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from the people against injustice in the society

Archive for October, 2009

Kobad Ghandy was an inspiration, say friends

Posted by ajadhind on October 31, 2009


By: Ketan Ranga


Date:  2009-09-24




Place: Mumbai

I met Kobad Ghandy from my early days in college when he was working in Nagpur and I was in Chandrapur.

I met him for the last time in 1993,” says Mumbai advocate Susan Gonzalves, who said they were revolutionaries, working for change in society.

Susan’s husband Vernon, who was also arrested from Mumbai on August 17, 2007, for allegedly being a state committee member of the Naxals. Bandra boy Arun Ferreira was arrested three months before her husband.

Said Susan, “Kobad is a very enlightened and learned person. He is fighting against an unjust system, where a handful of people are getting luxuries, while others suffer. Kobad inspired people like us.”

She added, “The police will never want a change in the society. No one wants a revolution. Hence the person, who is following the revolution or working for it, will be treated in the same manner.”

His Wife Was My Classmate, Says Journo

Freelance journalist Jyoti Punwani, who was Anuradha Ghandy’s classmate at Elphinstone College said, “Anuradha and I studied Sociology.
She was bubbly, vivacious, the belle of the ball. But even then she was involved with the Leftist movement.”

Post college, Punwani worked with both Kobad and Anuradha on a quarterly magazine she edited for the Committee for the Protection of Democratic  Rights (CPDR) called Adhikaar Raksha.

The couple then went underground, “I did not know where they were, but they did keep in touch when they came in to Mumbai,” said Punwani.

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Posted by ajadhind on October 31, 2009






Speaker: G N Saibaba, General Secretary, Revolutionary Democratic Front, India


Friday 27th November at 7pm, Marchmont Community Hall

62 Marchmont Street London. WC1N 1AB, Russell Square tube station




Organised by:


(c/o BM Box 2978, London WC1N 3XX)




Supported by:

George Jackson Socialist League                                   Britain-South Asia Solidarity Forum

World People’s Resistance Movement-Britain                   Indian Workers Association (GB)

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Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) challenges government in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

Posted by ajadhind on October 31, 2009

Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) rally in Bhubaneshwar: Halt mining leases, MNC landgrab, free prisoners

October 21, 2009

The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), which held the Koraput district administration to ransom for months and forced non-tribals out of Narayanpatna, on Tuesday threw a challenge to the Government right in the capital.

The Sangha, its leaders announced in a rally, would carry out land grabbing movement by the tribals in other areas of the State. The organisation, considered a Maoist-backed outfit, had created a flutter by forcibly ploughing over 2,000 acres of land belonging to non-tribals in Narayanpatna block. The aggressive posture of the CMAS had sparked off protest and there were rallies demanding the arrest of its leaders at least in five places in the district.

The tribal rally was organised here amidst unprecedented security. The CMAS threatened that if their demands for amendment to the Land Reforms Act and halt to mining lease in forest areas were not accepted by the Government, the agitation will be extended to more areas.

Give us our genuine rights. Get prepared to be killed if there is any negligence,’’ said a poster at the meeting venue at the busy MG Road, which connects the railway station and the state secretariat. “We will forcibly free tribal land in the possession of landlords in other tribal dominated districts as the authorities have failed to give justice to the people,’’ CMAS adviser Gananath Patra told the gathering.

Criticising the Government for trying to “suppress democratic movements” in the name of Maoism, Patra alleged that even journalists and common men are not spared. He demanded immediate release of all innocent tribals languishing in different jails. Orissa Forest Mazdoor Union leader Dandapani Mohanty alleged that multinational companies are acquiring tribal land for mining and setting up industries. Social activist Prafulla Samantray demanded that cases should be lodged against police officials involved in false encounter cases.


Bhubaneshwar, Orissa: Tribals take to the streets against police atrocities

Amidst unprecedented security arrangements, hundreds of tribals gathered in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to warn the state government that it must be ready to face consequences unless it changes policies.

At joint rally here, the tribals shouted slogans. The posters they were carrying read: “Kana kholi kari suna sarakar. Ama hak, adhikar amaku dia, na deba jabi mariba pai prastuta hua,” (Government listen carefully. Give us our rights or be ready to die).

The tribals, mostly from southern districts of Koraput and Rayagada, asked the state government to stop police atrocities on the people in the name of curbing Maoist activities. They demanded that the government stop allotment of cultivable and forestlands to industrial houses and said they will continue their land-grabbing spree until their rights were restored. They also demanded inclusion of changes in the Land Act and full rights over forestland.

“This is an integrated, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist movement against land lords, liquor mafia and multi-national companies, who have grabbed everything that belongs to the poor. This rally is a reminder to the government that time is running out,” advisor of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) Gananath Patra said.

Also a member of CPI (ML), Patra said, the CMAS has so far captured 2,000 acres of land from the people and have re-distributed them to the poor and landless tribals in the nine panchayats of the two districts. The movement has already spread its tentacles into Keonjhar, Dhenakanal and Mayurbhanj districts.

“The government has admitted that there are at lest three lakh landless people in the state. But the government still gives away hundreds of acres of land, rich forest and water to the MNCs,” Raisun Habuda, a tribal from Narayan Patna block, said.


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The Media Question

Posted by ajadhind on October 31, 2009

A leaflet issued by Correspondence and Radical Notes

Admittedly it has been an old problem with most movements, that they have treated the media only as a means to an end, ‘a way of making themselves heard,’ and so long as they got some coverage with the help of conscientious friends within the media, they were satisfied. The larger dynamics of the media, as a certain sort of work, in a certain sort of work place, with human agents who are workers here, has not been addressed. Newspapers and news channels should be and can be the strongest arms of a democratic society; they can make sure that the voice of the people finds representation. Though cliché, one has to point out how the media can raise difficult questions, but the onus is upon journalists as responsible citizens and in their capacity as workers to raise them.

The decidedly undemocratic tenor of mainstream newspapers and news channels, whose editorial bosses seem to be dummies through which the state on the one hand and multinational capital on the other preach their doctrines, is not merely a sign of the larger move away from democratic values, but also of the way in which journalism is becoming an alienated activity. Responsible journalism, bent upon bringing out the democratic truth languishes as the unholy nexus of the state and moneyed interest decides the ‘line’ of a newspaper. The inability of journalists to raise their voices against recent pay-cuts in houses like The Times of India (TOI) is not unconnected from the destruction of democratic space within journalism and mass media. Both of these get subsumed in the large movement away from true democracy – maximization of profit that a few make, in the last analysis determines all these tendencies. That is to say that the general antipathy to democratic movements visible in the lack of honest media coverage and an anti-people, non-democratic shift in the Indian situation at large not only go hand in hand but are also born out of the same tendencies.

Where do we see all this? For one, in the highly disproportionate coverage of various people’s movements by mainstream media. For instance, the space/airtime given to non-violent movements like Narmada Bachao or in Tehri is negligible. One could argue that violent movements catch the media’s attention more, but they are nonetheless covered very selectively. The struggles in the North East against AFSPA are barely covered. No true attempt to understand ULFA or LTTE is to be found in the mainstream, no attempt to go to the depths of the issue and to not simply report (reinforce) the state’s position. While the many social activists who have done serious work in the North East, J&K, or Chattisgarh report the excesses and violence committed by the paramilitary, Special Police Officers or the Salwa Judum on innocents, it is only rarely, if ever, mentioned by the media. At the moment though, with the Maoists taking centre stage on the front pages of newspapers and on prime time news, one cannot complain on grounds of quantity. But on grounds of quality, even here there is a lot to be said.

It has been assumed that the Maoist movement is not a mass movement; it’s only a bunch of ‘outsiders’ imposing themselves upon hapless tribes. The absurdity of the ‘outsider’ clause becomes obvious if one spares a moment’s thought to the way in which they function. The nature and width of their activities could not have been made possible without mass support. This is not the place to substantiate this assertion. What one needs to recognize at the primary level is that this is an open question and needs to be treated as such. If it is an open question with many opinions, the least the media can do is give space to these opinions, and accept the complex nature of the issue. It might be pointed out that the debate shows on news-channels do bring in people of different opinions. However, a closer look at the dynamics of these shows will demonstrate how easily the biases of the mainstream hijack the entire debate. The newer, uncommon opinion cannot be expressed in the 10 seconds given to the participants, unlike the hegemonic narrative that we are all so familiar with. This inability to say everything in the imposed time limit is read as the lack of substance in these new voices, and a consensus on the issue is ‘created’.

