As polling dates in Chhattisgarh approach, the frustrated red terrorists are repeatedly trying to show their presence by carrying out strikes against security personnel and even the media persons. However, this anti-democracy, as well as the anti-development attitude of Naxals, has disillusioned their cadre also, which is evident from the fact that 217 hardcore Naxals surrendered before security forces in the year 2018 only. It needs no elaboration that the Maoists have lost ground in the entire Bastar region and they are fighting a lost battle in several pockets, which they claim are still under their influence. The way their hardcore members are surrendering in their strongholds shows their days in the region are over
Adopting the old, but flopped, tricks of terrorising the voters before polls, they carried out three attacks on security persons within two weeks. On November 8, they targeted a bus carrying CISF personnel and killed one CISF jawan and four others near Bacheli in Dantewada. Earlier, on October 30, a Doordarshan crew was attacked in Dantewada, while they were out to cover the poll preparations in the area. In another attack on October 27, four CRPF jawans were killed at Awapalli. As usual, they have also put up posters in some parts of Bastar calling for a boycott of polls. But no such trick is going to stop the people from casting their votes on November 12 or 20. The 72 constituencies of the state will go to polls in the second phase on November 20.
Disappointment with hollow Ideology
How the red terrorists are losing ground in their strongholds was witnessed on November 6, when 62 hardcore Naxals surrendered before the security forces in Narayanpur District. 55 out of 62 have surrendered with their arms and ammunition. According to IG Bastar Vivekanand Sinha, these were working under Kutul area committee of CPI(Maoists). “The surrender of such a large group of Naxals is a positive development, and it will have a psychological impact on the Maoist cadres,” he told media persons adding that more Naxals are expected to surrender in the coming days.
Enumerating details of the surrender, Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Jitendra Shukla said the surrendered Maoists cited disappointment with the “hollow ideology of Maoists and violence”. Describing the move as a good sign ahead of assembly polls, Shukla said the red terrorists were working for different sub-groups and frontal outfits of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) for the past eight-nine years. They included the Jantana Sarkar (people’s government), Jan militia and Sangham groups. At least five of the Naxals who surrendered had standing warrants against them.
On October 4, 2018, seven Maoists, including a female, surrendered in Bijapur District. They handed over a rifle and a hand grenade to the security forces. Similarly, on September 29, 2018, a total of 15 Naxals, including a couple, surrendered in Sukma District. They turned themselves in before police and CRPF officials. Of the surrendered Naxals, Kunjam Kosa (28) who was active as Machkot Local Guerrilla Squad commander under Kangerghati Area Committee of Maoists, was the “most dreaded one”. Kosa was carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head. Kosa’s wife Kunjam Parvati (25), member of the same group, also surrendered. She was carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh on her head. Besides, Korram Enka (28), a member of Chetna Natya Manch (a cultural wing of Naxals) and Kuhram Dula (25), a militia commander, both with rewards of Rs 1 lakh each on their heads, were among those surrendered.
On July 1, 2018, ten Naxals, including three women, surrendered in Narayanpur District. Four of them were carrying cash rewards on their heads. They also handed over two muzzle-loading guns to the security forces. All of them told the police that they were frustrated with exploitation, atrocities and violence at the hands of senior Naxal leaders, and wanted to see development reach the area. On April 26, 2018, also 60 Naxals from Abujmarh surrendered in Narayanpur. They included 40 men and 20 women. They said they were fed up with the Naxal strategies and hence decided to quit. They also surrendered several weapons.
The Reason for Resentment
Why the red terrorists are surrendering in such a large number is a question that needs an answer. While the Maoists have no answer to it, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) replies many such questions in its latest report prepared by the information collected from the ground, interrogation of the arrested Maoists cadre and the literature seized from Naxal hideouts. The report, released in the first week of September this year, points out that the lower and middle cadres of the banned CPI(M) have become disenchanted with the top leadership, as they believe the latter have become money-minded. The resentment among the cadre is growing, and this is the reason why the number of Naxals surrendering before security forces is on the rise. The report further adds that the Naxal cadre is of the view that the CPI(M) leadership is not concerned about them anymore and is busy living a ‘good life’.
Further, the cadre is also unhappy about the youth finding no place in the state leadership. “The young leaders are not keen to work in difficult areas. The senior leadership doesn’t listen to them even as they enjoy a good life. Due to this, many from the middle level and even senior cadres are surrendering as they are unhappy with the leadership,” the report said. In the first week of September, top Naxal leader, Pahad Singh, who carried a reward of Rs 47 lakh on his head, surrendered saying he was disillusioned with the Naxal ideology. He said the lower cadres are “treated like animals” by the top leadership.
The Chhattisgarh Growth Story
Disappointment with the red ideology is one reason behind growing resentment among the Maoists cadre, the better scope of education and government jobs in the state is a solid reason why the local tribals are refusing to join Maoist ranks. Also, the decline in new recruitment and the well-coordinated operations by the security forces have dealt a big blow to Maoists’ strength and prospects in areas that were once considered their stronghold. The high-speed development carried out in the state by Dr Raman Singh Government during the last 15 years has turned many opponents speechless. The issues of tribals have been addressed systematically.
As per 2017 statistics, 4.63 lakh girls have been granted bicycles, 29 lakh students got midday meal (only 13 lakh in 2002-03), 31 Agriculture Colleges were opened (four in 2003), 60 Polytechnics were opened (10 in 2003), 178 IITs were opened (61 in 2003), 22,750 km roads built under Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (only 1072 km in 2003), 2419 irrigation projects completed (418 in 2003), 22,764 MW electricity generation (only 4732MW in 2003), 1724 units per person electricity consumption (525 in 2003), 4 lakh electricity pumps were installed (72,000 in 2003), 15.54 lakh single electricity connection granted (7 lakh in 2003), Rs 2500 per standard sack paid for Tendu leaves (Rs 450 in 2003), 13.76 lakh people granted shoes (nothing in 2003), 3.35 lakh families granted forest rights (nothing in 2003). Also, the maternal mortality rate, which was 379 in 2003, was reduced to 211 per lakh in 2017. Equally, the infant mortality rate, which was 70 on per 1000, was reduced to 41 per 1000 in 2017. There are many more similar statistics on the list.
These statistics show the speed of development in Chhattisgarh. When most of the people in the state are enjoying fruits of development, the people in Bastar region are not ready to remain captive by Maoists. It is the reason they are coming forward to join the mainstream.
– Dr. Pramod Kumar