Bouquet of Conspiracies: Maoists Attack in Darbha Ghati/ Jheeram Ghati.

On 25th May Maoists ambushed the Congress Party’s परिवर्तन यात्रा (Transformation March) in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh State. Among the 27 people killed were Mahendra Karma, a Congress leader who had raised a vigilante force called सलवा जुडूम (Peace March) with the blessings of BJP Chief Minister Raman Singh to counter Maoists, Nandkumar Patel, Pradesh Congress president, and his son Dinesh Patel, and Uday Mudliyar, a former legislator; and among the critically wounded was a senior Congress leader V C Shukla, who was notorious for his role as Information and Broadcasting minister during the emergency imposed by late Indira Gandhi in 1975. Shukla was probably assumed to be dead or dying because of his advanced age. The above mentioned leaders were called out, identified by the Maoists, and then killed. Surprisingly, Maoists let go one sitting Congress legislator from the Bastar region, Kawasi Lakhma, who too they could have easily killed. Right from Sonia Gandhi downwards including the prime minister are now calling the Maoists “Terrorists”; though curiously chief minister Raman Singh while reacting to the comments of K P S Gill, who is credited with successfully fighting terrorism in Punjab and who had alleged that his advise was ignored, said that there is huge difference between terrorism and naxalism: “He has the experience of dealing with terrorism in Punjab but there is a huge difference between terrorism and naxalism. Maoists adopt guerrilla warfare strategies. Besides, the topography of Punjab and south Chhattisgarh are different. So his role as security advisor was not very effective. If what he says now is correct, how come his conscience allowed him to enjoy his salary and perks without doing any work?“.
Maoists armed insurgency in one form or the other and in one state or the other has vexed Indian state for at least four decades even if one were to ignore the Communist party led armed uprising in Telangana of the fifties. There is an anaemic recognition that Maoists are somewhere articulating genuine grievances of the most vulnerable sections of society -the Adivasis- but the inclination of the State is to counter Maoists in a bloody battle whatever its costs in innocent Adivasi lives. Many articles have taken good account of this conflict (here is a recent one).
But the interest of this post is to explore the various flavours of conspiracy theories that have emerged from across the spectrum. Congress has alleged ruling BJP government to have deliberately provided little security protection to its March so that Maoists may eliminate state Congress president, Patel, who was proving very effective in the likely upstaging of the BJP government in the state elections due this year. BJP accused that it was Congress internecine fight, which is to be blamed by pointing to the suspicious release of MLA Kawasi Lakhma. Now Lakhma is considered close to another Congress leader, Ajit Jogi, who was at a political rally in which leaders killed in the ambush were present, but chose not leave with them in the convoy and left before the rally was over by a chopper. Even Congress functionaries are buying into the BJP version because of their own suspicions. If one were to discard this as political rabble rousing, then it would be a mistake. One thing is for sure that there is a conspiracy or rather there are conspiracies at work without an iota of doubt. Why? Follow these clues.
Supriya Sharma in Outlook India wrote: “A few hundred metres short of where the Maoists would launch an attack that would propel them as far as the pages of the New York Times, a young adivasi boy, not more than ten years old, stood in the dull afternoon heat, facing perhaps the biggest dilemma of his life. He knew what lay ahead on the road. He possibly struggled with the burden of what to do about it for a couple of moments before he flagged down a motorcyclist. “All he said was ‘aage kuch hai’,” recounts Om Prakash Singh, a 42-year-old businessman and Congress party worker who was racing ahead of a convoy of party leaders on his motorcycle when he noticed the boy and slowed down to hear him out. Singh ignored the boy’s words of caution. A few minutes later, he heard an explosion ring through Darbha Ghat. While Singh had safely crossed the bend where 30 kg of ammonium nitrate laid buried, the convoy of about 25 cars had not. An explosion heaved the road. What followed was a bloodbath its survivors are not likely to forget. But what about that boy? He would remain unknown and unheard. And it is best that way. For he had violated the rule of self-preservation that Bastar’s adivasis drill into their young as early as they learn to speak: see everything, but stay mum“. Now compare this dramatised account with what Abhinav Garg had to say in Times of India: “A 10 to 12-year-old boy wielding a wireless set diverted traffic away from the site where Maoists had planned their May 25 ambush, Congress leaders said. Congress and NSUI members who trailed the convoy told TOI that the child stood near a felled tree and asked incoming traffic to turn back. Devender Yadav, an ex-NSUI president from Chhattisgarh, said he was travelling in his own vehicle with four workers from Raipur and had joined the cavalcade midway in Sukma. Yadav said he fell behind the convoy after stopping for a few minutes to catch up with old acquaintances along the way. By the time he restarted his journey, the cavalcade was well ahead of him. “We sped to catch up with the others and as we approached a curve on Jheerum ghati, I saw a truck in front of us and a tree that had just been felled on the road. A child carrying a wireless set signalled us to head back,” he said. Initially, the group didn’t take the child seriously and got down to remove the roadblock. “That’s when he waved the wireless set angrily at us and pointed towards the hills and asked us to listen. We heard faint sounds of gunfire and realized our leaders had been ambushed. He told us and the truck driver to either return or get killed, and calmly stood guard next to the tree. We had no option but to return“. Two stories, based on different sources, the accounts differ in detail, but one thing is sure that the boy both refer to is real and was present. What was he doing there and who had set him up?
