Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gudsa Usendi on Maoist modes of Communication

The many lives of Gudsa Usendi

Phantom spokesman is emblematic of Chhattisgarh's secretive yet media-savvy Maoists
‘Today I am Gudsa Usendi, tomorrow it could be someone else'

Maoists keenly aware of connection between surveillance and communication

Raipur: In the autumn of 2007, a suave, middle-aged man with a military bearing walked into Naresh Bazaar cloth store near the Bilaspur bus stand and bought a thousand metres of olive green tericot fabric for Rs. 101 a metre. According to a shop assistant, the man looked like an ex-serviceman, spoke in English, introduced himself as Sunil Choudhury, a private security contractor with contracts to secure factories across Chhattisgarh, and said he needed uniforms for his guards.

Later that year, Choudhury appeared at Dayaram Sahu's workshop in Raipur's Purani Basti and asked the struggling tailor to stitch him trousers of waist sizes 28, 30 and 36 inches with corresponding shirts. “He said he employed more than 50 security guards and each watchman needed three sets of uniform,” said Sahu. “He asked for 35 uniforms, and promised another 100 sets if he liked my work.”

It appears that Choudhury liked Sahu's work; when the Raipur police raided the workshop in early 2008, they claim to have found 634 metres of military green cloth, 200 trousers and 107 full-sleeved shirts.

Sunil Choudhury, the police said, was not a security contactor but was Katta Ramchandra Reddy alias Vijay alias Gudsa Usendi, a high ranking member and spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal (DKZ) Committee of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The uniforms were meant for Maoist guerrillas rather than private security guards.

According to police charge sheets and court documents, Gudsa Usendi is the shadowy figure who sent compact discs of Maoist propaganda to Raipur politicians in 2006 and was the source of a consignment of 91 country-made shotguns recovered from a busy intersection in Raipur in 2008. The police claim he was in frequent contact with jailed human rights activist and award-winning paediatrician Binayak Sen and independent filmmaker Ajay T.G., an association denied by both Dr. Sen and Ajay. Gudsa's supposed wife, K.S. Malti, is currently in Raipur Central Jail; another alleged associate of his was arrested in Durg as recently as September last year. But who is Gudsa Usendi? “Gudsa Usendi is just a name,” said a smooth voice over the telephone in August last year, “Today I am Gudsa Usendi, tomorrow it could be someone else. Gudsa Usendi is the title taken over by the spokesperson for the DKZ.”

Maoist spokespersons have long had a fascination for aliases. Before he was slain in a police encounter last year, Maoist central committee spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar was known to the outside world as Azad (translated as Free), but within the party he went by several names including Madhu, Gangadhar, Uday and Dinesh. His successor goes by the name of Abhay (translated as Fearless); the spokesperson who handled the abduction of Malkangiri District Collector R.V. Krishna in February went by the name of ‘Prasad,' but Dandakaranya's Gudsa Usendi is different, because Gudsa Usendi was once a ‘real' person.

“It was at about three in the morning in Potenar village in Abujmarh. It was June 25 2000, it was raining heavily. There were six comrades in a hut when they were surrounded by the police,” said a young Maoist fighter who called herself Rehmati. “Five comrades were killed, one of them was Gudsa Usendi. He was 17.”

When he joined the Maoists, Gudsa Usendi dropped his given name and took on the moniker of ‘Ramesh.' He was of the Maria tribe from Chhattisgarh's Abujmarh region, according to the Maoists. A year after his death, the Maoist spokesperson of Dandakaranya (broadly corresponding with South Chhattisgarh) took on his name to keep his memory alive and the practice has continued ever since.

The Maoists are wary of sharing organisational details with reporters, but anecdotal evidence suggests that Gudsa Usendi functions at the centre of a cloud of cell phones, laptops and individuals. A message from Gudsa Usendi could appear as a note under your door, a letter postmarked by a small town on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border, an email from an IP address that traces back to a neighbouring State, or a micro-SD card stuck to a sheet of paper.

In a recent meeting, a member of their communications team explained that every Maoist division (equivalent to a zilla in the panchayati sytem) has access to a laptop, memory cards, a portable inkjet printer and a cell phone. The netbook examined by this correspondent ran an open source Linux-based operating system with open source text, image and video editing software. Gudsa Usendi usually prepares a press note and hands it over to one of his assistants. Major press releases (like the announcement for Martyrs Week) are designed using crack versions of software like Adobe Pagemaker and converted into PDF format, before being sent to printing presses installed in secret locations.

“We prefer PDF format, because it removes the problem of fonts when issuing press releases in English and Hindi,” explained an assistant, referring to a document format created by Adobe. The files are emailed from the top of a tall tree on a mountaintop where a GPRS enabled phone can log onto a stray network

All the devices are charged by truck batteries connected to solar panels. “Batteries provide direct current (DC); laptops and phones need alternating current (AC),” explained the assistant patiently, “So we add a DCAC inverter to the circuit and use solar power to charge our devices.”

