30 years of Naxalbari

An Epic of Heroic Struggle and Sacrifice



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 PART — 4


The Storm clouds gather...........


Bihar :

(1) Maoist Communist Centre

(2) CPI (ML) Party Unity

Andhra Pradesh :

(1) The Initial Regrouping

(2) Telangana Regional Conference

(3) A Cultural Resurgence

(4) The Student Movement

(5) Go To Village Campaign

(6) Resurgence of the Peasant Movement

(7) Civil Liberties Movement

(8) Formation of CPI (ML) (PW)


Where there is oppression there is resistance. Revolution is not a conspiracy, it is a festival of the masses. Secret methods of organisation and guerilla forms of warfare are necessary for a smaller force to defeat a larger force. The Indian state is relatively big and powerful. Besides, they get continuous training from the Americans, British, Russians and the Israeli intelligence, Mossad. After the defeat of the reactionary forces in Vietnam, counter-insurgency training internationally has reached a higher level of perfection. Today, the strength of India’s armed forces is 15 lakh, plus there is a 8 lakh central para-military force and 12 lakh police force (3 lakh of whom are the armed-police). The total expenditure on the army and para-military forces was Rs. 37, 000 crores in 1996-97 and that on the police was Rs. 7, 200 crores. Together with this, large secret funds are allocated for covert operations of the IB, RAW etc. This entire force of three and a half million, incurring a massive expenditure of over Rs. 45, 000 crores yearly is used for the suppression of the Indian people-i.e., the government is spending Rs. 500 per family per year for their suppression. It needs a powerful force, with deep roots in the masses, and well-versed in guerilla warfare to take on the enemy forces of the state. The amatuerish methods of the 1969-72 period were easily defeated.

Taking lessons from this experience, the movement began taking roots on a more solid foundation. The seeds of this movement were sown in the early 1970s itself, they began to sprout in the post-emergency period, a strong erect structure developed in the decade of the 80s, and in the 90s they began to bloom in the bright sunshine blazing over the forests and plains of Andhra Pradesh, Dandakaranya and Bihar. Through massive repression and most bestial brutality the Indian government tried to snuff out the seeds, it failed; it tried to trample over the young saplings, it failed again; it tried to axe the strong structure that began to take shape, yet again it failed; and now it is trying to drown the sweet fragrance by emitting a vile odour - it will also fail.

First, a brief introduction to the movement in Bihar led by the MCC and CPI (ML) Party Unity. Later we shall go into a detailed description of the movement led by CPI (ML) (PW) in AP and Dandakaranya.


After the suppression of the Bhojpur movement, the CPI (ML) Liberation made a swing towards the Right and slowly went into the morass of revisionist politics. The enormous mass base so systematically built by the martyrs of Bhojpur was step by step disarmed and pushed into parliamentarism. In short, the revolutionary movement was liquidated. What is worse, this group was utilised to launch attacks on the genuine revolutionaries. The most notorious incident being the murder of two leading members of the CPI (ML) 2nd CC - Ramachandra Thakur and Jassiya Ray. Thakur was member of the Central Committee. Also, they had aggressively attacked and killed cadres from the MCC and CPI (ML) Party Unity. It was only when these organisations retaliated that the Liberation group’s aggressiveness reduced.

Soon, the focus of the movement shifted from Bhojpur to the districts of Gaya, Aurangabad and Jehanabad where two organisations with dedicated cadre were quietly building their revolutionary base. These two organisations were the Maoist Communist Centre and, the other was, what later came to be known as the CPI (ML) Party Unity.

(1) Maoist Communist Centre

The MCC, while supporting the Naxalbari struggle, did not join the CPI (ML) because of some tactical differences and on the question of the method of Party formation. Its history can be traced to three phases.

