Volume 6, No. 3, March 2005


Hail the Heroic Martyrdom of Com. Saketh Rajan (Prem) and Com. Shivalingu (Arun) !

Avenge the brutal killing of our beloved Comrades ! !


February 6th, 2005 is a most tragic day in the history of the revolutionary movement not only in Karnataka but also for the whole country. On that day, the people of Karnataka lost one of its brave sons; on that fateful day the Party, Communist Party of India (Maoist), lost one of its invaluable leaders and a fighter; on this day the revolutionary movement in Karnataka suffered a severe blow.

On receiving definite information about the movement of the squad and Com. Saketh from a notorious landlord and informer Shesha Gowda, and a Bajarang Dal goon, near Menasinahadya village of Koppa Taluk in the Western Ghats, about 80 policemen, led by Dy. SP Shivakumar, divided into four groups and reached that place from all directions around 1.00 am. At 6.00am, when the squad came out of the house, the blood-thirsty police thugs surrounded them and started firing. Although the comrades were surprised by the sudden burst of firing, the squad retaliated. But Com. Saketh Rajan and Shivalingu, who fought heroically for the liberation of the poor and oppressed till their last breath, fell to the bullets of the enemy. Other members of the squad retreated safely. The brutality of the killers was evident from the way the crime was committed. The back portion of the head of Com. Saketh was blown off. He was shot from a rifle at point blank range from behind. Com. Shivalingu was also shot in the stomach from behind. Yet, many intellectuals raised doubts about this ‘encounter’ considering that the police and CM conspired to dispose of the dead body without giving it to his comrades and even the mother. Serious doubts are that it was a fake encounter so as to hide the torture marks from the body.

Enraged by this gruesome murder the revolutionary masses, democrats and intellectuals expressed their strong protest. Suspecting foul play in the whole incident the Citizen Forum for Peace Initiative demanded re-post-mortem of the deceased, to stop the ongoing operation against the Naxalites in Malnad, and to conduct a judicial enquiry into the ‘encounter’. They met the vicious CM, Dharam Singh, and requested him to hand over the bodies to them. The liar CM promised to hand over the bodies but refused to stop the ongoing operation against the Naxalites. Even as the sympathizers and supporters began making arrangements for paying the last tributes and homage to the beloved comrades, the police stealthily took away the bodies from the mortuary and cremated them without the presence of the relatives or the sympathizers. True to his chameleon nature the CM approved the cremation of the bodies by the police. As the news of the cremation leaked out the supporters and sympathizers, who were in the mortuary protested against this inhuman conduct of the police. Panicking by the growing anger of the revolutionary masses and the sympathy wave among the wider sections of the broad masses, and fear of exposure of their brutalities and conspiracy, the police conducted the cremation by using brutal force. More than 400 policemen were mobilized at the crematorium; and the cremation was completed by deception and at gunpoint.

Saketh in college days

Com. Saketh Rajan hailed from an orthodox upper caste, upper class background. His father was a Major in the army. Discontented with this inhuman social system and the hypocrisy of the rulers he was dedicated to the cause of the poor and oppressed since his student days. As reported in the Indian Express: His parents had expected him to become an engineer. But he dropped out of the B.Tech course and chose to study literature instead. He then studied Mass Communications at the IIMC, New Delhi. As narrated by his college friend, Lingaraj Gandhi, and now professor at the Mysore University, "Saketh read voraciously and widely. The book "Wretched of the Earth", by Franz Fanon had an enormous impact on him…. I was confused, but he was beginning to make up his mind….. Then there was no looking back".

Imbibed with the great ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and inspiration for the advancement of the revolutionary movement in AP, his compassion for the poor and oppressed transformed him into a dedicated revolutionary. He completely integrated himself with the revolutionary movement since 1983. Com.Saketh started as a student organizer and was one of the most committed Communist Revolutionaries of Karnataka. He played an active role in almost all struggles and built the party from scratch. To name a few he was in the forefront in exposing the expansionist designs of the Indian ruling classes in setting up of the Rare Earth Material Plant, at Ratnahalli near Mysore, where the enrichment of Uranium, which can be used for nuclear bombs, is produced. He played a leading role in thwarting the joint venture of imperialist and comprodor ruling classes of Karnataka in setting up the "Japan Industrial Township" at Sattanur near Bangalore and the expansion of mining activities in the Western Ghats by the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL).

In 1987, he was elected to the State Committee in the first state conference of Karnataka, and in the fourth state conference in 2000, elected as the state Secretary. He was the delegate to the 9th All India Congress of the erstwhile CPI (ML)(People’s War) and was elected to the CC as an alternate member.

