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International Campaign Against War on the People in India

 

Stop all attacks against the people!

 

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  • Error Of Margin: Deft census jugglery renders STs a minority in their home

    Debarshi Dasgupta, Outlook India
    It may seem like an innocuous error but it has nonetheless sent the alarm bells ringing in Chhattisgarh. The administration of Jashpur district, an overwhelmingly tribal area, has been found to have reduced the local tribal population to a minority. It seems to have interchanged the census figures of the local scheduled tribe population with those of the scheduled castes. The 2001 census puts the figure for STs at 63.24 per cent of the total while the SC population is just 4.9 per cent.

    The switch, which was made online, meant that the tribals were officially reduced to a minority. In fact, close to 300 villages in the district were shown to have zero ST population. The district administration said it was a mistake and corrected the data recently after a public furore. But few locals are convinced.

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  • The Magic-Realistic Slaughter Of Azad

    Writing of the death of comrades, Cherukuri Rajkumar foretold his own

    By Amit Bhaduri

    "There has never been a death more foretold," wrote Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his classic little novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The setting is a small seaside town somewhere in South America where virtually the whole town knows that a honour killing of a young man is going to take place one morning. The killers wait with open knives in full view of the public, declaring to all passers-by their intention. Nothing is kept secret; the killing takes place in full view of the town through the public's various acts of omission and commission. Everyone has his or her justification for why they couldn't prevent the killing. Insights into the gripping power of collective prejudice merge with realism and fantasy to create the magic Marquez is famous for.

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  • Revolution and Counter-Revolution--Indian State Bares its Fangs as the Class Struggle Intensifies in Orissa

    "Once they (Vedanta Aluminium Ltd.) get the final clearance and come here for mining, we will have no option but to fight them tooth and nail... We have started preparations for the confrontation and that is when the government will declare us Maoists and unleash CRPF troops on us. But we have nothing to lose. We will fight it out and die but will not let go of our forest..."   -- Lenju, activist of Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti in an interview to Frontline, 5-18 June 2010.

    by Democratic Student Union (DSU)--Lenju was among the nine people gunned down by the armed forces in Badangmali of Rayagada district last week. After staging this 'encounter' on 9 January 2011, the police claimed that nine 'Maoist ultras', including four women, were killed and advertised it as the biggest 'catch' in its ongoing war against the Maoists in Orissa. The police identified the dead as Ravi, Rajendra, Lenju, Ramesh Kulsika, Rinky, Nirmala, Mamata Sipka, Karuna and Kamala. However, not even a single policeman got injured after this 'fierce encounter' that supposedly lasted for six to seven hours!

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  • Unsaid Words from wife of murdered journalist Hem Pandey

    A woman remembers her best friend, a man dubbed a Maoist and killed by the Republic of India. He happened to be her journalist husband
    BY Rahul Pandita "For the first time in my life," says Babita Pandey, "I had a wifely chat with Hem a night before he was to leave for Nagpur." They discussed how they never took a holiday in their eight years of marriage, she says. "I told him that there were so many things that had been left unsaid in our relationship, and that we needed to plan our lives." She remembers his putting aside the book he was reading and smiling at her. She remembers his words. "He said our life is a part of the larger events that shape this society, and that it cannot be separated from what's happening in India or elsewhere in the world."

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  • Whatever Happened to the ‘Other Binayaks’?

    Democratic Student Union, JNU: "Civil Society's Failure to Stand by the People Targeted by the Indian State"

    The Indian 'civil society' -constituted by the articulate section of the middle class and representing a wide spectrum of ideological affiliations- has been shocked by the recent conviction of Dr. Binayak Sen. There have been vocal protests all over the country against the unfair implication of Dr. Sen in charges under the draconian UAPA as well as Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act, and the recent court verdict handing him a life imprisonment.

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  • Oppose Strongly the Punishment given to Binayak Sen, Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha!

    Indian Workers Association, GB:  Raise Voice Demanding the Release of Political Prisoners Who Are in Indian Jails Under Sedition Charges!

    To All Those Who Cherish Democratic Values -- The judiciary of the so-called biggest democracy on this planet has once again shown to the world that it is partisan, undemocratic and oppressive as it is wrongfully punishing renowned Dr. Binayak Sen, a doctor who always served the people, and two others, Narayan Sanyal  and Piyush Guha. The three have been punished under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Public Safety Law of Chhattisgarh (CSPPA), and 124-A and S 120 clauses of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These special clauses of sedition were introduced by the British colonialist rulers in India to suppress the rightful rebellions of the Indian people against the colonialist rulers. These black clauses are not only retained in penal code of 'free' India, rather, many new laws of such kind are made and being enacted to suppress the will of the people. The rulers are aggressively using these new laws against the people to stifle them.

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  • Condemning the FIR against Dr. Ilina Sen and the Police Strong Handedness Against The Participants of the Indian Association Of Women's Studies

    IAWS PRESS STATEMENT: Demanding the closure of the case against Dr. Ilina Sen. (See text of the FIR below)

    25th January 2011--The IAWS (Indian Association for Women's Studies) is shocked and strongly condemns the entry of the police into Yatri Niwas, at Wardha at 2.30 a.m. on 24th January 2011, where a large number of women  participants, who were mainly students and teachers from Universities across the country, attending the 13th National Conference of the Indian Association for Women's Studies (IAWS) held from 20-24 January 2011 were staying.

    The conference was hosted by the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), Wardha, with the IAWS as the organiser.

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  • Binayak Sen's wife booked by "Anti-Terrorism Squad"

    Hindustan Times
    Nagpur, January 25, 2011 -- The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad on Monday booked Ilina Sen, wife of jailed rights activist Binayak Sen, for not informing the police about the arrival of several foreign nationals for a convention she organised. Meanwhile, the hearing of her husband's bail plea in the Chhattisgarh high court is set to continue on Tuesday.

    The foreigners had come to attend a three-day convention in Wardha, about 80 km from Nagpur.

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  • DNA India: "West Bengal demands additional central forces for Maoist-hit districts"

    Friday, Jan 14, 2011: Kolkata--The West Bengal government has asked for at least three more battalions of central forces in the Maoist-hit districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia in addition to the existing 41 companies there.
    State secretariat sources said here that the demand had already been placed by state home secretary GD Gautama in a communication to Union home secretary GK Pillai.
    The state government, however, is yet to receive any feedback on its demand.
    The three Maoist-hit districts already have 35 companies of CRPF and six companies of the Naga Battalion, the sources said.
    Additional director general of police (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha said that demand for six companies of CRPF, including one company of women personnel, had also been placed before the Centre to combat growing law and order problems in Darjeeling following continuous agitation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to press for a Gorkhaland state.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_west-bengal-demands-additional-central-forces-for-maoist-hit-districts_1494642

  • The Hindu: "Probe committee found holes in police version of Azad death"

    J. Balaji

    With the Supreme Court coming down on the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government for the alleged cold-blooded killing of Maoist spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and journalist Hemchandra Pandey, the authorities will finally be forced to answer the series of uncomfortable questions thrown up by an independent investigation into the encounter last year.

    While the State police claimed the alleged encounter with Azad and a large group of Maoists took place in the limits of the Wankadi police station of Adilabad district on the night of July 1, a fact-finding team constituted by the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) poked holes in the official account.

    The team, consisting of notable personalities including Supreme Court senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, opined that Azad was likely shot dead from a very close range, not more than a foot, rather than from a distance as the police said.

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  • POLITICS OF FAKE ENCOUNTER IN ODISHA

    Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union statement: Odisha is full of mountains and hills containing a substantial quantity of nation's wealth of minerals. Odisha's resources in percent of India's total mineral resources in parenthesis: coal(25%), bauxite (50%), chromites (98%), iron (27%), nickel(91%), and many other minerals, and exploitation of these mineral deposits is taking place 'legally as well as illegally' at an increasing speed, causing large scale evictions of tribals, dalits, poor peasants from the lands, forests, rivers, mountains etc. In the socalled process of developments the broad masses are denied access to the forests and forest produces, affecting their livelihood adversely as well as causing pollution of entire ecology system. The plundering of natural resources by the national and multi-national companies in the name of mineral based industries is not accepted by the people of state and which has resulted in militant mass movements in different parts of the state.

     

    54 MoUs have been signed with the national and multinational companies and capitalists by the Odisha Govt. to loot the natural resources and minerals. If the said schemes are implemented,  around 1,10,000 hectors  of agricultural land, 10,000 hectors  of forest land and 50,000 hectors  of grazing land will be affected and lakhs of poor people will be displaced from their hearth and home. Since long, people are raising their voice and organizing resistance movements against the anti-people destructive projects in the name of so-called developments . From Baliapal  to Gopalpur,  Gandhamardan to Kasipur, Dhinkia to Niyamgiri, Kaling Nagar to Narayanpatna everywhere the oppressed, poor mainly tribals organizing themselves against the state patronized exploitation and conspiracy , which open the doors for the corporate, multinationals to loot the natural resources . Different forms of of resistance movement are  going on  including armed struggle led by C.P.I (Maoist) party. Instead of addressing the fundamental political economic issues of the broad masses, the state has been persistently continuing terrorism to suppress the dissent voice, politics as well as people's militant resistances.

     

    The fundamental issues like life and livelihood of broad masses are treated as  law and order issues  by the state and  the  state security forces including Border Security Forces, CRPFs etc are deployed in the movement areas. In the process of state terrorism struggling people above 700 have been imprisoned and most of them are under trial prisoners and languishing in the jails for years together. Custodial violence including deaths in the custody has become a policy of the state. Gang rape of tribal women in the custody is not also uncommon in our state. The complain of a gang rape victim is also not properly inquired by the judicial magistrate of R.Udaygiri in spite of mandatory provision enumerated as under section-176(1-A) of Code of criminal procedure.

     

    In the name of combing operation the security forces have obtained 'license' to kill any person under the cover of encounter with Maoists. It has become a general practice in our state that when an innocent person is killed by the police bullets, at that moment the police create a story that the person was a Maoist who died in the encounter. Very recently during 28-12-2010 to 12-01-2011, twenty innocent persons including ten women were killed by the bullets of security forces in the name of encounter with Maoists. Since the militant mass movements are continuing in Kaling Nagar ,Kashipur, Niyamgiri and Gandhamardan areas, the state has adopted d the politics of encounter to create a reign of terror in the said areas to suppress the mass movements and to serve the corporate interests.

     

    It is not out of place to mention that although a number of so called encounter incidents have occurred in the tribal areas of the state, in no case any independent and credible enquiry has been ordered by the state government. In one case only the victim lady of village Birubai under Rayagada district made a complain before the state human right commission that her husband was killed on 7-7-2006 by the security forces in a fake encounter. The commission decided the case in her favour  and came to the conclusion that the husband of victim lady was innocent ,who was killed by police in fake encounter. But the recommendation of Comission regarding taking action against responsible police officer is yet to be carried out.

     

    I have reason to believe that there are only four cases of exchange of fire(encounter) between the arms squad of Maoists and security forces of the state during the period of 2004 to 2011 and which are in  Koraput, RUdaygiri ,Gasama and Damanjodi and all other cases are fake encounters and which require free ,fair  and credible investigations after registration of criminal cases in the respective police stations .

     

    Under the above facts and circumstances, I appeal all concerned persons /groups/forces to condemn  and raise their  voice against the state policy of fake encounter to kill innocent persons as a part of repression and suppression of dissent voice/politics/ideology with a motive to serve the corporate interest.

     

     

     

     

     

    Dandapani Mahanty

    General Secretary, Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union

  • Indian Supreme Court orders Azad killing inquiry

    BBC news, 14 January 2011--India's Supreme Court has given the government six weeks to explain the circumstances under which a prominent Maoist was killed last year.

    Cherukuri Rajkumar was acting as an intermediary to set up peace talks between the Maoists and the Indian government when he was shot dead.

    One judge said the state could not be allowed to kill its own children.

    Human rights activists alleged the victim, also known as Azad, was killed by police after he had been detained.

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  • Press Note--Orissa Forest Mazdur Union and Revolutionary Writers Association, A.P

    On 24th December, 2010, the police raided the village of Lundang in Gajapati District, brutally tortured all village people. The Adivasis there belongs to the catholic christian community. Their preparation for Christmas was totally destroyed. From there, they have taken four young men - Somnath Majhi, Pradeep Majhi and two others to the S.O.G camp inside SPs office, Paralakhemundi and severely tortured. Pradeep Majhi died there because of torture but the SP has concocted a story that he committed suicide in the Police lock up with shoelaces. The villagers blocked the road and protested. The district collector announced one lakh rupees ex-gratia from the Red Cross Fund. The other three were sent to judicial custody to R.Udayagiri after fabricating false cases against them.

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  • RELEASE DALIT WRITER AND EDITOR SUDHIR DHAWALE NOW!!

    Patrakar, Lekhak, Sampadak

    SUDHIR DHAWALE MUKTATA ABHIYAAN ( Release Sudhir Dhawale Campaign)

    Those who tolerate wrongs are greater wrongdoers than the perpetrators themselves

    Press Conference held by the Sudhir Dhawale Muktata Abhiyaan at the Janta Dal (Secular) Office, Mumbai, on January 11, 2011.

    Bhai Vaidya, freedom fighter, former Home Minister of Maharashtra, and

    Leader, Samajwadi Jan Parishad:

    He declared in vociferous and no uncertain terms terms that Sudhir is

    not a Naxalite, and for that matter, nobody espousing the cause of

    Dalits, Adivasis, the poor, marginalised, oppressed, and downtrodden,

    is--contrary to what the State would force people to believe.

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  • The Hindu: "Army begins recce for training ground in Chhattisgarh"

    by Aman Sethi

    May acquire 100 acres of land close to Abujmard

    "The base will be right next to the den of Naxalites"

    Raipur: Senior officers confirmed that the Army had begun a ground survey as a precursor to the establishment of a training facility in Chhattisgarh's Maoist-affected Narayanpur district.

    On Saturday, a team of officers from the Army's Central Command reached Kondagaon, a small town on the Raipur-Jagadalpur road before heading towards Abujmard - a 4,000 sq. km. patch of dense forest land that had been declared a "liberated zone" by the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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  • Lalgarh: APDR Fact-finding report on Netai Incident

    Jan 12, 2011--A six member team from APDR reached Netai village of Lalgarh at 3 PM on 08th January, 2011 to investigate the incident of firing on unarmed villagers by Harmad Bahini on 7th January at village Netai of Lalgarh block, West Midnapur, West Bengal.

    Villagers told the team that one month ago the camp of CPI(M) formed at the house of the local CPI(M) leader, Rathin Dandapat. Abani Singh and Sovon Mondal, CPI(M) leaders of the same village, had told the villagers that the camp had been made to establish peace in the area. Gokul Maity of this village informed us that instead of establishing peace some trouble had been started at the village. Villagers were forced to cook and wash clothes for the camp. About 20 to 25 armed persons were at the camp according to the villager Pradip Roy. One man was forced to make 40 to 50 chapattis in one day. The members of the camp shouted at villagers for any mistakes in cooking, like more salt or better taste. One day they forced, at gun point, the villagers to participate in the rally of CPI(M). The non armed villagers were compelled to guard the armed men of the camp.

    Unwillingly they were obeying all orders from the camp.

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  • Arrest of three minor school girls in Jharkhand under UAPA, Arms Act, Explosives Act.

    Three adolescent school going girls were picked up by the police and presented to the media as naxal women who had been arrested by the police during an encounter with a Maoist squad in the forest near Eiti village. The three girls were later presented in court as adults and remanded to Judicial custody.

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  • Release Asit Kumar Sengupta and all Political Prisoners Now

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    On the afternoon of 22 January 2008, the notorious Chattisgarh police raided the home of comrade Asit Kumar Sengupta and took him away. The same evening, they again raided in large numbers and searched his house for 2 days. Hiswife was detained for questioning. The police seized all the copies of the revolutionary internationalist journal `A World to Win', publications of `Puravaiya Prakashan', all the books in his personal library and the disk of his PC. Violating the norms laid down by the Supreme Court, his arrest was formally registered only after 2 days. He has been accused of waging war against the state in association with a banned organisation, theCPI (Maoist).

