Wednesday, July 28, 2010

INTERNATIONAL CALL: Support people’s war in India!

In India an impetuous people's war against the Indian bourgeoisie and the imperialism is developing and spreading more and more in nearly one third of the districts of the country. It is not simply a guerilla waged by few thousands of fighters, coming from the castes and tribal areas of the country. It is a real people's war, led by the Party of the proletariat of India, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), in which are involved – or is supported by – millions of poor peasants, women, "untouchables, " fighting to free themselves and it has already took big areas throughout a dozen of states of the Indian Federation.

The people's war began where the root of the riot, the poverty, the tribal and capitalistic exploitation, the caste oppression, the plundering of the natural resources were deeper and therefore the contradictions brought by the Indian capitalism ruled by the imperialism were sharper. Today this people's war is winning masses of young people, students, democratic and revolutionary intellectuals also in the cities and gains attention and support over the world.

Against the people's war, the Indian State, supported by the imperialists, launched a giant repressive offensive called "Green Hunt," a real manhunt that hits the poor masses in India as animals to exterminate. The Indian State launched an internal military offensive against the people, waged by hi-tech-armed troops, police units and paramilitary militias, in order to spread terror and genocide in the villages, with raids, crop destroying, massive rapes and killings, selective murders, mass detentions and disappearing – like the recent genocide offensive occurred in Sri Lanka against the Tamil people and liberation movement.

All this with the illusion to drown in blood the struggle of the people for their liberation, with the silent/consent of the imperialist governments of US, Europe, Russia, and their mass-media. The crimes of the Indian State found the internal opposition of a wide front of intellectuals – including the prominent representative of the world anti-globalization movement, the writer Arundhati Roy. And in all countries of the world political activists denounced those crimes and mobilized to stop "Green Hunt."

A world campaign of information and solidarity has been launched by ICAWPI (International Campaign Against War on the People in India). But we need more than the condemnation of the crimes of the counter-revolution in India. The masses led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) are writing a historical chapter of the class clash in the world between, on one side, the imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisies and, on the other side, the proletariat and the people of the world. The development of the people's war in India is a new proof that the revolution is the main tendency in the world today.

It shows again that Maoism, the Marxism-Leninism of our era, is the command and guide of the world revolution against the imperialism in crisis.

The vanguard proletarians must understand that the advance of the people's war in India seriously questions the strength balance, not only in the South-Asian region but also on a world scale. That is why we, Maoist and revolutionary parties and organizations, launch a big campaign of support and call to form an International Committee of Support to organize conferences, meetings, demonstrations in various countries, particularly in the heart of the imperialist beast.

With people's war in India towards the victory!

Maoist Communist Party – France
Maoist Communist Party – Italy
Maoist Communist Party - Turkey/North Kurdistan
Revolutionary Communist Party - Canada
Communist Party of India (ML) Naxalbari

Proud of being anti-national

Shobhan Saxena, toi

Since very few people in this country have a sense of humour, we often fail to differentiate between a joke and a serious statement. And since TV channels are desperate 24x7 to play up anything sensational as breaking news, even a serious and sensitive remark is turned into a huge controversy within minutes. This is what happened with Mani Shankar Aiyar's statement on the Commonwealth Games. Speaking in Hindi, Aiyar said, "I am delighted in a way because rains are causing difficulties for the Commonwealth Games. Basically, I will be very unhappy, if the Games are successful because then they will start bringing Asian Games, Olympic Games and all these and we will spend thousands of crore on these stupid things." Aiyar was laughing when he made this statement outside Parliament House. Obviously he was cracking a joke. But, television channels turned him into a doomsday prophet in a matter of minutes. And then Suresh Kalmadi, the Bid Daddy of the Games, jumped into the row, calling Aiyar "irresponsible" and "anti-national."

Though he said what he said in a lighter vein, we can't miss the seriousness of Aiyar's statement. And though he made his charge against Aiyar very seriously, Kalmadi's response looks like a stupid joke. But it's dangerous too. Kalmadi seems to belong to that ideological school – a new, scary trend in this country – which is ready to label anyone who questions the present "development" model as anti-national. You protest against a dam, you are anti-national. You protest against the displacement of tribals from their land, you are anti-national. You protest against growing air pollution in the city, you are anti-national. You protest against real estate mafia grabbing agricultural land, you are anti-national. You protest against killing of innocent people by security forces, you are anti-national. You are protest against raping of women by armymen, you are anti-national. You speak against wastage of public funds, you are anti-national. You question the market fundamentalists, and you are anti-national.

Are we turning into a nation of paranoid people who see anti-national conspiracies everywhere? Can't we see the reality as it exists? Why can't we see the point Aiyar was trying to make. As an MP, he was raising the issue of colossal wastage of money (Rs 40,000 crore) on these games. He was talking about $100,000 the government of India paid to delegates from other Commonwealth countries to get the Games for Delhi. That was $7.5 million. Aiyar asked a simple question: Can a poor country like India spend so much money on a sporting event? And Suresh Kalmadi and gang can't tolerate it. They see it as anti-national because there is no other way to defend this squandering of public funds. In this country, you can attack anyone in the name of national security and development and get away with murder. In this country, you can defend the worst crimes by hiding behind national security and national pride and get away with murder.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 is a scandal. In a country with respect for rule of law and public accountability, people running this racket would be in jail. But here they are on TV screens every day bragging how Delhi is going to become a world-class city. And they never talk about the dark side of these games. It's ugly and dirty. The truth is that these games have made thousands of poor people homeless. They have been thrown out of the city. After the games, 15 lakh labourers working at construction sites now will have nowhere to go. With dug-up roads, debris, concrete pillars and clogged streets everywhere, the city looks like a mixture of Dhaka and Dresden after the bombing. The small people – rickshaw pullers, auto drivers, roadside vendors and chaiwallahs are not going to get anything out of this Rs 40,000 crore. They may also be thrown out of the city to make it look world class. Where has all the money gone? Should we have spent this money on a 13-day event?

Kalmadi and cronies may argue that the Games would give a boost to sports in the country and that's a good reason to spend the money. Totally wrong. As Aiyar said on TV, you first build a sporting culture in the country and then organize a sporting event. Imagine if all this money was spent on fields, coaches and equipment across the country – in villages, small towns and cities. It would have not only given us good sportsmen and sportswomen, it would have helped us in building stronger community ties across the nation. "That's what the Chinese did," Aiyar said on TV. But, our sports and political bosses have learnt some other tricks from the Chinese: throw the poor out of the city, demolish their houses, make swanky stadiums, don't be accountable to the people and crush democracy.

By speaking up against this scam, Mani Shankar Aiyar has done a great service to India. He is a true nationalist. And if he is "irresponsible" and "anti-national" because he dares to challenge those running this scam in the name of national pride, I would like to stand with him. I would be proud of being anti-national.

Monday, July 26, 2010

6 Naxals killed in an encounter in West Bengal

source -livepunjab
Six Naxals, including a woman cadre, were killed after night long encounter between the security forces and the Naxals near the Motera jungle in West Bengal.
Reportedly, a CRPF commando was also killed in the encounter.
The CRPF sources said, “Acting on a specific intelligence, a joint-team of the CRPF and special anti-Naxal force SAF went into the operation in the dense forests under Golatore police station last night.”
Maoists were unaware of the attack
As the Maoists had not anticipated this move, they were surprised by the attack by the security forces.
The encounter ended in the wee hours of today morning. Twelve weapons, including SLRs and INSAS rifles, were recovered from the spot.
As per the reports from the officials, one of the persons killed was Siddhu Soren.
Siddhu Soren was the top Naxal commander in the state. He was also the secretary of the Maoist based People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA).
Another encounter in Jharkhand
Besides an encounter in West Bengal, a 20-hour long gunfight also took place in Jharkhand between the Naxals and security forces, which resulted in the destruction of a Maoist camp.
The police officials had suspected the presence of Pahan, well-known as Veerappan of Karnataka, along with 45 other Maoists in Jaranburu hill in the area bordering Khuti and Seraikela districts.
Reportedly, the gun battle started on Sunday in areas bordering Khuti, Seraikela and Kharsawa districts and continued overnight.
Nearly, 900 security personnel including CRPF and STF were involved in the operation.

