People’s army marches forward in India for 20 years

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The yearlong celebrations mounted by revolutionary people of India to mark the 20th anniversary of their people’s army, the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), culminated on December 2, 2021. A video released by the Communist Party of India (CPI)-Maoist on December 28, 2021 shows the celebrations featuring people’s parades, speeches, tribute to martyrs, cultural performances and others.

For decades now, the CPI (Maoist) and PLGA have been leading the protracted people’s war in India. From armed squad units, the formations of the people’s army have grown into battalions. There are Party units in squads and other formation of the people’s army at all levels. The Party gives regular theoretical educational discussions to the army, as well as studies on language, science, mathematics, social science and others to remold Red fighters and improve their political and military skills.

The PLGA operates in 17 out of 28 states in India. Indian states are equivalent to Philippine regions, but are way larger in land area. The PLGA has various levels of guerrilla formations in 13 states, and has bigger formations in areas where the armed struggle in stronger.

One of the primary war tactics developed by the PLGA in the past two decades is the use of explosives combined with gunfire in their ambushes. These explosives target military vehicles which the reactionary army calls “mine-proof vehicles.” The PLGA was also able to develop its experience in targeting enemy units that are on their way back to camp after conducting combing operations in the countryside.

Aside from ambushes, the PLGA was able to mount coordinated raids against armories and prisons to free detained Red fighters, militias and mass activists.

In the past two decades, the PLGA mounted 210 big guerrilla operations, 331 medium, and 4,000 small. The number of company and battalion operations mounted by the PLGA is increasing. Some of the biggest armed actions employ mobile warfare in areas where the guerrilla war is intense. This gave the PLGA a practical understanding of the process of advancing the guerrilla warfare to higher levels.

These figures exclude offensive mounted by the PLGA from August 2021. Its last major offensive was an ambush in Jeeragudem, Bijapur, Chhattisgarh on April 2021 against the operation of 2,000 enemy units. Twenty-four police men and 31 others were wounded, and 14 weapons were seized in this offensive. The people’s army attacked the enemy unit which entered deep into the forest. On their way home, they were ambushed by the guerrillas. “It was raining grenades,” said a policeman who survived the attack in an interview by the media.

The PLGA creatively utilizes their self-developed weapons, including “arrow bombs” and cannons. The artilleries which they fashion played a key role in their ambush against the enemy in March 2020 in the villages of Minapa in Sukma (district adjacent to Bijapur), Chhattisgarh which resulted in 39 casualties, and the seizing of 14 firearms.

In offensives the past two decades, more than 3,050 elements of the enemy have been killed, while 3,600 others were wounded. The PLGA has been able to seize 3,240 firearms and more than 155,000 bullets. These offensives effectively prevented the rampage of the reactionary armed forces.

The militia also actively participates in the people’s war. They are active not only in setting explosives, but also punji stick traps. During a defensive campaign in 2018, the people’s militia was able to mobilize 15,000 individuals who set 18,000 traps with 90,000 punji sticks. They also participated in offensives.

In the past two decades, the role of women in the people’s war in India has grown. They are among the most exploited sectors of the society. The enemy perpetrates sexual attacks against them as one of its major repressive tactics. In the PLGA, the women’s struggle and the equality between women and men are upheld. Even in villages, the role of women in the people’s militia is growing. Many of those who patrol in communities to detect the enemy are women.

The PLGA enjoys the support of the Indian peasant masses and indigenous people because the people’s army supports their basic rights to “jal-jungle-zameen” or “water-forests-land.” The reactionary state has entered into numerous contracts with multi­na­tional corporations to plunder lands cultivated by the masses, and ancestral lands of Adivasis or indigenous people. Many of these are mining and irrigation projects, and establishment of “natural parks” and military reservations which will result in widespread displacement of residents.

The establishment of Revolutionary People’s Committees (RPCs) as the people’s organs of political power also played a key role in the advancement of the people’s war. In a territory called “Dandakaranya,” around 15,700 household benefited from agrarian revolution. In these areas, the PLGA and RPCs were able to open 25,774 parcels of land, and thousands of farmlands, fishing grounds, and irrigation.

These victories were reaped by the PLGA amid the intense counterrevolutionary war of the government of India currently represented by the Modi regime. It mounted the Samadhan (solution) campaign in 2017 in an attempt to decimate the revolutionary army by 2022. In sum, at least 6.5 lakh (or 650,000) anti-guerrilla troops including, paramilitaries, soldiers, and policemen were deployed to fight the PLGA.
The counterrevolutionary war is characterized by “carpet security” and intense intelligence operations for precise operations. The enemy is regularly deploying helicopters and drone for its bombing operations along boundaries. The PLGA is aware of the adverse impact of real-time surveillance operations conducted by the enemy.

According to the PLGA, it needs to strive in relying on the masses for intelligence. It has to pattern its tasks after the changing conditions of war. It also strives to further strengthen the mass base to intensify and broaden the guerrilla warfare. It also strives to intensify efforts to strengthen the mass movement and revolutionary committees. These serve as the foundation for the advancement of the PLGA as the people’s effective and undefeatable weapon in establishing their organs of political power.

People's army marches forward in India for 20 years
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