Formation of ‘Special Women squads’ by Peoples War Group (PWG) was nipped in the bud with the recent police ‘encounter’ in karimnagar District , the strong hold of left extremist. Disgruntled with the set backs in quick succession for the last few years, PWG having tried all options to regain the lost glory, kept the armed women in forefront and formed special women squads in all the area committees of Northern Telangana.
Unlike LTTE, this group couldn’t recruit women from the lot of educated firebrands but inducted them from the illiterate poor. No studies are available, whether these women came with a fistful of anger or for a morsel of food. The ‘generous’ male leaders of the party taught them politics first and alphabets later. Even friendly critics (critics from other left groups) often complain that it is the practice of the PWG’ to give the new recruits weapons first and ideology later. So, the PWG is true to its line of thinking in grooming women Naxalites too.
Of late, the PWG across the state, more so in Karimnagar district, has become very restive because of the losses, it has suffered for the last three years. Increasing disenchantment with the party’s line in the cadre, differences of opinion among the top rank leaders, the leakage of information to the police, the inexperience and illiteracy of the cadre, rising encounters and blockages to funds inflow have crippled the group to a considerable extent. Of all, unprecedented human loss has made them crestfallen. As many as 300 Naxalites have been killed in police encounters in the district since 1977.
The group lost senior leaders like Nalla Adireddy and Seelam Ramesh. Police could also neutralize the “Singareni Karmika Samakhya” (SIKAASA) the frontal organization of the PWG in Godavarikhani, the coal belt of the district. Naxalites’ surrenders to the police have been ascending from 52 in 1997 to 88 in 2000 (till September).
Above all, the recent encounter which took away the lives of six members of a ‘special women squad’ in the district must have made them panic. It has been practice for both the police and the Naxalites to adhere to “Law of the Jungle” in the place of “Law of the land” in liquidating each other. They usually don’t spare each other when either of them is caught unaware. It is, therefore, difficult to believe every “encounter” claimed by the police is a “crossfire”. That could be one side firing from the police. Similarly, every police informer killed by the Naxalites doesn’t need to be an informer. He could be an innocent civilian. The mad hunt of police can bring initial and temporary gains to them but can not put a lid on the perennial generation of Naxalites.
The PWG, on the other hand confine itself to military struggle, can make a few innocents die for no body’s sake, but can not guarantee the vulnerable sections of the society a brighter tomorrow. Giving arms to a few ignorant women can never be called arming women to liberate themselves from all shackles of social and economic exploitation.
Mao se Dong, the patriarch of Chinese revolution once hailed the woman folk as “half of the sky”. The PWG Naxalites, who claim him as their hero, have made them “Half of the Jungle”.
(By Satish Chandar)
(First published in www.vaartha.com when I(Satish Chandar) was its Editor)