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Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:38 PM


Red rebels don religious colour

By Jaideep Deogharia, TNN | Nov 22, 2012, 02.42 PM IST

RANCHI: Maoists in India - who are Communists by political philosophy - find it difficult to remain atheists as far as their religious views are concerned. In a clash of political and religious views, Maoists often prefer to soften their stand on being atheists and allow their followers to worship deities the way they want to. This became evident on occasion of Chhath, when Maoists cadres on the Bihar-Jharkhand border not just ensured safe movement of devotees, but also accepted 'prasad' offered to them by villagers.

Kishore, a Maoist in the Madhya Zonal committee operative in Bihar, said: "We have to work with the masses and cannot afford to hurt their religious sentiments by refusing the 'prasad' they offer to us with great respect." The villagers may support Communist views as far as their political stand is concerned, but they have not been forced to adopt Communist ideals on religion views. "This holds true for followers of Hinduism and Islam equally as recently the villagers observed Bakrid and happily shared the 'offering' (mutton and beef) with our cadres," he said.

The famous Sun Temple at Deo in Bihar's Aurangabad district is situated in a Maoists stronghold. Velieved to be dating back to 'dwapar yuga', the shrine attracts several thousand devotees every Chhath. This year too, the turn up was no less and the devotees were assured complete security as far as the rebels were concerned. "Devotees have nothing to fear the Maoists, We, in fact, feel safer as we know that even petty criminals would not dare to harm us because the 'party' has announced full protection for believers," said Muna Yadav of Pachruwaria village, who went to offer prayers to the Sun god with his family.

Paramjeet, spokesperson of Maoists' Madhya zonal committee, said Chhath is the biggest Hindu festival in Bihar and northern Jharkhand and they have no problems with villagers who participate in the festivities. "We cannot dissociate them from their roots, which is so deeply seeped in religion," he said, agreeing that indirect participation of the cadres in such religious festivals cannot be ruled out. "On Raksha Bandhan, village girls often tie rakhis to our PLGA members and we never refuse them or turn them away," said Arjun Sao, a Maoist working in the Jharkhand region.


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