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The Communal Face of Indian Maoists

"The Maoist organisation of Orissa, and India as well, is taking a communal face under its self-claimed secular turban which would have far reaching impact on CPI (Maoist) Party and communal harmony in India. The act of killing Swami Lakshamanananda would make the radical cadre party loose its support base in the Hindu and tribal populated regions."

Basudev Mahapatra : October 15, 2008

The claim by the Maoist leadership of Orissa of killing swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati may not have helped stopping violence in Kandhamal district of Orissa, but has definitely given the Maoists a communal face behind their secular and socialist turban.
Even though a letter claiming that the Maoists had a hand behind the incident was found at the site of killing the Swami and his associates, neither the police nor the local public including the tribal community went by it. And some posters denying any link of the Maoists in the brutal murder came as approval to the public perception.

But the an engineered statement made before few media representatives by Ghumushar division Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda repeatedly claimed that killing Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati was a Maoist party agenda and, thus, Maoist cadres killed the Swami and his associates.

The reasons to justify the killing were Swami Lakshamanananda’s involvement in re-conversion drive pursued in the interests of Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which the Maoists consider as exploitation of the tribals and the dalits, as placed by the red radical Sabyasachi Panda before the media professionals. The reasons seemed quite vague and irrelevant to most of the audience who were watching the most wanted cadre speaking to the camera.

Going back to the caste aspect, Swamiji himself was a dalit by caste. A post graduate of his times, Swamiji was considered as a godly person by the tribals of Kandhamal. Swamiji was running schools, medicals, and various other utility centres apart from an ashram in the forests of Kandhamal. In fact, Swamiji was working for the welfare of the tribals who are economically and socially much backward than the major dalit caste members of the district. And, the Maoists do not have any such agenda to kill people who believe in a particular religion as each and everyone of India do believe in a particular religion. The Maoists can’t force the people to be non-religious.

The other reason, as cited by the Maoist leader, is religious conversion. If the fact of conversion is properly analysed, not only in Kandhamal but in most backward places of the country, India has always fallen victim to the act of religious conversion pursued by outside forces. Be it Islam religion or Christianity, majority of the sect population in the country are converted under fear, pressure or allurement. It was due to the apathetic attitude of few fanatic Islamic rulers that many Indians opted to move into the fold of Islamic religion. And, conversion into Christianity through allurement and services has been pursued in the country since European trading communities made India a centre of their commercial activities.

During the British rule, churches were into conversion activities in the name of services, social change and development. After the British left the country, now the churches headed by native Christians are continuing the same through allurement and services.

Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda also cited that tribals and dalits now living in Kandhamal were pushed into the forests by the Aryans – something that has never been supported by any authentic research. And, as history says, the SCs, whom Maoists call dalits, are people who migrated from the northern and coastal plains of the state long away from Kandhamal. This fact has been placed by British historians who first visited the district in nineteenth century. As per history, the SCs – Pana by caste – are the first business community of the whole agency area who were into Meriah (the human being slaughtered by the tribals to satisfy the mother earth – a practice of the Kandh tribal that came to notice after British officials visited the hilly tract to curb the Tribal rebellion) brokering and business.

The other side of the caste fight story in Kandhamal suggests that the SCs – claimed by the Maoists to be dalits – have played the role of exploiters since centuries, claim the tribal communities of the district. And, in many instances, the facts of grabbing tribal land through illegal means and exploiting tribals have been confirmed.

The tribal communities of the district have been neglected by the administration and exploited by the other largest community in its own land. This is the reason why the tribals are aggressive to the SCs most of whom are Christians by practice. This is the reason why the local tribal communities considered Swami as savour ideological role model.

The tribals of Kandhamal were also very much supportive to the Maoists whom they believed to be the protectors of their rights over the land. But, ironically here in Kandhamal, the radical left organisation is on the side of the affluent community which has been allegedly exploiting the poor tribal communities.

During the violent rampage of December 2007 also, Maoist cadres involved themselves in the riot and fired at Police in Daringbadi. Then also the cadres were with the Christian community. The incident shocked everyone as it was the first such incident where the Maoist cadres joined violence in support of a particular religious community.

Such involvment of Maoists raise lots of questions doubting the role of Church and Church affiliated NGOs operating in Maoist controlled areas. Conflict Analysts believe that Maoists are going by the desire of Church and Christian community because the Maoists are provided with a major chunk of money and an international lobby in the name of dalit right activism by various Christian controlled organsations like Human Rights Watch. The money is channeled through various church and church linked NGOs operatng in remote backward districts of India.

Arrest of three killers and further Police investigation regarding the killing of Sami Lakshmanananda Saraswati brought more shocking facts to public. The initially arrested members are all Christian Maoists and the man Ajad who led the group of killers is also said to be a Christian by religion. It is believed that the group of Christian Maoists planned to kill Swami, executed the plan and then pressurised Sabyasachi Panda to claim the killing as an act as per the CPI (Maoist) Party Agenda.

Whatever the case would be, these facts clearly indicate that the Maoist organisation of Orissa, and India as well, is taking a communal face under its self-claimed secular turban which would have far reaching impact on CPI (Maoist) Party and communal harmony in India. The radical cadre party would loose its support base in the Hindu and tribal populated regions.

It seems that the Maoist cadres are no more committed to the socialist ideology of Mao that was meant to protect the rights of peasants and oppressed class of the society. The ideology based movement started in Naxalwari has now become an armed movement to threat the democratic system and terrorise people. The fresh new communal face of the cadres, as seen in Kandhamal of Orissa, would work as a strong element to fragment the party on the basis of caste and religion. Definitely a point to allure the government of India and the Maoist inflicted states.

However, this new face of Maoist cadres is posing threats of serious communal disharmony in the districts where Maoists are operating. So the governments in the states and centre should take it very seriously and find out the reasons that make the Maoists take a communal face and initiate communal violence and disharmony in the peaceful tribal dominated districts. Otherwise, the communal face of the radical left organisation would lead to the creation of few more radical rightist groups in the places of their operation. In such a case the nation would be straight dragged towards an armed clash between left and right groups against the will of people and the nation.

 

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