Monday, April 21, 2008
MUMBAI: It is going to be one of the most closely watched court battles in recent times. Alleged Naxal leaders Vernon Gonsalves (49) and Sridhar Srinivasan (50) go on trial in a sessions court from Monday. The issue to be discussed before the court is whether the duo were dangerous anti-nationals with links to the banned terror group CPI (Maoist), or whether they were being persecuted for speaking out against the policies of the government. Gonsalves and Srinivasan were arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the city police from Govandi in August 2007. The police said it had recovered detonators, a hand grenade, two firearms, 20 high-explosive gelatin sticks, 106 CDs, a laptop, pen drive, three mobile phones, Rs 6 lakh and "banned literature" from them. The literature included magazines such as People's War, People's March, a short biography of Joseph Stalin and booklets narrating tales of Naxalites and their struggle. However, their friends and relatives said that the government had falsely implicated them because they had been working amongst the underprivileged in Vidarbha and opposed policies such as the SEZs. "The entire case against Vernon is fabricated," said Gonsalves' brother-in-law, Thomas Abraham. "If he was such a big threat as the police claim, he would not have been moving around freely in the city and living at a permanent address. Moreover, no arms were ever recovered from him," he added. Senior police officers, however, said that both Gonsalves and Srinivasan held top positions in the politburo of banned Naxalite groups and had been active in underground movements for several years under assumed identities. They also alleged that the CDs recovered from them revealed details of Naxal training camps in the state and a list of their financiers. The court will also have to decide whether Gonsalves was actually arrested with arms from Govandi as the Anti-Terrorism Squad claims or was picked up from near his house in Andheri as his wife, Susan, has been saying all along. The duo will face trial under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act, Explosives Act and the Indian Penal Code. Several intellectuals had protested the arrests soon after they were made and no less than the home minister had assured them at the time that justice would be meted out in the case. In fact, a group of concerned citizens of the city, which included a former judge of the Bombay high court, noted lawyers, social activists, writer-directors and journalists had written a petition about the allegations of torture of Gonsalves and Srinivasan in custody. Kartikeya.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, April 20, 2008
KODAIKANAL: In a joint operation, the Q Branch, local police and STF shot dead N. Naveen alias Suresh alias Prasad (25) of Semmanahalli in Dharmapuri district near Moolayar at Vadakaunji, 40 km from Kodaikanal, early on Saturday. Naveen was considered an important functionary of Maoist cadres in Tamil Nadu and was wanted in a couple of cases. A rifle and 30 bullets were seized from him. Three suspected Maoist cadres, who escaped, had grenades in their possession, the police said.
The police team took more than nine hours to carry the body to Kodaikanal Government hospital from the encounter spot. Dindigul SP A. Pari and Theni SP R. Sudhakar led the teams.
Talking to mediapersons, Inspector-General of Police Sanjeev Kumar said six teams had intensified search operation in the lower and upper Kodaikanal hills in the past one month.
They spotted a six to eight-member team, including two women, on the other side of the hill near Vadakaunji hill.
Two of the gang members opened fire at the STF team. They also threw a hand grenade at them. But it did not explode.
The team retaliated and killed one person and injured two others. Other gang members escaped. The operation would intensify in the coming weeks. DIG S. S. Krishnamoorthy is camping at Vadakaunji.
Q Branch SP M. Ashok Kumar said Naveen was a well trained Maoist and skilled in operating all weapons and use of hand grenades. He attempted to establish training camps at Uthangarai in Dharmapuri district, Muruganmalai in Theni and Vadakaunji on Upper Kodaikanal hill. He was arrested and released on bail in May 2002.
The STF had arrested five persons in Varushanadu hills and three persons on Muruganmalai in Periakulam six months ago. According to police sources, specific information on Maoists’ movement in the forests near Kodaikanal was given by the Intelligence Bureau.
‘King should leave palace right after CA’s first sitting’
Maoist ideologue Dr Baburam Bhattarai has emerged as the real leader of this country after the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls. He defeated his Nepali Congress opponent Chandraprakash Neupane with a huge margin from Gorkha-2. He says the CPN (Maoist) will not dare to deviate from its political commitments nor will it ever betray the people. He thinks the Maoists have now taken upon their shoulders a greater responsibility, that of restructuring the country and steering it onto the track of economic prosperity.
Dr Bhattarai, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, is not surprised by the results of the CA election. He argues that the CPN (Maoist) has changed the country’s ground realities. Dr Bhattarai spoke with Prateek Pradhan, Ghanashyam Ojha and Puran P Bista of The Kathmandu Post on how the CPN (Maoist) would proceed with its economic and political agenda.Excerpts:
Q: Your party appears to have emerged as the largest one. How would you proceed with your political agenda?
Dr Baburam Bhattarai: We had always pushed for the CA election, which was finally held last week. During the interim period, the Seven-Party Alliance government had already made certain political commitments. One of them was that we would reach a political consensus to form the government. All the political parties that have participated in the CA polls will join the government. Now, the question is who will head it. Obviously, the largest political party will lead the new government. So, naturally, the CPN (Maoist) has to head the coalition government. Q: Who will head the CPN (Maoist)? Could you name the captain of your party?
Dr Bhattarai: I can’t tell you right now. We have to discuss and decide who should be the leader. We have to prepare a draft of the new political system. We have to decide the fate of the monarchy. And only then we can think of who will head the CPN (Maoist). Our intention is to establish a presidential system. But we can’t be sure as we have to discuss the matter with other political forces too. We must reach a political consensus because the constitution would need to be amended to set up a presidential system. Unless we have a political consensus, we can’t amend the constitution. So, we can’t simply go for an executive president. In case of political differences, we may have to follow the present form of governance. Q: How would the CPN (Maoist), being the largest political force, approach other political parties in order to form the government, abolish monarchy and declare Nepal a republic?
Dr Bhattarai: First, we are going to hold discussions with the major political parties. We would need to seek their opinion and views before forming the government. We would have to work under the Interim Constitution for the time being which would require a political consensus. We shall move forward on this basis. The first sitting of the CA will declare this country a federal republic. For that, we have to develop a political consensus. After that the question would be forming the new government which will be done again on the basis of political consensus. And then we will proceed with the drafting of the new constitution of Nepal.
Besides these issues, there are other political commitments such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, rehabilitation of displaced persons and revamping and integration of the security forces. I think there will be several challenges and questions. We have to review four things immediately – security, political structure, the economy and international relation. Such issues require a national consensus. Q: How do you assess the election results? Did you expect that you would make such a strong showing?
Dr Bhattarai: The people were looking for total change. We advanced the political agenda for total change during the decade-long people’s war. We have people from different castes, ethnicities, genders and people from different regions. The main agenda of the people’s war was to restructure the state. It took 10 years of the people’s war to establish our political agenda. The people felt that the country’s socio-political and economic structure needed a complete overhaul. So we couldn’t look at things through our old lenses. The media and the elite missed the picture. As a result, the CA results surprised many. The ground realities had changed and they helped us to emerge as the largest party. Q: Do you think that the people’s support that you have garnered is more than what you expected?
Dr Bhattarai: We had thought that we would come out as the largest party, and that we might, if we reached a consensus, form the next government. But the manner in which we have clinched victory in the CA polls makes us feel that we have achieved more than what we expected to.
Nevertheless, we did think that the results would be in our favor. I have observed how people’s waves have swept parliamentary elections in India. In 1977, Indira Gandhi was defeated. Similarly, sympathy votes after her tragic death helped Rajiv Gandhi to sweep the 1985 parliamentary elections. I had seen such mass hysteria earlier. I personally visited 22 districts and assessed the situation three weeks before the CA polls. I could foresee a massive wave rising in our support. Unfortunately, the media saw things the opposite way. And we also could not convince the media until the CA results showed that the people had voted for us.
Q: You told a local FM station this morning that you have now been burdened by greater responsibilities. What do you mean by that?Dr Bhattarai: I take it as a great responsibility because we have to restructure the 250-year-old feudal system. You cannot expect it to happen overnight. Secondly, while restructuring the state, we have to take into account different aspects such as poverty, illiteracy, health and others. We don’t have enough resources and skill to reorganize the country in a way we want to. It may take at least 10-15 years to do it. There are mounting challenges ahead.
Q: How can you restructure the state and achieve economic growth in a short span of time?
