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Observe Martyrs Week From July 28 to August 3! COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)

Posted by ajadhind on July 27, 2012

COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST) DANDAKARANYA SPECIAL ZONAL COMMITTEE
June 10, 2012
Observe Martyrs Week From July 28 to August 3!
Red Homage to Our Party’s Fore-founders and Beloved Teachers Comrades Charu Mazumdar and Kanhai Chatterjee!
Let’s rededicate ourselves to fulfill the cherished dreams of thousands of martyrs including Comrades Ramji, Shrikant, Sheshanna, Suneeta, Ranita, Sukku, Mahesh, Mangli, Paklu, Pramod and Shivaji!
July 28 has a special significance in the history of Indian Revolution. Comrade Charu Mazumdar and Comrade Kanhai Chatterjee, who broke the backs of the revisionism deep-rooted for decades in the Indian Communist Movement and established the path of protracted people’s war for the Indian Revolution, emerged as the founder-leaders of CPI (Maoist). On this day in 1972, Comrade Charu Mazumdar succumbed to police torture. In the path directed by these two great comrades, the Indian Revolution is marching forward unabatedly for the last 45 years facing many upheavals, defeats and setbacks. Even if it faced setback at one place, by gaining strength in other places, it stood as a ray of hope for all the oppressed masses of entire country. This 45-year bloodstained history contains invaluable sacrifices of more than 15 thousand martyrs. By virtue of these sacrifices, revolutionary movement has been advancing raising the slogan `Naxalbari Ek Hi Rasta’, with the aim of building liberated areas through area-wise seizure of political power. July 28 is an important day to commemorate the sacrifices of all the martyrs and to rededicate ourselves to fulfill their cherished dreams.
In the last one year, nearly 150 comrades have sacrificed their lives all over the country. Forty of them are from Dandakaranya (DK). These martyrs include higher leadership comrades, party members, PLGA commanders, red fighters, mass organization activists, revolutionary people’s committee representatives and revolutionary masses. Many of these have lost their lives in fake encounters carried out by government mercenary forces while others have laid down their lives fighting heroically with the enemy forces. Few of them have lost their lives due to illness and in accidents. On the occasion of July 28, let’s commemorate each and every martyr and pledge to fight relentlessly to fulfill their dream of building a new democratic India free of all forms of exploitation and oppression.
On November 24, 2011, in Burishole jungles of West Bengal, police and paramilitary forces carried out a covert operation and killed Party’s politburo member and dynamic mass leader Comrade Mallojula Koteswarlu (Ramji/Kishenji) in a most inhuman manner. For the last 38 years, Comrade Ramji carried out various responsibilities at different areas all over the country in the revolutionary movement. From the days of Jagityal `Jaitrayatra’ to of late Jungalmahal mass movement, he led various mass struggles. From 1987 to 1993, he was instrumental in leading the movement in Dandakaranya. After many foul plays to assassinate him, enemy at the end succeeded in it. With the revolutionary spirit of Comrade Ramji, by intensifying mass struggles and people’s war we can create many more great leaders like him.
DK special zonal committee member Comrade Harak (Shrikant) passed away on February 26, 2012 due to serious illness. Comrade Harak had joined the Party in 1993. From 1998 onwards, he took responsibilities of the movement in Gadchiroli district and played a key role in it. In spite of serious heart ailment, he insisted to be among the people to carry out mass work incessantly. In the end, he lost his life amidst the downtrodden. By traversing firmly in his path, we can create millions of successors of the revolution.
On March 18, North Telangana movement has lost another great leader. SZCM Comrade Gundeti Shankar (Sheshanna) lost his life due to snake bite. Revolution is not a feast. It’s a bloody and tough class war full of dangers, difficulties and constraints. For the last 30 years, Comrade Sheshanna as a true mass leader strived firmly with determination for the cause of revolution. The Telangana soil would keep giving birth to many more great revolutionaries like Comrade Sheshanna.
Senior Party activist Comrade Suneeta (Swaroopa) also lost her life on March 18, 2012 due to breast cancer. As an ideal communist she held the revolutionary flag aloft for 30 years. She stands as a real role model for the present generations who stood strong in the revolution till her last breath.
On August 20, 2011, Gadchiroli’s Makadchuvva village witnessed an unprecedented event in the contemporary history. Comrade Ramko Hichami (Ranita) alone courageously fought the enemy encirclement of hundreds of forces and thus added a new chapter in it. This heroic woman guerilla killed three CoBRA/C-60 commandos and seriously injured four others before achieving the martyrdom. Comrade Ranita’s bravery and sacrifice always be inspiring to all the fighters of PLGA.
On January 27, 2012, DVCM Comrade Mangu Paddam (Sukku) laid down his life while fighting the enemy forces heroically at Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh. On October 11, 2011, in a daring ambush carried out by PLGA on the enemy forces near Netanar village, Kanger valley LGS commander comrade Mahesh laid down his precious life fighting ferociously. On August 16, 2011, in East Bastar division, at Tirka village Comrades Badru, Gopi and Akash sacrificed their lives in a daring resistance. Unable to face them, showing cowardice enemy burnt the house in which the red fighters got trapped. On March 26, 2012, in a PLGA ambush at Bhejji, Comrades Mangli and Paklu martyred fighting gallantly with the enemy forces. On May 16, 2012, on the occasion of `Bharat Bandh’, Comrade Shivaji, PPCM of COY-9, lost his life in an enemy attack at midnight near Bhairamgarh. West Bastar division action team commander Comrade Pramod lost his life in attempt on the life of a notorious enemy of the people, Rajkumar Tamo. Comrade Govind, area committee member of National Park area lost his life with snake bite. Many more comrades have laid down their lives fighting with the cruel enemy. Madkami Maasa, Podiyami Masa, Nengi Yadav, Dunga Dhurwa and other unarmed people succumbed to fake encounters and unabated violence perpetrated by the police and paramilitary forces.
Dear People and Comrades!
Today the ruling classes with the sole aim of wiping out the Maoist movement are carrying out a countrywide cruel war in the name of Operation Green Hunt (OGH). In this war, in addition to the deployment of hundreds of thousands of paramilitary forces, deployment of Army has also been commenced now. On the pretext of `training’ Army has stepped into Bastar region. Actually the aim of this war is not just to suppress the Maoist movement, but to suppress all movements and forces which come in the way and form an obstacle for handing over the country’s resources to foreign capitalists and corporate houses. In Dandakaranya and in some other places in the country, denouncing the fake development model of the ruling classes, the real people-centered development schemes have come forward as an alternative. The progress and growth of this alternative has become unacceptable to the ruling classes and their imperialist masters. That’s why they are hurrying to end this war by putting every effort at their disposal. Worldwide imperialist economic crisis is also hastening them up to end this war quickly. That’s why they are indulging in barbarism, mindless violence and massacres. As a part of this only, they are eliminating the revolutionaries and the leaders of the revolutionary movement.
Repression always leads to revolution is a historical truth. Ideas cannot be wiped out by killing people. The exploitative ruling classes of the country are getting exposed day by day. The issues of hunger, poverty, unemployment, corruption, scams, price-hike, displacement etc. are making people restless. None of the parliamentary political parties has any credibility in the eyes of the people. In this context, the fact is that the Maoist People’s War which is marching ahead with matchless sacrifices and heroic struggles, stands as a great inspiration to the toiling masses of the country. With the aim to spread this inspiration further, let’s commemorate Martyrs’ week from July 28 to August 3. Let’s pledge to expand the people’s war across the length and breadth of the country and to intensify the guerilla war by safeguarding the Party. Let’s decorate martyrs’ columns built in the villages and build new ones at predetermined places as part of propagating the priceless sacrifices of the martyrs in every corner. Let’s emulate the ideals of the martyrs and propagate their spirited life histories among the vast people. With the inspiration of the great martyrs, let’s consolidate the revolutionary movement as per the aspirations of the billions of Indian oppressed masses. Let’s expand the people’s political power by intensifying the class struggle.
(Gudsa Usendi)
Spokesperson
Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee
CPI (Maoist)
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Posted in CHHATISGARH, NAXALISM, Press Releases | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Kobad Ghandhy’s Afterword in the book Hello Bastar

Posted by ajadhind on August 6, 2011

On 5 February this year, in a village in Uttar Pradesh, a 16- year old Dalit girl was attacked by three upper caste youth. While she was returning from the fields, they dragged her away in an attempt to rape her. When she resisted and shouted for help, they fled. But before running away they chopped off her ears and part of her hand with an axe and badly injured her face. The inhumanity of this action would be unthinkable in any civilised society. But here, in India, it is hardly noticed. This is routine. In our highly patriarchal system, a girl’s life is cheap; a poor Dalit girl is less than a chattel in the prevailing upper caste /upper class social thinking.

