HYDERABAD – There are “no cases” pending against the arrested London-educated Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy anywhere in India but police could “concoct” them, claims revolutionary poet Varavara Rao.
While the Andhra Pradesh police are tightlipped about the role they played in Ghandy’s arrest in Delhi this month, Rao says there were no cases against Ghandy in the state.
“There are no cases pending against him in Andhra Pradesh. For that matter, no cases are pending against him anywhere. But it is not difficult to concoct cases against him,” Rao, who is a Maoist ideologue and has known Ghandy since the 1970s, told IANS.
Rao felt the Andhra police could have been roped in to net Ghandy because of their expertise in tackling Maoists.
The 63-year-old Ghandy, born in Mumbai, was arrested in New Delhi Sep 21. But Rao claimed the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) leader was picked up by police four days earlier — Sep 17.
“He is suffering from cancer and has kidney and heart problems. He was arrested on Sep 17 and was tortured for four days. He was not given proper medical treatment despite court orders,” he said.
Rao, who acted as an emissary in the first peace talks between Maoists and the Andhra government in 2004, also said police might arrest people like him for claiming to have relations with Ghandy.
“He may not tell anything but police can arrest us for claiming that we were in touch with him,” said Rao, who last met Ghandy in Nagpur in 1991, a year before he and his wife Anuradha went underground.
Anuradha, the only woman member of CPI-Maoist central committee, died of malaria last year.
Ghandy, a member of the party’s politburo and central committee, was arrested at the Bhikaji Cama Place in south Delhi by officials from Delhi and Andhra Pradesh.
“His lawyer, Rajesh Tyagi, met him in jail and found him in bad health,” said Rao.
He fears that police may seek Ghandy’s custody and try to extract information from him by taking him to states like Jharkhand, where Maoists are very active.
“He may not give any information to police about the party leaders and sympathisers,” Rao said.
“The man comes from a very rich and highly educated family. He is a prolific writer… Now he is being branded a terrorist and murderer,” said Rao.
Rao admitted that Ghandy’s arrest was a loss to the party since he was its ideologue and theoretician. “However, the party will recover from this loss because it has collective leadership. There are more people like him in the party ranks. The party has two types of leadership. There are people like Ghandy with good education and good background. But there are many more who grew as leaders after joining the organisation,” he said.
Rao recalled his long association with Ghandy — from the early 1970s.
“When we started Srjana magazine here, Ghandy and his friend Anuradha, whom he latter married, were having in Mumbai a ‘Marxist Leninist Study Circle’.”
Born into a Khoja-Parsi family, Ghandy grew up in a large, rambling sea-facing house in Worli in Mumbai and studied in Doon School, St Xavier’s College and in London. He returned to Mumbai in the mid-1970s and helped found the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org). Blog Tharanga