On 14th May 2005, the
meeting that was held in Hyderabad to mark the completion of one year of the
Congress rule in AP, turned out to be a poor shadow of the one held exactly a
year before. In spite of the Congress government pouring in huge sums of money
to bring the people for the public celebration, it turned out to be a big flop.
The lorries and buses that were sent to the villages to pick up the people for
the meeting returned empty. And those who attended the meeting complained to the
media, covered live by the TV channels, that they were brought there with the
promise that they would be given house sites, pension allowance, etc., but
nothing of that sort happened. Half the audience had left soon after the meeting
began. Indeed, it was in no way comparable to the massive crowds that had
gathered spontaneously in the Lal Bahadur stadium in May 2004 soon after the
Congress won the elections with a three-fourths majority in the state Assembly.
Then how had the
government of the Congress-TRS alliance led by YSR, which secured a three-fourth
majority in the state Assembly, become so unpopular within just one year? Why
have the people become so disinterested, frustrated, and apathetic to the
Congress that had come to power in AP after nine years of autocratic rule of the
World Bank stooge, Chandrababu Naidu?
government that had replaced the TDP with promises to fulfill almost every
demand raised by the people during the elections last year, had proved itself to
be a replica of the TDP in every aspect—whether it be cringing before the World
Bank and the various imperialist MNCs and loyally following their dictates,
suppression of the Naxalites, harassment of the people of the Muslim minorities,
dalits and adivasis, factional murders, corruption and scams involving ministers
and top officials, and any thing that one could think of. This became
increasingly clear to the people within six months after the Congress came to
power and now, after a year of governance, even many ardent followers of the
Congress have lost all hope that YSR’s rule would be different from that of
Worsening Crisis in all spheres:
In just one year, the
person on the street can directly feel the effects of the crisis in every
sphere. The situation has become as bad as, if not worse than, what it was under
the TDP and it was in a similar situation that the TDP government was thrown out
in the last elections. The negative feelings of the people have become so strong
that the Congress is likely to receive a thrashing in the ensuing Municipal
polls in August-September this year. More important is the emerging militant
mass movement and strikes by the various sections of the people which would be
suppressed by the police state with brute force.
The most conspicuous
of all is the agrarian crisis that gave rise to tragic consequences. Suicides
had reached a staggering figure of 2000, that is, almost five a day or over 30 a
week in the past one year under the Congress. The agrarian crisis in AP had
become so acute that not a day passes without one hearing the news of grim and
heart-chilling stories of peasants, both young and old, consuming the poisonous
pesticides and leaving grieving families behind. The decision to take one’s own
life shows the cruelty and unjustness of the existing system. It shows the
darkness, despair, pessimism of the peasantry—the backbone of the country, and
the total breakdown of the system. Although ex-gratia of 1lakh and 50000 was
announced only a third of the victims’ families received the amount.
The report on farmer
suicides submitted by the Jayati Ghosh Commission that was set up by the YSR
government amidst much fanfare, was not even taken up for discussion in the
Assembly this time.
The report links the
agrarian crisis to a combination of "macro liberalisation and globalisation
policies" at the central government level, specific policies of the state
and local governance failures.
According to the
Report, "The state of Andhra Pradesh had become almost a laboratory for every
neo-liberal economic experiment, with a massive shift towards relying on
incentives for private agents as opposed to state intervention and regulation of
private activity, in virtually all areas,".
It further stated,
"The decline in the government’s role began when the state started incurring
massive external debts from bilateral and multi-lateral agencies. Many problems
in its economy can be traced to this reduction in government role and the
collapse of a wide range of public institutions".
Obviously, while the
Congress had set up the Commission immediately after the elections in conformity
with the promises it made, as part of its election rhetoric, to resolve the
agrarian crisis in the state, it had no more use for the Report as it had
decided to pursue the same old policies as the predecessor TDP regime.
Consequently, there has been a further intensification of the agrarian crisis
leading to even more suicides by the desperate and helpless peasantry caught in
the vicious circle of debt.
supply for agriculture is just for 5 hours while the Congress had promised 8
hour supply during its election campaign last year. Free electricity — a promise
made during the elections — was implemented only partially due to pressure from
the World Bank.
for agricultural produce remains a serious problem. Especially those producing
purely commercial crops such as mirchi, cotton and haldi, are unable to even
meet their input expenses as a result of a steep decline in the prices of these
commodities. The overproduction and oversupply of these commodities in the world
market, the manipulative tactics of the organized private monopoly lobby of
traders, and the crass neglect by the government in providing minimum support
prices for the agricultural produce, have pushed the peasants deeper into
crisis. The falling prices in the world market have had a dangerous impact only
on the peasants of the Third world countries like India whereas the farmers in
the imperialist countries get huge subsidies from their respective governments.
