Friday, June 6, 2008

Interview with comrade Azad, spokesperson of the CC, CPI(Maoist) on the present developments in Nepal

Interview with comrade Azad, spokesperson of the CC, CPI(Maoist) on the present developments in Nepal

Q: The results in the April 10 elections to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal have been overwhelmingly in favour of the Maoists, a development least anticipated by even the keenest observers. How does your Party in India, the CPI(Maoist), look at the election results in Nepal?

Azad: As mentioned in my press release on behalf of my Party's central committee last week, the election results in Nepal have demonstrated the overwhelming anger of the masses against the outdated feudal monarchic rule in Nepal, against the Indian expansionist' s bullying and domination of Nepal, against US domination and oppression, against comprador-feudal parties which allowed this to continue and betrayed the masses for too long. The results are a reflection of the growing aspirations of the Nepali masses for democracy, land, livelihood and genuine freedom from imperialist and feudal exploitation. It is these aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the masses that had completely trounced the parties that had either supported the King and/or the Indian ruling classes or hesitated to come out strongly against feudal, imperialist oppression and Indian intervention in Nepal. The royalists could not win even in a single constituency out of the 240 constituencies where direct elections were held. And leaders of the so-called mainstream such as Madhav Nepali, Sujata Koirala were rejected outright which came as a great shock to the ruling classes.

Hence, when an alternative like the CPN(M) came to the fore, with its open commitment to abolish the feudal monarchy once for all, abrogate all unequal treaties signed with India by the former ruling classes of Nepal, and ensure democracy and equality for the oppressed sections of society such as Dalits, adivasis, national minorities and women, the masses enthusiastically veered towards the Maoists. To put it in a word, the people of Nepal had come out resolutely against constitutional monarchy, Indian expansionism and US imperialism; the results reflect the growing aspirations of the Nepalese masses for land, livelihood and democracy.

Our Party looks at the election results in Nepal as a positive development with enormous significance for the people of entire South Asia. We send our revolutionary greetings to the people of Nepal for rejecting outright the monarchic rule and the comprador-feudal Parties during the April 10 elections to the Constituent Assembly. These results point to the real aspirations of the Nepalese people and should serve as a guide to the CPN(M) for its future course of action.

Q: What do you think are the reasons for the impressive results in favour of the Maoists in the elections to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal?

Azad: There are six major reasons:

One, the masses of Nepal had enough of King Gyanendra's autocratic and authoritarian rule. Constitutional monarchy is indeed an anachronism even in the 20th century leave alone 21st century. In fact, people of Nepal had put up with such a rotten, reactionary feudal rule too long a time. And when they found an opportunity to throw it out they grabbed it. There was never such an opportunity during earlier elections as all the parliamentary parties were either loyal to the King or displayed nominal opposition to the King. It is only the CPN(Maoist) which had shown its firm commitment to abolish the monarchy once for all and had come to the fore as an alternative to the bourgeois-feudal parties.

Two, the masses of Nepal had enough of bullying, intervention and domination by Indian expansionism. There is a general atmosphere of suspicion regarding the motives of the Indian ruling classes in Nepal. The people of Nepal had suffered too long under the obnoxious unequal treaties signed by successive rulers of Nepal with the Indian government such as the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, the Mahakali Treaty, and so on. The Indian rulers have always had an eye on the natural wealth of Nepal, its rich natural gas reserves, hydro-electric potential, forest products etc. Along with imperialist exploitation, oppression and plunder, the Indian CBB too is seen as an obstacle for the development of the local industry and trade. Besides this, Indian ruling classes have been continuously interfering in the political affairs of Nepal. They supported the monarchy all along and in the past few years took up the so-called two-pillar theory of supporting the King as well as the Nepali Congress. They gave training, supplied arms to the Royal Nepal Army, and sent all sorts of aid to contain the Maoist revolutionaries in Nepal. All these despicable acts had only fuelled the anger of the masses against Indian government. Now when an opportunity presented itself before them in the form of the CPN(M) they naturally voted for it which should be seen as a vote against Indian domination. None of the other Parties showed the guts to confront India. It was only the CPN(M) which categorically assured the people that it would do away with all the unequal treaties with India, ban obscene Hindi films, stop recruitment of Gurkhas into the Indian Army and provide them with alternative employment, and so on.

