Wednesday, July 28, 2010
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
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
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.
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
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
some unanswered questions-
thermal plant will have on this?
will solve the power deficiency. But no efforts in this regard.
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
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
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.
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
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
Friday, July 16, 2010
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
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.