Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two top Maoist leaders killed in ‘encounter’

TADVAI (WARANGAL DT.): Two top Maoist leaders – Patel Sudhakar Reddy alias Suryam alias Srikanth and Kanugula Venkataiah – one a Central Committee member and the other a State Committee member, were killed in an exchange of fire with the police in the early hours of Sunday on the Gaurappa hillocks near Lavvala village in the thick Tadvai forest area.
According to Superintendent of Police V. C. Sajjanar, on credible information about the increased movement of naxal groups in the forest area, special party police teams were pressed into combing operations for the past two weeks. One of the parties spotted a group of naxals camping on the top of Gaurappa hillocks near Lavvala village in Tadvai mandal in the early hours of Sunday and there was a sudden exchange of fire. Two naxals were killed and the police recovered one AK 47, one 9 mm pistol, one 8 mm rifle, three kitbags, Rs. 20,000 in cash and revolutionary party literature. The deceased were identified as Patel Sudhkar Reddy (49) alias Suryam alias Venkat Reddy, native of Kurthi Ravala Cheruvu of Maldarkal mandal in Mahabubnagar district, a Central Committee member of CPI (Maoist) and the other was identified as Kanugula Venkataiah (29) alias Prasanna alias Bhujanga Reddy, native of Inapur village in Cheriyal mandal of Warangal district who was a State Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) and a member of its technical wing.
Patel Sudhakar Reddy was involved in a number of sensational murder cases, including that of former Home Minister Alimineti Madava Reddy and senior IPS officers Umesh Chandra and Vyas. He also masterminded the assassination attempts on former Chief Ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu and N. Janardhan Reddy. He played a key role in the police station attacks of Bommala Ramaram, Thirumalagiri, Eragondapalem, Yadagirigutta, Dindi and some other police stations in the State. Role in other States
He was also involved in three landmine blasts at Bandlamotu and Vepanagandla, in which two SIs and 12 constables were killed. He looked after the military activities in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra and was made member of the Central Committee.
Kanugula Venkataiah started as State Secretary of the Radical Students Union (RSU). In 1993 he went underground and worked in Cherial, Gerailpally and Nalgonda area committees. In 2006, he was taken into the technical wing of the party and was made State committee member.

Naxalites gun down 16 cops in Gadchiroli

Mumbai: Maoists struck in Gadchiroli district of the state on Thursday afternoon, killing 16 police personnel, including an inspector, a sub-inspector, and five women constables.This is the first time that women constables in Maharashtra have become victims of a naxal attack.

All the police personnel were posted at Dhanora police station. The incident took place at Hattitola between Erkad and Murumgaon on the busy state highway linking Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.According to sources, naxalites had called for a bandh (Strike) on Wednesday and Thursday.

The police party led by inspector Ashok Iyer was conducting foot patrolling around 3:30pm when it came across a roadblock. When the team began removing the trees lying across the road, more than 100 naxalites hiding in the forest along the road opened fire. They also blew up a police vehicle that was following the team.The roadblock was a trap for the team.

After the encounter the naxalites fled with the weapons belonging to the police party.Gadchiroli's superintendent of police Rajesh Pradhan rushed to the spot with reinforcements, but it was too late. It is learnt that information about the ambush could not reach the headquarters at Gadchiroli as wireless sets were not functioning owing to heavy rainfall in the area.

The source said inspector Iyer was earlier posted with the Nagpur (rural) police and served as senior inspector at the Kalmeshwar and the Bhivapur police stations. He was transferred to Gadchiroli on request last year.The state government announced that combing operations would be stepped up in all the naxal-infested areas of Vidarbha. "We will intensify combing operations in the region," home minister Jayant Patil told reporters. "The operations were in progress after a similar attack earlier this year claimed the lives of 15 policemen, but several security personnel were later deployed for election duty."

Meanwhile, state director-general of police SS Virk said the inspector who led the 16-member team had not informed any senior officers before setting out and could have been lured into an ambush by the insurgents

Binayak Sen released.