Dr Bhattarai: What we need right now is political stability. We cannot think of rapid economic growth sans political stability. Now the CA results have given some hope for political stability. Secondly, there must be a strong leadership. Above all, we have yet to start restructuring the state. So, how can we think of the economy? The 30-year-long panchayat system promised us that it would deliver the people’s needs, but it could not do so as it was a political system imposed by the royal regime to serve its own interests.
The post-1990 parliamentary system created a sort of anarchy. It neither had any clear political vision nor could it deliver anything. During this interim period, it would be difficult to think of economic prosperity. We can only think of economic growth in the post-CA period. This mandate has just opened the door to a future Nepal. Now the job is to garner the support of all the political parties and maintain political stability. This would be the beginning.
Second, the resources we have include land, water, jungle, herbs and people. I do not think that we run short of resources, but we need external support for technology and skills. We need foreign investments. I am sure if we really work together, we can achieve rapid economic growth in a short span of time.Q: China has adopted a liberal economic policy. It has achieved remarkable economic growth in the past 30 years. To what extent do you think we can follow China’s model?
Dr Bhattarai: China eliminated the feudal system during Mao’s regime. It established a solid foundation for economic growth. We could have thought of making rapid economic progress had the country been liberated from the age-old feudal system. When you inject new technology after the foundation for economic growth has been established, you can achieve such development. We don’t have such a foundation now. Once we restructure the state and involve the private sector, it will be possible to achieve rapid economic growth. We would implement a transitional economic policy during such an interim period which involves public and private partnership. Q: Currently we are seeing a pattern of capital flight. How are you going to halt this?
Dr Bhattarai: We can’t think of developing this country in the absence of domestic and foreign investments. Technological inputs are of equal importance. So, we will follow the policy of attracting domestic and foreign investments. For that to happen, we have to put an end to political instability. From our side, we have to provide security to investors and create a conducive environment for domestic and foreign financiers. And I also think that we will be able to resolve the differences between labor and management. Unless we resolve such issues, we cannot create a better investment atmosphere. In a nutshell, we recognize the legitimacy of management and the participation of labor in management.
Secondly, we have to identify areas for investment and create the necessary infrastructure. We have to focus on productive sectors. We don’t want to encourage assembly industries. Business activities should raise productivity and generate employment. Q: You mean the state’s involvement in economic activities will increase from now on?
Dr Bhattarai: The state will play the role of facilitator. The state cannot intervene in business activities. It will encourage investors to raise productivity and generate employment opportunities.Q: We have seen – especially after the restoration of democracy in 1990 – how political parties rewarded their cadres with jobs in the bureaucracy and other social sectors. How are you planning to restructure the bureaucracy and other sectors?
Dr Bhattarai: We have to, at all costs, restructure the bureaucracy and the judiciary as they have always been tools of the monarchy. But we have to follow certain norms. So let us leave it open. But we have to think of revamping the security forces as integrating the People’s Liberation Army and the Nepal Army is part of the peace process. We can think of starting the restructuring process only after the monarchy has been removed. But it will be open to discussion. We want to reform the bureaucracy and other sectors in a democratic manner. Q: You once said that Nepal did not need a huge security force. But if you integrate the Maoist combatants and the army, you are going to have a huge security force. Do you think Nepal needs such a large army?
Dr Bhattarai: The strength of the security forces after the two are combined would be roughly over 100,000. Going by the country’s population, such a number may appear necessary. But we have to reduce the size of the army in the long term. I think that instead of having such a huge number of army, we could go for trained militias who would defend the country at times of war. I think it would be useful to train such a force. We should mobilize them during emergencies. Q: The UML fared badly in the CA polls. Do you foresee a single communist party in the near future?
Dr Bhattarai: Until recently, there were three political forces – royalists, social democrats (who represent the bourgeoisie) and leftists. I think there will be only two forces in the future – the Nepali Congress, which represents the rich, and the left, which represents the poor. The NC has its own political stand. It’s not going to lose its identity as it has a clear vision and policy.
But the CPN-UML does not have any political position. It neither represents the rich nor the masses. It is a eunuch though it continues to be identified as a communist party. It has lost its identity. It can’t stand any longer. Now the CPN (Maoist) has established itself as a communist party. We welcome committed communist cadres of the CPN-UML to our party.Q: How long will it take to draft the new constitution?
Dr Bhattarai: It will take roughly two years. But how we proceed will depend on other political forces as well. We must finish the new constitution as early as possible so that we can focus on the economy. Q: Some still argue that the Maoists may retain the monarchy in a ceremonial form. What do you think?
Dr Bhattarai: What surprises us is why people think that we will retain the monarchy when it has ceased to exist. There is no question of retaining the monarchy.
We did approach some nationalist royalists to join us. That does not mean we are going to keep the monarchy. It is not possible to save it in any form. It has ceased to exist in our minds.Q: When will the king move out of Narayanhiti Palace?
Dr Bhattarai: The king has to quit Narayanhiti Palace immediately after we declare Nepal a republic. This is the understanding of the Seven-Party Alliance. He should leave the palace immediately after the first sitting of the CA.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The Leading Committee of the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
To Comrade Chairman Prachanda
and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
There are times that the formal messages are unable to express the enthusiasm and inspiration of the communists and of the progressive popular masses. Your great victory, which unfolds in all its extend day by day as the results of the CA polls become known all over the world, created such unique moments these days among the communists and left people in Greece and all over the world. Against enemies and fake “friends”, repulsing the reactionary provocations and the plots of the old, rotten world, the popular masses of Nepal stood up once more and vigorously made their aspiration for a new Nepal heard: a Federal Democratic Republic, where the people will be the master of its own fate!
The electoral triumph of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) provokes an ever-growing explosion of joy and pride all over the world, as it heralds the future revolutionary victories of the 21st century. It became possible thanks to the theoretical and political elaborations, the correct strategy and the ingenious tactics of the CPN-M under the leadership of Chairman Prachanda. The concrete analysis of the concrete situation and the exemplary struggle of your Party, through the heroic People’s War, the popular uprising of 2006 and the subsequent agreements for the transitional government and parliament, opened up wide the path towards the building of a new Nepal.
We know that we must control our enthusiasm, as the battle is not yet over. We are aware that the local reactionaries together with their imperialist masters will try to obstruct the democratic process and to prevent the realization of the popular aspirations. At the same time, we are confident that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) shall once more cut short these attempts and impose the popular will, which was again confirmed in the CA polls. As far as we are concerned, we will fulfill our internationalist duty through the intensification of the efforts to build a broad, effective movement of solidarity with the Nepalese People and its vanguard, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
Long live the Nepalese People!
Long live the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)!
Athens, 14 April 2008
The Leading Committee of KOE
Monday, April 14, 2008
Maoist rebels in the Indian state of Bihar have attacked a railway station, killing five policemen and a porter, officials say.
Police say that the rebels surrounded a police railway outpost at Jhajha railway station in Jamui district.
The rebels also looted arms and ammunition in the attack, police say.
Meanwhile police in the state of West Bengal say that three members of the ruling Marxist party have been shot dead by Maoists in a remote region.
The three leaders were killed in broad daylight in the state's remote Salboni region bordering the state of Jharkhand on Sunday.
Police said that a squad of 10 to 12 Maoists kidnapped seven political activists from Garmal village and took them to nearby jungle.
Three of those captured escaped, one was severely beaten up and the others - including a Communist Party of India (Marxist) branch secretary - were shot dead.
The CPI(M) has called for a day-long strike in the Salboni area to protest against the incident.
Police in Bihar told the BBC that Maoists attacked the railway police post on Sunday evening.
They say extra personnel have been rushed to the area and a "massive combing operation" is now underway.
Maoists have a presence in about 22 districts of Bihar as well as in the neighbouring state of Jharkhand.
Analysts say that they operate in 182 districts in India, mainly in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless workers.
