Volume 6, No. 1, January 2005


Back to Square One: Reenactment of Fascist Raj in AP



Events in AP had turned out exactly in the manner predicted by us in these pages in the last issue of People’s March— that the YSR government is reluctant to hold the second round of talks after seeing the massive response of the masses to the Maoists when they came out of their forest base for the first round of talks in October last. The December 6 statement by the Home Minister Jana Reddy at a media conference in Hyderabad, placed the official thinking of the government amply clear with regard to future talks.

It was the first time that the Home Minister had come out with the admission that the atmosphere in the state was not conducive for holding the second round of Talks with the Naxalites and that one has to wait until the situation improved. The Chief Minister had been saying ever since the end of the first round of talks, that is, for over a month-and-a-half, that there was no place for violence in a "democracy", that the government will not allow the Naxalites to move with arms in the villages, that police will adopt the necessary legal measures if the Naxalites distribute the lands or take law into their own hands to solve people’s problems, and that the second round of talks would take place only if the Naxalites agreed to discuss the laying down of arms as the principal agenda, and so on. He fretted why an elected government should exist if armed Naxalites try to solve the people’s problems on their own.

Addressing the district collectors’ conference on December 3, the Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, spelt out a new policy with regard to the ongoing talks. He stated that talks or dialogue was a political process while taking effective measures to maintain Law & Order was the duty of the police, that is, the two are unrelated! In his new lexicon, cease-fire has no meaning and talks are supposed to continue even if the police machinery continues its offensive or preemptive operations with the aim of maintaining Law & Order!! Thus he made the government’s official policy clear that the old fascist rule will go on if the Naxalites do not give up arms. The same old policy of the ousted Chandrababu Naidu will now be in place, no matter what the promises made to the people of the state were during the recent elections, and what the people opine. YSR even hinted that the mediators need not be present in the next round of talks. This was because they had been pressurizing the government to implement the demands placed by the Naxalites during the first round and also to hold further talks without any conditions.

Among the reasons cited by the Home Minister for coming to the conclusion that the next round may not take place until a conducive atmosphere is created were: extortion of huge amounts of money by the Naxalites, roaming freely with arms in the villages and intimidating people by use of force, laying landmines, holding people’s courts, occupying lands, and so on.

Back to Square One:

Thus just three months after the first massive meeting organized by the then CPI(ML)[PW] at Mogilicharla in Warangal on the occasion of the July 28 Martyrs’ Day, which showed that the new Congress government had to bow to people’s wishes and bring some democratic space in the state by lifting the 12-year-old ban on the PW, the YSR government has once again begun to tread along the beaten track: throttle the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and assembly, and resort to police measures to suppress the revolutionary movement. Though the notorious Greyhounds and the SIB goons have not yet begun their professional job of tortures and killings of the revolutionaries in the name of fake encounters, things seem to be gradually moving in that direction.

While the recent firings in Mahboobnagar, Rudrangi in Karimnagar and Machapur in Warangal, creation of the fake organization called Adivasi Liberation Tigers by the Warangal police and enacting the drama of proposing the handing over of covert agent Laxman to the CPI(Maoist) district secretary Yadanna and the agent’s supposed escape subsequently from the ALT to fall into the police hands, and such other incidents show the changes occurring fast at the ground level, the statements of Chief Minister YSR, Home Minister Jana Reddy and the top police brass ever since the conclusion of the first round of Talks, show clear change in the policy of the Congress government in the state. And the obstruction of the peaceful rally in Delhi and the ban on the Patna rally organized on the occasion of the formation of the new party—CPI(Maoist)—shows the policy changes are taking place with the clear direction of the central government.

