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Killing 22 'Maoists' : First Triumphalist Bluster --Then Lies -- Then Denial

By Trevor Selvam

30 June, 2012

The standard modus operandi of the mainstream Indian media and the spokespersons of the para-military Police Forces has now become quite predictable. They have developed a programmatic approach when describing their operations in Maoist stronghold areas. The Indian Police chiefs and Administrators (no matter how many Masters degrees their IPS and IAS officers have recently been touted to have gathered in “governance and development”) come out lying in Technicolor, banners waving, whistles blowing when the first reports start coming out about anti-Maoist operations.

The mainstream press led by The Indian Express, Business Standard, Hindustan Standard, sometimes the Times of India and their syndicated news sources including the web-based outfits like DNA and Zeenews start out by mimicking the same news headlines over and over again in the first 48 hours and creating a nice frothing environment for Naxalite bloodletting. Next they go on to editorializing and literally go berserk extolling the “morale boosting”, “spirit uplifting”, “hunt down and elimination of the Maoists.” These were the actual expressions used when describing this week’s incidents in Chattisgarh. Within hours of the CRPF and Cobra Commandos attacking a village meeting in a Maoist stronghold area, the news reports were flashed—“22 Maoists Killed, Major Success! Maoist “base” wiped out etc.”

Within the next 12 hours, the complexion changed somewhat, with the press reporting that 16 Maoists and 6 police officers are killed. As the day wore on the news changed again, stating that two officers are dead and six are injured and there maybe some villagers who are also dead. One whole day later, reports started filtering in, that 11 year old children and 16 year old girls were among those shot dead. Then the Local Congress Party decides that there is something totally fishy about the reports and decide to carry on an investigation themselves. The Hindu reports there are doubts about the exact nature of the campaign carried out by the brave Cobra commandos. There are reports now emerging that majority of those killed were villagers attending a meeting. One local Police honcho wants the world to believe in his lies by insisting that they have recovered the body of a “hardcore” Maoist, whose name they also release. And further on states that he was main organizer of the ambush carried out by the Maoists in the same area on April 6, 2010. Ah! Their intelligence is working! The case is desperately attempted to be closed with such convincing bits of news.. Then the semi-literate mob that infests the net, start writing in notes asking for more Naxalite blood. Hip!Hip! Hooray! India is booming... to the sound of Galils, Tavors and Uzis from Israel and the jungles of Abujmarh hear the crashing sounds of India’s first citizens falling to the ground. Their blood is barely dry on the forest floor and the lies, the deception, the stories, the yarns and the Cinderella-esque stories of the new and brave IPS/IAS boys and girls are flashed around simultaneously.

Without disappointing the semi-literate blood cult on the net that thrives on the Bharat-Mata ethos to invoke the wiping out of the Naxalites and simultaneously commending the brave Indian Police forces, let us examine a typical scenario involving the Maoists. The news is not black and white. In fact it is so grey that it starts to turn dark and ominous in no time.

The Maoists do not refer to any of their strongholds as “base areas.” The folks who get fat pay checks in the some of the strategic institutes in Delhi to read Mao, Giap or Che will tell you that these are not Bases. They are essentially guerilla zones which change hands frequently. What is important to understand is that the people who live in these areas, India’s aboriginal population--- the first citizen’s of this country--- have developed some faith in the Maoists to carry out decent, democratic governance, including schools, irrigation, health clinics and land distribution, a department where Manmohan Singh’s government in Delhi has miserably failed in. But the Maoists know they cannot defend these areas militarily. So their main military force simply carries out tactical offensives from time to time to spread the guerilla zone. They have their local militia and village defence forces to defend their local governments. These local defence forces are essentially villagers armed with rudimentary weaponry, even bows and arrows. They are there to defend against infiltration by police and political agents and the touts of the mining companies. Their role is primarily local and they have not received training either in guerilla warfare nor in platoon strength operations. This is left to the Maoist regular PLGA. Once again, those who are thirsty for the blood of the Maoists, may want to do some homework again with those same fat salaried “defence and counter-Intelligence, strategic institute” types in Delhi. I am sure they will agree with me on that score. There is hardly any base, nor is there a fortress. So those Maoist “hardcore” elements are invariably moving in guerilla detachments, from one political “base” to another. Folks who have travelled with them, like Arundhuti Roy and others, will tell you that they are constantly on the move. They do not rest.

So, when the Maoists’ regular forces are called to a local meeting by the local peoples’ governing bodies, they do attend. These meetings have to do with settling local issues, tendu leaf collection,forestry issues and anti-mining activities. Now, during such meetings, the brave Cobra forces acquire “intelligence” that “hardcore” Maoists are having a “hardcore” meeting. So they carry out a major assault in the thick of the jungles. The villagers who could be several hundred unfortunately do not have a Maoist headband on their foreheads to identify themselves to the brave Cobras. Nor do their DNA or genes attest to their Maoist leanings, when they have been sprayed with machine gun fire. Their only attestation is that they are better off dead than trying to gain concessions out of the Union of India.

So when the assault is carried out, a segment of the Maoists regular army stay back and defend the village when it is attacked, along with the local defence forces. They know they will be martyred. But that is their political credo, their statement of their beliefs. They will give their lives for the people they serve. So, yes, some hardcore Maoists will get killed. And so will some hardcore Cobra commandos too. Because the Maoists have nothing to lose. They do not get a paycheck as do the Koya, the Selwa and the Cobra commandos... But the bulk of the dead will be India’s first citizens. Women and children and elderly, who were attending the meeting and could not flee to the mountains. And the parrot, free-press of India, owned by some ten families, will hoop and holler about the brave Cobra commandos and their continuing successes against the China-armed, Pakistan-infiltrated aboriginals, referred to as LWE (Left wing Extremists).

In the end Mr. P. Chidambaram, India’s eloquent, patient, peddler of IMF-politics will call a press conference and declare in his inimitably dull academic tone that the Police of India are doing a valiant job, that the Maoists’ backbone is gradually being broken-------------- until the next massacre and the next set of bluster, lies and denials.

Trevor Selvam comments occasionally on India's Operation Green Hunt


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