Arnab Goswami is a good example. He seems to have found answers to all questions posed by him on his show. Furthermore, his show is an exercise in forcing his moment of epiphany upon others. ‘Mr. Varavara Rao, is Kobad Gandhy an ideologue or a terrorist, ideologue or terrorist, yes or no?’ We need to move beyond these multiple choice questions – reality is more layered than the media’s projection of it. We can all do with some thinking, including our editor-in-chief. Arnabism is actually symbolic of the lack of depth, and the fear of depths that haunts the journalism of big news houses. Maoist violence is highlighted again and again, often with cheap melodrama (showing the lack of humanity implicit in this form of reporting) as if it exists in a vacuum. Such portrayal denudes an act of its nature as an utterance, which responds to a situation (possibly another violent act on the state’s part) and is informed by necessities of a spatio-temporal/socio-political position. In the same way the struggles for self-determination are defined only in terms of their separatist or fundamentalist tendencies’, (one could go out on a limb and suggest that the refusal to understand or explain Islamic violence, as something more than madness or blood-thirstiness is a sign of the same problem). Just touching the surface, there too a very small section of the surface, the mainstream media presents it to its consumers (for that is what passive reception is) as the entire reality, the sole and complete truth.

It needs to be understood, and this cannot be stated any other way, that the media is responsible for manufacturing consent for war. It has taken the state’s call for war forward by eliminating dissenting voices within. In addition to several other things, the majoritarian nature of the media poses serious questions about any semblance of internal democracy. We have to make a choice between pushing for greater democracy within and allowing ourselves to get subsumed in the state’s narrative. If we choose the latter then we need to question the idea of journalism being ‘free and fair’ and see it as an instrument in the hands of a few who hold power and seek to keep it in their hands.

It is not only that journalists should try and understand the crucial position they can occupy in the struggles of the people. It is important for them to place themselves within these struggles, for even if they try to ‘keep out,’ their attempt to exclude themselves becomes the shape of their inclusion. It is never somebody else’s fight, it is always our own. In the final analysis journalists are nothing but (whether high paid or low) workers working under the imposition of capital, continuously losing control over their own work, unable to determine the conditions of their own existence.


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Confronting Guns of Peace: Bastar Faces its Worst Crisis

Posted by ajadhind on October 24, 2009

Posted by indianvanguard2010 on October 17, 2009

– Himanshu Kumar, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, Dantewada      –  Bombay Tragedy

As I write this critical note on the worst ever crisis undivided Bastar is facing, ambushes and gun battles between para-military, Salwa Judum and State Police forces and Naxal cadres are being played out in jungles of Dantewada and Bijapur districts of undivided Bastar in South Chhattisgarh. To understand this crisis one needs to have a brief knowledge of the previous crises that have confronted Bastar. It must be stated upfront that since historically this region has been a forested, tribal dominated and physically difficult terrain, it has also been a malgoverned region ! And this malgovernance manifested itself in injustice and denial of rights for the tribals inhabiting this region with the State eyeing it only for its mineral deposits and forest resources. This somewhere laid the ground for the crisis that is unfolding here since June 2005.

In June 2005, as part of a larger plan to tighten control over the rich mineral and forest resources of Bastar, the State, backed by private capital, launched a major offensive on tribals of this region and called it ironically Salwa Judum or peace movement. On the face of it Salwa Judum was a people’s uprising for peace against Naxal violence but the hidden agenda, as is gradually unfolding, was the corporate grabbing of resources. The sum total of four years of Salwa Judum has been the internal and forced displacement of more than 3.5 lakh people from their villages, a 30 fold escalation of violence and a 22 time swell in support base and area under control by the very Naxals whom the Judum aimed at decimating ! But the State never learns from failures – even after unleashing the loosing battle of horrifying violence on tribals of Bastar in name of Salwa Judum, it has launched a phase two in the name of Operation Green Hunt and Operation Godavari in Bastar and adjacent districts of Malkangiri (Orissa). This confrontation of Bastar’s tribals with the ‘guns of peace’ will unleash the worst crisis this region has ever seen or will ever see … but that is only if remaining tribals ever survive these ‘guns of peace’.

So through this note I am attempting to simply analyse each strategy and act of the State and map its impact on tribals of Bastar and how counter-productively it has benefited the CPI (Maoist) party!

The State launched Salwa Judum in 2005 to counter insurgency by cadres of CPI (Maoist) or Naxalites through civil defense by recruiting and training civilians in ‘armed resistance’

But soon Salwa Judum cadres went beyond the control of para-military and police forces under whom they were supposed to function and began looting, burning, raping, murdering and kidnapping of tribals and remained beyond any accountability due to political support.

The State forcefully evicted tribals from 700 villages and dumped them in 30 odd camps built for them and cordorned by security forces – it was protecting people from Naxal violence ! It was following the American counter insurgency strategy of ‘draining the water and killing the fish’ … State forgot that tribals are not fish and villages are not fish bowls!

But freedom loving and nature-dependent tribals refused to move into camps and fled for fear of being captured, tortured and then deported to camps – reminds one of the Jewish Holocaust. While a meager 50,000 population shifted to camps, about 50,000 fled to the adjacent district in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa where they had relatives and clan families and remaining 2.5 lakh people hid deeper in jungles living a life of fear, hunger and death.

Human rights and civil society groups watching over the State’s warfare, challenged its American copy of counter insurgency. And when they were tried to be silenced, they went up to State High Courts and Indian Supreme Court challenging the notions and strategies of mitigating Naxal violence and restoring peace.

The State retaliated by creating an imaginary divider, obviously through corporate media houses, in the minds of the middle class. If you are in its camps, you are with the State and if you are in the jungles, then you are Naxalite …. thus declaring the 2.5 lakh tribals hiding in the jungles as Naxalites and thereby justifying training its guns of peace on them ! And another divider declared anyone supporting the ‘Naxal tribals’ as Maoist sympathizers or informers and liable to imprisonment and torture under the draconian Public Securities Act. It unjustly put activists who questioned it behind bars or bulldozed their premises, not even soaring sources of drinking water or simply diverted them by bribing them with funds, contracts and opportunities for sharing the great wealth created through Salwa Judum!

The Indian Supreme Court, hearing out petitioners against Salwa Judum ordered the State to reconsider its civil defense strategy and stop evicting tribals from villages. Instead it asked the State to launch a rehabilitation drive to resettle tribals, provide them with basic services and entitlements and asses damages to life and property. This damage assessment was to be followed by compensation and registering of criminal cases against the offenders, in particular Salwa Judum and para-military forces. This was aimed at cleaning up the mess of Salwa Judum and starting afresh all attempts at just and democratic governance.

The State responded by blatantly violating the Supreme Court orders,speaking white lies before Court when questioned about its inaction.

It neither attempted rehabilitation efforts nor set up district and State committees to look into damage assessment or filing of cases against offenders and also it did not make any attempts at rethinking its strategies. Rather it continued its forced evictions, its looting, burning, rape, kidnap and murder and printed in bold letters its justification of continuing Salwa Judum. In fact it even went a step further by sabotaging and blocking any civil society attempts at rehabilitation, damage assessment and filing of cases against offenders. It used the Public Securities Act against volunteers working for the rehabilitation of internally displaced tribals!

Tribals who fled their villages and hid in jungles are still living nomadic and terrorized lives. In the face of an inhuman onslaught on them, they clung to the only support they got in the forests … that of the Maoists who appeared more human to them than persecuting State forces ?! Their attempts at seeking justice and dignity as citizens of this country were met with arrests and abuses. Their faith in the State dwindled and converted into anger and despair. It was therefore natural for them to pick up their traditional weapons in their self-defence because the State had left no option before them.

How did the State respond ? Whenever tribals came seeking justice through democratic and legal means, their FIRs were not registered, their court cases were dismissed without a hearing and they were arrested for being Naxalites. And any sympathetic judge or officer to the tribal cause was either sent on forced leave or transferred out. No one was ready to listen …. not even local mediapersons who benefited from State dole outs of contracts, advertisements and general patronage. National media too ignored the Bastar question or made half-hearted attempts at covering truth because they were bankrolled by corporates eyeing the mineral and forest resources of Bastar ! How could they let the cat out of the bag and lock out opportunities of profiteering ? Tribals were isolated and rendered helpless.

In such a complex situation of denial and injustice, the State has been expecting tribals to show loyalty to it, abide by its laws and support it in restoring peace. These expectations could be justified and binding on tribals had the State shown respect for the same virtues!