25 May 2009, 1150 hrs IST
The Supreme Court on Monday (May 25) ordered the release of prominent civil rights activist Binayak Sen, who is lodged in a Chhattisgarh jail for the past two years. A vacation bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Deepak Verma ordered Sen's release on his submitting a personal bond to the satisfaction of the local trial court.
A prominent PUCL leader, Sen was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police for allegedly colluding with certain Naxalite leaders in their activities, a charge denied by him.Earlier, Supreme Court agreed to grant urgent hearing on Monday to a bail petition filed by Sen.
Supreme Court Vacation Bench said the matter will be listed for hearing on May 25 after senior advocate Shanti Bhushan mentioned Sen's petition in which a notice was issued to the Chhattisgarh government on May 4. When the notice was issued, the apex court had asked the state government to provide medical aid to Sen, who has been suffering from heart ailment.Sen, who has been in custody since May 14, 2007, has contended that there was no evidence against him to be booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The Chhattisgarh Government has accused Sen, who is the vice-president of the People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), of acting as a courier for an alleged Naxalite who is in jail. He has also sought bail on medical grounds, saying that he had been suffering from a heart ailment and needs treatment at the Christian Medical College, Vellore in Tamil Nadu. Sen, a doctor by profession, has sought bail on the ground that the chargesheet against him has already been filed and he has remained in jail during the investigation of the case registered against him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maoists attack chopper, 1 dead

Maoists on Friday opened fire at a four-seater helicopter in Kistaram, a village in Dantewada district, killing one police constable and injuring another. The village is located in Naxal-affected South Bastar region of the state.
The helicopter was hired by the state Government from a private company to ferry ration for security personnel posted at Kistaram police station and to bring back injured policemen after attack from Maoists.
As the chopper landed at Kistaram — one of the remotest areas in South Bastar — a group of Maoists opened fire at the helicopter and at the ground forces, who were guarding the helipad. Constable Laxmi Narayan Dhurv was killed in the firing. Another constable sustained serious injuries.
As soon as the rebels started firing, the alert helicopter pilot took off, but two bullets hit the chopper.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If Binayak is a Naxal, so am I - former Chief Justice of New Delhi.

It's two years and the government is yet to take any step for the doctor's release
Samarth Pathak Delhi Hardnews
"Kick me, shake me, you can never break me" seemed to be the punch line of the emotionally charged 'Free Binayak' campaign held in Delhi on May 14. It marked the second year of imprisonment of human rights defender, Dr Binayak Sen, in Chhattisgarh.
The gathering saw hundreds of social activists, friends and supporters of Sen protesting against State atrocities through songs, poetry and straight-from-the-heart speeches. Participants voiced the need for a revolution and pledged their solidarity for the cause.
It started with a rendition Bob Dylan's eternal classic, The Times They Are A-Changin. It was performed by a group of youngsters - Ritwik, Pakhi and Tushar, and everyone joined in the chorus. This was followed by a folk song, Gulabidas's Marjeeva, by feminist Deepta Ghosh.
Explaining the song, she said, "Marjeeva denotes the man who dives into an ocean for pearls. It tells us that a person has to struggle and suffer pain to emerge successful and better than ever. Binayak Sen is also facing a tough struggle, but I know that like the Marjeeva, he will be vindicated and get justice in the end."
Former Chief Justice of Delhi, Rajinder Sachar, was also present. "Why are we having this show? To convince ourselves, even though we know the truth? This campaign would only be successful if awareness is created outside these walls, and people are mobilised against injustice. I am ashamed to be a part of the judiciary that has meted out an unfair sentence to Binayak Sen. If Binayak is a Naxal, so am I," he said. Amidst thunderous applause, Sachar continued, "I appeal to everyone to start a satyagraha and a jail bharo campaign to get justice for him. I assure you that I shall be the first satyagrahi to go to jail if this happens."
Filmmaker and poet, Gauhar Raza, stirred emotions with his poems. "Lahu mein doobe yeh haath kab tak, rahenge dharma ke chaalak? (How long will these hands, soaked in blood, be the controllers of the people and religion?)" he read.
The campaigners demanded the immediate release of Dr Sen on medical grounds, an urgent repeal of draconian laws like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005, the UAPA (amended), 2004 and immediate action to speed up trials of people who share Sen's fate.
Author Arundhati Roy said, "Binayak's imprisonment is unfair and must be repealed. The state has no evidence, and to complicate things, both the Congress and the BJP are in collusion to frame Sen. I appeal to all not to be frightened and fight against this injustice. Campaigns like these are the first step. Now, we must take things forward."
Sen, a well-known paediatrician from Christian Medical College, Vellore, was a public-spirited doctor. Dedicated towards the cause of social good, he had spent nearly three decades providing medical services to the tribals of Chhattisgarh. It's alleged that Sen was falsely implicated by the Chhattisgarh government. He was taken as a "Naxal supporter" after he raised his voice against the war waged by the State against its own people in the name of Salwa Judum. He has been in jail since May 2007 even as his health is deteriorating. Twenty-two Nobel laureates had signed a petition and sent to the prime minister appealing for Sen's release. As yet, nothing has been done, learnt Hardnews.
Supporters and friends of Sen, like Kaustav, feel that it's time people united to get justice for a man who brought about a change for the people of his country. "People like Binayak Sen and Lalit Mehta are honest, sincere, upright and committed for the social good. That's what every Indian should be like, if we want to be a truly great State. However, when instances like Binayak's case, and the killing of Lalit take place, even those who are interested in changing people's lives are disheartened. Let's all get together and act now, to ensure that such things don't happen again," he said.
The campaign reminds of Faiz's powerful poem,
Hum Dekhenge:
Hum mehkumoon ke paaon tale, Yeh dharti dhad dhad dhadkegi,Aur ahl-e-hukum ke sar upar, Jab bijli kad kad kadkegi...Hum dekhenge...(We, the oppressed, shall see the day, when beneath our feet this earth will live and thriveAnd heads of rulers will be struck by crackling lightening and thunder would roar...We shall see the day...)

