West Bengal: Maoists Retreat in face of the offensive by the TMC government

-Rajesh Tyagi/ 7.10.2011 

Under pressure from the threat of full scale security operations against them by the Govt. of West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee of TMC, Maoists have capitulated to sign a statement offering a unilateral ceasefire.  In making this offer, Maoists have not put the release of their jailed leaders as a condition precedent for ceasefire, as in the past they have always done.

The statement is signed by the Maoists, and the interlocutors as guarantors to the offer of ceasefire, after two rounds of discussions between them.  The statement is signed by CPI-Maoist state secretary Akash, and  Interlocutor team members Sujato Bhadra and Choton Das. Historian Sujato Bhadra and Social activist Chotan Das, are two of the six interlocutors engaged by the West Bengal government on July 7 to initiate dialogue with Moaists, after TMC came to power with aid of Maoists.

The Maoists have agreed to a month-long ceasefire starting October 3, demanding a stay away of security forces too. The government, however, has not responded to this demand till yet. "We are expecting a statement from the government," says one of the interlocutors, Sujato Bhadra.  He further told that, “ we are yet to discuss the proposal with the Chief Minister. Such a meeting may take place after the Puja on October 11”.
"We give a word that we will shun violence and will not use arms if the government is sincere in its promise," the statement says in desperation. It is important to mention that this stance of CPI (Maoist) flies in face of their repeated assertion that protracted armed struggle is the only valid path of ‘new democratic revolution’ in India.

The statement urges the government to disarm the vigilante groups organised by the CPM and TMC, but they assured that they would not retaliate even if they are attacked by vigilante groups, rather would make complaint to the government. "During ceasefire, we assure we will not take up arms to confront these armed gangs. Instead, through the group of mediators we will inform the government and expect the state to take action," said Akash.
Assuring the government on veracity of the pledge made by Maoists to non-violence, Sujato Bhadra, the interlocutor team member says, "We signed the statement to place the demands by Maoists during the two rounds of discussion on record. We stand guarantors as there have been instances when demands and promises have been flouted."

Making it clear that the police action against Maoists would continue, Sujato Bhadra said, “the state has the legitimate power to inquire into the killings in Jangalmahal. We don't expect the state to sit tight after a murder. The state will send its police. But the security forces should not go on an overdrive rounding up innocent people as they did from 2009 to 2011 during the Left Front regime."
Choton Das, another interlocutor appointed by the government,  also present at the meeting with Maoist leadership on September 30, says the discussion concluded on a positive note. "The Maoists have taken a positive approach. They assured us they would not take up arms to resist armed vigilante groups. We have done our job by convincing the rebels for a ceasefire. Now it's up to the government," he says.

Senior state government officials handling the Maoist problem in Jangalmahal, however, had refused to comment on the statement. "At the recent DGPs' conference in Delhi, the Union home minister said, “ there is no reason to trust the Maoists”. “The ceasefire offer must be a ploy to regroup", says one of the senior police officer in the State. “The statement is a tactic by Maoists to buy time and strengthen their organization”, he claimed.
In a press conference in Kolkata on 26 September, Mamata Banerjee has threatened Maoists of an action by the State if they don’t fall in line. The statement of Maoists, is in fact a response to the threat.

In these four months, after coming to power in West Bengal, TMC under Mamata Banerjee has taken all measures to isolate Maoists and take offensive against them. On the tune of CPM, it has focussed on organising its own deadly vigilante groups, to weed out Maoist cadres from the state. However, any resistance from Maoists calls for a police action. Re-affirming this move, Mamata Banerjee on September 26 has warned Maoists either to stop hostilities or to face action.
Maoists and their party CPI (Maoist) has been instrumental in bringing the right-wing TMC government under Mamata Banerjee to power. Maoists have joined hands with TMC to oust the Stalinist left front government headed by CPM, from the state of West Bengal. Stalinist CPM on its part had joined hands with the Congress Government at the centre for conducting security operations against the Maoist party. CPM, which headed the left front government in West Bengal, till recently, has lost the election, due to its misrule and its pro-investor policies in the state. In implementing the pro-investor policies in the state, the Stalinist left-front has unleashed police repression against the peasants, especially in Singur and Nadigram. It ordered police to open fire upon the peasants resisting the move to forced acquisition of land for establishing automobile factory of Tata’s, one of the biggest corporate in India.  

Due to their illusions in TMC, the assumed progressive section of bourgeoisie as against the Stalinist left front government, the Maoists have landed into a dilemma.  After coming to power of the TMC, even if they move their hand against any contractor, landlord or corporate in the state, it hits at TMC and the government under it. Right wing TMC defends the same class interests and pursues same policies as Stalinist government had pursued for 32 years of its rule, albeit more rabidly and more shamelessly. Maoists, who till yesterday had told their followers to join forces with TMC against the left front, find it difficult to turn away.
Both Stalinists and Maoists share the same bogus politics rooted in the Menshevik ‘two stage theory’ of revolution. They both assume progressive sections among the national bourgeoisie and deny the possibility of working class coming to power in India. Both of them remain complacent with this or that section of national bourgeoisie in the name of ‘democratic revolution’, in which they plan to take power in conjunction with sections of bourgeoisie and not in direct struggle against it. Both of them have no faith in the strength and ability of the working class in advancing through a revolution, but they have unbound faith in the capabilities of the bourgeoisie.  

West Bengal is the demonstrative exhibition of the flawed politics of these Menshevik parties, who have misled the generations of workers and youth, turned them away from revolution and subordinated them to the bourgeoisie. Shameful uprooting of Stalinists from West Bengal and the blind tunnel which Maoists have entered, is the end game for both of them. Realising it, their ideologues have already started to scream in the name of crisis of Marxism.

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