The first phase can be stretched from 1964 to 1968 and began when the revisionist line was established at the first Congress of the CPI (M). Functioning as the ‘Dakshin Desh’ group (after the Bengali Magazine brought out by it) it led a revolt against the revisionist line and established a secret revolutionary centre to develop a revolutionary line. The two main founders of this group were Amulya Sen and Kanai Chatterjee. It was a period primarily of ideological struggles. While doing so, the major comrades were already playing a leading role in the trade union front, student front and youth front. The leading comrades too were linked to the workers and peasants movement. The theoretical issues raised in this period were :
(i) drawing a clear line of demarcation with the revisionists in the political and organisational fields, (ii) linking the daily revolutionary practice of Indian revolution to the theory (iii) developing a political and tactical line not merely as a formality, but giving it a concrete structure in various spheres of activity and (iv) based on these revolutionary policies, style and method, and in the course of revolutionary struggles and guided by a revolutionary theory, to build a revolutionary party.

The second phase, which stretched from 1969 to 1978, was a period of implementation of the party’s line, policies and plans. It was a period of gaining practical experience towards the path of establishing the ‘Red Agrarian Revolutionary Resistance War.’ It was initiated by two articles printed in Dakshin Desh (Lal Pataka in Hindi) entitled ‘The Perspective of Indian Revolution’ and ‘The Tactical Line of Indian Revolution-perspective’, and, the formation of MCC on October 20, 1969. Work was begun on this basis in the Sundarbans, 24 Parganas, Hoogli, Midnapur, Kanksa, Gaya and Hazaribagh. Of these experiences the most encouraging was that of Kanksa and Hazaribagh. Here, a wide movement was built on issues like wage hike, seizure of crops, fertiliser problem, confiscation of grains from landlords and against various forms of political and social oppression. Also, a wide mass movement was built, some notorious landlords punished and steps were taken towards disarming of the enemy and arming the people. Some guerilla squads and self-defence squads were also built and through the Kanksa struggles the concept of the Revolutionary Peasant Committees first developed. In the 1972-77 period the movement faced enormous repression.

The third phase, which stretched from 1979 to 1988, was a period of taking the lessons, both positive and negative, of the second phase and enriching both the theory and practice. In this phase the MCC focused on Bihar; and with the perspective of building a people’s army and base area, the Bihar-Bengal Special Area Committee was established, the ‘Preparatory Committee for Revolutionary Peasant Struggles’ was formed and soon Revolutionary Peasant Councils emerged. In this phase militant struggles developed and the landlords’ authority smashed, thousands of acres of land seized and distributed to the landless, and property of the landlords seized and distributed. But it was in this period that the two founding members of the organisation passed away - Amulya Sen in March 1981 and Kannai Chatterjee in July 1982.

Now the movement has grown to a number of districts of Bihar including Hazaribagh, Giridh, Gaya, Aurangabad and others. Today, the MCC is a force to reckon with, in Bihar.

(2) CPI (ML) Party Unity

Cadres of the CPI (ML) from Jehanabad-Palamau region fought against the disruptionist and revisionist line put forward by Satyanarayan Singh in 1971. Also while struggling against the left line of the Bhojpur comrades, they built some roots in the area. After the release of many comrades from jail in 1977, the movement picked up momentum and was re-organised. They organised themselves into the CPI (ML) (Unity Organisation) in 1978.

The Jehanabad-Palamau region is one of the backward regions of Bihar. In addition to cultivation, the peasants have to rely on the collection of forest produce for their subsistence. In this area the writ of the landlord lay unchallenged. The situation began to change with the entry of the Unity Organisation. Learning from their previous ‘left’ errors special attention was paid to build a mass base for the activities of their armed squads. A peasant organisation was formed - The Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti (MKSS). All old practices were questioned and landlords’ authority challenged. Struggles for wage increase, against the social oppression of women and scheduled castes, and the biggest struggles arose over the auction of forest produce.

