Note: This is an old booklet published by CPI Maoist on Salwa judam.We repost it for archive.
SALWA JUDUM A 'NEW FRONT' OF 'HIDDEN WAR' THE INSIDE STORYAs we go to the Press
Anand Bazaar Patrika (Suprakash Chakravarti) has reported on 24th November 2006 that, "An Empowered Group of Central Ministers has been constituted at the top most level to keep a strict watch for the suppression of Naxalites. This indicates that the other high level committees constituted so far are not being considered sufficient to
deal with the situation. This group formed with the special sanction of the Prime Minister consists of 7 Central Ministers including Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, and Ministers for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Forests & Environment, Tribal Affairs and Law and Justice.
The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia shall be a permanent invitee. The group shall include the Chief Ministers of Naxalaffected states – West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Clearance has been obtained for co-opting Chief Ministers of other states and other Central Ministers if necessary. The agenda for the group, as laid down by the Cabinet
Secretary, is to enhance more meaningful and effective co-ordination between the Centre and States, recommend exchange of officials (security), and to carry out a thorough-going analysis of the Naxalite problem including political, security and socio-economic aspects." ome well meaning intellectuals are urging that the revolutionaries should engage in talks with the government.
In this situation when, it is clear that the State is gearing up for more and more brutal assault - not only through military escalation, vigilante groups and informer networks against the revolutionaries, but also through increased repression on the vast masses of the people; when the government is refusing to negotiate with agitating peasants, displaced adivasis, striking workers; when they are not prepared to permit even the revolutionary womens organization Mahila Mukti Manch to observe 8th March at Ambikapur (district Sarguja, Chhattisgarh). Where is the question of holding talks? We earnestly appeal to the intellectuals to consider this question deeply.
Chhattisgarh State Committee
A NOTE TO THE READERS
This booklet is not a theoretical work. It is an attempt to compile lively factual detail from the ground, from the so-called mainstream media and journals, reputed researchers and experts and most of all from the enemy itself about what is happening in Bastar today, and its relation with the world situation. We have minimized references to party documents because we are confident that an honest analysis of the facts, a "joining of the dots" can only give a picture that vindicates our party's understanding.
In the appendix, we have included two replies from our central leadership which answer some serious questions that are raised by many intellectuals . Though, these two are independent publications, these deal with some of the central issues on the subject matter of this booklet. So, we have provided these here so that much of the imprtant related matter is available to the readers in one place.
Today there is an unprecedented hatred among the broad masses of people all over the world against imperialism, manifested as the American Empire, bringing hunger, devastation, and war in its wake. There is also growing resistance exemplified by Iraq. No doubt the revolutionary forces are relatively weak in the face of this challenge, and after the capitalist restoration in USSR and China, revisionism poses the gravest threat ideologically. Yet Comrade Mao has taught us that even a small force, which has grasped the ideological line firmly and which is deeply integrated with the masses
in its revolutionary practice, can prove to be the spark that starts the prairie fire. At this juncture our party, the CPI (Maoist), having supreme confidence in the struggling people, is giving a determined fight ideologically against revisionism, politically against imperialism and its lackeys, and militarily against the armed forces of the Indian State
in Dandakaranya, Jharkhand, Bihar, and all over India.
The people of India are struggling everywhere – usually spontaneously, limitedly. They are often cheated, most often betrayed and always brutally repressed. The purpose of this booklet is to bring to them the shining example of the people's war of resistance in
Bastar, where under the leadership of the party, the masses of adivasi people are bravely engaging at the very battlefront of the imperialist onslaught, to stop the loot of the country and the adivasi areas in particular, and to bring about a new society.
Finally, we dedicate this booklet to all the martyrs, from Bastar to Iraq, who are laying down their lives each day, to give death blows to the monstrous imperialist war machine.
30-11-2006. Chhattisgarh State Committee
Chapter 1 A Factual Description of Salwa Judum 13
Chapter 2 The Class Basis: Concrete role of 34
the Feudals, CBB & Imperialists
Chapter 3 LPG Onslaught: No less than a war 43
against the whole people
Chapter 4 The Mechanisms of Imperialist Rule: 67
Politico-Economic & Politico-Military
Chapter 5 The State sends out its invading 75
Chapter 6 The People's War of Resistance 85
in Bastar (Chhattisgarh) & Jharkhand
Appendix 1 Letter of the CPI (Maoist) to the ICI. 102
Appendix 2 Excerpts from the article "Maoists in India - 116
A Rejoinder", sent by the CPI (Maoist) to the
Economic & Political Weekly in reply to an
issue of the same name.
There remains a great confusion among the vast masses of India as to what exactly is happening in Bastar in the present war-like situation. The corporate controlled media has been functioning as the Goebbelsian propaganda arm of the Indian state. With utter
disregard for the devastation caused to lakhs of adivasis/tribals, or to the truth on the ground, the press hand-outs by combatant officials come out as news.
The well known agents of imperialists like Manmohan, Chidambaram, Montek and Raman Singh are running governments on the dictat of their imperialist masters. They have a political compulsion to hide from the masses of India, the real objective of this
massive deployment of forces - the blatant loot of rich mineral resources, not only of Bastar, but also of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa. The propaganda efforts are geared to hide this connection between imperialist loot and war on its own people.
But their imperialist masters have no such compulsion. The leading lights of their international media such as The Guardian, The Newyork Times, The Washington Post and The Economist are quite outspoken on what lies 'inside India's hidden war.'
It is under this title that the Guardian reports:
" Indian paramilitary forces have backed this militia known as Salwa-Judum (peace march) against Naxalites, turning the forest into a battlefield. Entire villages have been emptied as tribal communities flee from the burning, lootings and killings. The civil conflict has left more than 50,000 people camping under tarpaulin sheets without work or food along the roadsides of southern Chhattisgarh.
Campaigners say that the reason why the government has opened a new front in this battle lies beneath ...some of the country's richest reserves of iron ore, coal, limestone and bauxite." The Guardian has also noted that the 'extremists', about whom B. Muthuraman, M.D.Tata Steel is concerned so gravely after the gruesome Kalinga Nagar killings, "are now at the centre of a corporate debate over how to exploit resources in the mineral rich but poverty stricken tribal belt in India."
John Lancaster for The Washington Post was witness to determined opposition to imperialist loot, when he interviewed the Maoist spokesperson in heavily forested Bastar. He heard slogans like, " Stop corrupting Adivasi Culture to Make it Market Culture Under the Guise of Tourism" and a song that included the line "America and
Japan are big exploiters of this country."
The Economist also notes the same determined opposition based on a clear theoretical understanding, when it records the statement of Ganesh Ueike, secretary of the West Bastar Divisional Committee of CPI(Maoist), "He said his party was facing renewed suppression, because the resources of finance capitalism are facing sluggishness
in their development, and are looking for new routes such as mineral riches of this forest."
Another influential magazine of the imperialists, The Newyork Times observes that the Chhattisgarh government is negotiating about $1.8 billion in private investment, mostly in the mining industry, which the insurgents violently oppose. It also puts down frankly the Salwa Judum's aim of 'clearing the villages one by one to break the Maoist
web of support' and quotes its leader Mahendra Karma as saying " Unless you cut off the source of disease, the disease will remain, the source is the people, the villagers."
Jill McGiveri for the BBC and The Economist completely identfies herself with the present imperialist venture of promoting Salwa Judum gangs when she wistfully recalls that "during the Vietnam war the Mantagnard militias were among the bravest and most effective local anti-communist force, given the right leadership and support." Bearing this 'white man's burden', the U.S. administration is closely monitoring this battlefront. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Raman Singh visited U.S. and Canada in May 2005. There he was sufficiently 'energised' to carry out the genocidal operation against adivasis that started in the name of Salwa Judum in June 2005. In March 2006, a
senior U.S. official Michael Owen visited Raipur and met Raman Singh.
During his stay, he is reported to have stated that the Naxalite problem will have an adverse effect on investors. He also publicly offered assistance to 'tackle' this problem. Two U.S. officials William Inman and Kevin Green visited Raipur in May 2006. William Inman is supposed to be an expert of sorts with four years experience of dealing with the situation in Iraq. These U.S. officials also visited the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College, at Kanker (in Bastar, Chhattisgarh). It seems that the masters have taught their lessons well. Brigadier B.K. Ponwar, director, Warfare College, proudly states, "We taught them whatever the U.S. troops were learning in Iraq." (TOI, Oct.4,2006)
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of Chhattisgarh - B.K.S. Ray, met these U.S. officials on May 23, 2006 and shamelessly sought U.S. assistance to curb Naxalism. The U.S. government has already put the Maoists of India in its list of terrorist organizations.
Prominent Indian journalist Praful Bidwai has noted that an attempt is underway to break up tribal communities into the equivalent of the 'strategic hamlets' which the U.S. created in Vietnam.
The Economist also calls the displacement of thousands of tribals in Bastar a 'scorched village' policy to starve the Maoists of local support. It is pertinent that in 2002, U.S. had sent its forces to Colombia to lead a military campaign against the leftist peoples' army FARC. The same 'scorched earth policy' directed against the civilian population
was pursued there, as admitted by a former general of the U.S. - James Hill. General Richard B. Myers of the U.S. Air Force has been quoted , 'this policy must be mirrored around the world.' (Analytic Monthly Reveiw, September 2005)
In terms of its devastating consequences, the onslaught of the imperialists-comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie-local feudals combine in India in the name of LPG (liberalization, privatization and globalization) is no less than a war against its own people. According to govt. figures over one lakh peasants have committed suicide in the last ten years. Where the people refuse to die silently, inevitably the Indian State shows its true colours with the package of lathi, firing and jail. This has been the experience everywhere - whether it is the peasants of Rajasthan demanding water for irrigation; the adivasis of Kalinga Nagar, Kashipur, Lanjigarh, Koelkaro or the Narmada Bachao Andolan; the peasants of Singur in W. Bengal, the peasants in the proposed SEZ areas fighting against displacement; the workers in Gurgaon or Bhilai fighting for basic rights; the electricity workers of Chhattisgarh, Punjab and U.P. opposing privatisation; or the teachers employed as shiksha karmis.The onslaught is devastating and allsided.
As the magazine Business World (August 2006) has depicted on its cover page, the mineral rich states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa have indeed been turned into 'a battle ground' with Tata, Essar, Mittal, Vedanta, Jindal, Posco, Ambani signing up MOUs primarily to exploit the vast natural resources available in these three states, in a growth without employment model. Lakhs of peasants, mostly adivasis will be displaced if these plans succeed.
In the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh where the Maoists have succeeded in developing a guerilla zone/guerilla base; they have called for a halt to the export of rich iron ore to Japan from the Bailadila mines.They have also opposed the supply of our own iron-ore to the MNCs and the big compradors at dirt cheap price, while over 400 small industrialists of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand are charged many fold more. It is amply clear to everyone concerned, that it will not be smooth sailing for the imperialist big capital and the compradors of India when they attempt to exploit the rich mineral resources of Bastar, Chhattisgarh. For there, the people have already taken up the fight
against the loot of their land, under the leadership of the CPI (Maoist) and the PLGA.
Marxist-Leninist-Maoists oppose the ruthless exploitation of the globe, its natural resources and people, the overwhelming vast majority by minute minority imperialists with Marx's vision that, " From the standpoint of a higher economic form of society, private ownership of the globe by the single individuals will appear quite as absurd as private ownership of one man by another. Even a whole society, a nation, or even all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the globe. They are only its possessors, its usufructuaries, and, like boni patres familias, they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition." (Marx, Capital, Vol. III, 776)
It is amply clear that the government has opened up this 'new front' - the tribal genocide operation under the name of Salwa Judum - to crush the economic and political aspirations of the people of Bastar Chhattisgarh, and to perpetuate their kingdom of loot.
The tribals of Bastar are going through a horrifying time. More than 50 thousand have been forcibly uprooted from their villages and detained in the concentration camps, ironically called relief camps. Over 600 villages have been emptied in this manner. The other half of the population is being hunted for by the 'security forces'. More than
200 tribals have been killed by the state police, Naga 9th IR Batallion, the CRPF and the Salwa Judum goons. Many of them are women. More than 30 women have been gang-raped by these forces, many of them were killed subsequently. Over 2000 houses were burnt in more than 100 villages because these tribals were not wanting to join the
government sponsered Salwa Judum operation. Para-military forces Naga, Mizo, CRPF etc. that have been deployed at a massive scale, are behaving like invading, occupation armies. Killing of a Dornapal trader by Naga soldiers after a petty dispute over Rs. 15 on October 15, 2006 is only the latest of so many of such incidents.
The Indian State has started an all-out campaign to crush what it percieves as "the biggest threat to it since 'Independence' " - the menace of Maoism. Both the army and the air force are being involed in anti-Naxalite operations.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist), on the other hand, is leading the tribals of Bastar in a heroic resistance against the economic and military onslaught of the imperialists, the compradors and their feudal allies. About one and a half lakh tribals have organized themselves in the Maoist mass-organizations. Even the DGP of
Chhattisgarh, O.P. Rathore admits that this number is 45 to 50 thousand, which is a sigificant proportion of a thinly populated region such as Bastar. In the present round, the massive offensive of the state forces has been beaten back by the PLGA, militias and mass organisations keeping the politico-military initiative.
The occupation of Iraq by the U.S. army for control over crude oil and for world dominance, and the heroic resistance of the Iraqi people has attracted attention world over. So has the resistance of the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Afghanistan. The people have shown once again, that in the strategic sense, the imperialists are paper tigers.
The imperialist onslaught on the people of India - its 'hidden war'; its 'battle' against more than 8 crore people of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa for the exploitation of mineral riches, and its 'new front' against the people of Bastar in the form of operation Salwa Judum, is comparable to the situation in West Asia both in terms of the enormity
of human suffering and political significance.
It is with this seriousness that we request the readers to study the situation in Bastar.
* * *********
A Factual Description of Salwa Judum
The Origin of Salwa Judum is in the Police Headquarters.
To call it a spontaneous movement is a fascist lie.
To call it a spontaneous movement is a fascist lie.
An untitled video given to a fact finding team of the Independent Citizens' Initiative (which visited Dantewada between 17th-22nd May 2006), by Brigadier Ponwar of the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare College, Kanker, as a video made by the police, speaks clearly of 'Operation Salwa Judum' beginning as early as January 2005, when
the police launched overt and covert operations to mobilize villagers against the Maoists.
In the early phases of the campaign (from June 2005), the invitations to mobilize people for the Salwa Judum meetings, and press releases about them were issued in the name of one 'Sodi Deva' who was not traceable. Rather, on investigation by local journalists, these invitations and press releases turned out to be emanating from the
office of the Inspector General of Police in Jagdalpur.
Ian Welsh in a report "Writ of the State in India" comments aptly on an official document prepared by the Collector:
"An official Government document - The Work proposal for the 'People's Movement against Naxalites' drawn up by the Collector of Dantewara in 2005 - clearly spells out the modalities of the Salwa Judum's operation. The document mentions the need to give the movement prominent leadership, specifies how much funding is necessary and what tasks must be conducted by which department. For example, the police must identify friendly villages to know how many are with the police and how many are with the Naxalites, and create village defence committees. Chapter 4, paragraph 9 says that
informers will not trust government unless their information is immediately acted upon and Naxalites are shot and killed. The police should not wait for written complaints. Paragraph 10 notes that if innocents die in large operations , higher up authorities must
keep quiet. Unless Maoists are killed in large numbers people will have divided loyalties and, for this, police must be given targets.
The Collector also advocates controls on the media. All of this is uncannily being followed to plan....".
These facts conclusively prove that the stories repeated again and again in the media that Salwa Judum is a spontaneous movement of the adivasis which started in June 2005 from Kutru, is nothing but an elaborate propaganda-management.
The national English weekly Outlook observed on May 15, 2006 that, "The state is playing a violent game of forcibly arming the tribals against the Maoists" which has created a situation of "state-sponsored civil war launched by the state government, in which adivasis are being pitted against adivasis - cannon fodder for a failed administration." The News International observes on June 3, 2006 that, " The government in the Central state of Chhattisgarh is about to launch a massive military operation against Naxalites with a dozen paramilitary battalions under the so-called "Supercop" and former Punjab police chief KPS Gill. The operation has been called the "ultimate" or "knockout" punch. The CRPF will be assisted by special commandos
from Mizoram, trained in "counter-insurgency" operations by United States troops in a decade-old programme. Gill's strategy involves gathering reliable intelligence on the Maoists' hideouts, and hitting them hard "in a sudden and well-coordinated attack", giving them little time "to regroup and retaliate". The plan also entails evacuation of large numbers of people from forests."
It is all too well-known that the CPI(M) is very much party to the ruling classes' efforts to crush the Maoist movement in India. But this ruling class party is also having to describe the true character of Salwa Judum and condemn it. The following statement of the Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) issued on 20 June 2006 describes Salwa Judum as a
"The unfounded criticism made by the spokesperson of the BJP regarding the Left parties demand in the meeting of the UPA-Left coordination committee to withdraw Salwa Judum operation in Chattisgarh has only exposed the real intention of the BJP government in Chattisgarh. The Salwa Judum operation is a police action and not a people's movement as claimed by the BJP. It is resulting in ordinary tribals becoming victims of depredations of police as well as naxalites. The conditions in the camps set-up by the Chattisgarh government is so bad that tribals cannot live there. In contrast, the West Bengal experience under Left Front rule is noteworthy. The West
Bengal government, by introducing pro-people and pro-tribal measures, has been able to contain the activities of the extremists. Unless this loot of the tribals is stopped, no effective measures can be taken to contain the naxalite activities."
Forcible displacement and relocation The 'strategic hamlet' theory
That relocation of large tribal populations by the barbarian state forces is a strategy of their defense policy is now a well established fact. The erstwhile Inspector General of Police of Bastar range MW Ansari is on record stating that: "In order to curb the Naxalites it is necessary to have collectivization of rural residence". (It is a separate fact , that two lakh rupees looted from a Kaju trader of Jagdalpur was recovered from this officer's residence, after which he was transfered !
An ex. Secretary of the Government of India - EAS Sharma has written in a recent article: " Salwa Judum's overall aim is to relocate the Adivasis at any cost, from their villages to roadside relief camps."
The Newyork Times reports on April 13, 2006: "Last September the Salwa Judum, backed by the local police, swept through Kotrapal with a clear message: Move to the camps or face the Salwa Judum's wrath. "We finished off the village," said Ajay Singh, the Salwa Judum's leader in a nearby town Bhairamgarh. Then he clarified: "People were
excited. Of course they destroyed the houses." Salwa Judum leaders say they have waged their campaign with a singular goal in mind: to clear the villages, one by one, and break the Maoists' web of support. "Unless you cut off the source of disease, the disease will remain," is how the group's most prominent backer, an influential adivasi politician
named Mahendra Karma, put it. "The source is the people, the villagers." This leaves no room for doubt that Mahendra Karma and his right hand Ajay singh, and others like him are engaged in executing the work-plan issued from the office of the then IG MW Ansari. (It is thus only just, that Ajay Singh has since been wiped out for his heinous
crimes against the tribals.)
The Guardian has reported:
"While the soldiers say villagers come seeking refuge from the violence, the tribals tell a different story. They claim that the camps are, in reality, prisons.The guards in Bhairamgarh camp brought out captured Naxalite political agents, known as Sangam, for the Guardian to interview. Each told a story of state-backed terror. A mob of government supporters invaded their village backed by armed soldiers
who opened fire on "Naxalite houses". A battle ensued and the guerrillas, outgunned, fled. Once an area has been "cleansed", the homes of those used by leftwing guerrillas are destroyed and "I was a Sangam.
People were getting shot and homes burnt every day. I had no choice but to come here," said Buddram, who used to farm around Kotrapal. Clutching her baby to her chest, Jamli recounts how the Salva Judum militia kidnapped her and seven friends as they travelled to a market. "We were told we had to come to the police station. Once we reached there we were kept overnight and driven to this camp where we were told if you leave you will be killed," she said. "I was alone until my husband arrived a week later and he is trapped here too. We are not Naxalites. We have no homes, just these tents."
Relocation of the tribal population in the name of curbing militancy is not new to the Indian state. In 1994 the Government of Tripura had launched a village regrouping programme, in the North Tripura and the Dhalai districts. The state had relocated around 400 militancy affected tribal families along the Assam-Agartala National Highway and some other major roads before a stay order by the Supreme Court. In
carrying out such repressive measures, the track record of the CPM is no different from other ruling class parties including enforcement of the hated Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
In a write-up in the October 31, 2006 issue of the environmentalist magazine "Down to Earth", Maureen Nandini recalls: "India has witnessed in the past what happens when thouands of villagers are relocated to roadside camps without planning for their livelihood options. In 19 66 when Mizo National Front guerillas overran Aizawl, the government retaliated with massive counter-insurgency operations, as part of which they regrouped Mizo villages into virtual concentration camps in order to deny rebels hiding in the hills access to food and water. Tens of thousands of villagers were uprooted and dumped into these camps. Instead of quelling the rebellion, the move spurred more young Mizos to join the rebels.
What was worse, the counter-insurgency operations destroyed the structure of Mizo society, its symbiotic relationship with the land and contributed much to the alienation of Mizos from mainstream India. Similar strategies used in the Philipines and East Timor to quell rebellions had terrible effects."
The same is now being carried out at a much larger scale in South Bastar.
'The Economist' (17 August, 2006) observes: "Salwa Judum itself is also responsible for displacing people - a "scorched village" policy intended to starve the Maoists of local support. This recognises that the Naxalites' real strength lies not in their guerrillas in the jungle, with their peaked caps and "country-made" rifles, but in their civilian
networks in the villages themselves."
The well known journalist Praful Bidwai notes: " ..An attempt is also underway to break up tribal communities into the equivalent of strategic hamlets which the U.S. created in Vietnam. This model isn't as far-fetched as it might appear. Last fortnight, two U.S. Embassy officials met the Chhattisgarh chief secretary to offer 'assistance' in fighting Naxalites. Although the government hasn't accepted the offer, it's following the same approach to insurgencies that the US favours." The experience of U.S. direct military intervention in Colombia against the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito del Pueblo) or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
- Peoples' Army, also brings to the fore the same genocidal 'scorched earth' policy, directed not against the leftist rebels but mainly against the whole population which supports them. The Analytical Monthly Review (September 2005) has carried an article "The FARC-EP in Colombia: A Revolutionary Exception in an Age of Imperialist Expansion" wherein the plan of US imperialism to intervene all over the globe is illustrated well. Here are some excerpts:
"..... A direct offensive campaign of armed aggression against Colombia called Plan Patriota was started. Assaults have been carried out by conjoined US military and private combatants, leading over 20,000 Colombian soldiers in a scorched earth policy largely concentrated in the southern Colombian departments of Putumayo, Caqueta, Narino, and Meta.
In October 2002, reports were leaked indicating that US marines were on "orders to eliminate all high officials of FARC," " scattering those who escape to the remote corners of the Amazon." US Air Force General Richard B. Myers claimed that " we are winning" and that "the cooperation between the US and Colombia must be mirrored around the world."
Unnamed US officials are quoted as claiming that FARC has been significantly degraded and now there is no portion of the country where Colombian forces cannot go. In the past there were huge swathes of land that FARC dominated.
Despite the propaganda that Plan Patriota was aimed at fighting the FARC, what is really happenning is an attempt to " drain the sea." The target is the unarmed peasantry which is the real force of the rebel. James Hill - the former general of the US Southern Command, admitted that the reformulated campaign began with an attack on rural
areas where local peasant farmers support the FARC, not against the guerrilla army itself."
It is interesting to note that contrary to the high claims of the imperialists, the strength of the FARC people's army has grown inspite of, or say because of, the struggle against the open imperialist attacks. The combatant force of FARC was 18,000 in 1992, and 32,000 in 1994. It increased to 40,000 in 2002 and by 2004 it had gone upto 50,000.
The same phenomenon is being witnessed in Bastar, where even the Collector is having to admit that "after the initiation of Salwa Judum, there has been a spurt in the recruitment of the Maoists." Hundreds of villages have turned into fortresses with the adivasi people preferring to join the just resistance under the leadership of the Maoists rather than suffer subjugation in silence. Thousands have gone to the forests to swell the ranks of the PLGA and militias, and in fact a new "Koya Bhoomkal Militia" has been formed.
Initiation of Salwa Judum in June 2005
Kutru area from where Salwa Judum is supposed to have started lies in South-West Bastar , south of the river Indravati. The area north of the Indravati is the Maad area of 12000 sq. km which is the stronghold of the party and the security forces have not been able to enterthere for a long time. On the other hand, the area south of the river Indravati, is relatively weak, so far as the revolutionary organization is concerned. By 2003, repression here had increased with massivedeployment of CRPF.
On May 24, 2005 the PLGA carried out an ambush in Karremarka killing 5 CRPF jawans. The State retaliated by putting in action their cold-blooded work-plan of forcibly carrying the adivasis with them as human shields in their military operations. Immediately after the blast of Karremarka, a meeting was called in the village Usakipatanam on June 5, 2005 in which leaders of DAKMS of the area were also called and then treachorously handed over to the police. Next, in the leadership of Collector K.R. Pisda and Mahendra Karma, a meeting of about 3000 was held in Maatwada. About 1000 of this Salwa Judum crowd went and attacked village Kotrapal. Most of the members of this crowd were taken along forcibly and there were only a small number of hard-core elements. The villagers of Kotrapal had already become aware of this attack and they were ready to face it, only the youth had stayed back and the old and children were sent to the forest. Accordingly, the attacking crowd was resisted and had to make a hasty retreat. 12 members of the attacking Salwa Judum crowd were taken hostage and one was killed after being tried in a jan-adaalat.