Azad’s assassination: An insight into the Indian state’s response to peoples’ resistance

by Gautam Navlakha, sanhati
The assassination of Cherukuri Raj Kumar a.k.a Azad on July 1-2, 2010 killed a senior leader of the CPI (Maoist) and scuttled a peace process thus virtually destroying the hopes of millions of Indians who wanted the government offensive against the Maoists to be halted. In this sense it was a double killing.
We were encouraged by the news reports that the Union Home Minister had written to Swami Agnivesh on May 11, 2010 to explore the possibility of a 72 hour ceasefire to pave the way for talks between the Maoists and the Indian State and the letter sent by Cherukuri Rajkumar a.k.a Azad, on 31st May, 2010 reiterated that Maoist party was serious about talks. In particular, unlike in the past, party’s response was unambiguously positive. Azad wrote that “to ensure the establishment of peace there should be ceasefire or cessation of hostilities by both sides simultaneously instead of asking one side to abjure violence … lift the ban on the party and mass organizations so as to facilitate them to take up open forms of struggle …. initiate measures to release Party leaders as a prelude to the release of political prisoners …. and …. stop all its efforts to escalate the war including the measures of calling back all the para military forces deployed in the war zones.” Indeed even in his interview given to The Hindu (April 14,2010) he had stated in response to the question whether by engaging in talks the Maoists wanted “to buy time” or is it a “re-evaluation of political strategy” he had been candid. He had said that “it does not need much of a common sense to understand that both sides will utilize a situation of ceasefire to strengthen their respective sides.” But he pointed out that “talks will give some respite to the people who are oppressed and suppressed under the fascist jackboots of the Indian state and state-sponsored terrorist organizations…”. In the same interview he also reminded that it was the “imposition of the ban that had led the Party and the mass organizations to take up arms in the first place…….What shook the rulers at that time (in 1978) and compelled them to declare Jagtyala and Sircila taluks in Karimnagar district of North Telengana as disturbed areas in 1978 was not the armed struggle of the Maoists (which had suffered a complete setback …by 1972) but the powerful (movement against) anti-feudal order in the countryside….” In short the manner in which the party responded this time further inspired hopes in the possibility of ending the war.
Granted that hope generated about prospects of talk had weak foundation. No political party in government power has ever shown willingness to engage in sincere dialogue with the revolutionary left. This should caution us against raising our hope. The 2004-05 peace talks between the Maoists and the Andhra Pradesh government ended because fake encounters continued to be carried out by the AP police and so did Maoists retaliation. Thus even before substantive issues could be taken up talks got sabotaged and AP police crackdown ensued which dealt a severe setback to Maoists in AP. However, we also know that sooner or later both sides have to talk.
The assassination of Azad on July 1-2 has made the already difficult task bleak.
It is evident from facts available in the public domain that Cherukuri Raj Kumar a.k.a Azad and Hem Pande were unarmed when they travelled to Nagpur where Azad was to meet a courier between 11.30-1.30 pm of July 1, 2010. They left on June 30th from somewhere in north India and were disappeared most likely on the morning of 1st July either before the train reached Nagpur or on reaching Nagpur. It appears that he was on his way, among other reasons, to meet other senior leaders of CPI (Maoist) to decide on the date from which 72 hour ceasefire was to commence. Swami Agnivesh had communicated to him on June 26 that “Maoists should set a date for abjuring violence for 72 hours. In my letter I had suggested three dates: July 10, 15 and 20. Before he could respond, the police killed him.” (The Sunday Times, 18 July, 2010).
It is alleged that Azad was killed because the Maoists did not cease their ambushes causing fatalities which demoralized security force personnel, such as the June 29 ambush in Narayanpur district of Bastar in which 29 CRPF jawans lost their lives. While ceasefire had not commenced and both sides were engaged in attacking each other it is one thing for such attacks and counter-attacks to continue. However, the greyhound which kidnapped Azad and then killed him were aware of his identity (but not of his companion) and therefore knew that he was engaged in talks with the government. They could have either allowed him to travel or else to arrest him and his companion. The fact that they chose to do neither meant that they had sanction to liquidate him. And therefore, it is likely that the AP greyhound knew that by doing so they would be scuttling the incipient peace process.
After this it would be difficult for Maoists to heed the demand for cessation of hostilities if a leader engaged in these backchannel contacts can be eliminated. Because it sends a message that no one is safe at the hands of trigger happy security forces. On the other hand it imperils the efforts of all those who wanted to end this war from escalating. From circumstantial evidence it is clear that warmongers have won this round. The July 14th 2010 meeting of the chief ministers of Naxalite-affected states makes it clear that the Indian government post-Azad assassination is going ahead with escalating its war efforts. For instance it was announced at the meeting that 36 battallions of India Reserve force will be added to the 105 already raised along with 16,000 more Special police officers (SPOs – civilians trained and armed by the government to combat Maoists) bringing their strength to 30,000. However, this falls short of the numbers touted by no less than Union Home Secretary who told Economic Times (April 19th, 2010) that “our (armed) police requirement today is roughly three and half lakhs short….we want to reach the UN average and to get to it I need another five lakh policemen. So we need to recruit eight lakh over next five years…” or 175,000 jawans annually.
Also in order to prepare the way for army deployment four unified commands are being setup headed by the chief secretary and with a retired major general as an advisor. Indeed the army chief, two days after the meeting of the CMs, told his senior officers to be “mentally prepared to step into the fight against Naxalism….It might be in six months or in a year or two but if we have to maintain our relevance as a tool of the state, we will have to undertake things that the nation wants us to.” (Indian Express 17 July 2010).
This may persuade some to question the political strategy of the Maoists and blame them for widening the war. This would be a grossly erroneous exercise. To essentialise the issue of Maoist violence is the way in which class society dehumanizes struggles and movements. If the bottomline is that reproduction of social inequality is unacceptable then those who believe in step-by-step process, and others in leap or qualitative jump, from one stage to another, must accept that there will remain a divide and yet both are also symbiotically linked to each other. Those who decry armed struggle claim that popular movements can make existing institutions responsive to people’s needs.
The point is such efforts were being made even when Maoists had not emerged as the biggest threat to the Indian ruling classes and have not ceased because of Maoist rebellion. Except such efforts have actually gained more leverage thanks to the Maoist movement emerging strong. This becomes even more remarkable because in 2004-05 when Maoists were dealt a blow in Andhra Pradesh and more or less wiped out with mere presence in a single district followed by Salwa Judum type repression in Chattisgarh. No one believed that they would emerge stronger this time around. Well they did. So much so that almost all the contemporary social welfare legislations, be it NREGA, Forest Act, enforcement of PESA, proposal to make joint forest management committees managed by the gram sabha…and the Planning Commission’s “Special Problems of Tribal Development” have all been inspired or advocated by referring to the need to wean away the poorest among the poor from the Maoists/ Naxalites? Consider that the Prime Minister had drawn attention to the need to withdraw lakhs of cases filed against the tribals for petty crimes, since 1980, lest such persecution of tribals drive them to join Maoists/Naxalites. The union law minister had opined that “(t)here is a feeling among the common citizens, especially the poor, women, the elderly and the weaker sections, that the legal and judicial process is far removed from them.” He added that common man’s disenchantment was manifesting itself in “new form of violence and strife – civil unrest, armed peasant and tribal movement, Naxalite and Maoist rebellion.” (HT 25/10/2009). One can go on and on….
Thus even peaceful or non-violent movements owe their credibility or their relative effectiveness to the Maoists armed resistance. Then why should anyone decry Maoists for their armed resistance or want them to stop the war when resistance itself derives succor from this? It is important, I believe, to keep exploring possibilities of peace which can enable the Maoists to work openly and launch mass struggles because they have captured the imagination of the poorest among the poor.
Moreover, while violence will continue to play a role, as long as State pursues militaristic approach, violence also has its limits. These limits are set by politics. It is one thing to resist but another to promote alternative politics. While displacement, land grab by and for mining and mineral based conglomerates, forest rights, welfare needs have received spotlight, alternative to the present order of things is somehow missing. Why is it that ten thousand suicides by farmers evokes less revulsion than a criminal act committed by the Maoists? Consider that received wisdom which regards prospects of agriculture playing a role in the growth process to be negligible, particularly, from the viewpoint of employment generation and as driver of economic growth. What does the revolutionary left, in particular the Maoists, have to offer to reverse the decline of agriculture, which accounts for livelihood needs of 60% of the rural workforce? Do we not need the alternative and not just a critique of this received wisdom. Will land reform/distribution invigorate production and generate employment? On the other hand if manufacturing is the key sector to bring about equitable development is it to be an unbridled growth or be planned? Wherein should investments go? What should be the mineral policy? Should we, for instance, halt mining of bauxite? Why must it be the case? Do we need poverty reduction so that state can play benevolent role? Or is there an alternate vision for removal of poverty and empowering the people? How is it that decade long military suppression in NE and J&K does not encourage us to ponder the nature of our State which can year in and year out crush movements which demand right of self-determination, an eminently democratic and peaceful approach? Is the Indian state anti-Muslim, pro-Hindu, racist….or a repressive state which presents itself as one or the other depending on which section of people it is engaged in crushing and therefore demonizing. The point is that for left to be credible it must go beyond surface manifestation of wrong and address the underlying causes and processes which account for skewed and unequal and stunted growth. Regrettably, parliamentary left despite 58 years of open politics and despite holding government power at provincial level, has not offered an alternate vision. Yes they have some achievement but these are hardly of the kind which inspires anyone to claim that they present a different vision of politics. While their failure does not cancel out open politics what it does is reminds us of where we fail and what we lack.
Now Indian State propagates that Naxalites are irredeemably bent upon waging a war against the Indian State and short of suppressing them there is no other option. Of course Maoists want to seize power. That is a perfectly legitimate objective. In the last four decades several Naxalite parties gave up this path to pursue non-violent parliamentary or extra parliamentary struggle. Their experience hardly inspires confidence that the Indian state has become amenable to people’s concerns now that some of these left wing rebels gave up arms. Appeal and prospect of non-violence has been undermined, by the state itself. Lest we forget be it NREGA, the forest bill or the decision to enforce Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas, which was passed in 1996 but not implemented and so many other such issues figure on the agenda thanks to the fear that were this not done the poorest among the poor will continue to turn to Maoists.
The point is that so long as State monopolises means of violence they will remain enabled to subject people to a life of indignity and enslavement. Freedoms and liberties would remain prerogative of the middle classes to enjoy. Working people are vulnerable; no sooner they appear to have succeeded in mobilizing people and begin to question the inequalities and inadequacies of the system they become target of State’s oppressive ways. Therefore, it would be a recipe for disaster to surrender the right to offer armed resistance until such time that the State outlaws war against the people. Indeed unless people get armed one cannot neutralize the great advantage the ruling classes enjoy over means of violence, which is primarily employed against the masses.
India, for all its verbosity about non-violence, is one of the most heavily armed state both in terms of accumulation of destructive power of its arsenal as well as size of its military force, which gets force multiplied by draconian laws, and thus enables the ruling classes to practice ‘slow genocide’. Consider that 45% of children below 6 years suffer from malnutrition, malnourishment and stunted growth, or that by playing around with calorie intake, bringing it down from 2400 to 1800 or even less to 1500, one can statistically reduce the number of people living below poverty line and thus reduce Food Security entitlement for hundreds of millions of Indians! This exposes our own people to a slow death. To then argue that violence has no role to play is quite wrong. It is as good telling people to wait patiently for the fruit to fall into their lap. This may be touching display of fortitude and of religious faith, but for the fact those at the receiving end may be getting desperate after 63 years of practicing it. Ironically, whereas India dropped to 134th position in global human development index we moved up the ladder, to occupy ninth position, in military spending and 12th largest economy! Take another example whereas 126,700 High Networth Individuals (billionaires and multi-millionaires) in India own one third of gross national income of the country, 645 million Indians suffer pangs of poverty and deprivation!
Despite being weak and with patchy urban presence it is clear that Maoists enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the poorest of the poor. Thus were the ban on the party removed they could emerge as a fulcrum around which resistance could become vigorous. Indian rulers do not want this to happen. By assassinating Azad security apparatus has thus killed a senior leader of the Maoist party, scuttled peace process and throttled the possibility of Maoists coming overground anytime in near future.