NAGPUR: The issue of reported hunger strike of the 12 inmates held for their alleged association with the Naxal movement at the city's central jail is likely to take centrestage on Monday when state deputy chief minister R R Patil would be in the city. While the state anti-naxal operation cell is yet to begin the probe in full swing, the jail administration seems to be puzzled over the issue. Patil, who recently ordered a probe into the charges framed against the Maoists and their sympathisers, is likely to take stock of the situation. Sources in the government security agencies had earlier indicated that the developments in Central Jail mirrored a Naxal strategy to create modules inside the prison to ensure a steady recruitment drive and continuous building of pressure on the government through protests in the jails. Recently, a two-day convention had taken place in Northern India where frontal organisations had met to discuss the issue of freeing political prisoners from jails all across the country, sources told TOI. ANO chief Pankaj Gupta has claimed that he was kept in the dark regarding the ongoing protest by naxals and their demands. "It seems that the Naxal inmates in the jail have formed some groups and are trying to mount pressure on the administration," said Gupta. "The ANO should have been informed earlier about the demands and developments of the Naxals in prison," added Gupta. Meanwhile, jail authorities have claimed that the protesting Naxals are refusing to take their regular meals.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Mumbai: A debt-ridden farmer in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra on Friday immolated himself by leaping into a pile of burning hay.
Baban Jeughale was unable to repay a loan of Rs 1.75 lakh rupees, which he had taken to cultivate his 10 hectares of land.
“He committed suicide because he was worried about repaying his loan,” Baban's brother Tulsiram Jeughale said.
Only farmers with five or less hectares of land come under the purview of government’s much-touted 65,000 crore-rupee farm waiver.
But with cases like Jeughale's on the rise, questions on who exactly is eligible for the waiver and demands for a more inclusive approach are getting louder.
“Till the Centre doesn't give the funds to the bank they will not waive off the loans, so the impression amongst farmers is that such measures are just empty promises,” Shiv Sena MLA Gulabrao Gavande said.
The Prime Minister's 3,750 crore-rupee relief package and the Union Budget's farm waiver, the largest in the country, has done nothing to stem the suicides.
This year alone, the Vidarbha region has seen over 250 farmer suicides, bringing the total toll in this region alone to over 1500 since 2005. The numbers for the rest of the state are much higher.
At least nine Vidarbha farmers have ended their lives in this region over the last week alone.
Experts blame drought, a fall in crop prices and rising input costs for the suicides. They add the loan waiver is of little help to farmers as less than half of the marginal and small farmers, owning up to two hectares, are expected to benefit.
In Vidarbha, of the 63 families, only 13 qualify for the government's loan waiver.
The rest have more than five acres of land and debt ranging from Rs 15,000 to 20,000.
KATMANDU, Nepal: The former leader of Nepal's bloody Maoist insurgency captured a seat Saturday on a new assembly that will chart the Himalayan country's future, election officials said.
Prachanda, who goes by one name, led what appeared to be a powerful Maoist showing in Thursday's election. He won a seat in a constituency in the capital, Katmandu.
The former rebels have taken 12 out of 22 constituencies where vote counting has been completed in the election for Nepal's Constituent Assembly, which will draft a new constitution for the country, election officials said.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center sent 62 observers to monitor the election, said it indicated a major transition for Nepal.
"If the Maoists do gain a substantial share of power I hope the United States will recognize and do business with the government," Carter said at a news conference in Katmandu.
Carter described the election as one of the "most profoundly important" of the 70 he has witnessed because it marked the end of a decade of political violence and the probable transformation of Nepal from a Hindu kingdom to a democratic republic.
The assembly will write Nepal's new constitution, which is widely expected to do away with Nepal's centuries-old monarchy.
Election official Devendra Parajuli said Prachanda won 23,277 votes — almost twice the total for his closest competitor.
Early results from Thursday's vote indicated that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) — members of which ended a 10-year insurgency in 2006 — could also be set to win control in 61 other constituencies where counting was still going on, the Election Commission said.
The election has been touted as the cornerstone of the 2006 peace deal struck between the government and the Maoists. The agreement followed months of unrest that forced Nepal's king to cede absolute power.
Scattered shootings and clashes that killed two people on election day and eight others in the days leading up to the poll did not deter millions of Nepalis from casting ballots in the Himalayan country's first election in nine years.
Of the 21 constituencies counted by Saturday afternoon, the Maoists had 11 seats while the Nepali Congress and the United Marxist-Leninists secured four each, the commission said.
Another small communist party, the Nepal Workers and Peasants' Party, won two seats.
A complete count of votes in all 240 constituencies was expected to take several weeks.
Members of Nepal's Maoist movement — still considered a terrorist group by the United States — were already predicting victory in the election for the 601-seat Constituent Assembly, which will be responsible for writing Nepal's new constitution.
"We will get a clear majority in the final results," said Hisila Yami, a senior member of the Maoist party and a minister in the coalition government.
"People have chosen us to lead the country," she said. "This is a reflection of the people's desire for a republic that our party has always stood for."
None of the 54 parties vying for seats in the assembly was expected to win a landslide, and with 20,000 voting stations spread across the mountainous country — some a seven-day walk from the nearest paved road — officials have said it could be several weeks before a complete tally is ready.
The Election Commission said that there would be re-polling in at least 60 locations because of voting irregularities, and that the number could rise as election complaints are investigated. Several candidates have claimed their supporters were barred from voting by rival groups and have complained of election fraud.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Will this happen in INDIA, with rising inflation and depending on other food sources the situation that has occured in Haiti can occur in India if the RULERS mind remains as now. Our Sharad Pawar doesn't know the correct wheat storagein India ,he is busy sitting with criceters and IPL.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 (Haiti)
Hungry Haitians stormed the presidential palace on Tuesday to demand the resignation of President Rene Preval over soaring food prices and UN peacekeepers battled rioters with rubber bullets and tear gas. Rioters were chased away from the presidential palace but by late afternoon had left trails of destruction across Port-au-Prince. Concrete barricades and burned-out cars blocked streets, while windows were smashed and buildings set on fire from the capital's center up through its densely populated hills.Outnumbered UN peacekeepers watched as people looted businesses near the presidential palace, not budging from the building's perimeter. Nearby, but out of sight of authorities, another group swarmed a slow-moving car and tried to drag its female driver out the window.''We are hungry! He must go!'' protesters shouted as they tried to break into the presidential palace by charging its chained gates with a rolling dumpster. Moments later, Brazilian soldiers in blue UN helmets arrived on jeeps and assault vehicles, firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters and forcing protesters away from the gates.Food prices, which have risen 40 per cent on average since mid-2007, are causing unrest around the world. But nowhere do they pose a greater threat to democracy than in Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries where in the best of times most people struggle to fill their bellies.For months, Haitians have compared their hunger pains to ''eating Clorox'' because of the burning feeling in their stomachs. The most desperate have come to depend on a traditional hunger palliative of cookies made of dirt, vegetable oil and salt.Riots broke out in the normally placid southern port of Les Cayes last week, quickly escalating as protesters tried to burn down a UN compound and leaving five people dead. The protests spread to other cities, and on Monday tens of thousands took to the streets of Port-au-Prince.