After this incident, whatever has been carried out in the name of Salwa Judum campaign, has been an operation of the state armed forces with Salwa Judum as its vigilante wing.
This new mode of operation carried out by the security forces is aptly described in the words of the perpetrators themselves, as narrated to the All India Team of Human Rights Organisations which visited Dantewada between 28th November and 1st December 2005:. Laxman Kashyap , a local leader of Salwa Judum has described gleefully, "This is what happened in Bangapal, sir. On August 3, we had a meeting in Munder village. Villagers from Munder ran away to the hills. The Naga Batallion went to the hill, caught them and brought them back, and made them join the Salwa Judum. Those who were unwilling to join were arrested."
The Independent Citizens' Initiative report has reproduced the wireless message of the Former Superintendent of Police, Bijapur D.L. Manhar issuing instructions regarding Salwa Judum, which was recorded by the party and released to the press in August 2005 in Raipur. An extract of the English translation of the transcript is produced
0.13 The villages which have joined in Jagran (Salwa Judum) two lakh rupees have been sanctioned for them.
4 .25 Take care of that side. All officers and the forces should be distributed on all sides. And be on high alert. If any journalist comes to report on Naxalites -
kill them. Did you understand? Roger Sir.
8.11 Three encounters happened . Nine people died.
8.18 And all the grain storages have been burned by the Jan Jagaran people.
8.24 Today Kotrapal sangham members will surrender.
8.32 They are saying people are dying on the other side, no development is happening so they will surrender today.
8.43 The Jan Jagaran are telling the villagers very clearly, " you come with us the first time, or the second time. If you do not come the third time we will burn your village.
The same wireless message also includes:
……"Any party, any thana, can be asked for encirclement operation ..because when it happens, they run helter-skelter. It happened so now in Kotrapal. Nine are dead, others escaped. If a party had come from the other side, whole gang would have been dead. These are the things and nine who are dead, of the two they have reported in Jangla thana to the contrary saying that it was by Naxalites. Look at the trick and the intelligence of our inspectors
……..who has been killed in the encounter they are saying that he has been killed by the Naxalites so that there is propaganda in the people and they immediately get one lakh rupees each.…." (Deshbandhu August 2, 2006)
It is surprising that this portion of the wireless message showing blatant abetment of murder by SP Manhar has been omitted by the ICI report. This officer was subsequently transferred …... only to be attached to the State Human Rights Commission!
Atrocities by Salwa Judum: Murder,Rape, Arson and
Our party, the CPI(Maoist) has released lists of the adivasis killed, of the incidents of rape and sexual assault on women, and of the villages in which houses have been burnt. The party even released a video CD showing the brutalities perpetuated by the Salwa Judum and the para-military, which was delivered by hand to the residences of the MLAs in the capital city - Raipur.
If any of the law enforcing agencies had had an iota of intention to take action against these horrifying violations of human rights, there was more than enough information provided by the party to do so, but true to their class character they remained silent.
But a broad cross section of the 'mainstream media' and 'mainstream parties and organisations' have also reported that heinous atrocities have been committed on a wide scale in the name of Salwa Judum, and we are extracting from some of these reports below:
A fact finding team of the Communist Party of India reports the killing of Bere Santu of Eitu village and Sukhram of Palnar village by the CRPF. This report also describes the incidents of burning, loot and beating up by CRPF and the Salwa Judum combine in Murbedi, Kavad, Burji, Malur, Tamodi and Manjhimendri villages.
The news magazine Outlook of May 15,2006 reports:
" Marvinda and his family have just arrived from a refugee camp at Shevnar (to their village Irulipallan) about 10 km away, to inspect the old, burnt remains of their home before cooking and eating lunch. Later, they will trudge back to the camp, completing what has virtually become a daily ritual since October 2005 , when the administration
forced them to leave their village.
Marvinda says, " I don't want to leave. But the police beat me, tied my hands and hung me upside down from a tree. Then the Salwa Judum burnt our huts. They said if we didn't want to leave our villages, we must be Naxalites."
According to the author of this article, Smita Gupta, the Collector of Dantewada – K.R. Pisda said to her: "If you are not a Naxalite, you must join the Salwa Judum. There is no third choice." This statement reeks ominously of Bush and indeed "The air smells
of sulphur" in Dantewada.
The Independent Citizens' Initiative team has reported many such incidents-
" We met villagers from Cherli (Hariyal) now in Mirtur camp, who named ten people from their village who were killed in early September 2005, in what appears to have been cross-fire between the police and the Maoists. …………Villagers of Kondapal told us that one Vettri Joga had been killed in their village. These eleven names corroborated
the information on the Maoist list of civilians killed (including names and date of the incident) ……….. The pro-Maoist journal People's March (January, 2006) ... claims that 10 villagers of Cherli were killed in cold blood and buried while on their way to the forest.
The Hitvada newspaper, September 6, 2005 quotes the police saying that 10 armed Maoists were killed by the security forces in Operation Green Hunt." An All India Team of Womens Organizations which visited Dantwada district between 30th September to 2nd October 2006 reports in their press release:
"During our investigation we came across a number of incidents of unreported deaths. An elderly widow at the Baangapal camp described how her eldest son had been abducted by the police from the Geedam Bazaar and murdered in the Bodili Thana, she was not shown the body. An adivasi youth working with a voluntary organisation has seen two women who were shot dead by the Naga Batallion.
Several persons confirmed that three adivasi villagers harvesting grain had been shot dead and their bodies had been buried by the police near the Geedam thana. All these persons requested anonymity.
....Young SPOs bragged to us about their capacities to kill and murder and to capture women "Naxalites" alive, and were hoping to be rewarded with a promotion to the regular police force."
Independent Citizens' Initiative team also mentions the following among other incidents in its report: " We spoke to one Salwa Judum activist from Dubbatota village
who admitted to personally burning houses in Arlampalli and Palemadgu villages.
We were also told by Dornapal and Konta camp inmates of a number of burnings by the Salwa Judum and security forces in Gaganpalli, Asirguda, Arlampalli, Regadigatta, and Neelamadgu villages.
Village Arlampalli, which falls on the road from Dornapal to Jagargonda, was repeatedly referred to by camp inmates and by Sukma residents as a village which has been very badly affected. Out of the 162 houses in the village Arlampalli, reportedly all except two or three houses had been burnt. All the grain had been destroyed. The houses apparently smouldered for almost a month. The villagers are said to be camping in the jungle. One women from Phandiguda …… told us that she had heard that people had been burnt alive in their houses in Arlampalli by the Naga battalion and the Salwa Judum. ……… We personally met people from Pottenar village at Jangla relief camp whose houses had been burnt by the Salwa Judum. 90 families from Pottenar have
been forced to flee the villages."
These reports also describe the fate of those who attempted to resist joining the Salwa Judum or shifting to the camps: "A 25 year old Muria prisoner, Dabba Boomaiah, from village Bamanpur near Bhopalpattanam, said he was working as a labourer on a lift irrigation project, when some Boarder Roads men asked him the way to Bhopalpattanam police station. He escorted them and the police started quizzing him about Naxalite presence in his village. Then they asked him to join Salwa Judum. When he said he couldn't as he had a wife, two small kids and a widowed mother to support, they arrested him."
(An account of the violence perpetrated on women in the course of Salwa Judum is described separately in Chapter Six.)
The Salwa Judum camps are in reality prisons.
The conditions of the adivasi people in the so-called Salwa Judum relief camps, which are more like concentration camps for refugees, is also described in the Womens' Team report:
" ...Thousands of villagers who are in the camps have largely abandoned their homes, hearths, and fields. They have lost their entire livestock (cattle, pigs and hens etc.), stocks of grain and forest produce. No employment is being provided to them by the government and they are dependent on occassional employment in the surrounding villages at the rate of Rs. 20/- per day. From these uncertain earnings they can purchase a mere 2 paili(less than 5 kg) of rice per week per family from the PDS supplies..... Almost all children we saw at the Bangapal and Dornapal camps had typically distended bellies. Parents at Bangapal camp had sent their children of school going age to live in an ashram school several villages away, where they were provided
with a mid day meal, often their only meal in the day... In the large Dornapal camp the UNICEF had already identified nearly a hundred children as suffering from Grade 4 malnutrition.
.... Many women stated that they wanted to return to their villages ... Some villagers of Belnar and Munder have run away from the Bangapal camp and ever since the SPOs (Special Police Officers - an adhoc recruitment of local youth) are guarding the camp... Several camps on the Nelasnaar-Bedre road are now empty. For instance villagers of Karkeli admitted that SPOs of their village went several times to forcibly bring other villagers to the Karkeli camp but they have run away each time and now the camp is empty"
The cover story of 'Down to Earth'October 31, 2006 records similar
"Relief supplies have been slow to reach since the state was struggling to cope with other, worse affected regions in Dantewada and Bastar. In the meantime, the administration has sent instructions that weekly food supplies for children be halved at all camps. None of the SPOs have been paid since February, when the camp came into
being....says Ramlal Malkam, the local school principal, who's in charge of keeping a record of camp facilities , "The district collector assured us that salaries will be paid, but there is no sign of it yet. It's not good for the morale of the people." The same article quotes an adivasi resident of a camp: "Mandvi Bhima, a refugee at the Dornapal relief
camp, about 30 km south of Errabore, sums up the problem: We were suffering there, but we are suffering here also. To live on your land and farm is one thing, and its another to live here almost like prisoner." Using adivasis as a human shield.
Condemned by even those who do not support Maoists. Here we reproduce a fair amount of factual material brought out by the media and public figures who are known to have no sympathy with the Maoist cause, in fact many of them are known to be hostile towards it.
After a fact finding mission of the CPI(M) in April, 2006 Sanjay Parate a member of its state secretariat, has alleged that "the government is utilizing the Salwa Judum activists as political goons and most of the Salwa Judum camps in south-west Bastar are established near the police-stations so that these can serve as a shield at the time of attacks by the naxalites."
The ex-Central Minister and senior adivasi leader of the BJP - Arvind Netam has objected to the use of adivasis like a shield in the Naxalite eradication campaign. Mr. Netam said in a statement to the Hindi daily Haribhoomi on 19th July 2006 that, "Instead of waging a do-or-die battle with the Naxalites, the police is pushing the adivasis to the fore. .... From the kind of incidents that are happening, it does not seem that there is any value of the life of the adivasis."
When about one thousand adivasis led by the PLGA attacked the CRPF camp, police post and the SPO's at Errabore Salwa Judum camp and liberated hundreds of adivasi people, the fact of utilization of the adivasis as human shield became inescapable.
A CRPF official warns on the South Asian Defence and Intelligence website, "We only know that such attacks will happen in the future as well. What we can confidently say is that as long as Salwa Judum activists are present, these camps will be targeted". He
added that the attack on the Salwa Judum camp (Errabore) was one of the best-planned attacks in Chhattisgarh as over 1,000 Maoists had collectively attacked the camp.
The daily Haribhoomi has described, that after the incident, "...Voices cursing the Salwa Judum campaign were also seen to be getting louder. In the camp the villagers were repeatedly cursing Salwa Judum. They were saying that when the Government and Salwa Judum did not have solid arrangements for their security, then why were they
pushed to the front to die?……The absolute inaction of the police despite being only 50 metres away was inexplicable for them." Home-minister Netam, DGP Rathore and Mahendra Karma faced the wrath of tribals kept in the camps as captives.
"Shri Karma who reached the relief camp after the incident had to face the strong resentment of the adivasis. To Shri Karma, who was trying to cover the dead bodies with the burial cloth, the adivasis said you can leave this work to us, you should only look at the corpses. Looking to the anger of the adivasis, Shri Karma had to take refuge in
the nearby thana." (Dainik Bhaskar, 18 July 2006)
"The fury of the villagers broke out against the DGP after the Errabore Naxalite attack...When DGP Rathore was counseling the Salwa Judum supporters and villagers in the Konta base camp, some villagers climbed up on the stage and started shoving and pushing him. Seeing the situation getting aggravated, the DGP and local Salwa Judum activists had to leave the stage and run away." Navbharat, 20 July 2006
" Villagers vent rage at the Home Minister :- The local villagers vented their rage against the Home Minister of the State Ram Vichar Netam and the Minister in charge of Dantewada Kedar Kashyap, who had gone on behalf of the government to wipe the tears of the victims after the Naxalite incident at Errabore. The villagers held the government wholly responsible for the incident at Errabore." ( Haribhoomi, 19 July 2006)
In an unfortunate incident 14 traders and tribals were killed in a land mine blast by the people's militia. A police party had been using the targetted jeep and on the journey back they forcibly took the vehicle of the traders and put these traders on the jeep on which they had come. This had led to a serious mistake on the part of the party. After this incident, when the Home Minister Ramvichar Netam and DGP Rathore visited the site, the local people gheraoed them and forced them to come out with a statement that, in future, police parties would not be allowed to forcibly use private vehicles.
Recruiting mercenaries called SPOs
The latest strategy of the Chhattisgarh Government is to recruit young adivasi boys and girls as SPOs (Special Police Officers) at a pittance of a wage and with vague and remote promises of a regular job. Being neither accounted for nor accountable, the SPOs continue to be referred to as adivasis/ villagers/ civilians when attacked by the militia and the masses, while they actually act as official spies and hatchet men, doing the dirty work of the Salwa Judum and the paramilitary.
The manner in which the government is attempting to consolidate a division in the adivasi community is described in the Women's Team report:
"A large number of young girls, many of whom do not appear to be 18, have been recruited as SPOs. At Bangapal, several of the women SPOs were wearing skirts and blouses off duty ..... Our fear is that the government is making widespread use of child soldiers ......Our suspicion is also that the meagre Rs. 1500/- paid to the SPOs is the
only economic security that many families in the camps have. In Karkeli village an adivasi woman confirmed that these women SPOs are not allowed to leave the thana premises except for meals, they stay even during the nights. An anganwadi worker at Dornapal on condition of anonymity admitted that there were cases of prostitution in the camp, and it appears that at least 50 cases of termination of pregnancy of women SPOs had been reported at Bijapur.
All thanas we had the opportunity to observe - including at Nelasnaar, Bhairamgarh, Kutru and Karkeli had inside their heavily barbed wire boundaries, the brick barracks of the SPOs (of men and women) surrounding the main police/CRPF/SAF thana....Usually the SPO's lead 'gasht' (patrols) while the police follow. From Karkeli - a village of 60 households, 66 SPOs including 11 women have been recruited. Thus this village has been militarized for counter insurgency taking advantage of the dire situation of the adivasis. ...... in the same village there is not even one health worker..
.... We were also told that when women come from such villages (which have refused to move to the camps) to buy rations at the weekly haat they are chased away by the SPOs and paramilitary on the pretext that they are supplying rice to the Naxalites. Thus these villages are being starved. We personally witnessed the bullying and initimidating
behaviour of the SPOs and paramilitary in the Bodli Haat and the Bhairamgarh Bazaar."
People are rejecting Salwa Judum
In spite of the media management of the government, considerable protests have filtered out against the Salwa Judum, from a broad spectrum of organisations in Chhattisgarh, like the quasigovernmental Adivasi Vikas Parishad, local adivasi MLAs and Sarpanches, a section of the Congress led by former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, the Gondwana Gantantra Party, Jan Mukti Morcha, the parliamentary left parties, the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha and trade unions affiliated with it, the Chhattisgarh PUCL and various other human rights organisations from all over the country.
The Adivasi Mahasabha had made an application to the Collector for permission to hold a rally jointly with the CPI on 14th November, 2006 at Dantewada to oppose Salwa Judum and the land acquisitions being carried out at gunpoint for the Tata and Essar groups. The Collector Dantewada refused. The reason? The by-election due to be
held at Kota (Bilaspur) at a distance of more than 500 kilometres away! Even the Chief Justice of the State, who had recently dismissed writ petitions praying for quashing of MOUs with Tata and Essar, and about whom it is common knowledge that he solicits dalali arrangements with big corporate groups, could not digest this and he accordingly
directed the Collector to grant permission. What does the media have to say about this rally?
"It was the first time that people had seen such a big rally against Salwa Judum. The rally started at about 11.30 am and reached the High School Ground. Vehicular traffic came to a halt in the city for about two and a half hours... The villagers in the rally were shouting slogans to stop Salwa Judum and against Essar." (Dainik Bhaskar, 15 November 2006)
"More than 50,000 villagers came walking 150 to 200 kilometres to say that they do not want Salwa Judum... By participating in this huge rally which was taken out after permission was granted by the High Court, the villagers showed it was not possible to solve the Naxalite problem by Salwa Judum. The villagers also raised a lot of slogans
against Mahendra Karma and also opposed Tata and Essar in Bastar.... They had come by their own means over the past four days...
The district administration and top officials of intelligence agencies ,Collector, SP, CRPF commandant and other security agencies were keeping a close watch on the law and order situation ... According to knowledgable sources this rally was about one and a half times the rally which was held to demand inclusion of Bastar in the Sixth Schedule... Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma, sitting at Delhi was getting minute to minute information regarding the rally from his activists. It is pertinent that in this rally and meeting the villagers expressed greatest anger against Shri Karma." (Navbharat, 15
In the Madded-Bhopalpatnam area, despite all the efforts of Mahendra Karma and his Salwa Judum goons, the villagers have continuously refused to allow Salwa Judum to be initiated here. In fact a large number of villages had passed Gram Sabha resolutions to this effect. In the month of October 2006 a number of panchayat representatives (sarpanches, panches and janpad members) had taken a press conference in Raipur regarding Salwa Judum excesses and atrocities, and their opposition to this brutal operation. The Salwa Judum had attacked them at Bijapur when they were returning in a
jeep. On 14th November 2006 Mahendra Karma had announced that there would be a Salwa Judum rally at Bhopalpatnam. One or two newspapers even published his claim that 40,000 persons had gathered for this. But not a single photograph was published. In reality few hundred of Salwa Judum goons protected by police and paramilitary forces marched from Madded to Bhopalpatnam spreading terror in their wake. They molested a girl, daughter of the Patel of Gollaguda – a village about 2 km away from Bhopalpatnam, as she was going to serve food to her father in the fields. In the Bhopalpatnam High School Maidan they burnt the effigies of Mahendra Karma's
political opponents Ajit Jogi and Manish Kunjam who oppose Salwa Judum. They tried to force people to come up on stage to support Salwa Judum. Later behind the High School they called the Kotwars (village police officers) of several villages and beat them. Two Kotwars became unconscious. A journalist Mohammed Afzal was beaten on the hands resulting in a fracture. The mood of the villagers is going from terror to anger, they are resolving that if the Salwa Judum comes again they will fight them to the finish.
It is well known in Bastar that in the Usoor area about 5000 persons have shifted to the forest and in the leadership of the party are participating in the just and inevitable resistance against the Salwa Judum.
"Training the guns on the press"
The case of Kamlesh Paikra, the Bijapur correspondent with Hindsatt, a daily published from Jagdalpur, is typical of the situation of journalists in Bastar. Paikra's regular reporting on Maoist activities in Dantewada district drew attention of the police. In April 2005, D L Manhar, the Superintendent of Police hadsummoned him and demanded that he reveal his sources. But adhering to journalistic ethics,he refused to do so. The SP then warned Paikra of "dire consequences". Incidentally this is the same SP whose wireless message "If any journalist comes to report on Naxalites -kill them"
was recorded by our party and sent to the press.In September 2005, around 50 houses were burnt in Mankeli village, 15km from Bijapur by the Salwa Judum. Kamlesh Paikra's report on this incident published in the September 8th issue of Hindsatt generated wide concern, and resulted in a visit to Mankeli by a team of the CPI. When news of the atrocities in Mankeli began to filter out, Paikra's life was made miserable. The permit for his fair price shop, which Paikra ran to supplement his meagre income as a journalist, was cancelled. Even his movements were physically restricted, and Salwa Judum personnel prevented him from travelling outside Bijapur, especially to camps of
Following a human rights team's press release, the administration was further irked and a false case was lodged against Paikra's elder brother Tarkeshwar Singh, headmaster of a village school, who was arrested on 1 December on grounds of possessing Naxalite literature and uniforms. Singh was released on bail after two weeks, but the case is still pending. Kamlesh Paikra was forced to move along with his wife and parents to Dantewada town.
The 'Chattisgarh Shramjivi Patrakar Sangh' (Chattisgarh Working Journalists Union), petitioned the Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh and Governor Lt Gen KM Seth to provide security to enable Paikra to return to Bijapur. There has been no response to this petition, and his life continues to be at risk.
Another Bijapur based journalist Laxman Singh Kusram was threatened by police in January 2006 after reporting in a local publication that women had been beaten up by the CRPF jawans. Journalists Sanjay Reddy and Anwar Khan had reported rampant
corruption in the name of supplies to Salwa Judum camps. They showed that there were serious discrepancies between the official figures provided by the SDM (16,000) and Collector (29,000) of persons residing in the camps in their area. They were called to the police thana and beaten up by Salwa Judum goons while the police looked on. They were beaten so badly that they had to be hospitalized in Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh. Subsequently these journalists had sat on dharna at Jagdalpur.
Local Member of Parliament and BJP leader Baliram Kashyap created a sensation when he came out with a statement on September 1, 2006 threatening that journalists who glorify Maoists should be killed.(It is the same BJP MP who was involved in accepting bribe from Ajit Jogi and his son Amit.)
Christopher Warren, President of the International Federation of Journalists has stated, "Intimidation of journalists and preventing them from carrying out their profession is unacceptable under any circumstances, but when reporting on conflict, journalists are already in a precarious position between combatant parties. Only when they are allowed to report independently and without fear, can a genuine democracy be said to be in place...Under no circumstances has gagging the media and silencing journalists furthered the objective of tackling armed conflict. "
Newswatch India reports: "Naxalite activities are making the Chhattisgarh government see red everywhere. Pushed on the backfoot over increased Maoist violence in the state, the government has decided one of the ways to control ultra-Left insurgency is by training its guns on the press. The State Assembly has passed a controversial Bill,
barring the media from carrying reports of any kind of 'unlawful activities' (read Naxal/Maoist violence) in the state."
"Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act"--the blackest law
This Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) has been called even more draconian than TADA and POTA by various human rights organisations. The definition of unlawful activities encompasses every sort of dissent. And any assistance, even unintentional, to an organisation declared unlawful, is punishable with long periods of
imprisonment without any provision for bail or appeal. Not only our party - the CPI (Maoist), but even the mass organisations - DAKMS, KAMS, KABS, Krantikari Kisan Committee and Mahila Mukti Manch have been banned under this Act. For which public? For whose security?
Clearly the State was planning to target broad masses of the adivasi people with this black law but the widespread protest against this Act has proved a check. The Chhattisgarh PUCL and other human rights organisations from all over the country held a candlelight procession on the night of 24th June 2006 and a well attended protest rally on 25th June in the State capital Raipur demanding the scrapping of this Act. Over one thousand industrial workers of the Ultratech Cement Factory of Birla unionized by the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha went on a strike on 24th June 2006 protesting against the CSPS Act. On 1st May a bandh was held all over Dandakaranya against this black law.
Timely attacks on the ringleaders of Salwa Judum has nipped this bloody operation in the bud in other areas.
The efforts of the Chhattisgarh government to replicate the Salwa Judum in other areas has been determinedly fought back. Marshal Bada was a potential leader for such a vigilante gang in the Sarguja region. This feudal bloodsucker had been grabbing the
lands of poor Pahadi Korba adivasis and in fact according to a statement made to the daily Haribhoomi dated 7th February 2006 by his son Ashok, he had been forced to return these lands back in 2004 "out of fear of Naxalite threats". With the backing of the police, Marshal Bada had been gathering adivasis in the name of sports events with a
view to organize Salwa Judum. He was annihilated in a daring ambush by the PLGA and militia in Tendupara, Thana Batauli on 6 February 2006.
Similarly the present Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam, a resident of Sanawal, district Sarguja, was attempting to organize the feudal dalals to unleash Salwa Judum in his area. In Jajawal, a fraud was played on the adivasis who were called to attend a meeting in the name of airing their grievances regarding development works, and later Salwa Judum was announced from the same platform. But when the party carried out intensive propaganda among the people, they expressed their refusal to act as spies and goons on behalf of the State. Though the State has mounted brutal repression under the
notorious SP Kalluri to murder many revolutionaries, it has not been able to start Salwa Judum in this area. And even now, the Home Minister fears to visit his village without massive security arrangements.
In Chhuria and Khairagarh blocks of Rajnandgaon district, where funds for Salwa Judum were allotted to various police thanas, the lumpen dalals who were attempting to start this operation like Imran Memon and Sameer Jha were wiped out by the peoples' militias, thus nipping this effort in the bud.