The imperialist agencies like the World Bank-IMF-WTO exert immense pressure on
the Third World governments not to subsidise the farm produce and it should not
be a surprise if a Chief Minister like YSR kowtows before these powerful sharks
and obeys their orders not to give any subsidies to the peasants in the state
whatever be the scale and magnitude of suicides.
plight of the peasants producing mirchi, turmeric and cotton has become
terrible. The purchase price of these three cash crops has come down
drastically. The mirchi crop which fetched Rs. 2300-2700 last year came down to
Rs.1500-1800 this year thereby pushing the peasantry to the clutches of the
moneylenders and rapacious traders and commission agents. There is no support
price for mirchi and haldi. Hence there is no alternative for the peasants but
to go into militant agitation. Guntur and Warangal have become the main centres
of such agitations this year. There are numerous incidents of burning of their
own mirchi crop by the peasants as they did not have the wherewithal to
transport the mirchi to the godowns due to the low price offered. Traders and
government officials were attacked by angry peasants.
Water has become a
scarce commodity. Almost a third of the state’s population has no access to
clean drinking water. Even in the capital of the state people have to struggle
for hours to get the minimum quantity for their daily requirements. And water is
bought by those who can afford. The government, of course, makes tall promises
that it has drawn up a scheme to permanently solve the water problem at a cost
of Rs. 6000 crores.
to close down due to so-called sickness and those in the state sector are sold
to the imperialists for a song. The World Bank’s direction to reduce the staff
by 2% every year was loyally followed by the YSR government which issued a GO to
Corruption has become
rampant and it is alleged that Rs. 900 crores is already swallowed by the
ministers and officials while granting tenders for irrigation projects. There is
increasing demand by the opposition parties and several organizations for an
enquiry into the allegations of fraud against the Ministers and top officials in
the YSR government in granting contracts for projects like Polavaram,
Gundlakamma, etc. The so-called Jala Yagnam of the YSR government has
been sarcastically called as Dhana Yagnam which is quite apt going by the
huge sums involved in the scams in allotting contracts.
The latest scandal
doing the rounds is the temple land scam involving Congress party bigwigs like
the Endowments Minister MS Sathyanarayan Rao, APCC President KKeshava Rao, and
top officials of the state administration. The temple land has been occupied
illegally by several political leaders and government officials. This scandal
had also brought the contradictions within the Congress to the fore with MSRao
and KKRao throwing charges against one another. These greedy sharks of the
ruling party had begun amassing wealth through such underhand dealings by
misusing their power and position.
A new excise policy
was adopted that encourages the sale of liquor. It introduced a Bill in the
assembly for the privatization of agricultural marketyards. It announced that it
would implement contract farming as envisaged by Chandrababu Naidu, no matter if
this same bunch of exploiters in Congress had spoken against it during the
assembly elections exactly a year ago. It did not review the agreements in the
electricity sector as promised earlier, but, on the contrary, has given several
concessions to the private companies in the power sector.
The spread of
diseases in the rural areas, particularly in the backward adivasi areas, is
alarming. In the Agency areas of Vishakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram
districts, there has been a big spurt in diseases like viral fevers and
gastroenteritis and cholera, malaria, and hundreds of adivasis had died due to
lack of medical facilities. Non-availability of clean drinking water is the
biggest cause for these diseases while lack of primary health facilities
aggravated the situation causing deaths.
The YSR government
had promised that all pending projects will be completed at a cost of Rs. 46,000
crores and 28 irrigation projects are taken up for construction simultaneously,
though most of it remains on paper as hardly any funds were released for the
projects. It is estimated that it would take 10 years to get permission for all
the projects. The government claims that 65 lakh acres of land will be irrigated
due to this scheme of completing the pending projects. This year only Rs. 4500
crores were allotted for the irrigation projects. It is clear that the projects
will again remain pending after the officials and politicians pocket sufficient
amounts. Another joke that goes round the media is that canals are being dug
without constructing the reservoirs as in Polavaram, Ellampalli and Dummugudem.
like Pulichintala over river Krishna and Polavaram over river Godavari, are
caught in serious controversies. The former serves only the landlords of Krishna
district by providing them water for the third crop, even as the peasants in the
backward Palnaad region in Guntur district and those in backward Nalgonda, do
not have water even for a single crop and suffer from drought and famine year
after year. Hence the CPI(Maoist) had declared their total opposition to the
Pulichintala project and warned that it would not allow the construction work on
the project. In fact, the foundation stone laid by the Chief Minister last year,
was blasted within 24 hours by the PLGA while the people took out massive
demonstrations against the project and burned down the project office.