The State talks of loyalty when it has itself distrusted its own tribal citizens and branded them Naxals when they have come seeking justice at its doors … State talks of abiding by its laws when it has itself made a mockery of its own laws – holding Gram Sabhas at gun point to coerce tribals into giving away their lands to mining corporations, subverting laws protecting the tribals’ rights to land and forests as stated in PESA, disrespecting Supreme Court’s orders to rehabilitate villages, deliver entitlements and services, co-opting judiciary, executive and legislature to ratify and justify violence and terror by its forces and so on. In fact the State has been attacking its poor to secure the interests of the rich and still it expects the poor to abide by, put faith in it and support it? There are thousands of cases where the law of the land has been bent backwards to accommodate corporate interests but when it comes to tribals State puts on false pretence of legal systems and democracy!

The State wants tribals to help it in restoring peace – but when did the State believe that peace was possible without justice or that tribals could make peace with guns firing around them – does the State believe that tribals will confront its guns of peace without first arming themselves in their self-defence ? And what peace is the State talking of restoring – had it wanted peace it would have allowed rehabilitation, it would have allowed the nation to know the truth of Bastar, it would have respected its laws and would have adhered to the democratic governance systems it has put in place?

Despite all that I have stated above (not that people in the State do not know what I have stated ?), the State has launched its second Salwa Judum through its strategic military operations called Green Hunt (hunting whom ?) and Godavari. But what will be the net impact of this Salwa Judum II ? The same, if not worse. The crisis will just deepen, the tribals will get further terrorized, Naxals will further consolidate their support base and area under control and voices of sanity among civil society and human rights groups will further get silenced and decimated. This military offensive will only isolate the tribals more and they will begin to look upon every non-tribal as an aggressor. And do we believe that in such a situation peace and democracy can prevail ? Thus military operation will simply push democracy further away and endanger the Indian socio-political system.
Thus, as tribals continue resisting corporate grab of land and resources in the garb of Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt, State repression will just rise manifold. One must remember that it is not as if repression never happened but it has got heightened with dash of corporates to set up mining and industrial units while the great global market goes booming. Corporates are just making hay while the sun is shining and all this at expenses of the State ! And Governments have also readily complied by disposing off their socialist agenda to follow routes tread by private capital. And to make this a reality, these proxy wars are being fought on tribal territory. But who really will be targeted ? Not Naxals who are deft at guerilla warfare and will escape bullets of Salwa Judum and para military forces. It will be the tribals who will be caught in the crossfire.

Salwa Judum (Phase I) resulted in a near civil war that destroyed over 644 villages and displaced 3.5 lakh tribals in one way or the other and filled the lives of tribals with fake encounters, gangrape of tribal women, looting and burning of livestock and belongings of poor tribals, brutal suppression of any resistance or protest has become the order of the day in the name of combating Naxals. This makes us wonder whether they are still bonafide denizens of this country or have they been obliterated as people of India!?

We have gone to villages to understand the truth behind encounters, have interviewed dozens of tribal women gangraped or enslaved for months by Salwa Judum and para military forces and witnessed the total demolition of my house and office premises because we dared to expose these acts of violence through several cases filed in Chhattisgarh High Court. Is this the democracy and tribal development our Governments want us to espouse? I shudder to think what will be the outcome of Salwa Judum (Phase II) …… yet another fake encounters, yet more gangrapes and yet more souls gone down fighting injustice and repression in the name of peace and democracy?

But for how long are tribals going to bear the brunt of a brutal and inhuman police force? For how long will tribals stand in the crossfire between Naxals, a militarized State and a demonized police? For how long will middle class ‘bhadralok’ remain silent spectators to State’s colonization of tribal territory to subsidize urban growth in the name of ‘tribal development‘ ? And for how long will we look on helplessly as tribals get butchered, raped and exterminated? We believe that some day the tribal specter will rise and fall heavily on those who repress loot and pauperize them. But who will get sacrificed and who will survive? The fittest … as Darwin eulogized evolution? The question is who is fitter – you and me who enjoy privileges of a subsidized consumer culture or tribals whom we have hanged giving them the name of savage, backward and poor ? I guess we all know the answers … but don’t want to articulate it, preferring to ignore it exists. But we cannot so this and so we strive to call the State’s bluff and turn every stone in our path in the attempt to bring justice, peace, dignity and democracy into Bastar so that we never have to confront the guns of peace!

– Himanshu Kumar, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram,  Dantewada,, Mobile – 09425260031

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Statement against Government of India’s planned military offensive in adivasi-populated regions: National and international signatories

Posted by ajadhind on October 24, 2009

Sanhati October 12, 2009

Sanhati (, a collective of activists/academics who have been working in solidarity with peoples’ movements in India by providing information and analysis, took the initiative to bring together voices from around the world against the Government of India’s planned military offensive in Central India. A statement and a background note were drafted in consultation with Indian activists, and duly circulated for endorsement.

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister,
Government of India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi,
India-110 011.

We are deeply concerned by the Indian government’s plans for launching an unprecedented military offensive by army and paramilitary forces in the adivasi (indigeneous people)-populated regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal states. The stated objective of the offensive is to “liberate” these areas from the influence of Maoist rebels. Such a military campaign will endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people living in those areas, resulting in massive displacement, destitution and human rights violation of ordinary citizens. To hunt down the poorest of Indian citizens in the name of trying to curb the shadow of an insurgency is both counter-productive and vicious. The ongoing campaigns by paramilitary forces, buttressed by anti-rebel militias, organised and funded by government agencies, have already created a civil war like situation in some parts of Chattisgarh and West Bengal, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced. The proposed armed offensive will not only aggravate the poverty, hunger, humiliation and insecurity of the adivasi people, but also spread it over a larger region.

Grinding poverty and abysmal living conditions that has been the lot of India’s adivasi population has been complemented by increasing state violence since the neoliberal turn in the policy framework of the Indian state in the early 1990s. Whatever little access the poor had to forests, land, rivers, common pastures, village tanks and other common property resources has come under increasing attack by the Indian state in the guise of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and other “development” projects related to mining, industrial development, Information Technology parks, etc. The geographical terrain, where the government’s military offensive is planned to be carried out, is very rich in natural resources like minerals, forest wealth and water, and has been the target of large scale appropriation by several corporations. The desperate resistance of the local indigenous people against their displacement and dispossession has in many cases prevented the government-backed corporations from making inroads into these areas. We fear that the government’s offensive is also an attempt to crush such popular resistances in order to facilitate the entry and operation of these corporations and to pave the way for unbridled exploitation of the natural resources and the people of these regions. It is the widening levels of disparity and the continuing problems of social deprivation and structural violence, and the state repression on the non-violent resistance of the poor and marginalized against their dispossession, which gives rise to social anger and unrest and takes the form of political violence by the poor. Instead of addressing the source of the problem, the Indian state has decided to launch a military offensive to deal with this problem: kill the poor and not the poverty, seems to be the implicit slogan of the Indian government.

We feel that it would deliver a crippling blow to Indian democracy if the government tries to subjugate its own people militarily without addressing their grievances. Even as the short-term military success of such a venture is very doubtful, enormous misery for the common people is not in doubt, as has been witnessed in the case of numerous insurgent movements in the world. We urge the Indian government to immediately withdraw the armed forces and stop all plans for carrying out such military operations that has the potential for triggering a civil war which will inflict widespread misery on the poorest and most vulnerable section of the Indian population and clear the way for the plundering of their resources by corporations. We call upon all democratic-minded people to join us in this appeal.