    Who is Asit Kumar Sengupta? Why is he declared as an enemy of the state?

    Awakened to radical politics through the 1960s mass struggles and mobilisations in West Bengal, Asit was attracted to the revolutionary movement through the Naxalbari armed struggle of 1967. Since then, his revolutionary cultural activism and work as a propagandist, begun at the age of 20, has never ceased; up till this arrest. This creativity in the service of the people has, over the past four decades plus, spanned the diverse fields of literature, drama, publishing and journalism.

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  • PUNJAB: PROTEST MARCH & RALLY FOR RELEASE OF Dr. BINAYAK SEN & HIS COMPANIONS

    On a call of the Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt, Punjab, a protest march and rally was organized at Bathinda on 8th January 2011. In chilling cold, protestors, including a good number of intellectuals, peasants, agricultural laborers, women, students, youth & children assembled at the local Teachers Home lawn. N.K.Jeet Advocate, State Committee Member of the Democratic Front described in detail, how Dr. Sen and his co-accused were implicated in a false criminal case, as he raised his voice against violation of democratic & human rights of tribals under the Salwa Judam campaign and expropriation of the mineral wealth lying underneath the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, by imperialist Multi National Companies.

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  • The need to enlarge protests around Binayak Sen to all cases of sedition - PUDR Statement

    Dear friends and comrades, The recent countrywide demonstrations against the unfair verdict in the Binayak Sen case have been really heartwarming. The demonstrations have brought many of us together, who feel enraged and upset over the judgment. Clearly, if our numbers continue to grow, we will soon be in a position of strength and will ensure the release of Binayak and many others.
    The case against Binayak Sen has become a focal point to oppose the attempts by the state to criminalise civil rights activities. Yet, we strongly feel that in order to make the entire campaign into a success we have to enlarge the present focus from the individual, Binayak Sen, to include the co-accused, Piyush Guha and Narayan Sanyal, and also take into consideration the plight of others who are similarly imprisoned in unfair cases of sedition.

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  • Odisha: Nisan Sammelan-2010

    "Combating the impending corporate imperialism backed by the state along with white terrorism in the name of Operation Green Hunt, political as well as cultural resistance is the call of the time in order to protect the life and livelihood and to safeguard the rights of the poorest populace of world's greatest democracy", was unanimously resolved voice of the "Nisan Sammelan-2010", Bhubaneswar on "Cultural Resistance: War on People in Corporate Interest".

    The two tiered conference was attended by more than five thousand people from around 30 co-operating organizations from various corners Odisha, along with progressive intellectuals like writer-activist Arundhati Roy and Varavara Rao.

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  • Dalit Activist Sudhir Dhawale Arrested under UAPA in Maharashtra

    Mumbai Mirror, January 3 2010

    Dalit activist and editor of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, Sudhir Dhawale, was arrested on Monday morning at Gondia and charged with sedition (sec 124) and under Secs 17, 20 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

    These sections relate to: raising funds for terrorist acts; being a member of a terrorist organisation and providing support to a terrorist organisation.

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  • KANNA: The Insurgent Jurisprudent!

    One of the pillars of the civil liberties movement in the subcontinent has left us in the twilight of 2010. An irreparable loss that the civil liberties movement in the subcontinent will have to weather in the days to come. Kannabiran's life as a civil libertarian, as a human rights lawyer is a constant inspiration for anyone who was ready to walk the unbeaten track.

    It was in the decade and a half from the early 80s to the mid-90s that he worked as the President of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) and later as National President of PUCL for a decade did Kannabiran initiate and pave the path of radical jurisprudence in India.

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  • Ignoring hunger is nothing short of genocide: Binayak

    Priyanka Borpujari, TNN, Jan 2, 2011

    While human rights activists across the world express their shock and outrage at Binayak Sen's life imprisonment sentence, one of the biggest blows will be felt by his alma mater, Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore. Until the verdict, the gentle doctor was busy, among other things, with a new project which could usher in a new light for healthcare education in India. Following the Social Determinants of Health report of 2008 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sen was appointed by CMC Vellore as a consultant to draft a curriculum model that would incorporate human rights within the ambit of healthcare and thus pave the way for a more socially equitable society.

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  • Prisoners extend support to Binayak Sen in Bihar

    Indo-Asian News Service, Patna, January 01, 2011

    Hundreds of prisoners in Patna's Beur Central Jail in Bihar on Friday staged protests and extended their support to activist Binayak Sen, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chhattisgarh court last week. According to officials of the high-security jail, the prisoners aired their protest by staging a relay hunger-strike and threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike if justice was not done to Binayak Sen.

    "The prisoners observed a day-long hunger strike to protest against conviction to Binayak Sen," a jail official, demanding he be not named, told IANS on Saturday.

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  • India for Selective Assassination of Its Own Citizens

    Trevor Selvam

    Recent statements from Indian leaders and police officers gives away the new strategy on the war on Naxalism: To make the movement "headless" by carrying out selective assassination of its leaders with the help of Israeli operatives.

    Plucky savvyness combined with unnecessary bravado has recently marked the attempts at media interface by some Maoist leaders. There are benefits to reap and a price to pay, as a result. On the one hand, it has been a long time coming for the Maoists to come out of their jungle bases and give press conferences, or invite selected correspondents to visit their bases under armed escort. They correctly understood that their political program (and not their military campaign only) needed to be promoted and publicized.

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  • Doctors Without Borders Banned from Chhattisgarh Villages

    In what is conceived as a counter-insurgency action, the government of the state of Chhattisgarh in central India, where Maoists are leading tribal peasants in armed rebellion, has told Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans frontiers - MSF) to stop providing medical and humanitarian aid to tribal villages, the Asia Tribune said on 8 August, following reports by the Daily Chhattisgarh newspaper. Instead, the authorities want the organisation to provide aid solely in the camps run by the Salwa Judum, a state-sponsored paramilitary movement.

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  • Jharkhand: Maoists Set Terms for Peace Talks

    SHERGHATI: In a turnaround after the installation of coalition government headed by JMM leader Shibu Soren in Jharkhand, banned CPI (Maoists) on Friday accepted the state government's offer to come to the negotiating table.

    Holding a rare press conference at Sherghati, 160 km from Patna, Bihar-Jharkhand North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee CPI (Maoists) spokesperson Gopal while welcoming the Jharkhand government's offer, expressed doubt over its sincerity.

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  • Jharkhand: Troops Descend for Operation Green Hunt

    Ranchi: A day after chief minister Shibu Soren cleared the air over his government's stand vis-à-vis Maoist rebels, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalion comprising more than 1,200 personnel reached the state capital today for the proposed Operation Green Hunt.  The battalion arrived from Tripura and Assam where it was earlier deployed to fight separatist forces.

    Speaking to The Telegraph, CRPF deputy inspector general Alok Raj said the entire battalion would be posted in Jharkhand till further orders.

     

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  • There is No Constitution in Chhattisgarh Anymore

    Dantewada/Delhi: Nobody knows the whereabouts of Sodi Sambho, a 28-year-old tribal lady who was brutally attacked by CRPF jawans of the Cobra Battalion, SPOs (special police officers) and members of Salwa Judum (State-sponsored militia against the Maoists in Chhattisgarh) when they descended on her village Gompad in Tehsil Konta of Dantewada district on October 1, 2009.

    "An 80-year-old visually handicapped man was stabbed on his back, a 70-year-old woman, unable to walk, was killed, along with a 25-year-old youngster and two girls of 8 and 12. Four people who were passing by were shot dead. Nine people were killed that day," said Himanshu Kumar, a Gandhian activist involved in social work in Dantewada, currently hounded by the police, his life in constant danger.

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  • Chhattisgarh: 19 Government Mining Trucks Set Ablaze

    State-run coal mine, Jharkhand

    NEW DELHI—Over 100 Maoist guerrillas stormed into a mining complex of the state-run NMDC Ltd in Chhattisgarh’s restive Dantewada district and set 19 trucks on fire in the early hours of Wednesday. The armed Maoist separatists raided the mining complex of India’s largest iron ore miner at Kirandul, about 400 km south of here, at around 2 am.

    “The rebels sneaked into Kirandul’s 11-B deposit of the NMDC and burnt 19 trucks hired by NMDC for iron ore transportation. This resulted in panic amongst the hundreds of NMDC staff engaged in mining in the hilly area,” Lakhan Thakur, in charge of the Kirandul police station, told media.

    Earlier a large number of ultras separately attacked two security forces’ camps at Chandapathar and Satnala under Barikul police station in the district, 165 km from the capital, at around 11 pm leading to a heavy exchange of fire between the policemen and the Maoists for over one and a half hours, police sources said. The five injured personnel belonged to the Indian Reserve Battalion of the West Bengal police.

    Daily Mail, January 27, 2010

     

     


  • Haiti and Bastar: Two Disappeared Peoples

    Siddhartha Mitra

    200,000 or more dead in Haiti. Many more wounded and left homeless.

    200,000 or more missing in Bastar. Nobody knows where they are. And many more living in Salwa Judum camps under atrocious conditions.

    Wait, you might ask. Missing is better than dead, is it not so? After all, they must be somewhere, and there must be hope that they will be able to live?

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  • Tamil Nadu: Postcard Campaign and Cycle Rally Push Off

    Speaking out against the State-sponsored killings and rapes of adivasis of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh, Campaign for Justice and Peace--Tamil Nadu launched a post-card campaign and cycle rally from Salem to the constituency of Home Minister P Chidambaram in Sivaganga. Human rights activist Prof Marx and feminist poet Kutti Revathi announced the launch of the campaign at Chennai.

    The month-long cycle rally will start from Salem on the 26th of January and will cover a distance of 900 kms going through Namakkal, Karur, Dindigul, Madurai to Sivaganga and finally come full circle to Chennai via Pudokottai, Trichy, Perambalur, Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Villipuram, and Kanchipuram. Cycling through villages and small towns, the cyclists will inform Tamil people about the killings and rapes of innocent tribals in Dantewada district in southern Chhattisgarh.

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  • Lalgarh and the Radicalisation of Resistance

    From Victims to Political Subjects?

    Saroj Giri

    One image stands out from the Lalgarh resistance.  Chattradhar Mahato, the most visible leader of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), distributing food to ordinary villagers -- not as a high-up leader doing charity but as one among them.  Is this the 'new' image of the Maoist?  But maybe Mahato is not a Maoist -- he himself denies being one.  But if he is not, given his power and influence in the area, the 'dictatorial' Maoists must have eliminated him by now?  Then maybe he is only being used by them, following their 'diktat' out of fear.

    But a man with the kind of popularity and love from the masses would fear the Maoists?  So, is he a Maoist, or like a Maoist, after all?  But a Maoist who is this popular among the masses and who does not seem to terrorise them?

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  • Fact Finding Report on Lalgarh by JNU Students

    A fact finding team of nine students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) recently visited Lalgarh, to probe into the reality of the ongoing movement of the people in the area. Here we are enclosing the preliminary details of what we saw. We would like to appeal to your daily/ news channel to also highlight on certain issues of the movement, which we feel are not coming to the forefront, as much as it should have.

    We heard through various media and other sources that there had been massive state repression in Lalgarh and other adjacent areas in November 2008, after the attempted mine blast on the convoy of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. We heard of incidents of rampant police atrocity especially on women and school children in Chhotopelia and Katapahari. We also heard that post that rampage the people there have formed the Pulishi Santrash Birodhi Janasadharoner Committee (PSBJC) and have blockaded Lalgarh and other areas out of police and other administration.

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  • Debate on Violence and Non-Violence in the Lalgarh Movement

    The ongoing Lalgarh movement in West Bengal has accomplished many things. It has taken people's movement on to a higher stage where resistance against state repression in various forms is tied up with the struggle for the development of the adivasi languages and script, a new pro-people model of development and a determined fight not to hand over the natural resources of the region to foreign and domestic big capital for plunder and loot in the name of 'industrialization'.

    This historic movement has also led to controversy as to its nature, the nature of the involvement of the Maoists in it, the relation between the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities and the Maoists and the problems faced by the civil rights bodies and various sections of the people in responding to the movement in the different stages of its development. Many articles have been published in the dailies from Kolkata, most of which are not available to people in other states.

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  • 5000 Lalgarh Villagers Raze Government Building to Keep Cops Out

    Nearly 5,000 tribals in Salboni, wielding shovels, axes and hammers and allegedly led by Maoists, today demolished a government building that till last week was a police camp. The structure at Kalaimuri near Lalgarh in West Midnapore — the first government building to be torn down by the tribals — took three hours to destroy.

    Chhatradhar Mahato, who leads the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities that is at the forefront of the Lalgarh tribal resistance, said: “We had appealed to the villagers not to demolish the building as we planned to set up a health care centre there, but we could not persuade them.” He added: “The people have lost faith in the police and they feared the security forces would return.”

    Today, neither Chhatradhar nor the secretary of the committee, Sidhu Soren, was present at Kalaimuri when the villagers rained blows on the building.

    One of the tribals who helped bring the building down was 35-year-old Paritosh Mahato, a farmer from Gadra near Lalgarh. “When we started our agitation in November last year, the police withdrew several camps, including this one in Kalaimuri. But the camps started functioning again in December,” Paritosh said. “Had the building remained standing, the police would have returned with reinforcements. That’s why we demolished it.”

    Bimal Tudu, a 40-year-old labourer who too was in the demolition team, echoed Paritosh’s fears. “Now the police won’t be able to return to Kalaimuri,” he said.

    The policemen stationed at the camp used to patrol parts of Lalgarh, an area the tribals have made inaccessible to the force after alleged excesses on villagers following a blast on the chief minister’s convoy route last year. The 90 policemen stationed at the camp left it on April 27 after the tribals pushed them to the brink of starvation by preventing them from buying provisions for several days.

    Manoj Kumar Verma, the West Midnapore superintendent of police, said he had received news of the demolition and had informed his superiors. We will not move into Kalaimuri now because it may lead to untoward incidents. We don’t want a confrontation with the villagers at this moment. Today’s demolition of the camp was led by Maoists,” he said.

    The police said that around 11am, a group of Maoists gathered in front of the camp, one of four in Salboni. “They (the Maoists) contacted people in the neighbouring villages and asked them to assemble near the camp,” a police officer said. “Nearly 5,000 villagers with bows, arrows, axes, iron rods and shovels gathered within half an hour. Some in the demolition squad were women.”

    The officer added: “The Maoists held an hour-long meeting with them and the demolition began around 1pm. The camp building was completely destroyed by 4pm.” Police sources said the tribals had come from about a dozen villages.

    Sanhati, May 2009

  • Many Police Fear Duty in Jangalmahal

    No, it is not in fear of the Maoists, but being unable to cope with the pressure from the government. They do not want to be a party to the state-sponsored terrorism. They cannot support the random and mindless killing of poor tribal people by branding them as ‘Maoists’. Some are forced to take transfer. Some of the junior officers had to resign as they could not follow the order of seniors.

    One officer who has worked in the tribal belt of Bengal for some time said – it is more to please the ruling party that some of the police officers are unnecessarily torturing the jungle people. And as a consequence of this torture many of the common men have joined the ‘Maoist’ group.

    Another sub-inspector of police who joined duty at Jangalmahal in 2002 and is posted at another thana [precinct] at present recounts his tale of horror. “Our camp was at an old mansion in Belpahari. One day while returning from our usual round through an almost deserted village, we saw an old man on the verandah of a hut. On the instruction of our senior inspector three or four of us picked up this old man and literally carried him to our van. Some of the policemen even kicked him in the stomach calling him ‘Janajuddho’ (People’s war group). But I know the old man was doing nothing but boiling some leaves in a vessel. All of us knew that this bent old man could never be a militant terrorist. But he was anyway sent to the lock up as a man of the people’s war group.”