The incipient movement saw three of its young activists martyred on 10th August 1982. The landlords of Bhagwanpur village in Gaya district kidnaped Lakhan Manjhi (20 years), Sudeshi Manjhi (19) and Balkishore Manjhi (15) and killed them. Lakhan was an important member of the Party’s Red Squad. In June 1984 the movement faced a severe loss, when the popular secretary of the MKSS, Krishna Singh, was shot dead by landlords. In May 1984 the Palamau-Aurangabad Regional Committee of the MKSS had held its conference and plans were being made for fresh attacks on the landlords. On June 17, Krishna Singh was conducting a meeting of the MKSS at Jharna in Palamau district. The local landlord and goondas attacked the meeting, opening fire. A chase began, Com. Krishna Singh allowed his comrades to get away, and fell to the enemy’s bullets. Condemnation of this murder spread in a spate of protests throughout the area. The protests led to the arrest of 35 of the hoodlums involved.

Meanwhile in 1983 the Unity Organisation merged with a section of the COC, CPI (ML) to form the COC, CPI (ML) Party Unity. As the movement grew the party too put forward the perspective of building up a guerilla zone. At the Party Congress held in 1987 the COC, CPI (ML) Party Unity outlined the following tasks : "We are tackling the steadily increasing armed onslaughts of the state, through mass resistance. But gradually the squads too will have to come forward to participate in this resistance. At the phase of confiscating all lands of the landlords and on the eve of building up the guerilla zone, the activities of the squads will be the main aspect of the people’s resistance against the armed attacks of the state."

In Gaya-Aurangabad a call was issued for all landlords to deposit their weapons with the Kisan Samitis. Those who refused found their houses attacked and their weapons seized. The movement grew, and today the COC CPI (ML) Party Unity is also a force in a number of districts of Bihar.

Andhra Pradesh

While in the late 1960s the nerve centre of the Maoist movement in India was West Bengal, by the late 1970s it had shifted to Andhra Pradesh. ... Ofcourse, Andhra Pradesh has a glorious history of revolutionary struggles. It had seen the historic Telangana struggle where, by July 1948, 2500 villages had been organised into‘communes’. It was the famous ‘Andhra Thesis’, that for the first time demanded that Indian revolution follow the Chinese path of protracted people’s war. As early as June 1948 the ‘Andhra Letter’ submitted to the Central Executive Committee of the Party, laid down in unambiguous terms a revolutionary strategy based on Mao’s New Democracy. It was the first time anywhere in the world (outside China) that ‘Mao’s Line’ had been asserted. In fact, the ‘Chinese Path’ for the backward countries was first asserted by the CPC only in November 1949 at a meeting of the World Federation of Trade Unions being held in Peking. But this line was vehemently opposed by the Ranadive leadership of the CPI. It was only in May 1950, after the Cominform came out with its approval of the Chinese revolutionary strategy as a model for the backward countries, that the ‘Andhra Thesis’ was accepted and became the official line of the Party. But this line lasted for just one year, as, with the withdrawal of the Telangana struggle and a decision to participate in the forthcoming elections, the Andhra Thesis was withdrawn. In May 1951 Ajoy Ghosh was elected as secretary in place of Rajeshwar Rao and a new leadership introduced the revisionist line.

Then came the Srikakulam uprising, and now, by 1972 the shift was once again back to the Telangana region.

(1) The initial regrouping

By November 72, of the 12 member AP State Committee only one remained to regroup the forces, the rest had been either killed or arrested. Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, together with some leading members of the state, reorganised much of the fractured units. Earlier, in March 1972, the existing three members of the state committee (two of whom were arrested in November) sought to correct the errors of the Naxalbari period by maintaining its revolutionary essence. This committee decided to build mass organisations, take up the partial struggles of the masses and spread to new areas by building legal mass organisations, where possible. It also decided that the annihilation of class enemies should be conducted only as part of the class struggle. With these decisions a two member delegation went to meet CM. CM spoke to the delegation just ten days before his arrest and approved all the decisions. At this meeting CM also disclosed the fraternal suggestions of the CPC regarding rectification of certain methods of work.