Chhattisgarh has reached West Bengal. The forces, the rapes, the resistance, and the State response: it’s an eerie replay

Wary A village woman peeps at patrolling security forces in conflict-ridden Lalgarh, West Bengal
Photo: AFP
Pover Wars
IF MAYA had been born in a city, you would have heard her name by now. You would have heard a quivering voice describing how she was flung onto a bed by a jawan sent to protect her. You would have seen a delicate old woman holding up trembling fingers to her forehead — a description of how she was raped at gunpoint.
But Maya has lived in the forests of West Bengal for 50 years, in a village called Sonamukhi. That has turned her into a different kind of citizen, invisible, easily ignored. Perhaps that is why she will never stir a nation’s collective consciousness — the same nation that was outraged over accusations of an IG raping a schoolgirl, Ruchika, in urban Chandigarh. Perhaps that is why it has been left to another group to take up her cause — PCAPA (People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities), that began as a movement against state repression, but which the West Bengal government claims is now a front for the CPI (Maoist). And that is why — whether PCAPA is what the State thinks it to be — the group has secured Maya’s firm support.
One year since Operation Lalgarh began, it seems the zone of conflict has shifted, moving from Lalgarh towards Jhargram subdivision. Jhargram first came to the fore when the Maoists attacked a police station in Sankrail. Some months ago, Jhargram was declared a new police district, given a new SP, and additional troops were sent in. Jhargram could now be on its way to becoming the new Lalgarh.

