Talks with Comrade Malina by ‘Outlook’

Deep inside the forests of Bastar, reticent Maoist commander Hidma chose to send one of his deputies to speak with Outlook. Claiming to be a Gond, Malina, who is a functionary of the Jagargonda Area Committee, appeared with three armed guards while the dreaded Battalion One lurked nearby. She spoke to Ushinor Majumdar. Excerpts:

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‘Rape  Victims  Have  No Clue  About  Legal  Proceedings’ :  Com : Melina

What do you have to say about the April 24 killings at Burkapal? Eventually the road will bring welfare for the villagers.

The issue was not the road, which we do not object to. It is the policemen who are unwittingly working for the corporates and eventually the roads will be a path to torture villagers. As revenge for attacks by the PLGA, the police are now detaining and torturing scores of innocent villagers.

But you too kill the villagers mercilessly…

When we receive credible information about villagers passing information to intelligence agencies or the police, the party convenes Jan adalats. There, the people—incl­uding other villagers—decide their fate. First they are counseled, but if they do not change ways…

Many are leaving your fold…

There are many fake surrenders here; the pol­ice parade ordinary villagers as surrendered  commanders. During summers, villagers migrate to Telangana, Andhra and other places to work as coolies or with the mirchi seths (chilli merchants). The police and the DRG go in civvies to those villages, drag the villagers to their stations here and claim they are members of the militia.

Many from the PLGA have joined the police.

Some have, like Hari Ram of Chenna Bodkel, Mangu, Shankar, Ganesh…quite a few of them who worked as party members, but they were not all militia. These traitors left the party, joined the police and come back with the cops to assault and torture villagers.

Without roads and development, a generation of tribals will also not be educated.

The Jantana Sarkar runs its own schools, where the medium is Gondi though other languages are also taught. Those who study till Class 8 or 10 also become teachers at local schools. I too learnt to read and write at such a school. We were also taught about leaders like Marx, Lenin.

Shouldn’t you allow the district administration easy access here for development work?

Doctors, journalists…nobody is allowed to come in here because of intimidation by the police. Take [Podium] Panda’s case. He was a sarpanch and never worked with us, but was free to travel anywhere. We don’t use sarpanches to run errands.

Despite their poverty, you take money and rations from the villagers…

We take taxes, but they are a limited amount and not collected by force. It is the public’s party, so they voluntarily pay what they can. The public also gives us food and other items because we are working for them.

You have made several claims about security personnel sexually assaulting women…

Even during the recent incident at Raiguda, the security men tried to drag a woman into her house but she resisted and hit them back. So, the others stopped the men. That’s what the villagers told us.

Do they approach the police to complain?

There was a minor who was raped, but when she approached the Chintagufa police station to complain, she was arrested for filing a false case. So nobody goes to the police any more; there are no hospitals here. They don’t understand your legal system; so how will they wait to go to a hospital for tests to prove rape? Security personnel come in large numbers. Who knows which one of them sexually assaulted a woman?

Are fresh recruits joining the PLGA?

There are two or three recruitments each year. We train them. They are also taught about the public’s problems and how the party’s ideology will be used to deal with these.

Your area of influence is decreasing. Do people follow your ideology?

We observed the 50 years of Naxalbari [uprising] between this May 23 and 29. Ours is a protracted war. It will spread from village to village, district to district. From Naxalbari to Srikakulam to Chhattisgarh, it has been a long road that is not going to end soon.

 

 

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