In August 1972 the Party launched its political magazine ‘Pilupu’ (The Call) to rally the revolutionary forces. This magazine, besides dissemination of the stand of the Party on national and international issues, conducted an ideological battle to repulse the attacks of the dissidents within the CPI (ML) (example - SNS, Kanu Sanyal, some of the jailed leaders in AP) and from those outside (erstwhile APCCCR), in defense of the CM-line and the new organisational methods to be adopted. ‘Pilupu’ played an important role in repulsing the right and ‘left’ deviations rampant in the movement at that time.....steering the movement onto a correct path. Together with this, in order to knit the cadres on a strong ideological basis, a large number of political classes were held.

Besides reorganising the Party in AP, KS made attempts to contact central committee members from West Bengal and other states. Of the four central committee members from AP elected at the 1970 Congress two were killed and two in jail. In January 1974 KS attended a meeting of a reconstituted Central Organising Committee comprising Sharma (elected secretary of the COC) of Punjab, Suniti Ghosh of Bengal and Ramnath of Bihar, of which the first two were original CC members elected at the 1970 Congress.

Meanwhile as there was no state committee in existence in AP, in August 1974 it was decided to reconstitute a three-member committee comprising KS (representing Telangana region), Appalasuri who had just escaped from jail (representing coastal Andhra) and Mahadevan, who had just come out on bail (representing Rayalaseema).

The COC which had to prepare a common self-critical review was unable to come to any agreement on the three separate reviews presented. At the two month September 75 meeting it was decided to withdraw these reviews and instead produce a tactical line. It was hoped that this tactical line would strengthen unity through practice and act as the basis for a common tactical line, entitled ‘Road to Revolution’, though prepared after intense discussion, did not help unity. While the May 1977 meeting the Bihar and West Bengal representatives resigned, and the AP representative did not attend due to the arrest of KS. With the collapse of this first attempt to reorganise the Centre, the AP comrades turned their focus back to the movement in the state.

(2) Telangana Regional Conference

At the time the Telangana Regional Conference was held in February 1977 all the preparations had been completed for the launching of a powerful mass movement. In the previous five years, the scattered revolutionary forces had been regrouped, the political line had been effectively defended from attacks from both the right and ‘left’, a powerful revolutionary student movement had developed which were to provide a large number of cadres for the Party, fraction work had effectively laid the seeds of organisation amongst a section of the workers, particularly the coal mine workers, and the seeds of a peasant movement had been sown in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts. All the conditions were ready for the take-off and the Telangana Regional Conference was to ignite the fuse.

The Conference was held basically to review the growing Telangana movements and to elect a leadership. In this conference three major decisions were taken - (i) to broaden the party’s base amongst the masses (ii) to hold a series of political classes to train the big influx of new cadre and (iii) to send squads into the forest for launching armed struggle. Finally, the eight districts of Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, were divided into two regions and two regional committees were elected.

(3) A Cultural Resurgence

AP had a rich tradition of revolutionary culture. After Naxalbari, the big names of Telugu literature like Sri Sri, R.V. Shastri, Kutumba Rao etc turned towards the revolutionary trend. With the CPI taking to the parliamentary path, the Progressive Writers Association stagnated. It was the Digambara (naked) poets of 1965 which broke the dullness that had engulfed Telugu literature. Poets like K.V.Ramana Reddy, Cherabanda Raju, Varavara Rao, C. Vijayalaxmi, CV Krishna Rao, exposed social evils, corruption, exploitation, political bankruptcy, meaningless middle-class existence, commercialisation of literature, etc. The anthology of 15 poets, Rathiri (night) was like a flash of light in the darkness. The incisive poems of Cherabanda Raju and Varavara Rao have been translated in nearly all languages.

By 1965 there were three important groups of poets who were to rock the Telugu literary world : the Hyderabad based Digambara poets, the Warangal based Thirugubatu (revolt) poets and the Guntur based Pygambara poets. After the Naxalbari uprising these poets, together with the leading lights of the literary world (i.e. Sri Sri and others) merged to form VIRASAM in 1970 - i.e., the Viplava Rachayithala Sangam or the Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA). Even in the period of setback it was the inspiring poems, short-stories, novels which continued to attract thousands of the youth towards the politics of Naxalbari. Not only were the writers politically uncompromising, they were artistically brilliant. Further, RWA initiated the formation of an all-India revolutionary cultural forum in 1983. Revolutionary cultural organisations came together and formed the All India League for Revolutionary Culture (AILRC). The AILRC brings out a regular quarterly cultural magazine in Hindi entitled ‘Amukh’.