Indian Maoists kill 10 police in blast

Monday, 11th May 2009
NEW DELHI — Maoists ambushed and killed 10 policemen in a landmine blast in insurgency-hit central India on Monday.
The police team was driving through a heavily forested area in the state of Chhattisgarh when their vehicle hit the mine.

"We have received reports of 10 policemen killed in the landmine blast," said a witness.
Eight policemen were seriously injured in the attack which took place about 90 kilometres (60 miles) south of state capital Raipur.
A heavy exchange of fire between policemen and guerrillas followed the blast, injuring several officers.
India's Maoists are fighting for the rights of neglected tribal people and landless farmers.
Their peoples war, which grew out of a peasant uprising in 1967, is active in more than half of the country's 29 states.
The rebels, described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the single largest threat to India's security, use the forests of Chhattisgarh state as their base.

Monday, May 11, 2009

‘India should have defended civilian supremacy in Nepal’

In an interview on the circumstances leading to the dismissal of his country’s army chief and his own subsequent resignation, Prime Minister Prachanda of Nepal tells The Hindu the Maoists will prefer to sit in the opposition rather than see the authority of a democratically elected government undermined.
Excerpts:Controversy has surrounded your decision to sack General Rookmangad Katawal as army chief. He had defied civilian authority since December on the recruitment issue but was going to retire soon. Why precipitate a political crisis when his tenure was ending anyway?
When the question of recruitment came, we knew what was at stake was the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and its implementation. So we discussed the issue within government and also tried to convince other political parties that this man is trying to challenge civilian supremacy. That this is a question of principle — either we assert civilian supremacy or army supremacy will get established. A serious debate took place with different political parties and ultimately, I acted because the other major political party in the government besides the Maoists — the United Marxist-Leninists — agreed to take action against Katawal. It is only then that I asked some questions of the army chief and tried to take action against him.
Who were the UML leaders who agreed with this?
Top central leaders like Jhalanath Khanal, Ishwar Pokharel and Bam Dev Gautam agreed that Katawal is always trying to challenge the elected government and that this will create a very bad situation in the coming days and therefore we should take some action. And when UML leadership agreed, I also discussed with the leadership of the Madhesi Forum (MJF). They too agreed to go ahead. Today, the MJF is sticking to its position but the UML reversed itself later on.
In the cabinet, when it became clear that UML was no longer on board, why did you feel it necessary to go ahead with the dismissal, knowing it would trigger a major crisis?
Because it is a question of principle, it is a question of making history in this country. If we surrender to this army chief or to army supremacy, this will create a very big problem in coming days. Therefore, we preferred to stand firmly. Even if I should have to resign from the government, I must establish civilian supremacy in Nepal.
So you were looking at the experience of Pakistan?
Exactly, we discussed here what happened in Pakistan, and how in India, civilian supremacy has been established from 1947 up to this time.
And that is the model you wanted to follow for Nepal?
Exactly, I discussed this question with different political leaders, that we have to learn from the experience of India in this issue, not Pakistan.But India went along with President Ram Baran Yadav’s decision to rescind the cabinet order and reinstate the general.
Did that disappoint you?
Well, we expected that India would take a consistent position in favour of civilian supremacy because of its own traditions and because it had supported the struggle for democracy here. In fact, I want to make it clear that before taking any action against Katawal, I told the Indian Ambassador, Rakesh Sood, that if it is possible, could you please send a message that I want to have a serious discussion on this issue and if either the foreign secretary or some other senior person can come here to talk. We knew some confusion is there between the Maoist-led government and India on this question. I wanted to settle this issue through interaction and discussion with high-level officials from Delhi. But unfortunately, the ambassador informed me that this cannot happen now because the election campaign is going on, that nobody is there, that it is very difficult.
So you wanted the Indian leadership to be on board before you took action against Katawal?
