attacks on various targets in the city. To excute their well-calculated plan Naxalites made reconnaissance (recce) for several days and assessed the police HQ’s weaknesses and strong points to virtually seize the armoury. Their target was to sieze the weaponry with minimum human loss and bloodshed, to arm the people to strengthen the PGA fighters. The national and regional news papers which started to write on the attack from 7 Feb. onwards to the end of this month accept two things in general i.e. the morale of the police is almost lost and Naxalites put the state on tenter hooks, which now needs a fresh look into the security of police HQs in all most all the 12 states in the country.

According to the newspapers 200-armed Naxalites were engaged in the well-executed plan to overpower the targets. On the Friday night (quoted by the state as black Friday and a good revolutionary Friday Naxalites) systematically occupied all the vital points in the city to seize the Armoury of police HQ. It seems that they planned to neutralise all the armed forces present in the city and in the vicinity of the city. For this they struck on the District Superintendent’s office, two police stations (rural and urban), district Jail, Treasury office and their main target i.e. police HQ and its Armoury.

To keep engaged other forces, which were camping near the city such as 3rd battalion of the Orissa Special Armed Police (OSAP), Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) including CRPF contingents in housed OSAP and IRB head quarters they had planned a mock attack on the 3rd BN, HQ of the OSAP and engaged the force in a gun battle to stop their advancement to help the forces of the district HQ. Apart from this they laid powerful land mines at various points to stop new deployment, which could cordon off the combatants of the PGA of the PW party. According to media reports, to avoid such a trap or encounter with extra new forces the PGA took all the precautions. Apart from this they seized all the main roads, which lead to Koraput town.

Without any significant resistance one after another target surrendered to the Naxalites. A Jawan guarding the district armoury N.Nayak was shot dead first to seize the Armoury. Another assault batch, which attacked the jail premises, faced some mild resistance, according to the news reaching till now, in which the Jail Superintendent and a few constables were injured and 20 rifles captured by the Naxalites from the Jail police. The Jawans in the two police stations surrendered and handed over their weapons. And at the SP office also there was no resistance, and the Naxalites did not give any scope for the demoralised forces to regroup. Not only this, the news items that appeared so far in the media have written in black and white that all the higher officialdom of the administration was so much panicked by the stunning attack that they went underground till the fresh battalions of CRPF arrived and positioned themselves in the city. Every corrupt official waited with abated breath apprehending that Naxals might target him or her. Actually Naxals targeted particularly the HQ Armoury. When they attacked the SBI’s ATM counter and the district treasury, they did not touch the lockers, but picked the weapons in the persons of the guards on duty. This shows the commitment of the guerrillas to stick to the task.

According to government reports, weapons, ammunition, grenades valued at Rs. 50 crore were seized by the Naxalites of the People’s War. Among them there were 500 sophisticated weapons of different types (.303, LMG, SLR, Mortars, Stens, Revolvers, Pistols), along with more than 30,000 rounds of ammunition, number of Mortar shells and Grenades. Whatever be the exact number, the PGA has achieved its task for the time being. To carry all this huge quantity of arms and ammunition to the jungles the PGA guerrillas picked some vehicles of govts, health department and others.

To avoid any interception by the police, a meticulous plan was chalked out for their retreat according to news item appeared in the local media.. On their retreat the daredevil guerrillas attacked 3 police stations at Laxmipur, Narayanpatna and Kakiriguma and a Dy. Superintendent of Police’s office at Laxmipur. In order to pre-empt retaliation from these police stations, separate assault batches were deployed and they took control immediately after the temporary seizure of Koraput.

The five police stations, jail and the district HQ of the police are the centres and edifices for the loot of the people’s wealth and repression on Adivasies of this ancient land, where from colonial rulers to the current rulers rule with the symbol of khaki power. To avenge the centuries old draconian repression, the police buildings were exploded, their vehicles burnt and weapons seized by the peoples’ guerrillas to arm the people, who were in acute need of them to resist the repression of the state.