Besides these writers, a number of artists from Hyderabad, inspired by the the Srikakulam struggle and the songs of Subbarao Panigrahi formed a group in 1970 called the Art Lovers. They comprised the famous film producer Narasinga Rao and the now legendary, Gaddar. In late 1971 this group became directly affiliated to the Party and changed its name to Jana Natya Mandali (JNM). Through its cultural programmes of song, dance and plays the JNM propagated revolutionary ideas and drew the masses towards revolutionary politics. In 1977, district level troupes of JNM were formed in Telangana. An eight-member troupe was first formed in Adilabad which gave a record 300 programmes in 1978-79. District teams were formed in Warangal and Karimnagar in 1978 and could function legally till 1984. Central training schools were held for the JNM troupes between 1980 and 1982.

(4) The Student Movement

Once the left line was rectified, students who had been inspired by Naxalbari and Srikakulam and the RWA and JNM, surged forward in their thousands. Initially the students of the CP Reddy group and those with the AP State Committee worked under one banner - the Progressive Democratic Students Union or PDSU. But, as the differences grew sharper and working within one organisation became difficult (with continuous contradictions) the revolutionary students left and formed the Radical Students Union or RSU. This organisation grew with such speed and gained such support that even today activists are popularly known as Radicals.

The Radical Students Union was formed on October 12, 1974 and the first State Conference was held in February 1975. This first conference released a manifesto exposing the various revisionist tendencies and holding aloft the banner of a revolutionary student movement. Hundreds of students inspired and Mao Ze Dong Thought attended the conference. The biggest contingents were from Telangana, specifically form Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam and Nalgonda. Large numbers also came from Ananthapur, Tirupathi and Vishakhapatnam.

After the conference and before the next academic year, the Emergency was declared and the RSU had to face the full brunt of the repressive machinery. More than 500 students were subjected to inhuman torture, and 70 were thrown into prison. Four young students, Janardhan, Murali Mohan, Anand Rao and Sudhakar were taken to the Giraipally forests and shot dead by the police. Student activist, Nagaraju, was also arrested and shot. Yet RSU re-organised secretly and continued agitations specifically in their two strongholds - the Regional Engineering College of Warangal and the Osmania University in Hyderabad. They also started a magazine ‘Radical’ which was widely distributed amongst students.

After the lifting of the Emergency student agitations swept the state around a number of issues : In Hyderabad it was around the Rameejabi rape (in police custody) case, in Kakatiya University it was against the Hindu fundamentalists, in Bellampally in support of the workers strike, in Mahaboobnagar in support of the hotel workers - also there were state-wide agitations on ITI and Polytechnic students’ issues and a state wide strike for students demands for better social welfare benefits.

The second conference was held in Warangal in February 1978. In preparation to this conference a big debate took place as certain units said that mass organisations should confine themselves to partial demands and not propagate revolutionary politics. The two views were debated in all units, and finally the second conference rejected the proposed changes. Lenin’s writings on the nature of a revolutionary student movement were widely circulated to educate students and activists on this issue.

The mass upsurge of students throughout 1978 and the active ‘boycott election campaign’ to the state Assembly culminated with the third state conference of the RSU held in Anantapur with 2000 delegates. This was preceded by district conferences in 13 districts. With the sweep of the revolutionary student movements RSU (jointly with PDSU) began winning all the student union elections. The 1981 RSU state conference at Guntur was preceded by 16 district conferences. Prior to this conference RSU had organised a meeting of 10,000 to condemn Soviet Aggression of Afghanistan.

