News Find/Feedback/Site Index
February 1, 2000


Search Rediff

E-Mail this interview to a friend

The Rediff Interview/ Ganapathy

'The PW always repays its blood debts'

Blood shed, whether it is the lawman's or the revolutionary's, invariably leads to more bloodshed.

That's precisely what's happening in Andhra Pradesh. The outlawed Naxals of the Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist People's War, popular as the PWG, have lost three top leaders to the State's guns.

The police say they were killed in an encounter in the forests of Karimnagar district. The PW alleges otherwise.

It claims that Shyam, Mahesh and Murali, all belonging to the central committee secretariat, the outfit's apex body, were arrested in Bangalore, flown by chopper to Andhra Pradesh, tortured, and shot dead.

In a way, the December 2 killings were a product of PW violence against the State -- just as that resulted from the State's fight against Naxalism.

Today Andhra Pradesh and the other states where the PW operates are set to witness more violence. The Naxals have promised to pay blood homage to their slain leaders.

"Their murders shall be avenged," pledged PW general secretary Muppalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy. "We always repay our blood debts."

Excerpts from the response he emailed Chindu Sreedharan:

The police say your claim that Mahesh, Shyam and Murali were shot is part of a propaganda to discredit the State.

Can you show us a single instance in the last two decades when the police claimed the murders of 2,000 of our comrades as anything else but encounters? Whenever there were real encounters we always propagated them, hailing the heroism displayed by the comrades who fell fighting enemy forces. What would we gain by distorting facts?

But for the State there is no other choice. It has to invariably weave a lie in order to cover up its fascist, unconstitutional and unlawful act. The very fact that the State does not want to go for a judicial inquiry into the incident makes its claim a complete hoax.

Even a layman can easily realise the truth. The story that Comrades Shyam, Mahesh and Murali died along with one Arun in a fierce encounter with the police in the Koyyur forest of Karimnagar is an outright lie. It is the product of the Goebbels of Andhra Pradesh, H J Dora [the director general of police], and his boss [Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu] Naidu.

To cover up the cold-blooded murders these fascists are committing almost daily in AP, they are unabashedly unleashing lies and malicious propaganda against our party. There is ample proof for any unbiased person to be convinced that these comrades were murdered according to a pre-hatched conspiracy. The Koyyur encounter is the millennium lie of the World Bank stooge Naidu.

Tell us what happened.

The meeting of December 1 in the house of Govinda Reddy alias Kameswar Rao in Bangalore was planned last July. [The PW says Reddy was a Naxal who turned informer, and that it was from his house that the leaders were picked up.] Our CC secretariat [central committee secretariat] was to receive the decisions taken at this meeting by the end of December. We had a contact with them.

Comrade Shyam had returned from North Telangana at the end of October. He was in touch with other CC members until November 30, the day before the incident. He spoke on the mobile phone on the 30th night.

Comrade Mahesh left the house of another comrade on the 30th night after finishing an article -- a review of the recent election in AP -- and handing it over to the comrade. We have the article with us written by the comrade and dated November 30.

Comrade Murali had called up a comrade on 30th night while on his way to Bangalore from Guntur. He had a lorry transport receipt with him booked on 30th to Pune, which the police had taken and tried to trace the address. We warned the comrade in whose name the parcel was booked not to collect it as the enemy would be keeping a watch on the transport office.

Traitor Govinda Reddy was not to be seen in his house in Bangalore from the day the comrades were arrested. He was taken by the police to a safe place that very evening. We rang up the owner of the house in which Govinda Reddy was residing the very next day after hearing the news of the murders. We found that Reddy had locked the house and left on the 1st evening itself.

Some journalists belonging to The Hindustan Times, Indian Express and Vaarta visited the house in Bangalore on the 9th or so and spoke to the owner, his son and the neighbours. Though scared initially, they spoke of what happened after some persuasion.

The owner's son had clearly seen two Maruti vans with armed men at the gate. Some went inside Reddy's house and took away the comrades after taping their mouths with plaster. The neighbours were threatened with dire consequences if they talked. Part of this report was published in The Hindustan Times on December 10/11.

The police threatened the tenants and the owner again after the report appeared in the press. So, when a fact-finding team went to the house on December 11 they refused to give details. But after much persuasion they came out with facts.

When these were publicised the police went to the house again and issued threats. It worked this time; they did not repeat what they said when an all-India fact-finding team approached them on 23/24. That is the "democratic" way of silencing witnesses.

What proof do you have to support this?

The signs of cruel torture seen on the bodies are a clear proof that they were arrested, brutally tortured and then shot.

The fourth person whom Dora tried to project as a squad member was actually arrested on November 30 from village Garjanapalli near the so-called site of encounter. He was shot along with the other three in the early hours of Dec 2. His photo was published in the papers and was recognised by his mother.

This shows that the conspiracy was hatched well before the arrest of the comrades. The information about the meeting in Bangalore was obtained by the AP police a few days before from the collaborator, Govinda Reddy.

