Story of Communist Terrorism - Chapter 3

In the actual world, places like Ambuja have existed. Forests not under the control of the Government, resources allotted for the public but not reaching its target audience, and unavailability of proper health and education for the public in such areas. Forests of Dantewada were in the hands of Naxals which led to the ambush of April 2010.

The Narrative World    16-Sep-2023   
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In the previous chapters, we read the details of the ambush and then the background of the investigating officer in charge, SP Vikram Pratap Singh.

In the third chapter Vikram makes a remarkable entry in Ambuja (fictional town which is similar to Dantewada) beating up assailants, straightening an egoistic constable, and ordering repairs to the building of the Police Station. The next day Vikram is introduced to the investigative team formed to inspect the ambush, consisting of Sub-inspector Bhoomi, Constable Gayaram, and Constable Lokesh. Bhoomi maintains an evidence log, Gayaram informs about the public beheading of one of their informers, an incident that was never made out of Ambuja, and Lokesh shows off his file of news clippings which featured many articles of an authentic journalist, Devika Doria.

After the meeting, Keshav Rai, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Ambuja, described the layout of the town. The CRPF camp lies 5 km outside of Ambuja and the forests are all under the control of the Naxals. A buffer zone of 25 km lies in between the area controlled by the State and the Naxals. In the zone, there are villages and settlements with schools and hospitals but both do not have enough materials or human resources. No local in Ambuja wishes to be a part of it due to the threat of becoming a Maoist target. Bigger villages have primary health centres but they do not have local doctors.

The district’s health and education are in the hands of Kerala’s teachers and paramedics brought in by the District Magistrate (DM). Farther from the town even these facilities vanish. In those areas, Maoists often come and go to pick up supplies from the villages. Some villagers aide to them willingly while some do it out of fear. Keshav continues that Commandant Darshan realised to change the scenario of Ambuja, villagers have to be looked after.

He used to organise medical camps in the remotest areas, classes for local children near the CRPF camp and conducted aggressive patrols against the Maoists. He called for volunteers amongst the CRPF and the villagers to teach the children and once a week taught them himself. Enthusiastic children came from as far as 10 to 15 km to attend the classes. Darshan’s growing popularity irked the Naxalites which made him a target.

In the actual world, places like Ambuja have existed. Forests not under the control of the Government, resources allotted for the public but not reaching its target audience, and unavailability of proper health and education for the public in such areas. Forests of Dantewada were in the hands of Naxals which led to the ambush of April 2010.

The sole reason Naxalites have been able to make such careful plans is because they know forests like the back of their hand and the reason being their control over it for years. Incidents of Naxalites taking food and supplies from villagers have also been recorded especially during Shaheedi Saptah.

Shaheedi Saptah is a martyr week observed by the Naxalites every year from July 28 to April 3. During this week Naxalites promoted their ideologies and held gatherings in many villages to make people aware of their ‘fallen’ cadres who had sacrificed themselves for the so-called ‘agenda.’ They take in resources like food and ask people to send one family for training. Some villagers follow along willingly while some do so out of fear.

Although most control of Maoists has been weakened with the combined efforts of the Government, Security Forces, villagers, and retired Naxals, the fact that massive control like the domination of forests has existed in a democratic country cannot be denied.

Continuing to the book, in the chapter Vikram along with his investigating team visited the ambush site and the CRPF camp. While inspecting the site they noticed that the location was convenient and close to the CRPF camp, due to which they concluded that someone tipped off the Naxalites which made the attack possible.

In the camp, Vikram talks to the CRPF Commandant, Samuel Chandy, asking him about the possibility of a traitor (any soldier or local) in the camp to which Samuel answers negatively. After their meeting, Vikram meets Devika Doria, the impartial freelance journalist of Ambuja.

Devika informs Vikram she is not working full time with any daily as newspapers do not wish to invest in a person of such area; she continues writing about Ambuja because she believes the stories of Ambuja need to be out in the open. Vikram then visits the Porta Cabin where the classes conducted by Darshan were held.

The CRPF personnel accompanying them informed them that the building will be demolished soon. The children will miss their classes, especially Darshan’s as he also used to treat them pakodas from Mangtu’s. Sometimes they went to the shop and sometimes they got it delivered.

Vikram and his team then visit Mangtu’s shop where he interrogates Mangtu while his team enjoy the treats. Mangtu tells the SP that he and his wife live alone and operate the shop together. Mangtu denies ever delivering pakodas to Darshan’s classes or even knowing Darshan.

Vikram turns more doubtful of Mangtu when a small boy emerges from the back of the shop where Mangtu’s sick wife is supposedly alone. Mangtu also denies having a phone which adds fuel to Vikram’s doubts. After leaving Mangtu’s shop Vikram orders his team to keep an eye out on Mangtu and his activities, reasoning his stall being in an advantageous place for him to watch out for any vehicle entering and leaving the camp; he also had his eyes on the road the whole time during their conversation. Vikram also orders them to get Mangtu’s number.

According to many reports and incidents, many villagers are passive members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). They take part in the Naxalite activities by acting as their informer and willingly provide resources and funds for the continuation of the Maoist agenda and missions.

Such villagers are usually brainwashed from the start; they think partaking in such activities is the best way to ensure their prime living. Journalists of Naxal-dominated areas have difficulties in bringing out the truth as they cannot favour any side. The mainstream media is not interested in any happenings in such areas unless it makes up an attention-grabbing story that will attract the eye of the masses. Education in these areas also gets constantly disrupted to due continuous disturbances.

In a recent case a suspected Maoist supporter, Mahesh Badse, got arrested with Rupees 6.20 lakh in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. According to the police reports Mahesh was handed Rs 9 lakh in notes of Rs 2000 to deposit in various banks by Senior Naxal leaders. Rs 6.90 was left to deposit while the rest was already deposited or spent.

In another case of Chhattisgarh, Naxalites of Narayanpur district managed to flee from their camp before the police’s arrival for an anti-insurgent operation due to the tip-off from their informer.

In the coming chapter, Vikram will find out about another brutal attack done by the Maoists and a possible clue to solve the case.