NEW DELHI: The Naxalites-sponsored Terror Inc’s rogue chest is loaded with a whopping Rs 1,000 crore. The discovery of the Naxalites’ Rs 60-crore budget for weapons procurement during 2005-07, made during the interrogation of arrested Maoist leader Misir Besra in Jharkhand, was only the tip of the iceberg. Intelligence agencies’ estimates put the overall annual budget of CPI(Maoist) well over Rs 1,000 crore, with Bihar contributing Rs 200 crore, Chhattisgarh Rs 150 crore and mineral-rich Jharkhand an even bigger sum. The agencies’ estimates are based on inputs regarding actual spending of Maoists. For example, while the expenditure of the polit bureau may not be too high, the central military commission, R&D wing, arms procurement wing, information and publicity wing, state committees and dalams spend big money to arm the CPI(Maoist) with intelligence and sophisticated arms and ammunition for killing security personnel and civilians. A good chunk is spent on publicity, both through the net as well as in-house publications. For example, one of their main publications, Awam-e-Jung, has a good circulation — comprising the 10,000 cadres and many more sympathisers — despite no advertising revenue to fall back upon. Significantly, the Naxalites depend in a big way on their urban network to source and transport weapons, fight court cases for arrested leaders, arrange medical care for the ill and wounded cadres, source uniforms and material for IEDs and run cyber and psychological campaigns. The Chhattisgarh Police, as part of its recent crackdown on the urban support network of Maoists, seized the account books of urban wing of the state which puts the total outlay at Rs 5.43 crore. Not only this, the Chhattisgarh Police, as part of their urban crackdown over the last couple of months, seized 82-84 small arms, 60 motorola sets, uniforms enough to clothe six battalions and 81 GB worth of Naxal material that they are yet to scan. The urban network of the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh consisted not only of lawyers, tailors but an entire travel agency under whose cover 10-12 Naxal supporters were ferrying Maoist leaders from Raipur to camps in the interiors and transporting arms consignments and other material. The travel agency has since been busted and a good part of its staff arrested for abetting Naxal activities. The main source of Naxals’ funds are extortion from road contractors, tendu patta contractors, mining companies, illegal mining activities and other industrialists having operations in the Naxal-infested areas. In Jharkhand, in particular, the Naxalites extort significant amounts of money from illegal coal miners. The estimated Rs 1,000-crore annual budget of the Naxalites is an obvious source of worry for the Centre as it matches the police modernisation funds that it has been disbursing to the states. It also goes against the Union home minister Shivraj Patil’s recent assertion in Parliament that the threat of Naxalism was being exaggerated by the Opposition. After all, with a generous budget of Rs 1,000 crore, the Naxalites are now no longer relying on weapons and ammunition looted from the police for their firepower. As evident from some of the independently-procured AK-47s seized recently, the Naxalites are now actually buying these sophisticated arms from around the world and having the consignments shipped clandestinely to India or picked up from the north-eastern borders. According to sources in Chhattisgarh Police, interrogation of arrested urban supporters of Maoists have thrown light on an aborted bid to buy AK-47s from Australian dealers and have them illegally shipped to India via Malaysia. Similarly, West Bengal police have confirmed the despatch of an arms consignment from the north-east, via West Bengal.
Dubai/Thiruvananthapuram, April 8
The de-boarding of a Kerala MP from an Air India aircraft today erupted into a major row with the Parliamentarian being accused of calling the pilot a “glorified driver” while the politician threatened to move Parliament’s Privileges Committee on the issue.
Charges flew thick and fast and denials followed with Rajya Sabha MP P.V. Abdul Wahab alleging “rude” behaviour by the pilot and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) claiming that the IUMl leader “opened the cockpit door, entered inside and abused the pilot”.
But the MP, who was a resident of the UAE for the past 32 years, and shifted residence to Kerala after becoming a Rajya Sabha MP, told PTI after reaching Dubai he never entered the cockpit. An Air India official also denied that the pilot had spoken rudely.
Wahab and his wife were to fly from Kozhikode to Kochi from where they were to catch a connecting flight to Dubai but were ordered to disembark. The pilot also reportedly questioned an airline official why the plane was being delayed after they allegedly reached late. The couple reached Dubai by another flight.
Supporting the pilot, Capt Rajat Rana the ICPA said it would protest if any action was taken against him.
ICPA general secretary Capt Vikram Yadav told PTI that the MP was asked to disembark from the aircraft only after he “entered a totally restricted zone which is illegal.”
The passenger was abusing the pilot by calling him “a glorified driver” even on ground and had threatened to get him “grounded”, he claimed and asserted that “if any action is taken against the pilot, the ICPA will fully back him”.
When contacted, an Air India spokesperson said: “We are ascertaining the facts in view of different versions coming out on the incident”.
Captain Rana told reporters “I did whatever keeping flight security in mind. It had nothing to do with any personal remarks or anything”.
Earlier, an official of the airline in Kozhikode said: “The MP had disembarked from the aircraft on his own after an argument with the pilot”.
Denying that the pilot had behaved rudely towards Wahab, he said the MP had verbally complained about the matter and did not give anything in writing.
Wahad told PTI in Dubai that he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the civil aviation minister Praful Patel and apprise them of the incident.
“I will also meet my leader (E Ahamad of the IUML) and then decide on the future course of action. After the meeting, we may decide to take the complaint or drop the matter,” he replied, when asked about his reaction on his course of action if the airline tenders an apology.
“If this is the kind of treatment that a Parliament member has to face then what would be the experience of the common man,” he added.
According to him, the issue is of arrogance of the pilot. “My only crime has been to defend the airport manager who was been humiliated by the pilot,” added Wahab. — PTI
Subhrangshu GuptaTribune News Service
Kolkata, April 8The Lord Swaraj Paul, London-based industrialist, was today heckled and mobbed by groups of angry demonstrators during his visit to Singur. The Lord Paul had gone to Singur to perform the bhumi puja of the proposed Rs 2,000 crore plant of his Caparo Industries.
The undaunted Lord Paul, however, boldly faced the protests and performed the bhumi puja with usual religiosity.
The state Speaker, Hashim Abdul Halim, and a team of all-party MLAs were present at the puja. Trinamool Congress MLAs were, however, not in the team.
Later talking to media persons, the Lord Paul said he was determined to invest funds at Singur for setting up two units of the Caparo steel plant since he was sincerely wanting a rapid industrial growth in the still backward West Bengal for solving the state’s present acute unemployment problem. He said he would invest funds in other states, including his home-state of Punjab and Haryana.
The Lord Paul said the present industrial climate in West Bengal was favourable for new investments and he hoped that several other NRls settled in the UK and the US would now be keen to invest in Singur and other places where an infrastructural development was taking place following the setting of the Tata Motors factory. He felt Singur people themselves, irrespective of their political affiliations, should come forward and help grow new industries at Singur.
The Trinamool Congress and the local Bhoomi Rakhsa Committee (BRC), however, reiterated that they would not allow any more acquisitions of farm lands in Singur for industries. Incidentally, the Lord Paul today performed the bhumi puja on a small plot of the government-acquired khan land. But the process of acquiring about 2,000 acres for the entire project was being conducted by the state government after a consensus opinion at an all-party meeting excepting the Trinamool Congress.
In the morning today, around 10, the Lord Paul, accompanied by a group of NRI industrialists operating in the UK and other European countries and the state Industrial Development Corporation officials, drove down to Singur from Kolkata to be present at the bhumi puja ceremony of the proposed Caparo industries plant. A large contingent of CRPF personnel and the state police was escorting the business team.
On reaching the project site, they faced black flag protests organised by local people, comprising mostly women and children. They were protesting against the use of the farm lands at Singur for industries. The police, however, swung into action and forced the demonstrating people to leave the place. Afterwards, under police protection, the Lord Paul could perform the puja.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
It may not be worth much but it is a testimony to Ajitha that a random Google search of just her name brings up correct links in the first instance itself. No need to add either her initial or key words like Naxalite (the movement she was associated with in the 1960s) or P.K. Kunhalikutty (the powerful former Indian Union Muslim League minister in Kerala whose involvement in the ice cream parlour sex racket she tried to expose in 2005).
A familiar name in Kerala — courtesy her role in the Pulpally revolt in which she along with other Naxal comrades stormed a police station 40 years ago — it was her campaign against Kunhalikutty three years back that got her some national attention after the late 1960s when newspapers had flashed photographs of a defiant Ajitha under arrest.
Though the translation itself leaves much to be desired, Sanju Ramachandran and Srishti Publishers must be thanked for making Ajitha’s memoir accessible to a larger audience. So what if Ajitha has since moved away from Naxalism and become a feminist, there can be no denying the spirit that saw a school girl choosing revolution over a comfortable and carefree existence.
Not the best of reads — replete as it is with revolutionary rhetoric besides a touch of self-glorification — Ajitha’s memoir, however, doubles up as a window into the mind of a foot soldier of the short-lived Naxal movement of Kerala
Friday, April 04, 2008
Patna/Raipur: Allauddin Khan was a fierce police officer in Bihar police. Five years ago, he shot dead four suspected Naxals in Bihar, even as a bullet ripped through his spine. Since that day, he's been on a wheelchair.
"I have an eight-year-old son, who asks me, ‘papa, why did you go to kill the criminal? Why did you not run away when all other policemen ran away?," he says.
Khan got Rs 2 lakh from the government and a bravery medal. Today, his family is left with medical expenses, debts, and regrets.
Says his son, "I want to fulfill my father's dreams. But I'll never become a policeman."
In the Naxal-dominated areas of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, Naxal-police confrontations always lead to heavy casualties and it's the lowest rung officers who pay with their lives.
They train hard to survive in the jungles. Yet, the Naxals are always a step ahead.
In the long bloody battle against a highly motivated enemy, all that the police have in mind is survival.