Even the story of the encounter released by the police has been questioned by the media. So bad was the script that one would wonder how the police could think anyone would believe it. One cannot, of course, expect better stuff from pig-headed police brains.

For instance, it is claimed that the exchange of fire took place for nearly five hours with our guerrillas who were supposed to be around 30 in number. Even a layman would wonder how such a fierce encounter could take place without the people of surrounding villages or the people moving on the road just a kilometre away hearing anything.

Moreover, whenever there is an attack on us, the leaders are given protection by the guerrilla squads. It is simply unthinkable that three important leaders were left to defend themselves while squad members escaped to safety.

The story becomes even more amusing when we come to know that not a single policeman was injured in the long "exchange of fire"!

The fact that reporters were not allowed to the so-called encounter site immediately after the announcement by the police shows that they feared the truth would be exposed. The government fears that the setting up of a high-level judicial inquiry [as the PW and several non-government organisations have demanded] will place it in the dock. Hence, it stubbornly refuses to accede to this demand.

How important were these leaders to your movement? What kind of void have they left?

The loss of the comrades is no doubt a great blow to our party and the revolutionary movement in India. All three are very senior members with over two decades of revolutionary life.

They made invaluable contributions to the development and enrichment of the party's political and military line, its tactics and policies on various issues. They firmly and consistently executed decisions.

They spent the most part of their revolutionary lives in the areas of class struggle, amidst guerrilla squads and oppressed masses. They all were creative in their thinking and practice while firmly adhering to Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-tung Thought. They were very simple and straightforward, never put up airs as leaders, and were loved by the rank and file of the party and the masses.

Comrade Shyam joined the movement as a full-time revolutionary a little before the Emergency, sometime around 1974. He went underground with the declaration of the Emergency in June 1975 and was arrested for the first time in 1986. He faced cruel torture at the hands of the enemy, but did not let out a single secret. Though he suffered the consequences of torture for the rest of his life, he was always in the field, educating and guiding the cadres after he escaped from jail at the end of 1988.

Comrade Mahesh was a student leader of the Radical Students Union in 1978-79 in Osmania University. He had been working as a full-timer since then. He was a member of the first city committee of Hyderabad formed in 1981. He showed exemplary spirit when in jail during 1986-91.

He was a talented organiser and a voracious reader. He always carried a bundle of books in his kit when he was moving with the squads and used every moment to improve his theoretical knowledge with the sole objective of applying it to the problems confronting the Indian revolution.

Comrade Murali, the youngest in the CC team, came into the movement as a student and youth leader in 1980-81. Since then he had been with the party in North Telangana and was the darling of the masses. He had an exceptional emotional attachment with the cadres and the masses.

Having spent all his time in building the movement in Nizamabad and Telangana, he had a good grasp of the problems and knew the pulse of the people. We thus lost long-standing experienced leaders.

Many claim that the second-rung leadership has been wiped out with these killings. Is it a fact?

That is a figment of the media and the police. First, I cannot understand what you mean by second-rung leadership. In our party first-rung leadership means the central committee. The second-rung leadership is the state committees.

Our CC comprises leaders who have more than two decades of experience in leading the class struggle. Though the loss of the three comrades is serious, there are many experienced comrades both in the CC and our state committees who are steeled and tempered to take over. This is the great asset of our party.

Collective functioning has developed to such an extent that loss of some comrades can never lead to a void. There are able and dedicated comrades in the various state committees who can be taken into the CC.

In the past we have faced several difficult situations. We lost senior leaders like AP state committee secretary Comrade Puli Anjanna in 1993, state committee member Comrade Venkataswamy (Suryam) in 1994, state committee members comrades Prakash Master, Mahendar, Damodar Reddy (Sanjeev), Reddappa, Malkpuram Bhaskar (Ramesh) and others. But our losses were continuously replenished from our next rank who very soon developed into efficient leaders.

The revolutionary movement constantly replenishes itself, finds able successors to the fallen heroes -- such is the dialectics of development of a revolutionary movement. New blood is produced every moment. So long as we stick to the correct line and adhere to the masses, new leaders are made continuously.

We may face some difficulties whenever we lose some important leaders. There can even be setbacks if we lose most of the leadership. But I can confidently say that it is not possible for the State to completely wipe us out as our practice is based on mass line. Leaders are being born continuously from the class struggle.

In the course of the revolution, when we are waging war against an enemy very much superior to us in strength and firepower, it is but natural that we face many losses. Our movement develops through many ups and downs, many defeats, until we achieve final victory. Such is the nature of our protracted war. The entire party is educated about this. Hence, we can confidently face such losses, though producing such leaders will take some time.

How the PW plans to avenge the deaths -- Ganapathy continues

Karl and the Kalashnikov
'Unification is the only way to advance the cause of the Indian revolution'
'All revolutionary ranks must unite'

The Rediff Interviews

Tell us what you think of this interview