Three, the masses of Nepal had enough of the exploitation, oppression and intervention of the US imperialists. Throughout the rule of King Gyanendra and even until today after the humiliating defeat of his loyalist parties in elections, US imperialists has stood by his side rendering all aid to perpetuate his rule and to brutally suppress the Maoists. They had placed the CPN(M) on its list of terrorist outfits. This is a grave insult to the people of Nepal who view this as unwarranted meddling in Nepal's affairs. By supporting the discredited King the US imperialists became even more discredited and hated by even those who had no anti-imperialist consciousness or opposed to US imperialism as they see it as a protector of the feudal monarchy.

Four, the promises made by the CPN(M) to establish a democratic, federal, secular Nepal with freedom, democracy and equality for all the oppressed sections of society such as Dalits, adivasis, national minorities and women had an electrifying impact. For the first time, these oppressed sections were given considerable representation in the elections. Under such conditions, the oppressed masses came out enthusiastically in support of the Maoists. Women's turn-out, it is said, was equal to, and may be even greater than that of men—something unimaginable in a feudal country like Nepal.

Five, the most important factor is the positive impact created by the decade-long people's war led by the Maoists on the overall balance of forces in Nepal. The Maoists had established control over almost three-quarters of rural Nepal. Through the people's revolutionary governments in the countryside they had carried out several reforms which brought the masses closer to them. Most of the Parties had thus become irrelevant in the eyes of the people. The impact of armed struggle should not be underestimated. For instance, even in India if we see, the united Communist Party won an overwhelming majority of seats (31 out of 32 seats) in the elections to the state assembly in Telangana region in 1957. This, in spite of the fact that the CPI had withdrawn the Telangana armed struggle so much was the impact of the anti-feudal armed agrarian struggle on the people of Telangana.

Lastly, though a less important factor, mention must be made of the support of the local capitalists and a section of the traders who, even though are opposed to the Maoists in general, think that bringing them to power is the only guarantee for peace in Nepal. They fear that Maoists would once again take to arms if they are defeated in the polls. The local capitalists and small traders aspire to grow and develop in an atmosphere free from the hegemony and strangulation of imperialist and Indian expansionist capital. This they know none of the comprador-feudal parties can deliver and the only hope is with the Maoists.

Q: Now that the Maoists have come to power will they be able to carry out the promises made?

Azad: This is the most difficult question to answer. The immediate problem for the Maoists is to secure a coalition of forces that can meet the target of two-thirds majority in the Constituent Assembly in order to incorporate their radical reforms into the new Constitution. But to achieve two-thirds majority they have to rely on the reactionary comprador-feudal parties such as NC and social democratic UML. Needless to say, it is impossible to carry through the promised reforms with such a hotch-potch combination of forces. These Parties in the coalition will not be willing to be a party to the programme of the Maoists and will, moreover, try to subvert any radical changes which are aimed at curtailing their own class interests.

It is a fundamental tenet of Marxism that no radical restructuring of the system is possible without the militant mobilization of the vast masses into bitter class struggle. It is impossible to make genuine changes in the system through measures initiated "from above", i.e. through state decrees and laws. Whichever Party may be in power, not excluding the most radical Maoists, it can only make laws at best, but to implement these it is imperative to mobilize the masses and advance class struggle against exploiters and oppressors. Without this the liberation of the vast majority of poor is an impossible task. And for the CPN(M), even enacting the much-promised laws will be an almost impossible task given the present coalition in the CA. No ruling class will give up power without putting up a bitter struggle and carrying out counter-revolutiona ry activities against the oppressed class. Hence the real, bitter and most cruel struggle for power will now unfold soon after the elections. The reactionaries will oppose every change tooth and nail. And, lacking a majority in the Constituent Assembly, the Maoists will be powerless to affect radical changes in the Constitution. Either they have to compromise and adjust with a section of the reactionary forces thereby sacrificing the class interests of the oppressed in whose interests they had come to power, or, they have to mobilize the people and intensify the struggle through all means, including armed insurrection, in order to implement genuine democracy and establish people's power. There is no other alternative.