The Polavaram project
is steeped even deeper in controversy. It does more harm than good. It submerges
276 villages in the three districts of East and West Godavari and Khammam.
94,357 acres of land in these villages and another 7,000 acres of forest land
will be submerged. 1 lakh 17,000 people will be displaced due to the project.
There is strong opposition from the people to the construction of the project.
The work on the Right and Left Main Canals has begun but the tenders are
obtained through bribes and commissions. With Rs.1750 crores and 1500 crores for
the two Canals respectively, and Rs. 8000 crores for the project as a whole, no
wonder there has been a virtual dog-fight within the ruling class parties for a
share in the cake.
The YSR government
had thus done more harm than good to the people of the state through its
so-called Jala Yagnam. Its projects are a non-starter and where some work
had begun it is steeped in scams. YSR’s anti-people government has created more
disputes between people of various districts and regions by undertaking the
construction of controversial irrigation projects. It is using the water issue
to divide the people.
Cringing before the World Bank:
Prior to the
elections the Congress said that reforms in AP were like a hangman’s noose
around people’s necks but within a year it changed track and began to vigorously
campaign for reforms. The World Bank had sent its report to the state
government. In the meeting of the United Electricity Employees’ Union, YSR spoke
of the need for reforms. 2500 coperatives were abolished and 6000 employees were
terminated. Housing Board workers were dismissed. 15,000 people were fired.
True to its class
nature, the YSR government has shown its subservience to the World Bank and the
imperialists within less than a year after the Congress made promises that it
would not bow to the imperialist pressures and that it would submit a white
paper on all the agreements with the World Bank as soon as it came to power. But
soon after it came to power it began to enter into agreement with the government
of Austria with conditions even more atrocious than those with the World Bank.
It is trying to enter into an agreement with Germany on setting up Volkswagen
plant at a cost of Rs. 4,300 crores. 350 acres of land has been already
sanctioned gratis to the German MNC in Vishakhapatnam. The IT portfolio is
retained with the CM and IT parks are developed in Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada.
IT Corridors are being developed in Tirupathi, Warangal, Vishakha, and Kakinada.
YSR had assured the MNCs and Big Business in the IT sector that he would be even
more "liberal" than his predecessor Naidu in sanctioning land and other
infrastructure, and giving the concessions they want, to the players in IT who
ventured to invest in the state.
The state’s Finance
Mnister, K Roshaiah, stated that the government had received Rs. 10,000 crores
from various agencies in the first financial year of his government. He also
stated openly that his government was not opposed to World Bank loans and tried
to defend the sanctioning of loans by saying that they were old agreements made
by the TDP government. For instance, he said, that the Structural Adjustment
Loan to AP was released by the World Bank in two tranches during the TDP regime.
Now his government is trying to get the third instalment of Rs.1600 crores of
the SAL. His government had also sent proposals to the World Bank for Rs.1600
crore loan for the extension of roads in the state, Rs.1300 crores for the
provision of basic infrastructure in the urban areas and for slum development,
Rs. 3000 crores loan for what is called ‘Water Sector Improvement Project’
which includes the modernization of the Nagarjuna Sagar project, and so on and
that the proposals are awaiting the approval of the central government.
The country director
of the World Bank, Michael Carter, assured the state government that the Bank
would release Rs.7,500 crores for the four major projects in the state as soon
as the Centre sends its approval. In a ‘breakfast’ meeting with the chief
minister YSR in New Delhi, Carter and two other World Bank economists expressed
satisfaction with the implementation of the World Bank projects and the policies
pursued by the government in AP and assured all ‘aid’ to the state.