Arrests, filing of false cases, deploying covert agents into the revolutionary organizations with the purpose of eliminating the Party leaders, building the informer base in the rural areas, refusing permission to hold meetings and stopping the people from attending the meetings and rallies even when permission was given to hold them, demolishing the martyr columns erected by the masses in memory of their beloved leaders—all these have now become commonplace under the YSR raj. In spite of its claims to be different from the predecessor fascist raj of Chandrababu Naidu and its treatment of the issue of Naxalism as a socio-politico-economic one rather than a law & order issue, the YSR government has begun to traverse the same old path and is looking at the issue of Naxalism as a Law & Order issue.

Why has the YSR government begun to clamp down on the democratic rights to hold peaceful rallies and meetings within less than six months after it had come to power and three months after the first public meeting was organized by the PW?

The real reasons for the turn-about in government policy:

The fact is that the very massive turn-outs at the meetings from Mogilicharla on 28th July to Guthikonda Bilam on 11th October, had unnerved the rulers who had always been saying that the Naxalites had no mass base and the police bosses continuously claim that the Naxalites are finished. The Congress government, representing the comprador big bourgeois-big landlord classes and totally subservient to the imperialists, would not have ventured into talks with the Naxalites, even setting aside the strong objections from a powerful section of the police bosses, had it not been for the political compulsions arising out of the promises made by the Congress party ever since 2002, particularly during Election 2004, that raised the expectations of the people for the restoration of the democratic rights that had been completely trampled upon by the TDP regime of Chandrababu Naidu.

The then CPI(ML)[PW] came to the political assessment in May 2002 that there was no other option before the new government in AP but to declare cessation of hostilities for a few months and to hold talks. Though it knew that nothing tangible would come out of talks, it would certainly provide an opportunity to the Party to take the revolutionary politics to the masses and to strengthen the mass base in the rural as well as urban areas to a considerable extent. Thus the state Party leadership in AP under the guidance of the CC, prepared itself for the political battle that had to be waged through the medium of talks. And indeed the entire talks process did provide a good opportunity to the widespread dissemination of the Party’s programme and policies on various issues faced by the country.

But to the ruling classes it became a nightmare. The overwhelming response of the masses all over the state to the calls of the PW, the massive show of strength in at least a score or so meetings held in just three months, the construction of over 250 stupams (martyrs’ columns) in the state and the mass involvement for the construction, the extension of the activities of the revolutionaries to newer areas, fear of increasing recruitment, growing political prestige and organizational strength of the CPI(Maoist), the credibility acquired by the CPI(Maoist) as the only real alternative before the masses today—all these had made the ruling classes to sit up and rethink about the whole idea of going to further rounds of talks. In fact, if one sees the fretting and fuming of YSR, one is reminded of the proverbial prince and the dragon story when the talks actually began. His heart failed in the very first round and has been seeking to cancel further rounds by placing impossible conditions on the Naxalites.

If left unchecked, the growing tide of mass mobilizations may well become a mighty tornado endangering the very policies on which the survival of the ruling classes depends. As it is, the media had declared that the only opposition to the ruling party in the state is the PW and that the TDP and BJP have actually become nominal. The only party with a significant mass base, cadre strength and credibility among the people at large, is the CPI(Maoist). Unless it is suppressed, it is not possible to suppress the militant mass struggles that are beginning to rise.

All ruling parties till date had only thought of bloody suppression of the revolutionary movement and all people’s movements. Banning the party and mass organizations, curbs on all open activity, eliminating the revolutionaries in fake encounters, are all resorted to in order to deprive the people of genuine leadership and allow the filthy parliamentary politics to rule the roost. The present government has no alternative than implementing the same old methods. Its refusal for permission to the meetings such as the one on November 16th to declare the formation of the new Party—CPI(Maoist), is a prelude to the impending state terror.

