peoples march

from the people against injustice in the society

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58% in A.P say Naxalism is good.

Posted by ajadhind on September 28, 2010

Naxal land

A clear 58% majority of those polled in Maoist-dominant areas of AP, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa said Naxalism had actually been good for their area.
source – TOI
India’s biggest internal security threat, as the Prime Minister famously described it, may be worse than you thought. That’s because even in Andhra Pradesh, where the battle against the Maoists has apparently been won, it turns out that the government is losing the battle for the minds and hearts of the people.

It’s a debate that’s been raging within the Congress, and outside it. Should the government adopt a largely law-and-order attitude towards the Maoists and deal with them like criminals or should the focus be more on cutting the ground from under their feet through a development agenda that wins over the population of the affected areas?

An exclusive survey of the once Maoist-dominated districts of the Telengana region by IMRB, well-known market research organisation, for The Times of India has found that while attitudes towards the rebels are ambivalent, the condemnation of the government and its means of tackling the problem is quite clear.

The findings raise disturbing questions about whether focusing largely on the policing aspects of the problem may be a flawed strategy in the long run. They also throw up another poser: Has the battle in AP truly been won or can the Maoists stage a comeback in a few years?

Tied to this is the question of how the Maoists are viewed by the populace of these parts. Are they perceived essentially as a bloodthirsty, extortionist bunch or as rebels standing up for people’s rights?

TOI decided to do an opinion poll of the affected areas to find out. The problem, however, was that this was a region where pollsters found very difficult to enter. We finally decided to conduct the survey in those areas of Andhra Pradesh which were till not too long ago strongholds of the Naxalites but where their activities have been checked. The survey was conducted, therefore, in five districts of the Telengana region Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam. These districts were chosen not only because they were till recently severely Naxal-affected, but also because of their proximity to current hotbeds in Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.

To tap into the mood of the aam admi in these areas, the survey was restricted to the not so well off socio-economic categories, SEC B and SEC C and to men and women between the ages of 25 and 50. What we found has come as an eye-opener for us and should be worrying for everybody. The state may have won the battle of the guns, but the Maoists are clearly ahead in the perception game. This is particularly true in the districts of Warangal and Nizamabad as the accompanying charts show only too clearly.

The root cause of the disaffection is the overwhelming feeling of neglect of the areas by the government. About two-thirds expressed this view and in Warangal the figure was as high as 81%. That, you might say, is hardly alarming. Similar figures would probably be thrown up anywhere in India. True. But when two-thirds also say that the Maoists are right in choosing the methods they have to highlight the neglect, it is difficult to dismiss it as normal.

Perhaps the most revealing answers are in response to questions on whether the Maoists — still better known as Naxalites in this belt — were good or bad for the region and whether their defeat by the AP police has made matters better or worse.

Almost 60% said the Naxalites were good for the area and only 34% felt life had improved since they were beaten back. As for whether exploitation has increased after the Naxalite influence waned, 48% said it had against 38% who said it hadn’t, the rest offering no opinion.

Those answers are buttressed by the responses to three other questions. The first of these was on whether the characterization of the Naxals as extortionists and mafia was accurate. Two-thirds disagreed. An elaboration of this came in response to a slightly more open-ended question. Over half said the Naxalites worked for the good of the area, another one-third said they had the right intentions but the wrong means. Only 15% were willing to describe them as just goondas.

Equally importantly, 50% of the respondents felt the Naxalites had forced the government to focus on development work in the affected areas. What these responses show is just how negative the perception of the government is in these parts.

That the people here are not entirely comfortable with Naxalite methods is also quite clear. Even a question on what explained their strength in these parts showed that very few attributed it to popularity alone, a majority saying either that it was due to fear or that it was a combination of approval and fear. That despite this ambivalence there is a sympathetic view of the Naxals only betrays the people’s desperate search for any means to shake shaking up the state.

Given these findings it is hardly surprising that killings by Maoists are looked upon more leniently than those by the government and that the state’s claims about encounters are viewed with extreme suspicion.

The government may say, and with some justification, that the Maoists represent the biggest threat to India’s internal security, but what this poll shows is that the aam admi in these parts views government apathy as the biggest threat to his wellbeing.

The towns in which the poll was conducted were Kamareddy in Nizamabad district, Gudi Hathnoor in Adilabad, Sirsilla in Karimnagar, Mahbubabad in Warangal and Palwancha in Khammam. A total of 521 people were polled in these five towns, a statistically robust sample size

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, NAXALISM | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Proud of being anti-national

Posted by ajadhind on July 28, 2010

Shobhan Saxena,  toi

Since very few people in this country have a sense of humour, we often fail to differentiate between a joke and a serious statement. And since TV channels are desperate 24×7 to play up anything sensational as breaking news, even a serious and sensitive remark is turned into a huge controversy within minutes. This is what happened with Mani Shankar Aiyar’s statement on the Commonwealth Games.  Speaking in Hindi, Aiyar said, “I am delighted in a way because rains are causing difficulties for the Commonwealth Games. Basically, I will be very unhappy, if the Games are successful because then they will start bringing Asian Games, Olympic Games and all these and we will spend thousands of crore on these stupid things.” Aiyar was laughing when he made this statement outside Parliament House. Obviously he was cracking a joke. But, television channels turned him into a doomsday prophet in a matter of minutes. And then Suresh Kalmadi, the Bid Daddy of the Games, jumped into the row, calling Aiyar “irresponsible” and “anti-national.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skewed growth to blame for rise of Naxals: SC

Posted by ajadhind on July 21, 2010

source – toi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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