COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)
Strongly condemn the arrest of Comrades Murali and Ismail!
Struggle for the release of all the ailing and aged senior Maoist political prisoners!
The notorious and lawless special branch of Maharashtra Police – the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) – arrested Central Committee Member of our Party Comrade Murali Kannamballi (Ajith) from a hospital in Talegaon Dabhade near Pune on 8 May 2015. Comrade Ismail Hamza Chiragpalli, who was attending him in the hospital, was also arrested. They were interrogated for many hours and the next day produced in the court with hoods on their heads and handcuffs on their hands. Speaking to the media while being taken to the court, Comrade Murali, who never denied that he was a member of the CPI(Maoist), protested against the blatantly illegal and inhuman manner in which he was arrested from the hospital while undergoing treatment.
They were also denied the right to an advocate at the time of arrest. Taking at face value the allegations made by the ATS, the judge in a prejudiced manner concluded that the accused were “prima facie involved in anti-national activities” and sent them to ATS custody. The custody was extended several times subsequently, during which the various central and state special intelligence agencies including those from Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh subjected comrades Murali and Ismail to intense interrogation. Various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) have been invoked against them by implicating them in a number of fabricated cases. The Central Committee of the CPI(Maoist) strongly condemns the Indian government for illegally arresting comrades Murali and Ismail and demands that Murali be given all medical facilities, all the cases framed against them be withdrawn and they be released unconditionally.
Comrade Murali had joined the revolutionary movement while studying in the Regional Engineering College (REC), Kozhikode in the mid-1970s. In February 1976, revolutionaries armed only with rods, wooden staffs and household weapons attacked Kayanna police station near Perambra of Kozhikode and seized arms. Murali and 18 others were accused by the police of involvement in the case. One of the accused P Rajan, a fellow student and a close associate of Murali, was detained by the police, taken to a police camp near Kozhikode, tortured and killed in custody, an incident which led to a massive protest and the resignation of the then Keralam Chief Minister K Karunakaran. Murali too was detained and questioned by the police. The courts later acquitted all of them in the case as the police failed to substantiate their charges. But Murali had already left his studies in 1976 to join the revolutionary movement as a professional revolutionary.
After the all-India movement suffered setbacks and splits in the 1970s, Comrade Murali and other comrades of Keralam had put relentless efforts to unite the fragmented genuine revolutionary forces. As a part of this effort, CPI(ML)[Reorganising Committee] was formed with the merger of Andhra Pradesh Reorganising Committee (APROC) led by Comrade Rawoof and revolutionaries of Keralam led by K Venu and K N Ramachandran. Subsequently, CRC CPI(ML) was formed in 1979. Murali was a leading member of both RC and CRC. Sharp ideological struggles continued against the right deviation and capitulationism of K N Ramachandran and later against the anti-Marxist line of K Venu to uphold and defend the ideological-political-military line of Charu Majumdar and the CPI(ML). Comrade Murali played an important role in this struggle and was among the leading comrades who formed Maoist Unity Centre (MUC) CPI(ML) in the 1990s by rejecting the liquidationist line of Ramachandran and Venu. Soon after the formation of CPI(ML)Naxalbari under the leadership of Comrade Rawoof in 1998, MUC and CPI(ML)Naxalbari merged and Murali became one of its CC members. He took over as the secretary of CPI(ML)Naxalbari after its founding secretary Rawoof retired in 2006 due to age-related illness. Unity efforts between CPI(Maoist) and CPI(ML) Naxalbari which had already started was continued in the period, finally culminating in the merger of the two parties in May 2014. Comrade Murali played a significant role on behalf of CPI(ML)Naxalbari to realise this unity. Since then, he has been performing his responsibilities as a CC member of CPI(Maoist).
In this way, throughout his decades of revolutionary life Comrade Murali contributed to the struggles to defend MLM against revisionists of various hues both in the country and the International Communist Movement. Since the time of the formation of CRC CPI(ML), Comrade Murali had been working in the international sphere for many decades. He always held that the people’s war has to be built in every state to advance India’s New Democratic Revolution and made continuous efforts in this direction. He was part of the efforts to develop the revolutionary movement in Keralam and some other states. He continuously worked for the political education of the cadre and untiringly carried out revolutionary propaganda. He has authored books like Bhoomi, Jathi, Bandhanam (Land, Caste, Bondage) an analysis of the social relations of Keralam from a Marxist perspective published in 2002. He was in the midst of working on a new edition of the book and was completing its English translation at the time of his arrest. He was an editor of a number of magazines including A World to Win, Mass Line and Naxalbari and wrote many articles on various themes over the decades. Since the merger of CPI(Maoist) and CPI(ML)Naxalbari, he has been an editor of the revolutionary online magazine People’s March.
