Maoists accuse Dantewada Police for suicide of 20 yo, SP Denies all charges
The event unfolded after the death of Kumari Pande Kawasi by suicide during police custody.
The South Sub Zonal Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has released a statement concerning the death of 20-year-old Kumari Pande Kawasi in police custody. The party pamphlet shared by Police Superintendent Abhishek Pallava of Dantewada Police claims that “Lon Varratu campaign run by Police forces is fascist repression against the masses. Police took Kovasi Pande forcefully and kept her in the Police line, torturing physically as well as mentally," the official pamphlets were thrown by Party in Southern Districts of Bastar reads.
The event unfolded after the death of Kumari Pande Kawasi by suicide during police custody, who had surrendered to the Dantewada police on February 19th, along with five other Maoists who carried cash rewards on their heads, under the Lon Varratu (Return home) campaign. She was a member of Chetana Natya Manch (CNM), a cultural troop wing of the Maoist party, established in 2004 by the People's War Group (PWG). She ended her life four days after her surrender to the police.
The Maoist Communist Party of India accused the police administration of Chhattisgarh of 'showing false statistics' under the surrender campaign being run by armed forces. They have accused Chhattisgarh police of taking rural tribal people by force and showing them as surrendered Naxalites. SP Dr Abhishek Pallava talked to Indie Journal about the newly released letter by the Maoist party which was distributed in multiple parts of Dandakaranya. In this statement addressed to "Dear People", the party has accused mainstream media of 'portraying a picture as if a large number of Maoists are surrendering to police and joining mainstream again’.
CPI-Maoist has accused the surrender campaign and Prahar Abhiyan run by the administration as 'Combing Operation' and termed it as 'genocide'. January 2021 saw 11 conflicts between Maoists and armed forces all over India, where 15 members of the Communist Party of India-Maoist and all its formations and front organisations were arrested. The recovery of arms from the party saw a rise in the last two months with 111 arms whereas the entire year of 2020 made recovery of 192 arms.
Party pamphlet distributed in three districts of Southern Bastar, as shared with media by Dantewada Police. Image credit: SP Abhishek Pallava
"Forces are killing the villagers and claiming that Maoists were killed. Both Central and state governments have become the agent of capitalists. Thus, the common masses, Adivasi, Dalits, Muslims, women workers and labourers have no option but to participate in ongoing protests. Hence, we are asking people to organise movements to demand a detailed postmortem of Pande Kawasi in presence of human activists and retired high court Judges," the statement reads.
SP Abhishek Pallava denied all these claims while talking to Indie Journal saying, "We are ready for any inquiry. The girl was being forced to get married by her family as they had fixed her marriage after her surrender on February 19th. She was not happy with this." When asked about the claims made by Gudse villagers of beating and taking her forcefully, the police officer said, "Those villagers are from the sensitive Naxalite zone and are speaking under the pressure of Naxalites. Lon Varratu is a transparent campaign and should not be tainted because of one incident. She came on February 18th, and we marked the surrender on the 19th. People from every profession die by suicide. A 20-year-old can commit suicide when forced into marriage out of anxiety and depression. The autopsy report reveals everything and we are ready for any constitutional investigation. Throwing pamphlets in southern districts shows desperation among Naxalites."
The southern committee of the Maoist Party was in focus on the proposed privatisation of Steel plants in Dandakaranya, hence in direct conflict with armed forces. In a letter released by Kailasam, spokesman of the CPI (Maoist) Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZ), the party stated that “the natural resources and plants had been established after people made huge sacrifices. As many as 32 persons had been killed to establish plants like Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. In the last few months, the party has continuously opposed the moves made by the Central and State government and its decisions, calling the Central Government 'fascist and pro-privatisation'.
CPI-Maoist is a banned political faction by the Government of India, designated as a terrorist organisation in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) since 2009. It is operating in the rural and tribal areas of Chattisgarh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, running a parallel government in Dandakaranya, and once had the area covered by 90 districts under this government.