Revolutionary poet and ideologue Varavara Rao tells Shobhita Naithani that the attack on the West Bengal police camp was in retaliation to Operation Green Hunt’
How do you react to the brutal massacre of the jawans in West Bengal?
This is not an isolated action. The jawans are part of a combing operation against Maoists. The government is marginalising the Adivasis to hand over the forest belt to multinational companies. When the police are sent for this purpose, the police and the Maoists confront each other. The government is killing and displacing its own people. Look at this incident not in isolation, but why it’s happening. It is happening because of a conflict between two development models. The government’s model has nothing to do with its people.
But it was the poor constable, doing his duty to earn barely enough to support his family, who got killed.
During war, it is the poorest of the poor who are recruited by the police. But here they are on the side of the enemy — the State that is the instrument of repression.
What is the goal of this attack?
Ganapathy [CPI (Maoist) general secretary] has asked for an end to the activities of the MNCS, eviction of the paramilitary forces and release of Maoist leaders like Narayan Sanyal, Amitabha Bagchi, Sushil Roy and Kobad Ghandy. That the wealth of the forest and its minerals should be given to the tribals. That can be achieved by a revolution and an alternative people’s power.
What were the gains from this attack?
It is not about one or two attacks. No attack is isolated. If it [the State] doesn’t stop violence, more action will take place.
Is violence the only way to get even with police atrocity? Or is a democratic people’s movement, that can help resolve the issue, possible?
This is a democratic movement.
How are you calling it democratic when there is violence?
A government which came to power through parliamentary elections and took an oath under parliamentary democracy, has most of the country under military rule, indulges in encounter killings and Operation Green Hunt. Is that democratic?
Who do the Maoists represent?
The working class, Adivasis, Muslims, Dalits, women, whoever is part of the process of production — the Maoists represent them all.
But Maoist leader Marshall, the breakaway zonal commander of Kishenji, has told TEHELKA that Maoists are not pro-tribal.
It is like the Salwa Judum argument. The government says Salwa Judum is representing the Adivasis, but that’s not true. The government controls him (Marshall) and is making him talk that way.
Why are the Maoists burning school buildings after deciding, two years ago, to stop destroying schools?
Because they were being used as police camps. You are asking questions only about reactions, not about actions. Maoists are running schools for the Adivasis, and have even taken up health programmes for the Adivasis.
Is there a possibility the Maoists could give up arms and begin talks?
If the State declares a ceasefire and lifts the ban on Maoists then they will have talks.
There are many tribals who are caught between the Maoists and the State.
That is your opinion. Maoists are there for the Adivasis. They are asking for forest land, not for themselves but for the Adivasis. Adivasis and Maoists are on one side and the State on the other. Those Adivasis who don’t realise that the Maoists are with them, will do so when the plant starts to bear fruit.