    Soon after the explosion in the Jhitka jungle, the then additional Police Superintendent Sumeet Chaturvedi abruptly took a transfer from West Midnapur to Delhi. In his two years’ tenure in the state before he was posted at the jungle, he was under constant pressure. This young officer had witnessed how the CPM party was using the police force to keep the tribal people under pressure and was branding them as ‘Maoists’. These more humane officers had seen what enormous atrocities could be meted out to the starving or ill-fed poor people by the ‘loyal’ policemen always trying to please the ruling party. Before taking transfers, these men had expressed their painful tales of woe to their near ones.

    Parveen Kumar, who was the Superintendent of police in W. Midnapur earlier for a long time was well-known for his strategies to counter Maoist insurgencies. He was close to the leaders of the ruling party and managed to get favorable postings. This Parveen Kumar on his return as the DIG [Deputy Inspector General of the police], Midanapur range supposedly had some difference of opinion with the government’s decisions. In June this year, soon after leading the attack by joint forces in Lalgarh, he abruptly took a transfer from this state. It is heard that he does not intend to return to W. Bengal before 2013-2014.…

    …Another police officer who has worked many years in the tribal area blamed the police atrocities along with lack of development in the region for the rise of today’s ‘Maoists’.

    Many junior officers faced the wrath of seniors as they refused to follow their unethical orders. Additional police superintendent Sisir Das had to resign under such circumstances when he could not bear the pressure of unjustifiable instructions by his seniors. Most of these orders were not written down. So whenever there were any untoward incidents as results of these verbal orders, the junior had to bear the brunt, said one such officer.

    All the trouble started when there was a small blast near the Kolaichondi canal on the chief minister’s convoy on 2 November, 2008. The police started severe action in Chhotopelia village. They picked up school boys from this village 70 kilometers away from the incident, tortured women and humiliated teachers. A veteran officer posted in Jangalmahal argues [that] there are many who had been wrongly arrested as ‘Maoists’ and detained, who later really turned into Maoists.

    Who is responsible for this?

    Many police personnel who kept quiet in fear of seniors for so long are now expressing their opinion. They are agreeing that as in Lalgarh, even in Nandigram they had to launch severe action from the beginning only to please the CPM.

    ‘iCore EKDIN’, Bengali daily newspaper, November 2, 2009

     

  • Democracy and Ban Cannot Go Together

    Amit Bhhatacharyya

    In the recent days, two important developments took place in the national scene-both of which have far-reaching implications. One, of course, is the battle for Lalgarh. The second-that has some bearing on the Lalgarh movement also--is the banning of the CPI (Maoist) after it was tagged to the long list of what the central government described as 'terrorist organizations'. It implies that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008 (UAPA) would henceforth be applied to the members of the Maoist party or people sympathetic to their cause.

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  • Wadeka Singala, President of Orissa CMAS, Murdered by Police

    The Orissa government led by Naveen Patnaik has unleashed a fresh wave of fascist attack on the people's movements. Two members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS), including its president Wadeka Singana were killed in police firing on 20th November 09 during a protest by its members in Narayanpatna Tribal Panchayat region. The other deceased member is yet to be identified. At least six were injured in the incident. CMAS is an organisation of adivasi peasants which have been fighting for the rights of tribal communities over land and forests. It has come in conflict with the government and its armed forces which is facilitating the plunder and loot of natural resources by the Indian and multinational corporations. The CMAS has also been fighting against alienation of tribal lands, and to stop their encroachment by non-tribals.

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  • Manoranjan Mohanty on Central-Maoist Talks

    Manoranjan Mohanty

    Public opinion in India seems to be building up strongly in favour of a dialogue among the government and the Maoists. This is despite the clear indications that the Central Government is going ahead with its preparations for launching the armed offensive in the Naxalite movement areas. Yet there are signs from both the government and the Maoists that they were amenable to the idea of talks.

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  • Operation Green Hunt Easier to Draft than Implement

    Raipur: Perhaps the best way to understand the security offensive mounted to defeat the Maoist challenge is not to seek answers but to merely ponder the many questions that riddle the project.

    It’s well-nigh impossible to script a “Green Hunt Made Easy” because, quite simply, it isn’t an easy undertaking; “Green Hunt Made Tough” is more readily done, and it serves as a better reckoner of what lies ahead.

    Many of those who’ve put Green Hunt into motion and will shortly join forces with the paramilitary to upgrade the push against armed Maoists are themselves balked by the steep degree of difficulty they have undertaken to manoeuvre.

    “It’s like an impossibly revolving door,” says a police officer currently working the logistics of operations. “You go in looking for answers and you are pushed right out under a barrage of questions there are no answers to.”

    Did you know, for instance, that Chhattisgarh can afford only one policeman per four square kilometers?

    Did you know that in Bastar, the core and fount of Maoist militancy, that ratio gets drastically thinner — only one policeman per nine square kilometers?

    Did you know that eight out of 10 jawans — police or paramilitary — drafted for the frontlines will have little or no knowledge of the territory and people they are meant to establish domination over?

    Did you know that no more than 800 of the 5,000 jawans specially trained in jungle warfare by the Chhattisgarh government last year are deputed to counter-insurgency tasks? (The rest are, where else, manning VVIP security)

    Did you know that the 35 new anti-Naxalite battalions the government is meant to raise for operations will take a minimum of three years to turn into functioning boots on the ground?

    Did you know that the security forces have virtually no real-time intelligence to work on because the Maoists’ jungle bases defy air surveillance and the human information network is in a shambles?

    Did you know that 95 per cent of the area that the security forces need to “reclaim” from Maoist control has no roads, not even kuchcha tracks? And that they have very little sense of the lay of the land in Maoist-controlled areas?

    Did you know that for fear of the Maoists, building contractors have refused to undertake construction work in interior Bastar — key roads, new police stations, paramilitary camps — even though the government has offered them ten times the going rate?

    Did you know that malaria is felling as many jawans in the jungles as Maoists and the government often has no means of evacuating those taken ill in the interiors?

    Did you know that Orissa, a key Naxalite-affected state, has politely begged off the joint security operations, stating its police force is currently not up to the challenge? And that operations in Jharkhand too will have to remain virtually suspended because of impending Assembly elections?

    Those that are participating — a new joint command centre has been set up at the Police HQ in Raipur and the first induction meetings with paramilitary forces held — are not making Green Hunt yet tougher.

    Consider, for instance, that among the priority requirements the Chhattisgarh police brass are scrambling to meet in the midst of battling the Maoists are R & R (rest and recreation) facilities for paramilitary bosses who are leading their men into jungle locations --- commodious accommodation, which means the bar cannot go lower than cable television and air-conditioning (even though this is the onset of winter and the weather has already turned rather pleasant).

    The care-and-comfort demands provoked a senior police official enough to say: “Instead of giving the Maoists a run, these para guys are putting a run on the air-conditioner market in off-season, what do they assume they are here for, a paid picnic?”

    Another officer spoke of the “palpable disinterest” among some paramilitary brass in the “mandatory requirement” of orienting themselves to the job ahead. “Bastar has been the Waterloo of many a reputed force, the Naga Armed Police came here and everybody thought they would saw through the Maoists because they come from a proven jungle combat experience. They’ve returned, the Maoists are still flourishing. People who come here thinking they know it all will provide us rude shocks, nothing more,” complained an officer who has engaged with newly arrived paramilitary bosses on preparations for the joint offensive.

    The Chhattisgarh government runs a singular jungle warfare and counter-terrorism training facility at Kanker, midway between Raipur and the Bastar heartland, but the sense emerging from initial interactions between the state police and paramilitary officials is that the latter are reluctant to train in specific combat requirements for engaging Maoist guerrillas.

    Brigadier B.D. Ponwar, who runs the Kanker training college — a sprawling and quite impressive centre almost single-handedly erected by the former army man — is openly dismissive about the “know-alls” in the security establishment who are reluctant to train.

    “I have been here several years now, and I can tell you that the highest security casualties happen because people are not trained to meet requirements of this terrain and of fighting Maoists,” Brig Ponwar says.

    “Look up the records and you will find that the very few who have trained here have been killed in combat. It’s about task-oriented training, that simple. And a pity that people are not bothered to take advantage of an institution that will provide them that expertise. Arrogance will lose us this campaign if nothing else will.”

    Did you know that senior security personnel have, in the past, declined jungle warfare courses at Kanker only because it provides only tented accommodation — no air-conditioning, no cable TV — for the very logical reason that it is a jungle warfare school, not an R&R retreat?

    No wonder ‘Green Hunt Made Tough’ is easier to draft.

    Raipur Live, November 4, 2009

  • Maoists Ready to Talk, but with Gun in Hand

     

    NEW DELHI: For the first time since they held talks with the Andhra Pradesh government in mid-2004, the Maoists have in a formal statement offered a ceasefire if the government dropped its pre-condition that the ultras lay down arms and abjure violence.

    While ruling out accepting the demand that they must end violence, the Maoists said, ``An agreement could be reached on by both sides on a ceasefire if Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram give up their irrational, illogical and absurd stand that Maoists should abjure violence.''

    The statement, dated November 3, was released by CPI(Maoist) central committee member and party spokesperson Azad on Thursday and is seen as a response to the Centre's concerted effort to use the threat of massive anti-Naxal operations, its offers of a peaceful settlement to coax the ultras to the negotiating table and as a sign that the publicity offensive against Maoist violence may be working.

    There was immediate concern that the Maoists might be falling back on their time-tested gambit of buying time to recoup and rearm as they did when the talks with Andhra Pradesh government dragged on. Yet, the preparedness of the Maoists to reach for the olive branch held out by the government is indicative of the pressure they are experiencing, with the Centre joining forces with state governments and, to boot, embarking on a serious propaganda war over Maoist atrocities.

    The Maoists, however, have taken care not to give the impression of any weakness or flagging commitment to the cause. Their Central Committee cockily said, ``Asking Maoists to lay down arms as a pre-condition for talks shows the utter ignorance of Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram regarding historical and socio-economic factors that gave rise to the Maoist movement.''

    The calculation not to suggest that they were under pressure - something that the battle-hardened class warriors would not appreciate - was evident from the list of patently impossible demands made as the pre-condition for an engagement - from withdrawal of security forces from Naxal-affected states to repeal of anti-terror laws.

    It is of course clear that the government is unlikely to accept demands like withdrawal of security forces from Naxal-hit areas but the statement provides a glimpse of a possible churn within the Maoist movement where some voices have spoken of the need to explore the political process as did the ultra movement in Nepal.

    "The party made it clear that laying down arms means a betrayal of people. We have taken up arms for defence of peoples' rights and for achieving their liberation from exploitation and oppression," the statement said.

    In 2004 too, Maoists were allowed to keep their arms as their leaders held talks with the state government. The difference this time could be that the Centre appears dead serious about its operation "green hunt" and has roped in even reluctant states like Orissa and Jharkhand to join the battle. The success of recent operations in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have also indicated that the Maoists are vulnerable.

    The demands thrown by Maoists include stopping "illegal abductions" of Maoists and suspected supporters of the ultras, halt to "torture and murder" of unarmed people, instruction to security forces to desist from "raping women in Maoist-dominated areas", halting destruction of property, withdrawal of police and paramilitary camps from interior areas and disbandment of vigilante efforts like Salwa Judum.

    The Maoists have also asked for a repeal of laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Chhattisgarh Special Powers Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) etc.  Clearly, even while offering to engage, the Maoists have been practising the propaganda warfare.

    Times of India, November 6, 209

     

  • Amnesty International Calls for Investigation into Narayanpatna Killings

    Amnesty India: Probe killing of two adivasi leaders and release detained activist in Orissa

    December 2, 2009

    Authorities in the eastern Indian state of Orissa must ensure independent, credible and impartial investigation into the killings of two adivasi (indigenous community) leaders by police and paramilitary personnel in Narayanpatna on 20 November 2009, Amnesty International said today.

    The deceased - Singanna and Andrew Nachika - were peacefully protesting outside the Narayanpatna police station in Koraput district along with 80-100 other members of an indigenous people's movement - Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS). The protestors demanded that the police stop harassing the adivasi communities who have been campaigning for an end to illegal mining in the area.

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  • Supporters of Telangana Shut Down Large Parts of Andhra Pradesh

     

    Large parts of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have shut down in a strike called by the supporters of a new state. Strict security has been imposed in 10 districts of the state and more than 100,000 security personnel deployed. Fearing violence, the authorities have cancelled 9,000 buses and 165 trains.

    The strike, called for the creation of a separate Telangana state out of AP, is also supported by students groups and the outlawed ultra-Left Maoists.

    Earlier this month the government announced that it would allow the creation of Telangana - irrespective of opposition. But last week, the authorities said that decision would be considered after consultation with all parties. An estimated 35 million people will live in the proposed new state.

    K Chandrasekara Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is spearheading the protest for a Telangana state, has resigned from the lower house of parliament, along with two other MPs from the region. Fifty lawmakers from the Telangana region and belonging to the Andhra Pradesh assembly have also handed in their resignations.

    Warning

    The BBC's Omer Farooq in the AP capital, Hyderabad, says that the latest protests have cast a long shadow over new year eve celebrations in and around the city. Our correspondent says that the state remanins gripped by tension and political instability - made worse by the security threat posed by Maoist rebels who say they support Wednesday's strike.

    Groups of protesters have closed down several important highways connecting the state capital, Hyderabad, with other cities.Burning tyres are being used to block roads and in many places protesters are squatting on highways, leading to massive traffic snarls. "Two hundred and ninety two people have already been taken into preventive custody as a precautionary measure," Andhra Pradesh police chief R Girish Kumar said. He warned the protesters against forcibly enforcing the strike and asked the police force to be on alert against violence, specially in major cities and towns.

    Fearing violence, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has cancelled its entire service of 9,000 buses in the region. Railway authorities have cancelled as many as 165 trains criss-crossing Telangana region and linking it to other parts of the state and the rest of India. Several long-distance trains have been delayed by several hours by the protesters. Most schools and colleges in the region, including in the state capital Hyderabad, are closed. Shops, markets and business centres are also shut.

    PROPOSED TELANGANA STATE

    * Population of 35 million

    * Spread over 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh, including Hyderabad city

    * Landlocked, predominantly agricultural area

    * One of the most under-developed regions in India

    * Culmination of 50-year campaign

    * More than 400 people died in 1969 crackdown

    The protests follow federal Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement last week that all political parties will be consulted before deciding on a new state.

    Mr Chidambaram explained the government's change in stance by saying that the situation in Andhra Pradesh had "altered" since he had made an announcement on 9 December on the formation of a Telangana state.

    Politicians from Telangana reacted sharply to Mr Chidambaram's statement, saying that the government had put the demand in "cold storage". About 50 lawmakers from the region also handed in their resignations in protest.

    Telangana region, which includes Hyderabad - an IT hub of southern India and home to firms like Microsoft, Google and Dell - is spread over 10 northern districts of Andhra Pradesh.

    Campaigners say Telangana's economic development has been neglected in favour of the richer and more powerful Andhra region - and that a new state is the only solution.

    India has 28 states - the last three new states were formed in 2000: Chhattisgarh was created out of eastern Madhya Pradesh; Uttarakhand was created out of the hilly areas of northern Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand was carved from Bihar's southern districts.

    BBC News, December 30, 2009

     

  • Ground Offensive against Maoists Begins in Maharastra and Chhattisgarh

    Nagpur/Raipur: The first major ground offensive against Naxalites has started, with police forces in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh launching a joint operation. The offensive was being kept in abeyance for the end of the Jharkhand elections.

    The first part of the offensive, which will include searching for Naxals in the interiors of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and in Maoist-dominated areas of Chhattisgarh, was launched on December 25 as part of what is being termed as Police Week (December 25 to January 1), sources said.

    It is for the first time that something like a Police Week is being observed in these areas. However, CRPF’s Special DG Vijay Raman, commanding the anti-Naxal operations said: “There is nothing like starting or end of an operation. It’s on since beginning itself.”

