#UrbanNaxals : Grammarians of Anarchy
         Date: 20-Jun-2018

“Com. Kisan and [a] few other senior comrades have proposed concrete steps to end Modi-raj. We are thinking on the lines of another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident,” are the exact words of a letter that is revealed by the police investigating in Bhima-Koregaon violence and Maoist linkages. Within a few hours many articles poured in to call this letter a ‘fake’. Communism is a failed ideology world over and perhaps, even Communists have accepted this. Maoism/Naxalism is the new currency. And these are not the same Naxals who have been fighting for armed revolution in jungles but these are the people who are very much around us, providing intellectual steam to this fake idea of ‘revolution’. They use frontal organisations and manipulate ‘group’ identities against the larger Bharatiya identity. Use the resources of the State to fight against the State, is their strategy. This invisible enemy is getting exposed time and again, still creating enough fissures to further their ‘Breaking-India’ agenda. The recent arrests again remind us the wisdom of real Ambedkar who stood for democratic methods in the independent Bharat

Shridhar Prabhu

 

Comrade Prakash Ambedkar threatened the news editor asserting that the
Modi Government will fall in six months and then Hum Tumhari  

If among the plethora of problems, plaguing the nation at large and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in particular, one thing has to be singled out as the most dreadful, that is Naxalism—both in its rural and urban manifestations—for it jeopardises the lives of the youngest and brightest.

Perhaps the first towering leader to have realised the danger of extremism jeopardising our nation is Dr Ambedkar. His famous speech on November 25, 1949 made on the onset of submission of the Constitution is a glaring testimony to this fact. In the most decisive phase when people were dedicating the Constitution to themselves, the left extremists were busy waging war against the nation. While Sardar Patel was toiling to unify Bharat, the poorest of the poor in Waril, Tebhaga and Telangana were being instigated by the Communists for a civil war. If Ambedkar had fanned these divisive designs, the future of Bharat would have regressed into an unimaginable inferno.

 

 

“If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.”— Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (In his historic speech “Grammar of Anarchy delivered in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949)

 

 

A great patriot and a constitutionalist, Amebdkar never allowed his serious ideological differences to impact the national unity; instead, he channelised his satvik anger for nation building. This is the precise reason why in the first General Elections held in 1952 Shripad Amrit Dange gave a vile call to the voter of Mumbai to waste their vote rather than casting it in favour of Ambedkar. However much the mainstream left would like to dissociate itself from it, Maoism or Left Extremism, indisputably, has its roots in the theories propounded and practices perpetrated by them right from the inception of the Communist Party in India.

Methodology of Urban Naxals

The urban dimension of Left Extremism or Urban Naxalism, as we know it today, too has a chequered history of many decades. It is common knowledge that a section of Communists in India has aped the Maoist strategies and tactics right from the time of ‘Long March’. When Chinese Communists were badly beaten in the urban centres of Shanghai and other Chinese cities, they started focussing on the villages. Mao gave a call for “surrounding the cities from the countryside". Mao famously propounded that in the context of the third world communist movements, the countryside would overwhelm the cities.

Profiling the Naxal Minds


Rona Wilson:
A native of Kerala, Wilson is currently based in Delhi and is the public relations secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP). He has been active in campaigning against laws like UAPA and AFSPA. He is a close aide of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, who was arrested in May 2014 and convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Gadchiroli court in March last year. Police sources said after Saibaba’s conviction, Wilson allegedly took over his task of co-ordination between Left Wing Extremist outfits in urban and jungle areas of country and also the international network.


Sudhir Dhawale:
A Dalit activist and editor of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, Dhawale founded the Republican Panthers Jatiantachi Chawal to provide a common political platform for Dalits. He also launched a movement called Radical Ambedkar. He was previously arrested in January 2011 on charges of sedition for his Maoist links.


Surendra Gadling:
He is a Nagpur based lawyer and is general secretary of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers. He has been providing legal aid to those arrested for Maoist links, including Saibaba and Dhawale. He had provided legal help to Kabir Kala Manch artists who had been questioned by Nagpur police in September 2013 on allegations of carrying banned literature.


Shoma Sena:
She is a Nagpur-based activist and a professor for English subject at the Nagpur University. She has been under the police scanner of investigating agencies for her alleged links with the Left wing extremists. She was present for the Elgaar Parishad in Pune. Her husband Tusharkanti Bhattacharya was arrested last in August year by the Gujrat police in connection with a 2010 case related to Maoist activities but was later released on bail.


Mahesh Raut:
He is a former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) Fellow. He is alleged to be the link between jungle operatives and urban outfits of the Maoists. He has been active in the Maoist affected Gadchiroli district for last few years. In April 2013, when Raut was a PMRD fellow, he was detained by the Gadhchiroli police with his aide Harshali Potdar, after two Maoists arrested from Koinvarshi village revealed that the duo was supposed to accompany them to meet senior Maoist leaders in jungles.

 

 

Mimicking this strategy, the Maoists in Bharat, in the early phases (this is prevalent even today in many parts), started instigating the rural poor, particularly, the socially disadvantaged sections such as Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the backward regions of Bharat. After initial phases of victimisation, the rural masses started ousting the Naxals from rural areas. Alongside, a section of Naxals realised that to divide and weaken the nation decisively, they need to exploit many more facets of diversity in national life viz., caste conflicts, gender inequities, urban unemployment and problems of unorganised labour in the cities.

The rapid urbanisation and unfolding of newer challenges in the cities during the early nineties in the last century unfolded newer opportunities for Urban Naxals. Demographic complexion and economic backwardness of the cosmopolitan slums was a fertile breeding ground for their ulterior designs. Large cities provide a safe haven for the Naxals for indoctrination, gather financial assistance, procure electronic equipment besides providing the unorganised labour and unemployed youth - grind for their death mills.