The three roads which lead to Koraput were also blockaded by other guerrilla units to challenge the central forces which could have been rushed from Rayagada, Vijayanagaram or from nearby IRB HQ, Kolab, where IRB and CRPF forces were stationed. The anticipation of the guerrillas proved correct. A truckload of CRPF and IRB forces were rushed from Kolab, which were ambushed at Dhadapadar village off Koraput at 11:30 PM. In retaliation 3 CRPF jawans died and half a dozen were injured. Altogether 4 jawans died and 10 were injured in the total operation and there were no losses from the side of the PGA. Finally the PGA guerrillas torched 7-8 vehicles at Balipeta on their retreat, apart from ½ a dozen police vehicles damaged by them at various spots.

Aftermath of the Attack

The shuddering dimension of the lightning attacks threw the entire state administration in to a state of helplessness. After hearing the news of the attacks state and central governments gradually tried to rush the extra forces. But they were stunned after hearing the news of attacks on 3 PSs and land mine blasts near Koraput. All these forestalled deployment of the forces at night. On the 7th morning the DGP N.C.Padli,, Home Secretary Santosh Kumar, Director of Intelligence Man Mohan Praharaj, IG (Intelligence) R.P. Singh dashed to Koraput and appealed to the Centre to send extra forces within hours to cordon off the forests to trace out the guerrillas and their seized weapons. A good number of para-military companies were rushed from different points of the para-military battalion HQs. Apart from this, the Eastern Naval Command which is based in Vishakapatnam was also pressed into service particularly its helicopters to coordinate the ground forces in the border region of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa spanning the districts of Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapathi and Ganjam of Orissa and East Godavary, Vishakapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh i.e. Eastern Ghats as a whole due to its topography.

Greyhounds of Andhra under air cover too were deployed in large numbers to track down the guerrillas. A Red alert was sounded in Andhra, Orissa and Chattisghar. Even the Jharkhand and West Bengal governments were alerted and asked to mobilise their forces in its borders with Orissa. The Koraput SP Arun Kumar Bothra and collector Usha Padhee and other officials and political leaders started to issue different statements, which never matched with the ground realities. For example, on 8th February the CM of Orissa Naveen Patnaik said he was prepared for talks; the DGP Padhi said that all police stations would be given more security cover to combat Naxalites. Koraput collector Usha Padhee suggested a compact package of welfare work in all Naxal influenced areas. Congress President J.B. Patnaik demanded president rule and another Congress leader Dilip Roy demanded Army deployment to check the Naxalite violence.

When these statements came pouring in, the regional press and news, the country-wide electronic and print media almost blacked out the news of such monumental dimensions and did not dare to put the details of the massive and stunning Naxalite campaigns where 13 targets were attacked simultaneously and some more daring ambushes were successfully laid. The stirring military campaign by the Maoists in India has boosted the morale of the oppressed masses of these areas. This unprecedented attack on the states armed HQ sent cheers to the revolutionary camp of India and the world. When one after another news item came pouring out from the battlefront the entire revolutionary camp acknowledged Koraput as a model to arm the people and to resist the offensive of the state and central governments.

Other guerrilla units in AOB and Dandakaranya, initiated counter attacks on some police stations throwing the concerned state government strategists into a tizzy. The guerrillas who planted some more mines on the way among which one mine was exploded on 13 February around noon. One IAS probationer, incharge of Narayanpatna Block was hit badly and 13 jawans of the CRPF and OSAP were too critically injured at Dandabati village near Narayanpatna. The Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), a provincial level committee of the CPI(ML)[PW] which is the leading committee of the AOB peoples’ movement owned responsibility in a press release and at the time of laying seize to the Koraput armed head quarters, loud speakers were used to openly thunder out threats to the armed forces, for surrender as well as to declare to the people the objective of the CPI(ML)[PW] and the need for such campaigns. Wall posters were scribbled out to educate and convince the masses to support their act. This massive campaign was never possible without the enthusiastic support of the masses of the population.