This single incident brings out three factors. First: the intolerance to any form of Dalit assertion, even if it is an assertion to resist rape. Second: the impunity with which Dalits can be attacked even in a state ruled by a Dalit leader that comes from the knowledge that the establishment will not touch the culprits. Third: it brings out the arrogance of the upper caste youth, a superiority complex instilled since birth.

Rahul Pandita’s Hello, Bastar coincides with the third death anniversary of Anuradha Ghandy. It is an occasion to remember her monumental contribution to the understanding of the caste/Dalit question in India and the significance of its resolution for the democratization of the individuals, and with it, the society. In a society where a small percentage of people consider themselves superior to all others merely due to birth, there can be no democrat consciousness. Where major sections of society are seen as inferior (and nearly 20 percent treated as untouchable) merely due to their birth, what results is a society that is hierarchical and not democratic. Even nation building and national consciousness get sacrificed at the altar of the caste. Caste consciousness supersedes national consciousness, identity, loyalty – everything.

Anuradha’s pure simplicity, her total lack of any ego or arrogance and her innate attitude to see all others as her equal drew her to the issue of caste in her early college days itself. The outbreak of the Dalit panther movement in Mumbai(1974) further helped fuel thought on this question. She began studying the caste/ Dalit question at a time when the issue was anathema to most shades of communists. And by 1980 itself she had presented extensive analytical articles on the issue. The Dalit question and Ambedkar’s role in taking it up was not in fashion amongst the left then and Anuradha’s writings resulted in hostile reactions from many of these circles. But Anuradha stood her ground. Even as a lecturer later in Nagpur, she lived in a Dalit basti and worked among them thereby getting a practical experience of their lives – the horrific humiliation they face, and their struggles for self respect much before their desperate struggle for livelihood.

Anuradha was one of the few on the 1970’s to understand the negative impact of casteism on genuine democratization of society – a disease worse than the apartheid in South Africa. Anuradha’s creativity and intellect was a product of the fact that her mind was not fettered by hundreds of ego complexes. She was modesty personified . Her child like simplicity with no element of pretence, trickery or cunning allowed her to focus fully on whatever issue she took up. Her mind was not dissipated in varied futile directions to create impressions, appearances and images. As a result, her mental sharpness and intellectual capacity continued to flower and grow even towards the last years of her life, even after she was afflicted with the deadly disease, systemic sclerosis. In the 35 years that I knew her – from a simple student leader to a mass leader – she never lost her straightforwardness and pristine honesty. I never saw her struggle to achieve this; it all came very naturally to her. One tends to see these values amongst the simple tribal folk who live with nature and have not as yet been corrupted by the system and are also outside of the caste framework.

Through all our ups and downs we were often apart for months. But the times we were together are the most cherished periods of my life. Her fiercely independent thinking acted as a great help to rational understanding of events, people and issues. There was no other person with whom I have had as vehement debates. This normally brought a balance to my often one sided views.

Back to Hello Bastar. This book by Rahul Pandita is an authentic introduction to a subject that is being much debated in the media. There have been other books on this subject, but they have primarily been based on secondary sources. But Rahul has personally investigated the issue, traversing difficult and often risky terrain. Such investigative journalism is a refreshing breeze in the stagnant air of superficiality that dominates reporting today. Having personally studied the developments in Chhattisgarh and having interacted with many revolutionaries and their sympathisers, the author has no doubt added to the reliability of the information. One may agree or disagree with the views presented, but the facts of the Maoist movement seem well elucidated. So this book becomes an important source material for anyone seeking to study the particular model of development. For even if one does not agree, it is necessary to know the efforts and viewpoints going on in the country today. This is important in order to seek effective solutions to the problems – problems that are serious.

Generally, to the ordinary reader of the mainstream media, the issue is just that of violence. This book brings out that the question of violence is secondary; the key question is how to develop the country and its people. The Maoists have one method as reflected in their policies as elaborated in this book while the established government has another, seen in their economic and political policies over the past years.

Let us now address the larger question of India’s real growth. The government’s Economic Survey 2009 – 10 has rightly commented: ‘A nation interested in inclusive growth views the same growth indifferently depending on whether the gains of the growth are heaped primarily on a small segment or shared widely by the population. The latter is cause for celebration but not the former. In other words, growth must not be treated as an end in itself, but as an instrument of spreading prosperity to all.’ Then it goes on to show how inclusive growth has taken place in the country, by showing a growth in the percapita GDP and the percapita consumption expenditure of the country. But these figures, I am afraid, do not give an accurate picture as it averages out the billionaire’s income and wealthy with that of a pauper and puts them in a common category. This is particularly skewed in India where just a few families have a wealth equivalent to 25% of our GDP. All official indicators in fact show a terrifying situation within the country that is quite contrary to the rosy picture painted by the government. In the Global Hunger Index 2010, India ranks 67th among 88 countries – it was 65 in 2009. And if we turn to the recently developed UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index(MPI), which more accurately measures income on the basis of income, health, education etc., we find the situation even worse. India, it says, has 65 crore people who are poor on this index. It amounts to 55 % percent population. Eight states of India (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) account for more people than those present in the 26 poorest countries of Africa.

According to the United Nations children’s fund(UNICEF), India ranks better only than Ethiopia in the number of malnourished children (under 5). In 2008, the percentage of malnourished children was 51percent in Ethiopia, 48 in India, 46 in Congo, 44 in Tanzania, 43 in Bangladesh, 42 in Pakistan, 41 in Nigeria and 37 in Indonesia. The right to food campaign says that two – thirds of our women are anaemic. India is also at the very bottom of the recently compiles ‘Quality of Death’ index. This new study, on the provision of end of life care, takes a look at the quality of life and care made available to the old and the dying in developed and ‘emerging’ economies of 40 countries. In a scale of ten, the US was at 6.2 while India figured last at 1.9. So pathetic is the situation that even a country like South Africa that got independence after India has an index that is double that of India’s.

The water in our country is so badly polluted that it has turned into one of the major killers. According to the United Nations, one lakh people die each year of waterborne diseases in India. A planning commission report adds that out of over 600 districts, one third (203) have high fluoride content in drinking water that causes flourisis among 6.5 crore people. Thirty five districts have high arsenic content that results in 50 lakh people suffering from poisoning; 206 districts have high iron content and 109 districts have high nitrate content. Then, according to a study led by the Registrar General of India, 14 lakh infants die every year of five major preventable diseases. This includes eight lakh children who die within one month of their birth. The study said 23 lakh children died before completing five years of age in 2005 alone, and of these 14 lakh children died from preventable causes like pneumonia, diarrhoea etc. Even as one can clearly see that India is a ‘sick’ nation, national expenditure on healthcare is amongst the lowest in the world. State governments now barely spend 0.5 percent of their GDP on healthcare and hygiene as compared to one percent in the 1970s. Only 34 percent of India’s population has access to government hospitals.

If one looks at the issue of food, the situation appears equally grim. Per capita food grain consumption has fallen from 177 kilos per year in 1991 to 151 kilos in 1998(it has dropped even further now). Compare this to 182 kilos recorded by the LDCs (Least developed Countries) and 196 kilos in Africa.

Such then is the horrific condition of the people of our country – that too after six decades of independence. This surely is a matter of grave concern. And, add to this the massive destruction of our land, forest and water resources, together with the total degradation of the moral fabric (corruption, greed, nepotism), is it not time to discuss various alternate models to better the policies of governance?

For those serious about our country and its future, there is an urgent need for discussion of various models and policies being put forward – like those of the National Advisory Council (NAC), various commission reports, Maoist views and from civil society. As far as the Maoist viewpoint goes, this book could be useful for any future dialogue between the government and the Maoists which is an urgent necessary.

Overall, this book will be a very useful read for varied sections of people to understand the root causes of the four decade old Maoist movement in India and their alternatives in the spheres of economy and social life. Rahul has put in enormous effort to produce a work based on an important phenomena in today’s India. This will only help any discourse to evolve a better future.

April 2011                                                                                            KOBAD GHANDY

                                                                                                            Tihar Jail, New Delhi

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CNN-IBN: Arundhati Roy on Binayak’s release

Posted by ajadhind on April 23, 2011

source

‘Little pinholes of light have come out in this judgement’ says author and activist Arundhati Roy on the Binayak Sen bail order by the Supreme Court. In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN’s Rupashree Nanda, she also says ‘democracy is on a very slippery slope in Chhattisgarh’; that it is important to remember several others who are jailed under similar charges under ‘undemocratic laws’.

Rupashree Nanda: I remember you’d said that the judgement of the Raipur session court was intended to be a message, as a warning to others. What is the message of the Supreme Court bail order?