The very next day after the completion of the first round of talks, the Chief Minister of AP advanced his new line of argument intended to scuttle the future talks. The next round of talks would take place only if the issue of laying down arms is discussed as the principal agenda, so ran his argument. The state cabinet, which met on October 30, ratified the proposal of the Chief Minister and several cabinet ministers appealed to the Naxalites to lay down arms and to "join the mainstream". They reiterated Chandrababu Naidu’s jargon ad nauseum, fumed that the Naxalites were taking the law into their own hands by occupying the lands and distributing to the rural poor that is, taking over the duties of the government, and a few warned that the law would take its course if the Naxalites tried to seize the land illegally. They appealed to the Naxalites to stop planting the red flags in the lands and that the government would distribute the surplus lands after identifying these through the land commission which would be set up soon. The argument is so worn-out, disgusting, that immediately several organizations and individuals began condemning this attitude. The mediators too declared that it was an unwarranted move and asked the government to retract from the new position. They said that people’s issues should be the main agenda in the next round of talks.

The PW-JS replied immediately stating that they were not averse to go for the next round of talks if the people’s issues formed the agenda. They warned YSR not to indulge in cheap gimmicks and to implement the demands placed by the Naxalites in the first round of talks. They also stated that the land rightfully belonged to the people and it was just to seize the land and distribute it to the poor. They gave two months time to the government to distribute the surplus land after which people would themselves resume the confiscation of the land even if it means waging a bitter battle with the police forces. They reaffirmed that "Land to the Tiller" is linked to the question of political power and that it is only through armed struggle that "Land to the tiller and power to the people" can be achieved. However, they demanded that the government should at least distribute the surplus land declared by its own tribunals over the decades.

The purpose with which the YSR government had cunningly brought the arms issue into the agenda of the second round of talks is to scuttle the talks without overtly saying so. By asking for the impossible, it was clear that the Naxalites would refuse to sit for the talks and thus the government could absolve itself of any blame for the failure of the talks. Clearly, the YSR government wants to wash off its hands by placing the blame on the Naxalites.

Simultaneously, the government has been trying to restrict the meetings, and where they are allowed, the police are ensuring that the trucks and other vehicles are kept out of the reach of the Naxalites. For the November 16th meeting in Hyderabad, for instance, in almost all the districts the lorry owners were threatened that they would face dire consequences if they hired out their vehicles to the Naxalites for transporting people to the meetings. The police asked the owners to deposit their lorries at the police stations one day before the meeting. And, in spite of all these steps, if there were any vehicles going to Hyderabad on that day, they were stopped on the way, all the passengers were asked to get down and the vehicles were seized. Hundreds of such vehicles were seized on the 15th and 16th of November throughout the state by the police.

The fear of the government is that if the situation is allowed to develop unchecked, the masses would openly rally under the banner of the Maoists for every problem of theirs and the government and all the parliamentary parties would become irrelevant. Already, people are coming forward to openly associate with the Maoists having lost all the fear that the rulers through the police thugs had induced since so long. The crisis in the state and the Congress government is also growing rapidly. It is impossible for the government to fulfill the demands placed by the Naxalites during the first round of talks even though these are within the limits of the Constitution. After a month of dithering, the YSR govt announced amidst much fanfare that it would distribute one lakh acres of land to the poor, 50 per cent of this to the dalits on January 26th. While the demand of the Nxalites was to distribute from the minimum estimate of 84 lakh acres to one crore and twenty lakh acres. Thus what the govt wants to give is only less than one per cent of that demanded by the Naxalites. That too the bulk of this land has already been shown to be uncultivable and large investments are put in. Moreover, the urban lands encroached by the bigwigs will not be touched by this govt. It is this reluctance of the big comprador bourgeois-big landlord government under the dictates of the imperialists, that is behind the reluctance to go for future talks and to come down with a heavy hand.

Other problems too are plaguing the Congress government such as the separate Telangana issue, controversy over almost all the irrigation projects that are announced with fanfare and some are rejected by the Courts, the difficulty in getting the 46,000 crores of rupees for the projects and the consequent mass protests that are likely to develop very soon, the people’s aspirations for land which the govt cannot fulfil, and so on.