In his two decades of revolutionary life, he never wavered even for a moment. He creatively applied the ideology and party’s political line to the concrete conditions of Karnataka. The revolutionary movement in Karnataka is still weak. But this did not deter Com. Saketh from proceeding in his duty to build a guerrilla zone with the perspective of Base Area in the Malnad region. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was the "brain and spine" of the revolutionary movement in Malnad. Under the guidance of MLM, he was meticulous in studying the concrete conditions in Malnad and drawing up a plan of action to achieve that task. He was not only the "brain" but also an activist, organizer, comrade-in-arms and the commander of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army. He was an astute student of Com. Mao in integrating with the Dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed masses. He adopted the Maoist style of functioning of leading the movement from the "field". He was a good "teacher" and at the same time being a good "student" ready to learn from everyone.

As a true intellectual dedicated to the liberation of the people of India, particularly Karnataka, he adopted the Marxist methodology of understanding history from a historical materialist standpoint. He authored two volumes of "Making History" one of the most scholarly works in the historical study of Karnataka. While partaking in all the strenuous work of the Party and living a life in underground Saketh read profusely about Karnataka history. This resulted in his penning two volumes of "Making History", the second of which was published barely a year back. As the Indian Express says "and perhaps the only ‘extremist’ whose scholarly work is read in a university in the same state that shot him dead yesterday……Parts of this work are now being taught at Mangalore University".

The first volume traced the history of Karnataka from the first signs of human habitation till the time of British conquest. It ended with the martyrdom of Tippu Sultan. The second volume traced the development of Karnataka history from the time of British conquest in 1799 till the First war of Indian Independence in 1857. The third volume was to explore into the impact of British colonialism on Karnataka from 1858 to 1947. Though the third volume may never see the light of day, due to his pre-occupation with advancing the rural movement and armed struggle in Karnataka in the period before his martyrdom, the first two volumes are a brilliant example of the application of historical materialism to a study of past history of the country. In its depth of analysis and penetrating scientific approach it can be put on par with some of the writings by the renowned Marxist historian D.D.Kosambi.

With a flair and fluency in English and Kannada, the ability to sum-up the information in a systematic way with an ideological outlook, he wrote many articles in the party journals.

This heroic communist, who wielded The Pen & Gun with Equal Proficiency, will be remembered by the people of India for his two big contributions to the Indian revolution. First, it was he who, together with others, pioneered the initiation of armed struggle under communist leadership in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Second, it was he, under the pen-name Saki, who has penned the history of Karnataka in his two volumes of "Making History" tracing the history of the Kannadiga nationality from the earliest of times to 1857.

His loss is an insurmountable blow for the party in Karnataka. But the path he showed, the path of sacrifice for the noble cause of establishing a New Democratic India towards building Socialism and Communism, will definitely inspire the party and the people of Karnataka. They are sure to emulate the dedication of Com. Saketh Rajan for the revolution and liberation of the oppressed masses and the determination in fighting the enemy in achieving that noble cause till his last breath.

Com. Shivalingu hailed from a middle peasant background in Sindhanur Taluk of Raichur district. Inspired by the revolutionary peasant movement in Raichur, he joined the student organization in 1998. When the rural work in Raichur was withdrawn and shifted to Malnad in 2001, he readily accepted the party’s call to join the armed squad and discontinued his studies. A young revolutionary, at the age of around 25, he was a very active and determined fighter. Although he was new to the Malnad region, his hard work and dedication to the cause of revolution inspired the Adivasis and other oppressed masses of that area. Within a short period, he gained the confidence of the masses of Malnad and became an organizer. The hard terrain and the bloodsucking leeches did not deter him from the path of revolution. Though he was not much experienced in field craft and military techniques he was a valiant fighter and showed grit in the encounters with the enemy. He was the guard for Com. Saketh, when the incident took place. He laid down his life in the struggle to protect the life of the leadership and for the liberation of the oppressed masses. He was a well-disciplined guerrilla soldier ready to undertake any responsibility given by the party.

These two comrades upheld the glorious path shown by our beloved martyrs. They displayed the revolutionary firmness, courage and Bolshevik spirit in the face of the enemy’s onslaught. The red banner of revolt is reddened with the blood of these two martyrs. They cherished the noble cause where the exploitation of man by man and subjugation of the toiling masses under the yoke of imperialism, feudalism, capitalism and all other reaction will be buried permanently and laid down their invaluable life in the struggle to achieve this.

Let us pay our red tributes and homage to our beloved martyrs by advancing the struggle in the path shown by them.

Let us fulfill the dreams of our beloved martyrs with more determination, hard work and preparedness to make any sacrifice in the struggle for building a guerrilla zone with the perspective of Base Area in Malnad.

As Com., Gonzala said, let us " Snatch the victory from the mouth of death".

Long live Comrades Saketh Rajan (Prem) and Shivalingu (Arun)!

Hail the martyrdom of our beloved Martyrs!

— Ravindran






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