‘Is this what these people deserve…is there an option left?’

Express meets Maoist commanders who led collector’s abductors.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Dandakaranya | Published: April 28, 2012 11:52 pm

“Don’t you see everywhere? Which route did you take? There is no power,no food,nothing… Is this what these people deserve?” said Maoist commander Akash,trying to justify the abduction of Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon.

Akash was speaking to The Indian Express at an undisclosed location in Dandakaranya forests. Akash,secretary of the Keralapal area committee of the CPI (Maoist),was with fellow commander Pappa Rao,who was till recently the secretary of the Jagarunda area committee,and a team of Maoists when this newspaper met him.

The two AK-47-wielding Maoist commanders are among the most wanted by the Chhattisgarh police. They are believed to have led the team that abducted Menon from Keralapal last Saturday.

“Is there an option left?” Akash asked as Rao looked on with a wireless set in his shirt pocket and an .8mm pistol strapped to his waist. “Tatas,Essar,Jindal—all are after Bastar. Who will take care of the people here? What will happen then?” said Akash.

In defence of the abduction,his leader,Secretary South Bastar Regional Committee of CPI (Maoist) Ganesh Uike,has already listed alleged atrocities on innocent tribals,including two deaths,in Sukma since Menon became the collector. The deaths of cousins Podiyam Mada and Podiyam Sanna—that The Indian Express had reported—took place in mysterious circumstances in police custody.

Akash clarified that they were there “only to protect the people and their resources.”

The Maoists carried pamphlets that refuted the police charge of schism among Andhra and Chhattisgarh cadres of Maoists,that the former ones were exploiting the latter. “Since the first martyr of Dandakaranya Peddi Shankar to recent martyr Kishanji,many comrades of Andhra have sacrificed their lives expanding the revolutionary movement in various parts of the country,” a pamphlet read.

Rao’s team had personnel from both Andhra and Chhattisgarh—three women and seven-eight men. Except Akash and Rao,all wore green uniforms. With bags slinging on their back,they kept moving from village to village.

Aakash rubbished the allegations that the Maoists “intimidated villagers.” “Look at them. Do they hate us?” Akash asked as over 100 villagers,who only knew Telugu and Gondi,surrounded us,listening to the conversation.

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