Arundhati Roy: I think that the Supreme Court granting him bail and the comments that were made in court do suggest that somewhere the Supreme Court is of the mind that it was a vindictive judgment and that he does deserve the benefit of the doubt. And so they gave him bail. What happens is that it underlines the fact that he was being made an example of; and the terror that reigns in Chhattisgarh remains so. Because, how many people have those lawyers? And have the ability to come to the Supreme Court? How many people are there poor, unnamed and named, under the very same laws for even less reasons? But they cannot come up and get bail. In some ways, it is a very necessary thing that has happened today. And in other ways it is worrying because we have so many people who don’t have access to the Supreme Court.

Rupashree Nanda: The battle for acquittal is still on. What if he is convicted again and sentenced again?

Arundhati Roy: My answer is the same. The fact is that here was a very well known person. He had a campaign behind him, he had so many people, so many lawyers and so he was allowed to approach an institution where some kind of reason prevailed. But most people don’t have that approach. So, here you are once again in a situation where there is hope for democracy, reason for those who can afford it, who can reach there. But most people cannot. Really what we need to do is look at these laws again. And again, even if the laws were OK you have this vindictive set of people who are doing something, it does not matter what the law is. They are busy trying to intimidate a whole population of very poor people now who are living on the resources that the multinationals want.

Rupashree Nanda: Was it easy for people to come out and support Dr Binayak Sen because there were many people against him?

Arundhati Roy: It is not a question of easy or difficult. Fortunately, in this country we do have a huge number of fearless people who believe in doing the right thing or at least believe in doing what they believe in. I am not going to complain about how difficult it was for us. Of course, I think, all those who protested knew that they were up against it. I know about Kopa Kunjam who took me round Bastar who is in jail. Who is campaigning for him? Who are his lawyers? What is going to happen to him? There are hundreds of people in jail in Orissa, in Chhattisgarh, in Bengal who do not have names suffering under the same laws. We really need to do something about them. I am saying this at a time when I don’t want to minimize how reassuring it is that the Supreme Court came out with this order that it did today. Because, had it not done that, all the windows would have been shut. Again, justice for those who can afford it, democracy for those who can afford it but what about everybody else?

Rupashree Nanda: What is the message for the government? Is it listening to the courts, is it listening to the people?

Arundhati Roy: There is something rotten in the institutions of Chhattisgarh. All the institutions there are behind that rot and behind what is now NOT being called Operation Green Hunt, but IS Operation Green hunt. We have a situation where the army is likely to be deployed, we have requests for the AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act]. We know what that has done in other states in India. Really democracy is on a very slippery slope there in Chhattisgarh. Now, some little pin holes of light have come out in this judgment. – but the point is that we are in a situation where we are creating a state where we call ourselves a democracy but increasingly there are laws that are undemocratic. In fact, under the UAPA [Unlawful Activities Prevention Act], the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act – you don’t have to prove anything to put people in jail. Just thinking an anti – government thought is a criminal offense. So look at those laws. It is not that they are being misinterpreted. They are being used precisely for the purpose they were made. So the fact is again and again I am saying we have a majority of our population that does not have access to the institution of justice.

Rupashree Nanda: What does Binayak Sen represent?

Arundhati Roy: Different things to different people. To me he symbolizes somebody who stood up and blew the whistle on the Salwa Judum. And that is why there was this vindictive action against him as a warning. And even though he has been let out on bail, let’s not forget that he has suffered. He’s been in jail. His hospital has been closed down. He cannot work in that area. He has been driven out of the state. So, in many ways, what they wanted, they have achieved already. To others he symbolizes righteousness. It can cut both ways. You can also now use Binayak Sen to say, look, India is a democracy – he was released. You can use him to say – look he is a middle-class person who had a campaign behind him. He was released, but there are many others. So it is different things to different people depending on how you look at it.

Rupashree Nanda: No one talks about Piyush Guha today?

Arundhati Roy: You talk about one person and then you keep everybody else in the dark. It’s like during Thanksgiving the American president pardons one turkey and then they slaughter millions. Behind the place where you choose to shine the light you have so much darkness. Piyush Guha has a name. Kopa Kunjam has a name, but there are hundreds of others who don’t have names, who are in prison. I remember going to Orissa meeting one adivasi woman shaking like a leaf in jail. What are the charges? Sedition. Waging war against the state. Trying to erect a parallel government. So we are living in an era where these people are ferociously attacked. So we have to look at the whole picture not just where people wish us to look because they have shone the light there.

Posted in CHHATISGARH, IN NEWS, INTERVIEW | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