National Signatories

Arundhati Roy, Author and Activist, India
Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Center for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU, India
Sandeep Pandey, Social Activist, N.A.P.M., India
Manoranjan Mohanty, Durgabai Deshmukh Professor of Social Development, Council for Social Development, India
Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court Advocate, India
Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India
Colin Gonzalves, Supreme Court Advocate, India
Arvind Kejriwal, Social Activist, India
Arundhati Dhuru, Activist, N.A.P.M., India
Swapna Banerjee-Guha, Department of Geography, University of Mumbai, India
Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker, India
Dipankar Bhattachararya, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, India
Bernard D’Mello, Associate Editor, Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), India
Sumit Sarkar, Retired Professor of History, Delhi University, India
Tanika Sarkar, Professor of History, J.N.U., India
Gautam Navlakha, Consulting Editor, Economic and Political Weekly, India
Madhu Bhaduri, Ex-ambassador
Sumanta Banerjee, Writer, India
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Philosopher, Writer, Environmental Activist, India
M.V. Ramana, Visiting Research Scholar, Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy; Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University, USA
Dipanjan Rai Chaudhari, Retired Professor, Presidency College, India
Amit Bhattacharyya, Professor, Department of History. Jadavpur University, Kolkata
D.N. Jha, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Delhi, India
Paromita Vohra, Devi Pictures
Sunil Shanbag, Theater Director
Saroj Giri, Lecturer in Political Science, Delhi University, India
Hilal Ahmed, Associate Fellow, Center for the Studies of Development of Societies, India
Reetha Balsavar
Sriparna Bandopadhyay, India
Sudeshna Banerjee, Department of History, Jadavpur University, India
Chinmoy Banerjee
Kaushik Banyopadhyay, Student, IIT KGP, India
Pranab Kanti Basu, Department of Economics and Politics, Vishwa Bharati University, India
Harsh Bora, Student, Delhi Law Faculty, India
Kaushik Bose, Reader, Vidyasagar University, India
Anjan Chakrabarti, Professor of Economics, Calcutta University, India
Shitansu Shekhar Chakraborty, Student, IIT Kharagpur, India
Achin Chakraborty, Professor of Economics, Institute of Development Studies, Calcutta University Alipore, India
Rabin Chakraborty
Anand Chakravarty, Retired Professor, Delhi University, India
Uma Chakravarty, Retired Professor, Delhi University, India
Indira Chakravarthi, Public Health Researcher, India
Nandini Chandra, Member of Faculty, Delhi University, India
Navin Chandra, Visiting Senior Fellow, Institude of Human Development, India
Jagadish Chandra, New Socialist Alternative, CWI, India
Pratyush Chandra, Activist, Freelance Journalist, and Researcher, India
Kunal Chattopadhyay, Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, India
Debarshi Das, IIT Guwahati, India
Probal Dasgupta, Linguistic Research Unit, I.S.I., India
Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta, Professor, Jadavpur University, India
Surya Shankar Dash, Independent Filmmaker, India
Ashokankur Datta, Graduate Student, I.S.I. (Planning Unit), India
Amiya Dev, Emiritus Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, India
Soumik Dutta
S. Dutta, Delhi Platform, India
Madhumita Dutta, Green Youth Movement, India, Based in Chennai
Durga Prasad Duvvuri, Independent Management Consultant, India
Ajit Eapen, Mumbai, India
Sampath G, Mumbai, India
Lena Ganesh
M.S. Ganesh
Subhash Gatade, Writer and Social Activisit, India
Pothik Ghosh, Editor, Radical Notes, India
Rajeev Godara, General Secretary, Sampooran Kranti Manch, Haryana (associated with Lok Rajniti Manch), India (Also an Advocatein Punjab and Haryana High Courts)
Abhijit Guha, Vidyasagar University, India
Jacob, South Asia Study Center
Manish Jain, Assistant Professor, Center for Studies of Sociology of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
Shishir K. Jha, IIT Mumbai, India
Avinash K. Jha, Assistant Professor of Economics, Shri Ram College of Commerce, India
Bodhisattva Kar, Fellow in History, Center for Studies in Social Science, India
Harish Karnick, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur, India
Sumbul Jawed Khan, Biological Sciences and Bio. Eng. Department, IIT Kanpur, India
Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, India
Ravi Kumar, Editor of Radical Notes and Assistant Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University, India
Abhijit Kundu, Faculty, Sociology, University of Delhi
Gauri Lankesh, Editor, Lankesh Patrike, India
Soumik Majumder
Dishery Malakar
Julie Koppel Maldonado
Dr Nandini Manjrekar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Soma Marik
Satyabrata Mitra
Siddhartha Mitra
Tista Mitra, Journalist, India
Najeeb Mubarki, Assistant Editor, Editorial page, Economic Times, India
Dipankar Mukherjee, PDF, Delhi, India
Subhasis Mukhopadhyay, Frontier
Pulin B. Nayak, Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University, India
Nalini Nayak, Reader in Economics, PGDAV College, Delhi University, India
Soheb ur Rahman Niazi, Student, Jamia Milia Islamia, India
Rahul Pandey
Jai Pushp, Activist, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, India
Imrana Qadeer, Retired Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, J.N.U., India
Neshant Quaiser, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University, Department of Sociology, India
Divya Rajagopal
Ramendra, Delhi Shramik Sangathan, India
Ramdas Rao, President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bangalore Unit, India
V. Nagendra Rao, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, India
Shereen Ratnagar, Retired Professor, Center for Historical Studies, JNU, India
Sankar Ray, Columnist
Kirity Roy, MASUM and PACTI, India
Atanu Roy
Anindyo Roy
Dunu Roy, Social Activist, India
Sanjoy Kumar Saha, Reader, CSE department, Jadavpur University, India
Sandeep, Freelance Journalist
Dr. K. Saradamoni, Retired Academic
Madhu Sarin, Social Activist
Satyam, Rahul Foundation and Dayitvbodh, India
Jhuma Sen, Delhi
Samita Sen, Professor, Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, India
Santanu Sengupta, UDML College of Engineering, India
Ajay Kishor Shaw, Mumbai, India
Dr. Mira Shiva
Jagmohan Singh, Voices for Freedom Punjab, India
Sandeep Singh, Mumbai, India
Harindar Pal Singh Ishar, Advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, India
Preeti Sinha, Editor of Philhal, Patna, India
Oishik Sircar, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, India
K. Sriram
Viviek Sundara, Mumbai, India
Saswati Swetlena, Programme Officer, Governance and Advocacy Unit, National Center for Advocacy Studies, India
Damayanti Talukdar, Kolkata
Divya Trivedi, The Hindu Business Line, India
Satyam Varma, Rahul Foundation
Rahul Varman, Professor, Department of Industrial and Management Engineering, IIT Kanpur, India
Padma Velaskar, Professor, Center for Studies in the Sociology of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
G. Vijay, Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Hyderabad, India
R.M. Vikas, IIT Kanpur, India