    Sources said the operation is being conducted jointly by the CRPF, regular Gadchiroli police, the Special Action Group (SAG) created specially for anti-Naxal operations in Maharashtra, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), BSF and the regular Chhattisgarh police.

    The ITBP and BSF have taken up position at strategic locations in the forest areas of Rajnandgaon and Kanker districts in Chhattisgarh, cutting off supply lines of Maoists from Maharashtra. The forces are trying to establish their dominance in this area, which had seen a major attack on security forces in July last year, in which 32 security personnel, including superintendent of police V K Choubey, had lost their lives. DG Raman has already visited these areas.

    Chhattisgarh director general of police Vishwaranjan said the objective of the joint operation by the state and Central forces was to station security forces in the area for a reasonable period to allow civil administration to take up development initiatives there. However, there will be surgical strikes wherever necessary.

    Confirming that Maoist supply lines have been cut off at many places, he refused to divulge details, saying “you will come to know about it once the forces make advancements”. The plan is to extend the operation further to Jharkhand, now that the state has a government. “Taking the state government on board is mandatory,” officials said.

    While the forces were deployed immediately after the Maharashtra Assembly elections two months ago, they have been using the time till now to get acclimatised to the terrain, and conducting their operations separately. The past few days they started long range patrols (LRP) deep into the interiors.

    “The real coordinated exercises have been started as part of the special week being observed,” sources said. “The nature of the operation (earlier) was to search for Naxals hiding in the forests on the basis of intelligence reports. Now, a massive hunt is on generally in the forests.” Officials claim that the Naxals are already feeling the heat. “This is seen from the appeal to lower-rung policemen and officials to revolt against their superiors, with Naxals calling them fellow-sufferers,” said an official.

    He also claimed that while they had plans for a big strike during the recently-concluded winter session of Maharashtra Legislature at Nagpur, they backtracked because of forces sealing off the entire area.

    Police sources said at least 10 more battalions might be needed for extending the joint operations to Bastar region in Chhattisgarh, which will be started after the operations in Rajnandgaon and Kanker.

    Financial Express, January 2, 2010

     

     

     

  • Resolution of Mumbai Convention on Operation Green Hunt

    January 16, 2010:  The Central Government has declared a war  -- not against any external enemy - but against our own people in central and eastern India, peopled primarily by adivasis, covering the states of Chattisgarh, AP, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal. More than 100,000 personnel of the police and the para-military forces have been deployed in these regions. This war is being fought by the Indian government at the behest of multinational and Indian corporations and covertly supported by the US security establishment, to forcibly displace the adivasis to hand over their ancestral homelands and forests to the corporations for plunder of the rich natural resources of these regions in pursuit of the policies of liberalization and privatisation.

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  • 74 Members of Human Rights Organisations Arrested on Way to Lalgarh

    Midnapore: About 74 members of seven Kolkata-based human rights organisations were arrested at Kharagpur railway station this morning. Members of Association for Democratic Rights (APDR), Suraksha Samiti, West Bengal Bandi Mukti Manch, Lalgarh Manch, and Legal Service Centre, were on their way to Lalgarh when they were arrested. About 15 students of Presidency College were also in the visiting team.

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  • Central Role of Women in the Struggle for Telangana

    Kalpana Kannabiran

    At the time when the movement for the State of Telangana reaches its peak, and even as the leaders of this movement craft the contours of this state that is one step towards liberating the people of this region from a history of economic, political and cultural oppression, it is important to think about which way we would like to go. As somebody who believes in Telangana statehood, not as part of a general argument about the efficacy of smaller states alone, but as indispensable to the dignity of the region, I raise these questions with the aim of pushing for a greater democratization of the movement. There are unresolved issues that need to be addressed and there are leaders of integrity, with a radical vision and political astuteness like Kondandram and Ratnamala, who have the capacity to take difficult questions on board and turn them into strengths.

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  • Dalits Rescued Last in Floods

     TRIVENIGANJ-- In the two weeks since a monsoon-swollen river burst its banks, ancient prejudices have run just as deep as the floodwaters. India’s “untouchables” are the last to be rescued – if at all – from a deluge that has killed dozens and made 1.2 million homeless.

    Dalits, the social outcasts at the bottom of the Hindu caste ladder, have borne the brunt of the devastation as the rampaging Kosi River* swamped hundreds of square miles in northern India after it overflowed and shifted its course dozens of miles to the east.

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  • Arundhati Roy Interview with David Barsamian: Brave New India

    ARUNDHATI ROY is the author of The God of Small Things. She is known for courageously standing with the pooret people of India in their growing struggles with the state and international capitalism. Her latest books are The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile, with David Barsamian, and An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire.

    DAVID BARSAMIAN interviewed her in New Delhi on December 29, 2007. David Barsamian is the producer ofAlternative Radio, based in Boulder, Colorado.

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  • Indian Parliament Rushes through Repressive "Anti-Terror" Laws

    Barely three weeks after the Mumbai terrorist attack, India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government pushed draconian new “anti-terror” laws through parliament. Amidst an unrelenting din of hysteria over reputed “Pakistani-sourced terrorism,” all sections of India’s political establishment—including the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front—unanimously joined with the Congress and its UPA allies on Dec. 17 to adopt the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendments Act 2008 and the National Investigating Agency Act.

    The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendments Act 2008 introduces harsh amendments to the already draconian provisions of a similarly titled 1967 act, including doubling the time “terror” suspects can be held without charge and forcing accused in certain cases to “prove” their innocence. The second bill authorizes the creation of a National Investigating Agency (NIA) akin to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the Indian constitution “law and order” comes under the purview of the state governments. However the new agency will have the authority to probe “terrorist acts” directly without the authorization of local state governments. The National Investigating Agency Act also establishes special courts to try terrorism cases.

    Pressing for unanimous passage of the two bills in the Lok-Sabha (the lower house of India’s parliament), Home Minister P. Chidambaram claimed the legislators had “captured the mood of the nation” by agreeing to set aside normal parliamentary procedures to rush through emergency, “consensus” legislation. Chidambaram claimed that the bills were needed to confront the threat of “Jihadi-terrorism,” yet hypocritically urged the legislators not to look at the legislation through a “communal prism.”

    While the UPA government and corporate media have claimed the bills are a response to the three-day commando-style attack on Mumbai in late November, the Hindu right and large sections of India’s security establishment have long been pushing for new powers for the state in the name of combating terrorism. UPA Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has himself repeatedly referred to terrorism—by which he means not just the bombings and commando raids mounted by Islamacist groups, but a whole series of national-separatist and Naxhalite (Maoist) insurgencies—as the greatest threat to the Indian state.

    The hypocritical and reactionary character of the ruling class debate over terrorism is underscored by the fact that entirely excluded from discussion are the atrocities that the Hindu right, with the complicity of much of state apparatus, has perpetrated over the past two decades—most infamously in the wake of the 1992 razing of the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya and the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. In so far as there has been a rise of Islamicist terrorism in India, it has come largely in reaction to the Indian bourgeoisie’s connivance with, and sponsorship of, the Hindu right.

    That the target of the legislation is far more than the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and like atrocities is above all demonstrated by the sweeping definition of terrorism set out in the Unlawful Activities Act (2008). The multi-part definition declares guilty of a “terrorist act,” “Whoever does any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country” using any “hazardous substance” likely to cause injury or property damage or disrupt essential services; or by using “criminal force” or threatening criminal force to “overawe” any public official; or who seeks to compel the Indian government, any state or foreign government to do anything by detaining or kidnapping anyone.

    The bill goes on to make it a crime liable to a minimum of five years and a maximum of life imprisonment to raise, collect, or provide funds, “directly or indirectly,” “likely” to be used to “commit a terrorist act.”

    It also provides, according to an analysis carried out by Amnesty International, “no clear and strict definition of what constitutes ‘membership’ of a ‘terrorist gang or organization.’” This opens the door to the witchhunting of large numbers of people who support the objectives of an organization deemed by the Indian state to be terrorist, but who are in no way involved in violence.

    The bill’s definitions of terrorism and support for terrorism provide the legal framework for the Indian state to greatly intensify its attempts to crush through state violence the ethno-separatist insurgences in Kashmir and the north-east and the insurgencies being mounted by several Naxalite groups. (According to the Indian government, Naxalite insurgents are active in about 180 administrative districts or more than one-fifth of the entire country.)

    The Naxalites are a retrograde, nationalist political tendency. But they have been able to gain support in some of the poorest and most remote areas of India because of the tremendous agrarian crisis and because the mainline Stalinist parties, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India, have politically paralyzed the working class.

    The Naxalite movement enjoys the support of a layer of students and has a network of support and cultural organizations, some of them patronized by well-known intellectuals and artists. Such activities have now been criminalized and there is every reason to expect that the ruling elite will utilize these new laws to launch a dragnet against Naxalite-aligned groups and their supporters.

    The legislation could also be invoked in the future directly against the working class, as almost any form of resistance to the state could be labeled a threat to the “unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India.” Sections of the corporate media have long denounced hartals (political strikes) and gheraos (in which protesters surround and detain a government official or corporate boss) as violent acts, based on “terrorizing” opponents.

    Overturning of key juridical principles

    Of no less importance is the fact that the legislation overturns longstanding juridical principles, laying the basis for further attacks on democratic rights.

    Police are now empowered to arrest “terrorist suspects” and detain them for 180 days without filing any formal charges. Under the 1967 Act the maximum period of imprisonment without formal charges was 90 days.

    Foreign “terror suspects” or indeed almost any foreign national accused of entering the country illegally will have no right to bail. Even for Indian nationals, bail will be difficult if not impossible to obtain, as it is subject to the consent of a judge of the special “terrorist” court. The state is empowered to freeze, seize or attach funds and other financial assets or economic resources reputedly held by “suspected” individuals on behalf of terrorist organizations.

    If a suspect is caught with “weapons,” the law will presume the accused is guilty; in other words the burden of proof will be shifted from the state to the accused, thereby violating one of the most essential principles of civil liberty—”innocent until proven guilty.”

    The special courts established under the National Investigating Agency Act will try terror suspects in camera, denying the public knowledge of the proceedings and thereby greatly facilitating convictions on the basis of flimsy or concocted evidence.

    The UPA government’s adoption of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendments Act 2008 and the National Investigating Agency Act constitutes a further major shift to the right on the part of the Congress Party, the Indian bourgeoisie’s traditional party of government. In July, the Congress-led UPA broke with the Stalinist Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its Left Front (which had been providing the minority government with the parliamentary votes needed to remain in office), so as to press forward with the Indo-US civilian nuclear treaty and, more broadly, a “global, strategic” partnership with US imperialism.

    In passing the twin “anti-terror” bills, the Congress is adapting and giving succor to the Hindu right. In a communally-laced propaganda offensive, the official opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has long accused the Congress of being “soft on terrorism” because it wants to attract Muslim votes. This Hindu communalist party, which was swept from the power by the Congress-led UPA in 2004, has particularly lashed out against the UPA government for its repealing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), legislation the previous BJP-led government adopted in 2002 following a terrorist attack on India’s parliament and in the midst of a massive military mobilization and threats of war against Pakistan.

    The Congress Party made much of its repeal of POTA after it came to power in 2004, conceding that it was anti-democratic, had resulted in police dragnets in which large numbers of innocent people, especially Muslims, had been victimized, and had been used by various state governments to witchhunt political opponents.

    The Congress Party has now come full-circle. The new laws adopt the key elements of POTA, including long detentions without charges, a broad definition of terrorism, placing the burden of proof on the accused, and closed trials in special courts. Only a few provisions are different. Unlike POTA, the new law does not allow prosecutors to use “confessions” made to police officers. (India’s police and security forces have an appalling human rights record, including routine use of summary executions and torture.)

    The Times of India in its article entitled “POTA Back as New UAPA?” concluded that the new legislation is indeed “old wine in new bottle.”

    The BJP welcomes the Congress’ “U-Turn”

    The Congress Party’s lurch to the right was acknowledged by BJP leader L.K. Advani, but he made sure to once again admonish the Congress for having repealed POTA and to demand even more repressive measures, such as making police-elicited “confessions” admissible in court.

    Said Advani, “I cannot express happiness but I express satisfaction today. You have today admitted that the government was wrong for 10 years and will rectify mistakes. You have woken up from Kumbhakarna’s sleep. (Kumbhakarna is a character in a Hindu epic who is always in deep sleep.) I want that you admit that you were wrong. . . . You attacked us as if we had committed a crime when we ushered in the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).”

    Having lectured the Congress for having termed POTA as “anti-minority,” Advani concluded by proclaiming, “Today I am happy with your U-turn.”

    The Congress-Party led UPA government has used last month’s Mumbai attack to ratchet up tensions with Pakistan, India’s historic rival, and thereby force it to cut off support for the anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir, to divert popular attention from the fallout within India of the world economic crisis, and now to mount a sweeping attack on democratic rights.

    In the process, the self-avowed “secular” Congress has joined hands with the BJP, while competing with the Hindu supremacists as to which party is the most resolute against terrorism and Pakistan.

    The Congress has now leveled its own “soft on terrorism” charge against the BJP, repeatedly referring to a 1999 incident in which the BJP-led government of the time authorized the release of some Kashmiri separatists from prison in India to secure the release of hostages on a hijacked plane.

    Deepal Jayasekera, World Socialist Website, 29 December 2008

     

     

     

  • Lalgarh Police Force Youth to Search for Mines

    PIRAKATA: The message from Writers’ Buildings to show a human face while dealing with the warring populace in Lalgarh apparently hasn’t reached
    the force. Why else would a section of the state armed police (SAP) — terrified of IED explosions – catch hold of local youths and force them to poke around for hidden mines and explosives?

    Acts like this will trigger more calls for vengeance and lead people to doubt the sincerity of the government’s attempts to pacify the tribal villagers. It also exposes the lack of preparedness of the administration.

    There are just two CID bomb disposal experts stationed at Lalgarh. A second team is kept in reserve in Midnapore town to be deployed in case of ‘VIP movement’. A third is cooling its heels in Kolkata. There is not a single explosives expert with police forces anywhere else in the war zone.

    Ever since Friday evening’s blast at Kuldiha, in which the Domkal SDPO’s vehicle was hit and three policemen were injured, police have been wary of such attacks. The moment they come across any culvert, many policemen are scared to cross, fearing that Maoists might have planted an IED.

    Four blasts and half a dozen gunbattles have been reported ever since forces started their march to Lalgarh. Though no policeman has died, the guerrillas have scored a psychological victory — they have sown the seeds of fear and anxiety. It’s this fear that has led some policemen, who are themselves not trained to detect explosives, to force local youth to do the dangerous job for them.

    Eighteen-year-old Shambhu Ghosh, Madan Mahato (20) and Shakti Ghosh (23) from Dhangori village were among the unlucky locals. They have been on the run since last Thursday when security forces entered the village searching for Maoists.

    On Sunday morning, they were having breakfast at a roadside eatery, close to the Pirakata camp, when a team of policemen surrounded them. One of them asked if they were from Dhangori village.

    “When we said yes, they asked us where we had been hiding for the last three days? We didn’t give any answer. One of the policeman grabbed us by our collars and threatened to arrest us of we didn’t work for them,” Shambhu said.

    The two were taken to Pirakata camp and given three-foot-long S-shaped rods (possibly taken from a construction site). They’re then told to scan for any suspicious object — say, an abandoned bag or a box — lying on the roadside and use the rod to poke around and see if it triggers an explosion.

    Times of India, June 22, 2009

  • Indian Police Abuses Condemned on Al Jazeera

    India’s police force has been accused of extrajudicial killings, torture and carrying out illegal detentions, human rights campaigners have said. “India’s status as the world’s largest democracy is undermined by a police force that thinks it is above the law,” Brad Adams, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), said on Tuesday. “The police continue to use their old methods: abuse and threats … It’s time for the government to stop talking about reform and fix the system.”