"If he is not motivated he knows he will die. So the men in the police stations inside the jungles surrounded by Naxals from all sides are motivated because they know that if they don't fight they will die,” says DGP Chattissgarh, Vishwa Ranjan.
On November 13, 2005, over 400 Naxals attacked Jahanabad town in Bihar. Police stations were directly targeted, and over 100 inmates escaped from the Jahanabad prison. Only a handful of policemen dared to fight back. Most ran for their lives.
The incident of Naxals taking over entire Jahanabad town and freeing inmates from the prison shocked the entire country.
It also showcased how Naxals could bring the entire police force on their knees.
In the last 4 years, the rebels have carried out 310 attacks in Bihar. In these, 34 Naxals and 55 policemen lost their lives.
Says Arvind Kumar, a constable, "When you know your family will not be supported, or no one comes to help you, you lose any will to fight. I don't feel like laying down my life for this job."
Poorly trained, unmotivated, and yet expected to lay their lives down to uphold the dignity of law – but who will uphold their dignity when these policemen lay down their lives?
(With inputs from Hemender Sharma)
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Has India been judicious in its response to developments in Tibet or has it allowed itself to be bullied by Beijing? That is the key issue Karan Thapar discussed on Devil’s Advocate with former defence minister George Fernandes.
Karan Thapar: As someone who has been a supporter of Tibet for 50 years, what’s your view of the Indian response to developments in Tibet?
George Fernandes: India has sold out to China.
Karan Thapar: Has India been bullied by China?
George Fernandes: Absolutely and it accepts it.
Karan Thapar: So this is a shameful response from India.
Karan Thapar: I want to discuss with you certain specific things. Was it fitting and proper that a meeting fixed between the Dalai Lama and the Vice President two months ago should have been canceled because it was going to happen in the present circumstances.
George Fernandes: It should not have happened and it shows what I said earlier…
Karan Thapar: That India has sold out to China?
Karan Thapar: In other words the Vice President should have met the Dalai Lama?
Karan Thapar: Would you say it was a discourtesy to cancel the meeting.
George Fernandes: Yes it is.
Karan Thapar: The second thing I want to discuss is the fact that the Indian Ambassador in Beijing allowed herself to be summoned by the Chinese foreign office at 2 in the morning. By attending on the Chinese at 2 in the morning did she end up belittling and demeaning India?
George Fernandes: Well our Government allowed it. It has no shame.
Karan Thapar: You are saying Delhi should have told the Ambassador in Beijing – you must not go at 2 AM in the morning, wait till the next day.
George Fernandes: Yes that is what it should have been elsewhere it is how it happens.
April 02, 2008 14:33 IST
She felt disempowered by the 'selfish' and 'worthless' ways of India's burgeoning urban middle class. It were the rural and urban poor, who taught her the true meaning of life.
Unlike the upwardly mobile upper middle class, the much neglected Indian backward class which struggles for a daily living knows better how to lead an enriched and harmonious life, believes Magsaysay awardee and eminent RTI activist Aruna Roy.
"India is today running on two different tracks followed by the backward class and the middle class. The former made me understood how to make your life better enriched and harmonised, while the latter only taught me how to make life worthless and selfish," Roy told PTI.
"India's backward class, which has always been neglected and considered as socially irrelevant has empowered me and taught me how to struggle in life, while the middle class disempowered me with its urbanised thoughts," she adds.
Roy, who is known as one of the pioneer figures to have advocated that RTI and NREGA be made a law, reiterated her view that women in India have always been subjudicated and urged the government to immediately bring in the "Women's Reservation Bill".
"In our country, women have always been devoid of rights. All political parties should make a consensus to pass the 'Women's Reservation Bill' in the parliament so as to strengthen women power and to redefine democracy in India," she says.
She also added that society needs to change its perspective on women, which is still under the grip of gender discrimination and considers woman as a liability.
Roy has recently been conferred with National 'Panna Dhai Award' by Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation for her noted efforts as a social activist.
Roy, who left elite job of IAS in 1974 to join the Social Work and Research Center in Tilonia, Rajasthan, set up by her husband Sanjit Roy strongly, opposes government's policy in dealing with the Naxal violence.
"Naxal violence is not one, which we have imported from some other country but it is home made. It is all due to government's failure, not been able to make developments reach out to the people," she says adding that failure in enforcing law and order also added fuel to extremist violence.
Roy also lashes out on the government's SEZ policies, which she considers totally unacceptable.
"Our SEZ policy is totally wrong, which needs to be reviewed. Government should convene an all party meeting and reconsider evils of this act," she says.
"Corporate houses want SEZ zones, which is totally unacceptable and against democracy. Orissa, Chattisgarh and Nandigram had earlier witnessed violence on the issue and now even the people of Goa have set aside SEZs," she adds.
Roy these days is actively working in Rajasmund district of Rajasthan with the rural poors.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
India's football captain Baichung Bhutia has refused to carry the Olympic torch during its journey through the Indian capital Delhi later this month.
He told the authorities the move was in protest against China's crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators, officials said.
India has not allowed large-scale Tibetan protests against China, which is hosting the Olympics this year.
Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959.
India is also home to more than 150,000 Tibetan exiles.
Tibet's government-in-exile, based in India, says up to 140 people were killed in a crackdown by Chinese security forces since anti-China riots began two weeks ago.
Beijing disputes this, saying rioters killed 18 civilians and two police officers during the protests.
"I sympathise with the Tibetan cause. This is my way of standing by the people of Tibet and their struggle. I abhor violence in any form," Bhutia told the Times of India newspaper.
Bhutia is a Buddhist who comes from the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim which has long been claimed by China as its own territory.
The footballer told the newspaper he had not been requested by any group to pull out of the torch run.
"This is an absolutely personal decision. I feel what is happening in Tibet is not right and in my small way I should show my solidarity," he said.
The Indian Olympic Association, which is organising the flame's journey through Delhi on 17 April, has invited several top athletes to participate.
On Sunday, China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo called upon Indian National Security Adviser MK Narayanan to "understand and support" China's policy towards Tibet.
Beijing said Mr Narayanan had reiterated that the government in Delhi viewed Tibet as part of China.
India has in the past been sympathetic to the Tibetan cause but in recent years Delhi's relations with Beijing have improved.
India has not allowed large-scale public protests over the recent unrest in Tibet.
Earlier this month, more than 100 Tibetan refugees were detained in India while attempting to march to the Chinese border.
Tuesday, 01 April , 2008, 13:49
Ranchi: Eight Maoists, including a self-styled sub-zonal commander and two area commanders, were killed in a fierce encounter with the Central Reserve Police Force at Mukato forest in Jharkhand's Garwah district on Tuesday.
"All the bodies were recovered after the encounter that took place between 1 am and 2 am today," Deputy Inspector General of Police R K Mullick told PTI in Ranchi.
Bodies of the self-styled sub-zonal commander 'Basantji' and Maoist area-commanders 'Lalanji' and 'Rajendraji' were identified, he said.
One SLR, four .303 rifles, four rifles, one carbine, one pistol and a DBBL gun were recovered from the spot by the security forces, he said.
New Delhi (PTI): "You cannot give arms to somebody and allow him to kill," the Supreme Court said on Monday while taking a serious note of a petition alleging that the Chattisgarh government was allegedly arming civilians involved in "Salwa Judum" movement to fight naxals.
"It is a question of law and order. You (state government) cannot give arms to somebody (a civilian) and allow him to kill. You will be an abettor of the offence under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Aftab Alam said.
The Bench said a neutral agency should inquire and assess whether people had joined Judum camps on their own.
The Court's remarks came during the hearing of two petitions seeking a direction to the state government to refrain from allegedly supporting and encouraging the "Salwa Judum," a people's movement to counter naxalism.
The state government had earlier denied that Judum was a state-sponsored movement and said that action shall be taken if any Judum activist transgresses the confines of the law.
The PILs also alleged that the condition in Judum camps was bad and people involved in the movement should be allowed to go back to the forests in view of the upcoming sowing season.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said he met officials of the Intelligence Bureau officials and concerned ministry on the issue. He said the government has asked the Director, National Institute of Criminology, to probe the ground situation in these camps.
He said if the report does not satisfy the court, the Centre would be open to further suggestions.