MAYA*, 50
On June 30, I returned from grazing the cows. A jawan dragged me into my house and pushed me onto the bed. He put a gun to my head and said he would shoot if I screamed for help. He raped me. My husband was in a room above, but I was too scared to yell for him
The village of Sonamukhi too is part of this new battle ground. Until two months ago, the PCAPA had no presence in Sonamukhi. Nor had the joint-forces ever raided the village. Now, the PCAPA has already helped villagers build their own road here. The reason why Sonamukhi is significant is because it shows that then group continues to expand despite the State’s crackdown. The State’s strategy of rendering the committee headless has yielded little result. Its first president Lalmohan Tudu was killed in what TEHELKA reported was a fake encounter, and its secretary Chhattradhar Mahato has been in Midnapore Jail, booked under the draconian UAPA act since November 2009. Yet, the committee claims to have approximately 20,000 active members and have 80 percent of conflict zone Bengal as it base, stretching over the three worst affected districts — West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. (Incidentally also Bengal’s poorest areas.)
The PCAPA runs a parallel government in the conflict zones with an astonishing ease. It is also fertile territory for the Maoists
This is further significant because PCAPA has been held responsible for the Gyaneshwari train derailment that killed atleast 120 people in West Bengal last month. The CBI has already arrested eight men including a mastermind named Bapi Mahato, a PCAPA member. It has named PCAPA spokesperson Asit Mahato and Central Committee member Umakanto Mahato as the other two most-wanted in this case. While investigators say that Bapi has confessed to his involvement in the incident, the PCAPA claims innocence. The Maoists have also denied involvement in this.
Last week, TEHELKA journeyed inside the PCAPA, visiting its strongholds and speaking to cadres. TEHELKA met PCAPA spokesperson Asit Mahato, 32, near his hideout in the forests of Jangalmahal. Before Mahato went underground, he was a supporter of the Jharkhand Party, which currently holds the Lalgarh assembly seat. Asit says his father was tortured by CPM goons in 1998 when he raised his voice against corruption by local CPM leader Anuj Pandey. That is what shaped Asit’s politics.
Rebels all
CBI most wanted Asit Mahato (Top) and Manoj Mahato (Bottom)
GREETING US in a pair of sunglasses, brown pants and a striped collar shirt, Asit laughed at his status as CBI’s most-wanted. “The PCAPA is not involved in the Gyaneshwari incident. We had no knowledge of this,” he said. “This has been done by the CPM to defame us. Everyone who has been arrested is a former CPM worker. Bapi was a CPM mole. The CBI has no evidence against me. They have declared Rs 1 lakh reward for me, so we have declared our own reward – 1 lakh each for 9 absconding CPM netas – Sushanto Ghosh, Lakhan Ghosh, Anuj Pandey, Prashanto Das, etc. We will also reward villagers who can bring us the real planners and perpetrators of the Gyaneshwari derailment.”
In many ways, PCAPA is at a crossroads, desperate to prove it has no links with the CPI (Maoist). The committee was formed in 2008 after the police tortured a tribal woman called Chidamani, almost blinding her, during anti-Naxal raids in Salboni. “Our primary demand was an apology from the SP. If he had done that, the andolan might have ended there. But now the public at large hates the police and the CPM. People want to live with dignity, for that we are ready to fight,” said Ajit Mahato, a PCAPA member who, like most, had to flee underground when the joint-operation began in June 2009.
As the joint operation flared up in Lalgarh and the Maoists offered to support PCAPA, there were several internal debates. Chhatradhar Mahato and Lalmohan Tudu walked the middle ground, meeting the Chief Election Commissioner before the general election, negotiating the release of an Assistant Sub-Inspector the Maoists had abducted.
After Chhattradhar’s arrest by policemen posing as journalists, Asit declared the group to be an armed militia. But now, he denies any use of arms by PCAPA. “We only declared that if needed we will use arms in self-defence, but have not done so yet,” he said. That may be a false claim since there are men with arms wandering around PCAPA strongholds.
Sources say there are differing schools of thought within the PCAPA. Some are in touch with Chhattradhar Mahato, letters have been exchanged, and the idea of a political party has been discussed. “We believe in democracy. We are not ruling out the idea of a political party,” Asit Mahato said.
While the hard line faction of PCAPA is comfortable with use of arms, the soft liners would rather that Chhattradhar Mahato contest an election, even if from within jail. That such a thought exists in the party could be seen in two ways. At worst, it could be a strategic move that has the backing of CPI (Maoist) while attempting to distance the PCAPA from them on the surface. At best, it is an indication that the CPI (Maoist) may have influence, but does not remote control the ‘front’. It is possible that the majority of the CPI (Maoist) recruitment in West Bengal is done from within the PCAPA. Yet, the PCAPA is not a banned outfit. The irony is that by treating it as such, the State is only pushing it further underground. “We are ready for talks. The State is not allowing us to come overground,” Asit said.
Even if Asit is caught, there will be new faces ready to take his place. Already younger, more confident leaders are emerging. During TEHELKA’S interview with Asit Mahato, the spokesperson said very little. All along, 26-year-old Manoj Mahato, a Central Committee member, sat by his side, whispering into his ear. He was only distracted when he received a phone call from Midnapore town. “What is my shirt size? Double XL? Or XL?” he asked other cadres before turning to us. “My lahver,” he grinned. “We will get married soon.”
Residents of Sonamukhi village gather to protest the alleged rapes by security forces
LOKHI*, 35

Two men pressed me down. They wanted to rape me but I held my knees together. I didn’t want to part them. I’m a married woman. I have selfrespect and dignity, which they stripped me of. They also stole Rs 1,500. I will identify those bastards. I want them hanged
IN THE distance, PCAPA’s new flag swayed in the wind. White represents peace, green for the forests, and a bow and arrow symbol represents the Adivasis. PCAPA is the first Maoist-backed outfit to have a flag. Walk around this PCAPA stronghold and it is easy to forget one is in a conflict zone. There is a PCAPA-run kitchen distributing hot rosogallas and jamun, a vast open field with cycles, motorbikes and cows, and a make-shift thatched roof dining area where all PCAPA workers eat together. Nearby, workers are busy building PCAPA’s first state of the art health center. It will have an operating room, an outpatient room, an office, and a room for the MBBS doctors and surgeons PCAPA plans to recruit. Already the PCAPA says it is providing basic health care in 26 health camps across Jangalmahal.
In Salboni block, it has built 50 small dams or water reservoirs from where canals can extend to irrigate fields. It has also built about 20 km road at the cost of Rs 47,000. In the village of Belasol, another PCAPA stronghold, Pradeep Mahato can now cultivate his five bigha plot three times a year. Earlier, he could only grow rice and harvest once. For 40 years, he depended on rain. “The land is so fertile, but there was no irrigation facility,” he says. PCAPA installed a water pump in the village at the cost of Rs 16,000, covered by collection Rs 100 from each the joint-forces. In a matter of minutes, villagers say about 500 armed men had surrounded the village.
The State pushed the PCAPA underground. Now, it can use justice to pull them out. It still has more tools than it chooses to use
Police sources said they raided the village because they had specific “human and technical intelligence” that CBI most-wanted Umakanto Mahato was hiding there. During the search operation, gun shots were heard from Kajol Mahato’s house. Police claim they were fired at by Maoists and PCAPA members hiding atop her house. They say the rebels escaped, but left two jawans severely injured. Locals contest this version and say the police entered the same house from two directions. Both search parties ended up firing at each other, injuring the jawans in the process.
While search operations proceeded through the day, villagers say the forces told the women to collect in the courtyard. “They separated the older women, asking us to wait at a different spot,” says Shayoni Mahato, 55. “Utho, Utho, bheetar chalo,” Shayoni says she saw the forces pointing to a few younger women. “When they began calling the married women into a room, I suddenly realised what their intention was,” she says.
UMA*, 30