    A report – titled Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse and Impunity in the Indian Police -collated from interviews with 60 alleged victims and about 80 police officers of various ranks detailed various abuses.

    Several officers admitted in private that suspects were often tortured and beaten to extract confessions, the report said. A female suspect was killed in custody in one case and her killing passed off as suicide, a police officer said. Some also spoke of manufacturing “encounters” during which a suspect was killed and the death passed off as taking place during a shootout.

    ‘Stripped naked’??In the city of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, Ghaissudin Mohammed Mondal told Al Jazeera that he was tortured after being arrested for refusing to pay bribes. “They picked me up by my legs and crashed me onto the floor. Then they stripped me naked,” he said. “The policemen forced me to bend over a table and then inserted some chemical in my backside – I started shouting in pain.”

    The HRW report said that India’s police system needed a major overhaul, noting that officers were poorly trained and overworked. It said that many officers work as many as 16 hours a day, rarely have days off and live in tents or cramped and crumbling barracks.

    K.P.S. Gill, a former police chief of Punjab state who has written widely on reform, said the problem was wider than just the police force. “The resources in the country are not that large and there are unlimited areas crying for attention, so [officials] have to make a selection of what they would spend how much on,” he told The Associated Press news agency. “Policing doesn’t figure very high on the list.”

    ‘Public fear’

    Naureen Shah, the author of the report, said that the police force was largely geared towards controlling the population in order to prevent crime. “The police count on the public’s fear, rather than their co-operation, to keep order,” she said.

    Najma, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told Al Jazeera that she was gang raped by police in her home after another officer had been killed in her village. “I have been tortured by the police and now I can’t even go back to my village as I am scared,” she said.

    Ajay Maken, India’s home minister, told parliament on Tuesday that the government was moving to address the issue of police atrocities, including supporting judicial investigations into every suspected custodial death.

    Official figures showed 23 police officers have been charged with carrying out atrocities since 2005, but none have been convicted.

    August 5, 2009

  • 25 Farmers Commit Suicide in Andhra Pradesh, CM Expresses "Dismay"

    farmers_suicide_india_revolution_andra_pradesh_CPI_Maoist

    HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh government is facing its worst challenge as the death toll is on the increase in the wake of the recent unprecedented drought. Official figures said that 25 farmers had ended their lives in the last 50 days.

    Expressing dismay over suicides by farmers, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy said he would hold District Collectors and “Adarsh Rythus” (model farmers) partly responsible for any continuation of such deaths. It is pertinent to mention here that despite the announcement by the government for a compensation of Rs150,000 to the families of each farmer who committed suicide within three days, the Collectors failed to disburse a single rupee to them. In the same regard, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has demanded a confirmation report from the local Revenue Development Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police and District Agriculture Officer within 24 hours.

     

    Ajahind, August 25, 2009

  • Why Villagers Join the Maoists

    India--Adivasi women

    Being neutral is the biggest crime

     

    VECHAPAL, INDIA : The staccato rattle of gunfire startled Poneym Pandroo from his sleep. He reached for his bow and arrow, quickly gathered his four children, and fled into the nearby jungle, away from the only home he had ever known.

    He remembers the confusion as villagers ran for their lives as their houses were set ablaze behind them. Those who were not quick enough were chased down by the gunmen and savagely killed. When the villagers returned four days later, Mr Pandroo, 40, found his home destroyed. The gunmen had torched the paddy farmer’s thatched hut, looted his food grains, and slaughtered his chickens.

    “They call us Naxalites,” he said, sitting outside his gutted home, gaunt, withered and trembling. “Because we refused to join Salwa Judum, we are automatically equated to Naxalites.”

    Suspected of having links with Naxalites, or Maoist rebels, about 700 villages, such as Vechapal, in the Maoist heartland of southern Chhattisgarh, have been burnt down by the Salwa Judum, a state-sponsored anti-Naxal vigilante militia set up in 2005. Since then, its relentless attacks have forced 50,000 people to move into squalid government camps and another 250,000 people to flee into the deeper reaches of jungles, living a life of fear, hunger and misery.

    Vechapal, located in the state’s Bijapur district, has been torched more than a dozen times in the last three years – recently in August. Tribals cower inside their huts at night, clutching axes and bows and arrows, fearing more attacks. Some tribal families have lost their homes so many times in arson attacks that they have given up on rebuilding all together. They sleep in tarpaulin tents in the nearby jungle at night.  In rebel-controlled or “liberated villages” as the Maoists call them, like Vechapal, perhaps lies a plausible answer to why India is losing its war against the rebels.

    The Salwa Judum attacks, the Chhattisgarh government claims, are meant to cleanse the countryside of Maoist influence. But far from breaking the Naxal web of support, this reign of brutality has transformed the region into a fertile Maoist stronghold and recruitment ground.

    Those who visited Vechapal before the Salwa Judum was formed, testify that this was not always a Naxal-supporting area. Its loyalties shifted away from the state only to protect itself from repeated invasions.

    “If the state wantonly kills villagers, they’re giving them a message that it has the power to do so only because it wields guns,” said Himanshu Kumar, a human rights activist. “The state is thus inspiring villagers to embrace guns.”

    The rebels actively exploit the anger of such people who now view the state as their enemy and the rebels as modern-day Robin Hoods sympathetic to their woes. Armed Naxalite guerrillas boldly roam the village in battle fatigues for their signature monthly meetings and freely come and go from the nearby jungles for nightly rests and daytime meals.

    They have managed to create a state within a state. Villagers travel to the nearby jungle to attend Jan Adalats – the “people’s courts” of the rebels – to settle local disputes.

    The Naxalites have told the villagers that the persistent attacks on their homes are a conspiracy by multinational mining companies which, in connivance with the state, want to take over their land to gain access to the mineral-rich tribal belt. The villagers tend to believe them.

    They now greet outsiders with “Lal Salaam”, or Red Salute, the traditional greeting of the Maoists. “They are our protectors from oppressors,” Mr Pandroo said of the Naxalites. “Now we don’t salute the Indian flag, but only the Red flag.”

    Comrade Vijay, the deputy leader of the local Naxal squad that controls 70 villages in Bijapur district, said in an interview that public support for the rebels had increased threefold since the Salwa Judum came into existence. “Our cadre strength has gone up, our area of operation has expanded,” he said.

    His men, he revealed, were training villagers on tactics to “protect themselves” from the invading forces more effectively with their traditional weapons, mainly bows and arrows. Young boys are plucked and trained to plant detonators in the ground for improvised explosive devices.

    Previous government fact-finding missions agree with the view that the Naxal movement is spreading rapidly because of rising support from tribals caught up in the crossfire between the government and Naxalites. A fact-finding committee in October 2008 comprising senior bureaucrats, activists, and intelligence officials said the main support for the Naxalite movement came from dalits – people belonging to the “lowest” castes – and Adivasis, India’s tribal population.

    But Raman Singh, Chhattisgah’s chief minister, dismisses the view, claiming that Salwa Judum is a “spontaneous reaction of the people” against growing Naxal tyranny. He likens Naxalism to a disease, the only antidote to which is cutting off the source of the disease: Adivasis living in Naxal villages. Salwa Judum, he insists, will only be disbanded “once the Naxal menace is eliminated”.

    Himanshu Kumar, the rights activist, says this is comparable to the American counterinsurgency strategy of “draining the water and killing the fish”. “The state forgets that Adivasis are not fish, and the villages they inhabit are not fish bowls.”

    For years, the state has punished “liberated” villages for harbouring Naxal sympathies. The administration has long stopped providing social and welfare support to villagers, already among the poorest, most disadvantaged people in India.

    Vechapal’s tribals endure pitch darkness at night because the village is not connected to the power grid. The government-run higher-secondary school was burnt down by Salwa Judum three years ago. Weekly health check-up camps have long been discontinued. Instead, villagers rely on a local shaman, who chants prayers to exorcise evil spirits.

    Vechapal is full of stories of dispossession and deprivation. Hunger and illness are endemic. The village is full of naked, chronically malnourished children with distended bellies and fly-covered noses.

    Most tribals, who belong to the Gondi tribe, one of the aboriginal tribes in Central India, sweat all day long in the fields in the broiling heat wearing tattered lunghis, sarong-like lengths of cloth, doing the laborious work of thinning the rice plants. When agriculture fails, as it did this year as a result of a delayed monsoon, they are forced to scavenge in the forests for seeds, berries and wild vegetables.

    Human rights activists warn about the forthcoming military counter-offensive being planned by the state to flush out Naxalites. There could be a potential genocide, they say, with the villagers of places such as Vechapal trapped in the middle between the military and the Maoists.

    “This will only mean an indiscriminate massacre of tribals, a full-scale war against hundreds of thousands of people, against the people at large,” said Mr Kumar.

    He suggests another solution. “To wean people away from Naxalites, don’t send in soldiers,” he said. “Send in doctors and teachers instead.”

     

    Anuj Chopra, The National, November 6, 2009

     

     

     

  • West Bengal: Evicted Dalit Starves to Death

     

    Government of West Bengal must act to prevent further starvation deaths

    Asian Human Rights Commission, November 18, 2009.

    E.M. Parvati died yesterday. Parvati was a resident of Belgachhia Bhagar, a municipal dumping ground of Howrah in West Bengal. The doctor who examined Parvati’s body certified that the cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis aggravated by severe malnourishment and anaemia.

    Parvati is not the first person in her family to die in this manner. Her daughter E.M. Lachhmi, died of starvation at the age of five on 11 March 2005. Her two sons, E.M. Shiva, died in December 2003 and E.M. Gaddama alias Chhottu, died in November 2004. Shiva was three years old and Gaddama was about a month old.

    Parvati’s death is further proof to the despicable apathy of the West Bengal state government and that of the government of India to the plight of the poor and marginalised in the country. It is also part of the continuing saga of an estimated 7000 Dalits who were evicted from Bellilious Park on 2 February 2003 by the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC).

    The HMC carried out the eviction with police threatening and assaulting those who tried to protest. HMC evicted the residents from Bellilious Park with the support of an order obtained from the Kolkata High Court. The court issued the eviction order without hearing the residents when a person approached the court as an environmentalist. It is alleged that this person was acting in connivance with interested persons within the state government, HMC and a businessman engaged in property development. They argued in court that the HMC wanted to develop Bellilious Park into a public park, which the court believed and issued an order in favour of eviction.

    Having no other place to go, many of the evictees had to settle down in Belgachhia Bhagar and some others in open lands beside the railway track. Living in a dumping ground and having had their lives’ earnings and assets lost in the eviction, the evictees fell prey to diseases contracted from poor living conditions, in particular, toxic wastes and fumes. None of them received any assistance from the government.

    The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) have issued several urgent appeals seeking assistance for the families evicted from Bellilious Park. Most of the evicted families are engaged in manual scavenging in Kolkata and Howrah. The Dalit identity of the evictees prevented them from leading a decent life. It also makes it difficult for them to find any other job other than what is often ‘marked up’ for Dalits in India — cleaning filth.

    Frustrated by the neglect of the local administration and that of the state government, MASUM held a protest meet in front of the UNICEF Kolkata office and the state legislative assembly on 23 March 2005, in which Parvati participated and at which she spoke. Parvati also spoke to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Jean Zeigler when he visited India on 31 August 2005.

    Neither UNICEF nor the state government did anything to ameliorate the living conditions of the evictees. The only humane consideration Parvati received was from the State Governor, Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi. Gandhi ordered the payment of 100,000 Rupees for the family as emergency assistance. Other than this gesture none of the 7000 evictees received any support from the state administration or UNICEF. MASUM however through its continued effort was able to persuade the District Magistrate of Howrah to issue an Antyodaya Card (ration card that allows the card holder to obtain rations at subsidised price) to Parvati.

    As of today, most of the families that were evicted from Bellilious Park continue to live at Belgachhia Bhagar. They continue to live and die in this abandoned part of the city, scavenging in the garbage with pigs and dogs.

    The state administration that has ruled West Bengal for the past 32 years in the name of the downtrodden and the labouring class has abandoned them.  The HMC meanwhile developed Bellilious Park into a commercial property. As of today it is no public park as was claimed in the High Court to obtain the eviction order. Today, Bellilious Park houses upper middle class shopping malls and an entertainment park for the children of the rich and privileged.

    On 14 January 2009 a similar eviction of 5000 people from Belgachia Bhagar was proposed. The High Court sanctioned this eviction too. The eviction was suspended after a concerted effort by civil society organisations and the residents. The risk of further eviction is still high for the residents of Belgachhia Bhagar. While it is mandatory for the administration to provide adequate measures for rehabilitation of the evictees, the AHRC and MASUM are concerned that the administration will repeat what it did in Bellilious Park in 2003.

    E.M. Parvati’s death will not be an eye-opener for the state administration, since the evictees of Bellilious Park have no clout to move the corrupt and neglectful state administration or those who run it. Today the evictees do not live with the belief that one day the place they called home for several generations will be returned to them. Yet they have not forfeited their right to demand and to anticipate the minimum assistance the poor in India must expect from the state government.

    The former residents of Bellilious Park need a decent place nearby to resettle than continue living with pigs and dogs, scavenging for food in a dumping ground. Many of them require documents like a ration card that would entitle them to get subsidised or free rations from the public food distribution shops. They need the state government to set up regular health camps where they can get medical treatment.

    If these minimal requirements are not met urgently, many more will perish, like Parvati and her children. Neither the state government nor the government of India have any excuse to ignore the plight of these 7000 or so persons, living in appalling conditions for the past six years. At very least, the government cannot plead ignorance.

     

     


  • No More Bhopals! 35,000 Killed Over 25 Years

    25 years ago, on the night of 2-3 December 1984, a terrible gas leak from the American multinational Union Carbide's pesticide factory resulted, over the years, in the death of over 35,000 people and the chronic illness of over 3 lakh [300,000] people, of whom over 1 lakh were permanently maimed.

    The victims continue to fight for proper compensation, rehabilitation, livelihoods, decontamination of soil and water and criminal action against those responsible. We are reprinting an article from March 2008 describing the efforts of survivors to receive justice, and the announcement of a 25th anniversary program in Bhopal sponsored by the Jan Sangarsh Morcha (Madhya Pradesh).

    Register to read more...

  • Operation Green Hunt Drives Adivasis into Andhra Pradesh

    Internally displaced persons from Chhattisgarh before their shack of sticks and palmyra leaf in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam.

    Homeless Wanderers in Their Own Country

    As Operation Green Hunt gathers steam in Chhattisgarh, state violence is also going up steadily. The result is that more people, mostly tribals, in the state’s Maoist-dominated areas are crossing the border to find sanctuary in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh as Internally Displaced Persons.

    Each of them fled their homes either after a raid or because they feared for their lives. The stories these people tell of their ordeals are also beginning to provide a picture of the true extent of the destruction.

    Gachanpalli is a small village some 30 km from the town of Konta in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. According to witnesses, the security forces raided Gachanpalli sometime in late October. They allegedly killed Madvi Admaya, Madkam Sulaya, Madvi Joga, Kovasi Gangaya, Madkam Moiyi. Witnesses say four of the five men were past 60 and too old to escape into the jungle. Madkam Moiyi was apparently crippled and incapable of walking.

    They were said to have been bayoneted and shot to death in the middle of the village.Nineteen homes were also burnt down. This was the second attack on Gachanpalli.In 2005, the Salwa Judum burnt down 65 homes in the village.“ I have so much land at Gachanpalli, but no one to work on it now.” Kovasi Jogi, 60, lived in Gachanpalli. Now she inhabits an Internally Displaced Persons settlement in Khammam. Her village is almost empty now, peopled by ghosts and memories.

    Most of the people have scattered. Some have retreated further into the jungle, while others are in Khammam.Sodi Rani (real name withheld) left her village of Pallecharma with her two children for Andhra Pradesh. She relies on the charity of her relatives. According to her, three people were killed from her village of Pallecharma by the security forces. Sodi Sanausi, Tunki Chinnay and Dodhi Adma were killed sometime in late October.The police apprehended them in the morning as suspected Maoists and shot them dead the same evening.

