Maoists consolidating control, says CPI (Maoist) leader

More than a year after the intensification of military operations directed against the Communist Party of India (Maoist), its general secretary Muppalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy says his party had consolidated control over areas under their influence, raided hundreds of weapons and ammunition rounds from State armouries and developed West Bengal's Lalgarh and Orissa's Narayanpatnam into emergent “guerilla zones”.

Ganapathy made these comments in a statement emailed to this correspondent. The statement was composed in question-and-answer format. Conceding that the loss of top Maoist leaders like Central Committee spokesperson Azad had caused a “very big hindrance…in achieving our goals” and had had a “grave impact on the Indian revolution,” Ganapathy nonetheless insisted that the party was “still attracting educated cadres [that] would be able to fill the void created by Azad by training.” Azad was killed in a controversial police firing on July 2 this year in Adilabad, Andhra Pradesh.

Ganapathy also addressed two important questions regarding CPI (Maoist) sources of funds and weapons.

Dismissing press reports that the Maoists were sourcing weapons from China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, Ganapathy said, “Our weapons are mainly country-made. All the modern weapons we have are mainly seized from the government armed forces when we attack them.” Photographs emailed to this correspondent document the array of 2-inch mortars, Kalashnikovs, INSAS and self-loading rifles captured when the Maoists killed more than 100 CRPF personnel in two separate raids in Chhattisgarh in April and June this year.

Ganapathy denied allegations that the Maoists had been extorting money from the mining industry and corporations, but admitted that the party extracts levies from local businesses.

He said that Maoists were fighting hard to keep mining companies out of areas under Maoist control and that the party “mainly collects donations from the people and funds from the traders in our guerrilla zones... [We] also collect rational levy from contractors who take up various works in our areas.”

Srinivasa Reddy writes from Hyderabad:

Maoists have conceded that they were unable to strengthen the revolutionary movement in urban areas for a variety of reasons and that the current focus of Maoist leadership was on consolidating the movement among the peasantry and later extend it to urban areas.

That the Maoist ideologues are not straying away from the strategy of area-wise seizure of power was evident from a lengthy interview of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) General-Secretary Muppalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy, transcripts of which were sent to the media on Tuesday.

The Maoist chief sought to rebut criticism that the movement was getting confined only to remote forest areas and adivasis and that it was not able to recruit youth from urban areas and universities. He reasoned that while the revolutionary movement grew stronger in plain and remote areas, it had weakened in some plains and urban areas. However, it was not as if the Maoist movement had been completely eliminated from urban areas.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who demanded a judicial probe into Azad's killing, had done so to reflect popular sentiment. However, such a demand was made in the backdrop of the elections to be fought in West Bengal. The Maoist leader said he did not expect Ms. Banerjee to seize the land of landlords or industrialists if she came to power. Refuting reports that his party had ‘relations' with the Trinamool, the Maoist leader said people were supporting her because they were more worried about the ‘tiger which is in front of them.' The Trinamool was like a bear on the backside, and once the tiger is driven away, people would have to get ready for a ‘bear hug.' “Our party would caution people about this. We would ask them to chase away the bear too in the future.”

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