Indian securities agencies have obtained sophisticated Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for remote reconnaissance and what comes out is that these have been deployed for Anti_Maoists operations. Indian Express had this report on 31 May, Two days before Bastar attack, roving eyes in sky spotted Maoists gathering at ambush site: “Two days before the unprecedented May 25 attack on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, security agencies are believed to have recorded footage from an unmanned aerial vehicle showing 70-80 men and women converging near the site of the attack. This footage recorded at 10.20 am on May 23 reportedly shows armed cadres near Tongpal in Sukma district walking in a single row and converging in the Darbha valley in groups of five-six people each, sources said. The footage was shared with the Chhattisgarh Police, the Intelligence Bureau and the CRPF, they said. Senior officials said such movements are regularly recorded. But since the cadre mobilisation was taking place around the time of a political rally which had been well publicised and the route of the Congress convoy was also known to security agencies, they should have analysed the footage more judiciously and provided adequate security. “The footage is making a lot of sense now. But since it was only two days before the attack, this should have been taken more seriously“. Never mind the flippant language of the remarks attributed to unnamed senior official -should such information be taken *more seriously* only when *well publicised political rally* is to take place?, or Should it have been routinely used for targeted engagement instead of killing innocent Adivasi villagers as was done just a week earlier to the ambush? Why did not the State police and scores of armed to the teeth central paramilitary battalions stationed right there didn’t act? If the whole purpose of such intelligence gathering is to avoid the much popularized and dehumanized euphemism by US administration -Collateral Damage, then why was it “willfully” ignored?
Then Diptiman Tiwary for TOI reported, Bastar Maoist attack: Did someone change route of convoy? “As investigations by different agencies into the Darbha massacre in Chhattisgarh gather momentum, it is now emerging that there may actually have been a last-minute change in the route of Congress cavalcade diverting it to Darbha Ghati where 28 people, including senior Congress leaders, were gunned down by Maoists in an ambush last Saturday. Sources in CRPF, which conducted spot inquiry into the lapses that led to the attack, say that not only were there glaring mistakes committed by the security apparatus, there are also strong indications that someone got the route of the Congress rally changed at the last minute. Sources said it was natural for the Congress rally to come via Gadiras in Dantewada as it wanted to cover more areas in the tribal belt. “It had already done the Darbha Ghati route while going to Sukma from Jagdalpur. Several sources told us that the original plan to come to Jagdalpur was via Gadiras in Dantewada. However, it is not clear when, how and who suggested a change of route“. Now as journalists have *sources* whom they use, even Sources have journalists whom they use. This quid pro quo everybody in media business knows. It is quite possible that very much like the politicians who are playing cynical blame games, the different government agencies involved are too trying to pass the buck. But in such cases, even the falsehoods contain grains of truth.
The *red cherry* on the bloody pudding of conspiracy theories has just come to my notice, NIA Confirms Congress conspiracy behind C’garh Naxal Attack.
Days after its investigation in deadly Chhattisgarh Naxal attack, National Investigation Agency (NIA) came up with some shocking information. The investigating agency confirmed that four Congress leaders indeed had conspired with the ultras to carry out the May 25 attack. However, the identities of the four leaders of the party have not been revealed yet. While two Congress leaders were present at the convoy, other two leaders were believed to have provided “running commentary” to the ultras as soon as party convoy left from Darbha block. One NIA official was quoted as saying, “We are investigation the call records which were made through the Jagdalpur cellphone tower. Four Congress have been identified who we believe provided minute-by-minute information to the Naxalites. Two of them were present in the convoy. At present, we think that one of those in the convoy was the mastermind who planned the strike“. Even if NIA hypothesis proves correct, it doesn’t absolve BJP from complicity in the conspiracy? Why? Otherwise how did the different security outfits including the Chhattisgarh police and District administration kept themselves detached from the “whole proceedings”? That cannot happen unless the ruling BJP government in charge was in the loop of  conspiracies and had agreed to play the ball. And of course, the outfit that is avowedly fighting the repressive Indian State, had to be the linchpin of the conspiracy, because without Maoists it wouldn’t have worked. The whole business reminds of famous Russian Matryoshka dolls. One doesn’t know where the end is until one has reached the end. Even the place of ambush went by two different names, Darbha Ghati and Jheeram Ghati. Take your pick to match your taste! Truth, if it ever comes out fully, would be certainly stranger than fiction.
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5 Responses to “Bouquet of Conspiracies: Maoists Attack in Darbha Ghati/ Jheeram Ghati.”