We must not forget the experiences of Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua and other countries where the Communist Parties had come to power but were either thrown out in counter-revolutiona ry coups accompanied by counter-revolutiona ry massacres of Communist cadres, or threw out the Party in so-called elections as in the case of Nicaragua. The experience of Nicaragua is very much relevant in the context of so-called multi-party democracy.

Q: How do you envisage the future scenario in Nepal? Will India and US imperialism adjust to the new reality that had emerged in Nepal and support the Maoist government or will they create hurdles?

Azad: We will be living in a fool's paradise if we think that imperialist America and expansionist India will be comfortable with the Maoists in power in Nepal or that they will adjust themselves to the new reality. Though they will have no other go but to continue diplomatic relations they will also continue to create an adverse situation for the new government if it does not obey their dictates. The fact is that the US rendered all help to its stooge parties in Nepal to defeat the Maoists. It tried its best to keep the monarchy alive as the King was the most reliable pillar for its rule by proxy in Nepal. And as for India, it received a slap in its face when its chief stooge—GP Koirala and his NC—tasted an ignominious defeat. Most of the stalwarts of NC were trounced and swept away in the flood of people's fury as their traitorous deals with India have by now become well-known to the Nepali people.

However, India has gained in another front. In the Tarai region it supported the two Madhesi parties which won a considerable number of seats with the backing of India. India will use the Madhesi trump card to create disturbances in Nepal if the new regime does not toe its line. Already Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) led by Upendra Yadav has demanded that the Maoists should make their stand clear on the demand for Madhesi autonomy (Ek Madhes Ek Prades) and had asked the Maoists to discontinue their relations with international forums like the RIM and CCOMPOSA. Both US and India will try by various means to bring the new government to toe their line. They can, for instance, hit at Nepal's belly—its economy—by paralyzing industrial production, blocking trade and supply lines thereby creating food shortages and shortage of consumer goods; in other words it can squeeze Nepal through an economic blockade. This it will do if it thinks the new regime is going too far. As it is, the situation in Nepal is already too delicate with almost 10 hours of load-shedding even in capital Kathmandu and a shortage of all essential commodities. Its powerful neighbours can alter the balance through economic blackmail which could lead to growth of social unrest and massive protests against the Maoists. Acute shortage of essential items and rising prices can lead to disenchantment with the fledgling regime and a dip in its popularity thereby giving an opportunity to the discredited parties to re-establish themselves. Thus the situation in Nepal will remain extremely delicate and unstable even though the Maoists had won an impressive electoral victory. Comrades Prachanda and Bhattarai know this well and hence they have been appealing for India's cooperation. They had gone on record saying that there will not be stability in Nepal without India's cooperation. The fact that Nepal is a small country sandwiched between two powerful and big neighbours—India and China—and that it is a target for the US imperialists makes the governance quite a difficult proposition. Hence we should not read too much from the electoral victory of the Maoists in Nepal. the Maoist face an extremely difficult task ahead in balancing all these forces and carrying on with their people's agenda through land reforms and indigenous industrialization towards a new democratic economy.

Q: Then do you mean the electoral victory of the Maoists and their capture of state power through parliamentary means is a futile exercise, and that it cannot bring the desired radical change in the social system?

Azad: I don't exactly mean that. The control of state power, if they really can control, does give the Maoists a means to defend the gains accrued during the long years of revolutionary war and to affect radical changes in the social system. But this cannot be will be difficult to achieve through the type of state power that has fallen into the hands of the Maoists at the present juncture. In fact, even in classical revolutions as in China, where the Communist revolutionaries had seized power through an armed revolution, Mao had warned of the danger of the rise of a new class by virtue of their positions in the state machinery. After Mao, the state had degenerated into a machinery of oppression and suppression of the vast masses. The lesson that we Communists had learnt from this experience is that the Party should concentrate on organizing the masses and mobilizing them to rebel against all types of injustice and exploitation perpetrated by state and Party bureaucrats.

