20th February 2009
NAGPUR: A recent survey has shown 74 women to be part of the approximately 290 core Maoists operating in the worst affected areas of the
state. They don't just make up the ranks. The women also account for three divisional committee members, nine commanders, three area commanders, and two deputy commanders. In fact, statistics show that the men are outnumbered by the fairer sex in commanders and deputy commanders' cadre. Two women divisional committee members (Narmada and Tarakka alias Vimla Sidam) operate in the south Gadchiroli area while one (Sujanakka) in the north. "Narmada though has lost her physical aggression due to age but she is still a sound strategic planner owing to her years in the movement and knowledge of the topography," .
Some 57 others are form the support strength. Role of women had become a matter of speculation in the state's deadliest Maoist attack in the 01/02 attack at Markegaon that claimed lives of 15 policemen. Among recent Maoist attacks, there is speculation that Jyoti, commander of Tippagarh Dalam and wife of member of Dandakaranya special zonal committee Diwakar, was part of the team that wiped out 15 policemen in Markegaon recently. Women commanders are also leading dalams like Perimilli (Vijayakka), Chatgaon (Ranita), Kasansur (Dhani) and Surjagarh (Ranjita alias Ramko Rushi Hichhami), Korchi (Sujata alias Kanta Tekandi), Darekasa (Alida) and Malanjkhand (Saguna alias Jamuna). Two more women (Girija and Batte) are known to be controlling two company dalams as sectional commanders. One of the posts of deputy sectional commanders is known to be occupied by a woman cadre (Watti). "These women sometimes have to control both dalams and platoons together. Couple of them like Dhani also doubles up as area committee member (ACM)," said a source. Among others, Aruna controls Platoon dalam (No1) as sectional commander while Rajita alias Sukri Madavi Bheladi, another ACM, is in-charge of Kurkheda-Khobramend a dalam. Ramko alias Narote, who is also an ACM, is the commander of Bhamragarh-Gatta dalam. Though there are couple of sharp cadres among the women who have climbed their way up through sheer struggle, most of them have simply graduated to higher post.