International Signatories

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, M.I.T., USA
David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, The C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center, USA
Michael Lebowitz, Director, Program in Transformative Practice and Human Development, Centro Internacional Mirana, Venezuela
John Bellamy Foster, Editor of Monthly Review and Professor of Sociology,University of Oregon Eugene,USA
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University, USA
James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University, USA
Michael Watts, Professor of Geography and Development Studies, University of California Berkeley, USA
Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Departments of Anthropoogy and Political Science, Columbia University, USA
Mira Nair, Filmmaker, Mirabai Films, USA
Howard Zinn, Historian, Playwright, and Social Activisit, USA
Abha Sur, Women’s Studies, M.I.T., USA
Richard Peet, Professor of Geography, Clark University, USA
Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London, U.K
Massimo De Angelis, Professor of Political Economy, University of East London, UK
Gyanendra Pandey, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History, Emory University, USA
Brian Stross, Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin, USA
J. Mohan Rao, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
Vinay Lal, Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California Los Angeles, USA
James Crotty, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Haluk Gerger, Political Scientist, Activist, Political Prisoner, Turkey
Justin Podur, Journalist, Canada
Hari Kunzru, Novelist, U.K.
Louis Proyect, Columbia University
Biju Mathew, Associate Professor, Rider University, USA
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Nicholas De Genova, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Latino Studies, Columbia University, USA
Peter Custers, Academic researcher on militarisation, Netherlands
Radha D’Souza, School of Law, University of Westminster , UK
Gary Aboud, Secretary, Fisherman and Friends of the Sea, Trinidad and Tobago
Mysara Abu-Hashem, Ph.D. Student, American University, USA
Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English, Montclair University, USA
Nadim Asrar, Ph.D. student, University of Minnesota, USA
Margaret E Sheehan, Attorney at Law, USA
Arpita Banerjee, Lecturer, Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire, USA
Deepankar Basu, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Sharmadip Basu, Syracuse University, USA
Joseph A Belisle
Kim Berry, Professor of Women’s Studies, Humboldt State University, USA
Varuni Bhatia, Assistant Professor, Religous Studies Program, N.Y.U., USA
Anindya Bhattacharya, Faculty, University of York, UK
Sourav Bhattacharya, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Peter J. Bloom, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Sister Maureen Catabian, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Philippines
Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Department of Communications, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Shefali Chandra, Professor of South Asian History, Washington University at St Louis, USA
Ipsita Chatterjee, Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Piya Chatterjee, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of California Riverside, USA
Angana Chatterji, Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, USA
Ruchi Chaturvedi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College, City University of New York, USA
Chitrabhanu Chaudhuri, Ph.D. Student, Department of Mathematics, Northwestern University, USA
Len Cooper,Victorian Branch,Communication Workers Union Australia
Priti Gulati Cox, Artist, USA
Stan Cox, Senior Scientist, The Land Institute, USA
Linda Cullen, Canada
Huma Dar, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, Canada
Koel Das, UCSB, USA
Atreyi Dasgupta, MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA
Grace de Haro, APDH Human Rights Organization, Argentina
Nandini Dhar, Ph.D. student, University of Texas Austin, U.S.A.
Martin Doornbos, Professor Emeritus, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, Netherlands
Emily Durham-Shapiro, Student, University of Minnesotta, USA
Arindam Dutta, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, MIT, USA
Anne Dwyer, University of Washington, USA
T. Robert Fetter, USA
Kade Finnoff, Doctoral Candidate, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Kaushik Ghosh, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Bishnupriya Ghosh, Professor of English, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Vinay Gidwani, Professor of Geography, Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
Wendy Glauser, MA candidate, Political Science. York University. Toronto, Canada
Ted Glick, Climate Crisis Coalition, Climate Crisis Coalition and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, USA
Inderpal Grewal, Yale University, USA
Shubhra Gururani, Associate Professor of Anthropology, York University, Canada
Anna L. Gust, University College London, UK
Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South
Arne Harns, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Free University of Berlin, Germany
Amrit Singh Heer, Graduate student, Social and Political Thought, York University, Canada
Helen Hintjens, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands
Robert A Hueckstedt, Professor, University of Virginia, USA
Zeba Imam, Ph.D. student, Texas A&M University, USA
Kajri Jain, University of Toronto, Canada
Dhruv Jain, Graduate student, York University, Canada
Mohamad Junaid, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, City University of New York, USA
Louis Kampf, Professor of Literature Emeritus, MIT, USA
Jyotsna Kapur, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA
Emily Kawano, Director, Center for Popular Economics, USA
Nada Khader , Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation
Jesse Knutson, University of Chicago, USA
Peter Lackowski, Writer/Activist, USA
Maire Leadbeater (human rights activist Auckland New Zealand)
Joseph Levine, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
George Levinger, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
David W. Lewit, Alliance for Democracy, USA
Jinee Lokaneeta, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Drew University, USA
Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA
Sanjeev Mahajan
Sunaina Maira, Associate Professor, University of California Davis, USA
Panayiotis “Taki” Manolakos, Writer/Activist, USA
Carlos Marentes,, USA
Bill Martin, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, USA
Erika Marquez, New York, USA
Thomas Masterson, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, USA
Jim McCorry, Belfast, N. Ireland
Victor Menotti, Executive Director, International Forum on Globalization, USA
James Miehls, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Stephen Miesher, Associate Professor, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Ali Mir, Professor, William Paterson University, USA
Raza Mir, Professor of Management, William Paterson University, USA
Katherine Miranda, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.
Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director, Oakland Institute, USA
Roger Moody, Association for Progressive Communication, UK
Agrotosh Mookerji, Statistician and student, UK
Joshua Moufawad-Paul, Ph.D. student, York University, Canada
Sudipto Muhuri
Alan Muller, Executive Director, Green Delaware, USA
Sirisha Naidu, Assistant Professor of Economics, Wright State University, USA
Sakuntala Narsimhan
Sriram Natrajan, Independent Researcher, Thailand
Nandini Nayak, SOAS, University of London, UK
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham, Longman Professor of English, Oberlin College, USA
Ipsita Pal Bhaumik, NIH, USA
Shailja Patel, USA
Saswat Pattanayak, Editor, Radical Notes, USA
Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project
Kavita Philip, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine, USA
Mike Alexander Pozo, Political Affairs Magazine
Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California Irvine, USA
Kaveri Rajaraman, Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, USA
K. Ravi Raman, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Manchester, UK
Leena Ranade, AID India, USA
Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor, The College of New Jersey, USA
Ravi Ravishankar, Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, USA
Chandan Reddy, Assistant Professor, University of Washington, USA
Bruce Rich, Attorney, USA
Dr. Andrew Robinson, UK
Rachel Rosen, International Workers of the World and OSSTF, USA
Seth Sandronsky, Journalist, USA
Amit Sarkar, Visiting Fellow, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID/NIH, USA
Bhaskar Sarkar, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Helen Scharber, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Anna Schultz, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, School of Music, University of Minnesota, USA
Svati Shah, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Shaheen Shasa, USA
Snehal Shinghavi, Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Tyler Shipley, Department of Political Science, York University, Canada
Samira Shirdel, Community Advocate, Chaya: a Resource for South Asian Women, USA
Jon Short, Department of Communications Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
Kuver Sinha, Texas A&M University, USA
Subir Sinha, SOAS, University of London, U.K
Julietta Singh, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA
Preethy Sivakumar, York University, Canada
Ajay Skaria, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, USA
Stephen C Snyder
Nidhi Srinivas, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New School, USA
Chukka Srinivas
Poonam Srivastav, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota, USA
Priyanka Srivastava, Ph.D. candidate, University of Cincinnati, USA
Rachel Steiger-Meister, Graduate Student, Wright State University, USA
Raja Swamy, Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, USA
Usha Titikshu, Photojournalist, Nepal
Wendel Trio, Former Chair, European Alliance with Indigenous Peoples
Shivali Tukdeo, University of Illinois, USA
Sandeep Vaidya, India Support Group, Ireland
Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick, U.K
Nalini Visvanathan, Lecturer in Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA
Daphna Whitmore, Secretary, Workers’ Party, New Zealand
T. Wignesan, Editor, Asianists’ Asia, Centre de Recherches, CERPICO and CREA, France
Daphne Wysham, Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies, USA



It has been widely reported in the press that the Indian government is planning an unprecedented military offensive against alleged Maoist rebels, using paramilitary and counter-insurgency forces, possibly the Indian Armed Forces and even the Indian Air Force. This military operation is going to be carried out in the forested and semi-forested rural areas of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand,West Bengal and Maharashtra, populated mainly by the tribal (indigenous) people of India. Reportedly, the offensive has been planned in consultation with US counter-insurgency agencies. To put the Indian government’s proposed military offensive in proper perspective one needs to understand the economic, social and political background to the conflict. In particular, there are three dimensions of the crisis that needs to be emphasized, because it is often overlooked: (a) the development failure of the post-colonial Indian state, (b) the continued existence and often exacerbation of the structural violence faced by the poor and marginalized, and (c) the full-scale assault on the meager resource base of the peasantry and the tribal (indigenous people) in the name of “development”. Let us look at each of these in turn, but before we do so it needs to be stressed that the facts we mention below are not novel; they are well-known if only conveniently forgotten. Most of these facts were pointed out by the April 2008 Report of the Expert Group of the Planning Commission of the Indian Government (headed by retired civil servant D. Bandopadhyay) to study “development challenges in extremist affected areas”.

The post-colonial Indian State, both in its earlier Nehruvian and the more recent neoliberal variant, has failed miserably to solve the basic problems of poverty, employment and income, housing, primary health care, education and inequality and social discrimination of the people of the country. The utter failure of the development strategy of the post-colonial State is the ground on which the current conflict arises. To recount some well known but oft-forgotten facts, recall that about 77 percent of the Indian population in 2004-05 had a per capita daily consumption expenditure of less than Rs. 20; that is less than 50 cents by the current nominal exchange rate between the rupee and the US dollar and about $2 in purchasing power parity terms. According to the 2001 Census, even 62 years after political independence, only about 42 percent of Indian households have access to electricity. About 80 percent of the households do not have access to safe drinking water; that is a staggering 800 million people lacking access to potable water.

What is the condition of the working people in the country? 93 percent of the workforce, the overwhelming majority of the working people in India, are what the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) called “informal workers”; these workers lack any employment security, work security and social security. About 58 percent of them work in the agricultural sector and the rest is engaged in manufacturing and services. Wages are very low and working conditions extremely onerous, leading to persistent and deep poverty, which has been increasing over the last decade and a half in absolute terms: the number of what the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) called the “poor and vulnerable” increased from 811 million in 1999-00 to 836 million in 2004-05. Since majority of the working people still work in the agricultural sector, the economic stagnation in agriculture is a major cause for the continued poverty of the vast majority of the people. Since the Indian state did not undertake land reforms in any meaningful sense, the distribution of land remains extremely skewed to this day. Close to 60 percent of rural households are effectively landless; and extreme economic vulnerability and despair among the small and marginal peasantry has resulted in the largest wave of suicides in history: between 1997 and 2007, 182,936 farmers committed suicide. This is the economic setting of the current conflict.