The Congress rulers
are trying to fool the people that they are only continuing the policies of the
earlier TDP government led by Chandrababu Naidu and that they are not making any
fresh agreements with the World Bank. If YSR’s Congress had stated that it would
implement the agreements made by the TDP government, then it would not have
gained so many seats in the Assembly elections. TDP would have been in a better
position to implement the agreements and there was no need for a change in the
government. But the fact was that people of AP were so much vexed with the
policies of the TDP government, particularly its pro-World Bank policies and the
anti-Naxalite policies that they chose to throw it out of power in the elections
and this was utilized by the Congress and its allies to make electoral gains.
But now, on most of these issues the YSR government differs little, though
initially it waxed eloquently how its policies were drastically different from
those of the TDP government.
"Sell Off the RTC property and repay the loans"
—advises YSR to the workers
The philosophy of the World Bank was reflected very clearly
in the advice of the Chief Minister of AP to the RTC workers when they raised
the demand of cancellation of the loans of the Corporation. YSR created a
furore by asking the RTC to sell off its property to repay its debts. He thus
tried to conveniently hide the actual reasons for the losses incurred by the
RTC and the role of the state government in aggravating the crisis in the RTC.
The RTC’s so-called losses actually began after 1995-96 and
continued throughout the regime of Chandrababu Naidu. The same policies are
being pursued by the YSR government thereby leading to further losses to the
Corporation. The APSRTC, with a fleet of nearly 20,000 buses and worker
strength of 1.24 lakhs, has found place in the Guinness Book of world records.
The Government had been giving concessions in RTC fares to the students,
journalists, physically disabled, legislators and MPs, both past and present,
and a host of other sections. But the burden is placed on the RTC itself
instead of the government making the payments for the concessions. This has
been one of the reasons for the losses in the RTC. At last, after several
parleys, the government has agreed to pay half the amount spent for
concessions. However, the workers’ unions are not satisfied. Another
contentious issue is the tax levied on diesel used by the RTC fleet. The tax
on diesel for RTC which is 19.33 % in AP is the highest when compared to any
other state in India. It would be interesting to note in this context that the
tax on diesel for railways is just 4 %.
The Workers’ Trade Unions held several rounds of talks with
the state government but nothing fruitful emerged out of these. By the last
week of May the four Trade Unions— NMU, RTC Straff and Workers’ Federation,
Employees’ Union and Transport Mazdoor Sangh— representing almost the entire
work force, have formed into a joint action committee and issued a strike
notice to the government and warned that they might begin their indefinite
strike anytime after June 10th. The leaders of the various Unions went round
the districts to garner support of the workers for the strike and exposed the
hypocrisy of the YSR government, its deliberate moves to wind up the RTC
gradually and to encourage the private operators, and its subservience to the
World Bank. Its anti-people policy of absurd taxation on the RTC was explained
to the people.
Almost all the opposition parties have expressed
support for the RTC workers’ demands which were against the government’s plans
to weaken the RTC in order to benefit the private operators and to finally
bring about total privatization in the transport sector. They demanded the
reduction of the tax on the RTC to the levels prevailing in Tamil Nadu (2%)
and Karnataka (3%) as the 12.5% tax in AP has become a heavy burden to the RTC
as well as the passengers. The Revenue Reforms Committee, appointed by the
state government, too had recommended a tax of 2 % in place of the 12.5%
levied at present.
Moreover, there is a sinister plan of the government to
divide the RTC into six separate corporations and thus weaken it.
Subsequently, it wants to replace the RTC with private operators who are
already quite powerful in Rayalaseema and North Andhra regions.
It is interesting to note that it was the same YSR who had
totally supported the RTC strike in 2001 when the TDP was in power, stated
that the demands of the workers were fully justified and promised that he
would solve their demands when his party came to power. The workers’ unions
showed the article written by YSR in the Times of India at that time
justifying the RTC strike. Today, the demands of the RTC workers remain the
same, but ironically, the same YSR now opposes the demands of the workers,
calls them unjustified and even threatens them with dire consequences if they
went on a strike. The TDP, on the other hand, extends support to the strike
whereas it had suppressed the strike most brutally when it was in power. In
fact, it was the TDP’s 9-year misrule that had pushed the RTC into the present
quagmire through its advocacy and implementation of the World Bank’s policies
of ‘privatise or perish’ and cuts in subsidies.
Such is the height of the hypocrisy of the parliamentary parties of the
Increasing militancy of the people:
No wonder, the people
are infuriated and frustrated by the Congress government which took over from
the TDP making endless promises but fulfilling hardly any. The strikes and
agitations are gradually growing in the state. The Singareni workers went on a
three-day strike from 25-27 April.
