Revolutionary Writer and Poet Arrested on False Charges

By Ed Dalton

In Hydrabad, India on August 28th, revolutionary poet and writer Varavara Rao was arrested on trumped up charges for “plotting the assassination” of reactionary Indian President Modi.

Along with Rao, other progressive and democratic intellectuals were arrested including Rao’s son-in-law, journalist KV Kurmanath, and photographer T. Kranth. Their apartments were raided and cell phones and electronics seized.

The false charges were based on a falsified letter attributed to the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Rao insisted the letter was demonstrably a fake, not being written in the style of CPI (Maoist).

At a press conference in June Rao stated, “You people in the press know the Maoist style of communication. Even I know, because I have participated in peace talks. Does anyone with common sense believe that this was written by the Maoist party?”

Rao is a long time champion of the New Democratic revolution in India and has served as an emissary of the Maoists, legally in past negotiations going back to 2004 and as a writer and intellectual. He has spoken out in defense of both the peasant tenant masses as well as the Party which leads them.

The creation of the fake letter is only one part of the overall repression of democratic activists by the old decaying Indian state. While the raids were being carried out, members of various democratic organizations gathered near the apartments in protest, carrying posters denouncing the political motives behind the state repression. One sign read “they are trying to suppress the democratic voices that question Modi.”

Rao is not just a revolutionary writer, he is the current president of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) in India. Another prominent member of the RDF is professor GN. Saibaba, who remains in prison on accusation of having links with the banned CPI (Maoist), even though these accusations lack evidence. This repression comes at a time when RDF leaders warn that the Modi government is engaged in an anti-people offensive, in order to save some of the far right-wing organizations and fascist paramilitaries who target Dalits and other lower castes.

According to the RDF manifesto, “Feudalism in India in its semi-feudal phase has its particularity – – namely brahmanical feudalism – which is based on the caste system. Indian feudalism has generated and established brahmanism as the central ruling-class ideology since the emergence of feudalism in South Asia in the early medieval period. Feudalism, in order to continue to thrive on the face of the mighty anti-feudal struggles of the masses, has taken refuge in the lap of imperialism. The big comprador bureaucratic capitalists are also thriving under the aegis of imperialism. They have also been compromising with feudalism from the very beginning. Therefore, specific forms of struggle have to be evolved and incorporated in our anti-feudal struggle to smash brahmanical ideology, annihilate caste and destroy feudalism.”

The arrest of Rao comes less than a week after he issued support from CPI (Maoist) to the tenant peasants, encouraging them to increase their struggles. He put pressure on the government to honor their stand taken on land reforms forced by the Maoists. The arrest of Rao shows the desperation of the old decaying state which resorts to falsifying assassination letters. It proves that the people of India are standing up, and that the old state will go to any length to keep them down.

If you see solidarity actions or painted slogans calling for the release of Varavara Rao and the political prisoners in India in your area, please send reports and photos to