But in this sea of poverty and misery, there are two sections of the population that are much worse off than the rest: the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) population. On almost all indicators of social well being, the SCs and STs are worse off than the general population: poverty rates are higher, landlessness is higher, infant mortality rates are higher, levels of formal education are lower, and so on. To understand this differential in social and economic deprivation we need to look at the second aspect of the current crisis that we had alluded to: structural violence.

There are two dimensions of this structural violence: (a) oppression, humiliation and discrimination along the lines of caste and ethnicity and (b) regular harassment, violence and torture by arms of the State. For the SC and ST population, therefore, the violence of poverty, hunger and abysmal living conditions has been complemented and worsened by the structural violence that they encounter daily. It is the combination of the two, general poverty and the brutality and injustice of the age old caste system, kept alive by countless social practices despite numerous legislative measures by the Indian state, that makes this the most economically deprived and socially marginalized section of the Indian population. This social discrimination, humiliation and oppression is of course very faithfully reflected in the behavior of the police and other law-enforcing agencies of the State towards the poor SC and ST population, who are constantly harassed, beaten up and arrested on the slightest pretext. For this population, therefore, the State has not only totally neglected their economic and social development, it is an oppressor and exploiter. While the SC and ST population together account for close to a quarter of the Indian population, they are the overwhelming majority in the areas where the Indian government proposes to carry out its military offensive against alleged Maoist rebels. This, then, is the social background of the current conflict.

This brings us to the third dimension of the problem: unprecedented attack on the access of the marginalized and poor to common property resources. Compounding the persistent poverty and the continuing structural violence has been the State’s recent attempt to usurp the meager resource base of the poor and marginalized, a resource base that was so far largely outside the ambit of the market. The neoliberal turn in the policy framework of the Indian state since the mid 1980s has, therefore, only further worsened the problems of economic vulnerability and social deprivation. Whatever little access the poor had to forests, land, rivers, common pastures, village tanks and other common property resources to cushion their inevitable slide into poverty and immiserization has come under increasing attack by the Indian state in the guise of so-called development projects: Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and other “development” projects related to mining, industrial development, Information Technology parks, etc. Despite numerous protests from people and warnings from academics, the Indian State has gone ahead with the establishment of 531 SEZs. The SEZs are areas of the country where labour and tax laws have been consciously weakened, if not totally abrogated by the State to “attract” foreign and domestic capital; SEZs, almost by definition, require a large and compact tract of land, and thus inevitably mean the loss of land, and thus livelihood, by the peasantry. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no serious, rigorous cost-benefit analysis of these projects to date; but this does not prevent the government from claiming that the benefits of these projects, in terms of employment generation and income growth, will far outweigh the costs of revenue loss from foregone taxes and lost livelihoods due to the assault on land.

The opposition to the acquisition of land for these SEZ and similar projects have another dimension to it. Dr. Walter Fernandes, who has studied the process of displacement in post-independence India in great detail, suggests that around 60 million people have faced displacement between 1947 and 2004; this process of displacement has involved about 25 million hectares of land, which includes 7 million hectares of forests and 6 million hectares of other common property resources. How many of these displaced people have been resettled? Only one in every three. Thus, there is every reason for people not tobelieve the government’s claims that those displaced from their land will be, in any meaningful sense, resettled. This is one of the most basic reasons for the opposition to displacement and dispossession.

But, how have the rich done during this period of unmitigated disaster for the poor? While the poor have seen their incomes and purchasing power tumble down precipitously in real terms, the rich have, by all accounts, prospered beyond their wildest dreams since the onset of the liberalization of the Indian economy. There is widespread evidence from recent research that the levels of income and wealth inequality in India has increased steadily and drastically since the mid 1980s. A rough overview of this growing inequality is found by juxtaposing two well known facts: (a) in 2004-05, 77 percent of the population spent less than Rs. 20 a day on consumption expenditure; and (b) according to the annual World Wealth Report released by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini in 2008, the millionaire population in India grew in 2007 by 22.6 per cent from the previous year, which is higher than in any other country in the world.

It is, thus, the development disaster of the Indian State, the widening levels of disparity and the continuing problems of social deprivation and structural violence when compounded by the all-out effort to restrict access to common property resources that, according to the Expert Group of the Planning Commission, give rise to social anger, desperation and unrest. In almost all cases the affected people try to ventilate their grievances using peaceful means of protest; they take our processions, they sit on demonstrations, they submit petitions. The response of the State is remarkably consistent in all these cases: it cracks down on the peaceful protestors, sends in armed goons to attack the people, slaps false charges against the leaders and arrests them and often also resorts to police firing and violence to terrorize the people. We only need to remember Singur, Nandigram, Kalinganagar and countless other instances where peaceful and democratic forms of protest were crushed by the state with ruthless force. It is, thus, the action of the State that blocks off all forms of democratic protest and forces the poor and dispossessed to take up arms to defend their rights, as has been pointed out by social activists like Arundhati Roy. The Indian government’s proposed military offensive will repeat that story all over again. Instead of addressing the source of the conflict, instead of addressing the genuine grievances of the marginalized people along the three dimensions that we have pointed to, the Indian state seems to have decided to opt for the extremely myopic option of launching a military offensive.

It is also worth remembering that the geographical terrain, where the government’s military offensive is planned, is very well-endowed with natural resources like minerals, forest wealth, biodiversity and water resources, and has of late been the target of systematic usurpation by several large, both Indian and foreign, corporations. So far, the resistance of the local indigenous people against their displacement and dispossession has prevented the government-backed corporates from exploiting the natural resources for their own profits and without regard to ecological and social concerns. We fear that the government’s offensive is also an attempt to crush such democratic and popular resistance against dispossession and impoverishment; the whole move seems to be geared towards facilitating the entry and operation of these large corporations and paving the way for unbridled exploitation of the natural resources and people of these regions.

Posted in IN NEWS, NAXALISM | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

An open letter to all print and electronic media in portraying Maoist revolutionaries as Terrorists and NAXAL’S India’s Taliban?

Posted by ajadhind on October 24, 2009

All sorts of criminal activities including murders and rapes which occur, including many carried out by fascist gangs organized by the big landlords, or even by the “security forces” themselves, are falsely blamed on the CPI(Maoist). One recent case in point is the  Amousi Massacre

1.The Amousi Massacre — On or about Sept. 29, 2009, a criminal gang killed 16 people, including 5 children, in the village of Amousi (or Amausi, or Icharwa-Amousi) in Bihar’s Khagaria District. This massacre was immediately blamed on the “Maoists” by the government and media. The articles below include just a few of the barrage of false accusations, and then a few articles with grudging admissions that later appeared which showed that the whole attribution of the crime to the CPI(Maoist) was a complete fabrication. Of course these eventual admissions received far less publicity than the initial lies, and moreover they also include new unsupported or false accusations!

  • “India Must Check Maoist Menace”, an editorial from the Gulf News, Oct. 2, 2009.
  • “Maoist Rebels Kill 16 Villagers in Eastern India”, AFP, Oct. 2, 2009.
  • “Land Row Sparks Maoist Carnage in Bihar”, Hindustan Times, Oct. 2, 2009.
  • “Doesn’t Look Like Our Op, Says Top Maoist”, The Times of India, Oct. 4, 2009.
  • Police Now Admit that Bihar Killers were Criminals, Not Maoists, Hindustan Times, Oct. 4, 2009.
  • “Carnage is Work of Goons, says Naxalite”, The Times of India, Oct. 6, 2009.

2.General Articles on Disinformation About the Indian Revolution and the Maoists

“PC [P. Chidambaram] Becomes the Flaming Arrowhead [against the Maoists], The Telegraph Oct. 11, 2009. This article speaks openly about the orchestration of a “gathering storm” of propaganda and psychological warfare in preparation for the launching of the military war against the Maoists.

This blame game propaganda & psychological warfare tactics against the Maoists by the government and the police were there on earlier occasions too whenever a Maoist leader was arrested are killed in ‘encounters’ as claimed by the police. The arrest of Kobad Gandhy came to light only after three days on 21st September in print media. Then on it was the job of print & electronic media to drum-beat police version. After my arrest on 19th December 2007, Sessions court while dismissing my bail petition parroted the police version  …..  if the confession of the petitioner as borne out by the case diary files was anything to go by, he was a life convict for having murdered his wife. This was drum-beated by the print & electronic media.  The Hindu (India’s National newspaper) dated 8th January,2008. (My wife is very well alive in Hyderabad)

From the beginning of the first week of October 2009 this blame game propaganda & psychological warfare tactics against the Maoists by the government and the police were further intensified after the alleged beheading of a police officer Francis Induwar in the print & electronic media by portraying NAXAL’S India’s Taliban?

