Indian press, People's War News

Red shadow on battle of ballots

Patna: A senior Maoist leader has said his party will boycott the upcoming assembly election, thereby raising fear of violence in areas under the influence of Communist extremists. Speaking to TOI at a hideout in the Kaimur plateau, 200km from Patna, Ajay Rajbhar (40), area commander of the Sone-Ganga-Vindhyachal division of the CPI (Maoist), said, “Like in the past, we will boycott the election again. People have voted in elections but have got nothing in return.
The underprivileged remain neglected. Villagers are forced to drink water from the same water bodies where animals bathe.” Rajbhar said, “We are not against development. But people here have nothing. They live without adequate food, schools, hospitals, electricity, roads and other basic necessities.” He added, “Politicians visit people only to beg for votes. This year, villagers will not allow politicians to enter about 300 villages located in the Kaimur region.”
He clarified that people were going to stop politicians on their own and “not because of us.” On reports of the Communist rebels trying to increase their influence or area domination during the election, Rajbhar said, “The government must try to understand why we chose to take up arms. It should know why we have to fight for our survival. Is there any point walking about 25km to cast our votes? Why should the villagers take so much trouble? We will ensure that nobody tries to take them to polling booths this year.” Rajbhar, a native of Palamu in Jharkhand, recalled how he became a Maoist. “When the Maoists killed my brother-in-law in 2005, I joined them with the intention of taking revenge for his murder. But I got swayed by their ideology.”
Explaining why he laid down his weapons for two months in 2014, he said, “I did so thinking that the government surrender policy was good. But I did not get any help from the government. I went back to my comrades after I got bail.” In recent months, many areas in southern Bihar such as Kaimur, Rohtas and Gaya have seen a spurt in Maoist violence. Once known as a Maoist-liberated zone, the two blocks of Kaimur plateau — Kaimur and Rohtas — have together over 60,000 voters.



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