Breaking news! Youngest Maoist nabbed!
Check out the murderous rage on his face!
Check out the hand that has bludgeoned many heads!
Check out the strained forehead that explain his years committed to bloodshed!
© Javed Iqbal
When Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh referred to Maoists as being the “single largest threat to the nation”, did he mean this child, whose fingers were brutally chopped off while his family was massacred?
Now, even before this ‘Maoist’ could be sent in for a narco-analysis, let’s understand where he comes from.
Name: Madvi Mukesh
Age: Two years old
Residence: Gompad village, police station Konta, district Dantewada (on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border)
Family: Maternal grandfather Madvi Barjar (50) – dead; grandmother Madvi Subhi (45) – dead; mother Kartam Kunni (20) – dead; maternal aunt Madi Mooti (8) – dead; father (21).
Mukesh was with his family on the morning of October 1, 2009, when something unusual happened. Several men wearing military fatigues – SPOs (special police officers), police and other security forces – pointed their guns at these ‘Maoists’ and shot at them. Mukesh’s neigbours were killed – Muchaki Handa, Markam Deva, Tomra Mutta, newly-married couple Soyma Subba and Soyam Jogi.
Mukesh’s family was wiped out. He was found to be crying near a pool of blood, oozing from the chopped body of his aunt. His wails were uncontrollable – did he understand the meaning of the loss of his family, or was it because his three fingers were chopped during the carnage?
His ‘Maoist’ father wasn’t at home at that time. He was saved.
Houses were burnt down. Paddy, pulses, brass pots, poultry and cash were taken away. In all, the villagers found that 10 of their people were dead. Some youths were missing. Mukesh Madvi, the ‘Maoist’, disappeared into the jungles with his father.
About 200 kms north of Gompad, news about an encounter was being circulated in the press. Operation Green Hunt had officially begun on October 1, 2009, and it was declared that some Maoists were killed near the Andhra border. When questions were raised by some sceptical journalists about the bodies of the Maoists, they were told that the villagers had disposed them off.
On January 3, 2010, when I met Amresh Mishra, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Dantewada, and had asked him about the Gompad massacre, he clarified that it wasn’t a massacre. “There was only a firing from both the sides. There was no casualty; only some explosives were found.”
January 7, 2010, would have been the day when, like Mukesh, many other ‘Maoists’ would have come to Dantewada for a Jan Sunwai (public hearing), so that they could put forth their case. Home Minister P Chidambaram had promised Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, who had planned the Jan Sunwai, that he would be present to hear the unending woes of the people. However, the Governor of Chhattisgarh ESL Narasimhan prevented the Home Minister from making that visit. The Jan Sunwai was bound to have opened a can of worms before the national media, if the Home Minister had attended the meeting.
Mukesh did arrive for the Jan Sunwai along with his father, and several other optimists, on January 5. They were about 25 of them. No sooner did they arrive at Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, they were surrounded by SPOs. About 30 minutes later, they were all packed into three Boleros which bore no number plates.
It has been 10 days since those ‘Maoists’ were taken to an undisclosed location and there has been no news about them.
© Javed Iqbal
So that is the government’s definition of a ‘Maoist’, whom I encountered personally – the tribal carrying logs of firewood who starts walking through jungles since 3 am, and reaches the nearest town by 7 am, to sell the firewood for Rs 60. The tribal who walks about 50 kms to reach the police station, to complain that the forces stationed in his village killed the only hen that he had, is a Maoist for the government. The two-year-old Suresh is a Maoist for the government.