NEW DELHI, March 5, 2014
Updated: March 5, 2014 01:58 IST
Maoist leader G. V. K. Prasad and his wife Santhoshi Markam at a press meet after their surrender in January. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
Mohammed_Yousuf The HinduMaoist leader G. V. K. Prasad and his wife Santhoshi Markam at a press meet after their surrender in January. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

G.V.K. Prasad and his partner gave themselves up in January

The statement from the Maoist spokesperson Gudsa Usendi that selected journalists received on March 2 was against a man who till two months ago was Gudsa Usendi.

Usendi was a guerilla who died in a police encounter in Chhattisgarh in 2000.

Every appointed spokesperson of the party’s main guerilla zone, Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee (comprising Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra), has since been called Gudsa Usendi.

From 2006 till he surrendered before the Andhra Pradesh police in January this year, senior Maoist leader G.V.K. Prasad was Gudsa Usendi. It was he who accepted responsibility for the May 2013 Darbha Valley attack in Chhattisgarh that resulted in the death of senior Congress leaders.

But after his surrender along with his partner Santoshi Markam, Prasad became a “renegade” overnight for the party. Prasad cited serious differences with the Maoist leadership for his surrender. In his first statement, the new Gudsa Usendi accused his predecessor of “political and moral degradation.” Usendi said Prasad had a “live-in” relationship with Santoshi and that the party did not allow cohabitation without marriage.

Usendi’s latest statement is a sign of how the Maoist leadership is failing to read the writing on the wall: with increased security operations and disillusionment with the party policies, many rebels are finding solace more in love than in revolutionary praxis. It is also an indictment of an ideology that promised emancipation of the masses, especially women. Considering that many women in States like Andhra Pradesh choose to join the Maoist fold to escape feudal and patriarchal setups, the party’s new Khap-like take on relationships will only lead to further desertions — especially since at least 40 per cent of the cadre are women.

In the past also, the Maoist leadership has not taken kindly to such surrenders.

In December 2012, senior Maoist commander in Gadchiroli, Shekhar was accused of being a degenerate who “refused to rectify his mistakes” after his surrender.

In several instances, the Maoists accuse their erstwhile comrades who choose to surrender of sexual misbehaviour with women cadres.

“When we say women cadres are sexually harassed, the Maoists dismiss it as propaganda,” said a senior police officer involved in anti-Maoist operations in Andhra Pradesh.

“But just see how many of their comrades they have accused of such practice in the last few months.”