A Maoist camp in Jharkhand. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, Sept. 2: The recovery of a large quantity of condoms from a Maoist camp in Khunti and confessions of incarcerated ultra-Left ideologue Narsimha Reddy point to rampant sexual exploitation of women cadres in the rebel ranks.
Three days ago, the Khunti district police and the CRPF raided a Naxalite hideout in the forests near Saumurangbera village in the Arki police station area. The CPI(Maoist) had organised a training camp there. One rebel was killed in the encounter.
Among the items recovered were 30 power gel explosives, 50 detonators, two improvised explosive devices, a country made pistol, live cartridges, tents, camera flash circuits, UPS, inverter, wireless sets, solar plates, over two dozen sets of newly-stitched uniforms, medicines, syringes, several large packets of condoms, womens undergarments, footwear and toiletries.
The encounter lasted for over two hours. While the police fired 238 rounds, the rebels fired more than 400 rounds. They also lobbed a bomb and a hand grenade. In fact, they had assembled there only four or five days back, and hence were not well entrenched. In the past, we have recovered generators from the rebel camps. But the recovery of condoms suggests that the Maoists are recruiting women cadre for sex. There is no dearth of men to fight in the forefront, said Khunti police superintendent Manoj Kaushik, speaking exclusively to The Telegraph.
Their plight is similar to those of Korean comfort women exploited by Japanese soldiers during World War II. The girls working in the rebel camps usually have to entertain several male partners, said IG operations R.K. Mallick.
According to him, in the past too, many women rebels have been found to be pregnant at the time of their arrest. During interrogation, they have revealed that it was difficult for them to tell whose baby they were carrying as several comrades visited them regularly.
Another senior police officer, who did not wish to be identified, said Narsimha Reddy, alias Vishalji, who was recently arrested in Bokaro, during interrogation admitted that only those young girls belonging to Dalit, extremely backward and tribal communities are recruited and then left to fend for themselves. They were mainly engaged in cooking, serving as couriers and other routine work. And the organisation turns a blind eye to sex with mutual consent.
Saryu Das, known as the father of the Naxalite movement in the Jharkhand region, said he motivated his boys to take up arms against feudal forces, mainly because they looked upon sisters and daughters of backward classes with evil eyes.
But later, he ordered them to shun violence and return to the social mainstream as the womenfolk were now fending for themselves in the absence of men in the families.
At Das call, several rebels had even contested the last Assembly elections.