The Class basis Concrete role of Feudals, CBB and Imperialists
Local Feudal elements find SJ an opportunity to regain their traditional authority with a vengeance An ex-Secretary of the Government E.A.S. Sharma has admitted:
"For decades, unethical land-grabbers, wily traders, and exploitative contractors, all non-tribals, have dominated the lives of the Adivasis in this area, undeterred. The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has a long presence in Dantewada but it is the non-tribals that have benefited from it. The evolution of Salwa Judum
makes an interesting case study. During the last two decades, the Maoists gained a mass base among the Adivasis by taking up cudgels on their behalf against corrupt government functionaries, exploitative traders, and moneylenders. " So, it is important to have a clear understanding as to the character of the elements from the local population who are actively conniving with the authority to carry out the bloody Salwa Judum operation.
CBI had filed a criminal case against Mahendra Karma for defrauding 5 poor adivasis by grabing Rs. 16 lakhs out of Rs. 17.5 lakhs, in collusion with Gupta, Surana, Awasthi.
Mahendra Karma is one of the important figures in the mafia which has been sucking the blood of local adivasis. Most of the mafia gang are outsiders and Mahendra Karma is the tribal face to cover up their corrupt deeds. Their character became public in what is known as the Maalik Makbuja scam. In this case Mahendra Karma, along with traders
and contractors from outside such as Suresh Chandra Surana, Srinivasan Awasthi, Brij Mohan Gupta and others, was found to be guilty of cheating the poor tribals and the government on the basis of forged and fabricated documents.
An extract from a report submitted by the Lokayukta Committee set up on the directions of the Supreme Court on 5/3/97 shows that Mahendra Karma s/o Boda Karma r/o Pharsapal defrauded a number of poor adivasis namely Linga s/o Pandru, Smt.Bodo w/o Pandru, Paiku s/o Mara, Kuma s/o Mara and Rupa s/o Soma, all caste Gonds and r/ o Kasoli to the extent that about 17.5 lakh rupees were due to them
but they were paid only 1.5 lakh rupees and the remaining 16 lakhs were grabbed by Mahendra Karma. So what is the real characterization of Mahendra Karma: a leader of the adivasis or a blood sucker of the adivasis?
The CBI had then filed an FIR on 8.12.98 which stated that: "The facts contained in the writ petition, report of Lok Ayukta and its connected papers, prima facie show that the above named officials of Govt. of Madhya Pradesh and land owners namely Mahendra Karma, Rajaram Todem, Suresh Chand Surana, Srinivasan Awasthi, Brij Mohan Gupta and others were party to a criminal conspiracy during 1992-96 to cause wrongful gain to the land owners in the matter of felling trees. It is alleged that the accused public servants abused their respective official positions and bestowed undue favours to the
said land owners and others and illegally accorded permission in their favour and in utter disregard of the provisions of the MP Protection of Aboriginal Tribes ( Interest in Trees ) Rules and Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code 1959."
No further action has been taken on this FIR. True to their class character, Lokayukta, Supreme Court and CBI failed to bring to book these blood suckers of the poor adivasis. These instances are only a tip of the iceberg of such class based exploitation of the
tribals of Bastar and also of the toiling masses of the country. When in 1998 there was a movement in Bastar, led by Arvind Netam, for provision of more autonomy and for the implementation of Schedule VI, , Mahendra Karma openly stood for the outsider exploiter class and his gang even resorted to physical attacks on Arvind Netam to coerce him into silence.
Apart from Karma, other prominent leaders of Salwa Judum - Rambhuvan Kushwaha and Ajay Singh are non-tribal immigrants from UP, who have worked as contractors and traders. They have many criminal cases pending against them. Another leader of Salwa Judum - Soyam Mooka of Konta, a tribal, is son of an ex-MLA. Madhukar Rao of Kutru, is a non tribal and is a school teacher who never attends school. Maureen Nandini confirms ( 'Down to Earth' October 31, 2006): "Most of the Salwa Judum leaders Down to Earth met at Errabore and Dornapal relief camps were either non-tribal or relatively wealthy tribals. They were school teachers, village heads, traders and contractors,
people who could be labelled the 'local elite', those who suffered most at the hands of the Maoists."
Under the leadership of the Maoists, the adivasis of Bastar had acquired organizational strength to curb the feudal exploitation by the likes of Karma, Kushwaha etc. In July 2006, Director General of Police Rathore admitted that, "Presently there are around 4000 Naxalites and between 45 to 50 thousand Sangham members in Bastar." Mahendra Karma had also admitted to the Independent Citizens' Initiative team that the Maoists had been organizing in Bastar for two decades and the shape of their Janatana Sarkar had been fully formed.
So when the state started its fresh onslaught on the revolutionary peoples struggle, these feudal elements saw an opportunity to reestablish their lost authority with vengeance behind the brutal armed mught of the state.
The interest of the Comprador Bureaucrat Capitalists and their Imperialist masters of monopolizing the natural resources of the region, throttles the development aspirations of the whole people of Bastar and Chhattisgarh, including the indigenous small industry.
The Bailadilla mines of Bastar owned by the NMDC have been supplying iron-ore to Japan dirt cheap. On the other hand, a large number of small steel plants in Chhattisgarh don't get their requirement of ore from these mines. Rather, they have to purchase ore from outside, costing anywhere from ten to twenty times the cost of ore from NMDC.
Essar group, a big comprador house of our country owned by Ruia brothers, has constructed a 267 kilometre long pipe-line from Bailadila to Vishakhapatnam to make this supply of ore to Japan even cheaper.
In 2005 the Chhattisgarh government signed memoranda of understanding with the Tata group to set up a steel plant at Lohandiguda in Jagdalpur district, and with Essar to set up a steel plant at Bhansi in Dantewada district of Bastar. Despite considerable uproar in the Legislative Assembly these MOUs were not made public till a year later. The language of these MOUs is as if the government has signed a blank cheque giving these rich corporates all rights over land, forests, water and mineral resources of Bastar and Chhattisgarh.
When in the gram sabha meetings organized by the district administration, the local adivasi people refused to accept the officials 'advice' to agree to land acquisition, one Vijay Tiwari, an outsider exploiter and RSS functionary openly declares that the "antidevelopment" elements who are not cooperating are being identified and will be dealt with accordingly. Many of the workers of the Adivasi Mahasabha and CPI who are opposing forcible land acquisitions in both the Bhansi and the Lohandiguda regions have been arrested and put behind the bars.
What is the scene when a Gram Sabha is organized under the PESA on the question of land acquisition for the Essar plant? An article in 'Down to Earth' describes this graphically:
"Dhurli village, Dantewada district, August 30, 11.30 am: Armed police in riot gear stand in clusters around the walled compound where people of this quiet picturesque village are to gather for a gram sabha hearing.They are to decide today whether they want Essar steel to set up a 3.2 million tonne plant on their land for Rs. 7000 crore. The
single lane highway connecting this village, lying halfway between Dantewada town and the Bailadila iron ore mines, is lined with cars and jeeps of district administrators, Essar's top brass, Mahendra Karma and BJP public engineering and health minister Kedar Kashyap, and their respective entourages. They are all gathered inside the
This is the second hearing called to discuss the issue. An earlier one, called on June 10, was cancelled because villagers refused to turn up. Police officials say there's a possibility of Naxalite attack today, since the rebels are anti-development. Essar officials say "outside elements" were provoking the villagers to reject the steel plant, so they needed extra security. Pisda, Dantewada's Collector, says villagers were "fighting among themselves".... and they wanted the people to speak peacefully.
Gram Sabhas, as per law, shouldn't be attended by outsiders. Hence, gun-toting policemen keep media personnel - 'outsiders' beyond the walls, while within the walls Essar officials - 'insiders' in Dantewada administration's lingo - hobnob with state leaders... Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning the gathering of five or more persons, had been imposed on Dhurli on August 26th. Police had picked up eight villagers that day, on charges that they had roughed up the Sarpanch, Bhagat Kunjam...
Kunjam doesn't live in the village anymore. The villagers have labelled him 'Essar ka dalal' (Essar's agent) and are baying for his blood. For a while he was staying in Dantewada town's only hotel, but has since relocated to some unknown address. Villagers say the eight people arrested had been the most vocal about not wanting the plant. Deva Tellam, one of the four people who were released, says the police told them, if they agreed to give up their land they would be released.
Villagers begin trickling in around noon. H.S.Sethi, Essar's Chhattisgarh director, laughs. "Oh, the meeting won't start till about 4pm," he says. "These people take their time. They will eat and drink,....and then they will come... They don't follow our schedule"
The compound fills up by around 1.30 pm, however. But there's no meeting. No discussion. Villagers are taken in turns to a room where officials tell them they have to sign on a piece of paper indicating whether they are for or against the project. Confused, unable to read what is on the paper, about 30 give thumb impressions. By then, the rest of the villagers in the compound get restive. Why aren't we being allowed to discuss the issue, they ask, creating a commotion. Pisda tells them to "either sign or get out". Angry villagers leave....
At Dantewada town the next day, Karma has his own take on the Essar proposal. "Such big decisions aren't taken asking the common people. No gram sabha can take a decision against the villagers' own development."
At the district office, Pisda said: "The agenda was one point, yes or no. There have been discussions about this from before, so there was no need for further discussion at the Gram Sabha."
September 9: The story is replayed. Again Section 144 is imposed on the whole region. The area is sealed off this time. Roads are blocked by Central Industrial Security Force personnel. All the administrators, Essar officials and MLAs are present again. Few villagers turn up for the gram sabha, but since this is the second meeting on the subject,
by law no quorum is necessary. The outcome of the meeting is not made public.
September 13: Two reports. One from Raipur by India Abroad News Service says "after months of protests" , villagers of Dhurli and Bhansi had agreed to give land to Essar...
The second report, in the daily Chhattisgarh says thousands took out a rally in Dantewada against the proposed plant and gave the Collector a note saying they would not give Essar land. This is an extract from the report: "The villagers under the leadership of Dantewada Adivasi Mahasabha and Sangharsh Samiti, Dhurli, said that on September 9, police had forced them to sign no-objection letters. Two constables were posted at each house. No outsider was allowed at the meeting place. People were not allowed to leave their homes or talk to each other. According to the villagers, at 9 am they were forced into vehicles, and taken to the meeting. They were taken to a room in twos, and pistols were placed at their temples to make them sign"
Forced by the popular mood and people's initiative, local BJP MLA from the Lohandiguda area, Lachhu Ram Kashyap was also active in some of the protests of the people against the Tata plant . According to Haribhoomi (Feb. 22, 2006):
"MLA of the ruling party Lachhuram Kashyap said that a wrong site has been chosen for the the plant. There is an attempt to have a plant in an area of dense population and double crop. Administrative officers and the agents of the company are luring the adivasis to give up the land. ……Speaking during the thanks-giving resolution on the
Governor's address, Shri Kashyap alleged that there is an atmosphere of terror because of land acquisition for the Tata plant. "
The BJP high command summoned him to Delhi and reprimanded him for supporting the aspirations of the people of his constituency. He was later flown to Australia to facilitate a change of heart! This is how a journalist of 'Down to Earth' (October 31, 2006) reported his present situation:
"I had wanted the location to be moved to another spot within the block where the land is uncultivable", he says. But Kashyap's party made sure he was nowhere near Lohandiguda when the gram sabhas were held. Kashyap is a subdued man today, aware that his political career is probably nearing an end. "I won't contest this decision any
more," he says. "It's our government, they want it ... I am just one person. Who am I to say or do anything?"
......This correspondent visited Lohandiguda, where villagers said that people in all 12 villages, other than a small group of villagers, were against the plant proposal, at least in its current form. .... Villagers say, during the gram sabha on July 20 the administration trucked in people from other villages, paid them Rs. 50 each, fed them lunch and took their thumb impressions. "
But the people have clearly not given up. Here is the latest situation based on a report in the daily Deshbandhu of November 23, 2006:
"To control those (people) opposing Tata (steel plant) on Monday (20th November) police had to resort to tear gas. According to reports, police also resorted to lathi charge. Terrorized by this, the villagers have locked their houses and fled away to the hills. Most houses of Sirisguda have a lock hanging on the door. The market place has
been converted into a police camp...
Ex-MLA and President of the Adivasi Mahasabha Manish Kunjam visited the area and said that the issue of Tata Steel had become very sensitive for the tribal community. Actually the tribals of Lohandiguda region do not want a steel plant on their land.
He demanded that the 13 point agreement between the district administration and the people of 10 villages should be implemented. He warned that the Sirisguda incident can take a serious turn. The police is beating up tribal women and children. If this situation persists, then it will take little time for the Lohandiguda region to turn into another
''The Guardian' has carried a story "Inside India's hidden war" with the subtitle: "Mineral rights are behind clashes between leftwing guerrillas and state-backed militias". Here are some excerpts: "B Muthuraman, Managing Director of Tata Steel, said: "We are working with the local people. They do want schools, water, [and] the development that the plant will bring.( Doesn't he admit that the governments have not brought school, water etc. in so many years? )It is some other elements who caused the problems.
...These "other elements" are now at the centre of a corporate debate over how to exploit resources in the mineral-rich but poverty-stricken tribal belt in India. Tata Steel would not say who the instigators in Kalinganagar were, only that they were "extremists". What happened in Orissa, say many experts, could easily be replicated across India, where the same mix of tribal disaffection could bubble up into a series
of peasant uprisings. A bigger danger is, that holding sway over a vast area of India is an armed group of left-wing guerrillas, referred to as Naxalites, who see industrialisation as an unwanted intrusion and threaten a violent contest over rural lands.
With $85bn (£46bn) of investment slated for mineral-rich India including proposals from South Korea's Posco, the FTSE 100 mining firm Vedanta, which holds its annual meeting in London today, and the world's biggest steel company, Mittal Steel - financial analysts have begun to fret over the implications of trying to build an industry in the
absence of the state. ...
The brokers CLSA said in a note last month: "Lack of policy initiatives and the inability to win over the tribals, the largest stakeholders in the hinterlands where the Maoists hold sway, means the Naxalite movement is becoming stronger." ....
Anirudha Dutta, a senior investment analyst with CLSA, said the problem was trying to square industrial growth with decades of government indifference. "Kalinganagar was a manifestation of the same problem. This economic insecurity is a serious source of discontent and is being exploited by the Naxalites. Government has to take steps to solve this because industry cannot. You are talking of about $30bn of foreign investment here - it is a lot of money," said Mr Dutta. ...(May 9, 2006)
And again on August 2, 2006 Guardian observes : "A battalion of Indian paramilitary forces has backed this militia, known as Salva Judum (Peace March), against the Naxalites, turning the forest into a battlefield. Entire villages have been emptied as tribal communities flee from the burnings, lootings and killings. The civil conflict has left more than 50,000 people camping under tarpaulin sheets without work or food along the roadsides of southern Chhattisgarh.
Campaigners say that the reason why the government has opened a 'new front' in this' battle' lies beneath Chhattisgarh's fertile soil, which contains some of the country's richest reserves of iron ore, coal, limestone and bauxite. Above live some of India's most impoverished people: semi-literate tribes who exist in near destitution. India's biggest companies have moved stealthily into the forest areas, buying up land and acquiring the rights to extract the buried wealth. Last year the Chhattisgarh government signed deals worth 130bn Indian rupees (£1.6bn) with industrial companies for steel mills and power stations.
When the Guardian visited Naxalite guerrillas deep in the forests of central India earlier this year, Gopanna Markam, a company commander of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army, stressed that the "exploitation" needed to be stopped. "The government is bent upon taking out all the resources from this area and leaving the people nothing.
This is not a threat to take lightly. Naxalite bandhs or shutdowns in Jharkhand state, with rich deposits of iron ore and dolomite, have cost local steelmakers 60 days of lost work a year. Armed rebels have carried out several attacks in southern Chhattisgarh on the stateowned National Mineral Development Corporation iron-ore mine."
So, while the Indian ruling classes try to cover-up the real agenda, international media of the finance capital states the main contradiction quite frankly: Attempt of imperialist loot vs. People's resistance led by the party.
CHAPTER THREEConditions of the Peasantry - Suicides and Indebtedness are rampant The poor starve for lack of foodgrains.
LPG Onslaught No less than a war against the whole people
LPG Onslaught No less than a war against the whole people
In the last ten years, more than one lakh peasants have committed suicide. But for the ruling classes, the lives of ordinary Indians have no value. They are happy in pocketing their share of dalali in selling the resources of our beloved country to their masters. A cursory investigation into the spate of suicides by Vidarbh peasants in the last few months lays bare the operation of devastating imperialist loot.
Suicide deaths in Vidarbha since 2001 ---------------2279
Suicide deaths in the past one year ------------------- 728
The U.S. provides huge subsidies to its cotton growers. Here the cost of production of one quintal of cotton lint is $ 170 (Rs. 7990), the selling price is $118 (Rs. 5546) and the subsidy provided to the cotton grower is $ 100 i.e. about Rs. 4500. After getting such hefty subsidies the U.S. cotton growers have flooded the Indian market with their cheap cotton.
The U.S. has been constantly pressurizing our rulers to remove all kinds of subsidies to farmers and at the same time reduce the import tariff. Under the directions of the imperialist masters, our rulers have fixed this tariff at only 10%.
As a result, between 1997 and 2003, we have imported 110 lakh bales of cotton, which is more than the total volume imported since 'Independence'.
In Vidarbha, the cost of production for a cotton farmer is about Rs. 3000 per quintal. And the support price he gets is only Rs. 1700 per quintal. Before the elections, the Congress had promised to increase the support price by Rs. 500 from the existing Rs.
2200 to Rs. 2700 per quintal. But after coming to power, it decreased the support price by Rs. 500 from Rs. 2200 to Rs. 1700! This is a glaring example of how, in the name of free trade and globalization, an imperialist power like the U.S. is engaged in plunder and devastation of our economy.
Food rights of the poor through the Public Distribution System are under attack. India has created a network of 5,00,000 fair price shops to provide affordable food. However this food security and food sovereignty network is being deliberately dismantled. In 2001 - 2002, wheat production was 69.8 million tonnes and procurement for food distribution was 20 million tonnes. In 2006, inspite of production increasing to 71.5 million tonnes, procurement has dropped to 9 million
There are instances to show that after exporting wheat at $90 per ton, our government has imported wheat of very bad quality at the rate of $190 in the same year. In 2001, when the cost of wheat for the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was Rs. 8300 per ton and the market price was Rs. 7000 per ton, Cargill bought wheat from FCI at Rs. 4200
per tonne! Subsidies are thus fattening Cargill's profits while the poor starve. Even in 2005, the FCI has sold wheat to private corporations in spite of dwindling stocks. The Government has subsidized wheat exports, which have registered a five fold increase between 2000- 2005.
Thus global corporations export Indian wheat subsidized by India's tax payers and import U.S. and Australian wheat, subsidized by U.S. and Australian taxpayers and make super profits both ways, while wheat producers and the poor suffer.
The recently formed US-India CEO Forum co-chaired by Ratan Tata also includes Warren Stanley of Cargill Incorporated. So one can forecast an intensification of this kind of loot. In Chhattisgarh giant agricorporations - Monsanto, Syngenta and D1 are implicated in various bio-diversity related crimes, like - illegal trials of GM crops, piracy of the priceless collection of thousands of varieties of indigenous rice, and "stealing of jetropha germplasm" .
Peasants in Ghadsana, Rajasthan face bullets for water while CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia walks the ramp in a fashion show.
Farmers in the district of Sriganganagar, Rajasthan have been agitating since August-September 2006. At the very initial stage, the government arrested the leaders of the movement. But the peasants have forged a unity with the workers and traders of the region and are carrying out a militant mass movement under the banner of the 'Kisan- Vyapari-Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti.'
The peasants are demanding water for irrigation as per the agreement signed earlier by the government, and also the release of their leaders. But instead of fulfilling these very just demands of the farmers, the Vasundhara Raje government has resorted to brutal
repression. On several ocassions the army has been pressed into service, and while carrying out raids in the villages, armed forces had violent clashes with villagers, particularly women. Many women are reported to have been injured in these police operations. Curfew has been imposed in most of the towns of the district, several times over between September and November 2006. There have been brutal lathicharges. The administration has ordered all licensed guns to be deposited.
"We are not cowards. We will not commit suicide. We will fight the government even if they shoot us or hang us. Water is our right. We will fight for our share of water," said a farmer.
Two years ago in 2004, the militant farmers struggle had gone on for three months. On that occassion too, the government had resorted to brutal police repression in which eight farmers had been killed. In fact, the main demand of the farmers this year was to
implement the settlement which the government had signed in 2004 for provision of water .
Electricity dues of 3-4 lakh peasants of Haryana waived after the martyrdom of nine peasants: = Rs. 1600 croresDisproportionate assets uncovered of one individual,i.e. - Ex. C.M. O P Choutala = Rs. 1400 crores!
The peasants of Haryana waged a struggle in 2001 against increased electricity bills under the LPG policies. This struggle was led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Haryana. A militant road-block agitation took place in Kandela in district Jind. Peasants also erected road-blocks in several other places in the state. The peasants had even taken a police officer hostage for a short while. The Om Prakash Chautala government resorted to police firing at four places to disperse the agitationists. Nine peasants were killed in these incidents but the road-block agitation continued, defying the worst kind of repression. Peasant leaders were put into jail for long periods under false charges
including the charges of sedition.
Consequently, the Chautala government received a drubbing at the polls. The new government had to waive the pending electricity bills of the peasants totalling 1600 crores. In recent CBI raids the then Chief Minister Choutala was found to have a whopping 1400 crores of unaccounted money. These two sides of the same coin give complete picture of the present state machinery.
However the present Hooda government of Haryana is not far behind and is now acting as land broker for the likes of Ambani who are trying to grab vast stretches of land in Haryana in the name of SEZs.
The judiciary in UP vamps to facilitate Reliance SEZ.
Under the directions of the US-India CEO Forum, the Indian government is virtually carving out enclaves in the country, the socalled Special Economic Zones, where neither Indian laws nor taxes would be applicable. The Haryana Govt. is giving 25,000 hectares and U.P. 30,000 hectares to Reliance.Two SEZs of 14,000 and 7,500
hectares are planned for the outskirts of Mumbai.The West Bengal government has also joined this bandwagon with SEZs at Haldia and Kulpi. Already about 150 SEZs have been approved by the Central Govt, where it is expected that about 33% of industry would shift. The expected loss in income tax, excise and customs duties (in other words
the subsidies to industry) is a massive Rs 90,000 crores. No labour laws will apply. Only 35% of the land has to be used for factories, leading to the SEZs becoming real estate speculation centres.
The recent events in Dadri (Ghaziabad) U.P., where thousands of acres of fertile agricultural land are being forcibly acquired for Reliance far in excess of requirement and at minimal prices despite widespread protests of the farmers made headlines. Most shocking was the role of the judiciary as brought out in a report of the joint factfinding
team of the National Alliance of Peoples Movements and the PUCL. According to this report, in order to prevent a demonstration by VP Singh, the Chief Judge of the Lucknow Bench of the High Court entertained a petition by Reliance after office hours on 7th July, 2006, whereas the jurisdiction lies with the Allahabad Bench. This petition was heard by a Division Bench at 7 pm at their residence, where the son of the Chief Judgerepresented Reliance and the advocates of the Mulayam Singh government co-operated by appearing. An injunction order was passed and armed with this the police indulged in indiscriminate rampage and loot on the agitating peasants the following morning.
Even the Union Rural Development Minister and RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh terms the promotion of SEZs a land scam, a ploy to hand over huge tracts of agricultural land to corporate bigwigs.
If this is the statement of a Union Minister, who is running the country?
Is it not an admission of their puppet status?
Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh says that the government is acting as the muscle man of corporate powers to usurp the land of the farmers . He has been quoted stating that it would create massive social unrest, which may even take form of armed struggle.
Displacement on a hitherto unimaginable scale Facilitated by brutal state repression
Kalinga Nagar, Kashipur, Lanjhigarh in Orissa In the Kalinga Nagar area, the land of the adivasis was acquired in the early 1990's by the Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa (IDCO) for Rs. 35,000 per acre and sold to Tisco (Tata Iron and Steel Company) for Rs.3.5 lakh per acre. When no plant came up on their land even after one decade, the adivasis started an agitation demanding back their land. The govt resorted to brutal police firing on January 2, 2005 killing 12 adivasis. A policeman was killed by the tribals in retaliation.
Most of the agitationists were shot while retreating or at point blank range. A 28 year old adivasi woman Jinga Jarka was also killed while retreating. None of the killer policemen have been chargesheeted. On the other hand, fabricated cases including murder have been instituted against many of the activists of the movement. But the agitationists are continuing their road-block movement since . Most of the metallurgical plants coming up in this region are hi-tech export oriented enterprises, with minimum scope of employment generation for the local unemployed youth.
The tribals of Kashipur block in Raigarha district are carrying out and agitation against their displacement as Utkal Alumina, subsidiary of the Canadian MNC Alcan wants to acquire vast tracts of land and bauxite bearing hills. On December 16, 2000 three adivasis were martyred when policeresorted to brutal firing. Inspite of severe
repression and the setting up of CRPF posts/ camps in the interior villages, the tribals have not allowed the company to grab their land so far.
Similarly, in the Lanjhigarh block of Kalahandi district, the tribal people are fighting against a proposed bauxite mining project by the London based Vedanta company (earlier called Sterlite). When these tribals first took out a protest rally in Lanjhigarh, they were brutally attacked by a gang of company goons. They were chased for nearly
4-5 kilometers away from the town. Since then, these tribals take out their procession carrying their traditional weapons such as bows-arrows and axes etc. and are determinedly facing the goons of the moneybags, in or out of uniform. Though the mining has been stopped at present, the govt. and the company are exerting tremendous pressure to displace these tribals.
