Bhima-Koregaon: History, hidden facts about this new urban form of naxalism
Sep 3, 2018, 12:52 PM IST
After multiple police raids that led to the arrests of prominent activists, a debate on the relatively new term 'urban Naxals' has begun nationwide. This coinage describes people of a certain political camp that follows the old Maoist strategy to focus on urban centres for leadership, organise masses, build a united front and engage in military tasks such as providing not only an ideological support but also personnel, the benefits of a network and logistics to youth-turned-mercenaries. On August 28, Pune Police raided the houses of five communist activists for their alleged links with the Maoists. The police have arrested five different people from across cities. Some prominent names are Arun Ferreira, P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj.
These names were added in the FIR on August 28 after a whole series of events. It began last year after the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Mahar 'victory' in the Battle of Koregaon of 1818 where the troops of the East India Company held their position for 12 hours supported by members of the so-called lower castes, after which the Peshwa force withdrew from the front. The event saw participation by leftist activists from across the country unlike in the previous years of the battle's commemoration. From JNU's seditious Umar Khalid to Gujarat's Jignesh Mevani delivered provocative speeches from the podium, as per FIRs. Even a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Abdul Azhari, was invited, who had nothing to do with the Dalit cause by any stretch of the imagination. From the right wing, Milind Ekbote allegedly fished in the troubled waters, inviting an FIR upon himself as well.
The provocative speeches led to massive destruction of public property. This violence led to a few arrests and an investigation brought out some of the most hidden facts about this case. According to the information assembled by Pune Police, which is investigating the case, a letter was written to Rona Wilson by another communist activist, explaining the plans of a possible regrouping of Maoists for a possible attack. Another letter which was written to Wilson by another comrade named Prakash reiterates the fact that a certain sum of money was given to Maoist groups to gather left-wing extremists in the State. The evidence gathered by the police suggest the urban Naxals were facilitating a heavy procurement and distribution of arms and ammunition to wage a war against the state, supervised by Wilson and Prakash. Wilson, however, had been arrested on June 6, 2017. Sudha Bharadwaj, who has been an active Maoist sympathizer wrote incriminating letters to Prakash, which expose her hatred towards the Indian Army and the government. MyNation had published on August 30 portions of the evidence that the police have submitted before the court.
Is this the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Naxalism? Will this impact the upcoming 2019 elections?