From 1981 the ABVP (student wing of the Hindu fundamentalist BJP) organised systematic assaults on RSU activists and even killed some leaders. The police stood by and watched. The RSU replied - first with a systematic exposure of the ABVP; and then they also resisted the physical assaults and wherever necessary retaliated. With this resistance campaign the movement spread to the High Schools. In the 1982 student elections the RSU achieved unprecedented victories in Osmania University (Hyderabad) and in the towns of Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Mahaboobnagar, Adilabad, Guntur, Chittoor, Kurnool, Cuddapah and Khammam districts. The student union election victories further facilitated the spread of revolutionary politics in the educational institutions. The inaugural functions, cultural events ..... all became centres of revolutionary enthusiasm spreading the movement to every corner of the state. By the time of the 5th

State conference, RSU had spread to 18 out of the 21 districts of AP. In 1984, 25000 polytechnic students from 47 colleges went on a 104 day strike and achieved their demands. Even high school students went on an indefinite strike to get their syllabus reduced. In February 1985, at the initiative of the RSU the All India Revolutionary Students Federation (AIRSF) was established at a conference held in Hyderabad. But by mid-1985 the police launched its massive attack on the party and a chief target was the RSU. Police raided schools, colleges and hostels, arresting students and brutally torturing them.

Since then, the RSU has been pushed underground and had to change its style of functioning from large open meetings to small secret meetings, class room meetings, etc. In 1985/86 a number of students leading the RSU were killed in cold blood - Nageshwar Rao, Shyam Prasad, Sreenivas, Yakaiah, Ramakanth, Muralidhar Raju and Satish fell to enemy bullets. Nageswar Rao was the state vice-president of RSU. Since then all conferences of the RSU have been held secretly.

(5) ‘Go to the Village’ Campaigns

The ‘Go to the village campaign’ was an ingenious method discovered by the AP Party to effectively integrate the students with the ongoing peasant movement. It was also a brilliant method to push ahead the organisation amongst the peasantry with enormous speed. In the summer holidays students scheduled to go on a campaign would first go through an intense one weak political school. In this school the method of conducting the campaign would also be informed. Also in this school they would be informed about the subject to be taken for intense political propaganda amongst the peasants. After this they would be broken up into batches of about seven each and proceed to the villages covering an area as per the party plans. In the village campaign they were also to set up youth organisations wherever possible and keep a note of the names of all potential activists. These names would then be handed over to the local party organiser who would follow up and deepen the organisation.

The first such campaign began in the summer of 1978. In the first campaign 200 students participated. The aim of this campaign was the propagation of the politics of agrarian revolution and the building of RYL (Radical Youth League) units in the villages. The campaign went on for one month and culminated in the holding of the first RYL Conference. The significance of this campaign was that it helped trigger off the historic peasant struggles of Karimnagar and Adilabad.

In the next year, the ‘village campaign’ of April to June 1979 was for the first time jointly conducted by RSU and RYL. This time preparatory classes were held in 15 centres in which 500 students and youth participated. Besides propagating the politics of agrarian revolution the campaigners strived to expose the "Soviet-backed Vietnamese aggression against Kampuchea" - they sold Pol Pot badges in the villages. The campaign focused on "Soviet Aggression against Afghanistan" and also expressed solidarity with the nationality movement of Assam. The 1981 campaign exposed police brutality in the wake of of the massacre of tribals in Indervelli in Adilabad district. The campaign mobilised support for the tribal movement being led by the CPI (ML) (PW) in the Dandakaranya forests. In 1982, the theme of the campaign was the unconditional release of KS and other political prisoners and demanding a judicial enquiry into ‘encounter’ killings in the state. The teams also helped mobilise workers for the first State Conference of the Coal miners union SIKASA (Singareni Karmika Samakhya). The 1983 campaign exposed the repression being unleashed by the Telugu Desam government and explained that political leaders like NTR cannot usher in all-round development of the Telugu nationality. The 1984 campaign, the last that was possible before the all-out onslaught unleashed in 1985, focused on government repression and demanded the withdrawal of the CRPF from Telangana.