PRESS RELEASE ON THE FACT FINDING REPORT OF THE CHINTALNAR MASSACRE, 11 TO 16 MARCH 2011, CHHATTISGARH

Posted by ajadhind on April 4, 2011

A 13 member fact finding team of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations visited the
Chintalnar Area of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh to probe into the incidents of atrocities
perpetrated by the Salwa Judum and the state forces on the adivasis living in this area between 11th
and 16th of March 2011.
The incidents was propagated by the police as an ‘encounter’ between the CRPF and Maoists in
which, according to the police, 36 Maoists were killed. Also 3 SPOs were killed and 9 others were
injured. The police had celebrated this incident in the media to prove their dominance over the
Maoists in this region. Media persons and fact finding teams were restricted from going inside on
the pretext that it is ‘war zone’ and the so-called war between the state and the Maoists are still going
on, hence it is risky for any outsider to go inside. Most recently, the state home minister, Nankiran
Kumar gave a written statement in the assembly stating that the Maoists had led the attack on
villagers and burnt and looted homes in a bid to divert attention of the police who were in the area for
‘area domination exercises’.
Against this backdrop of serious crimes committed by the security forces and salwa judum and the
cover up by the police and politicians, a fact finding team comprising various civil and democratic
rights activists and other individuals, went inside this area on the 26th and 27th of March 2011 and
visited Morupally, Timmapuram and Tadmetla villages. As members of the team, we spoke extensively
to the villagers and the victims of the incident. We were shocked to find that once again, the police
version propagated by the state is completely hoax and far from reality.
What exactly happened?
Morupally village
According to the residents, on the morning of 11 March 2011, a huge contingent of 300 paramilitary
and Salwa Judum forces attacked Morupally Village in the Chintalnar area after they got a prior
information that a big meeting of adivasis will be held there. While people started running towards
the forest for cover, the Judum forces, dressed in military fatigues, entered the village and started
attacking the elderly and women.
1. Death: Madvi Sula, an elderly villager was picking tamarind from the tree when the Judum
forces accosted him, accused him of being a Maoist informer and shot him dead in front of his wife
and hanged from a tree.
Woman raped by Salwa Judum (Koya commandos) 80 years old Madivi Bheema beaten by Salwa Judum
2
2. Rape: Mangi Ganga was raped after her valuables and other belongings were looted from her
house. Emula Modey, a 35 year old woman, was raped after she was threatened for not disclosing
the location of the Andhra Maoist Dalam. The Judum members also took away 10,000 rupees
from her.
3. Assault and Arrest: Madivi Bheem, an 80 year old woman, was brutally assaulted. Her belongings
were also looted. While leaving the village, Judum members picked up Madvi Joga, his daughter,
Likke and his son Madvi Bheema and took them to Chintalnal PS. There, Likke was separated
from her brother and father, stripped and kept the whole night. The following morning when she
was handed over to her father, her clothes were not returned.
4. Burning of homes: 33 houses were burnt, looted and destroyed.
5. Identification of Accused: Villagers identified 9 members/leaders of Salwa Judum. They are:
Madakam Bheema, alias Ramesh from Junaguda; Telam Anda from Lakapole; Vanjam Deva
from Cherpan; Dasaru from Vilampalli; Ramulal from Bodikel; Maara from Morupally; Keche
Nanda from Korapad; Kartam Dula, alias Surya (Judum leader) from Misman; Payake, woman
Judum member from Timmapuram.
Timmapuram Village
Encounter between Salwa Judum and Maoist forcesTwo days later, on 13th March, the forces
advanced towards Timmapuram after ravaging Morapally village.
On the way, the next day Maoists came and tried to stop them. In the armed clash, that lasted for two
hours, one villager Bhima alias Sudarshan was killed while two other got injured. 3 SPOs were killed
while 9 others got injuries, of which one died later.
Killing of Bursey Bhima and burning of homes: The CRPF and Salwa Judum SPOs were
forced to retreat after the prolonged encounter. They came to Timmapuram village and took shelter
there. They made bunkers inside the village to quell probable Maoist attack. Before leaving the
village they set fire on 55 houses. Bursey Bhima was picked up by these forces from Pulampad
village on their way to Timmapuram. After setting the villages on fire, they hacked Bursey Bhima to
death with an axe. This is probably due to the fact that Bhima was an eye-witness of their entire
carnage.
Identification of Accused: People of Timmapuram have identified several Salwa Judum members
who led this carnage. They saw, Mantam Bhima alias Ramesh (from Jannaguda Village), Telem
Anda (of Lekapor Village), Wanjan Peva ( of Charpan Village), Dasaru (from Villampally Village),
Mara (of Monipally Village), Ramlal (of Bodikal Village), Keche Nanda (of Korapad), Kartam Dula
alias Surya (of Misman Village), an SPO and one woman SPO Payake from Timmapuram itself.
Houses Burnt in Timmapuram Village Villagers living in fear and withuot Shelter
3
Tadmetla Village
From Timmapuram on their way back, they entered Tadmetla village and it became their next
target. In Tadmetla, they burnt a total of 207 houses. These houses were simply gutted to ashes.
They raped Marvi Jogi and beat her till she lost consciousness. When she came back to senses, she
found her cash and jewellery worth Rs. 12,000 missing. Around 20-25 other people in Tadmetla were
beaten up including children as young as 12 years old. Marvi Anda and Marvi Ayita of this village
were picked up by police and are still missing. They have not been produced even in police station.
We spoke to the affected villagers like the rape victim from Tarmetla village Marvi Joga. No case
has still been registered against anyone and not even a medical test has been done. Two people from
Tarmetla Muchaki Anda and Muchaki Ayita have gone missing and villagers claimed they have
been taken by the forces but are yet to be produced.
A rape victim of the Village and burnt housee
This one-sided ruthless attack by the state forces and Salwa Judum on innocent unarmed adivasis
were propagated in the media by the police as ‘ongoing encounter with the Maoists’. The rampage of
the salwa judum and state forces continued for almost five days. Two people were murdered cruelly,
while 3 women were raped. Almost three hundred homes were set on fire and completely gutted
down. They looted everything the adivasi people had including domestic animals like goats, cows,
chicken and pigs along with their money, jewelleries and other belongings. More than fifty people
have been grievously injured that includes children as young as 12 years old and women. This clearly
shows that the Salwa Judum is active and functioning like always. The state’s branding of them as
‘Koya Commandos’ is bogus. Despite the Supreme Court directive to disband Salwa Judum it is fully
functional and actively promoted and sponsored by the state.
These rampages were done with full consent and active support of the state. In the middle of these
unilateral atrocities, the state air-dropped rations and other food supply to the forces while taking
away the dead and the injured. On 24th March, the SDM had visited these villages with some relief
material. But even after he directly spoke to the villagers and saw the evidences of the atrocities, no
case has been registered against anybody. Even now instead of taking action against the perpetrators
of these atrocities, the state is still stopping civil rights activists and individuals to visit the area.
People in Morupally and Timmapuram are living in utter dire condition. People in these two villages
have received no relief from the state. They said that they have got some interim relief from the
Maoists. Many of them are staying under trees. After the fact finding team left, one local newspaper
reported of six starvation deaths in Morupally village which needs to be confirmed. We have been
inside these areas for two days, only to see that there was no ‘encounter’ with the Maoists as claimed
by the police, which is nothing but a myth propagated by the state to justify these atrocities.
4
The attack by the state forces and the Salwa Judum was heinous and the attack on the innocent
adivasis has been done persistently by the state and its mercenaries in the name of ‘Operation Green
Hunt’. These villages were particularly targeted as they have done alternative development works
like digging ponds, distributing lands among the landless, making irrigation facilities which the
state has failed to provide in all these decades. As we saw these areas are still the most underdeveloped
regions of the country and all that the state has done is to violate the rights of autonomy of the
adivasis, denied them of their basic means of livelihood and life and now they are perpetrating such
monstrous atrocities by Salwa Judum and paramilitary forces.
We condemn these outrageous acts of state violence and demand:
• Registering the cases of rape, murder, atrocities and kidnap against the CRPF and Salwa
Judum
• Exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of the crime.
• Immediate providing of medical facilities to the injured and medical tests of the rape victims
• Compensation of the people according to their specific losses
• Allowing more civil rights organisation and media persons to go inside the area.
• As per direction of the Supreme Court the salwa judum must be disbanded immediately and
functioning of the Salwa Judum in the name of ‘Koya Commandos’ must be stopped.
• Operation Green Hunt must be stopped immediately
Members of the fact finding team:
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC)
C.H. Chandrashekhar,
V. Chitti Babu
R. Rajanandam
V. Raghunath
G. Ravi
K. Viplav Kumar
K. Sireesha
Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL)
R. Murugesan
CDRO Convenor (Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR Delhi)
Ashish Gupta
Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Kolkata (APDR)
Prashanta Haldar
Dalit Bahujan Social Activist
U. Sambasivarao
Democratic Students Union, JNU
Banojyotsna Lahiri
Research scholar and activist, Wardha University
Chandrika,

Posted in CHHATISGARH, NAXALISM, Salwa Judum | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The many lives of Gudsa Usendi

Posted by ajadhind on March 13, 2011

Aman Sethi, The hindu

Phantom spokesman is emblematic of Chhattisgarh’s secretive yet media-savvy Maoists

‘Today I am Gudsa Usendi, tomorrow it could be someone else’

Maoists keenly aware of connection between surveillance and communication


— Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

A file photo of a Maoist training camp in the forest of Dantewada district

Raipur: In the autumn of 2007, a suave, middle-aged man with a military bearing walked into Naresh Bazaar cloth store near the Bilaspur bus stand and bought a thousand metres of olive green tericot fabric for Rs. 101 a metre. According to a shop assistant, the man looked like an ex-serviceman, spoke in English, introduced himself as Sunil Choudhury, a private security contractor with contracts to secure factories across Chhattisgarh, and said he needed uniforms for his guards.

Later that year, Choudhury appeared at Dayaram Sahu’s workshop in Raipur’s Purani Basti and asked the struggling tailor to stitch him trousers of waist sizes 28, 30 and 36 inches with corresponding shirts. “He said he employed more than 50 security guards and each watchman needed three sets of uniform,” said Sahu. “He asked for 35 uniforms, and promised another 100 sets if he liked my work.”

It appears that Choudhury liked Sahu’s work; when the Raipur police raided the workshop in early 2008, they claim to have found 634 metres of military green cloth, 200 trousers and 107 full-sleeved shirts.

Sunil Choudhury, the police said, was not a security contactor but was Katta Ramchandra Reddy alias Vijay alias Gudsa Usendi, a high ranking member and spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal (DKZ) Committee of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The uniforms were meant for Maoist guerrillas rather than private security guards.

According to police charge sheets and court documents, Gudsa Usendi is the shadowy figure who sent compact discs of Maoist propaganda to Raipur politicians in 2006 and was the source of a consignment of 91 country-made shotguns recovered from a busy intersection in Raipur in 2008. The police claim he was in frequent contact with jailed human rights activist and award-winning paediatrician Binayak Sen and independent filmmaker Ajay T.G., an association denied by both Dr. Sen and Ajay. Gudsa’s supposed wife, K.S. Malti, is currently in Raipur Central Jail; another alleged associate of his was arrested in Durg as recently as September last year. But who is Gudsa Usendi? “Gudsa Usendi is just a name,” said a smooth voice over the telephone in August last year, “Today I am Gudsa Usendi, tomorrow it could be someone else. Gudsa Usendi is the title taken over by the spokesperson for the DKZ.”

Maoist spokespersons have long had a fascination for aliases. Before he was slain in a police encounter last year, Maoist central committee spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar was known to the outside world as Azad (translated as Free), but within the party he went by several names including Madhu, Gangadhar, Uday and Dinesh. His successor goes by the name of Abhay (translated as Fearless); the spokesperson who handled the abduction of Malkangiri District Collector R.V. Krishna in February went by the name of ‘Prasad,’ but Dandakaranya’s Gudsa Usendi is different, because Gudsa Usendi was once a ‘real’ person.

“It was at about three in the morning in Potenar village in Abujmarh. It was June 25 2000, it was raining heavily. There were six comrades in a hut when they were surrounded by the police,” said a young Maoist fighter who called herself Rehmati. “Five comrades were killed, one of them was Gudsa Usendi. He was 17.”

When he joined the Maoists, Gudsa Usendi dropped his given name and took on the moniker of ‘Ramesh.’ He was of the Maria tribe from Chhattisgarh’s Abujmarh region, according to the Maoists. A year after his death, the Maoist spokesperson of Dandakaranya (broadly corresponding with South Chhattisgarh) took on his name to keep his memory alive and the practice has continued ever since.