The forces halted outside my door. They asked me if anyone was at home. I said no. Three of them pushed me in. They laid down the charpai and flung me on it. After they began to tear my clothes, I lost consciousness. One of them pressed himself upon me and raped me
As the forces dragged the women in, Shayoni ran to her daughter-in-law Soma, encircled her and refused to leave. “They beat me with a stick and threw me to the ground,” Shayoni says. “It was only after I told them that Soma is 5 months pregnant that they let her go.” Maya was also dragged into the room, her cupboards opened, and belongings searched. She says a jawan pulled a cheek and stole Rs 10,000 from her drawer. Her husband, a contractor, sells Sal leaves in Orissa. He had just returned the previous night with the money. What saved her from being raped was perhaps a photograph of a police contingent that fell out from a notebook. The jawan let her go after realising that her brother-inlaw was a constable.
On June 6, the villagers of Sonamukhi – led by local PCAPA members — marched to the Jhargram SDO’s office, C. Murugan. They detailed the incident and asked him to order an inquiry. Murugan constituted a special medical board. The next day six women underwent a swab test at the Jhagram hospital. Hospital sources said the swab samples have been sent to the SDO office. Since the swabs were taken more than 24 hours after the incident, the medical board has recommended that they be sent to the FSL lab in Kolkata. However, no police case has yet been registered.
BUT A troubling revelation complicates this story of rape. In all, eight women in Sonamukhi allege rape. TEHELKA met five women, of which two said they had been beaten but not raped. Significantly, in hushed whispers one of them spoke of how villagers were insisting she had been raped. “I was taken to the fields, encircled by a group of men and beaten so hard, I can’t bend down to collect water. Maybe they had intentions to rape me, but they were called away. I’ve told the local PCAPA leaders that I have not been raped,” said Kajol Mahato. Yet, the PCAPA alleges otherwise. The local leaders took these women, Kajol included, to the SDO’s office. “We have no knowledge of such an exaggeration. This is the first we are hearing of this. We will look into it,” a PCAPA Central Committee member said when confronted.
While this could be read as mere propaganda from the PCAPA, it would be wise not to dismiss it as such. The villagers march into an SDO’s office is a window of opportunity for the State. If the government is able to order an independent inquiry into these rape allegations, it would strengthen those in the PCAPA who believe in democracy. If it doesn’t, it will give more ammunition to the hardliners. The State first pushed the PCAPA underground; it can now use justice and democracy to pull them out. A year into Operation Lalgarh, the State still has more tools than it chooses to use.

Bullets. Bodies. Land. Corporations.

A big firm zeroes in on farm land for a thermal plant, and the villagers resist because it’s all they have
THIS IS what happens when land, wetland at that, becomes the heart of battle, in this case the seaside village of Sompeta, 120 km from Srikakulam town. The Hyderabad-based Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) picks 1,100 acres of wetland here to build a thermal plant. The villagers object. On 14 July, they come to protest. Facing them are 200 NCC workers with blue ribbons and wielding lathis. Around 200 police personnel wait with batons, shields and helmets. The slogans begin: “Go back NCC”. Curses rent the air. The police respond with a lathicharge, and the blue ribbons join them. The villagers retreat, and return after two hours. Men and women, young and old, with bamboo sticks and tree branches. Teargas shells are fired, which are useless in the water-filled fields. The villagers surround the police and come charging, destroying tents, tearing banners and thrashing the constables who cannot run. In their rage, the villagers snatch at media cameras and pounce on reporters. Then, suddenly, there is gunfire. Sub-Inspectors aim their service revolvers at the villagers. Joga Rao, a 40-year-old farmer, falls, shot by Sub-Inspector K Ashoke Kumar. The villagers around Rao start yelling for help. A cameraperson from TV9, Anil Kumar, tries to put Rao on his motorcycle. Just then, someone hits Kumar on his head. Another villager, G Krishnamurthy, 54, is also shot. Later, at the mandal hospital, where the injured are being treated, a man suspected of being a police mole is beaten up. The crowd now starts targeting the media, whom they accuse of siding with the NCC. The madness continues into the night — an NCC office is burnt, and local politicians are attacked. The next day comes the news: environmental clearance to the NCC plant has been withdrawn.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Killing Azad: Silencing the Voice of Revolution