    The people of Pallecharma were unaware of the killings for some time. But when the news of the deaths reached them, they fled to Khammam district. On the same day as the attack on Pallecharma, the security forces arrested Vaika Madvi (name withheld). He was held captive along with an unidentified Pallecharma villager. Vaika Madvi managed to escape, leaving behind the villager. He has no idea what happened to the man. Vaika Madvi now lives in Khammam district.Near Pallecharma is the village of Batiguda where Sodi Venka (name withheld) was regularly harassed by Special Police Officers as well as Maoists. He was detained over a year ago by security forces and asked to relocate to the Maraiguda Salwa Judum camp, abandoning his five acres of land.

    At the same time, the Maoists threatened him with dire consequences if he left the land. Drinking water is a big problem in Batiguda where four hand pumps were installed about 12 years ago. Three of them don’t work anymore. So the villagers approached the authorities at Konta for help to fix the pumps. But their appeal was turned down flat.“Go ask your Naxalites to fix your hand pumps,” the officials jeered at them.

    The dejected villagers could only repeat this piece of advice every time anyone asked them whether they had got any assistance from Konta.“ And what do the Naxalites say?” Venka asks with a fatalistic chuckle. “They say, ‘go to Bhadrachalam and buy the materials and we shall fix it’. But the problem is we don’t have any money!”

    Sodi Venka also lives in Khammam district now. He earns around Rs 60 a day working as a landless labourer — for about 10 to 20 days a month. Back at his village, he used to sell a kilogram of tamarind for five rupees, each mango for two to three rupees. He also sold mahua for twelve to fourteen rupees a kg. He left his village soon after he heard about the killings in Pallecharma.

    Muchki Deva, 65, was picked up by Gondi- speaking SPOs from his village of Oonderpad near Bhejji and taken to jail.He says he was repeatedly beaten and given electric shocks. He was incorrectly reported as being burnt with oil by some publications — in fact, he had no idea what they were doing to him. He was released after four days, when a superior police officer found him in the company of young Special Police Officers who were beating him.

    The officer chastised the SPOs and ordered them to release the old man. He was neither booked nor asked to give a statement. He soon left his village for Khammam district.The stories seem never-ending and each one is harrowing.

    Take, for instance, the case of Maroodbacka village in Usur Block of Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh. On October 24, the security forces raided the place. They picked up Katam Kistaya (20) and Bhandavi Bhimaya (18). Bhimaya was suffering from a high fever and hence incapable of escaping. Both of them are now reportedly languishing in Dantewada jail.Soon after, some 15 families of Maroodbacka left for Khammam district.Others, like Madkam Mooti from Bijjamariaguda, did not bother to wait for the raids. They left their villages for Andhra Pradesh with their families well before that.

    When news of the attacks on Tatemargu, Pallodi, Doghpar and Pallecharma spread across the tehsil, villagers from Paytalguta, Ampeta and Dormangum from Kistaram panchayat also left their villages, afraid of what the authorities might do to them. They are all now living in Khammam district. They have survived but in Khammam they have no land, no ration cards, no schools, no angaanbadi. They also suffer the risk of being branded as Maoists or sympathisers by the Andhra Pradesh authorities.

    Their difficulties are compounded by inter-tribal conflicts. For instance, the Gotti Koya from Chhattisgarh and the local Koya villagers find themselves at odds at times, fighting over meagre forest resources.Despite the tensions, many settlements have been built with permission from the local gram sabhas and there is no confrontation as the IDPs also work as landless labour for them. Many more IDPs are living with their relatives.

    There are disturbing reports that party members from New Democracy (CPI-ML) have been demanding that the local Koya villagers evict the Gotti Koya and send them back to Chhattisgarh.

    The Andhra Pradesh police and forest officials are also considering a similar proposal and have reportedly approached the Collector’s office for provisions to ‘pack off ’ the IDPs back to Chhattisgarh. There are some dissenters from this view, however. Gandhibabu of the Agricultural and Social Development Society, who has been interacting with government officials and the IDPs is against any forced repatriation.“ First, it is their constitutional right, freedom of movement. Secondly, how can you send them back to Chhattisgarh where they’d end up in Salwa Judum camps and thus be in danger of being killed by the Naxalites, or to their villages where they’re in danger of being killed by the security forces? They really have no place to go back to at the moment.’

    The Solidarity Committee for Internally Displaced Tribals, Andhra Pradesh has raised similar concerns. After meeting IDP families in Khammam district, the committee held a press conference in Hyderabad earlier in the week. It demanded that the Union government and state governments concerned be responsible for the safety of the tribals. Also, the refugees should be provided with rehabilitation packages.

    The committee also demanded that IDPs be given NREGAS job cards, temporary ration cards, with pensions for senior citizens and disabled people; and that the government should help set up schools and mini-angaanbadi centres as a majority of the fleeing tribals are children. They are safe now, but what happens next is anybody’s guess.

    Express Buzz, November 29, 2009

     


  • Orissa: Interview with CMAS Leader on Police Killings

    Narayanpatna: An Inteview with Gananath Patra

    On the 20th of November three adivasis, including a leader of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), were gunned down near the police station of Narayanpatna. The CMAS has been struggling for the redistribution of land among tribals in the region. Nachika Linga and Gananath Patra have been spearheading the movement since its inception. The police alleges the CMAS of conducting violence.

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  • Unrest in Gurgaon, Hub of India’s Auto Industry

    Background, features, chronology and economic notes on India's automobile industry

    Disputes about recognition of unions at two companies (Auto Rico and Sunbeam) and a three-year wage agreement at another (Honda HMSI) has recently led to workers unrest in Gurgaon [Haryana state], India's main automobile cluster. The disputes have lasted for more than a month between mid-September and end of October 2009. After a Rico worker was killed, the CPI affiliated AITUC union called for one-day-strike, and 80,000 to 100,000 car workers did not work on 20th of October 2009. The dispute at Rico caused factory closures at GM and Ford in the US due to lack of parts.

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  • Buried Evidence: Report on Indian Army Crimes in Kashmir

    International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK) announces the release of its report at a press conference on Wednesday, December 02, 2009, in Srinagar, Kashmir

    BURIED EVIDENCE documents 2,700 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves, containing 2,943+ bodies, across 55 villages in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts of Kashmir, based on applied research conducted between November 2006-November 2009.

    The graveyards investigated by IPTK entomb bodies of those murdered in encounter and fake encounter killings between 1990-2009. These graves include bodies of extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, as well as massacres committed by the Indian military and paramilitary forces. Of these graves, 2,373 (87.9 percent) were unnamed. Of these graves, 154 contained two bodies each and 23 contained more than two cadavers. Within these 23 graves, the number of bodies ranged from 3 to 17.

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  • Maoists Scare Off Investors from Chhattisgarh

    Maoists scare off investors from Chhattisgarh

    Raipur (IANS) The increasing dominance of Maoists in Chhatisgarh’s iron ore-rich pockets have led to the halt of several key industrial projects in the region and scared off potential investors, say businessmen and officials.

    The state’s Bastar region, spread out in about 40,000 square km, has some 20 percent of India’s finest quality iron ore reserves. But industrialists are apprehensive of investing in the restive region, a stronghold of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).

    ‘The investors who have signed deals for setting up steel projects in the region are not getting their projects moved because of Maoists’ meddling,’ said Ashok Surana, head of an industrial body, Mini Steel Plant Association, told IANS. The association is a forum of 175 steel units based in central India.

    ‘The Maoist dominance is growing in the iron ore-rich pockets of Chhattisgarh. No businessmen want to put money in this region. Even mega projects of Tata Steel and Essar Steel are being held up,’ Surana said.Both Tata Steel and Essar Steel had signed separate deals in June 2005 with the state government for setting up integrated steel units in Chhattisgarh. Tata proposed to set up a 5.5-million-tonne plant, while Essar has plans to build a 3.2-million-tonne plant.

    However, the projects have got stuck as Maoists offered direct support for the families, whose land would be taken over for the plants.

    The worst-hit is the state-run National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC), the country’s largest iron ore producer and exporter, whose mining took a huge hit due to the insurgency. NMDC produces roughly 80 percent of its 27-million-tonne annual iron ore output from Bailadila reserves in the Moist-infested Dantewada of Chhattisgarh.

    ‘Maoists have been expanding their influence every day,’ a senior NMDC official, who did not want to identified, told IANS. ‘I think after five-six years, the iron ore mining in Chhattisgarh would be left for the mercy of Maoists. Now on an average, at least seven days every month, we fail to transport iron ore because of insurgents’ strikes,’ the official said.

    State’s Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan said Maoists forced businessmen from the mineral rich area to pay extortion money. ‘The cash books and other papers we seized recenty show that the rebels’ all India annual extortion earning is up to Rs.2,000 crore and a major portion of this comes from iron ore and coal businessmen,’ Ranjan said.

    Vani Rao, a senior Congress party leader in the state, also said Maoists’ influence was growing. ‘Maoists are dictating terms in the mineral-rich areas in Chhattisgarh. If urgent steps are not taken by the government, India will lose control over its vast mineral rich areas in five years,’ Rao told IANS.

    Police say over 1,500 people were killed in the Bastar region alone in Maoist related violence since 2004. The Maoist insurgency began in 1967 as a peasant rebellion, but has now spread to large parts of central and eastern states. They have strong presence in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said in October this year that Maoism was the ‘greatest internal security threat’.

    Indo-Asian News Service, December 6, 2009

  • Bihar Professor Beaten for Speaking Out against Demolition of Musahar Homes

    Children in a Musahar ghetto

     

    PATNA: Associate professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, Rahul Ramagundam, was assaulted, abused and branded a Naxalite by Bihar police for daring to ask the cops why the hutments belonging to Musahars — among the most backward of Scheduled Castes — were being demolished. [The Musahars, or rat-eaters,  are one of the Dalit subcastes in Bihar. See article below for more information on them.]

    Ramagundam, who teaches at Dr K R Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies at JMI, was thrashed and abused and called a Naxalite by Khagaria police at Amausi village. His local companion was also manhandled and beaten up by lathi-wielding police constables and officers. The incident took place on December 22.  ”How could asking just one question lead to such physical violence? How can one be called a Naxalite and assaulted and humiliated like this,” asked Ramagundam.

    Amausi had hit headlines on October 1 when 16 villagers, mostly OBCs (Kurmi), were killed allegedly by Musahars. The village has some 300 Musahar families who live in thatched huts.

    “On December 22, I rode pillion on the motorbike of Varun Choudhry, a grassroots activist with Khagaria-based NGO Samta, to go to Amausi. When we reached, the village was in turmoil. The cops were breaking thatched houses of people who were said to be absconding. Shankar Sada, whom Varun met in the village, took us to the place where the police party had camped before taking up the rip-and-strip job,” Ramagundam said.

    “Just as we spoke, a police party arrived and pulled down the thatched roof and walls of a hut. I couldn’t control myself. I asked the cops if they had any written orders to pull down the houses of the absconding accused.” A tall uniformed man stared at me. Instead of answering, he asked me my identity. I teach in Delhi,  I told him. ‘Name?’ I told him. ‘Father’s name?’ I told him. But even before I could take out my identity card, he turned hostile.

    By then, I was surrounded by the rest of the cops. They roughed me up and thrashed my colleague, Varun, who suffered a fracture,” said Ramagundam.  ”They had guns. A constable in green fatigues called me a Naxalite and moved menacingly to break the cordon around me,” he said.

    After meeting Khagaria SP Anusya Rannsingh Sodhi, Ramagundam lodged a complaint asking whether people had the right to ask police for written orders before dismantling houses of the “poorest of the poor”.

    The Khagaria SP said she would conduct an inquiry and take appropriate action. She added that she would not take action against anyone merely on the basis of Ramagundam’s statement. Ramagundam is author of two books, ‘Defeated Innocence’ on the Adivasi struggle for land rights in Madhya Pradesh in 2001 and ‘Gandhi’s Khadi: A History of Contention and Conciliation’.

    Bihar to uplift Musahar community by commercialising rat meat

    ThaIndian, August 11, 2008

    Rat meat may soon be available in hotels as a delicacy. Rat farming, akin to rearing poultry, would be given to the poor Musahar community of Bihar as a means for their socio-economic upliftment as well as promote a new kind of food item in urban pockets. The Musahars, known as the traditional rat eating community and still regarded as ‘untouchables’, usually hunt rats in the paddy fields.

    “The government has decided to engage the Musahars in commercialisation of rat meat for their overall development,” Vijay Prakash, principal secretary in the social welfare department, told IANS.  “We will encourage and help the Musahars to organize rat farms in order to commercialise rat meat” he said.

    The Musahars, estimated to number 2.3 million, are among the most deprived and marginalised section of the society in Bihar. They are yet to taste the fruits of development. They are widely known as rat eaters either out of choice or as compulsion to fight hunger.

    Engaging Musahars in commercialisation of rat meat would help create a regular source of income for them. “It will help empower them and change their poor living conditions if the venture is properly designed and clicks,” said Prakash.

    Prakash maintains rat meat has the “potential” to become a popular food. According to dieticians, rat meat is rich in protein and tastier than chicken. Prakash said when Musahars rear rats in farms, on the lines of chicken and fish farming, the age-old image of catching rats being a wild activity will change.

    Eating rat meat is considered a stigma in urban pockets and confined to the poorer sections of society, said Prakash. “However, I discovered during a fact-finding mission about rat meat that it is a popular food item in the Mokama riverine areas and roadside hotels in Danapur in Patna district. It is called ‘patal-bageri’ and its demand is high,” he said.  Many people at toddy shops demand rat meat for its rare taste with spices.

    The state government plans to set up stalls in rural fairs across the state, followed by rat meat centres in urban areas.  Prakash hinted that his department would approach government and private agencies in and outside the country to speed up commercialisation of rat meat. “We’d like to have a network with other experts to boost the rat meat business,” he said.

    Dalits constitute nearly 15 percent of Bihar’s population of 83 million. The poorest Dalits were declared Maha Dalits in Bihar. A government commission has identified 18 of the 22 Dalit sub castes, including Musahar, Bhuiyan, Dom, and Nat as Maha Dalits. They constitute 31 percent of the Dalit population in the state.

    The commission has not included four Dalit castes – Paswan, Pasi, Dhobi and Chamar – in the Maha Dalit category. These four constitute 69 percent of the Dalit population in the state.

    A few months ago Nitish Kumar announced a special package of Rs.3 billion ($76 million) for the socio-economic development of the poorest among Dalits. He set up a commission in August last year for the welfare of certain Dalit castes that are socially and educationally more backward than others.

    Bihar is the first state to constitute a commission to study the status of the neglected sub-castes among Dalits and suggest ways to uplift them. The commission in its first interim report to the government a few months ago painted a bleak picture of the Dalit sub-castes. The report said there were no high school teachers for senior officials from these castes in the state despite reservations in government jobs for them.

    (Pranava K Chaudhary, Times of India, 26 December 2009)

     


     

     

  • Adivasis Commemorate 14 Killed by Orissa Police at Kalinga Nagar

    Victims of the police firings at Kalinga Nagar

     

    Kalinga Nagar relives memories of police firing

     

    Jajpur:  A large number of tribals rallied in Kalinga Nagar, the steel hub of India in Odisha’s Jajpur district on Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of the killing of 14 tribals including three women in police firing while protesting against Tata’s proposed steel project there.

    Four years ago, the police had fired on tribals protesting against forcibly displacement through the construction of a boundary wall by the Tata Steel for its 6 million tonnes steel plant in the steel hub. The anti-industry groups under the banner of Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch (BBJM) assembled today at Ambagadia, where the tribals killed in the police action were mass cremated in the morning.

    The tribals, mostly women and children, brandishing with sword, lathis and their traditional weapons took out a 7 km long rally from Birbhumi, the firing spot to Ambagadia.? Carrying posters and banners, the tribals marched towards the memorial pillar where the victims were cremated en masse in the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex shouting slogans against the Naveen government and Tatas.