Dear pressmen & TV channel hoisters,

Aam aadhmi janthe hein ki “dho rupye ki moongpali bejkhar jeenewalon kho be ye khaki vardhiwale nahin chodthein, unse be dhus rupye lethein. Ye khakiardhiwale aam janata ke surakaksha ke liye nahin, balki hume thung karnewale hein”.

General public knows very well that these men in khaki never leave even the people who make their livelihood by selling two rupees worth ground nut, take Rs 10/= from them too. They are not for our security; their only job was to harass the people.

You must ask yourself; or else conduct a survey on how many were able to digest your news and how many Indians are fond of policemen? From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, every Indian deeply mistrusts the average policeman. The average cop is corrupt. He is obese. He is insane with power…. In the eyes of the tribals who are fighting for their livelihood the police are nothing but terrorist in khaki; if one of them gets beheaded, they think it’s no big deal. Such logic does not equate the Maoists with the Taliban as both their aims and ideologies differ. How can a Prime Minister of a ‘democratic’ country say while dealing with Maoists there may be human rights violation? By such saying does he want the peoples’ approval for the misdeeds of police? He knows very well that he won’t able to tame the lawlessness of the police. One won’t find a single Naxalite or a Maoist if the lawlessness of the Indian Police are tamed and made to serve the people honestly.

After the brutal torture and killing many a revolutionary leaders and cadres by capturing them from somewhere and killing them elsewhere in fake encounters and after a series of legal struggles by human rights activists the full bench of The AP High Court in its historic judgment made it mandatory for the police to file an FIR and register a case under Sec 302 of the IPC on every encounters by the police. It is for the police to prove in the court of law that they fired in self defense. Instead of the AP State government, The Police Officer’s Association filed an appeal and stayed the operation of the judgment. In May 2009 Patel Sudhakar Reddy CCM of CPI (Maoists) was picked up from Nashik brutally tortured and killed in Warangal 800 KMs away in fake encounter. Human Rights activists probing fake encounters and police excesses were branded as Maoists with human rights mask. Many a human rights activists to name a few Dr. Ramanatam, Dr. Narayan, Purushottam. Azam Ali, Kalra, Parag Kumar Dass were murdered by the mercenary gangs of the state. Belly Lalitha a cultural activist’s body was found in 17 pieces.

Justice AN Mulla has correctly said, “There is not a single lawless group in the whole of the country whose record of crimes comes anywhere near the record of that organized unit which is known as the Indian Police”.

CPI (Maoist) party is the only party in Indian history that owned the responsibility of any of its acts and if any mistakes are committed by the party it apologized to the public. Before getting the version of the party on the incident, print & electronic media started portraying NAXAL’S India’s Taliban?

In India more than 50% of the print and electronic media are owned either directly or indirectly by political parties. Another 40% are pressurized to toe the lines of the government in power. The remaining 10% who does a true and fair reporting faces the wrath of the government in power. Sakshi TV chaneel owned by YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s son continued to mislead public by saying YSR’s copter landed safely at Kurnool and the CM is safe till the evening. The other TV channels have no other option other than to follow. He owns a newspaper too in the name of Sakshi. Even Madhavan Nair’s satellite was unable to track the debris of the copter.

The CPI (Maoists) has abducted many a policemen on earlier occasions and set them free un-harmed. It was during the period of blame game, propaganda & psychological warfare tactics against the Maoists by the government and the police the news regarding the alleged beheading of the police officer Francis Induwar broke out. The Maoist party to the alleged beheading of the police officer has not come out with its official version of the incident. There were conflicting reports both in print and electronic media regarding the demands put forth by Maoists for the release of abducted police officer. Home Minister P.Chidambaram saying that no demands were put forth by the Maoists. Jharkhand government (President’s rule) rejecting the demands of the Maoists. Some media reported that the killing was done before putting forth the demands. Police officer Induwar’s wife has gone on record by saying the government did not care for her husband’s life for six days after the abduction. She further added that they searched AP Chief Minister’s body within 24 hours. There were no communication between the Maoists and the government. The Maoists too learnt lessons from the arrest of Chatradar Mahato being arrested by policemen posing as journalists. Unlike the government they don’t have prisons to hold the captives.

Like Francis Induwar many of those thousands of Sikhs burnt alive by Congress barbarians  with tyres around their neck  have wife and children. Many of those thousands of Muslims burnt alive by Modi’s goons have wife and children. There are many untold stories of police atrocities. People of this country are aware of the misdeeds of politicians and the police. People of this country can not and won’t digest your print & electronic media portraying Maoists as terrorists or NAXAL’S India’s Taliban? As more and more people are being pushed towards Maoist politics due to failed democratic process and police repression all these 62 years of so-called Independence the anger expressed by Francis Induwar’s son on the print and electronic media that he will join police and fight Maoists has no effect on general public. I too have three boys like Francis Induwar. If you approach my three children and reveal the story published in Mathrubhumi weekly dated 3rd February 2008 & Madhyamam weekly dated 10th March 2008 and if they come to know how their mother was brutally tortured in police custody they too like Francis Induwar’s son say, We will leave our lurative jobs and join Maoists and kill hundreds of police officers”. Will you air their anger and expressions in the print and against the politicians and the police.

The Maoists have not landed from some other planets or country to destroy India. They are part and parcel of Indian blood.

The arrest of comrade Kobad Ghandy is being touted as a big success of the Intelligence officials and media portraying him as terrorist. 3,000 years back Gautam Buddha left the kingly pleasures and said, Desire is the cause of all sufferings. Desire should be abolished”. 150 years back Karl Marx came out with his scientific theory, “Private property is the cause of all sufferings. Private property should be abolished”. For the people of this country Kobad Gandhy is a Buddha of modern age.  He hails from a rich, elitist background. Interestingly was the class mate of Sanjay Gandhi at Doon school. Both the Gandhis went to London. One joined in Rolse Royse as apprentice. The other Gandhy at Oxford University. Both Gandhis returned to India. One Gandhy left his heavenly pleasures from a giant sea facing house in Worli, joined revolutionary politics and worked among the poorest of the poor (dalits & adivasis). The other Gandhi entered the daughters bedrooms of  Army, Navy and Air Force Officers. This Gandhi entered the Doordarshan Kendra on 25th June 1975 with a video cassette of the film Bobby and asked the Director to broadcast Bobby canceling the scheduled programmes to prevent the people from attending JP’s meeting. This Gandhi ordered PS Bhinder Police Commisioner to bulldoze Turkman Gate residents. This Gandhi under his five point programme forcible sterilization targeting Muslim population. The other Gandhy (Kobad) married Anuradha (An M Phil Sociologist) both leaving their heavenly life and worked among the poorest of the poor, dalits and adivais for their up-liftment. People close to him know that Anuradha wanted a child. But it was Kobad who was against this saying having a child will be an hindrance to revolutionary work. It was this Gandhi being portrayed as a big terrorist.

People’s March thanks Shoma Chaudhury of ‘Tehelka’ for the cover story “Weapons of Mass Destruction” dated 3rd October, 2009 in giving a diplomatic bashing for the ‘Times Now’ TV anchor Arnab Goswami for his aggressive rhetoric against the Maoists and for the report.

People’s March thanks Aditya Sinha Editer-in-chief of ‘The New Indian Express’ for editorial “Cowboy and Red Indians” dated 10th October, 2009.

Dear journalists from print and electronic media,

“They can pluck and destroy all the flowers. They can’t hold back the spring”.

So carries my humble appeal to the print and electronic media not to succumb to pressures of the corrupt government and the police officers.

P.Govindan kutty

Editor, People’s March   18th October 2009

Posted in IN NEWS, NAXALISM | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Even if we lose, we’re going to fight

Posted by ajadhind on October 3, 2009

9/28 Democracy Now

AMY GOODMAN: We turn to a woman the New York Times calls India’s most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence, Arundhati Roy, world-renowned Indian author and global justice activist. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. She has a new book; it’s called Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. An adapted introduction to the book is posted at tomdispatch. com, called “What Have We Done to Democracy?” Arundhati Roy joins us now from New Delhi, India, on the country’s biggest national holiday of the year.


ANJALI KAMAT: Meanwhile, inside India, the focus has shifted to a different adversary. The stage is set for a major domestic military offensive against an armed group that the Indian prime minister has repeatedly called the country’s, quote, “gravest internal security threat.”