The Maoists are keenly aware of the connection between surveillance and communication. In the forests, only certain senior cadres are allowed to carry cell phones and use their devices sparingly. “We have to secure an area and post sentries before making a phone call,” said a Maoist commander who carries a Nokia phone. However, the poor density of cellular towers in Maoist territories makes it hard to pinpoint the location of a particular phone.

On a windy day in Konta in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district for instance, it is possible to pick up reception from a tower in Andhra Pradesh's Khammam district; by moving 50 km northwards from the same spot in Konta, a user can start ranging towers in Orissa's Malkangiri district, moving further towards Chintrakonda in Malkangiri, the Andhra network comes back into range. Somewhere in that broad stretch of land, a man climbs up a tree, pulls out a cell phone from the folds of his clothes and makes a phone call. “Hello? I have a statement from Gudsa Usendi,” he says.



  1. I want to join naxal

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  3. "join the system become politician or IPS or IAS and change it from inside." Well said bro, looks like either you don't follow the news or don't understand them or both.

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  5. "changing it's stytem" there you are; thats what naxalites want to do

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  7. Unconditional power is what the ruling classes of India are enjoying now. Communism is required to introduce social justice and kick these parasites out of the country.

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  9. "well said, I also agree with it. the one & only party of this country is enjoying the Unconditional power is CPM in west bengal. and that is a comunist party. So end of the day I am right that the comunist/naxalites want the unconditional power without any opponent.

    Communism = corruption"

    If you agree with even a single line of my post then your post makes no sense. So read it once again.

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  11. Firstly, just because the CPM calls itself communist you declare that communism is corrupt. Other political parties that label themselves as democratic or patriotic have also been proved to be super-corrupt. By your line of reasoning, then even patriotism or democracy themselves are supposed to be corrupt.

    Secondly, there have been many attempts to use the ballot alone to bring the CPM down. But every time those attempts failed. The present weakened state of CPM that we see in West Bengal now is chiefly the product of movements that often went outside the "democratic way" that you prescribe. So even here your logic fails.

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  13. Which party ruled India upto the 60s ? Did its fall imply the fall of "corrupt" patriotism ? Or would your arguments change if it ruled exactly for 32 years?

    "what good the SHIlDA Massacre or the Gaisal Sabotaz did to people? how much they help to change the political scenario of west bengal? you have no right to talk about "democratic way", specially when you attack the innocent polling booth agents."

    I don't know why you are bringing gaisal into this. How was it a sabotage ? You have some secret information on it ? Did Nitish Kumar plan it ? What do two trains colliding due to a wrong signal is Assam have to do West Bengal? Get your facts straight first.

    And yes, I have the right to talk about democratic methods, specially when I personally did not attack any innocent booth agent and nor did I ever support any such attack. Anyways, the movements that I had in mind are Singhur, Nandigram and Lalgarh which shook the foundation of the goverment. Please clarify which of these was a 100% democratic movement.

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  15. "yeah blind patriotism.. I also hate that."

    Does this mean that you hate the Indian National Congress too ? What about the BJP and other parties ? Do you hate them too ?

    "But what wrong with a system where you can choose your own ruler by election? don't you think our society will be more corrupt if we give up this?

    You mean we already have this in India ? Indians and Bengalis CHOSE to keep the Congress and CPM respectively in power for decades ?

    In last election I have seen many election office and agent's death. why maoist kill them? do you have any explanation?

    How much common man's life went better after Shilda massacre? how many people feel safe to travel in train after Gansehwari rail accident?"

    From Gaisal and Shilda to Ganeshwari now ? Even when it was proved (despite the trickeries of the government) that those really involved were CPM agents who had tried to infiltrate the people's committee ? I'll tell you what, instead of trying to throw random accusations at Maoists, how about you try to explain some of the actions of the Indian government and parliamentary political parties ? Let's start with the anti-Sikh and Gujrat riots. Do you have any explanation for those ?

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  17. Please explain how what Maoists are doing is "blind" ?

    Also, now you are plainly distorting facts. The Congress had relied on goons to rig elections for a long time. The CPM's "hermads" are infamous for the same reason. Had fair elections taken place, then the TMC would have come to power in 2001 itself. This is the condition of our so called democracy. So there is no opportunity of a non-corrupt political party to win elections here.

    ohh one more thing our democracy also allow us to accuse other, In india you can discuss anti-Sikh and Gujrat riots in daylight. but can you do the same about Tienanmen square in China?"

    Wonderful argument ! Our democracy allows us to "accuse" the murderers and rapists after the crimes have been committed. By the way, it also allows those criminals to roam unscathed even after the accusations have been made. We don't want this sham democracy that allows us only to shout while we are being robbed. We want a democracy that stops the robbery itself.