N Venugopal
In a deliberate attempt to suppress the most powerful and articulate voice of Indian revolutionary movement, the state has indulged in cold-blooded, brutal assassination of Cherukuri Rajkumar, popularly known as Azad, spokesperson of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), along with freelance journalist Hemchandra Pandey on July 2. Azad was supposed to meet a courier at Sitabardi in Nagpur , Maharashtra at 11 am on July 1, to go to Dandakaranya forest from there. The courier returned back to the forest after missing him at the appointed time and place. Thus Azad might have met Pandey before that and might have been picked up either before they reached the place or at the place before the courier reached there. Dead bodies of both of them were shown on a hillock in the forest between Jogapur and Sarkepalli villages in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, about 250 kms from Nagpur , with a story of an encounter that took place in the early hours of July 2. Since the “encounter” stories are very common and Azad is a very important functionary in the Maoist movement, this killing raises several questions that remain unanswered.
Andhra Pradesh is a state with about a dozen television news channels and one gets information flashes within minutes of happening. Around 9 in the morning on July 2 the channels started flashing that there was an “encounter” in which two Maoists were killed. Slowly the news developed to identify the dead bodies of two “top leaders” in the beginning and a “top leader” (“because there was one AK-47”) and his courier later. Within the next few hours it was speculated that the deceased were Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Pulluri Prasada Rao alias Chandranna, secretary of North Telangana Special Zonal Committee. By afternoon Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee came online and told the channels that the second person might be Sahadev, an adivasi courier sent to fetch Azad, after an appointment in Nagpur . By the next day Usendi came again online and told that Sahadev returned back safely after not finding Azad at the rendezvous. Almost at the same time, friends of Hemchandra Pandey recognized the picture of his dead body that appeared in New Delhi edition of Telugu daily Eenadu and Pandey’s wife Babita announced that at a press conference in Delhi . Pandey was not identified for the first two days and passed off as a Maoist and once he was identified, police started denying that he was a journalist, implying that killing a Maoist cannot be an issue.  
The official version of the incident goes like this: On the night of July 1 police got information that there was some movement of Maoists in Maharashtra – Andhra Pradesh border forests for the last 10-15 days and a combing party consisting of police from both the states went in search of them. Around 10.30 in the night the police party identified the Maoists and asked them to surrender, but the intransigent Maoists, numbering around 20, started firing at them. In order to defend themselves the police returned the fire and the exchange of fire continued till 2.30 in the morning. The police party could not search the area due to pitch darkness and came back next morning to find out two unidentified dead bodies, along with an AK-47, a 9 mm pistol, two kit bags and revolutionary literature.
However, newspaper readers in Andhra Pradesh are sick of this version that they have been reading the same sentences over and over again for the last forty years with changes in proper nouns alone. That nobody believed the version handed out by police and accepted Usendi’s statement was a commentary on the credibility of state machinery.
There are a number of reasons even usual believers in police stories could not trust this time round: Azad is known for his vigilant and alert attitude so much that police do not even have his recent photograph and content with a 30-year old picture of him. Given the importance of Azad as a member of politbureau and central committee, he would not be alone and would be protected by a well-guarded team if he were in forests. He could have been unarmed and single only if he were in an urban area. Newspersons who visited the site where dead bodies were shown also said that it was difficult terrain and would have been impossible for police coming out without a bruise, if it were a real exchange of fire. More over, there were no tell-tale signs of exchange of fire at the place except two bullets and the nearby villagers did not hear any sounds of gun fire, even as police claim that cross firing lasted for four hours.  
The ruling class’ wrath against Rajkumar was so much that even his dead body was not allowed to be accorded due honour. Rajkumar’s mother, an ailing 75-year old Cherukuri Karuna, pleaded with the High Court to direct the government to bring the body from the remote Jogapur forest to Hyderabad , instead of a nearby hospital that does not have necessary equipment to protect the body from decomposition. She told the court that her age and health would not permit her to go all the way to Adilabad district and hence her request should be considered sympathetically. The court directed the police to postpone the post-mortem till the mother sees the dead body of her son, as if it was benevolently granting permission to a mother to see her son’s dead body. Even at the ill-equipped hospital at Mancherial, where hundreds of people gathered to pay their last respects to Azad, heavy police force was deployed and people were dispersed with lathicharge. Finally the police allowed mother and brothers only inside the hospital.
Azad is a very popular leader of the CPI (Maoist) and in his capacity as spokesperson of the central committee of the party he interacted with a number of media organisations, including EPW, as well as with important members of civil society during the lat couple of years. People who know Azad for a long time describe him as the personification of commitment, experience and expertise.
Cherukuri Rajkumar was born into a middle class family of Krishna district in May 1954. His father, an ex-service man, shifted to Hyderabad to run a small restaurant to raise a family of four sons and a daughter, Rajkumar being the second son. Rajkumar had his primary education in Hyderabad and secondary education at Sainik School , Korukonda in Vizianagaram district. He did his graduation in chemical engineering at Regional Engineering College (REC), Warangal and post graduation in marine engineering at Andhra University , Visakhapatnam . He was a brilliant student throughout and his mother remembers: “He suffered from eyesight problem when he was in class X and had to begin using contact lenses. Initially he could not adjust to the lenses and arranged a friend to read out the lessons to him. By just listening, he secured distinction in seven subjects that year.” Even when he was an activist, his teachers and friends say, he was a meritorious student as well as a prize winner in elocution and essay writing contests.
Srikakulam struggle broke out when Rajkumar was in high school and several of his family members were influenced by the struggle. His maternal grandfather’s family settled in Adilabad district and some of them were part of peasant struggles in that area along with Kondapalli Seetaramaiah, one of the founders of the Naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh. Rajkumar used to spend his summer vacation in that area and was influenced by the revolutionary environment around.  
By the time he joined REC in 1972, it was a hot bed of revolutionary student movement, inspired by peasant movements in Warangal district, and being a very sensitive and sharp person, he became a part of that fervour. He was two years junior to and follower of Surapaneni Janardhan, a very effective radical student leader. Not only the impact of Janardhan, but also the peasant and working class movements in and around Warangal in the pre-Emergency days made a lasting impression on Rajkumar. Students of REC were in the forefront in forming Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union (RSU) at state level in October 1974 and Rajkumar was part of that group. While the RSU held its first conference in February 1975 in Hyderabad , it had to undergo severe repression within three months, with the imposition of Emergency. Several radical students went underground to avoid arrest as well as to organise peasants. Rajkumar was also arrested under the MISA and let off after a couple of months. Janardhan, along with three other student activists, were killed in a fake encounter in July 1975 in Giraipalli forest in Medak district.
Giraipalli killing, along with several other killings, created furore in post-Emergency period. Janardhan, like Rajan, another REC student from Calicut , became a symbol of democratic rights movement then. Jayaprakash Narayan set up a people’s fact finding committee under the leadership of V M Tarkunde to enquire the fake encounters in Andhra Pradesh. It was Rajkumar who helped Tarkunde Committee in gathering the necessary information and protecting the witnesses in Giraipalli forest and surrounding villages. Tarkunde Committee’s report led to the constitution of Justice V Bhargava Commission which held its enquiry during 1977-78. It was again Rajkumar who helped the defence team led by K G Kannabiran in arguing the case before the commission. K G Kannabiran fondly remembered the help and efficient assistance rendered by Rajkumar during those days, in his autobiography 24 Gantalu, published in 2009.    
Radical Students Union was revived after Emergency and held its second conference in Warangal in February 1978 and Rajkumar, by that time doing his M Tech in Visakhapatnam , became its state president. It was at this conference, RSU gave the famous call of “Go to Villages” to students. These village campaigns of students brought out a sea change in the outlook of participating students as well as spreading the revolutionary message at the grassroots. The campaign was a prelude to Karminagar – Adilabad peasant struggles and in turn RSU gained strength through the peasant movement.  The ‘Go to Villages’ campaigns directly led to the formation of Radical Youth League in May 1978 and Raithucooli Sangham in 1980. During these historic years, Rajkumar was the president of RSU. He was re-elected twice at the third conference in Anantapur in February 1979 and fourth conference in Guntur in February 1981. However, by the time of Guntur conference he was being hunted by police and he could not even attend the public proceedings.
In the meanwhile, both as the president of RSU and as a student of M Tech at Andhra University he led a number of struggles in Visakhapatnam in particular and throughout the state in general. Struggle against private local transport system in Visakhapatnam , under his leadership, resulted in nationalisation of city buses. He was a powerful public speaker and addressed hundreds of meetings of students and others till 1981. All these activities made him a dangerous person in the eyes of state and he was implicated in a number of cases, beginning from his arrest under the MISA in 1975 till arrest in a case of exceeding permitted time of a public meeting in Narsapur and burning national flag in Visakhapatnam .
During the second half of 1980 itself he chose to become whole timer and began his underground life and there was no looking back. However, even working clandestinely he never lost touch with people and his activity spread far and wide. In August 1981, RSU organised an all India seminar on the nationality question in India in Madras . Rajkumar wrote an introductory pamphlet as well as a paper to be presented at the seminar on behalf of APRSU. This seminar connected various students’ organisations of different nationality struggles as well as radical democratic movements. As a follow up of the seminar, Revolutionary Students’ Organisations Co-ordination Committee (RSOCC) was formed and culminating four years of deliberations, All India Revolutionary Students’ Federation (AIRSF) held its first conference in Hyderabad in 1985. Rajkumar was one of the major forces that coordinated all these efforts.
For the next 25 years, he worked in different areas like Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Dandakaranya, giving theoretical, political and organisational inputs to struggles in all these places. He guided party units and committees in all these states as well as South-western Regional Bureau. He is known to have acquired fluency in at least six languages during this time. It is learnt that he used different names at different points of time for the sake of camouflage or depending on the nature of the job. He was known as Uday, Madhu, Janardhan, Prakash, and Gangadhar at different points of time. Though he was part of a collective decision-making body of the party, his personal contribution in terms of vision, expertise in several fields and a sharp insight into different developing themes helped the movement quite a bit. He was a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Given the nature of his clandestine activity he wrote under different pseudonyms, and more often credited his writings to collective, but one could easily identify his style in numerous writings in Voice of the Vanguard, People’s March, People’s Truth, Maoist Information Bulletin, etc. His hand could be identified in various documents of the party also. It is reported that he began thinking of international activity and solidarity about 15 years ago, demonstrating that he looked much ahead. There is an unconfirmed report that he participated in an international conclave of Maoist parties held in Brazil a few years ago. It is also reported that he was instrumental in setting up Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties in South Asia (CCOMPOSA) and addressed its meetings several times.
A couple of instances of his theoretical, political and organisational guidance and coordination are worth mentioning:
When K Balagopal raised some fundamental questions on the relevance of Marxism as an instrument of social transformation, even as accepting it as an efficient tool of analysis, in 1993, a number of revolutionary sympathisers felt disillusioned and a theoretical rebuttal was expected from the party. It was Rajkumar who wrote a critical essay in 1995 and another in 2001 answering all the philosophical questions of Balagopal. Despite being so critical on the questions of perspective, Azad paid rich tributes to Balagopal after the latter’s demise. The condolence statement stands as a model in recording both positive and negative aspects – respecting the significance of Balagopal’s contributions to people’s movements as well as mentioning post-modernist tendencies in him.  
Consistently exploring the importance of the nationality question in India , he was again instrumental in holding an international seminar on nationality question, under the auspices of All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) in February 1996. Participated by scholars like William Hinton, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Luis Jalandoni, Raymond Lotta, Jalil Andrabi, Manoranjan Mohanty, this seminar had more than 30 papers on various nationality movements in India and across the globe. The seminar led to the formation of the Committee for Co-ordination of Nationalities and Democratic Movements (CCNDM), an important milestone in the expansion of revolutionary people’s movement in the country.
In 2002, the government of Andhra Pradesh accepted the proposal of some well-meaning intellectuals and Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) to hold talks with the then CPI (ML) Peoples War to bring about peace. It was Rajkumar who guided the efforts of peace negotiations on the part of the revolutionary party and he wrote a number of statements, gave interviews to newspapers clarifying the party’s position. The talks could not go ahead at that time, except a preliminary round between the emissaries proposed by the party and the government representatives.
Rajkumar was also part of the collective that guided Mumbai Resistance 2004, an event organised parallel to World Social Forum, which attracted quite a few revolutionary organisations from various countries towards the people’s movements in India under the leadership of the CPI (ML) Peoples War.
Again in 2004, in Andhra Pradesh the Congress party made an election promise to hold talks with the revolutionary parties and came to power. This time round the talks moved a little forward till the first round of negotiations between the representatives of CPI (Maoist) and CPI (ML) Janasakthi on one hand and the representatives of the government on the other. Beginning in May 2004 when Congress acquired power till January 2005, when the party withdrew from the process after gross violations of cease-fire agreement and spate of encounters on the part of the government, it was again Rajkumar who guided and prepared a lot of statements and documents for the talks. In fact, the party was so well prepared for the effort that it wrote the agenda, it prepared background papers on the three issues that were discussed and it circulated a number of documents and met with different sections of people to share the party’s point of view, while the government, with its mammoth machinery and all resources at its disposal, could not even prepare a single sheet of information throughout and the government representative did not do any home work.            
Then again beginning with 2007 when the Prime Minister described the Maoist movement as the biggest internal threat, Rajkumar consistently exposed the real intentions of mining mafia behind the onslaught, including Operation Greenhunt. Through various writings and interviews in several media, he elaborated the party’s positions on various issues including the peace process. Indeed, a number of statements given by him, an 18-page interview along with audio sent to press in October 2009, his 12,262-word interview given to the Hindu in April 2010 and his letter of May 31, 2010 in response to Home Minister P Chidambaram’s letter of May 10 to Swami Agnivesh are crystal clear expositions of what the CPI (Maoist) thinks and does right now.
Azad’s killing is an integral part of the Operation Greenhunt and by killing him the government wanted to scuttle the voice of resistance and revolution. The Operation Greenhunt is a mission of the Indian ruling classes to surrender rich resources of Indian people to MNCs and their Indian junior partners. Rajkumar was also a great resource of Indian people and the ruling classes have eliminated this resource since he was a powerful expression among those obstructing the outright plunder of people’s natural resources.
N Venugopal is Editor, Veekshanam, Telugu monthly journal of political economy and society.