Operation Green Hunt will reportedly send between 75,000 and 100,000 troops to areas seen as Maoist strongholds in central and eastern India. In June, India labeled the Naxalite group, the Communist Party of India—Maoist—a terrorist organization, and earlier this month India’s home minister came to the United States to share counterterror strategies.

The Indian government blames the deaths of nearly 600 people this year on Maoist violence and claims that Maoist rebels are active in twenty out of the twenty-eight states in the country. The Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh outlined the threat to a conference of state police chiefs earlier this month.

PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH: In many ways, the left-wing extremism poses perhaps the gravest internal security threat our country faces. We have discussed this in the last five years. And I would like to state, frankly, that we have not achieved as much success as we would have liked in containing this menace.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, let me just pick up on what Anjali was talking about just now, about the assault that’s planned on the so-called Maoists in central India. You know, when September 11th happened, I think some of us had already said that a time would come when poverty would be sort of collapsed and converge into terrorism. And this is exactly what’s happened. The poorest people in this country today are being called terrorists.

And what you have is a huge swath of forest in eastern and central India, spreading from West Bengal through the states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. And in these forests live indigenous people. And also in these forests are the biggest deposits of bauxite and iron ore and so on, which huge multinational companies now want to get their hands on. So there’s an MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] on every mountain, on every forest and river in this area.

And about in 2005, let’s say, in central India, the day after the MoU was signed with the biggest sort of corporation in India, Tatas, the government also announced the formation of the Salwa Judum, which is a sort of people’s militia, which is armed and is meant to fight the Maoists in the forest. But the thing is, all this, the Salwa Judum as well as the Maoists, they’re all indigenous people. And in, let’s say, Chhattisgarh, something like the Salwa Judum has been a very cruel militia, you know, burning villages, raping women, burning food crops. I was there recently. Something like 640 villages have been burned. Out of the 350,000, first about 50,000 people moved into roadside police camps, from where this militia was raised by the government. And the rest are simply missing. You know, some are living in cities, you know, eking out a living. Others are just hiding in the forest, coming out, trying to sow their crops, and yet getting, you know, those crops burnt down, their villages burnt down. So there is a sort of civil war raging.

And now, I remember traveling in Orissa a few years ago, when there were not any Maoists, but there were huge sort of mining companies coming in to mine the bauxite. And yet, they kept—all the newspapers kept saying the Maoists are here, the Maoists are here, because it was a way of allowing the government to do a kind of military-style repression. Of course, now they’re openly saying that they want to call out the paramilitary.

And if you look at—for example, if you look at the trajectory of somebody like Chidambaram, who’s India’s home minister, he—you know, he’s a lawyer from Harvard. He was the lawyer for Enron, which pulled off the biggest scam in the history of—corporate scam in the history of India. We’re still suffering from that deal. After that, he was on the board of governors of what is today the biggest mining corporation in the world, called Vedanta, which is mining in Orissa. The day he became finance minister, he resigned from Vedanta. When he was the finance minister, in an interview he said that he would like 85 percent of India to live in cities, which means moving something like 500 million people. That’s the kind of vision that he has.

And now he’s the home minister, calling out the paramilitary, calling out the police, and really forcibly trying to move people out of their lands and homes. And anyone who resisted, whether they’re a Maoist or not a Maoist, are being labeled Maoist. People are being picked up, tortured. There are some laws that have been passed which should not exist in any democracy, laws which make somebody like me saying what I’m saying now to you a criminal offense, for which I could just be jailed. Even sort of thinking an anti-government thought has become illegal. And we’re talking about, you know, as you said, 75,000 to 100,000 security personnel going to war against people who, since independence, which was more than sixty years ago, have no schools, no hospitals, no running water, nothing. And now, now they’re being—now they’re being killed or imprisoned or just criminalized. You know, it’s like if you’re not in the Salwa Judum camp, then you’re a Maoist, and we can kill you. And they are openly celebrating the Sri Lanka solution to terrorism, to terrorism.


AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, talk about Kashmir. I think it’s something, certainly here in the United States, a conflict people understand very little.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, Kashmir—Kashmir was an independent sort of kingdom in 1947 at the time of independence and partition. And when—I mean, just to cut a very complicated story short, when partition happened, both India and Pakistan fought over it and hived off parts of it, and both now have military presence in this divided Kashmir. But to give you some idea of the military presence, it’s—you know, let’s say the US has 165,000 troops in Iraq. India has 700,000 troops in Kashmir.

Kashmir used to have a Hindu king and a largely Muslim population, which was very, very backward and so on at the time, because at the time, you know, Muslims were discriminated against by that princely—in that princely state.

But now, for—I mean, in 1990, after a whole series of events, which culminated in a sort of fake election, a rigged election in 1987, there was an armed uprising in Kashmir. And really, since then, it’s been convulsed by militancy and military occupation, encounters, disappearances and so on. Last year, there was a—you know, last year, they began to say everything is normal, you know, tourists are going back to the valley. But, of course, that was just wishful thinking, because there was a huge nonviolent uprising in which hundreds of thousands of people, you know, flocked the streets, day and night, demanding independence. It was put down with military force.

And now, once again, you have a situation where you can hardly walk from, you know, twenty meters without someone with an AK-47 in your face. Sometimes in places like Srinagar, which is the capital, it’s well hidden. But it’s a place where every action, every breath that people, you know, breathe in and breathe out, is kind of controlled by military force. And this is how—you know, people are just being asphyxiated; they cannot breathe.

And, of course, there’s a huge publicity machine. You know, I mean, I’d say that the only difference between what’s happening in Palestine and Kashmir is that, so far, India has not used air power on the people of Kashmir, as they are threatening to do, by the way, in Chhattisgarh, you know, to its own poorest. It has not—you know, the people, technically, they are able to move around, unlike the people of Gaza and the West Bank. Kashmiris are able to move around in the rest of India, though it isn’t really safe, because their young get picked up and disappeared and tortured and so on. So, you know, it’s not something that they easily will do. And there has not been this kind of system of settlements, you know, where you’re trying to sort of take over by pushing in people from the mainland. So, other than those three, I think we’re talking about an outright occupation.


ANJALI KAMAT: Arundhati, can you talk a little bit about encounter deaths? You mentioned this a little earlier in the program. What are police encounters, fake encounters? This is something that’s quite common in India. But can you explain to our audience what you mean by “encounter deaths”?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, what happens now is that, you know, one of the ways in which people—the police and the security establishment deals with, you know, dissent, resistance and terrorism, or what they call terrorism, is to just deliver summary justice: kill people and say, oh, they were killed in an encounter, in cross-firing, or so on, and so on. So, in places like Kashmir and in the northeast, in Manipur and Nagaland, it’s an old tradition. In places like Andhra Pradesh, they had, you know, many, many hundreds of encounter deaths.

And, in fact, recently, there was a photo essay of an encounter death in Manipur, where the, you know, security grid just—security forces just surrounded this young boy. And it was a photo essay, you know. He was unarmed. He was a former militant, I think, who had laid down his arms, and he was in the market. And you just saw a policeman pulling out his gun, shooting him, and then they said, oh, he was killed in crossfire, you know.

So, it’s a very—you have people—we have cops here who are given medals for being encounter specialists. You know, so the more people they’ve killed, the more medals they’ll get. And in places like Kashmir, they actually get promotions. So, in fact, it’s something to be proud of, an encounter killing, for, you know, both the army as well as the police and the counterinsurgency forces.


But here in India, there’s the smell of fascism in the air. Earlier, it was a kind of an anti-Muslim, religious fascism. Now we have a secular government, and it’s a kind of right-wing ruthlessness, where people openly say, you know, every country that has progressed and is developed, whether you look at Europe or America or China or Russia, they have a quote-unquote “past,” you know, they have a cruel past, and it’s time that India stepped up to the plate and realized that there are some people that are holding back this kind of progress and that we need to be ruthless and move in, as Israel did recently in Gaza, as Sri Lanka has recently done with its hundreds of thousands of Tamils in concentration camps. So why not India? You know? Why not just do away with the poor so that we can be a proper superpower, instead of a super-poor superpower?

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, we just have less than a minute. What gives you hope?

ARUNDHATI ROY: What gives me hope is the fact that this way of thinking is being resisted in a myriad ways in India, you know, from the poorest person in a loincloth in the forest saying, “We’re going to fight,” right up to me, who’s at the other end, you know. And all of us are joined together by the determination that, even if we lose, we’re going to fight, you know? And we’re not going to just let this happen without doing everything we can to stop it. And that gives me a tremendous amount of hope.

Posted in INTERVIEW | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

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