On Ranvir Sena

[From the Political-Organisational Report of the Sixth Party Congress.]

Our struggle against Ranvir Sena has been going on for more than three years now in Bhojpur. In all, the Ranvir Sena has so far killed 162 persons out of which 20, including four local squad commanders and eight local activists were our Party members, 15 to 20 were attached to JD or Samata and there were a good number of politically neutral persons who were killed just because they were of dalit or backward background. In retaliation, around 76 Ranvir Sena activists and sympathisers have become victims of people’s anger. However, the main organisers of Ranvir Sena as well as their main armed core still remain intact.

This Sena has emerged as the most notorious and most ruthless private army of landlords in over 25 years of our movement in Bhojpur and the battle against it has proved to be quite protracted and tough. They have killed people with impunity, hurled grenades on our mass gatherings and even attacked our Party office. They have also planned to kill important Party leaders.

As the rural proletariat in Bhojpur has emerged as the ‘class-for-itself’ and, from a position of total marginalisation, has come to occupy the centrestage in the political process of this district under the banner of its Party, the CPI(ML), and since this has threatened the hegemony of both the JD and the BJP and exposed the ideological-political bankruptcy of CPI-CPI(M), an unholy alliance is quite natural. As the movement in Bhojpur has brought to the fore the class struggles of rural poor for political hegemony and the mass struggles of oppressed dalit castes for social equality, the feudal classes and castes have resorted to the tactics of mass terror, most brutalised killings of innocent persons including women and children. The form of struggle adopted by feudal classes is not an aberration but is dictated by the very dynamic of class struggle.

In political terms, we did make Bathani Tola a big agitational issue, from a militant assembly gherao to mobilising nationwide democratic opinion and ultimately forced the government to transfer the DM and SP and institute an enquiry. But at the grassroots, plans for smashing the main armed gang of Ranvir Sena could not materialise.

We have achieved primary success in arming people in innumerable villages. Militant sections capable of resistance have come up in many villages. The Party has conducted ideological struggle against three dependencies: 1) On higher varieties of firearms: the Party has instead stressed on reviving the old tradition of guerrilla actions where even with conventional arms an enemy equipped with more sophisticated firearms could be defeated; 2) On relying on the administration: instead we put stress on developing the capacity of people’s resistance; and 3) On instructions from higher committees: we have emphasised instead unleashing local initiatives within the broad policy framework, particularly with regard to swift retaliatory actions.

With the Ranvir Sena becoming stronger it began targeting Yadavs too. Gradually we have started changing the social balance by winning over sections of the Yadav peasantry and youth. This has led to some successful actions. We have stepped up our propaganda among Bhumihars too and now it appears that some cracks are deepening and conflicts among them are getting sharper. We carefully avoided opening up a second front against Rajputs and this to an extent kept their participation at low key. Certain recent initiatives on floods and other issues of relief taken by the Kisan Sabha have witnessed mobilisation on a broad scale. In a recent incident in Ara town, four persons kidnapped by Ranvir Sena were rescued and two Ranvirs were handed over to police.

Local people’s squads are gradually stepping up their offensive and the Ranvir Sena nowadays is not as quick in retaliating as earlier. However, developing an intelligence network and tracking down the main operators is still a neglected area of work.