Four workers’ unions
of the State Road Transport Corporation— NMU, RTC Straff and Workers’
Federation, Employees’ Union and Transport Mazdoor Sangh— representing almost
the entire work force, have formed into a joint action committee and served
Strike Notice to the government in the last week of May after their parleys with
the government did not resolve their problems. The so-called package of Rs. 640
crores announced by the state government did not cut much ice with the workers’
unions which stated that they might go on strike anytime after June 10th and
began organizing meetings of RTC workers all over the state (See Box). At the
time of writing the Unions declared that the strike would commence from July 4th
as the government was adamant.
The junior doctors
had also served notice to the government that they would go on strike any time
if the government did not withdraw its moves to grant permission to more private
medical colleges. The junior doctors had placed a charter of democratic demands
but the government— a puppet in the hands of the big business and the elite who
wish to make profits out of private medical colleges and privatization of
education in general—has adopted an adamant attitude thus making the strike by
the junior doctors inevitable in the near future.
It is interesting to
note that in both the instances mentioned above, the same YSR fully supported
their demands when he was in opposition but now he thinks the demands are
unreasonable! Once in power, he has proved himself to be no less a stooge of the
World Bank and the imperialists than Chandrababu Naidu, notwithstanding all his
anti-World Bank rhetoric during the elections.
agricultural land, house sites, drinking water, water for irrigation, power
supply, medicare, etc., have become commonplace. These demonstrations and
struggles have often turned militant leading to lathicharge and even firing by
the police on the one hand, and mass attacks on the police personnel and
stations on the other.
The issue of separate
Telangana has been a contentious issue between the various parties in the state.
The Congress-TRS alliance swept the polls in Telangana almost wiping out the TDP
in the last Assembly elections. The TDP had given the call for united Andhra
Pradesh which it had reiterated in its Mahanaadu in the last week of May.
expectations regarding a separate state of Telangana were quite high following
the victory of the Congress-TRS alliance last year as the TRS fought purely on
the issue of separate state and the Congress pretended as if it supported the
demand. But soon after the alliance won a thumping majority, the Congress
changed track and began to campaign for a Second States’ Reorganization
Commission (SRC) saying that it would abide by the latter’s decision whatever
that would be. However, YSR began a simultaneous campaign against separate
Telangana by pitting Rayalaseema against Telangana, arguing against "smaller
states" by stating that development and controlling Naxalites would be
difficult in small states due to lack of resources, and so on. By the end of the
year-long rule, the attitude of the Congress became increasingly clear which is
almost akin to that of the TDP. In the last week of May it came out with the
old, worn-out proposal of Regional Development Boards for Telangana and
Rayalaseema as an alternative to the demand for a separate state. When YSR is
pushed to the defensive on the issue, he would pretend that he would abide by
the decision of the non-existent second SRC or that his party had no objection
if the other parties agreed to the separate state, knowing clearly that other
parties especially the TDP and those on the so-called Left, are opposed to it.
The CPI and CPI(M), who are opposed to the demand of separate state, immediately
extended their support to the Congress’s proposal of setting up regional boards
for Telangana and Rayalaseema.
The TRS is clearly in
a fix. It had initially declared that it would not join the Congress ministry in
AP as it would mean acceptance of the present geographical state of AP and would
weaken the demand for separate Telangana. But the crass opportunism and power
hunger of its leaders prompted them to share power with the Congress both in the
Centre and the State.
There is growing
frustration among the TRS cadre as weeks passed into months and as the promises
of the TRS leaders had not materialized. Like mendicants, the TRS leaders have
been lobbying in Delhi and kowtowing before Sonia to fulfill their demand.
Occasionally they issue a statement that they are prepared for any sacrifice and
will launch a mass movement to achieve Telangana if their tactics in Delhi
The TRS leaders
initially assured that a separate state would come into existence by December
last, then extended it to April and then to June this year. They assert that 20
parties are supporting their cause, 12 within the ruling UPA at the Centre and
another 12 outside it. Sonia Gandhi herself, and Pranab Mukherjee, who is
nominated to look into the demand and provide recommendation to the union
Cabinet, had declared that it would take a longer time to arrive at any
decision. They had assured YSR that they will not take any decision in haste but
only after consultation and approval of the other Parties. The CPI and CPI(M),
on whose support the UPA government at the Centre is totally dependent for its
survival, are clearly opposed to a separate Telangana.