Interview: An Inside Look at Maoist Strategy in India
This is an interview with G.N. Saibaba, the Deputy Secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), an All Indian Federation of Revolutionary People's Organisations. He is 40 years old and was born in Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India. The new Norwegian party Rødt [Red!] conducted this interview in early December when Saibaba was in Norway for the memorial service for Tron Øgrim. The interview was conducted in English. Thanks to the Fire on the Mountain blog for posting it.
Red!: If someone said to you that the Maoist movement in India is a marginal movement that is mainly operating in very backward, lowly populated areas, and it has been doing so for over thirty-five years without getting anywhere, what would be your answer?
Saibaba:The Maoist movement in India is not confined to the backward areas. It's a vast movement, and includes the "developed" areas. Maoists work both in the countryside and the cities. The government says that the Maoists are active in 15 out of 28 states. And these include the major states. The Union Home Ministry says that 167 districts out total 600 districts in the country are covered by Maoists. This is a little less than 1/3 of India.The Maoists in India follow the New Democratic Revolutionary method proved successful in China under the leadership of Mao. This method follows that the revolutionary movement must put priority on working in the areas where the state is weak. The Maoists work in the backward regions to smash the local reactionaries' power and establish people's power. They build revolutionary mass bases in these backward areas. This doesn't mean that they don't also work in the cities. In fact, in the Congress of the CPI (Maoist) held in January/February 2007, they decided to increase their work in the urban areas. They have produced a new document concerning work in the urban areas that analyses the work done in the last thirty years. This document sets out a strategy for developing the work in the urban areas.The backward regions in the country are essentially semi-feudal and there is not much capitalistic development. The Maoist Party selected these areas for guerrilla warfare. The armed struggle is considered as the main form of struggle. In order to develop the main form of struggle the Maoists concentrate their work in the backward areas. The struggle in urban areas is secondary and complimentary. The work of the party among the working class in the urban areas helps develop proletarian leadership for the struggle in the backward areas.At the same time the Maoists participate in developing a huge movement in the urban areas among the intelligentsia, students, women and the middle classes. Maoist cadres and leaders who have been working in the urban areas also are arrested, harassed and killed.Maoists also work among the coal miners in a big way. There are vast coal mines in many regions in India. You can see, the Maoists work in many industrial areas all over the country, though their concentration of work proceeds from the rural areas.In fact the CPI (Maoist) leads the single largest mass movement in India. The Central and local governments' response is an indicator to the vastness of the movement. The Central Government has formed a Coordination Centre together with 14 state governments. They are cooperating to mobilise security forces and to gather intelligence about the movements of the Maoists. They have armed a huge military network. They have monthly meetings of this Centre. A large number of military forces are engaged against the Maoist movement. This also indicates the strength of the Maoist movement.The Naxalbari uprising in 1967 that beckoned in the new revolutionary wave ended with splits into many groups. The splitting up of revolutionary communist forces lasted from 1972 to 1997. It is only after 1997 that the revolutionary communists started uniting. Two major parties who were waging armed struggle united in 1998 and the final unity took place in 2004 when the CPI (Maoist) was formed with the merger of MCCI and CPI (People's War). Because of the splits the movement couldn't grow faster before 2004.
Red!: How do the Maoists respond to accusations of being dogmatists, and not being willing to learn from the defeats of socialism in the 20th century?
Saibaba: The Maoists are creatively and in a genuine way implementing the Marxist principles to the concrete conditions of India. They don't blindly copy from China or Russia. At the same time they are aware that the socialist projects in China and Russia were defeated by the capitalist roaders. They apply Marxism-Leninism- Maoism in a practical way for India. If one calls carrying armed struggle dogmatism, then one is moving away from class struggle in an impoverished country like India. Armed peasant struggle is the basic struggle, because 70% of the masses have been forced to remain with and depend on agriculture and backward relations of production. In such a situation where a vast majority don't have a public democratic space, they will not be able to fight the fascistic ruling classes without arms. But armed struggle is also being waged creatively and practically. Armed struggle doesn't mean the annihilation of the class enemy. Armed struggle is a form of class struggle where the oppressed classes assert their power and organise themselves by taking away power from the feudal and pro-imperialist comprador capitalists.Armed struggle under the leadership of Maoists also means re-appropriation of the sources of livelihood by the wretched of the earth from the dominant and powerful classes. It also means building alternative institutions the people's power. So in this way the armed struggle is redefined and practiced with Bolshevik spirit of giving all power to the soviets. Without armed struggle no resistance can be built in countries like India and the resistance that has been built up in the previous years cannot be retained. The armed actions against the state forces and feudal forces are carried out to protect the movement and in self-defence and self-assertion of the exploited classes.The Maoists believe that the demise of socialist construction in Russia and China was mainly due to the revisionist line that developed within the respective Communist Parties of those countries. The capitalist-roaders in Russia and China captured power back from the working class because those parties could not guard against the infiltration of the bourgeoisie into the proletarian parties. The failure of the socialist projects have taught important lessons to the international proletariat in carrying forward the class struggle against the bourgeoisie in various countries and the monopoly bourgeoisie at the international level. In no country in the world has class struggle succeeded without armed struggle.Red!: How many soldiers do the Maoists have approximately?Saibaba:The Indian Government says 28,000, but the number may be much higher. The areas of their influence look much wider than what the Government estimations indicate. Also there is a vast people's militia working at the village level. The militia is basic and primary in relation to the People's Liberation Army as per the strategy of the CPI (Maoist).
Red!: Have there been any peace talks between the Maoists and the authorities anywhere?
Saibaba:There were peace talks in 2004. The Government of Andhra Pradesh invited the Maoists for peace negotiations. The Maoist Party always maintains that they are never averse to political negotiations with their opponents on the issues of people's struggles, but no negotiations are possible on their central political line in terms of strategy. One round of peace talks were conducted in Hyderabad for about a month. This was facilitated and supported by the prominent intellectuals of the region. The Maoists said in the negotiations that if the government was willing to solve the problems of the people for which they had been fighting in the last thirty five years, they would welcome the change. They discussed the basic problems of the people. A ceasefire agreement was signed by both sides before the political negotiations began. The government said that they wanted to close the first phase of the negotiations and also said that it would implement the agreed upon points. And the Maoist leaders who negotiated went back underground. They waited for the implementation of the agreed points. The Government violated the ceasefire, started hostilities on the Maoists and killed several hundred Maoists, including leading cadres. This process revealed before the eyes the people how the reactionary rulers are not ready to solve the problems of the people.
Red! : Do the Maoists have any base areas?
Saibaba:The People's War has not reached to the level of base areas yet. But it has almost reached this level in several places. In these areas where base areas are under construction, people's governments at local level are functioning. The People's governments are functioning in several hundred villages.
Red!: There is news that the Central and State Governments launched attacks against the Maoist positions in Andhra Pradesh, and that they have been driven out of most of the areas. Doesn't this show that when the ruling classes want to, they can defeat the Maoists militarily, and that it is only a question of tactics from the enemy's part, when it decides to smash the Maoists?
Saibaba:In the last decade more than two thousand Maoist cadres have been brutally murdered in Andhra Pradesh. There was a concentrated attack particularly after the peace negotiations. When the Maoists saw that they were facing larger losses of forces, they retreated from certain areas, and deployed them in other areas. There is a temporary setback in some areas in Andhra Pradesh for the Maoist movement, but they are trying to revive these areas. The Central and State governments use vigilante groups in a huge way to infiltrate the Maoist areas and smash them. The vigilante groups worked more effectively for the governments in breaking the Maoist resistance in some areas of Andhra Pradesh.The movement is not merely a military movement. It is a political movement involving the masses. So the Maoists are not facing and confronting the Indian military forces just militarily but more politically so they have a vast mass base. It is not possible for the government to smash the movement because of massive popular support. The temporary setbacks are not uncommon in revolutionary movements. But the mature revolutionary movements could recover from such setbacks quickly from time to time.
Red!: Are there any revolutionary forces that are trying another strategy than protracted people's war in India?