Why this Attack:

The Orissa government is a member state in the Joint Operational Command (JOC), which was formed a few years back under the leadership of the central Home Ministry, to curb Naxal activities in 12 states of India. In summer 2003 a joint operation led by para Military, OSAP and Greyhounds forces were conducted in Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagada districts. Hundreds of supporters and members of the revolutionary mass organisations were picked up and numberless false cases were filed against them. At the time of the operation some encounters took place. Due to the white terror let loose in a large scale some surrendered to the police. In Rayagada district the government pitted Dalits and other castes against the Adivasis and tried to capitalise on the contradictions among the masses. The State government stepped up repression in Malkangiri in a planned manner since the last two years. The state governments deliberately spread the news that the backbone of the Naxalite movement was broken in the joint combing operations of 2003. Actually the Andhra Pradesh government is also part and parcel in the operations from the very beginning to the end, because it also needed the repression campaigns to gain the upper hand against the movements of North Andhra. To concentrate its greyhound forces in the AOB region the AP state govt. sanctioned Rs. 100 crore to establish a Greyhounds HQ, on warpath at Vishakapatnam, to supervise and coordinate its North Andhra deployment.

In the AOB region the revolutionary movement is advancing by leaps and bounds in the midst of the severe state repression earlier by the AP state — which is still continuing in large scale — and later by the Orissa government. The CPI(ML)[PW] is spearheading the movement by mobilising the masses the in political, military fronts including the day to day partial struggles in which people were consolidated. In some selected pockets of the AOB zone the PW Party has been establishing guerrilla bases (GB) as part of the liberated zones. To build the GB or Liberated area the destruction of the enemy’s political power is a vital aspect. Already in large pockets feudal and tribal chiefs’ power has been smashed. The sate administration is defunct in these areas, especially where the revolutionary peoples’ committees were established. An alternative people’s political power in its embryonic form is formed and the political, military consciousness of the people keeps developing at a certain level. In the cooperation and participation by the masses in the Koraput attack such new-elevated consciousness is visible. This stupendous achievement is a befitting homage to the sacrifices of innumerable party cadres, guerrilla fighters including the vast masses. The JOC wants to curb this people’s power, by liquidating the Maoist vanguard party of the movement i.e. CPI(ML)[PW] by hook or by crook. So, all the democratic rights of the masses were curbed and a police raj established

So to counter the state violence and the role of the state armed forces the CPI(ML)[PW] is initiating tactical offensive on the military front. If the state offensive is unchecked militarily, peoples’ movements can never advance in history. To wield political power people need their own armed forces and the destruction of enemy power is imperative to achieve the goal. So, the Koraput campaign was led by the military commission of the CPI(ML)[PW].

Arming the Masses is the Historic Need:

Generally, all the Maoists accept the adages of Mao such as, "political power flows from the barrel of the gun", "without a peoples’ Army people have nothing", "arm the masses" etc. Apart from this, every Maoist party accepts that to lead the revolution for victory three magic weapons are needed. They are: 1. Party, 2. Army, 3. United Front. Accepting the theory is one thing, to put it in practice is another. But to judge any group/party one has to observe their theory and practice on these questions to decide which camp they belong.

In India after the setback of Naxalbari many ML groups accept Maoism in general but when it to transformed it into practice numerous webs of arguments will be woven from a safe distance. Some may express purely left jargon without any practice; some may stick on always to their forefathers’ right opportunistic line without any review of the past or concrete application of the three magic weapons. When the question of arming the masses comes onto the agenda the leadership of the so-called ML parties will start lectures and write piles of articles to prove the time is not mature enough for taking a plunge into the real life activities challenging the enemy. It cries hoarse that people are not prepared, arming the few advanced activists is sectarianism, MCCI-PW parties are adopting sectarian, anarchic polices which Mao never said, etc., etc.