In Nepal, where the Maoists have come to power in alliance with a section of the reactionary ruling classes, it is an even more urgent task of the Maoists to continue the class struggle by organizing the masses against all forms of exploitation and oppression. In this the YCL appears to have been doing commendable work and is so hated by the other parties. To the extent possible, the Maoists shcould use their relative control over the state to help the masses in their struggle for freedom, democracy and livelihood. But it would be an illusion to perceive the state as an instrument for bringing about a basic change in the lives of the people. This can Basic change could be achieved through continuation of class struggle for which, the state can, at best, render some help.

Q: Sitaram Yechuri of the CPI(M), among several others, have said that the Maoists of India have to learn from Nepal's experiences and take the parliamentary road to come to power. What does your Party say in this regard?

Azad: Why Yechuri alone? Even the DGPs of Jharkhand, AP and other states where Maoist movement is strong had said that before. Leaders of other reactionary ruling class parties had been harping on the same theme ever since the revisionists began participating in parliament in our country. Some like former RAW chief Thorakan have said that the Maoist victory in Nepal would have a demonstration effect on the Maoists of India.

Firstly, those who say this forget that the situation in Nepal and India are completely different. In Nepal the immediate political task before the entire Nepali masses was a struggle against the monarchy which circumstance had brought about a measure of unity among the various parliamentary parties and broad sections of people. The King himself, with the active guidance and aid from US imperialism had created a situation where all forces had to close their ranks and wage a struggle for democracy. The fact that hardly two per cent of the Nepali population supported the monarchy, as revealed by a 2008 Survey report, shows the basis for such a united struggle of the Nepalese people and the CPN(M) utilized such a situation. In India, it is a fight against the semi-colonial, semi-feudal social system of which the parliamentary system is part and parcel. All the major parliamentary parties are representatives of the comprador-feudal classes, obey the dictates of imperialists, and hence stand in the counter-revolutiona ry camp. Here the immediate task is struggle for land, livelihood and liberation for the vast majority of the masses.

Even in Nepal, to achieve these, class struggle has to be waged and parliament can do hardly anything to mitigate the sufferings of the masses. Now with the exit of the King, when the real questions confronting the people have come to the fore, it will not take much time for them to realize this universal truth.

Yechuris, Karats and Buddhadebs have over 40 years of experience in the Parliamentary pig-sty. But what basic changes have they brought in the system? Their parliamentary cretinism has done no good for the masses. The rich have grown richer and poor poorer even in the states where these revisionists have been in power. Without their support the ruling UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh would not have dared to carry out the anti-people policies. They had correctly dubbed themselves as "a barking dog that doesn't bite". They agree that they are powerless to do anything more than acting as "speed-breakers", as described by one of their spokespersons, in the path of the anti-people onslaught by the UPA government at the Centre. The fact is, they are not merely speed-breakers. They actually act as political brokers intermediating between the vast masses and the reactionary rulers trying to bring about class harmony in place of class struggle. In the states where they are directly in power they have become no less exploiters and oppressors than the Congress and the BJP. Singur and Nandigram are their laboratories for carrying through their pro-imperialist, pro-comprador big business policies. And in this they have become even more brutal thanks to the vast army of social fascist gangs at their disposal. These political prostitutes spin one theory after another such as "the bigger evil versus the lesser evil", that they have no power to stop the SEZs across the country, unless, of course, they come to power at the Centre to justify their hob-nobbing with Congress at one time, TDP at another and such antics. But in the same breath they hypocritically say that without SEZs, privatization, foreign investment, etc., West Bengal and Kerala cannot go ahead with industrialization, and so on.