The game of fooling
each other and the people at large continues unabashedly. And in spite of the
clear opposition of the Congress to the demand for separate a Telangana state,
the TRS still continues to share power in the government both in the state and
the Centre. The CPI(Maoist) exposed this double-talk of the TRS and demanded
that it should immediately come out of the government.
The emergence of new
forces in Telangana that are keen on starting a militant agitation for a
separate state is an encouraging development. Recently, a Telangana United Front
was formed with 14 parties and organizations, which include some organizations
in the Andhra region. A new organization is being floated by actress
Vijayashanthi who had resigned from the BJP in the last week of May and declared
at a public meeting in her characteristic cinematic style that she would "fight
for separate Telangana until her last breath". Though doubts exist that she
would not have made such a move without the blessings of the BJP, the fact that
she had resigned from the BJP and asserted her commitment to fight for a
separate state instead of lobbying with the Centre like the TRS, has attracted a
section supporting the demand. There could be polarization of the forces in
Telangana and it is likely that forces from other parties would come onto
a common platform once the agitation takes off.
Surely, there is
trouble ahead for all the parties in Telangana, especially the Congress and TRS.
praja patham (people’s path) programme is a poor duplication of the
much-maligned janmabhoomi programme of TDP government. During the last Assembly
elections, YSR’s Congress had accused the TDP that it had spent over Rs. 400
crores for his publicity and that his Party would cut down all such extravagant
expenditure, and instead, provide it to the peasantry in the form of free power
supply. However, the new government is on the same track of conducting publicity
gimmicks, road shows and padayatras and spending huge amounts to propagate the
‘achievements’ of the government.
In spite of the
massive propaganda by the government, the praja patham programme had
turned out to be a damp squib. Three features stood out conspicuously with
regard to the conduct of this so-called praja patham programme:
Firstly, there were
hardly any people during the praja patham programmes. Ministers,
legislators and officials had to wait for hours for want of people. As the
Congress had a weak base and network of functionaries in most of the districts
unlike the TDP, it could not mobilise much for its local programmes.
The second thing that
was conspicuous was the intolerant and authoritarian attitude of those in power.
MSR, a minister of endowments, tried to slap a person who questioned him. A
villager who complained to the power minister that power supply was not proper,
was beaten up by Congress workers. Another minister, Nayani Narsimha Reddy,
openly declared that what they promised during the elections were not for
implementation. In Kothapalli village in Jammikunta mandal of KNR, women
demonstrated with water pots when the local MLA visited the village as part of
the Praja Patham programme. They blocked the road and there was a lathi-charge
on the women. One woman broke the pot at the feet of the legislator. In
Bothalapalem village in Nalgonda district, the home minister became furious when
women demonstrated with empty pots demanding drinking water. The minister fled
the village in the middle of the meeting.
Third, there is
growing defiance of the people, with politicians turning tail. In Nalgonda, Home
Minister displayed anger and fled when women demonstrated with empty pots
demanding drinking water. 2 ½ crores of people in around 39000 residential areas
in the state are short of water.
See no evil, hear no
evil! claimed the chief minister. But as regards doing evil, he did not make any
comment thereby reserving the option to do so.
One year in office
and the people’s anger is rising rapidly against a government that had come to
power basing on false promises and lies. The expectations of the people were
quite high when the Congress came to power as it had promised virtually heaven
on earth. Even though people knew that most of it was election rhetoric, they at
least expected some promises to be fulfilled. But the performance of the
Congress in the one year had belied all their hopes and expectations. The people
are now preparing themselves for the bloody battles ahead. Already lathicharge,
firings arrests and killings have become common place under YSR raj. The coming
days will witness an upsurge of the militant struggles of the people in AP which
will further strengthen the ongoing people’s war led by the CPI(Maoist).
YSR celebrates his one year with
brutal attacks on the revolutionaries and their sympathizers
The YSR-Swaranjit Sen
government in AP had further stepped up its attacks not only on the
revolutionaries and their sympathizers, but also on the various sections of the
people who have taken to the streets to resolve their problems like drinking
water, house sites, agricultural land, loans, remunerative prices for
agricultural produce, etc. It has decided not to allow any militant protest
against its policies. The following is a brief description of the police
operations at the end of one year rule of YSR’s Congress in the state. As
history has proved time and again, repression breeds resistance. The daring
attacks by the PLGA led by the CPI(Maoist), which are growing day by day,
notwithstanding the claims by the government of having achieved significant
victories in its fight against the Maoists, vindicates this truth once again. We
are publishing here a few of these incidents which took place in the one month
since the celebration of one year rule by the congress government i.e., from
mid-May to mid-June.