  1. Rahul Banerjee Says:

    Very nicely compiled Sadanand. From the day of the incident I have found it difficult to swallow that such a huge build up of armed Maoists could take place at Darbha Ghati just 30 kms from Jagdalpur and they could then mine the road extensively without any information about this reaching the administration. I am sharing this post of yours on my FB wall so that it goes viral.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Very cogent and easy to follow. Thanks for presenting a plausible alternate account.

  3. sarika mahi Says:

    Others are catching up on you, Sadanand. See this.>>>>>>Top leaders of both parties have already accused each other of having a secret pact with the Maoists in several states for electoral gain. Coming soon after the biggest Maoist attack on a political rally, these statements, if taken as usual political rhetoric, confirms that the Indian polity is not capable of dealing with the Maoists. And if even an iota of truth is involved, it proves what is widely believed in Maoists zones such as Bastar and Jharkhand that politicians have nourished the rebels for their interests. And that the paradox of Bastar, the ultra-Left Maoist capital electorally dominated by a Right-wing party, is actually a clandestine deal between the two groups — a unity of purpose between the extreme Left and the extreme Right. >>>>>>

  4. Salty Says:

    Similar arrangements between the legal parties and the outlawed were clearly visible before the 2011 assembly elections in Bengal when the leader of the outlawed group based in West Medinipur vocally supported TMC leader for the CM's post. Going back ten years before that, the-then ruling party, Left Front had used the Maoists to batter & rig the 2001 assembly elections in the same region (now noted as the keshpur line). The biggest security threat to India is actually this cover-up of decade-long nurturing of this armed group of mercenaries by various legal political parties for their own ends.

  5. Mbb Says:

    Anonymous letter claims supari paid for May 25 massacreAnuja Jaiswal, TNN Jul 8, 2013, 07.57PM ISTRAIPUR: In a new twist to the on-going investigations into the May 25 massacre of Congress leaders, Deepak Karma, son of slain leader and founder of the controversial Salwa Judum, Mahendra Karma, on Monday handed over an anonymous letter to the NIA, purportedly written to him by the Maosits, claiming that 'supari' had been paid for carrying out the killings.

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