To say frankly, the party, army and UF, the three components are inseparable and will influence one another and by wielding the army and UF, Party will be made to initiate the war and if once war is initiated all the fronts will be subordinate to the advancement of the war. So, one needs the army from the very beginning of the preparation. If the peasant-agricultural labour association is formed at the village level simultaneously the village defence squad is also to be formed to protect the village masses from the landlords their henchmen and police attacks. If the associations are formed at block, tahasil or district level then military formations above the VDS is needed at the same time. In the urban revolutionary mass movement also, open and underground defence squads are needed from the very beginning in the workers, student, youth, women, slum dwellers and other fronts to face onslaught of the reactionary forces. These defence corps will become part of the people’s militia. In the history of the revolutionary movement none will win the war purely with militias. To lead the militia and to smash the state’s regular forces, a well-trained and politically steeled people’s regular army is essential. So, the PGA/PLGA needs to be transformed into a full-fledged liberation army in the course of development of the guerrilla war.

Of course, the liberal bourgeois intellectuals and the leadership of right opportunistic and revisionist ML parties never accept this. However, they will start to condemn the Koraput campaign. The leadership of the CPI(ML)[Liberation] Orissa, already took this inglorious task on their shoulders, some more may join with them by writing ‘before and after Koraput’ type articles. Kanubabu type leaders may form another ‘genuine’ ML party to purge the evils of the history of ML formation or the ghost of armed uprising of the great Naxalbari.

War is after all the continuation of politics by other means. Political, economic, social and cultural relations are interlinked with the politics and policies of war. Feudalism, capitalism, imperialism, semi-colonial, semi-feudal, whatever the system may be, to fight and overthrow it people need to arm themselves. It is a historical generalisation of law of the transformation of societies. In India after the spring thunder the onerous need came upon us as an imminent factor to transform the Maoist principles of war into practice. No doubt there are a lot of changes took place if we compare today’s India with the old china. Basically all these transformations happened in the super-structure not in the base. So, imperialism has been more nakdly issuing threats to the world people. It is an old colonialist method and an alibi to unleash wars of aggression on the masses, which we can see in Afghanistan, Iraq, and earlier Vietnam etc. To put up resistance against the rule of reactionaries and their armed units people need arms. To advance the protracted people’s war by building the People’s Army is one of the fundamental conditions.

Glimpses of the PGA

2 December 2000 witnessed a historic day in the on going people’s war in India i.e. the formation of the people’s guerrilla army (PGA) as a separate military wing under the leadership of the CPI(ML)[PW]. For almost two decades of its agrarian struggle the people’s war party organised its armed units in different names. It resisted the enemy onslaught from Andhra to Bihar and in the course of development all the guerrilla units were organised as the PGA. It had three types of forces such as the main, secondary and base forces. The Main forces were developed for mainly combatant task, secondary forces mainly for organisational task (along with combatant as secondary task) and in the base force village defence squads and other militia units were organised.

To lead the PGA, the PW party also formed separate command structures to specialise in the military front. The PGA units are spread across the country in 10 states and their experience and combatant skills are also developing. Whenever the PGA strikes on major targets – civilian or military – in and around the guerrilla zones, always it impacted the political and military scenario of the particular state or at the country level. Say for example: Last October; it punished the World Bank and imperialist pet dog Andhra Pradesh CM, Chandrababu Naidu, creating repercussion not only in AP but also in the entire country and the world, even though he survived. Enquiry commissions were formed and the security to all the ‘VVIP, VIPs’ was beefed-up in India.

When the PGA units ambush or raided state and central armed forces a major reshuffling and rearrangement of police camps, personnel and police stations were excuted. Special forces were formed, special welfare projects were announced. Modernisation of forces is continuously taking place in all the states under the strong influence of Naxalism. Till now thousands of crores of rupees was spent to crush the PGA units, which were engaged in a revolutionary war to check state violence and to push back enemy contingents falling on guerrilla bases and guerrilla units.

Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Madhyapradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttarpradesh and West Bengal state armed forces and para-military forces were attacked by PGA and PLGA many times in the past 3 years. Targets were selected by assessing their role against the mass movements. In 2001-2003 roughly more than 250 targets were attacked by the PGA forces, which checked the advancement of the government forces. Today the PGA is a dedicated, well disciplined, courageous daring force to checkmate enemy brutality on the oppressed masses. Tele-communication net-work, rail-roads, government buildings which house for armed forces of states and central armed forces naturally become the targets of the PGA on various occasions. All these targets are generally military targets and the destruction of these targets is justified. The struggles send warning message, particularly whenever, brave resistance is put up by the PGA/PLGA forces. It also carries a clear political message like big campaigns among the country people, where earlier they did not hear about Naxalism. There too politics of war i.e. armed agrarian revolutionary politics creates an electrifying impact.

Today in the battlefield when the main force, which may be in platoon formation or in higher forms, enters an area, there enemy Special Forces stop their movements. From the district HQ, massages will flash in VHF walkie-talkies that the PGA platoons entering in the area may strike somewhere, do not move from the barracks. Police bosses will spend sleepless nights in the area.

Action teams (a small specialised units of the main forces) are much more daredevil units, and the officials and reactionaries get nervous if they hear an AT is moving in the areas. SMS will be passed on over all the mobile phones from the SP office, regarding the AT and precautions taken for saving the supposed targeted persons or installation.

A good number of villages will inform the party committees and military commands to keep the main forces in their area, which will protect them form the attacks and the cruelty which the para-military and state special forces will unleash.

Gram Rakhsa Dal’, ‘Area Rakhrsa Dal’ and other formations belong to the base force as per the categorisation decided by of party. These units will work always with the main, secondary forces and keep an eye on the reactionaries and government forces. They will strike at the enemy if it is possible, or the message of enemy contingents moving to the main or secondary forces be sent out. Immediately opportunity of ambushes or other form of attacks will be planed. Now the slogan of the PGA is, "Don’t leave the enemy forces unhurt, once it enters in our area".

Enormous Effect of the Koraput Campaign on the Political Scenario of the Country

The political and military message of the Koraput Campaign has already spread and to the four corners of the country. In the annals of the undivided communist party and in today’s revolutionary history if the first time that such a major action has taken place. Since last October to the end of this February almost for five months the CPI(ML)[PW] and MCCI are in the daily news. The news has come up not only on the military strike power of these two Maoist parties but also the possible merger of there two parties into a single party. All this spreads like wildfire in the country. All such pieces of news themselves create a big political campaign among the vast majority of masses of India and abroad, which gave confidence to them to fight and resist firmly the three big mountains i.e. imperialism-comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and feudalism. And the hearts of the ruling classes shrink like a earthquake jolt on them.

In the last, quarter of 2003 the Home minister and BJP ‘lohapursh’ iron man Advani started a hulaballoh about left extremism as the main danger for the country’s security (read danger for the rule of three big mountains). Social fascist Buddha and Anil babu started whining that in comparison to the N-E rebels and the KLO the PW-MCCI combine appear to be more dangerous because they have their ideology. Yes, it is true the PW-MCCI forces have a strong ideological base i.e. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, which is etching history.

Ideology is, after all, the basis of any truely revolutionary communist party which acts as the guide to all political and military activities. The ruling classes and also some bankrupt ‘left’ groups/parties, try and poutray this as "mindless violence". These apologists of the status quo fear real revolutionary struggle more than anything else. But the freedom of our country is unthinkable without it.

Fearing the impact of such a major action the big-business/political media sought a complete blackout of this action. Though it was the biggest such action since the Chittagong Armoury raid in 1930, the news was virtually ignored by the "free Press". But truth cannot be suppressed for ever. It has already begun to filter through to the entire country and world, to enspire an entire generation to action.

Today, after the action, all the district HQ have been beefed up with additional security cover. Para-military forces have been deployed in the four southern districts of Orissa and another four districts have also been provided such forces. Seperate intelligence units under the IG level have been sanctioned. Another Indian Reserve Battalion is being sent. After the elections a major offensive is planned. But all this will come to nought due to the growing tide of the revolutionary in the region. It is time for all democrats to welcome this new awakening for a new future of the country and its oppressed masses. Let us all welcome the new dawn.




Home  |  Current Issue  |  Archives  |  Revolutionary Publications  |  Links  |  Subscription