    Oh and now you've brought in Tienanmen square, after gaisal. Yet another point that has nothing to do with Maoists. Those who are responsible for that massacre are also friends with the CPM and are anti-Maoist. Do some reading before you bring up these random topics.

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  19. The biggest crimes in India are state sponsored. How to stop them ? By doing away with the political parties like the Congress, BJP and CPM that commit them, like the Gujarat and Sikh massacres. In Lalgarh, the polce arrested some women, some of them around 60 years old, labeling them as Maoists. Even a child can tell the difference between an armed Maoist guerilla and a rural old lady. How did the Maoists react to this crime ? They abducted a police-officer and forced the government to release the innocents.

    "I guess in communist china crime never happen. Because they stop it before it happen. Ohh wait see this article

    and they failed to stop the crime."

    You are calling China communist again. Coming back to the topic, do you see the difference between this and the massacre of thousands by state-sponsored forces, or will you continue to compare a mouse with an elephant ?

    "and you didn't answer can the Chinese people talk about Tienanmen square in public? do they have the freedom to make a protest march against the communist govt in public? as we able to do that in india?"

    Firstly, I don't call China communist. Secondly, it does not matter whether we can walk in a protest march or not, because nothing happens to the top criminals. How many top-bosses of the Gujarat and Sikh riots have been arrested ? Have Tapan and Sukur been punished for the Garbeta-Keshpur massacres ? Thirdly, the Indian government bans even books that expose the corruption of its leaders. The book "Vedanta's Billions" is banned in India.

    Also, why is there a law like the UAPA in a "democratic" country like India ? It's not very comfortable to march in protest fully knowing that you can be arrested without any proof of crime and left rotting in jail for months, is it ?

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  21. A very off-topic question indeed, but still I will answer it. I think that at present there are no communist countries.

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  23. That was a nice attempt on your part to dodge the topic of debate. Well done.

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  25. Can you please point out my "fundamental mistakes" without referring to anime or any other cartoons ? Also, about your suggestion of making the justice system better, how successful have you been with that as compared to Maoists who are helping tribals and other poor people to get justice for the first time in their lives ?

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  27. This comparison of a social movement with a cartoon-fairytale is very misleading. Even earlier, when I called the acts of loots and murders by the government robberies, you immediately generalized it to any crime. Communism is not meant for meeting the absolute standards you have set; it is supposed to create a classless society, if you know what that means.

    Also, please do not compare the Russian, Chinese or Korean movements with the CPM. Those were revolutions that crushed the old systems and established much better ones, while the CPM has never done anything more than preserving the old system. This is why you see that even though they are not communist anymore, Russia, China and Korea are much better off than India and their own pre-revolution selves, while West Bengal is probably one of the worst-off states right now.

    Lastly, even the first revolutions of capitalism were defeated. That didn't stop the developed countries of today from switching over from monarchies to capitalism. Similarly, the first revolutions led by communists have been defeated. That does not mean that communism is inferior to capitalism or that the world won't become communist in future.

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  31. "Hmm, so you haven't seen it. I got it. No problem. Sorry for showing sympathy to you."

    Please sympathize henceforth by debating seriously instead of posting anime links.

    "What do you mean by preserving the old system? Is the old system of Mao Tse-tung was wrong? You are making thing more confusing by switching sides. "

    Please read those lines once again. The revolutions crushed the old feudal and capitalist systems, which the CPM never did.

    The other questions that you are asking require a thorough theoretical treatment and are off-topic. For now, it is enough to see that the justice system that the Maoists are implementing in India is much better than what the government offers.

    "Just wondering why you think capitalism is bad. And If I am not wrong the capitalist countries ordinary people have more freedom of speech then the communist countries. The capitalist countries have more liberal society then the communist countries. Then why capitalism is bad? Plz explain in details with examples."

    Again, to understand why capitalism is bad in general, we need a through theoretical analysis which will be off-topic at the moment. So let us just go by examples. And no, freedom of speech in communist countries has been much more than that in capitalist ones. In a country like India we have the UAPA which is designed to silence common people and stop them from joining useful protests.

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  33. "That’s a nice excuse to accepting that you don't know what is justice and Maoist justice system can't bring true justice, and further more accepting that in future Maoist will monetize the justice system and make poor people's life miserable. So I guess I got my answer, and now I realized that how much Evil this maoist system is. I am deleting all my previous comments. So I have nothing to discuss with you.
    Good bye"

    What a wonderful yet super-transparent way to escape the debate, my friend. In every example from police atrocities to Mamata you were proved wrong. Then I stopped you when you tried to derail the debate. So what better way can there be for you than to actually delete all your comments and quit straightaway? Bravo !

  34. What an idiot Sudipta is ... LOL

    He doesn't want to leave any proof of his ignorance and his horrible debating skills...

    One Das goes another Das will come..

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