No wonder, imperialist and comprador capital is very impressed by the performance of the Indian "Left". NRI industrialist Lord Swaraj Paul, who is the chairman of the Caparo Group which is setting up a component unit in Singur, was all praise for the CPI(M) and its leader Buddhadeb when he visited West Bengal as the head of a delegation of the United Kingdom branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

These social fascists have now become the blue-eyed boys of the World Bank, Tatas, Salems, Swaraj Pauls and the people of India will fare no better under a CPI(M) government at the Centre.

There is little wonder they have been asking the Indian Maoists to follow suit. Our Party firmly believes that a basic change in the system cannot be achieved through the parliamentary path but through class struggle. In our country this takes the form of armed agrarian revolutionary war. We, of course, do not reject other forms of struggle and organization, besides armed struggle and armed organization, and you would have realized this if you are a keen observer of our movement. This is of no consequence to our Mr. Yechuri who only dreams of seats in the Parliament like any other ruling class party. We, on the other hand, invite everyone opposed to imperialism, feudalism, comprador bureaucrat capitalism and the neo-liberal policies of the reactionary ruling classes of India, to come forward to wage a united militant struggle instead of whiling their time in an impotent anti-people Parliament and acting as lobbyists and power brokers. For revisionist chieftains like Yechuri, who are bogged down neck-deep into the morass of parliamentarism and bourgeois lobbying, such a revolutionary alternative is naturally an anathema.

Q: Prachanda had earlier said that he would be the first President of Republican Nepal but a few days ago he changed tack and declared that he would head the ministry. Do you think it is correct for anyone in a Communist Party to be the head of the government, chief of the Party and army at the same time?

Azad: We too had seen his statements in this regard. He still says he wants to be the President if it is acceptable to all i.e. by consensus. As such, the present Constitution of Nepal has no provision for an Executive President. It will take another two years for the Constituent Assembly to adopt the newly drafted Constitution and to arrive at a final decision on this. Hence comrade Prachanda might have reconsidered his earlier decision and decided to become the Prime Minister.

Now the question is not whether the Party chief should be President or Prime Minister. We have a different opinion altogether. We think that the Party chief should be neither. He/she should concentrate on developing class struggle and not get immersed in the administration of the state. If we believe that the role of the Party is to continue class struggle until the final stage of Communism then we can appreciate our viewpoint. The history of revolutions had shown that once the Party has led the revolution to final victory it also lays the basis for the rise of a new class of Party and state bureaucrats. When the Party and state completely coalesce then it will be terribly difficult to fight the rise of bureaucratic class and to mobilize the people against the wrongs done by the state. Hence it is very much essential that the party leaders remain with the masses, organize and guide them against each and every form of exploitation and oppression. In Nepal this becomes even more crucial as the Maoists have to share power with a section of the comprador-feudal classes.

Who should lead a government or any other body is for the Party to decide. Historically Party leaders have been in top positions of governments, like in China and the CPC and even elsewhere. It is not for us to stand on judgment about allocation of responsibilities of cadres or leaders in any other party. Only, one of the most important lessons of the GPCR was that no matter what the seniority of a comrade they should not lose touch with the masses. They should not stand above the masses and become like bourgeois bureaucrats but be accessible to the masses and integrate with them.

Q: Prachanda and Bhattarai had declared that they are willing to invite FDI and to create a business-friendly environment in Nepal. They also said that they would encourage capitalism. Is it correct for a Maoist party to invite foreign investment and develop capitalism?

Azad: Firstly we must understand the reality of Nepal. It is an extremely backward, semi-feudal country that lacks the minimum infrastructure and industrial production. It is a part of the Fourth World, if we can call it so. The UN has placed it in the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Hence the first task in Nepal would be to liberate the vast masses from the feudal clutches and develop industry on that basis. As regards developing capitalism in Nepal there need not be any objection from revolutionaries as long as it is national capitalism and is properly regulated to meet the needs of the masses and is directed towards the growth of the internal economy and not for exports or for serving the imperialists. But if the encouragement is for inflow of foreign capital it will be detrimental to the interests of the country in the long run. The foreign capital would begin to control the economy of Nepal even if the Maoists are the major partners in the government just as it had done till now. The Maoists shcould consider encouraging indigenous capital and help its growth while gradually eliminating foreign capital. Both Prachanda and Mr Bhattarai had a meeting with businessmen under the aegis of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) as soon as the results became clear. There is pressure from businessmen for an investment-friendly environment, maximisation of profit, tax reforms, new flexible labour laws and a positive industrial policy.