Exactly.But they say you promised you would not act without wide consultations, and that you didn’t stick to that assurance. Let me clarify. When the question of this army chief was in debate, right from the beginning of the recruitment issue last December, I tried to consult with different stakeholders, even with Indian officials, that this man is not comfortable with the peace process, not comfortable with civilian supremacy. And, therefore, I want to take some action against him. So the debate was there, just after the recruitment issue came. They said, yes, but it is not good to take action now, let him go in the natural way. But these negative things continued. Even then, before taking action, I had said I would consult with the different political parties. And there were 15 days of consultations.
Some people say the change in the UML’s position was the result of Indian pressure. Do you agree?
That would be going too far. Inside UML there was a heavy pressure for the leadership and maybe some sorts of pressure from Delhi also.
The media is speculating that the Maoists had reached out to Lt. General Kul Bahadur Khadka, that you wanted him as army chief because of some understanding. What is the truth?
All these rumours are baseless and completely wrong. We see no difference between Khadka or Chattra Man Singh Gurung or other generals. Our concern is with Katawal, who is acting against civilian supremacy. And we tried to convince other political parties, and even some members of the international community, that we don’t have any preference that Khadka should be the next chief. He is second in command and when we take action against the chief, the second will naturally come. But we did not have any hidden agenda or hidden interaction with Khadka.
And there was no plan to give him an extension, since has only a few weeks to go till retirement?
No. In fact, we made him acting chief. If we wanted to make him chief in that way for an extended period, we would not have made him only acting chief in our cabinet decision. So he was to be acting chief and we were open to discuss about the chief [after his retirement] — to either make Gurung or some other general. Some people think we are trying to manipulate Khadka in favour of the Maiosts. These baseless rumours are meant to confuse the people.
Why was the army recruitment issue so important for you? And what was the need to deny an extension to the eight brigadiers as recommended by Gen. Katawal? I am told many of them were highly competent, professional officers.
It was agreed that there should be no recruitment by the Nepal Army or Peoples Liberation Army until integration and rehabilitation of the PLA is complete. In fact, the UN wrote a letter to us saying the proposed army recruitment should be stopped as it violates the CPA. After this, we wrote to Katawal saying it should be stopped. But he defied us. As for the brigadiers, there have been so many instances in the past when an officer’s tenure ended and extension was not given. So this time too, in the case of the eight brigadiers who had reached the end of their tenure, we felt that to address change, to give opportunity to new officers, we should do this. And not only in the army but in the police, 10-11 officers were not given extension. If I don’t give opportunity to new officers, the old status quo will be maintained, it will not be consistent with the movement for change.
Some of your leaders have said that unless Katawal’s reinstatement is revoked, the Maoist bloc will not allow the Constituent Assembly to function. Wouldn’t that be an irresponsible thing to do?
We believe the president should correct his extraconstitutional action and we are not going to disrupt the CA functioning for the time being. Previously, the Nepali Congress had disturbed the functioning of parliament on the issue of the chief and in a counterattack we are also stopping it because NC taught us to do these kind of activities! But we are not going to have a continuous kind of programme like that, we will let the CA function and elect the government.
So you are not going to stand in the way?
And can you rejoin government?
We will not be part of the government if the president does not correct his instruction on Katawal.
Could a possible compromise be restoring the status quo ante before the dismissal but with the CA passing a resolution firmly establishing the principle that the civilian government alone has the right to take decisions about the military and not the president?
On the issue of the principle, we will agree with that kind of proposal. But right now, in the process of forming the government, it is not possible to form an agreement on that line. We will be in the opposition in that situation.
Do you feel the Maoists will gain electorally in the future by staying in the opposition now?
We haven’t thought of the next election, we are thinking about civilian supremacy. If we go into opposition, it will mainly be for civilian supremacy. The Maoists struggled hard for a CA when others were against it, we fought hard for a Republic and now for civilian supremacy. People will ask why other parties are silent, how come only the Maoists are fighting for this. The image of the party has gone up in the hearts and minds of the people. This is our victory.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Crores on propaganda shows rulers desperate: Azad, CPI(Maoist))