The Koel Karo Anti-Dam Movement in Jharkhand
Bela Bhatia, a researcher of social movements writes: "A FADED green flag flies atop the Shaheed Smarak (martyr's column) atTapkara village in Ranchi district of Jharkhand State. The flag is changed every year on March 2, one was told, in memory of five persons killed that day in a police firing at that site in 1946 while they were demonstrating, along with many thousand Munda Adivasis of the region, for the formation of a separate Jharkhand State. On February 2, 2001 in the newly formed Jharkhand, the police opened fire on an unarmed assembly of around 5,000 Munda Adivasis, including children, women and men. The dead have been declared shaheeds of the Koel-Karo Jan Sangathan and buried next to the Shaheed Smarak. Thus 1946 and 2001 have become one in Tapkara chowk."
In 1984 people under the banner of the Koel-Karo Jan Sangathan had erected a barricade first in 1984 to prevent the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and government officials from going to Lohajimi, where a dam was proposed to be built on the Karo river. In 1995, when the government announced its decision to restart the project, a 'janata curfew' was imposed by the Sangathan and more such barricades were installed on the road leading up to the dam site. A round-the-clock vigil was kept near the barricades to prevent officials and the police from entering the area without permission. On February 1, a police party broke the barricade without any
provocation. When the villagers protested , they were beaten up badly. There was a large gathering protesting against the incident, in response to which indiscriminate brutal firing was resorted to. No action has been taken against policemen responsible for the murder of the tribals, while many activists of the movement have been charged under false and fabricated cases.
The tribal people are still holding out against successive governments of Marandi, Munda and now Koda each having a procorporate record.
"Essar gets tribal spit on its face"
'Sebydesiolim' has posted this report on a website on 9th October, 2006:"EVEN AS RED-CARPET welcome is being extended to corporate investors in Jharkhand, getting to the ground is not so easy. Essar Steel learnt this lesson recently on September 29 near the Chaibasa city....when it organized a medical camp in Ulijhari. And, it is here that it got the taste of Adivasi revolt and was forced to beat a hasty retreat. Tribal chief Antu Hembrom, who was cooperating with the company, was caught and beaten up in front of company officials and the Jharkhand Police, and then tied and paraded through the city market, with women spitting into his face. Hembrom was also forced to give a
written undertaking that he will not henceforth collaborate with the company. A pot was hung around his neck with a poster reading: "I am a land robber." A garland of slippers was also presented to Hembrom, who is also the president of Manki Munda Sangh. He was forced to walk, carrying the poster and the garland, a distance of 4 km.
Essar Steel plans to set up a steel plant and make major investments in the state. It is among the 44 corporates that signed memoranda of understandings (MoUs) with the previous state government headed by Arjun Munda. ...
The quantum of investments in mining and other industrial plants are around Rs 66,000 crore. Among the major investors in Jharkhand, besides Essar Steel, are Tatas, Mittals, Jindals, Dempos and South African De Beers. Each of these companies is finding it tough getting hold of suitable land for its project. A number of officials of these companies have been prevented — sometimes violently — from conducting surveys, as mostly such lands are inhabited by tribals and Dalits. ...
Essar Steel organized a medical camp in Ulihatu village, where the villagers were given ladoos to eat and some tablets to get cure of the various diseases identified by the doctors at the campsite. Essar then took signatures of the villagers on a blank paper. Nobody knows what happened to those blank papers on which the villagers' signatures
were taken. The company, in a press statement to the Ranchi edition of The Telegraph called it a "confidence-building exercise" with the villagers whom the company is trying to get rid of.
But ironically it was the company's confidence that got shattered when angry villagers refused to eat the ladoos and swallow the tablets. Essar Steel is seeking land measuring 4,000 acres, which is estimated to directly displace about 15,000 persons near Chaibasa. .... All these villages are in West Singhbhum District's Sadar Prakhand."
Peasants & Adivasis are drowned by the Supreme Court. Fate of much highlighted democratic struggle : NBA
These are excerpts from an article by Arundhati Roy:
"...The reservoir of the Narmada Sagar is designed to be the largest in India. In order to irrigate 1,23,000 hectares of land, it will submerge 91,000 hectares! This includes 41,000 hectares of prime dry deciduous forest, 249 villages and the town of Harsud. According to the detailed project report, 30,000 hectares of the land in the Narmada Sagar command was already irrigated in 1982. Odd math. Construction of the dam began in 1985. For the first few years, it proceeded slowly. It ran into trouble with finance and land acquisition. In 1999, after a fast by activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), work was suspended altogether.
On May 16, 2000, in keeping with the central govt.'s push to privatise the power sector and open it to global finance, the government of Madhya Pradesh signed an MoU with the Government of India to "affirm the joint commitment of the two parties to the reform of the power sector in Madhya Pradesh". The 'reforms' involved "rationalising"
power tariffs and slashing cross-subsidies. The same MoU promised central government support for the Narmada Sagar and Omkareshwar dams by setting up a joint venture with the National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation (NHPC). That contract was signed
on the same day. May 16, 2000. Both agreements will inevitably lead to the pauperisation and dispossession of people in the state.
... With no NBA to deal with, bolstered by the Supreme Court's hostile judgements on the Sardar Sarovar and Tehri dams, the Madhya Pradesh govt and its partner, the NHPC, have rampaged through the region with a callousness that would shock even a seasoned cynic. The lie of rehabilitation has been punctured once and for all. Planners who peddle it do so for the most cruel, opportunistic reasons. It gives them cover. It sounds so reasonable.
In the absence of organised resistance, the media in Madhya Pradesh has done a magnificent job. ... Newspapers and television channels carry horror stories every day. A normally anaesthetised, unblinking public has been roused to anger.
The next lethal blow is when rates of compensation are fixed. The fortunate people who actually qualify as project-affected, asked, quite reasonably, to be compensated for their land according to the prevailing land prices in the villages in the command area of the dam. They received almost exactly half of that. ......As a result, farmers who
had 10 acres of land will barely manage five. Small farmers with a couple of acres become landless labourers. Rich become poor. Poor become destitute. It's called Better Management. At a meeting in Harsud, desperate people discussed the possibility
of filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court. An institution with the idea of Justice. Power, yes. Strategy, maybe. But Justice? Phrases from Justices A. S. Anand and B. N. Kirpal's majority judgement on the Sardar Sarovar flashed through my mind: -"Public Interest Litigation should not be allowed to degenerate into becoming Publicity Interest Litigation or Private Inquisitiveness Litigation."
-"Though these villages comprise a significant population of tribals and people of weaker sections, but majority will not be a victim of displacement. Instead, they will gain from shifting. " -"The displacement of tribals and other persons would not per se result in the violation of their fundamental or other rights". Thus were the thousands displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam doomed to destitution.
Then again, on February 15, 2004, in a report that praises the NHPC for "completing projects like the Narmada Sagar within time and within budget", the Economic Times quoted a World Bank official saying, "The NHPC is moving towards global corporate
performance standards and is improving its financial performance. We have done due diligence on the corporation and are impressed by the performance."
Who suffers, who profits?
Whose interest is the country's interest?
An editorial in the magazine Analytical Monthly Review (Aug. 2005) reads:
"In 1948, while laying the foundation stone of Hirakund dam, Jawahar Lal Nehru told the villagers, "If you are to suffer, you should suffer in the interest of the country." and termed the dams as "the temples of development". In 1994 the Govt. of India admitted that 10 million (1 crore) people displaced by dams, mines, deforestation and other development projects were still "awaiting rehabilitation". (A figure that is considered as gross underestimation by most independent researchers). It was revealed in 2001 that over 700 people displaced by the construction of Bhakra Dam (started in 1948 and completed in 1963) are still awaiting rehabilitation (The Tribune, 19th December,
According to a study of 58 dams conducted by the Indian Institite of Public Administration, nearly 62% of the population displaced were tribals (Adibasi) and members of the scheduled castes. But nationally together they make up only a little over 24.5% of the population. For tribals (Adibasi) alone, their proportion in the national population is only a little over 8%, while their proportion among the displaced was over 47%. The same proportions hold true for the mining projects. So the "suffering" is still going on after 58 years of political independence, and the "sufferers" in their tens and millions are the poorest and most vulnerable." Our country has become a hunting ground for the multinationals.
Coca Cola Plant in Plachimada, Kerala A Coca Cola plant was commissioned in village Plachimada of district Palghat, Kerala in March 2000 to produce 12,24,000 bottles of
Coca Cola and other bevarages. The company started to illegally extract about 15 lakh litres of clean ground water per day through 6 bore wells using electric pumps. The ground water level fell from 150 feet to 500 feet, thus drying up other water sources. The company started expelling its waste water into the fields, and selling sludge as
fertilizer. The crops of the farmers began to get affected and drinking water sources got toxic and polluted. Particularly women, who had to walk miles to fetch water, initiated the struggle against the company. They began a continuous dharna. The police arrested hundreds of men, women and children, but used to protect the company faithfully.
On one occassion 130 protestors were arrested and adivasi women were manhandled and their clothes were torn. This agitation had even forced the High Court to direct Coca Cola to stop this illegal syphoning of water, though the company is trying every means to circumvent it.
The peasants of Ghadsana are refused a drop of water, but the Coca Cola company gets 15 lakh litre a day. The Centre for Science and Environment confirms the existence of hazardous levels of pesticides yet Coke and Pepsi continue to be sold and advertised.
What explains this clout? See the statement of Geoge Fernandes at Page 56-57.
Study the role of the judiciary
It gives a fair picture of the class struggle waged by finance capital against labour and the toiling people "From the time the Indian ruling classes adopted the neoliberal economic regime in 1991, workers in the private corporate sector have suffered their worst defeat since independence. The working class has faced a unified anti-worker
multiparty dictatorship, whether the face was that of Chidambaram or Advani, whether judge or party leader or mass media or police, no electoral exercise has slowed the assault on their ability to resist the extremes of exploitation. ... RBI surveys show that, comparing the average of 1988-1991 to that of 2001-2004, the share of wages has
fallen from 49.8% to 39.1%, before tax profit have risen from 28.9% to40.4% and managerial remuneration has gone from 0.2% to 1.0% - a five fold increase"
Aspects of the Indian Economy, June, 2005 In the recent months the Supreme Court has delivered several judgements hostile to labour, which according to The Associated
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) are "landmark" judgements establishing "significant" precedents. Assocham arranged workshops for managers to discuss the new tools placed at their disposal by the judiciary.
Some of the recent orders amounting to a judicial anti-labour wave are - - Supreme Court upheld the Bharat Forge Company Ltd. dismissal of an employee who had fallen asleep. The bench made the sweeping statement that falling asleep at work amounted to a level of misconduct that could justify dismissal. (Interestingly ,there are so many judges, of the Supreme Court well -known for sleeping while presiding over the Court. One notable example is of Justice A.R.Lakshmanan) - Allowing an appeal filed by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., the Supreme Court upheld the company's decision to dismiss an employee for using "filthy" language against his boss 11 years ago. - A Supreme Court bench upheld the dismissal of a group of employees of a Faridabad based private company who had gheraoed their senior officer. The court said, "Once the participation of the employees had been conclusively proved, they would not be entitled to any relief in any manner".
- The Tamilnadu High Court, having first declared a strike of 170,000 state government employees illegal then refused to set aside punitive dismissals stating that government employees "under no circumstances have any fundamental, legal or moral right to go on
strike ... Even the trad e-unions, who have a guaranteed right for collective bargaining, have no right to go on strikes."
- The Calcutta High Court has banned rallies on weekdays.
- The "SAIL" judgement of the Supreme Court ensures that no contract labourer can approach the courts for regularisation.
- The "Uma Devi" judgement of the Supreme Court has rejected the possibility of regularisation of daily wagers.
- A recent shocking judgement of Arijit Pasayat holding that "casual workmen are not covered by the Workmens Compensation Act" has opened the doors for employers to literally squeeze out the blood of workers in low paid, hazardous work.
- The judgement of the Supreme Court in the Balco privatization case prevents trade unions from challenging policy changes in the public sector.
- The Supreme Court has even held that private security guards of an industry who shot and killed agitating workmen would not be charged u/s 302 since they were protecting private property, thus giving a license to private armies of industrialists to murder at will. While the character of the judiciary has been visible in the "Delhi shop sealing case" against small shopkeepers and the "Almitra Patel" case holding slum dwellers to be encroachers and 'like pickpockets' deserving only eviction, its bias is most systematic in its judgements against the working class.
Adressing a May Day rally in Calcutta last year Jyoti Basu had said that the trade unions will have to get " the Supreme Court to change its views".
On this hypocritical statement, the Analytical Monthly Review has aptly commented that "trade union unity counts for little if the initiative of the employees .... is consistently discouraged in order to create an 'investment friendly' environment or 'to not destabilize the government'."
The Gurgaon Workers Struggle
One of the important trade union struggles which brought out the ferocious character of the state was that of the workers of the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), Manesar, Gurgaon.
The HMSI has around 4000 employees out of which about 3000 are permanent and 1000 are employed on a casual basis. A Japanese manager kicked a worker on the shop floor in December 2004. The services of four workers who came to his rescue were terminated. Fifty workers who protested against this unfair dismissal were also
placed on suspension. There were other cases of humiliation and harassment also.The simmering discontent culminated in the formation of a trade union affiliated with the AITUC.
On 27 June, 2005 the company imposed a 'good conduct undertaking' on the entire workforce: they could not form any union, call strikes, move courts or ask for monetary increments till 2008. The factory's 3500 employees faced a lockout. ... On the same day, several union leaders were assaulted by goondas hired by the Honda Company and a union leader was thrown from the third floor. He suffered several
fractures and serious injuries.
Three agreements were concluded under the aegis of the Labour Commissioner wherein the company agreed to take the workers back in separate batches. However, it reneged on its commitment. The stalemate continued even after the issue was raised before the Prime Minister by CPI Parliamentarian and AITUC National General Secretary, Gurudas Dasgupta.
So on 25 July, the workers along with other trade unions marched in protest to the mini-Secretariat. A small police squad stopped the procession when it reached the Gurgaon industrial area. In the afternoon, the workers were called to a park near the office of Deputy Commissioner for discussions with the administration. While the crowd
was waiting peacefully, a huge police contingent launched itself on the hapless crowd and savaged them. The fact that additional forces were brought in from adjoining districts for this attack suggests prior planning by the authorities and that the police action had support at the highest political level. Incidentally, Mr. Sandeep Hooda, Manager, Manesar factory, is a relation of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Predictably no punitive action has been taken against the police or district administration.
After intense pressure upon Honda and the government following massive and widespread protests in Gurgaon, Delhi and all over India, a tripartite agreement was reached between the management, state government and the workers.
The Indian Express reports: "India today sought to make the point that an 'isolated incident' of labour unrest at the Gurgaon-based Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India should not become a benchmark for judging the investment climate in the country. New Delhi underlined that the 'legal interest' of foreign investors will be 'fully safeguarded'.
The Government reaction came as a response to Japanese Ambassador Enoki's remark that unrest at the Honda unit could have an adverse impact on the inflow of foreign direct investment into India". The West Bengal Commerce and Industries Minister and CPI(M) Central Committee Member, Mr. Nirupam Sen lost no time in 'dispelling
Japanese fears' and assured investors that similar incidents shall not take place in West Bengal.
Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, speaker, was seen to be very disturbed and angry. But this anger was not against the spokepersons of the repressive state, but againt those MPs who were asking disturbing questions to the Home Minister Shivraj Patil.
When a journalist from the electronic media asked Mr. Gurudas Dasgupta to explain his hypocritical behaviour of supporting a government carrying out LPG reforms in the parliament and opposing it in the streets , Mr. Gupta became visibly furious but couldn't say a word. Earlier he had spelled out the limits of revisionism when he said
that if the government didn't agree to their demands they would stage a walk-out from the parliament. When asked what if government didn't listen to them still, Mr. Gupta remained silent for some time and then dejectedly said, we shall again stage a walk-out.
Working class movement in Bhilai
Thousands of workers of Bhilai had started their agitation for implentation of labour laws in October, 1990 under the leadership of Shankar Guha Neogi of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha. There were many assaults on them by the private goonda army of the industrialists killing and injuring many trade union activists. More than 4000 workers were thrown out of their jobs for becoming members of the unions affiliated to CMM. When these attempts failed to curb the agitation, the state police came farward to serve the industrialists. Many lathi-charges, mass arrests of workers and externment charges against Neogi were carried out. Neogi went to Delhi with 400 representatives of the workers and submitted a memorandum to the President of India signed by 50 thousand people demanding implementation of the laws of the land and 'right to life' . Just about two weeks later, on 28thSeptember, 1991 the goons of the industrialists assasinated him. The workers continued their agitation. On July 1, 1992 there was a brutal police firing by the BJP govt of Sunderlal Patwa on the workers when they were sitting on
the Mumbai-Howrah line in a rail-roko agitation. In this firing, 16 workers were killed and more than 100 workers, men and women, were injured in the firing. No police official was tried for killing of the workers but a large number of trade-union activists were implicated under false charges of murder etc.
Only some partial gains have been achieved in this agitation. The trade union movement has spread to some new industrial centres. Foreign multinationals are beginning to buy out many of the indigenous industrie in Chhattisgarh and under the LPG regime, nonimplementation of the labour laws - even minimum wages and 8-hour
work - is rampant in the industrial areas. The working class bastis are faced with the threat of eviction. Presently the movement is grappling with these issues with some success. This movement is yet another example to show the attitude of the state towards democratic movements well within the constitutional framework.
In Chhattisgarh, the movement of the young educated "shiksha karmis" on the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' is also persisting despite brutal lathi charges, arrests and repeated betrayals by the Congress-BJP leaderships.
We must learn from the struggles of the Chinese working class
An article of Robert Weil in the Analytical Monthly Review of June 2006 describes the conditions of the Chinese working class under a similar LPG onslaught as below:
"With the throwing open of the country to the global market place, the sale of lands by local officials to developers without adequate compensation to the villagers, and rampant environmental devastation of the rural areas, this policy has left hundreds of millions struggling to find a viable way to earn a living, while stripping them of the collective social supports that they had previously enjoyed. Over 100 million
have become part of the massive migration to the cities, seeking work in construction, the new export oriented factories, or the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs, where they lack even the most basic rights. For many migrants, conditions are deteriorating rapidly as they settle semipermanently in the urban communities and as their age and health problems mount.
Chinese working classes have not been passive in the face of their deteriorating conditions and the loss of rights won over decades through struggle and sacrifice in the socialist revolution. Class conflict and social turmoil have surged to levels not seen for decades. The workers, peasants, and migrants in China today are mounting some
of the largest demonstrations anywhere in the world, at times involving tens of thousands and resulting in violent clashes with the authorities Even the minister for public security published figures admitting that "mass incidents, or demonstrations and riots" rose to 74,000 in 2004, up from just 10,000 a decade ago, and 58,000 in 2003. ( New York Times, August 24, 2005) .....
Putting this understanding in a more theoretical context, one Zhengzhou worker explained that the current system of " bureaucratic capital" is a political problem, not basically one of the economy—an analysis that could have come straight out of the Lenin's What is to be done ? " It looks economic on the surface, but it is really a struggle
between capitalism and socialism," primarily a question of politics. China, he said, is "not like the United States, where they never had socialism. Older workers understand this historical context. Most went through the Mao era and Cultural Revolution. They experienced Mao Zedong Thought, and their generation wants to bring China back to
'Mao's road.' It is part of the international struggle to protect the socialist path."
On his recent visit, Chinese President Hu JIn Tao advised CPIM to be even more pragmatic. Evidently capitalist roader CPC and revisionist CPIM are in the same boat which the people of West Bengal, India and China will be united in rocking! Often the Maoists are given sermons about entering the mainstream and contesting elections. However what does an honest analysis of our legislature yield? Let us see:
The recent Lok Sabha elections had clearly been a vote to oust the LPG policies - overturning the NDA at the Centre, the "blue eyed boy of the World Bank" Chandrababu Naidu, the kisan killer Chautala, the employee baiter Jayalalitha. Yet the newly elected UPA has not moved even an inch from these policies rather it has pursued them doggedly. The Sensex manipulated by FFIs and monopoly players was playing a bigger role than the ballot box in ensuring that all the World Bank candidates Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram etc. got ministerial berths.
The most recent products of the legislature - the 'National Rural Employment Guarantee Act', which absorbed the energies of the progressive intelligentsia, NGOs, and parliamentary Left, has proved a damp squib with restriction to a few districts, the usual structural difficulties in implementation, and the acceptance in principle of a wage less than the minimum wage. Similarly the ineffectivity of the equally publicised 'Right to Information Act', which is sought to be pruned even before it is implemented, became absolutely clear in Chhattisgarh when the State Government first refused to place the controversial MOUs signed with Texas Power Generation, Tata and Essar on the table of the House, and subsequently they were refused to the Opposition leaders, even when applied for under the Act. Yet the left parties and NGOs continue to lobby and campaign for more Acts .....and yet more Acts!
The "Left lobby" in Parliament was not able to stall any major reforms by their empty threats of withdrawing support. Their timid role in the Honda Workers movement in Gurgaon, and even in protesting the brutal murder of three young CITU activists leading an agitation for minimum wages, whose bodies were thrown in the NHPC dam under construction at Chamba, Himachal Pradesh shows the "academic" nature of their anti-imperialist rhetoric.
The raising of the limits of electoral expenses has reserved the political arena for only the rich and well connected. Feudal or royal dynasties, film stars, mafia dons, industrialists, communal killers ... these are the representatives of the Indian people. And horse-trading and defection has attained new heights as exposed in the present
crisis of the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand where MLAs are being abducted and stashed away in various hill resorts to be conjured up in the last moment of head counting for forming the government. It is estimated that more than 100 out of the 574 Members of Parliament are habitual criminals. Shahabuddin, Narendra Modi, Pappu Yadav, Subhas Chakravarti are the most notorious but others are not far behind. In fact, the statistical decline in voting percentages is being offset only by the increasing capacities of heavily funded political parties to distribute goodies and engage film star campaigners in a competition where political issues hardly figure.
The recent obscenity and throwing of chairs and tables by the "Hon'ble" members of Parliament in one of their usual sectional mock fights stands in stark contrast to the scene of the few minutes in which the Parliament unanimously passed the increase in allowances and perks of the members. This has intensified the disgust of the people.
It is pertinent that the Lok Sabha which cost Rs. 100/- per minute in the year 1951 now costs Rs. 20,000 per minute. Rs. 3.17 lakh is spent each month on each Member of Parliament. And more and more of this revenue comes, not from taxing the corporate moneybags, but directly or indirectly from the poor.
After decades of sitting tight on the seat of power in West Bengal thanks to cadre (read muscle) power and exploitation of left liberal traditions of the Bengali middle class, the CPM still "has no alternative" than taking ADB loans, privatizing public sector, setting up Tata plants, okaying Pepsi and Coke, …Starvation deaths in West Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum and in the tea gardens of North Bengal or the large scale migration of the working class are only symptoms of the serious socio-economic problems.
The CPM-isation of the Liberation group after coming overground, thereby swelling the ranks of the "honest but ineffective democrats" is evident.
The periodic murmurs of recognizing only national parties, or emulating a two party system like the US shows that curbing even the limited clout of regional parties in coalition politics is on the agenda. The demand of statehood of the TRS, for instance, is as elusive as ever.
The manner in which the people are forced to vote by the Army and paramilitary in Kashmir is well documented by various journalists and observers and shows the real nature of elections. In this context the talk of making voting compulsory, justified by the provision of giving an option of "none of the above" is to forcibly legitimize a rotten
The incident of 22nd November 2006 in Village Kodaikulam in Kerala where a poor dalit woman Sarpanch - Balmani Biman was forced to auction her reserved post for about Rs. 2,16,000 to Karrupaswamy of the upper caste Thevar community after a public announcement by beating of drums demonstrates that reservations are no more than a mirage in the desert of hopelessness. Indeed the Economist has listed India as one of the 54 "flawed democracies" on the five criteria of free and fair poll, civil liberties, good governance, political participation and political culture. The Anand Bazaar Patrika while reporting this on 24th November 2006 asks, "Why this situation of Balmani? Because she is a woman? Because she is poor? Because she is illiterate? Or because she is a rusty nut-bolt of a broken down machine called democracy?"
The parliamentary left has nowadays taken to preaching to the Indian Maoists to emulate the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and join the "mainstream" of the parliamentary pigsty. They refuse to acknowledge that the vibrant mass movement visible in Nepal today, demanding the end of U.S.-India propped monarchy and the formation of a constituent assembly could only be built up through ten years of uncomprising armed struggle, and the sacrifice of 10,000 precious Nepali lives. Which was all along opposed by these parties and the revisionist CPN (UML) party of Nepal.
In an interview to the Sahara Samay (2/9/2006) George Fernandes, the first to defect to the "Hindutva" side and an ex-Defence Minister of India who did not demur when he was stripped and searched on an official visit to the U.S. candidly admits:
"Q. When you were a Minister in the Atal Bihari government the idea of banning Pepsi and Coke had come up particularly when the CSE had revealed that these products have a hazardous level of pesticide. .... At that time also were there pressures on the government not to ban these products as in 1977?