In the past Maoists had opposed private institutions in health and education sectors. But now Prachanda has promised private-public partnership will be encouraged in health and education sectors. Mr Bhattarai has promised to remove whatever hurdles that may arise in the private sector. We have been hearing reports of talks between the Maoist leaders and the officials of World Bank. If these reports are true then it will could have dangerous consequences on the future of Nepal. Depending on FDI and adopting a pragmatic approach towards industrialization of Nepal in the name of overcoming the country's economic backwardness will only lead to opposite results and strengthen the hold of the imperialists and continue the prevailing backwardness. The key aspect for the development in any backward country is not capital but the expansion of the home market. This can only be achieved by raising the purchasing power of the masses. Once this grows it will act as the motor for the industrial development of the country.

Q: How do you foresee the future fraternal relations between your Party and the CPN(M)? Given the fact that the Indian state does not want the Maoists of Nepal to maintain relations with the Indian Maoists, and the demands by MJF in this regard is a clear indication of growing Indian pressure, will fraternal relations between the two Parties continue as before?

Azad: We believe and desire that fraternal relations between the CPI(Maoist) and CPN(Maoist) should continue as before. As long as both the Parties stand firmly committed to proletarian internationalism, international pressures and internal pressures will not come in the way.

Of course, there is bound to be increasing pressure from various quarters on the Maoists of Nepal to cut off their relations with other Maoist Parties. Particularly India and the US will exert utmost pressure in this regard. We do understand the complexity of the situation. However, we must keep in mind that every Communist Party is a detachment of the world proletariat. And any proletarian Party will place national interests subordinate to the interests of the world proletariat. Comrade Prachanda had correctly said that ideological ties between the two Parties will remain intact. And we believe the ideological debates and discussions have to continue. The various international fora such as CCOMPOSA should continue with their aims and activities in spite of the new situation that had arisen. Besides we will continue to deepen people to people ties between our two countries and oppose any form of interference and domination of Nepal by the Indian expansionists. We will promote solidarity for the Nepal people and revolution amongst the people of India on a wide scale. All this is our proletarian internationalist duty. We expect the same from our Nepal comrades.

Q: What do you have to say about comrade Prachanda's comment in his interview to The Hindu that "for the Indian Maoist party, its leaders and cadres, these efforts of ours provide some new material to study, to think about and go ahead in a new way. Our efforts provide a reference point."

Azad: As Marxists we must study critically any phenomena, particularly new experiences. Yet, we should not come to hasty conclusions and carefully observe the outcome of such efforts. All these need to be assessed from a class view-point and not a non-class approach. Marxism is a science and it gives the tools to analyse all social phenomena scientifically. This we need to do for the Nepal or any other experiment. Ofcourse, we have already many historical precedents, these too should be considered and the Nepal experience seen as part of this and not in isolation.

Q: Finally, is there anything you want to say to the people of Nepal and the CPN(M)?

Azad: Our Party, CPI(Maoist), sends its revolutionary greetings on behalf of our CC, entire Party rank and file, and the people of India to the CPN(Maoist) and the people of Nepal for their categorical rejection of monarchic rule and the comprador-feudal Parties through the elections to the Constituent Assembly. We wish to appraise them that the real battle for the transformation of their lives and the life of Nepal begins now. Lack of vigilance even for a moment could prove dear to the Maoists as well as the people of Nepal as vultures within and outside their country are only too eager to maintain the existing social order and itching to destroy all the gains achieved by the people and the Maoists. We wish to remind the CPN(M) and the people of Nepal to bear in mind the warning we had given in November 2006 when they decided to become part of the interim government. I repeat what we said then: "The agreement by the Maoists to become part of the interim government in Nepal cannot transform the reactionary character of the state machinery that serves the exploiting ruling classes and imperialists. The state can be the instrument in the hands of either the exploiting classes or the proletariat but it cannot serve the interests of both these bitterly-contending classes. It is the fundamental tenet of Marxism that no basic change in the social system can be brought about without smashing the state machine. Reforms from above cannot bring any qualitative change in the exploitative social system however democratic the new Constitution might seem to be, and even if the Maoists become an important component of the government. It is sheer illusion to think that a new Nepal can be built without smashing the existing state."