Battle won or lost?

recieved via mail

The land acquisition for thermal power plane has been succeeded by gulbarga administration in honnakiranagi, firozabad and nadisinnur.

Farmers who protested for months have agreed to give there lands. In a public hearing on july 23 to discuss the environmental consequences of the project compensation cheques has been given to 3 farmers. Farmers will get 9 lak/acre. One of the loser recieved a cheque worth 1 crore.

The increase in compensation, arrest of S.K.Kanta with regard to gulbarga pourakaarmika's struggle, threat by the administration- all these factors has led to the withdrawal of protests by the farmers.

In the meeting farmers were more eager about the compensation, future of their children, jobs. Discussion about the environmental effects was least.

Who has won or lost this battle? Farmers? The state? Leaders? Or the hungry people of nation? Noone can deny the fact that electricity is one of the major requirement for the progress of the nation. Though we need electricity at a large amount there remains
some unanswered questions-

> Studies on environment has shown that thermal plant in raichur has increased the temperature of that area in addition to causing pollution by ash. The peak temperature in and around gulbarga at present is 45-47 in summer. What effects the new
thermal plant will have on this?

>Raichur power plant supplies more than 40% of power requirement of state, but it rarely works to its full strength. Technical problems, shortage of charcoal, wet charcoal are the reasons cited. What is the hurry to create new power plant when making raichur plant functionally effective will solve most of the power crisis?

 > experts say that decreasing the loss of electricity during transmission by 20 to 30%
will solve the power deficiency. But no efforts in this regard.

 > If we go around cities we can see a large amount of power being wasted just for advertisement boards. Until we are power sufficient can't we ban using electricity for ad boards? I am sure that it can be used to lighten up thousands of villages.

 > and finally - farmers got money, govt got lands, probably its officers will get commission, we got electricity. But what about food security for coming generation and
also for people of this generation who can't afford the rising prices. Dal reaches 100rs per kg and we are happy acquiring thousands of acres where dal was grown as a major crop for thermal power plant.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank God! I am an atheist!!

If there is god- whether ram, allah, jesus, parvathi etc etc- they might have already hanged themself to death after seeing various incidences that takes place in day to day life in their names.

Every religion has been created by those who dreamed of uplifting the psychological status and morality of people. Education which was considered as a tool to liberate people from the small mindedness,
unfortunately is working in a opposite way

Fundamentalists of all religion are targetting the educated section. Even people are accepting those views. 'violence of our religion is a response to violence perpetuated by other religion', ' they killed us,
we will kill them', ' they made wrong statement about our god' you can read lot of articles like this in newspapers. Everyone is for the blame game.

Main success of fundamentalists is they have succeeded in marginalising the people into different groups based on religion. In a single religion marginalisation based on caste.

In an attempt to oppose the terrorism by pseudo islamists many are ready to accept the terrorism by pseudo hindus. The burning example of pakistan should open our eyes.

Supporting any religious fundamentalism might ultimately lead to nations with single religion. But one should remember that fundamentalists ultimate aim is to see their religious tags in front of everyone's name and their aim and agenda ends there. They are least bothered about other
socioeconomic aspects of a person or a society as a whole.

Though an atheist i sincerely pray to gods of all religion to give his/her followers litte amount of intelligence to think, in a rightful way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta

by Deccan Herald
A basic right, taken for granted with no second thoughts for many, is a struggle for the Bhangi community in Savanur. The community members went as far as pouring human excreta over themselves, so that their voices are heard and as a sign of protest against those trying to evict them from their homes.ReasonFor the past 70 years, four families of the Bhangi community, who work as night soil workers, have been living in huts built on land belonging to the Savanur Town Municipal Council (TMC).At a meeting some time ago, the TMC decided to evict the families and build a commercial complex in its place. Ever since, the TMC has employed various devious ways to force the families out of their homes.Starting with an oral directive, the TMC has resorted to cutting water connection to the families, dumping waste in front of their homes, barging into their homes, insulting their women and threatening them.The community members, who are treated as the lowest among the dalits, submitted an appeal to the sub-divisional officer in January against their eviction and have ever since submitted numerous appeals to the government over the past seven months.Finding no sympathisers in the system for their cause, the community members finally resorted to this extreme form of protest on Tuesday.The families submitted an appeal to the Assistant Commissioner on Monday demanding temporary water connection. But they were asked to pay the TMC Rs 2,000 for each connection.Helpless, the community members took out a mock funeral from their homes in Kamala Bangadi to the TMC on Tuesday. At the TMC, three members of the community poured human excreta over themselves and begged for water to clean themselves.Officials apathyAs if this was not heart-wrenching enough, none of the officials at the Town Municipal Council came forward to receive their appeal.A verbal duel ensued between TMC officials and Dalit Sangarsha Samithi activists. TMC Executive Officer H N Bajakkanavar defended the TMC, saying they never tried to evict the Bhangis, but added that TMC would provide houses for them under various housing schemes.He also said only illegal water connections were cut off. However, the DSS pointed out that several illegal water connections in the town were untouched and only those feeding Bhangis were cut off. “This is harassment against a community that is still treated like untouchables,” they said.When no official accepted the appeal from the Bhangis, the latter cleaned the toilets in the TMC premises.They then went to the Revenue Department and submitted their appeal to Tahsildar Prashanth Nalavar.

