http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091104/j ... 97058.jsp#
Maoist base out of bound for forces
THE MAOIST FRONTLINE 4
Narainpur (West Bastar), Nov. 3: The best news for the Maoist guerrillas of Dandakaranya is the worst kept secret of the security establishment — Abujmadh, the vast forest base of the rebels, can’t be reclaimed anytime in the near future.
The de facto headquarters of Maoist military operations — nearly 50,000sqkm of undulating jungle straddling parts of Bastar (Chhattisgarh), Gadhchiroli (Maharashtra) and Karimnagar (Andhra Pradesh) — is not merely beyond the reach of the government and its forces, it is currently also beyond their ambitions.
“Forget taking Abujmadh, even entering it is not on the agenda at the moment,” says a top police officer orchestrating Green Hunt, the anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh. “We are simply not prepared for that, Abujmadh will have to be another war, after and if we wrap up this one.”
Abujmadh is not an intractable and forbidding prospect for the government merely for being a military fortress of the Maoists; it is so also because it represents the great unknown to everyone outside. For reasons that range from logistical handicaps to concerns over tribal habitat protection, Abujmadh is one of the few pockets of India that have never been surveyed.
The forces have very little sense of its lay and topography, and even littler of how the Maoists have positioned themselves. Attempts have been made at aerial mapping but most of Abujmadh is under forest cover, a camouflaged temptress that persistently taunts efforts at unmasking.
Security forces will, in fact, consider themselves fortunate if their current scheme — Green Hunt and the impending joint security operations under central supervision — can merely succeed in pushing the guerrillas back into Abujmadh and keep them restricted.
One senior Chhattisgarh policeman told The Telegraph in Jagdalpur: “It’s not unacceptable to us that they remain in Abujmadh, it is sparsely populated and really inaccessible, that kind of terrain does not require regular policing or even governance. At the moment, though, they are all over the place, and using their Abujmadh base both to feed their resources and to seek sanctuary, the challenge is to get them out of here, from the next village. That will be tough enough, I can assure you.”
The Abujmadh bush doesn’t have a marker to it; a fair way of locating its onset in the wilds is the last point motorised transport can take you. The scattered hamlet of Maranaar is a four-hour trek from where the road peters out into an impossibly rutted track and the underbrush begins.
The deeper you press, the more primitive and remote the landscape gets; it’s like entering a lost world, detached from time, turning on contrary allegiances. A young villager — a country-made gun strapped to his shoulder — proclaims this to be realm of the ‘People’s Government of East Dandakaranya’ and himself to be the chief local representative of the ‘Janatana Sarkar’, people’s government.
“Welcome to a genuine people’s movement,” he says, declamatory of tone. “The government you recognise has forgotten the majority, the majority is here, with us.”
It doesn’t seem out of place in Maranaar to begin wondering whether the Maoist ‘parallel government’ is really a misnomer --- it’s the only government around, it has no entity to run parallel to. The police officer in Jagdalpur who’d referred to Abujmadh as “rather remote” begins to ring right; this is truly rather far off place from India as it is known, almost another sovereignty. Village elders, gathered under a gnarled tree, nod assent to the gun-carrying youngster, evidently a native.
“Yehi sarkar hai, aur to keu nahin,” says one of them. (They are the government, there is none other.)
Another, more forthcoming villager steps forward and begins what seems like a command performance. “Contractor atyachar band kiya, samanti atyachar band kiya, humko jangal ka haq diya, Janatana Sarkaaaar, Zindabad! Zindabaad!” (They stopped exploitation by contractors and feudals, they gave the our jungle back to us, long live the people’s government.)
Quite suddenly, the old village tree is under threat of collapsing under the torrent of ‘lal salaams’.
It can be tough to measure what support to the Maoists comes from faith and what from fear; the reasonable among them and open to admitting they have used the gun to expand their sphere where mere slogans haven’t worked.
There are those in these jungles who’d stand up and be counted among willing votaries of the ‘Janatana Sarkar’ but there are others who aren’t so sure but don’t know how and when to say it.
In another settlement further down — sparse and by a pristine rivulet — a man of middle age lumbers up a tad conspiratorially to whisper. “It’s not all a straight story, sir, very tricky situation, but what am I to do but put a red flag on my hut? They have guns. I would rather have a government without guns, but where is that to be found?”
The good news for him is that people in Raipur and Delhi are desperately trying; the bad new is they aren’t going to get here in a long, long time.