With each campaign the number of student and youth participants increased, inspite of the fact that in each successive year the police attacks were getting more and more vicious. In 1983/84 it was a virtual hide-and-seek between the police and the campaigners. In the 1984 village campaign about 1100 student and youth participated, organised into 150 propaganda teams. That year alone they carried the message of agrarian revolution to 2419 villages.

(6) Resurgence of the Peasant Movement

In the latter part of 1977 huge peasant rallies and demonstrations were held all over the district, not only on local issues but also for the release of political prisoners, against ‘encounters’, tortures in police lock-up and for removal of police camps. Slowly, peasant and agricultural labour unions began taking shape. The three thousand strong public rally at Gollapally on September 27 was an indication of the growing force. Also, in the same month, the workers of the Singareni Colleries at Bellampalli of Adilabad district rejected the revisionist leadership, took a militant agitation under the leadership of revolutionary politics and wrested bonus and other demands from the management. Seeing the growth of the people’s movement the landlords began their attack. In November 1977 the landlords attacked and killed Lakshmi Rajam of Sircilla taluq and Potta Poshetty of Jagityal taluq. In the next summer the RSU village campaign gave a big impetus to the peasant movement and from June 1978 the struggles began to pick up tempo. The major issues around which they rallied were : the enhancement of daily wages for agricultural labourers, increase of the monthly and annual wage rates for permanent farm labour, abolition of customary free labour and customary payments in cash and kind to the landlords, refund of bribes, taking possession of government land under landlord’s occupation, occupation of waste land, confiscation of firewood and timber grown by landlords in government forest lands, etc. Specifically, the struggles for the abolition of unpaid labour and enhancement of agricultural wages spread like wild fire throughout Jagityal taluq. The peasantry of Jagityal alone collected refunds amounting to lakhs.

Strikes of agricultural labourers spread from village to village. Landlords were physically brought to public gatherings and asked to confess their crimes and apologise for their oppressive behavior and pay back the illegal extortions. The peasants moved in big rallies, with red flags and occupied waste lands and government lands under landlord occupation. Also the strike movement, of labourers at beedi leaf collection centres in many taluqs of Karimnagar and Adilabad, gained momentum.

One of the most powerful and popular forms of struggle that developed during this period was the ‘social boycott’ of the landlords and their anti people agents. When it was decided to socially boycott a landlord, the entire village decided to stop any interaction and service to him - he was deprived of his servants in the house, cattle feeders, agricultural labour, washermen, barbers etc. Later, this form of struggle was also used against police officials camping in the village.

Another remarkable phenomenon in this period, was the usurping and revolutionising of the institution of ‘Panchayat’ by the peasantry. ‘Panchayat’ is a traditional institution of the villages of the Telangana region, where any petty dispute is publicly adjudicated - with the landlord presiding, and, of course, passing judgment. Now, the landlords’ authority was displaced and the revolutionary peasants took over the running of panchayats, and, in many cases, put the landlords on trial.

Inspite of police repression, the movement grew and culminated in the historic march in Jagityal town. On September 7, 1978 over 35,000 people marched to Jagityal town. Of the 152 villages of Jagityal taluq, peasants and agricultural labourers from 150 villages attended the rally and meeting. Shaken by the strength of the movement, while some landlords fled to the cities, the other landlords and police began an offensive. Destroying and looting peasant houses, attacking, beating and even resorting to firing on peasants, became a daily occurrence. The peasants retaliated. A war-like situation grew. Heavy police re-enforcements reached the area and the rampage began. Within just two weeks all the 150 villages were frequently raided, mass beatings and arrests, and torture in police camps of hundreds of activists took place. In Jagityal taluq alone, in just four months, 3000 peasants form 75 villages had been implicated in false cases. Besides, 800 were jailed and hundreds more tortured in police camps and let off. On October 20, 1978 the AP government declared Sircilla and Jagityal as ‘Disturbed Areas’ giving the police draconian powers.

While the peasant upsurge lasted from June to September 1978 the police onslaught continued from September to December 1978. Though the upsurge receded in the face of police action, the resistance grew, and, in some taluqs of neighbouring Adilabad, took on a mass character.