The popularity of the Naxalites is growing with the several issues they had been talking up and distribution of vast amounts of land (details of these struggles will be given in the next issue).

"Make Trouble, Fail, Make Trouble again, Fail again,…..until their ultimate doom"—such is the course taken by the reactionaries the world over, as correctly pointed out by comrade Mao.

YSR is pursuing the same course. After making promises during the elections to restore democratic rights and hold unconditional talks with the Naxalites, the Congress government led by YSR began to dilly-dally by pushing Clause 7 as a condition for holding talks. But when it faced a tide of opposition to this unreasonable, illogical and absurd condition, it had to turn tail. It was compelled by public pressure to conduct the first round of talks without conditions. Now the YSR government is making trouble once again for holding the second round of talks. And this time around, it has placed even more ridiculous conditions, that ‘laying down arms’ (and not just the 7th Clause!) should be the principal agenda during the talks. By insisting upon such an impossible and virtually non-negotiable point for the talks, the YSR government had gone deeper into the morass.

The Failed Police Plots

The Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) and the police bosses of certain districts in AP, who had become notoriously lawless under Chandrababu Naidu’s fascist regime, have been feeling restless ever since the government had declared a three-month cease-fire on June 16 and extended it by another three months from September 16th. In fact, even before the declaration of the first cease-fire, the Warangal police chief, Srinivasa Reddy, who not infrequently appears on the press fretting and fuming against the Naxalites and openly threatening that the law would take its own course (read the lawlessness of fake encounters for which the Warangal police are especially notorious as seen in the Padmakshamma Hills encoumter under the murderer former SP, Nalini Prabhath) to deal with the misdeeds of the Naxalites, staged the Voddugudem incident. Laxman, a squad member, was converted into a covert agent and was instructed to kill Yadanna, the secretary of the district committee of the then CPI(ML)[People’s War], by one Tirupathi, the Circle Inspector of police of Govindarao Pet, on June 11, 2004.

The scab, Laxman, shot at Yadanna and other squad members at the dead of the night, and escaped with cash and arms to the protective arms of the police who were waiting nearby. Two squad members died while comrade Yadanna was injured. The police had tried in vain to vitiate the atmosphere by staging the Voddugudem incident, but it had failed to bring back the brutal days of the TDP regime. The democratic organizations and individuals condemned the police misdeed and an enquiry was conducted.

The police, however, continued their intrigues and schemes. They attacked a meeting of the Pratighatana group of Naxalites who were settling a dispute with another group of naxalites of the CP(USI). In the exchange of fire one armed reserve constable, the gunman of the CI Tirupathi, died. It was alleged by the relatives of the constable that he died due to the CI’s carelessness. The Warangal police staged a big demonstration demanding the dismissal of the CI and action against him. It was said that the CI had gone for the operation against the Naxalites in the Kamalapur Rayon factory in the expectation of getting a huge amount of money. Unable to calm down the protesting policemen and their families, the government announced the transfer of the corrupt CI, compensation of ten lakhs of rupees to the dead constable, and a job for the son of the constable. Then the police chief became even more mad and in the last week of November, he floated a new organization and named it the Adivasi Liberation Tigers which was supposed to fight for the rights of the adivasis. This fake organization issued a statement in November stating that the covert agent Laxman was in its custody and it was ready to hand him over to the district secretary of the PW, Yadanna. It shed crocodile tears for the unfortunate incident that took place in Voddugudem and said that it wanted to help the PW to take revenge for the incident by handing over Laxman so that Yadanna could kill him. Knowing clearly that this was a police plot, Yadanna issued a statement exposing the drama and asserted that the ALT was a police offspring and asked the fake organization to kill Laxman if it really had concern for justice. And in less than 24 hours, as expected, the ALT declared that the covert had escaped from their hands and was arrested by the police. The police too produced Laxman before the media with the shameless liar, Srinivasa Reddy, explaining that the police found the covert agent lying with injuries in Mulugu forests.




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