The Maoists are wary of sharing organisational details with reporters, but anecdotal evidence suggests that Gudsa Usendi functions at the centre of a cloud of cell phones, laptops and individuals. A message from Gudsa Usendi could appear as a note under your door, a letter postmarked by a small town on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border, an email from an IP address that traces back to a neighbouring State, or a micro-SD card stuck to a sheet of paper.

In a recent meeting, a member of their communications team explained that every Maoist division (equivalent to a zilla in the panchayati sytem) has access to a laptop, memory cards, a portable inkjet printer and a cell phone. The netbook examined by this correspondent ran an open source Linux-based operating system with open source text, image and video editing software. Gudsa Usendi usually prepares a press note and hands it over to one of his assistants. Major press releases (like the announcement for Martyrs Week) are designed using crack versions of software like Adobe Pagemaker and converted into PDF format, before being sent to printing presses installed in secret locations.

“We prefer PDF format, because it removes the problem of fonts when issuing press releases in English and Hindi,” explained an assistant, referring to a document format created by Adobe. The files are emailed from the top of a tall tree on a mountaintop where a GPRS enabled phone can log onto a stray network

All the devices are charged by truck batteries connected to solar panels. “Batteries provide direct current (DC); laptops and phones need alternating current (AC),” explained the assistant patiently, “So we add a DCAC inverter to the circuit and use solar power to charge our devices.”

The Maoists are keenly aware of the connection between surveillance and communication. In the forests, only certain senior cadres are allowed to carry cell phones and use their devices sparingly. “We have to secure an area and post sentries before making a phone call,” said a Maoist commander who carries a Nokia phone. However, the poor density of cellular towers in Maoist territories makes it hard to pinpoint the location of a particular phone.

On a windy day in Konta in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district for instance, it is possible to pick up reception from a tower in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam district; by moving 50 km northwards from the same spot in Konta, a user can start ranging towers in Orissa’s Malkangiri district, moving further towards Chintrakonda in Malkangiri, the Andhra network comes back into range. Somewhere in that broad stretch of land, a man climbs up a tree, pulls out a cell phone from the folds of his clothes and makes a phone call. “Hello? I have a statement from Gudsa Usendi,” he says.

Posted in CHHATISGARH, IN NEWS, NAXALISM | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

My Journey of Chhattisgarh to release 5 policemen held by Maoists

Posted by ajadhind on February 22, 2011

by Swami Agnivesh, sanhati

February 17, 2011

For the first time, to my knowledge, the dreaded and hated Maoists have released five hostages. These hostages were from the Chhattisgarh armed forces. They had been held captive for nearly 18 days. They were released without any precondition on 11 January.

Two surprises awaited me when I went to receive these jawans, into the thick forests of Ambujh Marh in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district. One was the serenity of the jungle. Could this really be a place of war? The second surprise was the Maoist resolve to stick to their word. We had gotten delayed by two to three hours on account of not knowing the routes too well. But they had waited.

I was accompanied by Gautam Navlakha and Harish Dhawan of PUDR, Kavita Srivastava and V Suresh of PUCL and Manu Singh of Sarva Dharma Sansad. After having walked for nearly 10 kilometres to a village (I don’t want to name this village so that their inhabitants are not harassed) we were greeted by songs of welcome in their traditional Gondi, and by uniformed cadres with rifles slung over their shoulders. We were seated under a make-shift canopy. Around us sat nearly two thousand tribal men and women. A loudspeaker set up near us was run on battery, as there was no electricity.

Then the five jawans who were held hostage walked in. What followed was very moving. The relatives of hostages, who had accompanied us, hugged their close ones, each crying on the other’s shoulder. While setting out on this journey, we would never have believed that things would come to this pass – so peacefully.

The stillness of the jungle was broken finally – by shouts of Lal Salaam. We joined in. What struck me was that almost each member of the Maoist cadre – man and woman – seemed to be in their early twenties. They looked lean and thin, emaciated – and yet so determined. But what has left a lasting impression on me from this day is the hostages themselves. Not one had a scratch on them. Each one of them testified on the loudspeaker that the Maoists had treated them “like family members”.

Unfortunately, the national media has not taken an interest in highlighting this peaceful release. If a few of these jawans had been beheaded the media would have rejoiced in flashing sensational bloodcurdling images 24/7. Here, stringers from the national media had walked with us in good numbers. But with a few exceptions this story – which was well covered locally for Chhattisgarh – was not broadcast to national audiences.

Now it is the turn of the government of Chhattisgarh and the Government of India to reciprocate this unconditional release of the jawans. I made this demand when I addressed a joint press conference with the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister the very next day on 12 January.

This brings me to the darker side of what transpired at Ambujh Marh. The poor tribals gathered there told heart rending stories of torture and brutality they have to suffer day-in and day-out, at the hands of the state. Women complained about husbands, brothers and sons being thrown into prison – either on flimsy charges, or without any charge at all. More than 300 such poor tribals are today languishing in different jails of the region.

I have seen exploitation written large across the faces of these original inhabitants of the land during this brief visit. Traveling here gives you the feeling of a genocide that is going on secretly – through sixty three long years of independence. Sixty three years which have seen a willful and systematic abdication of the constitutional mandate for these people. Travel here and you will not ask questions like “Why have young men and women been forced to take up arms?” Not many of the people here understand what Maoism is – but they do believe that armed resistance is the only way to end the exploitation they are subjected to.

Another aspect of the darker side was the prevalence of several well equipped CRPF Camps at Chhattisgarh. These camps have been the faces of Operation Greenhunt so far – the state’s response to the Naxal problem. Now the state has a new face – the military training centre.

One of India’s biggest Military training centres is coming up at Chhattisgarh. Would it not be logical to suspect that this military training centre will be a cover for the launching of military operations on the lines of what has happened in the North East and in Kashmir, facilitated by the AFSPA?

On the one side the Chief Minister Raman Singh has gone on record saying the Salwa Judum and its new incarnation SPO have been huge blunders and highly counterproductive. How I wish this realization had dawned on the powers that be much before the Supreme Court had to take them to task (on the Salwa Judum). But it didn’t.

Is it not high time, even now, for the Ministry of Defence to consider the counterproductive nature of this military training centre – and the devastating collateral damage it could wreak?

So here we have the centre and the state playing on two different planks. The same Chief Minister who would earlier stridently demand strong action against the Maoists is now supporting the need for a sustained dialogue – as the only way to resolve things. If this is a genuine need, then why is it not being felt by the central government.

The government of India through the home minister’s letter dated 11 May, 2010, has suggested 5 steps that my lead to peace in the region. The most important step is the cessation of violence from the Maoist side for 72 hours, to be reciprocated by the paramilitary forces. This should be followed by a long term ceasefire and formal invitation to the Maoist leaders for dialogue. Dialogue, which should center around crucial points like the release of prisoners arrested under flimsy grounds – under the UAPA or Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act.

Going back to when the hostages had not been released, I had spoken to the Home Secretary G K Pillai and he had promised that there would be no paramilitary intervention till the release took place.

This 42 hours of suspension of operations – by both the government and the Maoists – proved crucial in paving the way for us civilians walking into dense forests and securing the hostages’ safety. This could be the model ahead – extended to 72 hours.

During my brief conversation with the Maoist leaders present there I had urged them to fix me a time and date for meeting their senior most leaders, such as Ganapathy – during such a 72 hour ceasefire period.

The success of this release operation was pegged on trust on the part of both sides – and both sides honored this trust.

If the same could be carried forward then not only the interim period of ceasefire, but even as long term cease fire can be the light around the corner.

I urge the Government of India, particularly the home minister and the prime minister, to seize this opportunity to renew their offer of peace talks.

A word of warning here. The first peace initiative taken up by me immediately after getting a letter from Mr P C Chidambaram, had gotten a very positive response when the CPI(Maoist) leader Azad had in a letter dated May 31 2010 expressed the Maoist keenness to join the peace process – and in fact demanded a longer term of ceasefire.

The prospects of this interim ceasefire – the three day ceasefire, starting on the 10th or 15th of July, 2010, receded completely, and the peace process got completely derailed due to the (alleged) brutal and cold blooded murder of Azad.

Now, in spite of assurances from the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi that a judicial enquiry will be conducted, nothing happened for six months – so the whole thing will be decided by the Supreme Court which has served notice on the Government of India, and the matter is coming up for hearing on 14 March.

But let there be a new beginning with confidence building measures from both sides. The first step has already been taken by the Maoists by the unconditional release of the hostages. It is the turn of the government to respond and build on this.

My services as a peace activist are available as always.