Comrade Azad, spokesperson, central committee, CPI (Maoist), talks about why his party has called for an election boycott, how it plans to implement it, why Left-led Third Front government is out of the question as they are trying to brand themselves secular only to grab power. Azad spares no one, whether it is L K Advani, Congress, Mayawati or Prakash Karat, calling them opportunists.

This is one of the biggest elections with about a billion voters participating. Don't you see it as people's growing faith in parliamentary democracy?

Certainly not. Every day, media, central and state governments and all contesting parties are dinning into the ears of people to exercise their vote. This shows the desperation of the ruling classes. Crores are being spent on propaganda alone. They are so scared that they cannot imagine allowing voters the minimum democratic right to reject parties and candidates contesting the elections.

Your party has called for poll boycott. But involvement of people in elections seems to be growing

There is neither any interest nor involvement of people in the elections. Even the narrow base of some parties has taken a beating this time. Contrary to images you see on TV, the involvement of people has declined compared to earlier elections. Hence, the desperate attempt by rulers to rope in film stars, cricketers and popular personalities into publicity campaigns to educate people regarding the virtues of parliamentary democracy, and about the great responsibility of citizens in casting their votes.

Left parties are trying to build a non-BJP, non-Congress alternative at the Centre. What is your view on the Third Front?

The Third Front forged by CPI and CPM as a secular democratic front comprising non-Congress, non-BJP forces is actually a congregation of self-seeking discredited opportunists, all of whom have proved to be hypocrites and double-dealers in their respective states. Who needs to be taught about the infamous history of a Chandrababu Naidu, a Jayalalitha, a Mayawati, a Deve Gowda, a Naveen Patnaik? These leaders and their parties, who had, at one time or the other, shared power with the Hindu chauvinist BJP, are being given secular-democratic image by the Left.The Karats, Yechuris and other power brokers of the so-called Left had churned out the slogan of anti-communalism to justify their alignment with the most loyal agent of imperialists, Congress, during the 2004 elections. Now, these opportunists see anti-communalism in parties like TDP, BSP, AAIDMK, JD(U) and BJD, all of whom had never really demarcated themselves from communal BJP, and have no compunction in striking an alliance with it if it gave them a share in power. For our Marxist ideologues, all these forces have suddenly become secular. One should not be surprised if they once again become the tail of Congress after the election.

Why do you say that?

