30 years of Naxalbari

An Epic of Heroic Struggle and Sacrifice



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 PART — 7


In 1990, due to the contradictions within the ruling classes, and because of the growing pressure of the peoples’ movement, the new Congress government in AP eased the repression for a while. So, during this brief period, which did not extend even to a full year, some open mass activity and mass meetings were allowed.

Whatever, in this brief period the party acted quickly to consolidate its mass base and also use the opportunity for a massive mobilisation of the people. The party concentrated on building the party leadership at the village level, by imparting training (political and military) to the village defense squads and village militants.

This time the big sweep in the land occupation movements was for the occupation of landlords (patta) land. Thousands of acres of land were occupied in AP and Dandakaranya. Also lakhs of people were mobilised on peasant issues like power cuts, writing off loans, remunerative prices for agricultural produce, reduction in rates of water cess, etc. The struggle against arrack contractors now became a struggle for the imposition of a total ban on the sale of liquor. The strike activity of the Singareni coal miners also reached a feverish pitch culminating in the September 1990 strike on workers’ varied demands. The strike involved 80, 000 workers and continued for 42 days until the major demands were won.

On the other hand, mobilisation of the masses in rallies, conferences, public meetings had reached a crescendo, disproving the lie that the People’s War Party was a terrorist group, with no mass base. This propaganda was widely disseminated not only by the government, but also by some revolutionary groups, and some who had deserted the party. In times of acute repression the legal mobilisation of masses in meetings etc., is not always possible. Without a mass base and a mass line no guerilla war can survive for long. Yet, when the repression was partially lifted by the new Chenna Reddy government, the masses rallied as never before in a display of affection for the party and as a symbol of condemnation against the inhuman attacks of the past five years.

The first meeting held was that of the RWA in January 1990 at Hyderabad which drew one lakh people; 2 lakh people attended the 18th anniversary celebration of the JNM on February 20 at Hyderabad; the April 20 Indravelli memorial meeting was attended by over one lakh people; the 22nd April meeting at Bellampalli was also attended by one lakh people; the meeting at Mandamarri by 50, 000. All these meetings finally culminated with the 3rd Conference of the Rytu Coolie Sangam on May 5/6 at Warangal with a rally the size of which has never been seen in the history of AP. The Conference was attended by 700 delegates and the public meeting and rally by over 10 lakhs (i.e. one million) people.

Seeing the massive upsurge in the revolutionary movement the government was shaken, besides it had no need to continue with its demagogy as it had already come to power. By May 1990 itself the repression was stepped up; and in the May-December period alone ten thousand people had been arrested and six thousand implicated in false cases. Villages were again being raided and people being indiscriminately beaten and tortured. To terrorise the masses, they began shooting down sangam leaders in front of the people. By December 1990 all open activity throughout the state was being ruthlessly suppressed and once again, repression on an even higher scale than 1985, was unleashed.



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