Skewed growth to blame for rise of Naxals: SC

source - toi
NEW DELHI: This is the worst that the government could have ever got from the Supreme Court.

Terming the developmental policies as "blinkered", the apex court has said that the promised rights and benefits never reached marginalised citizens fuelling extreme discontent and giving birth to naxalism and militancy, which are threatening the sovereignty of the country.

Referring to largescale displacement of tribals from forest land in the name of mining and development, the SC said non-settlement of their rights and non-provision for timely compensation of their lost land has created the worst kind of hatred among them towards development, possibly giving birth to extremism.

"To millions of Indians, development is a dreadful and hateful word that is aimed at denying them even the source of their sustenance," a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and B S Chauhan said on Monday.

"It is cynically said that on the path of `maldevelopment' almost every step that we take seems to give rise to insurgency and political extremism which along with terrorism are supposed to be the three gravest threats to India's integrity and sovereignty," it said.

The anguish of the apex court brimmed over when it dealt with a case relating to acquisition of tribal land by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd in Sundergarh district of Orissa, which is a Maoist hotbed, and found that those who lost their land were not paid compensation for 23 years.

This extreme example of governmental apathy shook the conscience of a Bench forcing it to ask a series of questions -- "Why is the state's perception and vision of development at such great odds with the people it purports to develop? And why are their rights so dispensable? Why do India's GDP and human development index (which is based broadly using measures of life expectancy, adult literacy and standard of living) present such vastly different pictures?"

It said: "With the GDP of $1.16 trillion (of 2008) Indian economy is 12th largest in US dollar terms and it is the second fastest growing economy in the world. But according to the Human Development Report 2009 (published by UNDP), the HDI for India is 0.612 which puts it at 134th place among 182 countries."

It said the counter argument was that very often the process of development that most starkly confirms the fears expressed by Dr Ambedkar, who had said though politically one man had one vote of equal value, in social life one continues to deny one man one value.

Justice Alam, writing the judgment for the Bench, said this was because despite the philanthropist approach of entrepreneurs and governmental efforts the human factor in the most mineral rich areas have not been able to solve their displacement from forests, despite they being called the oldest dwellers of the area.

On the yet-to be-settled rights of tribals whose land was acquired and no compensation was paid for 23 years, the Bench took assistance from Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and counsel Janaranjan Das to frame a scheme.

Under the scheme, the Centre being the owner of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd would determine and pay the compensation to the erstwhile landowners. The SC appointed a former judge of the Orissa HC, Justice A K Pasricha, as chairman of a commission to prepare a report on the land acquired within four months and submit a report to the apex court.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hard Battles, Harder Lives


A week with the CRPF in the jungles of Chhattisgarh gives BRIJESH PANDEY a first hand view of what the forces are fighting in India’s bloodiest internal conflict
THE RAIN is coming down in uneven patterns, making an irregular rhythm in the middle of the jungle. It’s been three hours and we have been walking warily. Looking here, there, waiting for the enemy. Ramesh Kumar Singh, now a veteran with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), one of the world’s biggest paramilitary forces, hasn’t said a word for three hours. I’ve been trying to get him to talk; I now walk behind him, wondering. Oddly, the rain helps us focus. We are in the heart of Maoist territory in Chhattisgarh, where fierce Maoist squads have been slaughtering CRPF men. There are 16 men in Ramesh’s detail. We have walked 15 km through slush and we head for the shelter of a tree as the rain gets heavy.
Suddenly, Ramesh turns to me. “You can see the terrain for yourself. All of a sudden, a tribal comes before us and we don’t know if he is a Naxal. If we open fire and an innocent is killed, we are doomed and if we don’t open fire and let that person go, he could jolly well turn out to be a big Naxal leader who will plot our death and even then we are doomed. It’s not death per se that we are afraid of, but the ignominy after death, which hurts us. A Naxal’s death is covered properly and people want no Naxals to be killed. But what about us? We are the expendables, like 25 and 50 paise coins. We count for nothing, at least not in Delhi,” he says.
It’s my first moment inside the mind of the CRPF. For days, men like Ramesh have been written about, spoken about, trashed at length, and generally ridiculed for the beating they’ve been taking at the hands of the Maoists. Now it comes. Ramesh says he’s been in Kashmir, a sort of gold standard for the services. He has a wife, a son Shubh and a daughter Janki, barely 18 months old. “She was so soft that I was afraid I might hurt her when I hold her,” he says, breaking into a toothy smile. Many years ago, he applied to serve in the CRPF because his best friend was selected in the Indian Army. Both wanted to serve India.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dutch manager PGGM drops India’s Vedanta over ethical concerns

NETHERLANDS – Asset manager PGGM has withdrawn its investments in Indian mining company Vedanta Resources for “persistently ignoring” the environment and human rights.

Despite a two-year dialogue concerning Vedanta’s mining activities in the state of Orissa, the company made no concrete improvements, PGGM said.

The asset manager said Vedanta’s lack of improvement and refusal to co-operate on environmental and human rights issues had increasingly put the company’s reputation at risk, which, PGGM felt, had translated into a financial risk.

PGGM, which manages the €91bn healthcare scheme PFZW, said it had exchanged letters and held numerous talks with the company over the last two years.

It also aimed to step up pressure on Vedanta by involving a number of international institutional investors in talks.

But PGGM said Vedanta declined to participate in a roundtable meeting with experts – initiated by the group of investors – to discuss possible solutions for problems in Orissa.

Consequently, PGGM has disinvested its €13m stake in the company, including Vedanta’s subsidiaries Sterlite Industries, Hindustan Zinc and Sesa Goa.

Author: Leen Preesman

Orissa HC rejects government’s recommendation on Khandadhar mines to Posco

The Hindu

CUTTACK: In a setback to the Rs.51,000-crore Posco steel plant planned at Paradeep, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday set aside the State government’s recommendation for granting the South Korean steel major a licence for prospecting in the Khandadhar iron ore mines in Sundargarh district.

Allowing a writ petition filed by Geomin Minerals and Marketing (P) Ltd, a Bhubaneswar-based company, a Division Bench of Justices B.P. Das and B.P. Ray directed the State government to take a fresh decision on the licence giving preferential right of consideration to the petitioner. In January 2009, the government recommended that the Centre grant Posco a licence for prospecting on 2,500 hectares of the Khandadhar mines. The recommendation was based on Section 11(5) of the Mining and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act.

Terming the decision “arbitrary” and “illogical,” Geomin Minerals challenged it in the High Court, claiming that it had made the first application for a mining lease in the area way back in August 1991.

The Bench said that the preferential right for consideration was available to the petitioner, and the recommendation made in favour of Posco was not valid.

Urging the court to restrain the government from considering applications for mineral concessions filed by the latter applicants until its application was disposed of, Geomin Minerals also sought an order to dispose of all its applications pending with govt.

Holding that the writ petition was not premature and was maintainable as there was no alternative remedy, the High Court directed the government to dispose of all pending applications of the petitioner in four months.

A dozen other petitions, including an intervention petition filed by Visa Steel Ltd, were tagged to the petition of Geomin Minerals. The Bench, however, rejected Visa Steel’s contention and asked it to file an independent writ petition if it had any cause of action.


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