A massive crackdown has been underway on supposed Naxal sympathizers in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon last year and an assassination plot to murder Prime Minister Modi. The residences of prominent ‘Civil Rights Activists’ were raided and they have been put on house arrest. The crackdown sparked a raging debate with a section of the media and the ‘Civil Society’ slamming the Modi government for being a fascist regime by cracking down on these do-gooders for merely exercising their freedom of speech.
The ones raided and put on house arrest were Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bhardwaj, Arun Ferreira, Father Stam Swamy, Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves. Many media houses, as well as the usual ‘intellectuals’, branded the ones arrested as people fighting for Adivasi rights.
Recently, owing to the government’s robust surrender policy, many Naxals and Maoists have surrendered to the police. Last month, Pahad Singh, a senior Naxal commander who had the police forces of three states in hot pursuit surrendered to the Chattisgarh police. Pahad Singh, 48, had spent 18 years as a part of the Maoist movement. On August 24th 2018, Singh, disillusioned with the cause, gave up arms and surrendered. He had a cumulative bounty of Rs 47 lac on his head by Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
In 2017, intelligence agencies warned of a fresh reprisal warning that Maoists were expanding their base beyond their usual bastion of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district to the tri-junction of Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh (MMC) in order to support their existing strongholds in Sukma and Dantewada districts. Pahad Singh was one of the four people who was entrusted with the responsibility of developing MMC as the Naxal bastion before he surrendered recently.
OpIndia.com conducted a two-hour long exclusive interview with Pahad Singh, who is now under police protection, at an undisclosed location. The startling revelations made by Pahad Singh bring a fresh perspective not only to the Maoist ideology and their working but also the role of “urban Naxals” that many would want to be pushed under the rug.
In the course of the interview, Pahad Singh was shown the picture of the banners that had surfaced recently at Perimili near Gadchiroli, put up by the Naxals, which appealed to the masses to condemn the arrest the ‘Urban Naxals’ for their alleged role in Bhima-Koregaon violence. The Naxals had demanded the immediate and unconditional release of their fellow comrades. The Reds have also urged the masses to condemn the BJP-RSS government for labelling the activists as ‘Maoists’ to deprive them of their rights.
OpIndia asked Pahad Singh whether these posters would have been put up by the ground cadre or the higher echelons of the CPI (Maoist). Upon seeing the poster, Pahad Singh emphatically said that “as soon as the ‘intellectuals’ would have got news of the arrest, they would have started their propaganda because it is not like such people are not a part of the Maoists”.
It is worthy to note, that at this point, none of the names of the ‘activists’ who had been raided and arrested was mentioned to Pahad Singh by the interviewer.
Pahad Singh then proceeded to say, “I know some of the people who have been arrested recently”.
Upon being asked who he recognised, Pahad Singh said “I know Arun Ferreira, he had come in 2006. I challenge all these ‘intellectuals’ who say they fight for Adivasi Asmita. This armed struggle won’t change the country, it will only claim the lives of innocent Adivasis”. He then asserted that in 2006, Arun Ferreira had attended a division meeting and Pahad Singh had himself met him. It was in this meeting that Pahad Singh was made the secretary of two areas. He also said that at the same meeting, CCM Shekhar and Vijay were also present.
CCMs as Central Committee Members. The Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist) takes command from the Politburo and passes on the information to its members. It is like the central management of the operations deep in the jungle. When Pahad Singh said Central Committee Member Shekhar and Vijay were present, he meant Palendu Shekhar Mukherjee and Vijay Kumar Arya.
Pahad Singh also said that many such people come to these meetings and instigate the Adivasis. He alleged that Ferreira was a part of the ‘Rajya committee’. He followed his comments by saying that he was arrested in 2007 and after he was let off, he had continued to say what he has to with impunity.
Arun Ferreira is no stranger to prison as well. He had spent 4 and a half years in Nagpur prison before being granted bail by the District and Sessions court of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and was eventually acquitted of all charges in 2014.
He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on charges of sedition. He became a poster boy for the media which portrayed him as a victim of the villainous state.
Highlights of the full interview of Pahad Singh will be published soon on OpIndia.com.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017