A. There must have been pressure. Because these (companies) are notorious for this. I will give you an example of their pressures. I was Rail Minister in the Vishvanth Pratap Singh government. In the tenure of the previous government there had been an international deal. The responsibility of completing this fell upon me. I went to Washington in this connection. I had to bring 200 crore rupees. A dinner had been organized for me there. There was a Vice President of the World Bank there and we started talking. This Vice President was of some Arab country. Even before the dinner he asked me why do you oppose Pepsi and Coke so much? I replied that the people of
my country oppose them and we have our own soft drinks. Then he said, "Mr. George Fernandes I am not joking". I also replied that I am not joking either. Then that Vice President said, "Allright but I want to make it clear to you that for us Coke and Pepsi are a litmus test, on the basis of which we decide whether or not we give money to a country. It is pertinent that this Vice President was not an American. He was working for America. I couldn't eat the dinner. I believe that they blackmail us through all these things." ….
Q. "When iodized salt is made compulsory, the government claims that it is concerned about the health of the people and when it is established through scientific tests that health is harmed by Coke and Pepsi, then the government changes its stand. Why do the
governments do this? What has happened to the character of the Government?"
A. "Bribe. All this happens through bribe and nothing else. All this is the work of bribes. Bribes have made the state power characterless. I have written to the Prime Minister about this. We are going to have a movement on this in some days." …
Q. "The attitude of the Court also appears rather strange!"
A. "In our country anybody can be bought up on the basis of money. Whether millionaire or billionaire, anybody." Thus Mr. Fernandes has frankly told us how Pepsi and Coke manage the governments of Atal Bihari, Vishvanath Pratap Singh, Manmohan Singh-Ambani Ramdoss, and Budhadev Bhattacharya are managed, let alone cricket boards. Hunger and disease stalk rural India.
India ranks 127th in Human Development Report.
The October 2005 editorial of the Analytical Monthly Review paints a grim picture:
"In the very months when the Sensex in Mumbai Stock Exchange steadily rose to cross 8,000 in the hinterland of India's most prosperous state, Maharashtra, 2675 children died of malnutrition within four months from April to July. They were concentrated in five tribal dominated districts - Thane, Nandurbar, Nashik, Amravati, and Gadchiroli. These are government figures. The Human Development Report 2005 reported that "Bangladesh has an infant mortality rate of 46 per 1,000 live births compared to 63
for India. Had India matched Bangladesh's rate of reduction in child mortality over the past decade, 7.32 lakh fewer children would die this year." On HDI ranking, India is again ranked at 127 this year against a total of 177 countries.
Over the last two months, in hospitals in Gorakhpur the death toll, almost all children, from the outbreak of Japanese encephelitis (JE) has now reached over 700.... At least another 3,040 patients remain hospitalized, most of them children, said O.P. Singh, the state's Director General of Health Services. With a fatality rate between 30 and 60 percent, senior health ministry officials predict that JE could claim over 2,000 lives by December.... Some analysts say it could have been prevented. India produces about 4,00,000 doses annually of a Japanese encephalitis vaccine used in the United States and some other countries. It is labour intensive and requires three injections to be effective, costing about $3 per child. However, Uttar Pradesh neglected vaccination drives despite smaller outbreaks nearly every year for the last two decades. An Uttar Pradesh health official noted, 'Though JE is a recurring problem in Uttar Pradesh, we can't vaccinate seven million plus children in the state every season. It will cost us US$58 million. (Rs. 2610 crores)"
It is to be noted that owing to the proposed SEZs which the Central and state governments are pressing ahead to establish despite widespread protest, it is estimated that the govt. will lose about Rs. 90,000 crores in revenue. But of course vaccinating children is too expensive for the govt. to contemplate. Thus it is clear that the LPG
policies are wreaking death and devastation on the vast majority of the people of India. Let us see how the renowned Bengali authoress Mahasweta Devi characterises this situation in her appeal regarding protests against forcible land acquisition at Singur, West Bengal published on the front page of the Bengali daily "Dainik Statesman"
"A Message of Warning
Singur is in danger! East Medinipur is in danger!
Today just before leaving for Shantiniketan I am giving the readers
a grave message of warning – an S.O.S.
After 29/11/06 the fascist State Government is sending 10, 20 or
maybe 50 thousand police to grab the land in Singhur. There will be
one policeman for each struggling man or woman – that is the news.
All the thanas of district Hooghly are being emptied and police are
being brought from there. Along with them will be CPM "cadre vahini".
They will take Singhur. They will take the coastal and surrounding
agricultural lands of the East Medinipur.
Buddhadev and Bush have become one. I am not able to
have faith in the other constituent parties of the Front. I am addressing
all the people of West Bengal including the writers, artists, intellectuals,
students and women. Intellectuals, do not let the allurement of
governmental awards make you keep a distance. All the organizations
must join in. Rivers of blood will flow. The State Government will deploy
police. Wherever one is, all must go to Singur. Otherwise at least protest
in one's own place.
This is a war. I will say to the women of Singur. Keep chilly powder
and salt with you. Throw it into the eyes of the assailants including the
If it was possible I would have gone too, but I am not able.
Post Script – On Saturday evening there was a Citizens Convention
in support of Singur at Chakdah. Today there is a rally in Barasat. It is
being reported that 40 organisations have signed the memorandum.
This is a war. All have to react collectively. Singur is watching
Today just before leaving for Shantiniketan I am giving the readers
a grave message of warning – an S.O.S.
After 29/11/06 the fascist State Government is sending 10, 20 or
maybe 50 thousand police to grab the land in Singhur. There will be
one policeman for each struggling man or woman – that is the news.
All the thanas of district Hooghly are being emptied and police are
being brought from there. Along with them will be CPM "cadre vahini".
They will take Singhur. They will take the coastal and surrounding
agricultural lands of the East Medinipur.
Buddhadev and Bush have become one. I am not able to
have faith in the other constituent parties of the Front. I am addressing
all the people of West Bengal including the writers, artists, intellectuals,
students and women. Intellectuals, do not let the allurement of
governmental awards make you keep a distance. All the organizations
must join in. Rivers of blood will flow. The State Government will deploy
police. Wherever one is, all must go to Singur. Otherwise at least protest
in one's own place.
This is a war. I will say to the women of Singur. Keep chilly powder
and salt with you. Throw it into the eyes of the assailants including the
If it was possible I would have gone too, but I am not able.
Post Script – On Saturday evening there was a Citizens Convention
in support of Singur at Chakdah. Today there is a rally in Barasat. It is
being reported that 40 organisations have signed the memorandum.
This is a war. All have to react collectively. Singur is watching
CHAPTER FOURLet us recall, the gruesome picture of adivasis killed point blank and their mutilated dead bodies in Kalinga Nagar to serve Ratan Tata. Kalinga Nagar in Orissa, Lohandiguda in Bastar-Chhattisgarh, and Singur in West Bengal. Suddenly the Tata group has come out so aggressively on the people in various parts of India.
Mechanisms of Imperialist Rule Politico-Economic and Politico- Military
Mechanisms of Imperialist Rule Politico-Economic and Politico- Military
What can this qualitative aggressiveness of the Tata be attributed to?
Well, Ratan Tata has been made Co-Chair of the U.S.-India CEO Forum in the privileged company of Willian Harrison of JP Morgan Chase, along with the leaders of Citicorp, Cargil, Pepsico, Mukesh Ambani etc.
U.S.-India CEO Forum is the Imperialist-Comprador seat of power with Ratan Tata acting as the main agent of the imperialists. So he comes out with proportionate arrogance and aggression. The Report of the US-India CEO Forum entitled "U.S.-India
Strategic Economic Partnership" was released during the recent Bush visit. Like Shylock, the U.S. big capitalists are eager to extract every drop from our economy.
The small industrialists of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand had resorted to a two-day bandh demanding supply of cheap coal and iron-ore. For that purpose they had demanded that the government should take care of the small players, and had also sought nationalization of precious mineral resources. But on the other hand the U.S. - India CEO Forum is demanding a new Act to denationalize Coal to monopolize it. Vast numbers of Indians who find it difficult to make two ends meet are seeking a reduction in electricity charges, but the CEO Forum wants further reduction of subsidies and increased charges in the name of 'honest implementation' of the Electricity Act 2003.
U.S.-Tata CEO Forum has decided to set up a $ 5 billion private sector Infrastructure Fund (minority Government participation) with the participation of US companies to fund infrastructure projects under the supervision of multilateral agencies like the World Bank, ADB and IFC. There are further proposals to involve the US in the development of Mumbai into a 'Regional Financial Centre'.
U.S.-Tata CEO Forum notes that "Indian infrastructure needs exceed its funding capacity, which can be met by American assistance and funding." The Forum sees new possibilities in building Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to cater to overseas as well as domestic markets. "World class infrastructure" and "flexible, internationally competitive labour laws" would provide incentives for investment. The Forum moots the formation of a task force comprising business interests to work with the Central and State governments to "expedite execution of plans to set up such SEZs" The Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal killed more than 7000 persons. The gas affected survivors are fighting for the redressal of crimes committed by a U.S. company. They recently came to know that the U.S. company that had taken up the liabilities of Union Carbide
in Bhopal, namely Cherokee, had negotiated with Citibank, Tata and The Dow Chemical Company, all three members of the U.S.-India CEO Forum. The CEO Forum put forward a proposal applying pointed pressure on Indian officials in this regard, namely: "Specific focus on resolving legacy issues such as those impacting Dow/ Bhopal tragedy
of 1984 .... would send a strong positive signal to U.S. investors.". Within weeks of these proposals, officials in the U.S. government were dutifully repeating the party line. The U.S. Trade Representative said that he was aware that many American companies have liability and insurance concerns about doing business in India after the 1984 gas leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. He was quoted as saying:
"We've raised these concerns with the Indians. I'm hoping that they will be addressed to the satisfaction of our companies .....At the end of the day, India has worked very hard for this deal and ... I would assume is not going to want their own domestic corporate laws to stand in the way of them actually benefiting meaningfully."'
So the U.S.-India CEO Forum represented by Ratan Tata has become the instrument to threaten the gas affected people into submission to serve the U.S. masters. Notwithstanding the euphoria of Buddhadev Bhattacharya and others, the much celeberated acquisition of Corus by Tata is actually a fullfilment of the longstanding need of western big capital. It is a well known fact that Corus had been restructuring its operations since July 2005 and was looking for a low-cost partner in countries like
India, Russia and Brazil.
Experts are of the opinion that the main reason for Corus's interest in Tata Steel is its access to captive iron ore and coal mines. Comparative cost of a ton of steel for Corus in UK is $320, which is twice of Tata Steel's $160 per ton in India. Tata makes a $1.5 billion of operating profits (on five million tpa) whereas Corus makes only $1.9
billion on 18 million tpa. This big difference in cost is due to the availability of cheap raw material and cheap labour. Tata Steel has also firmed up plans to set up capacities equivalent to 33 million tpa, most of these projects also have 100% coverage for iron ore and other inputs like coal. So, that is where the value of Tata actually lies. It in the availability of cheap mineral resources and cheap labour. And it is the owners of the land, peasants and tribals and the labour who are the source of these riches. Therefore they must be looted and killed if they dare to oppose this daylight robbery.
Naturally, Tata does not have money enough to buy out a concern thrice its size, let alone for projects of 33 million tpa capacity. As the U.S.-India CEO Forum has succintly put it: "Indian infrastructure needs exceed its funding capacity". After accounting for all the resources and loans etc. Tata falls short by atleast $6.3 billion. This, it is claimed
is planned to be "raised through debt by Tata Steel UK". and this is a "leveraged buy up". This debt will be backed and serviced by cashflows from Corus Group. Obviously, the deal is highly leveraged. JP Morgan Chase, Citycorp, Cargil, Pepsico and Mukesh Ambani in the US-India CEO Forum. What greater lever?
It is worth recalling that the great grand father of Ratan Tata had made the Tata's first big money as a broker, shipping opium to China for British companies. Today his great grandson is acting broker for international finance capital, for enormously precious mineral resources.
No wonder, whether it is Kalinga Nagar in Orissa, Lohandiguda in Bastar-Chhattisgarh or Singur in West Bengal, Ratan Tata is at the forefront of devastating class-war by the imperialists and the compradors against not only the Maoists in Bastar; not only against more than one lakh members of DAKMS, KAMS, KABS etc; but also against the whole population of tribal majority Bastar; against the peasants, workers and also the small industrialists of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand. This is also a war by the number one enemy of the world people - U.S. state power and its lackeys like Ratan Tata, Manmohan and Raman against the vast majority; it is a war to rob the coming generations of the riches of the mother earth exploiting them mercilessly, playing havoc with man and nature.
Indo-U.S. Defence Policy Group at Work
Indo-Pak Agreement to have common intelligence network demonstrates that like Pakistan and Israel, India is a lackey of the U.S., at the most of a different status.
In the recently concluded NAM summit in Hawana, Manmohan Singh and Parvez Musharaff had a meeting on September 12, 2006 and decided to have a common intelligence network. It is apparent that this agreement has been concluded in the U.S. Defence Policy framework. Intelligence agencies are the innermost core of any state
power and relations at that level show the degree of collusion. The extra legal stature of CIA in the power structure of the U.S. state is quite well known. Pakistan's lackey status vis-a-vis U.S. has been public for some time now. Its notorious intelligence agency ISI (Interservices Intelligence) has been created by the U.S. and the most decisive influence on it is also exercised by the U.S. For example, uptill now, every single head
of the ISI has been appointed in 'consultation' with the U.S. Apart from the US-India CEO Forum, master and lackey have also formed the Indo-US Defense Policy Group. It is through this forum that the strategic ties of US-India are being implemented. Rahul Bedi writing for Frontline (20/7/2002) says army officers admit that Washington is using the same tested technique with the Indian military that it used successfully with its Pakistani counterpart. "Washington augmented its influence in Islamabad by regularlydispatching Pakistani service officers and their children to the US on courses and scholarships and even assuring them jobs in the US after retirement."
Frontline further quotes an officer who had recently been on a six-weeklong trip to the US saying that a similar co-opting of India's military has begun. So many Ministers and MLAs are also similarly taken abroad for political brainwash.
FBI has opened an office in New Delhi.
During the last visit to India by U.S. President Bush, there were reports that the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to undergo security check by the U.S. security personnel in our own country. Though the PMO quickly came out with a statement denying the same, there can be no smoke without fire!
We are said to have one of the strongest defence forces with over 10 lakh servicemen, but the then defense minister George Fernandes did not have the courage to say a word to oppose stripsearch by U.S. security personnel.
The ex. Defence and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh and the whole parliament enacted a big drama about some American mole high up in the govenment but were silenced by one rebuke from their masters in the U.S. Well, most of them are already party to selling our sovereignty.
A senior officer of RAW - Rabinder Singh was found to be working for the CIA. In April 2004, RAW Chief C.D. Sahay reported this to PMO and National Security Advisor Brijesh Mishra and sought permission for action against him. Yet he was not arrested. On May 14, 2004 action against Rabinder Singh was approved. On the same day, Singh
and his wife had left for Kathmandu. There U.S. passports were prepared for them on false names and they flew away to the U.S.
Not only Singh, more than 36 Indian Foreign Service officers have disappeared while on posting in North American countries. It is also reported by the Bureau of Security of the Ministry of External Affairs that more than 90% do not return from their postings in the North American countries.
And this class of traitors, sitting in parliament, in services or otherwise, are resorting to every kind of repression in the name of security and development on the revolutionaries and other people fighting for their rights! The ruling classes through Manmohan Singh sign an agreement with General Musharaff for joint working of RAW
and IB with ISI, and the same ruling class through its media has the temerity to accuse our party that the Maoists are working with ISI! Serious consequences of being a lackey of a crisis ridden, desperate imperialist superpower.
For a long time now, US is able to maintain its economic dominance through political and military arm-twisting. Even then, its position of economic dominance is fast eroding. In 1950, the United States accounted for nearly 50% of the world GDP, by 2003 it had fallen to just above 20%. The U.S. share of global foreign direct investment
has the same graph. On the other hand, share of the U.S. in the world's military spending has gone up to 50%. It is double of what is spent by the next six largest spenders - Russia, France, Japan, Germany, UK, and China put together. Though the U.S. is the single superpower, its capacity to act as a global state is doubtful. This has become all the more evident in its increasing difficulties in sustaining direct military engagement in just two small countries - Iraq and Afganistan.
So, it is desperate to have lackeys which can be outsourced low end tasks. The Middle-East is the world's richest oil producing region. The U.S. has dominated this region since the second world war, though its dominance was not unchallenged when the USSR was in existence. The present invasion of Iraq by the U.S. is also for the strategic control of oil. Ever since the second world war, the U.S. has also propped up its client state Israel. The U.S. has seen to it that Israel is never at peace with its neighbors. Most of the fighting in the region has been done by the Israeli army. The blood which is shed is of the Arab people and of the Israelis, and the fruits in terms of oil and the world dominance go to the U.S. From the class view-point, apart from causing untold miseries to the whole populations of Palestine and Lebanon, the toiling
people of Israel are reduced to the role of glorified watch-dogs of the financial interests of the billionaires sitting in the U.S., Jews or otherwise. So, for India, a lackey status to the U.S. is fraught with grave consequences both internally and externally.
Externally, U.S. will fight its competitive war with China using India as a stooge. It will also see to it that, we are never at peace with our neighbors. 'Aspects of India's Economy' (no. 41) has brought out extensive material to substantiate this. Let us quote one such example. " While U.S. officers bluntly told the author of the Pentagon study that " We want a friend in 2020 that will be capable of assisting the U.S . military to deal with a Chinese threat", they also admitted that the U.S. and India "do not discuss this (the 'chinese threat') publicly, for such a rationale for the relationship will make the task of selling the Indo- U.S. relationship to the Indian public exceedingly difficult." So various other justifications are being manufactured and sold through the media. The Indian rulers are part of these schemings, but they dare not say it openly. Central Minister for Science and Technology, Kapil Sibbal has been quoted saying " If the U.S. faces a challenge in the 21st century, it will not be from India, (but) somebody from its neighborhood. U.S. is cosying up with India because of the Chinese challenge. He
hastened to add that he was not speaking in an official capacity." (Aspects of India's Economy) We should remember that when the British militarily subjugated the Middle-East countries, including Iraq, during the First World War, the number of Indians who gave up their lives (as soldiers of the Indian army of the British India) far exceeded that of the British themselves.
Also, though it is true , that it was General Dyer who personally ordered firing in the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, we must not forget that most of the soldiers who actually fired at the people's gathering were Indians.
Today, crisis-ridden finance capital is out for aggressive exploitation the world over. The Indian state's journey towards a tie up with the U.S. as its lackey, is accompanied by the most ruthless repression on the people of India who are demanding the basic rights
The most discredited monarchy in Nepal would not have survived for so long without U.S.-India interference.
There are many instances to show that the military campaign of the Indian state against the adivasis and the Maoists is being directly monitored by the U.S. (This has been described in some detail in other chapters.) U.S. imperialism, armed with its executive tools - the U.S.-India CEO Forum and the Indo-U.S. Defense Policy Group. We are in for most bloody attacks on the people of India. This is the gravest internal consequence of the Indian state acting as a lackey of the U.S.
CHAPTER FIVEIn the name of dealing with insurgency - Police, Paramilitary, IRB battalions Naga and Mizo, behave as an army of occupation.
The State sends out its invading occupational army
The State sends out its invading occupational army
The stark demonstration of women against the Assam Rifles in Manipur is a testimony.
There are Many Manoramas in Bastar.
Even the Naga people are demanding withdrawal of the Naga Battalion from Bastar, Chhattisgarh.
A release of the Manipur Student Association, Delhi is excerpted below:
" It has been hardly two years since women of Manipur staged a historic protest by shedding their clothes off against the rape and murder of Th. Manorama by the 17th Assam Rifles. The world showed its solidarity to them and demanded repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
Among the most painful incidents of the military excesses in Manipur, the recent detention and torture of Miss Naobi has once more captured the focus of the democratic struggles against human rights violations in the state.
Miss Naobi, a private school teacher, was picked up on 21st February evening(2006), when she came to attend the last rites of Vikas, who was killed in an encounter with the Manipur police commandos on 20th February. In a press briefing on 2nd March in Imphal, she presented her tortured body to narrate the encounter with the savagery of the Manipur police for the 9 days in their custody.
A widespread movement was voiced for Naobi's safe release. She was released from the custody unconditionally on 2nd March with a brutally tortured body, deeply wounded psyche and painfully dislodged dignity. What is her fault? Why do the state forces institutionalize violation of human rights? Why has woman's body always been targeted to exercise 'armed authority' of the State? These are the questions that the democratic struggle poses against the rampant violation of human rights in the state."
There are reports of continuing atrocities on the people of Manipur by the armed forces and the people are again taking to the streets. On November 13, 2006 police killed N. Binoy just as he was released from jail. Protesting against this grotesque murder, various organizations called for a 48 hour Manipur bandh under the banner of the Joint Action Committee. This bandh was a total success and normal life in Manipur came to a grinding halt.
There are many Manoramas and Naobis in Bastar.
One of the most gruesome incident related in the ICI report:
" We met a female inmate of the Jagdalpur Jail who said she had been picked up while accompanying her brother on a cycle, to visit their sister. Her brother was shot dead in front of her and she was first gang-raped by the CRPF near the roadside and then sent to the local thana where she was held and gang-raped for another ten days, after which she was sent to Jagdalpur Jail. The other women in jail corroborated that when she first arrived , she was so swollen from the sexual torture that she could hardly walk. This woman (whose identity we cannot reveal ) is currently charged under the arms act and dacoity. This woman was not on the Maoist list of women raped". On 15th August 2005 (ironically) in Karremarka village, the Naga police and Salwa Judum goons caught the president of the Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan Madri Sarita, gang raped her and brought her bleeding and unconscious to the Bhairamgarh Thana, where she was raped for several days. Another woman Telam Jamli of the same village was gang-raped by the Naga jawans and thrown in the jungle in a state of unconsciousness.
On September 1, 2005 police and the Salwa Judum goons caught Budri, Somari and Munni of Kogam village and gang raped them. Their cloths were taken off and they were dragged to Mirtur police station, beating them all the way. Korma Santo of Phulgatta village, a member of KAMS, was killed by the Naga police and the Salwa Judum goons in
the most brutal manner.
Four women of Jangla - Munni, Kalmu, Jayyu and Korsa Butke, all belonging to the KAMS were caught by the police and the goons in a search operation and they were gang-raped. They were taken to a 'relief camp' where they were physically exploited regularly. Mase Parso, 35 years, from village Chinnapalli in Bhairamgarh block, was gang raped by the Salwa Judum goons on February 1, and then brutally attacked with knife. The PLGA soldiers who had reached there the next day, treated her wounds. But because of damage to the vocal chords caused by the injury, she has lost her voice.
The Salwa Judum goons (SPO's), from Kotmetta and Jegur village caught Lakke of Eadwada village and 15 of them gang-raped her in December 2005. She has been kept in Jangla 'relief camp'.
Women comrades Korsa Santu, Modium Sukki and Kurram Lakki, all leading activists of the KAMS were brutally tortured and murdered by paramilitary and Salwa Judum goons even as they were bravely resisting them.
These are only some of the gruesome crimes against the adivasi women. Apart from such direct physical assaults, the thousands of adivasis, who are forcibly kept in the 'relief camps' are living on the verge of starvation. There are many reports that women are being forced into selling their bodies just to make two ends meet. The reports
of a large number of cases of medical termination of pregnancies of women SPOs and forcible "marriages" in the camps that have been filtering out are indeed alarming. The CMO Dantewada has admitted that a number of para-military jawans appear to be AIDS
patients and this fact makes the issue of sexual violence and also of prostitution even more serious.
Atrocities on the people of Chhattisgarh by para-military forces.
Thousands of adivasis protest at Kondagaon against molestation of an adivasi woman by SAF jawans.
Here is a report of the incident and protests by the local tribals carried by the daily Dainik Bhaskar:
"Today adivasis held a mahasabha ('grand assembly') in protest against the attempt by SAF jawans to outrage the modesty of an adivasiwomen in Kondagaon (district Bastar). More than 5000 adivasis of the Bastar division congregated on this occasion.
In the rally, people carrying banners and posters were shouting slogans against the government. During the rally the National HighwayNo. 43 was blocked for quite some time.… On 23rd July two jawans of the SAF forcibly entered a house in the Bandhwapara locality ofKondagaon in the darkness of night and tried to molest an adivasi woman. On the woman raising a hue and cry, the residents of the neighbourhood gathered and caught hold of one jawan. The other ran away and came back with the other jawans of the camp armedwith lathis. After this the jawans got together and beat up with lathis all
the persons present.
… About 125-150 government employees of the division took leave from their offices to attend the rally. These persons concealed their identity to avoid their names being published, Sonau Ram Netam, the President of the Gondwana Samaj Adivasi Mahasabha said that no-one is concerned about the suffering of the adivasis. He condemned the terror perpetrated by the SAF jawans on the Markam family and the people of their locality and demanded that stringent action should be taken." And this incident is far from being an isolated one. With the heavy deployment of para-military forces in the state, such atrocities by the state forces have become an everyday affair. One such incident had taken place on so-called independence day 15th August 2006 at a village Odgi in district Sarguja so infuriated the villagers that they gheraoed a thana and demanded that the paramilitary be withdrawn. Here is the report.