For the suppression
of the Naxalites the YSR government has been trying desperately to intensify the
combing operations in the forest regions by utilizing the summer season. The DGP
had been to Delhi at a regular frequency and requested the Centre to supply the
state with four UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) immediately along with four
Battalions of CRPF so that the combing operations can yield good results in the
summer months when the water points dry up and the forest cover gets thin.
Although the request was made in May and the centre had agreed to it, the
vehicles had not yet arrived by the middle of June which has made the elite
Greyhounds and the police force quite jittery. They do not want to undertake
risky operations by themselves and want the help of the central forces. And the
papers reported on June 13 that four Greyhound personnel were hospitalized when
they were struck by sunstroke during their combing operations in Nallamala
district, around 300 people were arrested, detained illegally for several days
and weeks and false cases were foisted on them. Activists and leaders of the RWA,
Kula Nirmoolana Sangham, APCLC, CMS, Chenetha Karmika Samakhya, AIPRF, PKM and
other organizations were detained and tortured and it was only the immediate
bold protests by their kith and kin and the democratic organizations and
individuals that they were eventually released without the usual story of
A pocket book of
guidelines for the VIPs and others suspected to be in the ‘hitlist’of the
Maoists, was released by the SP of Mahboob Nagar district in the background of
increasing attacks by the Maoists on the police and political leaders. Entitled
‘Taraka Mantram’, it has 12 guidelines. It describes how an Action Team
of the Maoists functions, how to identify an action team, and what precautions
should be taken to protect oneself. It warns the targets not to go for morning
walks, not to inform the family members about his/her movements or give wrong
information, search all those who go to meet the political leaders, collect
information about strangers, avoid deserted places and to inform the police
whenever they have the slightest suspicion.
In the early hours of
May 14, at around 1 AM, over a hundred-strong contingent of police descended
upon the village of Adigoppula in Guntur district, searched all the houses of
suspected sympathizers of the Maoists, brought them to the centre of the village
and took over a hundred of them in two lorries to the nearby Durgi PS. They were
beaten up severely and were shifted to other stations after releasing a few
students. After the raid, the village wore a deserted look with only women,
children and old people staying back while the youth fled the village. The
village has been a stronghold of the Maoists since long and it was near this
village that four Greyhound personnel were killed in a mine blast by the then
CPI(ML)[PW] in July 2002 after the talks with the TDP failed. The poor and
landless peasants of Adigoppula had also seized several acres of surplus land of
the landlords, temple land and forest land.
The psychological war
or the so-called war on the ethical front launched by the biggest liar of AP,YS
Rajasekhara Reddy, at the Police Academy in Hyderabad in the beginning of May,
is being waged most aggressively by the SIB and the top police brass. After the
release of the letter correspondence between the Party leadership on the one
hand, and Varavara Rao and other talks representatives on the other in the first
half of May, the police stepped up their campaign of vilification and spreading
slander. On May 30, the Nalgonda police arrested Bandi Venkateswarlu and issued
a statement in his name making several baseless allegations against the three
representatives, particularly Varavara Rao. The statement alleged that VV,
Gaddar and Kalyan Rao had tried to make settlements of land disputes getting
huge amounts of money in return. The Warangal police, who are extremely
notorious for their lawless behaviour, fake encounter killings, tortures and
foisting false cases, then circulated a story that VV had received Rs.50 lakhs
from KIMS (Kakatiya Institute of Medical Sciences) for his role in settlement of
the land dispute. The SIB officials and other top police officials, who derive a
large part of their income from their dubious land deals made through ex-Naxals-turned-renegades
like Nayeemuddin, Jadala Nagaraj, Kattula Sammayya (now dead) and several
others, could naturally think of only real estate deals for creating scandals
against VV and others.
Venkateswarlu himself was not allowed by the police to meet any media persons
for over two weeks to verify the story. And finally when the media persons
somehow managed to ask him a few questions when he was being taken to the Court
on June 13, he flatly denied anything to do with the so-called statement he was
supposed to have made against VV and others. He declared that he was not the
author of the statement released in his name and that it was prepared and
released by the police officials without his consent and was meant to defame the
Maoists. VV too denied any involvement in the land dispute of KIMS. Even
otherwise, there is hardly anyone in AP who would believe the concocted charges
of the police against the Maoist representatives.
