From Young Indian, 26 August 1971
The place is under the charge of a special police squad comprising of border experts, senior intelligence officers and combatant section of the military police for several months. Besides the Central Reserve Police, services of than three hundred jawans of the Bihar Military Police have been requisitioned from NEFA. The armed forces are functioning from a number of static camps and mobile units equipped with wireless vans.
But the guerrillas come from nowhere and carry out their missions successfully, that is, “annihilate the enemy”, despite all the tight security arrangements. This is not happening in the remote forests of Nagaland but in the plaints of Bihar.
Surajgarha, the epicentre
Naxalites are reportedly in the Surajgarha region of Munger district. Surajgarha, lying on the south bank of the Ganges, is one of the four trouble-spots in Bihar, the other three being Mushahari block in Muzaffarpur district, Darbhanga district and the tribal dominated belt of Chotanagpur.
Sometimes even special combing operations are launched to curb the red-terror in Surajgarha, but with little success.
About 200 alleged Naxalites have been arrested in Munger district so far — which is about one-fifth of the total arrests made in the whole State on similar charges. Surajgarha police station alone accounts for nearly 100 arrests.
There have been over two thousand cases of fatal bomb attacks or shooting by fire arms in this small area. About three hundred persons are involved in various cases of bomb-explosion, dacoity, loot and murder in which the Naxalites are believed to have a hand.
Swami Sahajananda Saraswati
Since long, Surajgarha has been a stronghold of the traditional communists (CPI). It has its own history of many a brave peasant struggle. Two of the well-known Bihar communists, Karyanand Sharma and Swami Sahajananda Saraswati led some of these.
The area is still represented by the CPI in the State Assembly. After the famous Naxalbari struggle when a new group of revolutionaries popularly known as ‘Naxalites’ emerged, many of the Surajgarha communists reportedly joined it.
In the meantime, Kailash Mandal, a local Naxal leader was allegedly attacked by a hired man of a zamindar. As a counter action the Naxalites attacked the zamindar a few days later, but the operation failed.
In due course the Naxalites decided to launch guerrilla warfare and conduct the ‘enemy annihilation programme’ as propagated by their leader Charu Mazumdar.
A zamindar and his son were killed in September, 1969. This was first “action” in the area. Another met the same fate in November. As a sequence, an armed police party under a magistrate was posted at Kiranpur village — venue of all the three murders. The Naxalite guerrillas killed two more landlords-one in December, 1969 and the other in January 1970.
Rich people shift to town
Owing to these five murders and a series of bomb-explosions, the rich people of the vicinity started shifting to Munger town for security. The police authorities were alerted and more troops were pushed into Surajgarh in early 1970. But the Naxalites slapped on their faces by killing yet another man, bringing the total to six.
By this time police-machinery had become effective enough and the Naxalites had to suffer a set-back when two of their top most leaders, Kailash Mahto and Kailash Mandal were arrested in quick succession in January, 1970. Both are still facing trial.
After a few months’ silence, the Naxalites again started their activities, this time extending it to Surajgarha town. They hurled bombs killing one business man-zamindar and injuring three others. This was in June. Two more persons — one a rich farmer and the other a big businessman and moneylender –were killed in June and yet another in July bringing the total to ten.
The town of Munger, which had witnessed only poster-war till now, could not remain untouched from the influence of nearby Surajgarha. Bombs were hurled on the house of the Vice-Chancellor of Bhagalpur University in August, 1970. Jhajha, another town in South Munger, came in touch with bombs for the first time in the same month when a few “crackers” were hurled on the local police station.
In September, the Naxalite guerrillas killed a zamindar and injured his son adopting the “hit and run” tactics. The remarkable thing was that the zamindar was living under police protection. Two more zamindars were killed in October.
Special Naxalite Cell of Bihar Police
In the meantime, the law-and-order machinery came into full swing. The Bihar government decided to set up a separate Naxalite cell at the State police headquarters to deal with the Naxalites.
In November they killed one businessman in the main chowk bazar of Munger town while a dumb-founded bazar crowd looked on. Another businessman was killed in January this year.
These “actions” in the town, it is understood, were meant to divert attention of the police from its massive “Operation Naxalite” launched in Surajgarha. The Naxalites did not suspend their activity, sixteenth man was killed by them just when the “Operation Naxalite” was in its full swing.
Bomb explosions and attacks on individuals still continue. Besides annihilating “class enemies” the Naxalites have also been issuing letters communicating “death sentence” passed by the “people’s courts” to big farmers and money lenders of the locality.
Young Indian, 26 August 1971