Saibaba:Yes, for example CPI (ML) New Democracy and a few other CPI (ML) groups. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections (elections to the Union legislature i.e. the Parliament) in 2004, CPI(ML) Red Flag and a few other CPI (ML) groups took the initiative to form a united front of revolutionary communists basically to fight elections.The Maoists consider them to be the right deviationists but not revisionist. They are progressive, but not on the right revolutionary path as per the Maoists. But Maoists are not averse to work with them in mass work.Red!: India is a big country. In some areas there are civil wars, in other areas there is not much unrest. At the same time most parties are regional, not national. Are there revolutionary organisations in all the states of India?Saibaba:The unrest is everywhere. Take for example Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. These two areas are poverty-stricken areas. But there is not a single revolutionary party exists in these regions. The unrest takes place in these regions many shapes. Sometimes mass militant movements arise. But the major problem is that the revolutionary subjective forces are not working there. These are two large states, but there is no history of revolutionary communist parties in these areas, mostly NGOs work in these areas. They are often foreign funded. But the objective situation is very much ripe for armed struggle in these areas as well. It is simply the question of spread of revolutionary forces to these regions that is awaited.Red!: What is the percentage of people living in the cities? How many of these have employment?Saibaba:30 percent of Indian population live in urban and semi-urban areas and 70 percent in the countryside. Overall, about 77% of the people live on Rs. 20/- a day i.e. half a US dollar a day on an average. Unemployment is rampant in every part of India.
Red!: Officially India is growing at a GDP growth-rate of almost 10%. You contest this figure. Why?
Saibaba:At the moment the growth rate is around 9% as per the Government's declaration. Only 0.5% percent of the workforce, which is engaged in the service-sector, is contributing 55% to the GDP. And 70% of the workforce, which is in the rural agriculture sector, is contributing with only 19% to the GDP. And 3% of the work force is engaged in the manufacturing sector. These figures from the government tell us that the vast majority of the people's share in the GDP is very minute. Right now the growth rate figures are based to a large degree on speculative capital, which includes foreign investment. So the growth rate is both illusive and fragile. The calculations for the growth rate are also based on falsehoods. If these figures indicate anything, we understand that the top 10% is amassing the wealth with crudest exploitative methods.
Red!: In the Philippines there is a combination of People's War and at the same time the party supports people's parties that stand for elections, in Nepal the Maoists stood for elections to parliament in 1993, then they boycotted the elections and started a people's war, and now they are in parliament. Isn't it possible to combine people's war and parliamentary work in such a vast and diverse country as India?
Saibaba:The history of the development of the Communist Movement in India in the last 40 years shows us that those Communist Revolutionary Parties that did not choose the strategy of People's War, but chose the theory of people's resistance first, before the initiation of People's War or that chose to combine people's resistance and parliamentary politics, gradually slipped into either right deviationist or neo-revisionist path.People's War is the main strategy, whereas standing for elections of the Parliament is a tactical question. The Maoists are not in principle against the elections, but doing this must facilitate the strategy of People's War. The Maoists consider the question of participation in Parliamentary elections as part of the tactics which has a strategic importance. So they don't see any immediate possibility of participating in elections. The Parliamentary institutions are highly discredited ones among the people in India. In the imagination of people at large, if one is participating in elections one is the enemy of the people who comes to rob them. The Maoists boycott elections and concentrate on building alternative people's power and people's institutions. In India the Maoists have no immediate plans of using this tactic.
Red!: Isn't it possible to develop both legal struggle and underground struggle in the cities and larger urban areas, also including working in the Parliamentary organisations?
Saibaba:The Maoists do work in the urban areas among the working classes and the middle classes. This has secondary importance in relation to the main strategy of the revolutionary line. The primary importance is to develop the armed struggle in the villages among the peasants as the main force, and with the working class ideology in the leadership. This means not just the physical workers but those of the people who acquired the proletarian ideology and without property of their own. Maoists do combine legal and the illegal struggles as far as the struggles create space to operate and basically understand that more and more militant struggles create this space. Whatever there is any democratic space, it's being used to the maximum extent possible. But the ruling classes don't allow the use of legal means and different institutions of democracy always. Participating in elections is not the only way to participate in legal and urban spaces. Even boycotting elections is a highly political activity, which is another way of participating politically within the given democratic space that exists in India.First of all, the Maoists are concentrating on gaining power for the people to build people's democratic revolutionary institutions. When this is achieved in large areas, they will get more space in the urban centres.
Red!: Is employment growing?
Saibaba:The employment rate is not growing, it is standing still. But the real employment rate has declined very much, for several reasons. The economic surveys tell us that one million small industries were closed in the last few years, and this made a huge loss of jobs. Then land being acquired from the farmers is also responsible for unemployment. The small peasants and landless peasants have lost their jobs in a big way.Only IT-industry and some service industry are growing. But these are sectors where a miniscule number of people are employed. Employment in manufacture sector is on decline. The government doesn't show these figures. The independent intelligentsia produce alternative figures on both the growth rate and unemployment. There is a huge controversy about the official figures about employment situation in India. On the whole, there is a decline in the employment growth rate, side by side there is decline in real wages of workers.
Red!: Is India an imperialist country or a semi-feudal, semi colonial country?
Saibaba: India is not an imperialist country. The reason is that India is under the clutches of the imperialist powers. India's ruling classes exert little amount of power in international politics. To a great extent, it is acting under the dictates of the US imperialists. At the same time India has expansionist designs. Imperialist powers can control other countries, while expansionism is a desire to expand without the ability, to the neighbouring countries and try to exploit them and bully them.But even these imperialist designs are not according to the wishes of the ruling classes of India, but according to the wishes of the imperialists. India exercises its expansionist desires by becoming an instrument in the hands of the USA at present. The USA is manoeuvring India to get control over the neighbouring smaller countries for an overall control over the geopolitical interests of the USA in South Asia. Examples are Sri Lanka and Nepal. India is being used to suppress the LTTE's just struggle for Tamil national liberation in Sri Lanka. The relationship between the USA and India can be compared with the hegemony of Israel in the Middle East. Now the US wants to use India to suppress the Maoist movement in Nepal though at present clandestinely. India has occupied Kashmir and North-Eastern national territories like Naga and others peoples by brute military force.
Red!: Is the class struggle in India more intense now than 20 years ago?
Saibaba: The poverty levels in India have increased. In 1947 there were no suicide deaths of farmers. From 1990s onwards the suicide deaths of farmers have started in a big way. Why did they start in the 1990s? It's because agriculture, which employs the largest section of the population has been neglected drastically. The poor peasantry is not able survive in this sector largely depending on the highly exploitative private credit system. About 150 000 farmers committed suicide in the last ten years. There are hunger deaths in many areas. People are eating wild roots and leaves in vast areas of deliberately underdeveloped areas. In fact we can see that we have several areas at the same level as the sub-Saharan African countries in India today. All this is happening particularly after the aggressive pro-imperialist globalisation started at a large-scale in India.The working class is the most beleaguered class in our country. They have lost their rights. The fresh sections of workers emerging from the peasantry classes cannot join the labour aristocratic class. The organised sector very small compared to the unorganised sector, where collective agreements and labour laws are followed to an extent is fast diminishing.But also ordinary people are more conscious of the already existing struggles in other areas. The class contradictions are sharpened because the resources are going into the hands of fewer and fewer after the globalisation process started around 1990. This process amasses of wealth in a very few hands.Some welfare reforms introduced by the ruling classes in the decades of sixties and seventies were dropped and the government is leaving everything to the market that is led by the imperialist forces directly allied by the subservient domestic capitalists. This also increases the intensity of the struggles.
Red!: Since the beginning of the 1990s the ruling classes in India have pursued a neo-liberalistic policy of deregulation and privatisation and globalisation. How do these changes effect the situation for women?
Saibaba: There is nothing liberal about the neoliberal policies. These policies have been implanted since the time of Nehru in India. The so-called Nehru socialism is full of pro-imperialist globalisation policies. But then of course there is a marked difference between the earlier phase and the phase started since the 1990s. The difference is that globalisation is the aggressive phase of imperialist onslaught. Globalisation is the globalisation of aggressive monopoly capital in the absence of socialist block in the world, and also because of imperialism' s own in depth crisis. More and more, the burden of this crisis is being shifted on to the shoulders of the third world countries. As a result of the extreme exploitative conditions under the process of globalisation, the first section of the people who are facing severe difficulties are the Adivasis, the landless and poor peasants, the workers, the religious minorities particularly the Muslims an overwhelming majority of whom are among the country's poorest and in all these sections and classes the women are affected first of all.Women are of course affected hardest. When workers are retrenched the women go first. Second, in the dwindling conditions of employment, women don't get new jobs as the job market is rabidly patriarchal. The extreme patriarchal oppression that exists in India is a result of both deviant capitalism and semi-feudalism. Women are forced to look after the families, particularly the children, when sources of livelihood decline. As a result, women eat less now, feed their children and look after their households. Today, there is more malnutrition among women, working in hard conditions both at home and outside. They get lower wages than men. Though equal wages is the law in the country, nobody follows it.The sex ratio in the country is fast becoming a gulf, with the actual number of women decreasing in compared the numbers of men. Female foeticide is a growing phenomenon. Hundreds of cases of female foeticide are recorded in the hospitals. So now women are the biggest section joining the struggles, standing at the forefront and joining all struggles. More than 30 percent of the members in the Maoist party are women. Even the biggest bourgeois party in the country will not have such number of women. In some areas like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand the percentage is higher.
