Maoists say journalist killing was a mistake

In what could be described as a volte-face, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has now condemned the killing of Sai Reddy, eminent journalist of south Chhattisgarh, who it earlier said was murdered by party cadres on December 6, 2013, for “closely working” with the police to dislodge the party in south Bastar.

In a new press statement issued in question-answer format on Sunday, Abhay, spokesperson of the central committee, the highest decision-making body of the outlawed party, said a certain decision regarding Sai Reddy was “not passed” to the lower ranks properly, and the resulting misunderstanding between the cadres and the leadership led to the killing.

In a four-page statement last December, Ganesh Wike, secretary of the south regional committee of the Maoists in south Chhattisgarh, said Sai Reddy “played an active role against the people’s movement” and so he was killed.

In the latest statement, Abhay said the party had decided to kill him long ago because of his “anti-people” and “anti-movement” activities. However, since his arrest in 2008 under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act “on a false accusation” [that Mr. Reddy was a Maoist sympathiser], the party policy changed.

“…with his arrest his image turned into one who opposed the government. In this backdrop, the South Bastar divisional committee stalled the decision to punish him. However, this decision was not passed on to the lower ranks properly. As a result, this [killing of Reddy] happened. The DKSZC [Dandakarnya special zonal committee] reviewed that the SRC [southern regional committee] should have responded without delay in the Nemichand Jain [a journalist killed earlier in 2013] incident and that the SRC defending the killing of Sai Reddy is not correct,” he said. This is the second incident in which the party’s highest body is overturning the initial statement of mid-level leaders like the former spokesperson (now surrendered) Gudsa Usendi, alias G.V.K. Prasad, and Ganesh Wike. Last October, only six weeks before the Assembly election, the party issued a rare apology for killing the State Congress president of Chhattisgarh Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh. The apology, saying the killings were “a big mistake,” was issued by the secretary of the Chhattisgarh State committee, Ramanna, alias Ravulu Sriniwas. Now the party overturned Wike’s statement and condemned the killing of Sai Reddy, one of the finest journalists of south Chhattisgarh.

Besides condemning the killing of Sai Reddy and Nemichand Jain, the party criticised its cadres for planting improvised explosive devices on the body of a CRPF jawan in Latehar district in Jharkhand in 2013.

“When the State forces use their superior strength to inflict serious damage to the revolutionary movement, the people and the people’s guerillas are forced to function under intense conditions. In this course, due to lack of experience and knowledge about the norms, rules and regulations regarding war/s that are prevalent in the world, our people and our fighters are taking up some actions which are not acceptable even to our supporters. On the other hand, such mistakes are not only being used by the State to intensify its psychological war but also by its apologists to attack the Maoist movement as a whole,” Abhay said in his 19-page statement.

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