In April, 2011, Rakesh Maria, Chief of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (who later went on to become the Police Commissioner of Mumbai), had forewarned the Governments of a defined urban focus in Naxal activities. Furthermore, Maria had said that Naxals have formed a Golden Quadrilateral Committee, in 2008, headquartered in Pune, targeting the Surat, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Thane, to spread their ideology in urban areas, especially among labourers and students. However, for the reasons best known to them, the Union and State Governments across India, took very little interest in tackling this serious issue. Thanks to this tacit disinterest, today, the safety of nation’s Prime Minister is under serious jeopardy.

The Nefarious Network

Chhattisgarh Police have arrested Abhay Devdas Nayak, who was an Maoist overground network and part of the propaganda bureau of CPI (M).

The police also claimed that the 34-year-old had visited 15 countries, including those with active rebel elements, and was part of the Co-Ordination Committee of Maoist Party and Organisations in South Asia (CCOMPOSA).

IG Vivekanand Sinha said to media that Nayak was an important link in the urban Maoist network. Nayak would use modern technological techniques to keep his identity secret and actively did propaganda for the party via online pieces, press releases and writings with the aim to bring the youth into the Maoist fold.

The police and Intelligence Bureau had been tracking Nayak for nearly two years. The police said Nayak visited Bastar twice recently, and with the success of his blog, he was made part of the CCOMPOSA. He was meant to stay in touch with Maoist organisations from across the world and he received funding for these activities.

There is a growing need to impart the realisation among the policy makers and law enforcement agencies at all levels that the impetus must shift to the so called legal organisations of Urban Naxals functioning within the society right under the nose of the State. As against their usual focus on the banned organisation and their cadre, the State must largely focus on the ‘legal and democratic’ frontal organisations. It is these subtle yet overt dimensions that often escape the attention of the law makers and enforcers. A ritualistic ban, often employed as a measure to tackle Naxalism, is no solution to this bane. The Urban Naxals have found ingenuous ways to subvert the Constitutional processes. The real and imminent danger lies in this part of the problem.

 

Manufacturing a riot in Naxal Style

· One of the reasons for news of Maoist links with Elgar Parishad may be the connect and history of the speakers and Organisers of ‘Elgar Parishad’ and ‘Prerana March’. Sudhir Dhawale, one of the key organizers of this Elgar Parishad that took place at Shaniwarwada and Prerana march was in jail for fourty months under under UAPA for his alleged Maoist links and was acquitted later in 2014. Sridhar Srinivasan was Maoist central committee member who died because of a heart attqack in 2015.

· Pune Police arrested a member of the Republican Panther group Sudhir Dhawale, prominent lawyer Surendra Gadling, activists Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut and Nagpur University professor Soma Sen with alleged Maoist links for inciting people that led riots which rocked Bhima Koregaon, near Pune in January 2018

· A letter found in the possession of one of the five persons arrested in connection with the January clashes in Bhima Koregaon during the Elgar Parishad indicates that the violence may have been scripted.

· The letter was written by Milind Teltumbde, a top Communist Party of India (Maoist) operative, who carries a reward of Rs 50 lakh on his head, to activist Rona Wilson on January 2, a day after the violence.

· Sagar Gorakhe and Ramesh Gaynor, who were part of Organising Committee of Elgar Parishad, are on bail currently and are facing charges for alleged Maoist links. In the year 2013, Prakash Ambedkar made a statement in Jalgaon that ‘Maoists are friends of this country, but Govt is treating them as enemy and not understanding their role’. Similarly, his real sister’s brother in law Milind Teltumbade, who is a central committee member of CPI (Maoists) is wanted by Police in many cases. Kabir Kala Manch, an alleged Maoist cultural organisation, was part of organizing committee of ‘Elgar Parishad’. As reported by The Indian Express in 2012, when ATS has questioned Kabir Kala manch founder Chandaliya, he stated that he met Kobad Ghandy’s wife Anuradha Ghandy a few times before she died in 2008 adding she used to give him Rs. 4,000 every months, telling him that the money came from “tax” collected by Naxals.

· Umar Khalid was present at Nagpur jail to receive Hem Mishra, the convicted Maoist, when he was released on bail in 2015. Harshali Potdar, the former student of TISS, who was reportedly on Police watch for her alleged Maoist connect, was also present on the dais of Elgar Parishad.

(Credit : FINS Report on Koregaon-Bhima Riot 2018)

 

Mastering Entryism

Like most terrorist groups across the world, Naxalites have mastered the art and science of Entryism or the infiltration into a mainstream political party, with the intention of subverting its policies or objectives. Urban Naxalism is a glaring manifestation of this phenomenon in India, of which the political parties in India need to be extremely cautious about. Arun Jaitley in his recent social media post has succinctly said: “The ‘half Maoist’ is a serious threat to Indian democracy. Willingly or otherwise, they become over-ground face of the underground. Unfortunately, some political parties see the Maoist as their instrument in the anti-NDA cause. It’s high time that people recognise this malaise.

Keeping aside their political differences, all political parties in India must come together to collectively eradicate this malaise. The most disturbing or perhaps, the cruelest dimension of Urban Naxalism is venomous injection of its destructive doctrine into Schedule Castes and Tribes by misappropriating Ambedkar’s legacy. Ambedkar stood for all that is antithetic to Urban Naxalism. His famous speech ‘Grammar of Anarchy’ is perhaps the finest exposition of banes of extremism and the need for invocation of Constitutional remedies.

(The writer is a practising advocate and founder of Navayana Law Offices)