Debauched Maoists in the jungle

REVEALED: Former woman Maoist tells the real Naxalite tale

NEW DELHI:  Think Naxals and the image that comes to most minds is of a ragged but disciplined band of armed and deadly men and women scratching out a life while on the run in India’s tribal hinterland.

Others would recall dreadful images of security personnel killed in carefully planned ambushes, vehicles ripped apart by improvised explosive devices and mines, or even of assassinated political leaders.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, however. A former woman cadre of the banned Maoist group has called the movement a den of vice where adultery, rape, wife-swapping and violence against women, including torture, are the norm rather than the exception.

Shobha Mandi also known as Uma and also known as Shikha was in command of a 25-30 strong group of armed Maoists before she gave up arms in 2010.

In her book called Ek Maowadi Ki Diary, Shobha says she was repeatedly raped and assaulted by her fellow commanders over seven years. The 25- year old says she complained of the treatment being meted out to women cadres in the camps to senior leaders, including the now slain ‘face of the Maoist insurgency’ Kishenji, but nobody seemed bothered.

“As a recruit, I protested against the habits of some leaders in the presence of Kishenji. Nobody liked it. The leaders instructed the squad members not to speak to me. I was isolated and warned of dire consequences if I protested.”

Chauvinism

Shobha makes it clear that hers was no isolated case. According to her book, most women recruits are exploited by senior Maoists. Senior women leaders, too, have multiple sexual partners. “If a member gets pregnant, she has no choice but to abort; a child is seen as trouble that hampers the lives of guerrillas,” Shobha lays it down in her book.

“Every woman is seen as an object which would satisfy the lust of all male cadres. The movement had lured me in 2003 by making me believe that men and women would be equal in the new order it strives to create.

But what I experienced over there was horrifying, worse than the oppression that the women of rural India face,” she writes.

Shobha’s book also discloses that slain Naxal leader Kishenji, who was killed by security forces in November 2011, held a ‘primary membership’ of a mainstream political party. In fact, Shobha believes that it was because he knew “too many secrets” that some political leaders ordered him killed in an operation that was later sold to the media and public as a daring initiative.

“At the behest of his masters, he ordered us to go after rival leaders to kill them. We complied as the fight is against a democratic set- up of which politicians are the prime part. But we failed to comprehend why he told us to kill civilians,” Shobha says.

Shobha’s allegations were verified last Tuesday, when the Bihar Police arrested Anup Thakur, senior member of CPI(Maoist) Bihar-Jharkhand- North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee, with a female commander from a shady hotel in Muzaffarpur.

Peaceful present

The woman commander revealed that she is the wife of Amardev, another wanted Naxalite commander.

Today, Shobha leads a peaceful life in her ancestral village near Ranchi.

But the brutalities wreaked upon her during her period as a rebel still remain alive in her memories, as well as in the pictures shot during her Maoist days.

NOTES FROM MAOIST DEN: PAGE

‘Every woman is seen as an object which would satisfy the lust of all male cadres. What I experienced was horrifying’

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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