    Other than local tribals, various groups from Jagatsingpur, Keonjhar, Niyamgiri and Puri where the locals are opposing land acquisition, expressed their solidarity with BBJM, which is spearheading the anti industrialization movement in the area sine inception of police firing on 02 Jan 2006.

    “Police have been torturing us both physically and mentally for the last couple of months. We won’t tolerate any torture on the innocent tribals. There shouldn’t be any industry at the cost of tribals and their livelihood. Our fight against industrialisation will continue till the government changes its decision to set up industries on farm land.” Many BBJM leaders said in the meetings.

    “Fourteen of our fellow men sacrificed their lives for tribal’s cause. We are ready to die even in en masse, but will not spare even an inch of land for industry,” said Rabindra Jarika, secretary BBJM.

    President of BBJM Chakradhar Haiburu (Senior) and Secretary Rabindra Jarika, tribal leaders Sukra Munda, Narayan Hembrum, Radhasyam Sethy, Biswanath Chatar and Khandagiri Ghatikia, NAPM leader Prafulla Samantara, CPML (New Democracy) Bhala Chandra Sarangi, CPML Sivaram, Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti leader Lingaraj Azad, Sheikh Abdul Waliand and others addressed the meeting. The star of the BBJM show was Sukra Munda, grandson of the legendary tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

    In another incident, around 300 people under the banner of Visthapita Parivar Unyayan Parishad participated in the pro-industry rally at Danagadi to mark the anniversary function. Veteran tribal leader and noted social activist Tulasi Munda graced the occasion as guest there.

    Kalinga Nagar: Police arrest 2 of anti-industry brigade

    Express Buzz, January 2, 2009

    JAJPUR: The Kalinga Nagar police yesterday arrested two core committee members of Vistapan Virodhi Jan Manch (VVJM) ahead of fourth anniversary of Kalinga Nagar police firing on Saturday.

    They were forwarded to court of JMFC at Jajpur Road and later remanded in judicial custody after their bail pleas were rejected, officials said. The arrested–Kunja Gagarai and Budansingh Jamuda of Gadhapur–were allegedly wanted by police for the last couple of years. Reports said apprehending a huge gathering of tribals on the fourth anniversary of police firing, the district police conducted a massive raid at Gadhapur village and arrested the duo last night.

    The anniversary function is being organised by VVJM which has been spearheading the tribal agitation in the area since police firing on January 2, 2006, in which 14 tribals died while protesting land acquisition by the Tatas. As many as four platoons of armed police force led by DSP Bipin Behari Mallick conducted the raid.“ About 200 armed police led by a DSP picked up eight persons, including six children, from the village at gunpoint.

    The arrests were made while all were deep asleep,” said VVJM secretary Rabindra Jarika. The arrests were in violation of human rights, he said. District authorities are planning to break the unity of the tribals ahead of the anniversary celebration, he added. Police will have to pay a heavy price if they proceed further, Jarika threatened.

    Contacted, Jajpur SP D.S.Kuttey said, “Both Gagarai and Jamuda were wanted by police for the last two years. While seven cases and two NBWs are pending against Gagarai, two NBWs are pending against Jamuda. Though we arrested eight persons, including some minors, only two of them have been forwarded to court. We are verifying the antecedents of others.”

     

    Kalinga Times, January 2, 2009

     

     

  • PUCL Condemns Detentiion of Gandhian Himanshu Kumar

    Vanvasi Chetna Ashram before it was demolished in May 2009

    The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the detention of Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA), Dantewada and PUCL State Executive member of Chhattisgarh at Kanker Police Station today 3rd January, 2010.  This detention has been made on the eve of the Public Hearing that was being organised by VCA on the atrocities being committed by police and security forces in that area.

    According to the VCA, the detention of Himanshu at this stage is to clearly sabotage the hearing. According to PUCL national president Prabhakar Sinha and General Secretary Pushkar Raj  Himanshu’s detention follows a series of harassment that he and his organisation have been subjected to which include:

    · Demolition of his ashram outside Dantewda.

    · Arrest of Sukhnath on 1st August, ’09 and of Kopa Kunjam on 10th December, ’09, both senior activists of VCA , under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005, who were trying to implement the SC [Supreme Court] orders of implementing the Internally displaced people.

    · Preventing Himanshu from taking out a padyatra [journey on foot] through the villages of Dantewada district in December, ‘09.

    · Intimidation by the police and Salwa Judum activists to harass women’s groups who were prevented from reaching Dantewada on 15 December, ’09.

    · Illegal detention and intimidation of the 5 women who were fighting their own cases of rape by salwa judum members. They were forcibly made to sign papers by SPOs [Special Police Officers] and Police when they were illegally detained after 15 December, ’09 for 5 days at Dronpal Police Station, that they were not wanting to pursue their cases.

    · Intimidation by the administration of the landlord who rented the house to Himanshu following which he is being forced to vacate the premises.

    · Preventing Himanshu and VCA from even booking rooms at the local Dharmashala including forcing one owner to return the money of rooms he had booked for VCA.

    He was arrested, when he was trying to escort Shambhu to Raipur, a victim of Operation Green Hunt who sustained bullet injuries in her leg and had to get to Delhi for treatment.  She was prevented by the Police from undertaking the travel so Himanshu with others boarded the vehicle and were detained at Kanker, Jagdalpur.

    PUCL demands that the Chhattisgarh State Government release Himanshu and Kopa and Sukhnath immediately along with ending all harassment of Himanshu Kumar and other members of the VCA who have a right to exercise their democratic rights.

    PUCL demands that the State Government implement the SC orders of rehabilitation of internally displaced people which was the main work of Himanshu and the VCA which the local administration and the Government did not like. PUCL also demands stopping of all operations like Green Hunt and others that are responsible for human rights violations and letting activists and media to freely move in the areas.

    June 1, 2009

    MEMORANDUM GIVEN TO DANTEWADA SP RAHUL SHARMA AND THE COLLECTOR OF DANTEWADA ON DEMOLITION OF VANVASI CHETNA ASHRAM ON MAY 17, 2009

    BY FACT FINDING TEAM

    • The Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA) was implementing various government schemes in the area including Mitanin health programme , watershed development, water and sanitation programme in villages and Salwa judum camps and Himanshu Kumar was also on various government committees including district legal aid committee. It is inexplicable why an ashram run by him should have been demolished.
    • We think the government should have been grateful to him as he has been doing this constructive work in the region for the last 17 years, without any vested interest.
    • As the matter of land is subjudice the action of the demolition of the ashram by the district administration was unwarranted.
    • The authorities’ contention that the land which was earlier agricultural land in government records was changed to revenue forest land , is unprecendented, We think that the due process was not followed in this case.
    • The VCA was engaged in the important task of resettling the internally displaced persons in their original villages which no government agency had undertaken inspite of the Supreme Courts instruction to the CG government.
    • The team spoke to various persons ( villagers, civil society activists and local media persons ) in Kanwalnar, Lingagiri, Basagudha, Kamaram, Bijapur and Dantewada. All of them confirmed and acclaimed the constructive work that the VCA has been doing in the region
    • The resettled villagers need immediate provision of facilities like PDS, primary health, primary education and ;public transport and also to meet their immediate needs for foing agriculture We hope the government would do the needful in this regard without delay.

    We sincerely hope the authorities would take remedial measures at the earliest to mitigate the problems of the VCA and enable to it continue its constructive work in the area.

    MyNews, January 4, 2010

     

     


     

  • A Visit to the Police State of Chhattisgarh

    Nandini Sundar

    Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Professor of Political Science, Delhi University and I have just returned (January 1st) from a visit to the police state of Chhattisgarh. Ujjwal had gone for research and I had gone for a combination of research and verification purposes to assess the livelihood situation of villagers for our case before the Supreme Court, both entirely legitimate activities.

    In Dantewada, we had checked into Hotel Madhuban on the 29th of December around 2 pm without any problems, only to be told later that night that the management required the entire hotel to be instantly emptied out because they were doing some puja to mark the death anniversary of the hotel owner. We refused to leave at night, and were told we would have to leave at 6 am instead because the rooms had to be cleaned. As expected, other guests checked in the next morning, puja notwithstanding.

    At Sukma, we were detained by the police and SPOs at the entrance to the town from about 7.30 till 10 pm, with no explanation for why they had stopped us, and no questions as to why we were there or what our plans were. We were denied lodging – all the hotel owners had been told to claim they were full and refuse us rooms, and the forest and PWD departments had been advised not to make their guesthouses available, since ‘Naxalites’ were coming to stay.

    Indeed, the police told us that these days Naxalites had become so confident that they roamed around in jeeps on the highways. Since everything was mysteriously full in a small town like Sukma, the police advised us to leave that very night for Jagdalpur, some 100 km away. We decided instead to spend the night in the jeep, since we did not want to jeopardize friends by staying in their homes. Later, we contacted friends and they arranged for us to stay in the college boys hostel, since students were away on vacation.

    At midnight on the 30th, 6-7 armed SPOs burst into our room at the college hostel, guns cocked, and then spent the night patrolling the grounds. Evidently, the SPOs have seen many films and know precisely how to achieve dramatic effect. They were also trying to open our jeep, presumably to plant something. The next morning we were followed by seven armed SPOs with AK 47s from Sukma in an unmarked white car, and this was replaced at Tongpal by twelve SPOs, in two jeeps.

    None of them had any name plates. Given that we could have had no normal conversation with anyone, we decided to do all the things one normally postpones. In twenty years of visiting Bastar, for example, I have never seen the Kutumbsar caves. Everywhere we went, including the haat at Tongpal, the Tirathgarh waterfall and the Kutumbsar caves, as well as shops in Jagdalpur, the SPOs followed us, one pace behind, with their guns poised at the ready. Two women SPOs had been deputed specially for me. The SPOs also intimidated our jeep drivers by taking photos of them and the vehicle.

    DGP Vishwaranjan claimed on the phone that it was for our ‘protection’ that we were given this treatment since there was news of Naxalite troop movement, and has gone on to say (Indian Express, 3rd Jan), “anything can happen. Maoists can attack the activists to put the blame on the police. We will deploy a few companies of security forces for the security of the activists.”

    Clearly all the other tourists in Tirathgarh and Kutumbsar were under no threat from the Maoists – only we, who have been repeatedly accused of being Naxalite supporters, were likely targets. As for the police ensuring that we got no accommodation and trying to send us from Sukma to Jagdalpur in the middle of the night, such pure concern for our welfare is touching. The SP of Dantewada, Amaresh Misra, was somewhat more honest when he said he had instructions from above to ‘escort’ out ‘visiting dignitaries.’ The Additional SP shouted at us to be more ‘constructive’ – not surprisingly, though, with 12 swaggering SPOs snapping at one’s heels, one is not always at one’s constructive best. The next time, I promise to try.

    The SPOs in their jeeps followed us some way from Jagdalpur to Raipur, even when we were on the bus. In addition, two armed constables and an SI were sent on the bus to ensure we got to Raipur. We overheard the SI telling the armed constables to “take us down at Dhamtari” but fortunately this plan was abandoned. Poor man, he narrowly missed getting a medal for bravery, and as the good DGP tells the readers of the Indian Express, it would have been passed off as an attack by Naxalites. On reaching Raipur, the SI was confused. Shouting loudly and forgetting himself, as bad cell connections are wont to make us all do, he said “The IG and SP had told me to follow them, but now what do I do with them.”? The voice on the other end told him to go home. We flew out of Raipur the next morning. In real terms, this was a rather pointless exercise for the CG govt, since we were scheduled to come home the following day anyway. But symbolically, it allowed the SPOs to gloat that they had driven us out.

    The CG government obviously wants to ensure that no news on their offensive or even on the everyday trauma of villagers reaches outside. Many villages have been depopulated in the south, both due to the immense fear created by Op. Green Hunt and the failure of the monsoons this year. All the young people are migrating to AP for coolie work. There are sporadic encounters – the day we were in Dantewada (29.12.09), two ‘Naxalites’ were killed in the jungles of Vechapal and three arrested. A week before seven people had been killed in Gumiapal. Who is getting killed and how is anyone’s guess. The Maoists are blockading roads with trees and trenches, and killing ‘informers’. There is compete terror, fear and hunger throughout the district.

    While the CG govt is busy providing us ‘protection’, it has refused to restored the armed guard that was taken away from CPI leader Manish Kunjam. He has had credible reports that his life is under threat, because of his opposition both to multinationals like Tata and Essar and to the Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt, and his independent stance against both state and Maoist violence. Despite Raman Singh assuring the CPI leaders that this would be done, the DGP has refused to act.

    It is also remarkable that a government which can waste so many armed SPOs for an entire day and night on two people who do nothing more dangerous than teach and write, has been unable to catch the SPOs who are responsible for raping six young women. Despite the trial court finding the SPOs and Salwa Judum leaders prima facie guilty of rape and issuing a standing arrest warrant on 30.10.2009, even two months later, they are ‘absconding’. Some of them even give public speeches, but they are invisible to the police.

    In the meantime, when Himanshu reported that the rape victims were kept for 3-4 days in Dornapal thana and generally terrorized, the Chief Secretary’s response was to accuse him of running an ‘ugly motivated campaign.’ All good men these, good fathers, good husbands, good citizens. So was DGP Rathore and all the honourable men who defended him, promoted him and awarded him despite what he did to Ruchika. Unfortunately for these adivasi girls, they are not even middle class.

    Bastar can no more get rid of me than I can get rid of Bastar. In 1992, because I attended meetings to observe the protests by the villagers of Maolibhata against the steel plant that was proposed to be sited there, the government denied me access to the local archives. But it was the government which then fell, and my book on Bastar, Subalterns and Sovereigns, was published by 1997. In 2005, they stopped us as part of the PUDR-PUCL fact-finding on Salwa Judum; in 2006, as part of the Independent Citizens Initiative, we were stopped and searched in Bhairamgarh thana by out-of-control SPOs, and one of us was nearly lynched inside the station, while the thanedar was too drunk to read the letter we carried from the Chief Secretary.

    In 2007-8, the then SP, Rahul Sharma, fabricated photos of me with my arms around armed Maoist women and showed them to visiting journalists and others to try and discredit my independence. He later claimed, when challenged, that the photos were of one “Ms. Jeet’ and it was he who had verified the truth. In 2009, we narrowly escaped a mob of around 300 Salwa Judum leaders, police and SPOs, who, however, took away mobile phones, a camera charger and vehicle registration documents from the jeep we had parked there. The police refused to register our complaint and detained us for questioning for a few hours, even though we had got the consent of the District Collector and the Mirtur CRPF contingent to visit Vechhapal.

    For anthropologists, our professional life is difficult to separate from our personal – our research depends on developing deep friendships with the people we ‘study’. In the twenty years that I have been visiting Bastar off and on, I have acquired a range of friends, acquaintances and people who are like family members, whose concerns are my concerns. This does not in any way diminish one’s commitment to independence and objectivity. As Kathleen Gough said in the 1970s, when the American Anthropological Association was debating whether to pass a resolution against the war in Vietnam, ‘genocide is not in the professional interests of anthropology.’

    Nandini Sundar is Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University, and Co-editor, Contributions to Indian Sociology. She has previously worked at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi and the University of Edinburgh. This article has been received through the Human Rights Movement group.

    (This article was published on South Asian Citizens Web on January 4, 2010.)

     

  • Chhattisgarh Police Intensify Intimidation before Public Hearing

    Police Intimidation of Adivasi Witnesses, Journalists, Students and Social Workers Ahead of Public Hearing in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh

    One day before the Jan Sunwai (public hearing) planned for 6th and 7th Jan to bring out Adivasis’ concerns in Dantewada, Chattisgarh, the police has unleashed a campaign to intimidate and silence key Adivasi witnesses as well as visiting journalists, students and activists.

