Interviews

Pahad Singh: Heard senior members talk about the ‘activists’ arrested, unarmed Urban Naxals same as gun toting Naxals

Recently, some ‘activists’ were raided and put on house arrest by the Maharashtra police for their alleged involvement in Bhima-Koregaon violence and their alleged connection to the Naxal plot to assassinate Prime Minister Modi. The authorities have asserted that the said ‘activists’, Sudha Bhardwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Father Stan Swamy, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha have links to the Naxals and they have retrieved emails that prove their connection. The police have also claimed that they have retrieved emails that talk about organising the ambush of security forces, smuggling of arms to Naxals and other chilling details.

OpIndia conducted an interview of surrendered Naxal Pahad Singh who had been an armed Naxal for 18 years. He had surrendered to the Chattisgarh police on 24th August and is said to be a high ranking Naxal. This surrender has proved to be a massive win for the security forces.

In OpIndia’s interview, Pahad Singh had made startling revelations. We had earlier reported that during the course of our interview, Pahad Singh had said that he had met Arun Ferreira in a high ranking Naxal meeting where Singh was made the secretary of two areas. He had also alleged that senior Central Committee members were present at this meet and that Arun Ferreira is actually a member of the “Rajya Committee” of CPI (Maoist). It is noteworthy that at this point in time, the interviewer had not named any of the ‘activists’ arrested by the police.

After Pahad Singh named Arun Ferreira, the interviewer proceeded to read out the names of the ones arrested by the Maharashtra police. Among the names read were Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bhardwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

Pahad Singh on Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bhardwaj

Pahad Singh, upon hearing the names said that he used to hear these names during conversations between Central Committee members. He said he has heard Gautam Navlakha’s name from the Central Committee members in connection with his support for Naxals. That he writes books that support the ’cause’. However, Pahad Singh said that while he has heard the names of Gautam Navlakha and others from Senior Central Committee members like Venugopalan and Deepak Teltumbde, he had never met them. He also said that he cannot attest to what work he does but that he is a writer.

Pahad Singh also said that he has heard Sudha Bhardwaj’s name from Central Committee Members as someone who works in Bastar.

Pahad Singh on Varavara Rao

Coming to Varavara Rao, he said that he is one person everyone knows. He said he always gives a statement whenever there is a fight between Naxals and security forces and that it cannot be denied that he is a big supporter of the Naxal movement from Andhra Pradesh. He said, “unke paas sabh hai, wo sab jaante hai” (He has everything, he knows everything). The interviewer proceeded to ask what he meant and too that, Pahad Singh said that “he knows everything because whenever something happens, he gives a statement”. “Even after the Gadchiroli encounter, it was Varavara Rao who had given a statement asserting that it was a ‘fake encounter'”. Singh said everyone knows he is a Naxal supporter. And if Rao says he isn’t then why did he give such a statement.

Pahad Singh on ‘unarmed idealogues’ vs ‘armed Naxalites’

Upon being asked his views on the popular narrative that the ones arrested are civilised people, have no connection with Naxalism and are innocent activists who merely fight for the rights of the Adivasis and should not have been raided or arrested, Pahad Singh vociferously refused the premise that these people fight for Adivasi rights.

Singh said that Gadchiroli encounter wasn’t about Adivasi rights but about a battle between Naxalites and the security forces. He said that if Adivasis died in the Gadchiroli encounter, then the ones who say they fight for Adivasi rights should answer who pushed and brainwashed the Adivasis into picking up the weapon and dying for the Naxal ‘movement’. Singh said that ultimately, it is not the ones who die in the line of fire who is responsible, but the ones who brainwash them who should shoulder the responsibility. Ultimately, Singh said, the ones responsible are the ‘jobless intellectuals’ who tried to protect themselves in front of the court and the people at large but instigate Adivasis to pick up the weapon.

The interviewer then asks, “Do you think when these intellectuals write in support of the ‘armed struggle’, does the ‘movement’ itself get support?”. To this, Pahad Singh says that these sort of statements provide full support to the ‘armed struggle’. He said it is because of these people that Maoists and Naxalites are prospering.

In order to probe further, the interviewer asserts that these ‘intellectuals’ don’t actually pick up the weapon. Pahad Singh then retorts and asks the interviewer that if these people are innocents and not connected to the movement, how are the Maoists sitting deep in the forest ‘get access’?. He asserts that it is correct to assert that these people who make statements in support of the Naxals are at par with armed Naxalites.

Pahad Singh, convinced that the unarmed ideologues are as dangerous as the armed Naxalites, says that these ‘intellectuals’ are attempting to take the ‘movement’ to mammoth and dangerous proportions, which is one of the greatest threats and will end the existence of Adivasis.

Pahad Singh on Urban Naxals

When asked about the term “Urban Naxals”, Pahad Singh immediately says “Ye wahi hai” (It’s them). The interviewer continues to probe and tells him that some people disregard the term “Urban Naxal” completely and say that since their “right to dissent” is being curbed, they are the good ones and the government, which is curbing their freedom of speech are the culprits. Singh said that these people have various ways to infiltrate, insinuating, that ‘Urban Naxals’ have a way to infiltrate and further the narrative in a manner where they can influence others into joining the ‘movement’ and thus, create a massive ‘uprising’.

This portion of the interview can be viewed here:

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