Bandh and road-block in Odgi, Sarguja Demand to remove the CRPF batallion.
"On the evening of the independence day celebrations the residents of Odgi (district Sarguja) - teachers, students and other employees were brutally beaten up by the CRPF jawans. …..Among the victims of the CRPF atrocities were teacher Pradeep Singh, retd.
Teacher SR Pandey, junior engineer of Pradhanmantri Sadak Yojana Akhilesh Kumar Singh, tailor Abdul Jabbar Khan, tailor Ramprasad Sahu, Vijay Gurjar and students of the hostel, Jeetlal, Shivshankar,Amrit Toppo etc. ……Agitated by the incident the residents of Odgi gave an ultimatum of agitation from 7 am and started shouting slogans. The agitated crowd started a road-block by burning tyres. The residents of Odgi disclosed the excesses of the CRPF.
…..They said that beating up of the general citizens is a routine here.The CRPF are involved in sexual assaults on the simple women, teasing the girl students of the hostel, and entering into houses of the villagers. Indulging in drinking and behaving obscenely is routine. The villagers said that now the limit has been reached and this can not be
tolerated any more. They demanded removal of the batallion and action against the the accused jawans". ( Navbharat August 17,2006).
In the Gollapalli incident, on November 5, 2004 the police went berserk and shot three young teachers Malla Markam, Santosh Thakur and Sodhi Hidma and a 12 year old student Hapka Nagendra pointblank in Village Golapalli, district Dantewada, and then released a statement in the press that three persons were killed in a cross-fire between police and the naxalites. Fortunately one of the teachers, Santosh Thakur survived and told the true story to the world. Nearly ten thousand people took out a procession along with the Shiksha Karmi Sangh (Contract Teachers Union) in Konta protesting against these police atrocities.
Jean Dreze, a renowned economist, who had closely worked with the UPA government to draft the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act had led a Yatra through out the country to mobilize support for the passage of the Act. When the Yatra was passing through Sarguja, the police led by the notorious SP Kalluri (famed for fake encounters and custodial torture) resorted to a lathi-charge on the meeting in which several persons were injured including Jean Dreze himself. Kalluri unashamedly made a statement to the Haribhoomi (30 April 05) that he had suspected that this was a Naxalite meeting.
On 15th October 2006 a trader of Dornapal (district Dantewada) – Shekhar Sah aged 41 years was found shot through the head. The previous evening two Naga jawans had had a dispute with him over a paltry sum of Rs. 15, when they were purchasing undergarments from his hosiery shop. They took him with them and the next day his body was found. On 16th October the traders of Dornapal declared a bandh against the atrocities of the Naga battalion.
The Indian State uses the same cruel counter insurgency tactics everywhere – Kashmir, Manipur, or Bastar.
Another diabolically cruel assault on the people is through the policy of creating espionage networks and recruiting surrendered militants to spy on the people and commit barbaric torture for which none is accountable. This is most poignantly described by the death row convict of Kashmir - Mohammed Afzal:
" I know from last seven years how the STF (Special Task Force) men kill the Kashmiris, how they make youth invisible and had disappeared them while killing them in custody. I am living eye-witness to various tortures and custodial killings and I am myself the victim of STF terror and torture. Being a surrendered militant of JKLF I was constantly harassed, threatened and agonized by various security agencies like Army, B.S.F. and S.T.F. But since S.T.F. is unorganized, without being unaccountable a band and gang of renegades patronized by the State government. They intrude every house, everywhere in Kashmir anytime day or night. If anybody is picked up by S.T.F. and his family came to know this, the family only wait to get his dead body which they hope. But usually they never came to know his whereabouts. 6000 youth have disappeared. Under these circumstances and under this fearful environment persons like me are always ready to play any dirty game in the hands of S.T.F. Just for survival. The people who are able to pay in terms of cash are not forced to do the dirty things the way I did as I was not able to pay."
His wife Tabassum sums up the situation in Kashmir like this:
"You will think Afzal must be involved in some militant activities that is why the security forces were torturing him to extract information. But you must understand the situation in Kashmir. Every man, woman, and child has some information on the movement even if they are not involved. By making people into informers they turn brother against brother, wife against husband and children against parents. Afzal
wanted to live quietly with his family but the STF wouldn't allow him." Even the Naga people are demanding the withdrawal of the Naga Battalion from Bastar.
There is a strong sentiment in Nagaland against deployment of Naga forces to carry out repression on the adivais of Bastar in Chhattisgarh. There have been many articles, statements condemning it and demanding withdrawal of the Naga Batallion from Bastar. The "Morung Express" of Nagaland has stated in its editorial that "The recent revelations of atrocities committed by the 9th IRB in Chhattisgarh has put Naga consciousness to the test." It also notes that the mere bringing back of the 9th IRB battalion is not sufficient and "The questions surrounding the formation of IRB, its training techniques, the chain of structural accountability as well as its functional aspects ought to be critically evaluated. These are necessary in the light of the incidents that have not only occurred in Chhattisgarh, but also within Nagaland itself, where there have been a number of reported instances where IRB personnel, have overstepped their boundary".
This editorial also observes that "using members of an indigenous community as tools against the aspiration of another indigenous community is tragic".
Irked by this public out cry, the DGP Chhattisgarh has come out with a weird, untenable defense. He has claimed that the Naga Batallion is so popular in Chhattisgarh that the people are demanding its deployment. He also advised the Nagaland government to take legal action agaist those who are "making allegations against them. The North-eastern states, fighting for their liberation have been suffering under military rule and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act for many years, so also Kashmir. DGP Rathore poses as a friend of the Naga people. But his cruel thinking towards not only against the people of Chhattisgarh, but also towards the people of North East is reflected in his eagerness towards heavy deployment of para-military all-around.
Frontline (May 20, 2006) reports:
"Director General of Police (DGP) O.P. Rathore agreed that lack of personnel was a major handicap. He said: " We only have six battalions of CRPF, one battalion of the Naga force and eight battalions of the State police to man an area of 1,35,000 sq. km. Jammu and
Kashmir has 144 battlions to man an area of 55,00 sq. km (sic- actually the area is 2,22,000 sq. km.), and Manipur has 48 battalions to man 22,000 sq km."
Going by these ratios, it appears that the DGP Rathore would like to deploy about 250 battalions of paramilitary forces in Chhattisgarh! But the lesson to be learnt is that despite such heavy deployment for decades together, (or rather because of it), the
alienation of the people and even the revolt of the people has only increased.
K.P.S.Gills record in Punjab is soaked in blood Chhattisgarh government has appointed him Security Advisor to preside over massacres
Praful Bidwai writes: "Gill is a notorious votary of coercion. A great myth about him is that he effectively, yet lawfully, crushed the Punjab insurgency. His methods were lawless: torturing suspected militants, harassing their families, deploying unnumbered jeeps and killing hundreds of those merely suspected to have harboured Khalistanis. The National Human Rights Commission has just authenticated the judicial finding that almost 2,000 people were cremated without identification in a single year in Punjab. Clearly Gill has a lot to answer for. In a more just society he would be tried for crimes against humanity.The Khalistani movement died not because of Gill's brutal methods but because its militants antagonised the people. By relying on the Mizo contigents trained in counterinsurgency and more generally on brute force, Gill will visit even more violence than Salwa Judum on the Chhattisgarh people. He must be stopped in his tracks. Salwa Judum must be disbanded....... The Naxalites have a history of 39 years. They represent something in this society. It won't do to crush them by force." Meanwhile an interesting news appeared in the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar of August 24th 2006:
29 Jawans Flee from Training. On getting the news of being posted in naxal-affected Chhattisgarh, 29 Mizo Jawans of Indian Reserve Police ran away in fear on Monday leaving the training midway. They have been suspended from the services……. AIG of Mizoram, Zorammavi said that these jawans not only violated the orders of their superiors, they also tried to take away government guns and magazines."
Massive clamp down to prevent 8th March 2005 International Womens Day Celebrations in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh.
Toiling women of the region had been organizing themselves under the banner of the Mahila Mukti Manch. The previous year they had observed 8th March at Pratappur and Bargarh and thousands of rural women had participated enthusiastically. In 2005, they decided to celebrate 8th March in the district headquarters - Ambikapur. The subject matter of the meeting was the present situation of violence against women and its relation with Imperialist globalization, and the situation of Sarguja, where rural poverty forces large-scale migration of women and girls to the metropolitan cities mostly for work as domestic help in the houses of the rich and prosperous.
The Collector had granted permission to the Mahila Mukti Manch to hold the programme on a ground near the Collectorate. But it appears that, realising thousands of women might reach Ambikapur, the administration backed out at the last moment. They therefore suddenly shifted the venue to a college ground and held their sarkari
(governmental) 8th programme at the venue alloted to the Mahila Mukti Manch earlier. Inspite of prior permission for the programme, thousands of women, men and children coming for the program were forcibly stopped 20 to 30 kms outside Ambikapur. In protest against this outrageous behaviour, people conducted meetings whereever they
The town looked as though it was under seige, all the crossings of the major roads were manned by machine-gun totting policemen. The police had arrested a woman activist three days earlier, and local newspapers were briefed by the administration that a leading woman Naxalite had been arrested in a village near Ambikapur with propaganda material for the 8th March programme. This story was utilized to crack-down on the proposed demonstration.
Police propaganda flashed it as a big success, when they arrested some women and children engaged in preparation for the Women's Day Programme. Whereas those arrested included children - Vyas 12 yrs. Arvind 12, Sushma 11, Rinku 10 and two women - Rekha 32 and Shankha 25 yrs.
Reacting to this, even the mainstream media had observed that these repressive actions by the state police vindicated the Maoist contention that when the state does not tolerate even a peaceful protest demonstration of the women, what other alternative is there for the people except armed struggle?
The People's War of Resistance in
Bastar (Chhattisgarh) and Jharkhand
Bastar (Chhattisgarh) and Jharkhand
To give a vivid description and a partial historical overview
We are beginning with reproducing excerpts of documents already available, namely "Dandakaranya me Janayudha ki 25vi Varshaganth" brought out recently by the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) and the book, "Inside MCC Country" authored by a noted journalist in the year 2003.
In the eye of the storm "2nd November, 1980. That day the soil of Garhchiroli was
drenched in the blood of Com. Peddi Shankar. He was the first martyr to sign in his blood, the history of revolutionary movement of Dandakaranya. Since then more than 300 comrades have laid down their lives in the last 25 years.
Adivasis who were oppressed for generations came forward in struggles in the leadership of the revolutionary party. The adivasis living in the forest realized that actually they had no rights over the forest any more. The slogans, ' All rights of forests to the adivasis' ' Land to the tiller' 'Democracy to the people' generated again the
consciousness for struggle. Brave adivasi heroes - Gend Singh, Baburao Sarmek, Gunda Dhur, Alluri Sitaram Raju, Komaram Bhimu had fought against the British imperialists before the so called independence. The masses of Dandakaranya drew inspiration from
the rich history of their ancestors and the democratic consciousness born out of these anti-imperialist struggles and resolved to carry on the present struggles. Now under the banner of red flag, they came forward for struggle with redoubled confidence.
The first battle was against the forest officials who tormented them day in and day out. Their atrocities were checked. As far as possible, they were chased out of the forests. Adivasis declared this forest is ours. On the other hand battle began against the comprador bureaucratic bourgeousie, such as Bangore, Thapar, Birla etc. who were plundering the forest resources and the labour power of the adivasis, and also against the big contractors and the government. Masses got organised around the issue of fair wages.
For the first time in the history, bamboo shoots and Tendu leaves bundles were heated up with the strikes of the adivasi masses. Employers expert in buying up the revisionist and bourgeois trade unions, and crushing the workers strikes in the factories, had to bend before the oppressed adivasi people. There was no reply to the question raised by the red flag of the battle that, "can the guns of the police cut the bamboo, can the they collect the tendu leaves ?"
The oppressed adivasi masses struggled not only against the government and the capitalists, but they also didn't spare the notorious feudal headmen who had carried out begaar, atrocities and oppression in the name of social customs and penalties. Their hegemony was demolished. These elements had earlier had a tremendous hold over
village life because of having a large share of land deeds of the forest land and in their occupation of land by clearing the forest. To loosen their stranglehold, their lands were seized in the leadership of the red flag. About three lakh acres of land were seized. As a result of 25 years of struggle there is not a single landless peasant in Dandakaranya. We declare it with pride. Through their mass struggles the adivasis put an end to the exploitation of the traders who used to loot large quantities of precious forest produce in return for a measure of salt.
The revolutionary politics of Naxalbari clearly declared for the first time that in this country, agrarian revolution is the only way to solve the problems of the peasantry and that the peasants have to organize protracted people's war. Definitely we can say that for the oppressed adivasi masses of Dandakaranya the process of organizing with the aim to capture state power started after 1980. Peasants organizations came into existence in the villages. Revolutionary movement organized not only the men, but the women and children too. The dramatic changes brought about by the revolutionary
movement in the country side could not have been imagined earlier. Hegemony of the revolutionary organizations was established in the villages.
In the initial period of revolutionary activity, these mass organizations worked openly. But later on, with increasing repression, they had to work underground. In the first phase of repression, mass organizations were crushed temporarily. But the enemy was unable to crush them completely. Slowly these organizations became active again. By 1995, 60 thousand peasants, men and women, were organized in various mass organizations mainly, Dandakaranya Adivasi Mazdoor Kisan Sangh (DAKMS), Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangh (KAMS), Adivasi Bal Sangha,(ABS), Chetana Natya Mandali (CNM) etc. Presently this number has crossed one and a half lakh. Initially, the responsibility of protecting the organizations from the feudal headmen was taken up by the cadre of the mass organiztions bearing lathis. Later the Gram Raksha Dals came into existence. Now, the basic force the People's Liberation Gurrilla Army (PLGA), the militias have taken the responsibility of protecting the mass organizations. They are giving a fitting reply to the repressive forces of the state wanting to crush these organizations. In the direct guidance of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), these organizations are leading the people of Dandakaranya towards a liberated area. Last 25 years struggle has crystallized the power of these organizations into the embryonic peoples government - Janatana Sarkar. This stage of development of the revolutionary people's war is illuminating a new path for the oppressed and toiling people....
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (People's War) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India were merged on September 21, 2004 forming the Communist Party of India (Maoist). With this, the revolutionary movement of Dandakaranya has become an integral part of the all India revolutionary movement and the march forward with the aim to form liberated areas in Dandakaranya and Jharkhand, is giving the enemy sleepless nights ……."
From "Dandakaranya me Janayudha ki 25vi Varshaganth" Mahasweta Devi, noted Bengali authoress has commented after the historic Jahanabad Jail-Action.
"There is nothing to be surprised. ..I have a good understanding of Jahanabad, Arwal, Bhojpur region. When the land grabber landlords kill the poor with the guns of Ranvir Sena filled with the ammunition of the government, then these kind of things will certainly happen. When the army has the guns and also the police, then how is the people's guerrilla war surprising? How the poor, backward dalits have been oppressed throughout is a matter of history to be written. Be it CPI-ML or the naxalites, whoever is fighting for the poor, I salute them" People's Government.
"……The mansion once belonged to Janardana Singh, the Raja of Vishnugarh in Hazaribagh. Four years ago, a group of about 100 Maoists, all belonging to the MCCI, accompanied by local villagers, had raided the house and had blasted it off with dymanite, Singh and his family had sensed trouble and had already fled. All the 3900 acres of land that belonged to him was then distributed among the villagers. About 30 kilometres away at Madhgopali in Giridih, once stood a similar mansion that belonged to Baijnath Barnwal, the local landlord. Here the dynamite of the MCC and the wrath of the people against the landlord were even stronger. So, nothing remains of the house now and 600 acres of his land was also distributed among the villagers. Girls who had the misfortune of attracting his attention had to spend nights with the landlord. That was the rule. No one dared to protest because he was ruthless," reminisced 70 year old Shiv Mahto (name changed) of Marmu village in Vishnugarh." He would pick any
girl of his choice and no one could escape his lust," Mahto said. It is this kind of rapid growth of the popularity, influence and authority of the KKC's ( Krantikari Kisan Committee) which is giving the govt sleepless nights. Of late, the institutions built by the KKC – even the schools and dams - have been identified as targets by the police. The
intention of the govt. is to create panic among the villagers and discourage them from having any association with the KKC, and, on the other hand, to lure them back to the govt. by promising relief. So far, the results have been just the opposite.
One early morning in June last year, a large contigent of police swooped down at Chowk in Palamau. Their aim was to pull down a dam. The reason: the dam was built by the MCCI. Over 200 villagers were arrested for participating in an "extremist project." A month later, the police undertook two similar operations, first in Tutki in Chatra and then in Jeridih in Giridih. Here too, villagers were arrested for participating in MCCI-run developmental projects.
In May 2001, Menka primary school at Manika in Palamau was destroyed by the police. Vinod Behari Mahto primary school in Giridih was also bulldozed in the same month. The charges against both were the same. They were being run by the MCCI.
" It is true that we were running these schools. They have been rebuilt and we are still running them. But look at the way the government is destroying even the schools now. We are surely not teaching the students the art of bomb-making," wondered Krantikari Kisan Committee leader Amaresh.
Party units, comprising the commander, deputy commander, the section commander and the political commissar, operate in each platoon. Each platoon party committee reports directly to the zonal committee of the MCCI. The party at present has 16 platoons inJharkhand. A company has also been raised by merging three platoons
as a test case. All the platoon members are obviously armed with weapons seized from the police and the CRPF. A platoon has guns, rifles, SLRs, carbines, sten gun, modern Insas rifles and now even mortars and mines. Some platoons in Jharkhand have even seized LMGs from the police.
"We do not purchase large weapons. We always snatch them from the police," informed Bihar-Jharkhand-Bengal special area committee member Marandi. " Earlier we only had .303 because that was the only weapon the police had. Now we have SLR's, sten guns,
LMGs and even mortars. Of late, the police have been given AK series rifles. So we will have them too. The more the police use sophisticated arms, the better for us." Marandi said with a smile.The platoon is the army of the alternative government the MCC is trying to give shape to, Marandi explained. Apart from engaging the police in battle, the platoon maintain order in the area and participate in political campaigns. They also help villagers in major constructions such as the building of dams and roads and digging of ponds. Apart from the platoons, the MCCI also raises local regular guerrilla squads and village level people's militia on a regular basis. " You can't have socialism unless you have a red army," Marandi said."
From 'Inside MCC Country', by journalist Aloke Banerjee
Today every village of Maad has been turned into a
The real essence of people's war is at work in Bastar today. Virtually, every village has been turned into a fortress. To protect their villages, the masses and the militias have used ingenious methods like "boobie trap", pressure bombs etc. to resist the enemy forces. People have been hiding their stock of grains in the forests to save it from loot and destruction by the government forces. In every village, there are two or three sentry posts that function round the clock. In some places, pressure bombs have been placed known only to the villagers. Utilizing the weakness of the mercenary forces to loot valuables, the villagers put bombs to radio sets which go off on being turned on. Two salwa judum goons were killed in Chinnapalli village when they tried to rob a radio. A new 'Koya Bhumkal Militia ' has been formed which along with revolutionary organizations of peoples power and the PL GA have been resisting and retaliating the state's "white terror."
Despite severe repression, massive political campaigns are also being carried out by the revolutionary mass organizations in the entire Dandakaranya area. A campaign against patriarchy in general and the inhuman brutalities of the Salwa Judum goons and paramilitary forces in particular was taken out through out the area on 8th March
2006, International Women's Day. Between 20th and 23rd March,2006 commemorating the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, thousands of adivasi peasants held meetings in hundreds of villages and distributed pamphlets. In these meetings, the imperialist loot of Bastarparticularly of iron-ore from Bailadilla by Japan which the NMDC has extended by another ten years was exposed. On 1st May, a bandh was observed against Salwa Judum. The central committee of CPI(Maoist) had also called for road-block programmes against Salwa Judum on June 14th and 15th in Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Just a few of the Heroic Actions of the PLGA in Bastar sinceSalwa Judum started
June 1, 2005: Asst. Commander of CRPF R K Mishra and 5 other CRPF personnel were killed when the PLGA ambushed a CRPF combing party near Injeram.
September 3, 2005: 22 CRPF and two state police personnel killed near Padeda village.
Murkinar raid: 11 police/SPOs killed with 49 weapons and 2700 rounds of ammunition were seized. (4 AKs, 2 sten guns, 1 mortar, 14 SLR's) 22nd
January,2006: A militia squad attacked a vehicle coming from Bijapur to Avapalli bank and seized Rs.5 lakhs.
February 6, 2006: 10 Naga Armed police personnel were killed and 8 others injured in a land-mine exploded by the PLGA in Kothacheruvru near Bhejji.
February 9, 2006: 8 CISF jawans killed in an attack on Hirauli near Dantewada, (14 SLRs, thousands of detonators and explosives seized).
Is it possible to check the ruthless exploitation of natural resources with Imperialist rule of Monopoly Capital in place?
New Democracy with the vision of Socialism and Communism isthe only way for the future.
Today, the productive forces have developed to stupendous levels.Yet, the condition of the majority of human beings on earth is absolutelymiserable. There is the unnecessary, irreversible, irreparable destruction of natures bounty under this decadent capitalism i.e. imperialism. In the concrete situation of India today, this throws up some burning questions. They have to be answered with a vision of future higher societies.
1. Displacement of crores of peasants, specially the adivasis in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand and from hundreds of SEZ's.
2. Ruthless exploitation of natural resources for destructive
production. E.g. bauxite mining for the military industry led by the US.
An article "Marx's Vision of Sustainable Human Development" by Paul Burkett in the Analytical Monthly Review shows how, quite contrary to the stereotyped vilification by some 'environmentalists', not only do Marxists deeply share the ecological concerns for sustainable development, but their class analysis of the destructive capitalist system shows the only way to put an end to this deadly journey of mankind rushing headlong towards destruction. "Marx was deeply concerned with capitalism's tendency to
"sapping the original sources of all wealth, the soil and the labourer." And he repeatedly emphasized the imperative for post-capitalist society to manage its use of natural conditions responsibly.........
In Marx's view, the "Association, applied to land, .... reestablishes, now on a rational basis, no longer mediated by serfdom, overlordship and the silly sticism of (private) property, the intimate ties of man with the earth, since the earth ceases to be an object of huckstering." As with other means of production, this "common property" in land "does not mean the restoration of the old original common ownership, but the institution of a far higher and more developed form of possession in common." Marx does not see this communal property as conferring a right to overexploit land and other natural conditions in order to serve the production and consumption needs of the associated producers. Instead, he forsees an eclipse of capitalist notions of land ownership by a communal system of user rights and responsibilities.
....... Observing capitalism's ecologically disruptive urban concentrations of industry and population, industrialized agriculture, and failure to recycle human and livestock wastes, Marx and Engels early on pointed to the "abolition of the contradiction between town and country" as "one of the first conditions of communal life.".........Marx's communism would dispense with the waste of natural resources and labour associated with capitalism's " anarchical system of competiton" and " vast number of employment ......... in themselves superfluous." Many anti- ecological use values could be eliminated or greatly reduced under a planned system of labour allocation and land use, among them advertising,the excessive processing and packaging of food and other goods, planned obsolescence of products, and the automobiles. All these destructive use values are "indispensable" for capitalism; but from the standpoint of environmental sustainability they represent "the most outrageous squandering of labour-power and of the social means of production."
Under socialist reconstruction in the USSR and China, these questions were attempted to be answered practically. Particularly, during the great proletarian cultural revolution in China, the toiling people of China under revolutionary leadership strove to develop and carry forward these principles into revolutionary practice by
numerous lively expreriments. In his article 'On Ten Major Relations' Comrade Mao outlined urban-rural relation as one of the fundamental contradictions to be resolved under socialism.
CONCLUSIONTo all the oppressed people of India.
Fighting against the imperialist onslaught, People's War of Resistance in Bastar shows the way
Fighting against the imperialist onslaught, People's War of Resistance in Bastar shows the way
There is a popular saying of Muria adivasis of Bastar, " Heaven is miles and miles of forest of Mahua trees and hell is miles and miles of forest of Mahua with one forest guard in it." One forest guard by himself does not have the power to make lives of thousands of people hell. He represents the state power and there lies his capacity to turn the lives of lakhs of people into hell. This simple adivasi saying has actually captured the crux of what is the real nature of state power.
Ira Jha in the Hindi daily Hindustan (November 23, 2005) has observed, " This much is a fact that the Naxalites have provided the tribals of Bastar what their elected govt could not provide. Now the contractor doesn't take away their forest produce in exchange with salt, they get justified wages for the tendu leaves they collect and
those teachers who only used to make an appearance on salary day, can be seen teaching regularly. Terror of the police and the forest officials has decreased so much that the graph of crime in Bastar has fallen drastically."
Indian state power is in the hands of three classes. On the ground level there are the feudals like Janardan of Vishnugarh, Baijnath of Giridih, Mahendra Karma, Rambuvan Kushwaha in Bastar. Then there are the compradors of India like Tata, Ambani, Essar, Jindal, Birla etc. On top are the masters of all, the international finance capital, Cargil
and Monsanto, Citicorp and J.P. Morgan Chase,WB, ADB, and the IMF.