Our Party hopes that CPN(M) will take heed of our fraternal advice and We hope and sincerely feel that the CPN(Maoist) will continue the class struggle to achieve real liberation of Nepal from imperialism, feudalism, Indian expansionism and advance towards socialism and Communism. it has no other go but to continue the people's war to achieve the above aim as it is impossible to carry out basic transformation in the social system through the coalition of forces that have come to power at the present juncture.

Our Party will wage uncompromising struggle against the machinations and expansionist designs, the intervention and bullying and acts of subversion of the Indian ruling classes in Nepal and assure that we shall stand firmly by the side of the CPN(M) and the people of Nepal in their fight for genuine freedom and independence. In the long run it is only the victory of the revolution in India that can ensure real equality and mutual respect between the two countries. And our Party will step up its efforts to advance the revolution in our country to its ultimate victory.

Q: Before departing I would like to have a clarification regarding some recent reports in the media that the spokesperson of the CC, CPI(Maoist), Azad, and his wife Rama had died in an encounter with the police in the Eturnagaram forest in Warangal district of AP. So, after all, this had turned out to be just a rumour!

Azad: Need I to say anything more on this when you are face-to-face with the supposedly dead person? I only wonder at the incapacity of the media to verify facts before publishing. Every lie that is churned out by the media acquires a certain measure of credibility in the eyes of the people at least for some time. They create confusion and mislead public opinion. With regard to the so-called encounter that was supposed to have led to my death the first lies that were circulated in the media, though these were not repeated in the later news reports, were enough to create a dent in some people's minds. Even when the facts eventually come out it would be too late to correct the impressions created. Many people still think that Azad is dead. In last Tuesday's (April 22) Indian Express, for instance, there was a centre page article by former chief of Research & Analysis Wing, Mr. P.K. Hormis Tharakan who wrote that "CPI(Maoist) spokesperson and CC member, Azad (Gajarla Saraiah) and his wife Rama were killed in an encounter in Eturnagaram forest". This was in the context of his analysis of the electoral results in Nepal. One can imagine how great is the impact of news reports appearing in the media which can easily carry away an experienced senior intelligence officer of the Indian establishment! On the other hand, this also shows how raw is the brain of a former chief of RAW!!

Q: Wasn't Gajarla Saraiah alias Azad a member of the CC and CMC?

Azad: No. Even that is not a fact. The fact is that comrade Gajarla Saraiah (also known as Azad and Raghu) was a member of NT Special Zonal Committee until 2004 after which he was transferred to Maharashtra where he served as a member of the state committee and secretary of Gondia-Balaghat divisional committee until August 2006. He was never a member of the CC or the CMC as propagated by the media. He and his wife Rama were picked up by the APSIB from Kolhapur town in Maharashtra and brutally murdered after torturing them cruelly. Their bodies were thrown in the forest in Warangal and, as usual, the notorious SIB of AP projected this cold-blooded murder as an encounter. They also tried to make it appear that he was a senior member of the CC and CMC. The police in AP know very well that both these comrades were out of the state for over four years and yet had the audacity to claim that they were killed in Warangal forests. That is the power these licensed goondas of the state enjoy in a country that is said to be a Republic having a Constitution. Every encounter killing—and these run into thousands over the years—is a telling vindication of the Maoist thesis that Indian democracy is formal and fake. The lawlessness of the police and security forces had never come into question by the Courts and not a single officer in AP had been indicted for murder in spite of carrying out over three thousand murders in the past two decades.

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