The attacks and
harassment of the revolutionary intellectuals continues despite
YSR-Jana-Swaranjit Sen harping on their adherence to "the rule of law", whatever
that might mean in the police state of AP. On May 30, two underground leaders of
the CPI(Maoist)—comrades Ganti Prasadam alias Prabhakar,a member of the APSC,
and Surendar, a DC member—were arrested in Aurangabad along with four leaders of
the RWA when they were having a meeting. Though the arrest itself was accidental
and on suspicion, they were soon handed over to the SIB of AP since they were
speaking Telugu. They were identified by the AP police and were first kept in
illegal detention for three days with their eyes tied for most of the time.
Later they were produced in the court but again remanded to police custody, this
time legally, and a conspiracy case was foisted against them. At the time of
writing they still remain in custody and the police have once again asked
permission for interrogating the arrested.
Resistance by the PLGA:
The Maoists attacked
ten Police stations ever since the failure of the talks in January this year
after the government began its armed onslaught on the Maoists suddenly even as
it kept chanting about talks. Three of these were in Mahboob Nagar, two in
Guntur, one each in Prakasham, Krishna and Anantapur, one in neighbouring
Karnataka carried out by the PLGA of Anantapur, and one in Khammam district.
The latest attacks in
the first week of June were those on Amrabad PS and Mannanoor police outpost in
Mahboob Nagar district and on Kuknoor PS in Khammam district. The attacks in
Mahboob Nagar took place simultaneously on the night on June 3rd when around
hundred Maoists divided themselves into two batches and attacked the two
stations. The exchange of fire lasted for over two hours. The Mannanoor police
outpost building was completely damaged but the policemen managed to escape into
the college building behind the station and thus were saved. Two policemen were
injured in the attack.
Though there were no
casualties on either side, the attacks blew up the myth propagated by the police
that they had taken over the entire Nallamala forest region from the control of
the Maoists and that it was firmly under their control. They were boasting that
due to their intense combing operations since February this year, the Maoists
had to flee from their ‘shelter zone’ in Nallamala and they are not in a
position to launch any major attacks on the police. The very fact that over a
hundred guerillas of the PLGA could gather and carry out daring attacks on the
two police stations made the police officials dumbfounded.
Within two days,
another PS in Kuknoor village in Khammam district was attacked by around 40
Maoists. The policemen ran away from the station upon seeing the Maoists without
firing a shot.
An amusing incident
took place in Chandarlapur mandal in Krishna district. The PS, which was earlier
situated outside the village, was recently shifted into the centre of the
village due to the fear of an attack by the Maoists. And on the night of June 8,
the entire police force fled the PS after locking it as they got information
that the PLGA of the CPI(Maoist) might carry out an attack that night.
On May 23, a bandh
was organized successfully in Anantapur district protesting the killing of
Diwakar alias Hanumantha Reddy in a so-called encounter by the police. The
election campaign by the two parties, Congress and TDP, in the Penukonda
bye-election was called off on the day of the bandh.
On June 1, a district
bandh was organized in Guntur to protest the killing of a comrade in Guthikonda.
This was the village where the martyr’s column of comrade Charu Majumdar was
inaugurated by the state secretary of CPI(Maoist), comrade Ramakrishna on
October 11, 2004 and a huge public meeting was held.
On June 13, the
opening day of the construction of the Pulichintala project, which is being
opposed by the people of Guntur and Nalgonda and benefits only the landlords of
Krishna district, the house of the MP of Tenali, Vallabhaneni Balashouri, was
blasted by the PLGA in Morjampadu village in Guntur district as the MP was
instrumental in getting the project through.
At the time of
writing, there are media reports of an exchange of fire between the PLGA and the
Greyhounds in Chitriyal village in Chandampet mandal in Nalgonda district in
which at least two Greyhounds personnel were seriously injured and were sent to
the hospital in Hyderabad. No casualties are reported on the side of the
Maoists. This, at last, seems to be a real encounter!
The people of AP will never allow the
Naidus/YSRs to sell the State to the imperialists. No amount of repression can
destroy their urge for freedom — freedom from the increasingly horrifying
backward semi-feudal oppression, pushing thous-ands to suicide each year. Rather
than kill themselves and destroy their families, they will no doubt, pick up the
red flag of liberation.