    Even as eminent Gandhian Himanshu Kumar of Vanavasi Chetana Ashram (VCA) broke his fast on the 10th day, the Ashram was surrounded by armed police and Special Police Officers (SPOs).  Journalists Satyen Bordoloi and Priyanka Borpujari from Mumbai, Suresh Deepala, law student and AID volunteer from Hyderabad, and Nishtha, a visiting student from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, were forcibly prevented from leaving, placing them under virtual house arrest for a few hours. They were assaulted and their cameras taken away. After public pressure forced the administration to let them free, they were then detained again at the police station on false charges of assaulting journalists. They have been released now and are back at VCA.

    About 25 to 30 Adivasi villagers who had come to VCA for the Jan Sunwai have been taken away by the police to an unknown location on 5th January. Even as eminent social activists, journalists and concerned citizens, including Medha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey, are reaching Dantewada on 6th January for the Jan Sunwai, the administration has adopted increasingly repressive and violent tactics to prevent or scuttle the Jan Sunwai and cover up the excesses going on for the past two years.

    Sodi Sambo, a 28 year old Adivasi woman from village Gompad was shot in her leg on 1st Oct, 2009 by the security forces. She is an important witness in the 1st Oct incident in which 9 Adivasis, including an 8-year old girl, were killed by the security forces. She is one of the petitioners of Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 103 of 2009 in the Supreme Court. She was stopped by the police on 3rd Jan, 2010, as she was on her way to Delhi in very ill health for the treatment of her wounded leg and malaria. She is being held in isolation in the Jagdalpur Hospital where neither journalists nor social workers can meet her. Further, the hospital cannot offer the treatment she needs.

    Intimidation and harassment of VCA volunteers has been going on for over a year in spite of the fact that Himanshu Kumar and VCA have consistently opposed Maoist violence. Volunteer Kopa Kunjam was arrested on false charges on 10th Dec, 2009 along with a lawyer from Human Rights Law Network. Although the lawyer has been released, Kopa continues to be in custody where, according to him, he was tortured by being hung upside down and beaten severely. He has been threatened several times to not work with VCA. At the behest of the police and the administration, the landlord of Himanshu asked him to vacate his house despite having signed an agreement for a year. Nandini Sundar, a Professor of Anthropology in Delhi, was refused a room in all the hotels in Dantewada and her car driver threatened, eventually compelling her to abandon her visit.

    We demand that the rights of civilians in the region be restored, the media have free access to the region and report on the goings on, and the civil society be allowed in the region for the Jan Sunwai. We urgently request NHRC, various human rights group and the Home Minister P Chidambaram and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister to ensure the safety of Sodi Sambo, Kopa Kunjam, Himanshu Kumar, the Adivasis of Dantewada, and all the visiting journalists, students, social workers and human rights activists. We demand an end to the abuse of power by the state in Chhattsigarh and by the Operation Green Hunt through out India and demand that the Centre and State be held accountable for every life that has been lost so far.

    (This article was published on Forum Against War, Punjab on January 8, 2010.)

     

  • Channel 4 Report--Indian Winter: Maoist Rebels in Chhattisgarh

    Nick Paton Walsh, Channel 4 News

    A series of murders, looting, and rapes by a government-backed militia have targeted impoverished tribal people in some of India's most mineral-rich areas, according to witnesses and testimony gathered by Channel 4 News as part of a month-long investigation.

    For video clips that accompany this article please see: 
    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/asia_pacific/indian+winter+maoist+rebels+in+chhattisgarh/3514042

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  • Orissa Tribals Protest Road Work for Tata Steel Plant in Kalinga Nagar

    JAJPUR: The police fired rubber bullets in the air to disperse the tribals, protesting against the construction of a new road in Kalinga Nagar industrial complex area in Jajpur district on Tuesday. Two persons have been detained by the police for interrogation. The trouble began when about 500 tribals, including women and children, in traditional attire and weapons, gathered at Baligotha under Kalinga Nagar police station limits to prevent resumption of the common corridor road, stalled since January 16 following their protest.

    The protesters, mostly supporters of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Manch (VVJM), pelted stones and mounted arrow attack on policemen deployed in the area, prompting the cops to fire rubber bullets in the air. Six tribals sustained minor injuries following a brief clash with the police.

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  • The State's Pretext to Impose Brutal Repression

    The Government's "Offensive" is a Formula for Bloodshed and Injustice

    The Campaign for Survival and Dignity, a national platform of adivasi and forest dwellers' mass organisations from ten States, unequivocally condemns the reported plans for a military "offensive" by the government in the country's major forest and tribal areas.

    This offensive, ostensibly targeted against the CPI (Maoist), is a smoke screen for an assault against the people, especially adivasis, aimed at suppressing all dissent, all resistance and engineering the takeover of their resources.

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  • Operation Green Hunt Intensifies in Chhattisgarh

    Raipur: As the central paramilitary forces launched their ground offensive against the Maoists in two districts bordering Maharashtra, the Chhattisgarh Police are also stepping up their own campaign - Operation Green Hunt - in other areas in order to mount pressure on the rebels in the state.

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  • What Has Driven the Tribals of Central India to Political Extremism?

    B K Roy Burman

    According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, 125 districts spread over nine States in Central India and adjoining areas have come under the influence of Left radical groups, loosely called Naxalites. On June 22, 2009, the Government of India has declared the most important among the Naxalite groups, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), as a terrorist organisation and banned it.

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  • Lumpen Polity and the Silence that Breeds Criminals

    Anand Teltumbde

    The following three incidents reflect the utter lumpenisation of the polity in India today: (1) the manhandling of Abu Asim Azmi, the Samajwadi Party MLA in the Maharashtra assembly by the newly elected MLAs of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena while taking the oath in Hindi in defiance of the diktat of their leader; (2) the unearthing of the mind-boggling loot by Madhu Koda, the ex-chief minister of Jharkhand, a relatively minor politician belonging to a scheduled tribe, who could so diligently execute such a huge loot in such a short time; and (3) the grant of parole by the Delhi government to the infamous prisoner Manu Sharma, the killer of Jessica Lall, on the ground of ill health of his mother, and for running his business. And yet, these incidents are taken as normal occurrences in this country.  Three recent incidents once again reminded us of the depth to which the Indian polity has descended, simultaneously highlighting the cynical quietude of the people insofar as there has not been any commensurate voice of public disapproval.

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  • The After Kill of Narayanpatna

    The bloodshed may have halted, but violence, fear and the possibility of starvation still haunt. SANJANA of Tehelka reports in December 2009 from the remote Orissa town where police killed two Adivasis last month.

    THE VOICE at the other end of the line is weak and tired. It's past 8 pm. "We are on our way to the village," he says. "We walk six hours every day - three hours at daybreak from our village into the forest and three hours at sundown back to the village. We hide in the jungles during the day and come to the village at night. We don't want to be arrested by the police who come to our villages during the day," says the 24-yearold. A few minutes of conversation later, he asks if his name and village can be kept anonymous. "If the police read the report, they may come to our village and hunt us down," he says. Nothing you say can dislodge the fear.

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  • India Drives Tribals Into Maoist Arms

    Sudha Ramachandran

    KORAPUT, Orissa - Six weeks after police action in Narayanpatna in Koraput district in the eastern state of Orissa left two tribals dead and scores of others injured, tension here shows no signs of abating. Arbitrary arrests of tribals continue with about 109, including at least 12 children, thrown in jail so far on charges that include criminal conspiracy, rioting, sedition and waging war against the state - and police and paramilitary forces have stepped up operations to hunt down activists of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), a tribal rights organization active in the area.

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  • The Current Political Struggle in India

    The dangers are great, the possibilities immense

    Saroj Giri

    "What made Spence dangerous to the bourgeoisie was not that he was a proletarian nor that he had ideas opposed to private property but that he was both."- Peter Linebaugh [2]

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  • Possibilities of Civil Society Reaction to Chidambaram

    Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri

    The Government of India is declaring a war, under the generalship of Chidambaram, on the population of what it describes as Maoist-infested areas, a population comprising the poorest of the poor of this unfortunate country. The stated target of Chidambaram's adventure is the Maoists, but apart from sporadic exchange of fire with these elusive guerrillas, the main thrust of the state will be oppression, torture, mass arrests, rape and murder let loose on the general population most of whom cannot tell butt from muzzle of an AK 47.

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  • Response to Proposal of the Citizens Initiative for Peace

    Nandita Haksar

    I have read the Resolution (entitled "Stop Offensive, Hold Unconditional Dialogue" in Mainstream) made by the Citizens Initiative for Peace very carefully and I would like to raise some questions about the list of six demands that have been formulated in the light of the discussion and debates around the question of the Indian State's decision to deal with the "Naxalite problem" with brute military force.

    The Resolution has put forward six "simple yet urgent demands". The demands are addressed to both the Central Government and the Maoists because it calls upon both parties to stop the "offensive" and the "hostilities", and start a dialogue. However, the Resolution states that the Government should take the initiative.

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  • The Developmental Terrorism of the Indian State

    A document prepared by Sanhati Collective

    It has been widely reported in the press that the Indian government is planning an unprecedented military offensive against alleged Maoist rebels, using paramilitary and counter-insurgency forces, possibly the Indian Armed Forces and even the Indian Air Force. This military operation is going to be carried out in the forested and semi-forested rural areas of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand,West Bengal and Maharashtra, populated mainly by the tribal (indigenous) people of India. Reportedly, the offensive has been planned in consultation with US counter-insurgency agencies.

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  • Press Statement on December 17 Protest in Delhi

    The Forum Against War on People organised the "Rally Against War on People", to protest against the brutal military offensive of the Indian state on the tribal people of central and eastern India through the Operation Green Hunt where in lakhs of the paramilitary-military as well as various vigilante gangs such as the Salwa Judum, Nagrik Suraksha Samiti, Sendra, Tritiya Prastuti Samiti, Harmad Vahini etc. has let loose on the people. All this is being done under the garb of bringing in development to these regions.

    And it is for any discernible eye to see that for the last 60 years there has been hardly any such intervention from the side of the state in some of the poorest regions of India. Why suddenly the government is concerned about development in these regions is nothing but to give away these resource rich regions to the multinational corporations and local monopolies through various MoUs that the various state governments have entered into with the former.

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  • Tribal Alienation in India's Central Forest Belt Has Caused the Maoist Resurgence

    A Million Mutinies Now

    Prem Shankar Jha

    '... Across a swathe of land 2,500 km long and 200 km deep, tribals face expulsion from their lands because state governments want to build dams, power stations, roads, and allow private companies to build steel, chemicals, automobile plants and aluminium smelters. ...'

    NOT LONG ago, at Lalgarh in West Bengal, the country witnessed the first fully televised confrontation between the Indian State and its subjects, in which the goal of the insurgents was not to create a separate state or country, but to capture the Indian State itself.

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  • Indian State Declares War against its Poorest

    Naxals: The Poorest People of India

    Mamoona Ali Kazmi

    The people in India's mineral heartland are tribals, who are the poorest of the poor, and the government's war against India's indigenous people is a frightening and unjust one says writer-activist Arundhati Roy. Recently, a newspaper advertisement published by the Indian government reads "Naxalites are nothing but cold-blooded criminals."

     

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  • Lohandiguda, Bastar: The Threat of a Desi East India Company?

    Krishnamurthy Ramasubbu

    Jagdalpur, Bastar district headquarters town in Chhattisgarh, looks like a ghost town. Large areas around the collector's office have been cordoned off. Around 50 tribals sit in a hall waiting for a public hearing of the environmental impact assessment report of Tata Steel's proposed Rs 10,000-crore greenfield steel project in the district's Lohandiguda block.

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  • The Maoists Might Derail Centre’s Hearts-and-Minds Track

    For five years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been describing the Maoists as the single largest threat to India's security. But it's only after P. Chidambaram became the Union home minister that the government got down to dealing with how to restore the writ of the state in that swathe of the country known as the Red Corridor.

    Clearly, there are no easy solutions. So even as plans to upgrade the anti-Maoist operations are being formulated, the debate within the government on how much force should be used and by whom (there is the fear of collateral damage and its political consequences) remains unresolved.

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  • Orissa Tribals Take to the Streets against Police Atrocities

     

    BHUBANESWAR: Amidst unprecedented security arrangements, hundreds of tribals gathered in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to warn the state government that it must be ready to face consequences unless it changes policies. Tribals took out a huge rally on Tuesday at Bhubaneswar demanding amendment in land reforms Act and check in mining lease on forest lands.

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  • Orissa Adivasis Warn Government about Repressing Democratic Movements

    Bhubaneswar: Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh and 14 other organisations today warned the government against repressing democratic movements, while staging a demonstration near the Assembly amid massive police deployment.

    "The sangh and other mass organisations have been fighting for their rights over land, water and forest and against plunder of natural resources by multinationals. But, the state has been trying to crush the movements and thus protect the interest of MNCs," said sangh leader Gananath Patra.

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  • Maoist Guerrillas and Tribal Rebels Threaten India's Industrial Boom

    Plans to develop the mineral wealth of the country could be derailed by Naxalites

    When Tata Steel began building the country's third-biggest steel mill in a plot of the 5,000-hectare (13,000 acre) Kalinganagar industrial area in the dust bowl of eastern India this year, executives thought they would be welcomed.

    After all, they reasoned, the company, with revenues of more than £3bn, was bringing development and jobs to one of India's poorest places. However, by the end of the day, the bulldozers had not moved an inch and 12 people lay dead after what appeared to be a pitched battle between locals, armed with axes and spades, and police who carried guns and tear gas.

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  • Join the Campaign to Bring Peace to Bastar

    Chhattisgarh government should stop treating Adivasi people as its enemy and let them return to their villages!

    The Government of Chhattisgarh admits that since the start of Salwa Judum (SJ) in the year 2005, 644 villages of district Dantewada, whose overwhelmingly adivasi population is about 3.5 lakhs, have been emptied out.  Our common sense understanding that enmasse displacement on this scale could only have been made possible by extreme violence, is vindicated by the horrifying incidents of arson, loot, murder, rape, and widespread arrests by the SJ and security forces that have continuously been coming to light, and which can no longer be ignored.

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  • The Maoist "Problem" and the Democratic Left in India

    Saroj Giri

    One key paradigmatic subtext of Naomi Klein's argument that runs in her The Shock Doctrine (London: Penguin, 2008) is how the supposed undemocratic, violent character of "totalitarian" Marxist movements serve to justify repressive measures by the neo-liberal state. In inviting such a repressive response from the state, "undemocratic" revolutionary left movements are presented as causing the erosion of democratic spaces and the right to dissent. But what if upholding so-called democratic spaces by shunning the undemocratic, revolutionary left is premised on blocking off emerging possibilities of radical transformation, thereby ideologically legitimising capitalist democracy?

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  • Please Sign! Petition against India’s Military Offensive in Adivasi-Populated Regions

    Sanhati, a collective of activists/academics who have been working in solidarity with peoples' movements in India by providing information and analysis, took the initiative to bring together voices from around the world against the Government of India's planned military offensive in central India. A statement and a background note were drafted in consultation with Indian activists, and duly circulated for endorsement.  Readers are encouraged to endorse by mailing sanhatikolkata@sanhati.com with full name and affiliation. Included below are the domestic and international signatories as of November 12, 2009 and a Background Note.

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  • Appeal: State Wants to Destroy the Alternative Model of Development

    Appeal to Thinkers, Intellectuals, Artistes and Writers

    Forum Against War on People (Punjab)

     

    The Indian state has amassed troops in central India on an unprecedented scale, to swoop down on the people. It is the latest of the wars launched by the Indian State against the people living in this country. The government says that it has to move against these areas as Maoists hold sway over it and it is not under the control of central or state authority.

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  • Arundhati Roy: The Heart of India is Under Attack

    By Arundhati Roy - 31 October, 2009, Guardian.co.uk

    The low, flat-topped hills of south Orissa have been home to the Dongria Kondh long before there was a country called India or a state called Orissa. The hills watched over the Kondh. The Kondh watched over the hills and worshipped them as living deities.

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