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Dr Binayak Sen’s Statement to the Court

Posted by ajadhind on December 31, 2010

ICAWPI

I am a trained medical doctor with a specialization in child health. I completed my MBBS from the Christian Medical College, Vellore in 1972, and completed studies leading to the award of the degree of MD (Paediatrics) of the Madras University, from the same institution in 1976. After this, I joined the faculty of the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and worked there for two years, before leaving to join a field based health programme at the Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia in Hoshangabad, MP. During the two years I worked there, I worked intensively in the diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis and understood many of the social and economic causes of disease. I was also strongly influenced by the work of Marjorie Sykes, the biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, who lived at the Rasulia centre at that time.

I came to Chhattisgarh in 1981 and worked upto 1987 at Dalli Rajhara (district Durg), where, along with the late Shri Shankar Guha Niyogi and the workers of the Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh, I helped to establish the Shaheed Hospital, that continues to practice low cost and rational medicine for the adivasis and working people of the surrounding areas upto the present. After leaving Dalli Rajhara, I worked to develop a health programme among the Adivasi population in and around village Bagrumnala, which today is in Dhamtari district.

This work depended on a large group of village based health workers who were trained and guided by me. When the new state of Chhattisgarh was formed, I was appointed a member of the advisory group on Health Care Sector reforms, and helped to develop the Mitanin programme, which in turn, became the role model for the ASHA of the National Rural Health Mission. A copy of the Order of the Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Govt. of Chhattisgarh regarding my nomination to the advisory group mentioned above is attached. (Annexure 1.)

My work in the area of community health, as well as my work on Human Rights which is detailed below, has been nationally and internationally recognized. I have been awarded the Paul Harrison Award by the CMC Vellore in 2004; the RR Keithan Gold medal by the Indian Academy of Social Sciences in 2007; and have received the Jonathan Mann award for Health and Human rights from the Global Health Council in 2008. I am attaching notarized copies of the citations of these awards with this statement, and am carrying the originals for the perusal of the court. (Annexures 2, 3, 4 and 5)

I have been a member of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) since 1981. The PUCL is an organization devoted to the preservation of constitutional civil liberties and human rights that was founded by the late Shri Jayprakash Narayan during the years of the Emergency. In Chhattisgarh, as well as in many other parts of the country, the PUCL led the campaign for the preservation of the freedom of speech, prevention of custodial violence, and for the public accountability of the police. I became General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of the PUCL in 2004, and am currently the President of the State unit, and Vice President of its National body.

In Chhattisgarh, the PUCL has been in the forefront of exposing the atrocities of the police. Atrocities by men in uniform against vulnerable sections continue to be a serious problem in the state, as the front page news item in the “Sunday Times” dated 12th September 2010, annexed hereto as Annexure 6 shows. In this situation PUCL’s efforts were always directed towards the establishment of good governance and constitutional values. PUCL findings and investigations were always made available in the public domain through press releases and its own publications. One such Press Release reporting investigation into police atrocities in Village Jiramtarai, Thana Koylibeda is annexed hereto as Annexure 7. The report of one such investigation pertaining to police atrocities in Katgaon (Kanker district) was published in the “Navbharat” and “Deshbandhu” newspapers which are annexed hereto as Annexure 8and 9 respectively. A PUCL publication on the State of Human Rights in Chhattisgarh is appended to this statement. (Annexure 10). In this connection PUCL regularly corresponded with the National and State Human Rights Commissions. Copies of some of the letters sent to the PUCL by the National Human Rights Commission (collectively) and the State Human Rights Commission are attached to this statement. (Annexure 11 and 12)

Apart from investigating and documenting many cases of Human Rights abuse involving the police, the PUCL has acted as a whistleblower in the matter of exposing the true nature of the Salwa Judum. The Salwa Judum, which began in the Dantewada district in 2005, has been represented by the state government as a spontaneous peoples’ movement against the Maoists active in the area. However, an investigation led by the PUCL and involving several other Human Rights organizations revealed that it was in reality a state sponsored and state funded as well as completely unaccountable vigilante force, to which arms were provided by the government. The activities of the Salwa Judum have led to the emptying of more than 600 villages, and the forced displacement of over 60,000 people. Concerns regarding the activities of the Salwa Judum have been expressed by several independent organizations including the National Human Rights Commission. International organizations like the UNICEF have also voiced serious concern and have invited me to dialogue with them about the restoration of normalcy in the region affected by Salwa Judum. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has also, on several occasions, expressed its grave concern over the activities of the Salwa Judum and the deployment of armed vigilantes for the promotion of state policy. This has been widely reported in the press. A Table with an indicative list of agencies that have made critical observations on the Salwa Judum is attached (Annexure 13). A copy of the report on the Salwa Judum by the Chhattisgarh PUCL and other organizations (Annexure 14), and copies of the investigation reports on the Salwa Judum brought out by the Independent Citizens Initiative and Asian Centre for Human Rights are being filed along with this statement (Annexure 15 and 16 respectively). An invitation from the UNICEF, Chhattisgarh Regional Office to participate in a dialogue to seek a resolution to the crisis in Dantewada as a fallout of the Salwa Judum is similarly attached to my statement (Annexure 17).Press reports in the Hitavada, dated 23.10.2010 pertaining to the Hon. Supreme Court’s critical observations are attached (Annexure no 29), as are Certified copies of Supreme Court orders that make critical observations on the Salwa Judum are also being attached (Annexure 18)

The PUCL has also, during 2006, organized two major conventions, opposing the proposal to enact the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, because it has been, and continues to be, our view that this Act contravenes the civil liberties assured to us in the constitution. I have expressed these views in the Press as well, and am attaching with this submission a copy of newspaper carrying a press report of such a convention (Annexure 19), as well as a copy of the newspaper “Chhattisgarh” dated 30th March 2006 in which my interview appears in this regard. (Annexure 20) A Civil Writ Petition (Writ Petition No 2163/2009) challenging the vires of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act has been filed by the PUCL in the Chhattisgarh High Court. Certified copies of the Court orders admitting this petition and issuing notice are being filed along with this statement (Annexure 21).

For all the reasons mentioned above, the Chhattisgarh police and the state government have harboured a grudge against me, and the then DGP of Chhattisgarh, Mr OP Rathore, has gone on record threatening to take action against the PUCL and its office bearers. Copies of a newspaper of 3rd January 2006 carrying a report to this effect are attached to my statement. (Annexure 22)

I have been concerned with the rights of prisoners in my capacity as a Human Rights worker and was approached by the family of Mr Narayan Sanyal to look after his health and well being after he was brought to Raipur jail in 2006. My first visit to him in jail was in the company of his family and lawyer. Subsequently, I obtained permission from the police authorities for visiting him in jail, and visited him several times, each time applying to do so in my capacity as a PUCL office bearer. After my visits, I informed his family members about his condition over the telephone. During the course of these visits, it was brought to my notice that the surgery on his hands that was necessary for medical purposes, was being delayed due to communication problems between the jail and the doctors in the Raipur Medical College. I played a role in facilitating his surgery and kept his family informed about the process. During this period there was considerable correspondence between the prisoner’s family, jail administration and medical authorities, of which copies were marked to me. I attach along with this statement copies of the letter written by Mr Radha Madhav Sanyal (brother of Narayan Sanyal) to the Jail Superintendent with a copy to me (Annexure 23); copies of my applications to visit Mr Narayan Sanyal in jail which were obtained through an application under the RTI (Annexure 24); copy of the written permission given to me by Shri BS Maravi, Senior Superintendent of Police, Raipur (Annexure 25) and copies of the correspondence from the Jail authorities to the medical doctors mentioned above with copies marked to me (Annexure 26).

It was with similar concern for the situation of prisoners that I acted upon the letter received in the post from one Madanlal Barkhade about prison conditions in the Raipur Central Jail. I released his letter to the press in Raipur and attach the newspaper in which the aforesaid letter was published. (Annexure 27)

The documents seized from my house during the house search on 19.5.2007 were those of concern to me in the ordinary and transparent conduct of my work. Human rights organizations from all over the country used to send me books, pamphlets and documents, and there were thousands of these lying in my residence, which I also used as my office. None of the seized documents had been secretly or clandestinely obtained. Document No. A 19 was sent to me by post by Shri Govindan Kutty, Editor, Peoples’ March. Document no A 20, purported to be written by Madanlal Barkhade was similarly received by me in the regular post. The document A 21 was sent to me by Dr Kalpana Kannabiran, one of the authors of the article, then Professor at the National Law School Hyderabad, by e-mail. Article A 22, photocopy of a hand written document, and Articles A 23 and A 36 were available for distribution at a seminar on the Salwa Judum organized by the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi in January, 2007, to which I was invited , and were picked up by me there. Article A 24 was received by me in the post. Newspaper clippings A 25 to A 35 are newspaper clippings that I had maintained in furtherance of my interest in the emerging situation in Chhattisgarh.