Red!: You say that displacement is the major issue in India. That there are six different kinds of displacement: Special Economic Zones, mining, new industry, new big dams, beautification of urban spaces and infrastructural corridor projects and others. You say that the forced displacement is based on expropriating approximately 12% of the land. Most of this land is also very fertile. Can you explain why displacement is the main issue, and not poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and so on?
Saibaba: 70% of the people depend on land or agriculture directly or indirectly. The major source of employment is agriculture. When land is taken away for these projects the people have no other source of income. So, one of the major ways that people are becoming unemployed is through dispossession of land. This in fact renders both the landed people and landless poor jobless. The rehabilitation packages announced by the government for those who lose land, never work. The rehabilitation is never implemented. So all the problems like malnutrition, poverty, unemployment and so on, are rooted in the process of dispossession of people of their sources of livelihood, by displacing them from their land, forests and other habitats.
Red!: Why can't the displaced peasants get new jobs in the modern sector?
Saibaba: The displaced are from those sections that are silently forced to remain illiterate. They don't have the necessary skills for industrial work - - particularly the kind of industry that is being set up with high imperialist technology. On the other hand, even if a small section is eligible for industrial work, they don't get jobs because the industries being set up are technology-intensiv e and they don't employ many people. The machines are brought from the imperialist countries. These machines require highly skilled labour. So there is no space for the disposed to get jobs in the industrial sector that is supposed to be growing. Then there is a small possibility of employment in the IT-sector or services sector, but not the manufacturing industry. In the urban areas there is already a huge section of educated unemployed, who will get a small number of jobs in these industries, but not the rural displaced.
Red!: What do the Maoists in India consider to be the main lessons to be learnt from the defeat of socialism in the last century, when it comes to the question of the relationship between the communist party and the rest of society?
Saibaba: The Indian Maoists feel that what happened in Russia and China still has to be analysed further. They think that in future the international Communist Revolutionaries have to come together and study the failures more concretely. One of the reasons for the failure of the socialist construction projects could be that the parties had not been able to devise mechanisms to check the infiltration of the bourgeoisie into the Communist Parties. But of course in China the Cultural Revolution under the leadership of Mao was developed to check the infiltration of the bourgeoisie into the Communist Parties. But it remained at an experimental level at that time after the death of Mao. More and more devices, political and ideological have to be developed within the revolutionary Communist Parties to check the extraneous class ideologies from creeping into the Communist Parties. Each of the countries of the world today needs to establish firm proletarian parties.Unfortunately in many of the European countries as well as in some of the third world countries today, extraneous class ideologies have been creeping in, in the name of "21st century democracy," "liberal organising principles" and acceptance of a "multiparty system." Even within the policies of the Communist Parties, the need today is to drive them towards Bolshevisation, Leninist Parties which can lead the proletariat to victories in the process of which lessons can be drawn from the earlier failures which should be understood as temporary setback for the world proletariat in the long historical onward march.
Red!: What is the root-cause for differences among the Communist forces in India?
Saibaba: Within India the differences among the Communist Revolutionaries are not simply differences among their leadership. They reflect the different class bases of these parties, the nature of their petty-bourgeois leadership, their attempts to take their parties into non-proletarian class ideologies by leading mostly legalistic struggles. The sharp class struggles simply cannot depend on legalistic means of struggles and survive in the face of the highly fascistic reactionary classes. In India, some such parties have made their bases among the rich and middle peasantry which mostly has petty-bourgeois and liberal attitudes by which they try to protect their legal space. Some others have built a party simply with urban petty-bourgeois sections. Others who have been building parties with the propertyless poor and landless peasantry including Adivasis and working class are able to go ahead in developing formidable class struggle.So the differences are based on concrete physical conditions in the classes they root in their struggles. There is a need today for the coming together of all these small sections of such Communist Parties to ally with the Maoists, but unity is only possible if they change their orientation towards genuine proletarian line and base their work among the working class, the poor and the landless peasantry.
Red!: Are there any lessons to be learnt on the question of women's' liberation from the defeat of socialism?
Saibaba: If we look at the present situation of the emancipation of women, the patriarchal structures are to be studied in depth by the practicing Marxists in the movements. Now in India more and more concentration is paid on the patriarchal structures from the women cadres of the Maoist Party. One is the institution of reproduction itself, which is highly discriminating against women. Within the Maoist revolutionary practice this has become a major question along with other specific problems for women. These problems have not been completely grasped. Not enough mechanisms have been found to check the discrimination of women within the revolutionary process. One major thing is that women continue to be under patriarchal structures just because they are women. So the new revolution must pay attention to the specificities of this special oppression. The second important point is that complete emancipation of women is not possible within the capitalist system.But we should also be aware of the fact that if the proletariat takes over power the patriarchal structures would not automatically disappear. This is a major problem. One must have specific attention to the institutions and structures that remain. Women have to fight a revolution within the revolution. In India there will be many more revolutions within the revolution as we have a peculiar oppressive form called caste. One example we have before us for the revolution within revolution is the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in China under the leadership of Mao. But India has to tread a more torturous path. Mao called for a thousand revolutions to completely root out the bourgeois ideology. I understand all such attempts of revolution within the revolution are complimentary and patriarchy and caste system or say, racism has to be looked at from this angle. A quick and simple solution is not possible. A revolutionary has to be patient.But this doesn't mean these revolutions should wait till the proletariat captures power. In India we think that Cultural Revolution has to start now even before the success of the New Democratic Revolution. But such an attempt taken unmindfully will degenerate into a Post-modernist ruse, like most liberal humanist projects relapse into Post-structuralist obscurantism. This task is possible only in the hands of a firm proletariat Party after it acquires confidence of the revolutionary masses in a country. Otherwise, such attempts will end up in mere anarchism.The women have their own structures and organisations within the CPI (Maoist). They have their own conferences and committees. They are part of the general conferences and have separate meetings in connection with these.The rule is that if a woman and a man are equally competent then a woman is given priority in leading any particular revolutionary committee. There is also special education for women so that they develop faster, special camps and special trainings are devised. In the Maoist Party most women that are party members do not have children on their own choice, but if particular women want to have, she can have a child and the party will help her. The period her child-bearing not be discriminated against. There are well developed policies about these questions in the Maoist Party of India.
Red!: Is there are revolutionary situation in India today? What about the rest of the world?
Saibaba: There is an extremely favourable revolutionary situation in India and also in all the "third world" countries. In each of these countries, the domestic crisis is growing while international crisis is also growing. The "third world" countries need not wait for any third world war to accomplish their revolutions. There may not be a Third World War in the classical sense, even though Bush promises one. The conditions of war exist in different ways.The world is already in a type of war, but its shape is different now. For example, the US is fighting a military war against the people of Iraq and an economic war on the people of India, and both varieties of wars kill the people in the same magnitude. So why does the US need to declare war on India when the Indian ruling classes are willing to facilitate everything for the imperialists? The growing contradictions among the imperialist forces can quickly change from collusion to conflicts. The background is already prepared and the revolutionary situation is already ripe. It is the subjective forces of the communists that have to take advantage of the situation and strengthen their forces.The ruling class hegemony will be crushed in no time if the imperialists don't come to their rescue in each of these countries when the revolutionary masses organise themselves. Similarly, a break in the imperialist chain anywhere will catch like wildfire and the irreversible collapses of the imperialist/ monopoly bourgeois rule in the West will follow the suit. The proletarian parties in Europe and other parts of the West should prepare the ground before for this impending and indispensable eventuality soon