Since Comrade Murali had undergone a heart surgery a few years back, he needed continuous assistance for his recuperation. Comrade Ismail Hamza Chiragpalli, inspired by the Murali’s lifelong dedication in the service of the people, offered his help and has been providing him the much-needed help. Our CC congratulates Comrade Ismail for his selfless service to a senior leader of the country’s revolutionary movement and sends him our revolutionary greetings.
The fact that the Indian government decided to arrest a patient and his aide from the hospital and thrust them into the prison speaks volumes about the utter ruthlessness of the rulers when it comes to suppressing the Maoist revolutionaries and their supporters.
The arrest of Comrade Murali is a part of the countrywide counter-revolutionary war carried out by the Indian ruling classes against the revolutionary movement. In order to crush CPI(Maoist) and to deprive the revolutionary masses of leadership, the reactionary governments are using all means to decimating the party’s leading comrades at all levels and particularly its strategic central leadership. Since the formation of CPI(Maoist), a number of CC comrades have been arrested on false cases and left to languish behind bars in horrific conditions for years at end. A few CC comrades have been killed by the state in fake encounters in a planned manner.
Such attacks have intensified after the Brahmanical Hindu-fascist BJP came to power last year, which lost no time in launching the more cruel, deceptive and deceitful third phase of Operation Green Hunt to damage the Maoist movement. Comrade Murali’s arrest is a result of this.
The enemy was alarmed by the merger of CPI(Maoist) and CPI(ML)Naxalbari and the strengthening of the Maoist movement as a result. Worried that the unity would bolster the movement in the Western Ghats in particular, the central and state governments have been carrying out an intense counter-revolutionary armed campaign in the Keralam-Karnataka-Tamil Nadu tri-junction since the announcement of the merger. Arrests of revolutionaries and democrats in the three states have seen an unprecedented leap in the last one year in the region, mostly in Keralam. Moreover, democratic organisations, civil rights activists and progressive individuals of Keralam who take the side of the oppressed masses have been targeted by the government with arrests, illegal detention, interrogation, surveillance, slapping of false cases, threats, misinformation campaign, etc. Particularly after the Politico-Military Campaign was initiated by the Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee of the Party in November 2014, tens of persons have been picked up on the mere suspicion of being Maoists and imprisoned. Just a couple of weeks before the arrest of comrades Murali and Ismail, the police had arrested our Party’s senior cadres and leading comrades Roopesh, Shyna, Kannan, Anup and Veeramani from Coimbatore and put a plethora of false cases on them.
After these arrests, and particularly with the arrest of Comrade Murali, the ruling classes have claimed that they have “broken the backbone” of the Maoist movement in South India.
Some persons who do not wish the unity of Maoist revolutionaries have tried to portray the arrest as a result of the ‘failed’ merger between CPI(Maoist) and CPI(ML)Naxalbari. Many others have gone even further to claim that the line of protracted people’s war itself is not applicable to the present Keralam. With such arguments they try to sow doubts in the minds of the oppressed masses about the possibility of the Maoist movement taking firm roots in Keralam and in the Western Ghats generally. Such claims, however, have no semblance of truth in them, nor have such opinions anything in common with the interests of the vast oppressed masses. It is true that the movement in the Western Ghats have suffered serious losses due to the recent arrests. Comrade Murali’s arrest in particular is one of the biggest losses suffered by our Party and the CC. But to consider these losses as a reflection of the failure of the Maoist movement or the failure of the merger between CPI(Maoist) and CPI(ML) Naxalbari is to demonstrate one’s own failure to understand the real source of strength of a revolutionary movement and the real essence of a revolutionary unity. At the basis of the unity of revolutionary forces is the ideological-political line, which gets strengthened and enriched through every genuine merger. CPI(Maoist) got strengthened, the movement in the South West Region got a new boost and the new battlefront in the Western Ghats was further reinforced as a result of the merger with CPI(ML) Naxalbari.
Guided by the correct revolutionary line our Party and following correct polices and tactics, the movement in the WG zone will no doubt advance through ups and downs by boldly overcoming the temporary losses and reversals in its onward march. The CC, CPI(Maoist) appeals to the revolutionary, democratic and progressive forces of Keralam and the country – political and civil rights organisations and activists, democratic intellectuals, artistes, writers, lawyers, students and the working people to strongly condemn the illegal arrest of comrades Murali and Ismail and demand their early release so that he can avail the urgently needed medical attention. We also call upon them to intensify the efforts to release all the aged and ailing senior Maoist political prisoners detained by the Indian state in various jails of the country.