Several policemen in the search party were involved in the process of the search at my house. Having found a document, the person finding it would hand it over to Mr Rajput. Mr Rajput would first read it, and then hand it over to me for my signature. He would also sign it himself. After we had both put our signatures on the document, he would dictate to TI Jagrit what was to be written in the seizure memo. Mr Jagrit would then make the entry, following which Mr Rajput would then hand over the document to Mr Jagrit. In this manner, each document was seized, signed, and entered in the seizure memo. None of the documents were signed by the public witnesses in my presence. Nor were the documents sealed in my presence. At the end of the search process the documents were carried away in a paper bag in an unsealed condition. Document A37 was never received by me to sign. It was not in my office, and was not seized during the search. It was fabricated after the search by the police to implicate me falsely.

When the challan in my case was filed, my advocate, Mr Amit Banerjee was present in court and received the chargesheet on my behalf. A copy of the chargesheet is annexed hereto as Annexure 28. Upon going through the charegesheet, we noticed that in the copies of articles A 19 to A 24, the signatures of the panch witnesses were not present in the documents. Copies of articles A 25 to A 37 were not supplied to us at the time. Despite a court order, the contents of the computer were copied onto DVDs without the presence of my advocate, and only DVDs of selected material from the computer were supplied later during the course of the trial. Out of the DVDs supplied, three relate to investigation of police atrocities / fake encounters in Golapally, Jiramtarai and Katgaon. My images on these tapes are in conversation with the villagers who are affected by these atrocities.

I have never seen Deepak Chaubey (PW7) until the time he testified in the court. I did not introduce Narayan Sanyal to him and his story that Narayan Sanyal was arrested from his house is patently untrue as, in fact, Sanyal was arrested in Bhadrachalam.

I submit that my prosecution is malafide; in fact it is a persecution. I am being made an example of by the state government of Chhattisgarh as a warning to others not to expose the patent trampling of human rights taking place in the state. Documents have been fabricated by the police and false witnesses introduced in order to falsely implicate me.

Binayak Sen.

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Of luxury cars and lowly tractors

Posted by ajadhind on December 29, 2010

P. Sainath
Even as the media celebrate the Mercedes Benz deal in the Marathwada region as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the latest data show that 17,368 farmers killed themselves in the year of the “resurgence.”
When businessmen from Aurangabad in the backward Marathwada region bought 150 Mercedes Benz luxury cars worth Rs. 65 crore at one go in October, it grabbed media attention. The top public sector bank, State Bank of India, offered the buyers loans of over Rs. 40 crore. “This,” says Devidas Tulzapurkar, president of the Aurangabad district bank employees association, “at an interest rate of 7 per cent.” A top SBI official said the bank was “proud to be part of this deal,” and would “continue to scout for similar deals in the future.”
The value of the Mercedes deal equals the annual income of tens of thousands of rural Marathwada households. And countless farmers in Maharashtra struggle to get any loans from formal sources of credit. It took roughly a decade and tens of thousands of suicides before Indian farmers got loans at 7 per cent interest — many, in theory only. Prior to 2005, those who got any bank loans at all shelled out between 9 and 12 per cent. Several were forced to take non-agricultural loans at even higher rates of interest. Buy a Mercedes, pay 7 per cent interest. Buy a tractor, pay 12 per cent. The hallowed micro-finance institutions (MFIs) do worse. There, it’s smaller sums at interest rates of between 24 and 36 per cent or higher.
Starved of credit, peasants turned to moneylenders and other informal sources. Within 10 years from 1991, the number of Indian farm households in debt almost doubled from 26 per cent to 48.6 per cent. A crazy underestimate but an official number. Many policy-driven disasters hit farmers at the same time. Exploding input costs in the name of ‘market-based prices.’ Crashing prices for their commercial crops, often rigged by powerful traders and corporations. Slashing of investment in agriculture. A credit squeeze as banks moved away from farm loans to fuelling upper middle class lifestyles. Within the many factors driving over two lakh farmers to suicide in 13 years, indebtedness and the credit squeeze rank high. (And MFIs are now among the squeezers).
What remained of farm credit was hijacked. A devastating piece in The Hindu (Aug. 13) showed us how. Almost half the total “agricultural credit” in the State of Maharashtra in 2008 was disbursed not by rural banks but by urban and metro branches. Over 42 per cent of it in just Mumbai — stomping ground of large corporations rather than of small farmers.
Even as the media celebrate our greatest car deal ever as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the subject of many media stories, comes the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau. These show a sharp increase in farm suicides in 2009 with at least 17,368 farmers killing themselves in the year of “rural resurgence.” That’s over 7 per cent higher than in 2008 and the worst numbers since 2004. This brings the total farm suicides since 1997 to 216,500. While all suicides have multiple causes, their strong concentration within regions and among cash crop farmers is an alarming and dismal trend.
The NCRB, a wing of the Union Home Ministry, has been tracking farm suicide data since 1995. However, researchers mostly use their data from 1997 onwards. This is because the 1995 and 1996 data are incomplete. The system was new in 1995 and some big States such as Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan sent in no numbers at all that year. (In 2009, the two together saw over 1,900 farm suicides). By 1997, all States were reporting and the data are more complete.
The NCRB data end at 2009 for now. But we can assume that 2010 has seen at least 16,000 farmers’ suicides. (After all, the yearly average for the last six years is 17,104). Add this 16,000 to the total 2,16,500. Also add the incomplete 1995 and 1996 numbers — that is 24,449 suicides. This brings the 1995-2010 total to 2,56,949. Reflect on this figure a moment.
It means over a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995. It means the largest wave of recorded suicides in human history has occurred in this country in the past 16 years. It means one-and-a-half million human beings, family members of those killing themselves, have been tormented by the tragedy. While millions more face the very problems that drove so many to suicide. It means farmers in thousands of villages have seen their neighbours take this incredibly sad way out. A way out that more and more will consider as despair grows and policies don’t change. It means the heartlessness of the Indian elite is impossible to imagine, leave alone measure.
Note that these numbers are gross underestimates to begin with. Several large groups of farmers are mostly excluded from local counts. Women, for instance. Social and other prejudice means that, most times, a woman farmer killing herself is counted as suicide — not as a farmer’s suicide. Because the land is rarely in a woman’s name.
Then there is the plain fraud that some governments resort to. Maharashtra being the classic example. The government here has lied so many times that it contradicts itself thrice within a week. In May this year, for instance, three ‘official’ estimates of farm suicides in the worst-hit Vidarbha region varied by 5,500 per cent. The lowest count being just six in four months (See “How to be an eligible suicide,” The Hindu, May 13, 2010).
The NCRB figure for Maharashtra as a whole in 2009 is 2,872 farmers’ suicides. So it remains the worst State for farm suicides for the tenth year running. The ‘decline’ of 930 that this figure represents would be joyous if true. But no State has worked harder to falsify reality. For 13 years, the State has seen a nearly unrelenting rise. Suddenly, there’s a drop of 436 and 930 in 2008 and 2009. How? For almost four years now, committees have functioned in Vidarbha’s crisis districts to dismiss most suicides as ‘non-genuine.’ What is truly frightening is the Maharashtra government’s notion that fixing the numbers fixes the problem.
Yet that problem is mounting. Perhaps the State most comparable to Maharashtra in terms of population is West Bengal. Though its population is less by a few million, it has more farmers. Both States have data for 15 years since 1995. Their farm suicide annual averages in three-five year periods starting then are revealing. Maharashtra’s annual average goes up in each period. From 1,963 in the five years ending with 1999 to 3,647 by 2004. And scaling 3,858 by 2009. West Bengal’s yearly average registers a gradual drop in each five-year period. From 1,454 in 1999 to 1,200 in 2004 to 1,014 by 2009. While it has more farmers, its farm suicide average for the past five years is less than a third of Maharashtra’s. The latter’s yearly average has almost doubled since 1999.
The share of the Big 5 ‘suicide belt’ States — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — remains close to two-thirds of all farm suicides. Sadly 18 of 28 States reported higher farm suicide numbers in 2009. In some the rise was negligible. In others, not. Tamil Nadu showed the biggest increase of all States, going from 512 in 2008 to 1060 in 2009. Karnataka clocked in second with a rise of 545. And Andhra Pradesh saw the third biggest rise — 309 more than in 2008. A few though did see a decline of some consequence in their farm suicide annual average figures for the last six years. Three — Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal — saw their yearly average fall by over 350 in 2004-09 compared to the earlier seven years.
Things will get worse if existing policies on agriculture don’t change. Even States that have managed some decline across 13 years will be battered. Kerala, for instance, saw an annual average of 1,371 farm suicides between 1997 and 2003. From 2004-09, its annual average was 1016 — a drop of 355. Yet Kerala will suffer greatly in the near future. Its economy is the most globalised of any State. Most crops are cash crops. Any volatility in the global prices of coffee, pepper, tea, vanilla, cardamom or rubber will affect the State. Those prices are also hugely controlled at the global level by a few corporations.
Already bludgeoned by the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Kerala now has to contend with the one we’ve gotten into with ASEAN. And an FTA with the European Union is also in the offing. Kerala will pay the price. Even prior to 2004, the dumping of the so-called “Sri Lankan pepper” (mostly pepper from other countries brought in through Sri Lanka) ravaged the State. Now, we’ve created institutional frameworks for such dumping. Economist Professor K. Nagaraj, author of the biggest study of farm suicides in India, says: “The latest data show us that the agrarian crisis has not relented, not gone away.” The policies driving it have also not gone away.