By the beginning of 1979, the peasants regained their initiative, after recouping from the first shocks of the white terror. Now, organisational consolidation took place, political consciousness was raised on the nature of the state and the need to smash it, and the necessity of secret functioning was better understood and underground methods became better developed. The political and organisational basis was laid, to raise the struggle to a higher plane. Also during this period the anti-feudal struggle spread to Peddapalli, Manthani and Huzurabad taluks of Karimnagar district and to Laxettipet, Asifabad and Khanapur taluqs of Adilabad district.

In 1979 the struggle intensified with a number of landlords being annihilated. Now the villagers, specially the women, found new methods of resisting and fighting back police terror. By early 1980 the anti-liquor movement (initially for the reduction in price of liquor) had brought the liquor barons to their knees. The authority of the peasant association was growing in all matters of village life.

In addition to this peasant movement, activity amongst coal miners had been stepped up by RSU and RYL units and the influence over the one lakh-odd miners grew substantially. In Warangal city, the student, youth and literary movement had revived and strengthened. The student movement extended to almost all the urban centres of Warangal district. In this district the urban movement was stronger than the peasant movement.

On the eve of the reorganisation of the party centre the movement was poised to go to the next stage. But before proceeding to that a short mention must be made of the growth of the civil liberties movement which has and is playing a truly commendable role.

(7) Civil Liberties Movement

As AP has had a history of a strong communist movement which has faced continuous repression, there has also been a history of a strong civil liberties movement, involving lawyers, doctors, journalists, writers, etc. Many selfless civil liberties workers have also faced the wrath of the state and been killed, like Dr. Ramanadham of Warangal. In 1965 the first civil liberties organisation was formed with Sri Sri as president in the wake of the mass arrests of communists during the Indo-China war..... but this died out due to the absence of serious class struggles. Another body came into being in Hyderabad in the wake of the mass arrests and killings in Srikakulam and in March 1974 the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) was formed, again with Sri Sri as president. Conducting fact findings, carrying out legal battles, fighting TADA cases, exposing police brutality and the fake ‘encounters’, APCLC has been a vibrant organisation. It has also built a network of units, going down to the district level.

(8) Formation of CPI (ML) (PW)

The CPI (ML)(People’s war) was formed on Lenin’s birth anniversary on April 22, 1980. The formation was part of a process to reorganise a centre for the all-India revolution after it went out of existence in 1972. As mentioned earlier, a similar attempt was made in 1974 when the COC (Central Organising Committee) was formed. This could not really get off the ground, though strenuous efforts were put in. This was dissolved in May 1977. So in fact the AP State Committee had to function without a central Committee from July 72 to January 1974 and again from May 1977 to April 1980.

The 1980 centre was formed on the basis of two basic documents; the first was the self-critical review and the second was the tactical line. The self-critical review was basically the same as that presented to the COC in 1975 with a few changes. The tactical line basically upheld the legacy of Naxalbari while rectifying the ‘left’ errors of that period. Both had been enriched by the practice of the preceding eight years.

After the COC became defunct in 1977 the AP PC (State Committee) did not again make attempts to unite with other revolutionary groups. Instead, it concentrated upon building extensive mass movements in AP based on the self-critical review. As a result, it was able to not only build powerful statewide movements among students, youth, and in the literary and cultural fronts, but also developed the peasant movements in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of the Telangana region. This got recognition as powerful anti-feudal struggles not only in AP, but throughout the country. This success added to the credibility of the self-critical review. Hence, by the late 1970s other M-L groups like the Unity Organisation (UO) and the Tamil Nadu state committee of CPI (ML) came forward to unite with the AP PC. Unfortunately, due to differences on the question of formation of a CC, at that juncture the UO group did not join and the new CC was formed by the unification of the AP and Tamilnadu State Committees of the CPI (ML). The small Maharashtra group, then functioning in Bombay, also joined, having accepted the basic documents.



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