Just see. They found secularism, anti-imperialism and democratic moorings among parties such as TDP, a party which was first to transform a state into a laboratory of the World Bank and is responsible for the murder of over 2,000 Maoist revolutionaries besides the high-level of corruption of the regime led by Chandrababu Naidu. There are other opportunists such as Jayalalitha's AIADMK that had become infamous for the scale of corruption, abuse of power and fascist suppression of people's struggles in TN; Naveen Patnaik's BJD has sold the state to imperialists and proved itself to be executioner for the imperialists by massacring adivasis in Kaliga Nagar, POSCO, etc, besides protecting saffron hoodlums as they went about killing, raping and persecuting Christians. Deve Gowda's JD(S) shared power with BJP and broke with it only when the latter wanted a greater share of power; you have Mayawati who would do anything to grab power whether it be power-sharing with the BJP on rotational basis, or striking an alliance with Brahmins and subordinating Dalits to upper-caste Hindus, besides crushing all opponents ruthlessly.
The Third Front has certainly weakened the two major alliances, NDA and UPA, and has led to further fragmentation of Indian polity.

How will you take your boycott campaign to the people

We began after EC declared the poll schedule. Our stand has been made clear to people through circulars, press statements, interviews, leaflets, posters, wall writings. Cultural teams stage performances among the people. We will carry this out till the last phase of elections. It also includes questioning candidates and party members, gheraoing them, making them confess their misdeeds before the people.Then there is active boycott where we prevent candidates from carrying out their campaigns in villages and smaller urban centres in our areas. We warn the parties not to venture out into our areas. When they do not heed our warnings, we stop their campaign, beat them up if they are notorious elements, burn their vehicles, conduct people's courts where possible and make the party representatives confess the misdeeds of their respective parties and seek apology from the people. They are let off after they agree not to come to the villages again. We carry out counter-offensive actions against police and central forces who are used by the reactionary rulers to enforce elections at gun-point. Basically our active boycott too is a political campaign though we undertake some actions aimed at destroying enemy forces.

What about the growing impact of regional parties?

The elections this time are the most complex, most crisis-ridden and most fragmented. Extreme instability and contradictions plague every party and candidate. No party or candidate seems to be certain of the poll outcome. Hence they are resorting to all sorts of gimmicks to attract the apathetic voter. The desertion by the Left, Lalu's RJD, Mulayam's SP, Paswan's LJP, Ramdoss's PMK have left Congress and the UPA in a pathetic condition. Likewise, BJP and its NDA allies have lost support of strong allies like BJD, AIADMK and several smaller parties. Neither BJP nor Congress is in a position to hold their respective alliances together and centrifugal tendencies will continue to weaken these further.

What is the alternative Maoists are offering to parliamentary democracy?

The alternative is people's democracy where it is the people, and not a few moneybags, who decide the destiny of the country and their own lives. It is genuine democracy as seen from the grassroots level to the top and not vice versa. You can see e grassroots democracy at work in the vast tracts of Dandakaranya where Maoists are running a parallel government. There, people are supreme and decisions are made through gram sabhas, assemblies of the people and not by invisible hands. The people's courts, of course, will be refined further but the content remains the same, deliverance of real and speedy justice by taking the side of the oppressed, persecuted people.
Times of India

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Prachanda resigns as PM of Nepal

Prachanda has resigned as Prime Minister Of Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday announced resignation from his post in the wake of new political developments after President Ram Baran Yadav vetoed the government's decision to sack army chief Rookmangud Katawal.Dahal made this announcement in his address to the nation this afternoon.

Describing President Yadav's move as unconstitutional, Dahal said it has dealt serious blow to democracy, peace process and the newly established republican order and asked him to rectify his decision.Saying that a constitutional President has no right to block the decisions of an elected government, Dahal also accused him of acting under provocation of some parties.

Democracy and Class Struggle says the real struggle now begins - the concerted media blitz against the Maoist led government of the last few weeks in Nepal and the wider world is the last hurrah of those military feudal elitists and their proxy parties - the one voice that counts and matters is the voice of the people and not the elites of Nepal and that voice of the Nepali working people will not be silenced by elite games - prepare to hear the roar that will roll back the feudalists amd militarists for ever.


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