Politically and economically, the imperialists reproduce, or say, consolidate feudalism which is the main prop on the basis of which they penetrate the economy and exercise their strangle-hold over the Indian people. Apart from this, in our vast and highly complex society with uneven and varied development, there are some very specific features in different regions and the method of concrete analysis of the concrete situation has to be followed.
There were times when the productive forces of human society were not developed enough to prevent certain calamities. Society was at a loss when faced with small-pox, tuberculosis, gastro-enteritis, malaria to name only a few. Even kings could not survive these. In face of a crop failure, societies were often without foodgrains and vast
populations perished without food.
But today, the productive forces have developed to such a level that, human beings taken together, grow enough foodgrains to sustain mankind for many years at a stretch. Medical knowledge and technique are so developed today that the killer diseases of yesterday are easily curable. This qualitative development of the productive forces has
the associated factor of socialization of production, socialization of labor and socialization of knowledge. Whatever we have today, is the sum total of labour and knowledge, the input of millions of laboring human beings over the generations. In the production process, there is a phenomenal socialization, but what about distribution? Can a handful of persons claim that these materials are their products? When one simply lights a gas stove with an electronic spark lighter or an adivasi lights his chulha (earthen stove) with a match-stick, we should not forget our ancestors who labored so hard to establish fire as an invention of human society.
Yet, does an expectant mother or the child to be born have a better chance of surviving childbirth today? Why is it that the astounding development in the productive forces and in the science of medicine has not helped, first to reduce and then to (almost) do away with these mortality rates?
Then to what use are these stupendous strides in the productive forces being put? Aren't a handful of monopolies indulging in destructive production processes robbing, not only the present population but also the future generations of their share in nature's
bounty? Can we expect that the state shall quietly withdraw the lone forest guard who is making the lives of lakhs of adivasis and of the poor people a hell and let them live in peace?
On the contrary, MOU's are there for these forests to be peopled only by guards for their master's benefit. In fact, the MOU signed by our governments with the ADB as far back as 1996 includes the directives that there shall be a ban on new recruitments in all government posts. According to these directives, new recruitments shall take place only in the police department.
So, the moot question is, how to turn our forest from hell to heaven by dealing with the forest guard? As has been described in detail in the previous chapters, this hell, wherein, people are undergoing immense suffering - suicides by lakhs of peasants, displacement of crores, unemployment and uncertainty of employment for the whole
new generation, heavy army deployment and associated atrocities such as the Armed Forces Special Power Act just to mention a few. And on other side is the jump from millionaire to billionaire status for a few, with malls and multiplexes displacing millions of shopkeepers and urban slum dwellers. So, what is to be done?
All the political parties are working only as a prop of the present system. Their degeneration has gone so far that, even the common people do not have any faith in them. The few NGO's which are taking up some issues that concern the masses, do not go beyond treating only the symptoms, which has the effect of serving as a safety valve.
The people of course are fighting. Where the revolutionaries have their work, people are joining them in large numbers to carry forward the struggles. Where various other mass-organizations or social organizations are there, people are fighting carrying their banner. Where there are no such organizations, people are spontaneously going ahead with the struggles. But how can these struggles lead to a qualitative break from the shackles of this exploitative system? Learning from history, from an objective study of our society and from the revolutionary practice paid for by the blood of the best among us, we the Maoists are carrying out armed agrarian revolution in the direction of forming base areas, initially in Dandakaranya, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Here Janathana Sarkar and Krantikari Kisan Committee are the rudimentary organs of the people's new democratic state, which is a concrete alternative to the present
exploitative and unbearable system.
At present, the vicious Salwa Judum military campaign is being carried out by the Indian state with a clearly expressed intention to target the adivasi masses, who are the main support base of the Maoists as has been demonstrated earlier. It is very much in fashion for the officials associated with the repressive measures in Bastar to talk about
taking the water (people) away from the fish ( the Maoists). This establishes one thing for sure, which is that if they are having to strategise and take such large-scale and cruel methods to separate the two, it shows that the party is deeply integrated with the people. There are a number of well intentioned intellectuals and citizens, who when confronted with the grave situation start thinking, " aren't the people becoming victims in the fight between the state and the Maoists? " Another related question that crops up is about the violent means adopted by the Maoists and carrying it further they ask whether by " taking up armed struggle, are you not inviting greater repression?" These are serious questions and we are accountable to the people on these counts. As seen earlier, we find the brutal fascist state 'emptying the water' to 'kill the fish'. In this context, the people and the party are integrated as a single whole and it is not possible to separate the two however much the commanders take their lessons from their US experts. The state is trying to separate the two physically or militarily. But when our well-meaning intellectuals counter pose the two, they are doing the same thing theoretically.
We have about one and a half lakh members in our revolutionary mass organizations in Bastar. The DGP Rathore says there are 45-50 thousand Maoist sangham members. Who are the Maoists? Have they fallen from the sky? Aren't they the children of the growing people's struggle against this unjust and intolerable system? Today there is a situation of fascist onslaught in Bastar akin to the invasion of an army of occupation. The State is pressing into service spies, mercenaries and feudal bloodsuckers in cruel counter insurgency tactics. The US imperialists' strategies of ' relocation' and ' scorched earth policy' are being applied with a vengence to facilitate the loot of mineral resources for compradors. And yet the the state officials are on record admitting that after the initiation of the Salwa Judum, " there has been a spurt in the Maoist recruitment". In fact, in this situation of intensification of war, the adivasi people under the revolutionary leadership, have formed a new "Koya Bhoomkal Militia" and are putting up a determined resistance against the state. Hundreds of villages sought to be emptied or starved are heroically resisting en masse, they are preferring to join the war of
resistance rather than suffer subjugation silently. Hundred of the adivasis are daring to escape from the state concentration camps. Even during incidents like the attack on Errabore or the land-mine killing Pakhanjor traders, people are venting their rage against Mahendra Karma, DGP Rathore, and the Home Minister Netam. Entire villages are bravely resisting the land aquistion for the Tata and Essar steel plants. Thousands of adivasis protested at Kondagaon against molestation of an adivasi woman by the SAF jawans. Traders of Dornapal carried out a bandh on 16th October 2006 protesting the
cold-blooded murder of a fellow trader by the Naga jawans. Even the well managed media admits about a rally taken out in Dantewada on 14th November 2006 that :
"More than 50,000 villagers came walking 150 to 200 km to say that they do not want Salwa Judum. ……The villagers also raised the slogans against Mahendra Karma and also opposed Tata and Essar in Bastar"
When the police is acting like an occupation army, ousting the tribals of Bastar from their homes and lands, left and right, the urgent need is to strengthen the resistance against this bloody campaign. And our intellectual friends still feel that the adivasis are "being ground between two stones"?
No doubt the State and the ruling classes countinuously devise methods -both savage and subtle, to create divisions among the people, and even inflict serious losses on the struggling people from time to time. If the Salwa Judum or the Sendra or the SPO's are one face of this policy, then the Panchayat Elections or the Forest Protection Committees or the aid agencies are the other. However, the events in Bastar confirm our firm strategic understanding that the present ruthlessly exploitative system, backed by brutal repression is so structured that it can only feul the urge of vast sections of the people to struggle for their very survival. Such divisions can not stop
the people for long from advancing the struggle and swelling the revolutionary ranks. The stage of 'base area' towards which our party is determinedly advancing, is not merely a territorial concept, but rather a concept of creating the conditions to qualitatively release the political initiative of broad masses of the people; to create organs of people's political power; and destroy the state's capacity to either "dangle the
carrot" or "wield the stick".
The central issue, therefore in resolving these kind of questions is the understanding about State power, and also the understanding that the vast masses of toiling people are the creators of history. Of course the lackeys of finance capital had long ago pronounced the end of history. Yes, it is the people who have the capacity to smash
this hellish semi-feudal, semi-colonial state under the grip of finance capital and carry forward the march of history. The CPI(Maoist) not only has the supreme confidence in the people but also believes that at this stage of development of productive forces, it is the period of conscious history making.
Intellectuals of Independent Citizens Initiative have expressed, "Even if your party builds a thousand irrigation ponds and runs schools, can you ever replace the resources that the government has, and to which the people have a right?"
It is true that the resources are there and the people's rights too are there written in the words of the constitution like 'sovereignty' and 'socialism' But then, there is that lone forest guard turning all the visions of entitlements into hell. The state as an instrument of class rule, of oppression, for exploiters to use against the people is present throughout. That is how the schools of the state become the barracks of the CRPF and the schools built by the revolutionary people are bulldozed by the state.
Even at the cost of repitition, it is proper to narrate the instance of Lingo, Bodo, Paiku, Mara and Rupa, five poor adivasis of Dantewada who had their land with valuable timber trees. Mahendra Karma along with Gupta, Surana and Awasthi, in collusion with the government officials looted 16 lakh rupees from these poor adivasis and paid only 1.5 lakh out of 17.5 lakh due to them. The highest authorities of our country - the Supreme Court, Lokayukta and CBI took cognizance of the case but nothing came out of it. People are suffering every day, every hour, every minute, from this instrument of
oppression of the exploiting classes - the state power. So even if the government has enormous resources, the people have no access to these. Notwithstanding the constitution and the elections, this state, this government, the judiciary, legislature and the executive are the very instruments to deny the people these resources, this state has to be smashed and a new democratic state of the people has to be established. It is only then that the resources, created by the labour of the toiling masses and to which their right is inalienable, will indeed be theirs.
Today the vast masses, the toiling people of India are reeling under devastating onslaught of imperialist policies implemented through various agencies particularly the US-India CEO Forum. Tata as co-chairman has been anointed to lead on behalf of the imperialist masters the policy to loot the rich mineral resources and cheap labor in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand. Thus a fierce battle is raging in the tribal areas as the adivasi people resist displacement and dispossession and the state unleashes brutal repression to facilitate the corporate loot. This is at the centre of the corporate debate, as 'The Guardian' had noted.
Thus Kalinga Nagar, Kashipur, Lanjhigarh, Lohajimi, Ulijhari, Singbhum, Singur…..and Bastar.
And today, the people's war in Bastar, is where the most heroic resistance is being put up. Just like the brave resistance of the Iraqi people against the US army occupation for oil and hegemony, the people of Bastar in the leadership of CPI(Maoist) are resisting the
hidden imperialist war for loot .They are at the very forefront of the battle. Their struggle shows the way for the people of India. In 1967, making a clear theoretical analysis of the rotten exploitative and brutally repressive semi-feudal semi-colonial State, making a decisive break with revisionism, and placing a firm step on the path of agrarian revolution through protracted people's war the glorious Naxalbari movement had been initiated with the slogan "Naxalbari shows the way." As the movement of the CPI (Maoist) has determinedly advanced through countless sacrifices over the past four decades, revolutionary practice has established that indeed "Naxalbari is the only path".
We end this discussion with a call to the people of this country to steadfastly stand by the people of Bastar and the revolutionaries in their heroic people's war of resistance against the genocidal onslaught of the Indian State. And to support the determined struggles of the revolutionary masses in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and all over India.
We also call upon the people to turn this battle into a war of the oppressed people of the world to unitedly uproot the imperialist powers along with their lackeys and indeed dig their grave in the soil of Asia!
APPENDIX - 1
Letter of the General Secretary, CPI(Maoist) to the Members of the Independent Citizens' Initiative
Letter of the General Secretary, CPI(Maoist) to the Members of the Independent Citizens' Initiative
Independent Citizens' Initiative
I received the letter sent by six prominent personalities of the Independent Citizens Initiative who had visited Dantewara district of Chattisgarh on a fact finding mission in last May. I could not ascertain when the letter was actually sent as it did not bear any date and I could get hold of it only recently. On behalf of our Party I thank you all
for your letter and the responsible attitude and genuine desire shown by you to put an end to the armed conflict in Dantewara between the oppressed adivasis on the one hand and the state-sponsored salwa judum, state police and central para-military forces on the other. I convey my apologies to you for the long delay in sending a reply, whatever are the reasons on our side.
Our Party appreciates the serious efforts made by you in your genuine quest for finding a resolution to the tragic conflict that had suddenly flared up in Dantewara since June 2005 and has taken over 400 lives until now. It is indeed heartening to all of us waging a just war for the liberation of the most oppressed sections of the Indian society to see democratic intellectuals like you seeking to explore the truth and place it before the world. There are some good articles written by some of you such as the one in The Hindu by Sri EAS Sharma, which made attempts to present the truth in a more objective manner. He had correctly analysed the origin and nature of salwa judum in sharp contrast to the barrage of false propaganda that it is a spontaneous movement and an uprising against the Maoists: "It is certainly not a "peoples' movement" as it has been made out to be. It is a State- sponsored campaign in which unsuspecting Adivasis are used as
ammunition in a war that will serve the private interests of a few." He had also traced the exploitation of the adivasis by the non-tribal tradercontractor nexus: "For decades, unethical land-grabbers, wily traders, and exploitative contractors, all non-tribals, have dominated the lives of t he Adivasis in this area, undeterred."
I would also make it crystal-clear at the outset that just as you do, our Party too believes "that the well-being and all-round development of the adivasis in Dantewada and elsewhere should be the central theme of any discussion or effort that impacts their lives, either directly or indirectly." However, what we do not believe, unlike you, is "that the defence of the rights of the adivasis can be ensured more effectively through political, non-violent and open means, rather than through armed struggle." And it is precisely these diametrically opposite ideological-political beliefs by our respective sides regarding the means to be adopted to defend the rights of the adivasis that has led to two differing viewpoints in grasping the reality of the class war in Dantewara. And it is these differing perceptions, outlooks and class biases that are coming in the way of arriving at a correct solution to the ongoing conflict, or what could be more correctly described as a war between the revolutionary forces versus counter-revolutionary
forces, that is going on not only in Dantewara but in various parts of the country. Can you show us one instance from the pages of Indian history where the rights of the adivasis were ensured through nonviolent and open means? And not just in India but anywhere in the word for that matter? What have the tribals of Kalinganagar received
for their peaceful protest against Tata Steel?
You have placed nine questions before our Party. In brief, these are: lack of response from our Party to your call for a dialogue with the government and declaration of cease-fire; our "casual attitude towards taking life"; the legitimacy of jan adalates like the one held in Manikonta; that our Party is placing mines "all over"; that we are training minors under 18 in the use of arms and destroying schools used by the CRPF,
our Party's oppoition to the right to vote, road construction and access to government funds for development; putting people to risk and inviting greater repression by resorting to armed struggle; subordinating the int rests of the people of Bastar and Dantewara to our wider goal of capture of state power; and showing no distinction between civilians and combatants and so on.
Before answering these questions, the tenor and tone of which unmistakably betray the mind and attitude of the liberal democratic intelligentsia, I wish to ask you one straight question: How does one get to know the truth from a plethora of facts? Can you say with full confidence that your perception of the reality in Dantewara is not tainted by your ideological biases against the Maoist movement and violent revolution? Is it possible for anyone, even if one claims to be a neutral or impartial intellectual, to analyse facts and arrive at conclusions correctly if he/she has an inherent aversion for armed struggle? We know that our answers will not satisfy you. How is it possible when we both have different ideological and political perceptions towards the means to be adopted to bring the oppressed out of their miserable conditions of existence? There is no level playing field in the merciless class war between the cruelly exploited, brutally oppressed majority on the one hand, and the fatty upper five per cent of our society bulging at the expense of the hundreds of millions of poor on the other. In a class-divided society there cannot be any absolute truth. The truth of the oppressed is different from the truth of the oppressor. This has been true right from the time of Spartacus and the unsung slave heroes who waged struggle against slavery. Either
you were with the slaves, in which case Spartacus and the rebels represented a just cause and truth, or you were with the slave owners for whom the revolts were merely the unjust acts of the slaves who had strayed from their duty of serving their masters. Likewise if Bhagat Singh was a hero for the Indian people he was the greatest terrorist
and villain for the British colonialists.
In class conflicts, unlike in ordinary sport, it is impossible to have an impartial referee who cries foul whenever there is a violation of the rules by either side. For class war is no game played out between equals based on rules that apply to both sides equally. It is an unequal war between the mighty militarised state that stands in defence of the propertied classes and their "right" to exploit the majority at will, and the vast majority of the wretched of the earth—hungry, homeless,emaciated, docile, help less masses—who, in the eyes of the ruling elites, are not much distinct from the slaves of bygone millennia. Rules are preset by these very same exploiters through their Constitution with enough provisions for violating the same. Those who imagine themselves to be impartial referees in class war and try to set the rules equally for both sides will ultimately end up as apologists for the oppressors, in spite of their good intentions and sincere attitude. Anyone who thinks that he/she is being impartial in a class-divided society is only a victim of his/her fanciful imagination.
You have condemned both types of violence, i.e., violence unleashed by the state and salwa judum goons at the behest of the imperialist Macs, big corporate houses like Essar and Tata, unscrupulous traders, contractors, as well as collaborationist adivasis
leaders who had become part of the ruling elites, on awakened adivasis masses who are struggling for their just rights and liberation under the leadership of our Party on one hand, and the legitimate revolutionary violence resorted to by the oppressed adivasis on the other. You held both sides responsible for the unfortunate situation. How can you equate the violence of the oppressor with the legitimate violent response of the voiceless oppressed? Whom would such a stand help ultimately? Would it not provide added strength to the oppressors and help perpetuate their domination? All these have to be pondered over by democratic-minded intellectuals. We sincerely appeal to you to stand more firmly on the side of the oppressed and then it will not be much difficult to find answers to most of the seemingly perplexing questions.
Now we shall try to answer your points very briefly:
1. You had called on us to declare a cease-fire and enter into a dialogue with the government. You were dismayed that we had no responded to your call and had even escalated the violence. You also queried whether we are prepared for a dialogue? When the enemies of the people have a single agenda of suppressing the struggling masses through ever-increasing brute force, where does dialogue come in? In fact, ever since 1998 we had always been responding positively for a dialogue on the issues of the people provided the government cried a halt to its repression and oppression of adivasis and created a conducive atmosphere for dialogue by withdrawing the police and para-military camps from the countryside, punish the guilty officers responsible for murders and rapes, and so on.
Today, along with the above demands, other demands such as:
immediate disbanding of salwa judum, punishment to the perpetrators of atrocities on the people, suspension of the Public Security Act, 2006, removing obstructions on adivasis who want to go back to their villages from the so-called relief camps have also come to the fore. Is there any justness in asking us to one-sidedly declare a cease-fire
and go for dialogue without the government first creating a conducive atmosphere? The talks in AP in 2004 had exposed the hypocrisy and heinous game plans of the Indian ruling classes when the government refused to extend the cease-fire, commenced brutal attacks and created conditions which made second round of talks impossible under YSR's Congress regime. These bitter lessons have naturally become a deterrent for talks anywhere in the country. To ask us to declare cease-fire even as the exploiting classes continue their cruel barbaric campaign against the people means asking us to commit suicide. It is like the poor lamb believing the butcher. We appeal to you to think over the dangerous implications of your call for a cease-fire from our side in today's conditions.
2. You conveyed your worry at our "casual attitude towards taking away life". Deaths of members of the marriage party returning from Gadchiroli or of the traders in Kanker were unfortunate incidents that occurred due to mistaken identity. No revolutionary would ever think of committing such attacks on innocent people. * Social scientists and
investigative journalists do not stop at mere facts that happen. They would go into the causes behind these incidents, the history and ideology of those who committed such acts, and the overall prevalent atmosphere that triggered such incidents. Such incidents are exceptions in our long-drawn revolutionary struggle spanning over 25 years in Dandakaranya. Our ideology and politics teach us to protect the people as the pupil of our eyes. We value life and peace as no other party or even a humanist does. It is our love and commitment to the people that had drawn us away from our homes and families and goads us on to sacrifice our lives so as the vast majority can live in peace. To accuse us of having a casual attitude towards taking away life is a myth fabricated by the bourgeois media. Our society including the sharpest critics of the ruling classes are bound to be influenced at least to some extent by this subtle propaganda. With greater care and more meticulous planning we assure you that we shall strive to avoid such unfortunate incidents in future.
We are as much grieved as you when policemen are killed in our ambushes and raids. We made several appeals to the policemen and their families not to kill innocent people or launch attacks on our cadre. We had issued leaflets appealing the Naga battalion jawans, CRPF jawans to defy orders from their superiors and to desist from attacks.
We have composed a number of songs describing the plight of poor and unemployed youth who are forced to join police force due to lack of alternative employment. Whenever we attack the police we try to minimise bloodshed. We had never killed any policeman who surrendered. We do not harbour any anger towards ordinary policemen but would anyone expect us to remain silent when people are tortured,
killed, women are raped, houses and property destroyed by the policepara- military-salwa judum goondas? We stand for the defence of the people's rights and it is for this reason we are compelled to attack those who are snatching away people's right to live. You would not have suggested a reconsideration of the strategy of people's war itself just because a few mistakes were committed had you known why; in the first place, we had taken up arms.
3. Regarding the Jan adalat in Manikonta village, the first point we would like to place before you is that those who were punished were not villagers as you describe them but were paid SPOs and SJ goons who had committed terrible atrocities on the people in the name of salwa judum. A retribution of that order is a necessity to control these goons. Common people, generally speaking, do not go to the extent of killing those who had committed crimes. The fact that hundreds of people who were present in the Jan adalat resorted to this extreme measure shows the pent-up anger and righteous indignation of the people intimidated since June 2005 without a let up. You had questioned for evidence that due process was followed in the Jan adalats. Before such a question is placed we request you to examine the so-called justice system that is being implemented by the state in Dantewara-Bastar region or anywhere in our country for that matter. Does due process mean engaging professional lawyers (who turn out very often to be unethical professional liars) to prove one's crime (which is the rarest thing that can happen in our country if you see real-life criminals occupying highest positions of power while hundreds of thousands of innocent languish in jails without trial for years without end). When it is a universally known fact that nine out of ten cases do not get justice through the so-called courts of law why should you find fault with people when they themselves punish the culprits as in the Jan adalats held under the leadership of our Party?The very fact that out of the 57 people taken away by the jan militia led by our PLGA from the concentration camp, 44 of them were let off after due investigation of their deeds speaks of the fairness of the jan adalats unlike the so-called courts of law that let off the real culprits and throw the innocents for long years into jails. Moreover, if we see our past history you will find that several times we had let off even police officers after detaining them for days when their crimes were not proved in the investigation. Many anti-social elements were simply censured and let off. It is only the most notorious anti-people criminallumpen elements and proven agents of the enemy who were given the highest punishment of death.
In principle, we are against death penalty and our new system that would evolve after the seizure of power will scrap death sentence. But now the oppressed people and the revolutionaries are compelled to resort to it for our defence as even our very survival is at stake if proven counter-revolutionaries are allowed to create havoc with people's lives and pass on information about our movements to the police. And as for evidence let me tell you that the excellent evidence collected by us—recorded cassettes of the entire investigation in the jan adalat which we had placed by the side of the dead bodies for the world to know — had been taken away by the police. We request you to bring pressure on the government and also ask the courts to direct the police to produce the cassettes. That would answer your question about evidence for due process. If you are ready to collect live evidence then thousands of people in Dantewara are prepared to place the facts before you whenever you come.
4. It is a baseless allegation that we had laid mines all over. People, to defend their very existence, are compelled to plant mines here and there in order to check the influx of hundreds of state forces and SJ goons who are creating a reign of terror in the villages. Neither is this indiscriminate or on an extensive scale. We also do not believe we can prevent salwa judum by using mines. We are with the world people in condemning the use of mines and all other weapons of mass destruction that create more "collateral damage" to borrow the phrase from the greatest terrorist of our time, George Bush Jr., and we stand for total ban of these weapons. If the indiscriminate use of grenades, mortars and aerial bombing by the state's forces which are deployed in thousands in Dantewara-Bastar region killing or wounding hundreds of people is stopped then there is no need for us to use this weapon. We believe that it is people, and people alone, who can smash salwa judum through mass political movements and mass armed retaliation. Weapons are used by our PLGA and the people's militia as they have to confront an enemy armed with the deadliest of weapons that are used for suppressing the just and peaceful movements of the people. In fact it is the salwa judum and the large-scale atrocities by the police and para-military forces that had led the people to arm themselves en masse and build armed defence system for their selfdefence. They have every right to defend themselves with whatever kinds of weapons available.
5. As regards training minors under 18 years in the use of arms, we wish to make it clear that our policy and the PLGA constitution stipulate that no one should be taken into the army without attaining 16 years of age. And this age limit is strictly followed while recruiting. In the specific conditions prevailing in the war zone children attain mental and political maturity by the time they complete 16 because they are directly or indirectly involved in the revolutionary activity from their very childhood. They receive basic education and political training early in their lives and have organisational experience as members of balala sangham (children's associations).
But now the enemy has changed the entire situation in this region by pursuing a policy of "kill all, burn all, destroy all" not sparing even children and old people who are forced to flee the villages and stay in forests and have to arm themselves for their self-defence. When the enemy is erasing every norm of international law, the oppressed people have the full right to arm themselves and fight. Making a fuss over age makes no meaning in a situation where the enemies of the people are targeting children too without any mercy. If the boys and girls do not do resist with arms they will be eliminated completely. The intellectuals of the civil society should understand this most inhumane
and cruel situation created by the enemy and take the side of the people instead of pushing them more onto the defensive by raising all sorts of idealistic objections.