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, CHHATISGARH, IN NEWS, KARNATAKA, MADHYAPRADESH, MAHARASHTRA | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

17,368 farm suicides in 2009

Posted by ajadhind on December 29, 2010

source – hindu

MUMBAI: At least 17,368 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009, the worst figure for farm suicides in six years, according to data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This is an increase of 1,172 over the 2008 count of 16,196. It brings the total farm suicides since 1997 to 2,16,500. The share of the Big 5 States, or ‘suicide belt’ — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — in 2009 remained very high at 10,765, or around 62 per cent of the total, though falling nearly five percentage points from 2008. Maharashtra remained the worst State for farm suicides for the tenth successive year, reporting 2,872. Though that is a fall of 930, it is still 590 more than in Karnataka, second worst, which logged 2,282 farm suicides.
Economist K. Nagaraj, author of the biggest study on Indian farm suicides, says, “That these numbers are rising even as the farmer population shrinks, confirms the agrarian crisis is still burning.”
Maharashtra has logged 44,276 farm suicides since 1997, over a fifth of the total 2,16,500. Within the Big 5, Karnataka saw the highest increase of 545 in 2009. Andhra Pradesh recorded 2,414 farm suicides — 309 more than in 2008. Madhya Pradesh (1,395) and Chhattisgarh (1,802) saw smaller increases of 16 and 29. Outside the Big 5, Tamil Nadu doubled its tally with 1,060, against 512 in 2008. In all, 18 of 28 States reported higher farm suicide numbers in 2009. Some, like Jammu and Kashmir or Uttarakhand, saw a negligible rise. Rajasthan, Kerala and Jharkhand saw increases of 55, 76 and 93. Assam and West Bengal saw higher rises of 144 and 295. NCRB farm data now exist for 13 years. In the first seven, 1997-2003, there were 1,13,872 farm suicides, an average of 16,267 a year. In the next six years 1,02,628 farmers took their lives at an average of 17,105 a year. This means, on average, around 47 farmers — or almost one every 30 minutes — killed themselves each day between 2004 and 2009.
Lower their average
Among the major States, only a few including Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal avoided the sharp rise these six years and lowered their average by over 350 compared to the 1997-2003 period. In the same period, the annual average of farm suicides in the Big 5 States as a whole was more than 1,650 higher than it was in 1997-2003.

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Narayan Sanyal arrest, charges a weak link in Binayak Sen case

Posted by ajadhind on December 29, 2010

source – hindu

Raipur: Narayan Sanyal is a 74-year-old man with white hair parted to one side and fibromatosis in both hands. His arrest memo notes that he wears dentures, has spots on his body and smokes cigarettes. “My health is not going well, arthritis is a new thing catching up, age is telling,” he writes in a letter addressed to a ‘Dear friend V’. This letter and two others became crucial evidence in the conviction last week of Mr. Sanyal, Kolkata businessman Pijush Guha and eminent doctor and human rights activist Binayak Sen.
Behind their conviction lies a curious paradox to which Chhattisgarh Police have never given a satisfactory answer: Why was Mr. Sanyal — whose Maoist connections led to charges against the co-accused in the first place — himself never charged with sedition or conspiracy to wage war or even with belonging to or supporting an unlawful organisation until well after Dr. Sen’s arrest under those serious offences?
On December 24, Justice B. P. Verma of Raipur’s Additional District and Sessions Court held that Mr. Sanyal was the key figure in a criminal conspiracy to commit sedition along with Mr. Guha and Dr. Sen and sentenced all three to life imprisonment. Mr. Sanyal was sentenced to an additional 10 years for belonging to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The Judge held that Mr. Sanyal wrote three letters (including the one mentioned above) and passed them on to Dr. Sen, who gave them to Mr. Guha. Apart from ruminations on Mr. Sanyal’s health, the letters castigate an unnamed associate for failing to maintain regular contact, congratulate others for completing the ninth congress and urge the reader to concentrate on propaganda as “propaganda is overwhelming people. They are able to influence conceptions and thinking, knowing that they are corrupt and anti-people”.
Mr. Sanyal is frequently described as a “Maoist ideologue” in newspapers and is believed to have joined Charu Mazumdar’s CPI (Marxist-Leninist) in the late 1960s. However, the police have struggled to pin him down on any specific charges until this most recent case.
It is known that Dr. Sen visited Mr. Sanyal 33 times in the Raipur Central Jail in his capacity as a doctor and Chhattisgarh Secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties. But why was Mr. Sanyal imprisoned at all?
On December 27, The Hindu reported on the mysterious circumstances around Mr. Guha’s arrest. Now witness testimonies in the Binayak Sen case also suggest that the Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh police colluded to arrest and illegally detain Mr. Sanyal.
In the Binayak Sen case, the prosecution sought to establish an acquaintance between Dr. Sen and Mr. Sanyal prior to the latter’s arrest. Prosecution witness Deepak Choubey testified that he rented out his father-in-law’s house in 2005 at Daulat Estate, Dangiya, in Raipur to Mr. Sanyal at the behest of Dr. Sen for Rs.1,500 a month. But then he also went on to say something which was at odds with the official narrative. “In January 2006, I went to collect the rent when my neighbour told me that my house was raided by the Andhra Pradesh Police who arrested Mr. Sanyal,” said Mr. Choubey.
On January 2, 2006, Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar carried a story dated Jan. 1 under the headline “Prominent Naxali leader held in Dangiya?” The story did not offer any sources but claimed that a joint police team from A.P. and Chhattisgarh raided a house in Daulat Estate, Dangiya, and arrested Comrade Prasad alias Vijay, a politburo member of the banned CPI (Maoist), who had come to Raipur for medical treatment. The report stated that the A.P. Police team had arrived in Raipur on December 28, 2005.
The same day, Mr. Sanyal’s brother Radhamadhab Mohan filed a habeas corpus petition in the Bilaspur High Court alleging that his brother had been arrested by the A.P. Police on December 28, 2005, when he came to Raipur to seek medical treatment. In Delhi, the People’s Union for Democratic Rights issued a press release about the arrest and The Hindu carried a news item to this effect on December 30, 2005.
In their submission dated January 6, 2006, the Chhattisgarh Police denied any knowledge of Mr. Sanyal’s whereabouts and denied that he had been arrested in Raipur. In a fax message dated January 5, 2006, the A.P. Police claimed that Mr. Sanyal alias N. Prasad alias Vijay had been arrested on January 3 that year at the Bhadrachalam bus stand in A.P.’s Khamam district, found to be in possession of a 9-mm pistol and six live cartridges, and arrested under the Arms Act.
The police did not produce a charge sheet and so, after 90 days of custody, Mr. Sanyal was released on statutory bail on April 4, 2006, from Bhadrachalam, only to be arrested 70 km away at Konta in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on April 7, 2006, and charged with the murder of one Hungaram Markam in 2005. Soon after, Mr. Sanyal was shifted to Raipur, where he has been since.
“Every witness has turned hostile in the Konta case,” said Mr. Hashim Khan, Mr. Sanyal’s lawyer. “The only person left to be examined is Investigating Officer Vijay Thakur, who has refused to appear in court for three years and so the case drags on.” In 2008, Dr. Sen’s lawyers filed a bail petition in the Supreme Court in which they pointed out that while Dr. Sen had been accused of aiding the banned CPI (Maoist), Mr. Sanyal had been arrested for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and was not even charged with any Maoist-related crimes under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005, or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.
Soon after the bail application was filed, additional charges were slapped on to Mr. Sanyal’s case. “The police know that they can’t keep Sanyal in jail using the Konta case,” said Mr. Khan, “so they have manufactured the Binayak Sen case to ensure that he remains behind bars.”

Posted in CHHATISGARH, IN NEWS | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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