This comes amid the backdrop of several tweets with the hashtag #FreeVaravaraRao doing the rounds on social media in support of ‘activist’ Varavara Rao who was recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Rao again became the sensational talk of the Left-liberal-secular cabal which immediately started hailing him as a “people’s poet” and a “revolutionary” who has inspired several generations of writers, students and activists. Yet again!!! The repetition of a same story of a regressive ideology hid in the garb of a fake humanitarian concern, all in the name of human rights and social justice. This is a narrative that has always kept adding fuel to their political shops that feed on the misery of the poor, besides protecting and promoting their elitism.   

It remains questionable as to what are the basic tenets of democracy, liberalism or secularism that this cabal has been constantly seeking to pursue and fight for, especially after the coming of Narendra Modi to power at the Centre. On the contrary, by doing so, they have failed to distinguish the fine line that exists between dissent against the ruling establishment and plotting against the national security of the state. This precisely explains the reason behind the utter failure of their venomous brand of politics that preaches to work for the masses but in reality, remains an on-paper fantabulous idea of utopian social engineering!

It was in November 2018 that Varavara Rao and nine others were arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, which was initially probed by the Pune police but later transferred to the NIA. The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune in December 2017, which triggered a wave of violence the very next day near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in western Maharashtra. The event was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon (1818), in which the Peshwas fought against the English East India Company. The police later claimed that the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links. Prior to the arrest of Rao, in August 2018, several raids were conducted against supposed Naxal sympathisers in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence and an assassination plot against PM Narendra Modi. Rao has also been accused in a 2005 Maoist attack case by the Karnataka police.

In connection with the above, the Polit-Bureau of the CPI(M) had released a statement demanding the immediate release of “political prisoners” such as Varavara Rao, G.N. Saibaba, Gautam Navlakha, Anil Teltumbde, Sudha Bharadwaj, etc. including Akhil Gogoi of Assam, who has been accused by the NIA of conspiring in the anti-CAA violence that rocked the country in early 2020. A quick look at the ‘Strategy and Tactics’ Document of the CPI(M) reveals the blueprint of the underground urban movement/activities of the Maoists. In line with the CPI(ML)’s agenda of “killing of class enemies” in order to “establish the dictatorship of the proletariat”, the document emphasises on uniting industrial workers, the economically weaker sections of the society with special focus on the ‘vulnerable group’ of minorities, women, Dalits, labourers and students, so that they can be used as vanguards to play a direct role in the revolution.

As Mao Zedong had aptly said, “The final objective of the revolution is the capture of cities, the enemy’s main bases, and this objective cannot be achieved without adequate work in the cities.” It indeed needs to be accepted that a forest-based rebellion which in fact, has been India’s longest and deadliest war since Independence, cannot survive without the blessings and moral, intellectual and financial support of a well-oiled machinery in the urban areas.

An Indian Express report of December 10, 2010, reported that ‘Kanchan, the arrested CPI(Maoist) state secretary, has reportedly told the security agencies that a recruitment process is on for the outfit’s military wing and Jadavpur university has emerged as a major centre for the cadres. Also, the Naxals are believed to have a back-up module among the university students. Kanchan has reportedly also said that 12 students from (Kolkata’s) Presidency College are working actively as CPI(Maoist) cadres in Lalgarh.’

The Hindustan Times of March 28, 2010 carried a column with the headline ‘1970s revisited? Kolkata youth back in Naxal fold’. The report interviews an IB officer involved with tracking Maoist activities, who said, “This trend is alarming. May student and youth activists in the city campaigning for Lalgarh have visited the jungles and undergone arms training.’ Former Presidency College student Ramen (name changed) was then a regular in Lalgarh. He reportedly told HT, “Initially, I got involved looking at the plight of people in Nandigram and Lalgarh on TV. Although I’m not exactly a Maoist, I believe in their cause and as a concerned citizen I’m working with them to help the downtrodden.” It was at this time that Varavara Rao had said at a news conference in JU on February 26, “Our support is growing among the students of Kolkata. Though these students don’t come from tribal areas, they understand the situation.”

Earlier on May 13, 2007 referring to the North-East insurgencies, Varavara Rao had stated: “This is a time for all revolutionary, democratic and nationality movements, like the ones in Kashmir and the North-East, to unite and something will come out of this unity.” In fact, in 1996, three top-level functionaries of the People’s War Group (PWG) including Ganapathy (then general-secretary of the CPI-Maoist) had attended the raising-day celebrations of the ULFA at its camp in southern Bhutan. For the Maoists, the strategic importance of the North-East stems from the fact that the region could be a potent source of weapons, and also a safe haven for cadres if the security forces happen to intensify operations at the Maoist hotbeds in central India. 

The myth that sustains the gruesome reality behind the Naxalite movement is that the ‘Indian State’ and the government machinery both are outright evil entities. Hence, every instrument of the state apparatus, including the security forces, are a justifiable target for violence, and it is only the Naxalites who are projected by a sympathetic, agenda-driven media narrative as the sole protectors of the people against this ‘evil’ state system. In the name of human-rights related issues, several self-proclaimed ideologically motivated individuals, camouflaged as “eminent public intellectuals” of the country have attempted to malign the state institutions through propaganda warfare and misinformation in order to keep their pot of Kraanti boiling in full steam.

Far from Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal’s class war, today’s Naxalites are gun-trotting dreaded militants who are also the exploiters and oppressors of the very same people they claim to be fighting for. Intellectual fodder provided to the movement is aimed at subtly leading the public opinion to fulfil the long-term goals of a sinister agenda of waging war against the Indian state. Eventually, this has come at the cost of the country’s national interests, manifested time and again in the form of campus unrest, claims of threat to freedom of speech and expression, etc. which are then marketed romantically to grab the maximum eyeballs and attention of both the rural and urban masses alike! The victim card being played again to garner sympathy for an “activist poet” is just another case in point!

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