As for destroying schools used by the CRPF as their camps, neither the people nor our Party think it is wrong. The schools, once they are occupied by these forces, are transformed into torture chambers and concentration camps and there is no hope that they will once again be used as schools in the near future. Moreover, in many villages that did not have a school for the past six decades after the so-called Independence, new RCC school buildings are now coming up on a war footing for providing the needed infrastructure for the 'carpet security system'. People living in the villages know for what purpose these buildings are being built. That is why they have decided to destroy them and our Party fully stands by the people.
Education of the adivasis is not affected by destruction of school buildings used by the security forces but by the destruction of entire villages (upto 900 villages had been uprooted since June 2005) by the state police, para-military forces and salwa judum goondas with active police support. In mid-July thousands of students whose education was disturbed by salwa judum goondas came into the streets demanding education and gave slogans against police-judum gangs for depriving them of education. We must all demand the immediate withdrawal of all police-CRPF camps from schools and colleges in villages and towns, stop the destruction of villages and killing of teachers and students by judum goons, allow people to go back to their villages from the so-called rehabilitation centres, and to provide all facilities for education. While destruction of school buildings had taken place in a few villages where people's very existence has become a question mark you still think that this is affecting the education of the children rather than seeing it in a larger perspective affecting the
lives of the entire people. We are curious to hear what you would say of hundreds of other villages which do not have schools although "Maoist threat" does not exist in those villages? It is for you to ponder over whether we are in any way responsible for the lack of education to the children of Dantewara.
6. Another white lie doing the rounds ever since the Maoist movement began to be recognised by a significant section of the people as the only alternative to solve their basic problems, is that we are against development and that we obstruct people from exercising their right to vote and to participate in government-sponsored development works. Nothing can be farther from truth. We were surprised to see that you too had fallen prey to this vicious disinformation campaign unleashed by the government
and the media controlled by the big moneybags. You wrote: "Not all the lack of development can be blamed on the government People have a right to vote, to work on road construction schemes, to access panchayat money, all of which your party has opposed."
Is it true that we are in anyway responsible for lack of development? We had never, I repeat never, opposed any schemes of the government if those really helped in ameliorating the lives of the people. You can verify this assertion of ours through independent investigation and not based on complaints from those bigwigs like Mahendra Karma and his agents among the adivasis and the nonadivasi exploiters who feel deprived of the funds that would flow into their pockets if the Maoists were not present.
Our party spokesperson had already explained what model of development our Party stands for which has been published in the EPW and hence I will not elaborate much on this aspect. The main point is that we oppose any development that plays havoc with the lives of the people. You might have known how an Essar and a Tata managed to get the consent of the adivasis by holding fake gram sabhas at gun point (see Down to Earth October 31, 2006). There is immense wealth in the areas inhabited by adivasis from Jharkhand to AP and all the big guns have their greedy eyes fixed on this wealth. Hence they leave no stone upturned to grab this wealth even if it means massacring the indigenous people, razing entire villages to the ground and suspending all fundamental rights of the people. In just the three states Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa over three lakh crores of rupees are likely to be pumped in to extract several times more wealth to fill the coffers of these steel and aluminium barons of India and imperialist countries. And the so-called adivasi leaders like Karma expect fat commissions and bribes from their masters for clearing the areas of Maoists. This is the logic behind salwa judum. We haven't placed a blanket ban on all kinds of roads and railway lines. We oppose the laying of only those roads and railway lines that are meant for looting the wealth from the region and for enemy troop movement. It is an open secret that the railway line from Waltair to Kirandul was meant for looting the raw material from Bastar to the imperialist countries like Japan just as the British did during their colonial rule. The proposed line from Raoghat to Jagdalpur is meant for the same purpose. Would you, as enlightened intellectuals support these mega-development projects that result in underdevelopment and misery for the vast masses?
We support the just demand of the adivasis that the raw materials of the region belong to them, that they should not be displaced from their homes due to so-called development projects such as mines and steel plants, and that roads and railway lines should not be laid for looting the wealth from the region. We stand in the forefront of
their struggle against these huge projects and the roads and railway lines meant for draining the wealth from the adivasi areas. We expect support from democratic intellectuals like you to prevent wealth from flowing out of the adivasi regions and from our country itself. We have our own model of development which you can see in the areas where we have established the real democratic rule of the masses. You know
very well that most of the development funds do not reach the really needy. So much about the story of development.
Even more amusing is the charge against us that we prevent people from voting. The very same marauders who trample underfoot all the fundamental rights of the people guaranteed by our so-called Constitution, lament when the Maoists take up election boycott campaign. Here we wish to make it clear that people have not only the right to vote but also the right to boycott. But this right is snatched away at gunpoint by the rulers who deploy huge contingents of central forces to intimidate and force people against their will to vote for their very oppressors. This has been most conspicuous in AP where people are threatened with dire consequences if they dare to boycott and, in
several instances, are even pulled out of their houses on the polling day and brought to the booths. During the last elections in 2003 and 2004 in Chattisgarh helicopters were used to create terror and huge para-military force was deployed in the name of preventing the Maoists from foiling the elections. Just as other political parties have the right to campaign for electing them to power the CPI (Maoist) too has the right to call upon the people to boycott the elections that are only meant to suppress them. Never was force used by our Party to prevent people from exercising their franchise. This is easily verifiable from the people in our areas of armed struggle.
Boycott of election is a political tactic of our party to mobilize, organize and rouse the oppressed masses against the rotten system and to make them realise the necessity to destroy it through people's war. It is only then that election of a genuine people's democratic government becomes possible. With this aim, under our party leadership
and with the protection of PLGA, the oppressed masses of Dantewara- Bastar region are not only boycotting the election farce imposed by the oppressors, but are also electing their own organs of political power, Janathana Sarkars, with deep political conviction.
7. I shall deal with the 7th and 8th questions together as they are closely related. Both these question the very strategy of people's war and try to set up an artificial wall between our Party and the masses. As one of the great founder-leaders of our Party, comrade Charu Majumdar, pointed out "People's interests are the Party's interests".
There cannot be any other interest for a genuine Communist Party than that of the vast masses. It is not our armed squads that are waging the actual war but the people themselves.
We believe that it is the people, and people alone, who make history. It is they who have to liberate themselves from all kinds of oppression. Tomorrow if the Communist Party itself changes colour and becomes a bureaucratic ruler after capturing power, as it occurred in Russia and China, people will wage a bitter struggle against them also. Our Party and armed squads are mere catalysts that help the masses to achieve their liberation. It is the people who are the real heroes and we awaken them and equip them with the scientific theory of Marxism Leninism Maoism. And theory becomes a material force once it is correctly grasped by the masses. Our Party and the PLGA are able to survive the severest repression of the enemy because we are protected by the masses who act as a fortress of steel. One must have a correct dialectical understanding of the interrelationship between the Party and the masses or else mistakes such as separating
one from the other are bound to occur.
And when you ask us are we not "inviting greater repression by taking up armed struggle", I would say "Yes. But without armed struggle people will continue to live like slaves without self-respect or dignity and will perish like flies with hunger and destitution." That is why the slogan "better to die in struggle rather than succumbing to hunger!" has become so popular with the masses. You might be aware of the chilling fact that the number of people who died of hunger and disease in just the past one decade far exceeds (by five times according to an estimate) those who died in all the revolutionary wars that occurred in the last two centuries?
The ruling classes will not abandon political power or their exploitation, oppression and suppression of the people until they are forcefully overthrown. Whether to live a life of slavery and indignity and die of hunger by remaining docile or by peaceful protests (we all know the fate of those displaced by Sardar Sarovar project even after
two decades of non-violent struggle, just to take one instance), or take up arms to completely eradicate the grounds that give birth to all kinds of suppression and oppression in order to live as free and independent human beings. Our armed struggle is to draw the curtain on pre-history of humankind and herald the dawn of real history where people become the makers of their own destinies, and not a handful of moneybags and corporate gangsters.
As for measuring the support our Party enjoys among the masses anyone can easily verify it. The police could not find a single informer in hundreds of villages which made their task of suppression extremely difficult. In fact, it is the immense support that we enjoy among the masses that made the ruling classes sit up and think of ways and means to suppress us besides deploying the security forces. That was how the heinous strategy of salwa judum evolved by mobilising non-tribal exploiters, lumpen elements among the adivasis who were punished by the jan adalats for their anti-people deeds, and people from villages falling outside the areas of our struggle. It can also be
seen in the turnout in the elections with several villages boycotting the polls completely or registering extremely low percentages of votes.
8. We totally agree with your last point that "there must be a distinction between civilians and combatants" and that "those who claim to struggle for the people must struggle responsibly and with full accountability". Our Party had always demarcated between civilians and combatants. But you say such a distinction does not exist today.
We earnestly appeal to you to point out where we have not made the distinction and we shall certainly correct ourselves if it were true. We do not consider all those who joined salwa judum or those who are forced to become SPOs as our enemies. Nor are the people who are herded into the so-called relief camps set up by the government to be
treated as enemies. We only consider those who unleash brutal attacks against villages with the help of the state's forces as people's enemies and punish them. For outsiders the SPOs might appear as poor adivasis but to the masses of adivasis who had borne the brunt of their cruel attacks the hardcore among the SPOs are even more dangerous and brutal than the police. Any independent and impartial enquiry will bring this truth out. We assure you that we shall take even greater caution in this regard.
October 10, 2006 CPI (Maoist)
APPENDIX-IIAs mentioned earlier this is the single most important thread passing through all the articles. That is why we shall deal with this at length. No real communist is for violence per se. Communists are for a peaceful social system built around equality and justice. But when they seek to work for such a system they are attacked most brutally. This is not only today, but ever since the birth of communist ideology. They have been butchered, massacred and exterminated by the lakhs right from the days of the Paris Commune. It would be naïve to think that the Indian ruling classes, who have a lengthy record of violence on the oppressed masses, are any better. Besides, it is not just state
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The Question of Violence
violence that people face; in a class society as exists in India violence is endemic to the very system and the oppressed masses face it in their daily lives — from the feudal authority, by the factory managements, through archaic feudal practices of untouchability, patriarchy, superstitious beliefs, etc.
Human society, ever since the birth of classes, has moved forward only through a process of prolonged and tortuous struggles giving birth to new and more advanced systems. Human society has advanced only through sustained struggle against the violent state of the ruling classes of that period. To expect that they will today accommodate those demanding a basic change in the system is to deny the lessons
learnt from history.
For instance, Balagopal has speculated regarding an alternative response that could have been pursued by the Maoists even after the encounter killings began in AP. Would the govt,, as speculated by Balagopal, have allowed the Maoists to concentrate on exposing the anti-poor bias of the govt and extend their mass activity to a point that would have given their aspiration for state power a solid mass base? If that possibility existed, why, in the first place, did the ruling classes pounce on the legal movement in Karimnagar and Adilabad? There was then no armed activity when the disturbed areas act was declared by the Chenna Reddy govt in 1978. And how does one confront the
attacks by the landlords and the police? BG also asserts that a positive response from the state would have delegitimised the argument for revolutionary violence. The speculation of BG only displays the illusions of our intellectuals with regard to the nature of the state, rather than a realistic appraisal of the situation.
To put so much focus on violence of the Maoists appears to divert the issue, where, in the present system the masses have to face violence every day of their lives. Hundreds die each day of hunger, starvation and easily curable illness; is this not violence? Over a lakh peasants have committed suicide in the past ten years; is this not violence? Feudal and semi-feudal authority in the villages has only force as its major form; is this not violence? Workers in all but the big industries (sometime even there) have to regularly face the hoodlums maintained by the management and even the police; is this not violence? Women of our country have to face daily patriarchal violence and even thousands of so-called dowry deaths; there is no end to the violence of this system. Dalits have to face humiliation, abuse and even death on a daily basis; is this not violence? And over and above all this is the daily violence of the state, the Hindutva fascists, the mafia forces maintained by politicians, and the increasing criminalisation
of politics, big business and every aspect of the ruling system. And over-and-above all this is the violence and wars sponsored by the imperialists and their comprador agents.
So, violence is not really the issue; justice is. Or, if Naxalite violence is to be discussed, it should be in the above overall context of violence pervading every aspect of our system. If not seen in this framework we could fall prey to the abstract bourgeois concept that 'violence breeds violence'. When in fact revolutionary violence is the only
violence to end ALL violence of the existing system.
One important aspect of today's counter-insurgency operations is the massive use of an informer/espionage network to decimate the movements, not only externally, but also from within. Today, this is one of the major weapons in counter-insurgency strategies in the world, including India. This operates from the very village level, mass organisation level, to covert operations within the Party itself. Massive funds are being secretly allocated for this purpose. Many revolutionary movements throughout the world have faced trying situations because of the decimation of vast numbers of their cadre and leading forces, primarily because of this.................. Their existence has lead to the death of thousands and thousand of the best of revolutionaries throughout the world. This has been accompanied by brutal torture to extract information. Earlier the stories of the unbelievable levels of torture became public; now they make sure that this does not happen by killing off the tortured victim and by legitimizing torture (one of the 'gains' of the war against terror).
What the world sees is only the overt violence of the state not these covert operations that precede it. While the only long-term method of countering this, is by deepening the mass base of the party (not mere mass support) and by raising the political level of the party; it is also necessary to deal with them in the immediate sense otherwise it results in the massacre of the best of our cadre. If all persons in every village are tightly organised (into mass organisations, militia, and party units) it is very difficult for an informer to survive without getting noticed soon. But such intensive organisation takes time and is not so easy in the bigger villages and the urban bastis. In between the informers are recruited. If not spotted in time and dealt with, it can lead to the decimation of the entire local leadership and also possibly of other leaders visiting the area. Most of the elements recruited by the state may come from poor backgrounds, but they are mostly from lumpen or degenerate elements. They are recruits in the covert operations of the police and army. Any leniency towards them can mean (and has meant) the death of the best of our comrades. Actions on these forces, are not on civilians, but on recruits to the police/ para-military forces, and should be seen as such. This is important to understand, in the light of modern-day counter-insurgency in the form of Low Intensity Conflict devised by the MI5 (of Britain) and the CIA (of the USA) and used throughout the world.
There is yet another major misconception; as though the 'innocent' people are being caught in the cross-fire between the Naxalites and the police. Firstly, this is not a fact. Secondly, the 'people' are not some homogenous mass, they are divided into classes — the ruling elite and their hangers-on are with the state while the masses of the oppressed are with the Naxalites. In any conflict the former support the state terror (as in the Salwa Judum), while the latter act together with the Maoists to resist it. This misconception flows from a concept of a homogenous populace linked to the post-modernist thinking of a so-called 'civil society'. The latter term conceals the deep class divisions within society and results in the above confusion. Though, in all the conflicts between the state terror and the people's resistance there will be some not yet attached to either side, but the majority are divided into the two camps — a tiny minority being with the state, the masses backing the Naxalites. The above fallacy passes through allthe articles including that of Sumanta Banerjee when he says " …. the
Maoist guerrillas often betray an immature mind-set by intimidating them, instead of patiently politicizing them". In any village the masses are divided into three sections: the die-hard reactionaries, the intermediary sections who may vacillate between the two contending forces, and the masses won over by the Maoists. The above statement
would apply to the intermediary sections; but in reality the bulk of actions taken by the Maoists have been on the die-hard elements. There may have been errors; and also there may be different conceptions of who belongs to the first or second category. These can be discussed; but that three have to be clearly demarcated is fundamental to understanding the class struggle at the ground level. It is a struggle for power. The first category have to be suppressed, or else they will raise their head again, while the rest have to be patiently politicized.
There are, of course, problems of class analysis and consequently, incorrect handling of contradictions among the people due to inexperience of some cadres. Although this is an exception rather than the rule, the state has used these aberrations by magnifying them and many intellectuals who refuse to see the reality have become a prey to the manipulations of the state often joining the chorus against revolutionary violence.
Further in the same vein Sumanta Banerjee adds: "Of the two (i.e. state and CRs), the communist revolutionaries who claim to look after the welfare of the poor and the oppressed, are expected to be more humane in their choice of tactics and genuinely democratic in getting popular consent for them — particularly when such tactics affect the vast masses of uninvolved citizens. If in their drive for retaliation they stoop to the level of the police or security forces and indulge in indiscriminate attacks on soft targets …….".
Real humanity entails to unconditionally stand by the oppressed. But there is no allencompasing humanity. If one loves the rose plant intensely we must kill the caterpillar. But if the liberal says, "poor caterpillar, do not hurt it too", the next day they will find the rose eaten up. So also in a class society, where the man-eating ruling classes, fiercely crush the oppressed at ever step, real humanity means fierce hatred for their oppressors. There can be no love without hate; there is no allencompassing
love. The Maoists may err in certain actual actions, from which we will take lessons, but "to be more humane" cannot be linked to the question of civil behaviour with the enemy and their agents in our tactics. If that were so, we will end up like the rose, eaten by the
caterpillar. Having said this, there quite rightly should not be any attack on soft targets, but targets have to be kept within the framework of the politico-military aims of the movement — both immediate and longterm. For SB a school building housing the para-military, or, communication towers, may be soft targets, but for the Maoists it would be part of their long-term aims to counter the enemy forces. And for SB to go on and club the Maoist violence with that of the Islamic fundamentalists is unjust as nowhere have the Maoists consciously attacked civilians. The so-called civilians of the Salwa Judum are basically the vigilantes — the SPOs and lumpens — mobilised by the state as a vigilante force to kill, burn, loot and destroy tribal life in countering the Maoists. Though unnecessary losses should be avoided, like the two children in the Errabore camp, no people's war can be so clinical, as to have no civilian causality. The point is whether the maximum care has been taken not to affect civilians. The police/para-military have been utilizing this principled stand of the Maoists in their tactics to counter them. For instance, they travel in public transport buses along with civilians and use the masses as human shields while coming into Maoist territories.
They know well the Maoists will not attack if civilian lives are involved. They also employ unarmed policemen and home guards to collect information about the Maoists from Naxal stronghold villages, and even use women as informers as Maoists do not easily target such people. 3000 home guards were recruited recently in AP along with 1500 SPOs as admitted by the Chief Minister at the Chief Ministers' meeting on terrorism and Left extremism on September 5th this year. The Home Minister and
DGP of AP admitted that they had deliberately not given rifles in about 500 or so police stations in the state as they were sure Maoists would not attack unarmed policemen.
So, to sum up, while violence is endemic to every aspect of this brutal system, and what the ruling classes indulge in every day. The violence that characterizes Rayalaseema where the factions belonging to Congress and TDP enact massacres and murders is really heartchilling..
The State has a monopoly over violence, and Naxalite violence is not even a small fraction of what people face in their daily lives. One cannot appreciate the need for revolutionary violence unless one understands the fascist nature of today's state, the cruelty of the state's forces, tortures and fake encounters, ban on peaceful meetings, and virtual violation of the basic democratic rights of the people. The fascist nature of the state is exposed when confronted by powerful people's movements as we witness in all those areas of Maoist movement.
In fact Maoist violence is only to put to an end all this violence in this rotten system; to bring peace to our country and people. There is no worship of violence by the Maoists; the reality is that there is no other recourse in such a brutal, demonic and ruthless system. By giving such arguments the intellectuals are defacto acting to justify the State maintaining their monopoly of violence. We would sincerely ask the writers of EPW to please suggest how to end the thousands of other forms of violence of this system? How can the oppressed masses gain justice?
Finally, we wish to state that in the course of the revolutionary movement we do make mistakes on this account; but wherever we have done so we have never sought to hide it, but issued a public apology. While we will always try and learn from our shortcomings it must also be realized that no class war can be expected to be conducted with clinical precision. It is very tortuous and painful; just as the daily life of the bulk of our population is no less agonizing.
(b) Some other major arguments
Here we will take only the major arguments and leave the rest for a future discussion:
(i) There is a tendency to compare the Maoists movements of Nepal and India, pitting the Nepal Maoists present tactics as a supposed peaceful alternative to the Indian Maoists violent methods. But one should not forget the present victories of the anti-monarchy movement are built primarily on the massive politico-military successful battles by the People's Liberation Army and their ability to beat back the
attacks of the King's army. Their victories are built on the backbone of a 30,000 PLA and one lakh militia and the loss of 12,000 lives. This fact is brought out in a recent interview with the Hindi magazine Philal where Com Prachanda, the Chairman of the CPI(Maoist), said: "When we talk with the leaders of these political parties we say that had we not been armed, there would have been no 12-point understanding. Had we not been armed, Deuba would never have been able to come out of prison. Had we not been armed, many of you would have been killed because of the feudal monarchy, which murdered its blood relations inside the Palace……. We also told them that our weapons
only made the revival of your parliament possible, you are not credited with it, the credit goes to the PLA. …". Besides, change of tactics depends on the situation in the respectivecountries and the strength of the contending forces. Yechuri, as also many rightist elements has particularly sought to pit the Nepal Maoists against the Indian Maoists. While the CPM brutally suppresses the Maoists in West Bengal it is hypocritically speaking in praise of the Nepal Maoists. Instead of pitting one revolution against the other it would be far more constructive to take the positive experiences of other revolutions and see how best that could concretely be applied to the Indian revolution to take it forward.
(ii) Some of the writers have focused on questioning the very path of the revolution. The most forthright in posing this question was Tilak Gupta who has said: "…the case for revising the ideological political line and the strategy and tactics of the CPI(Maoist) is quite potent by itself because of the changed international situation and above all due to the major worldwide setback to socialism." Earlier in the article he also raised doubts on the change to Maoism. So he questions some of the very basics of the CPI(Maoist). Sagar too after raising questions on a large number of tactical questions — idealizing
elections, pitting mass action against armed struggle, opposing democratization of tribal culture, negating its successes and only focusing on its supposed lack of presence everywhere (as though all over the world Marxists are making sweeping gains), etc — he goes to the extent of clubbing the entire 'left', including the ruling class CPI and CPM with the CPI(Maoist) in a single category by calling for a "genuine confederation of the various Left organisations". Sagar goes so far as to equate the parliamentarians with those leading the armed struggle by saying: "In the broad context of Indian politics it would appear to him/her that the Left in all its diversity is actually part of one 'parivar' with one component doing nothing but parliamentary work and the other focusing on armed struggles and the middle consisting of many combinations of these two extremes". Mohanty, while even having his facts wrong (saying that all have equal strength, which not even the enemies of the movement say) equates the CPI(Maoist) with the revisionist Liberation and Kanu Sanyal groups.
Some have taken certain lacunae within the movement to negate the entire path, others negate it in the name of 'changed situation' and yet others negate it by obfuscating the lines of demarcation between Marxism and revisionism. Now to take some of these arguments: As Tilak says it is true that there have been some changes in the international situation, though the basic essence of imperialism has not changed. But the changes, linked with the economic crisis, and the increasing ferocity of imperialism, particularly the US, would warrant more extensive and deeper armed resistance than what we have today. Witness what happened in Iraq, or the arrogance displayed
by Israel in Lebanon and Palestine; or the massacres of communists and even liberal opposition in Latin America; the butchery of even hundreds of mass leaders in the Philippines; etc. The much talked of 'space' for the revolutionaries and democrats is shrinking, not because of the armed activities of the Maoists, but because of the increasing fascist nature that imperialism and its agents throughout the globe are acquiring due to the growing economic crisis. Even in the field of entertainment serious democratic artists are feeling this reduction in space. This is very clear in India where the governments at the Centre and the States are developing their armed might daily, on a scale never seen before. More than the intellectuals, they realize that with
the aggressive implementation of their polices of LPG mass revolts will have to be dealt with. So, it is not clear in which direction does Tilak pose the case for revising the ideological-political line and the strategy and tactics of the CPI(Maoist). There is need for much greater depth of analysis before making such far-reaching statements.
Well-meaning intellectuals need to fight for democratic space from the fascist rulers backed by the world's biggest terrorist, US imperialism, while appreciating the role played by the revolutionaries in confronting the fascist rulers through all forms of struggle, including armed struggle. In fact, the armed struggle has created the space for the oppresses masses to exercise their will and develop their lives.
Today if the movement is weak in many parts of the country, the need is to strengthen it there, not change to the path to some vague "genuine confederation of the various Left organisations". What is needed is not such an amorphous conglomeration, but of a genuine United Front of the four classes of the workers, peasants, middle classes and the national bourgeoisie. An effective UF is the only way to rally all the anti- imperialist, anti-feudal forces and not a confederation of the various Left organizations which blurrs the basic distinction between the different class forces, and liquidates the edge
of the revolution by considering enemies as friends. History of all revolutions, particularly that of Russia and China, have clearly shown that victory was only possible by fighting an uncompromising ideological-political battle with all forms of revisionism. And where they compromised, the socialist goal was lost though they may have been
militarily victorious as in Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea, etc.
It is true that fixed and rigid dogma does not help one bit in advancing the revolutionary movement against such a sophisticated enemy. There is the need for utmost creativity in taking on a giant like the Indian State machinery with their long experience in suppressing the people, and the guidance it gets from the American intelligence.
But in the name of 'creativity' if we seek a compromise with reform and revisionism, the revolution will be defeated from the very start.