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Archive for September, 2007

Scandal In The Palace

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007

By Arundhati Roy

25 September, 2007
Outlook India

Scandals can be fun. Especially those that knock preachers from their pulpits and flick halos off saintly heads. But some scandals can be corrosive and more damaging for the scandalised than the scandalee. Right now we’re in the midst of one such.

At its epicentre is Y.K. Sabharwal, former Chief Justice of India, who until recently headed the most powerful institution in this country—the Supreme Court. When there’s a scandal about a former chief justice and his tenure in office, it’s a little difficult to surgically excise the man and spare the institution.

But then commenting adversely on the institution can lead you straight to a prison cell as some of us have learned to our cost. It’s like having to take the wolf and the chicken and the sack of grain across the river, one by one. The river’s high and the boat’s leaking. Wish me luck.

The higher judiciary, the Supreme Court in particular, doesn’t just uphold the law, it micromanages our lives. Its judgements range through matters great and small. It decides what’s good for the environment and what isn’t, whether dams should be built, rivers linked, mountains moved, forests felled. It decides what our cities should look like and who has the right to live in them. It decides whether slums should be cleared, streets widened, shops sealed, whether strikes should be allowed, industries should be shut down, relocated or privatised. It decides what goes into school textbooks, what sort of fuel should be used in public transport and schedules of fines for traffic offences.

It decides what colour the lights on judges’ cars should be (red) and whether they should blink or not (they should). It has become the premier arbiter of public policy in this country that likes to market itself as the World’s Largest Democracy.

Ironically, judicial activism first rode in on a tide of popular discontent with politicians and their venal ways. Around 1980, the courts opened their doors to ordinary citizens and people’s movements seeking justice for underprivileged and marginalised people. This was the beginning of the era of Public Interest Litigation, a brief window of hope and real expectation. While Public Interest Litigation gave people access to courts, it also did the opposite. It gave courts access to people and to issues that had been outside the judiciary’s sphere of influence so far. So it could be argued that it was Public Interest Litigation that made the courts as powerful as they are. Over the last 15 years or so, through a series of significant judgements, the judiciary has dramatically enhanced the scope of its own authority.

Today, as neo-liberalism sinks its teeth deeper into our lives and imagination, as millions of people are being pauperised and dispossessed in order to keep India’s Tryst with Destiny (the unHindu 10% rate of growth), the State has to resort to elaborate methods to contain growing unrest. One of its techniques is to invoke what the middle and upper classes fondly call the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law is a precept that is distinct and can often be far removed from the principle of justice. The Rule of Law is a phrase that derives its meaning from the context in which it operates. It depends on what the laws are and who they’re designed to protect. For instance, from the early ’90s, we have seen the systematic dismantling of laws that protect workers’ rights and the fundamental rights of ordinary people (the right to shelter/health/education/water).

International financial institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the ADB demand these not just as a precondition, but as a condition, set down in black and white, before they agree to sanction loans. (The polite term for it is structural adjustment. ) What does the Rule of Law mean in a situation like this? Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, puts it beautifully: “The Rule of Law does not do away with unequal distribution of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such indirect and complicated ways as to leave the victim bewildered.”

As it becomes more and more complicated for elected governments to be seen to be making unpopular decisions (decisions, for example, that displace millions of people from their villages, from their cities, from their jobs), it has increasingly fallen to the courts to make these decisions, to uphold the Rule of Law.

The expansion of judicial powers has not been accompanied by an increase in its accountability. Far from it. The judiciary has managed to foil every attempt to put in place any system of checks and balances that other institutions in democracies are usually bound by.

It has opposed the suggestion by the Committee for Judicial Accountability that an independent disciplinary body be created to look into matters of judicial misconduct. It has decreed that an FIR cannot be registered against a sitting judge without the consent of the chief justice (which has never ever been given). It has so far successfully insulated itself against the Right to Information Act. The most effective weapon in its arsenal is, of course, the Contempt of Court Act which makes it a criminal offence to do or say anything that “scandalises” or “lowers the authority” of the court. Though the act is framed in arcane language more suited to medieval ideas of feminine modesty, it actually arms the judiciary with formidable, arbitrary powers to silence its critics and to imprison anyone who asks uncomfortable questions.

Small wonder then that the media pulls up short when it comes to reporting issues of judicial corruption and uncovering the scandals that must rock through our courtrooms on a daily basis. There are not many journalists who are willing to risk a long criminal trial and a prison sentence.

Until recently, under the Law of Contempt, even truth was not considered a valid defence. So suppose, for instance, we had prima facie evidence that a judge has assaulted or raped someone, or accepted a bribe in return for a favourable judgement, it would be a criminal offence to make the evidence public because that would “scandalise or tend to scandalise” or “lower or tend to lower” the authority of the court.

Yes, things have changed, but only a little. Last year, Parliament amended the Contempt of Court Act so that truth becomes a valid defence in a contempt of court charge. But in most cases (such as in the case of the Sabharwal…er… shall we say “affair”) in order to prove something it would have to be investigated. But obviously when you ask for an investigation you have to state your case, and when you state your case you will be imputing dishonourable motives to a judge for which you can be convicted for contempt. So: Nothing can be proved unless it is investigated and nothing can be investigated unless it has been proved.

The only practical option that’s on offer is for us to think Pure Thoughts.

For example:

a. Judges in India are divine beings.

b. Decency, wholesomeness, morality, transparency and integrity are encrypted in their DNA.

c. This is proved by the fact that no judge in the history of our Republic has ever been impeached or disciplined in any way.

d. Jai Judiciary, Jai Hind.

It all becomes a bit puzzling when ex-chief justices like Justice S.P. Bharucha go about making public statements about widespread corruption in the judiciary. Perhaps we should wear ear plugs on these occasions or chant a mantra.

It may hurt our pride and curb our free spirits to admit it, but the fact is that we live in a sort of judicial dictatorship. And now there’s a scandal in the Palace.

Last year (2006) was a hard year for people in Delhi. The Supreme Court passed a series of orders that changed the face of the city, a city that has over the years expanded organically, extra-legally, haphazardly. A division bench headed by Y.K. Sabharwal, chief justice at the time, ordered the sealing of thousands of shops, houses and commercial complexes that housed what the court called ‘illegal’ businesses that had been functioning, in some cases for decades, out of residential areas in violation of the old master plan.

It’s true that, according to the designated land-use in the old master plan, these businesses were non-conforming. But the municipal authorities in charge of implementing the plan had developed only about a quarter of the commercial areas they were supposed to. So they looked away while people made their own arrangements (and put their lives’ savings into them.) Then suddenly Delhi became the capital city of the new emerging Superpower. It had to be dressed up to look the part. The easiest way was to invoke the Rule of Law.

The sealing affected the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people. The city burned. There were protests, there was rioting. The Rapid Action Force was called in. Dismayed by the seething rage and despair of the people, the Delhi government beseeched the court to reconsider its decision. It submitted a new 2021 Master Plan which allowed mixed land-use and commercial activity in several areas that had until now been designated ‘residential’. Justice Sabharwal remained unmoved. The bench he headed ordered the sealing to continue.

Around the same time, another bench of the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of Nangla Macchi and other jhuggi colonies, which left hundreds of thousands homeless, living on top of the debris of their broken homes, in the scorching summer sun. Yet another bench ordered the removal of all “unlicensed” vendors from the city’s streets. Even as Delhi was being purged of its poor, a new kind of city was springing up around us. A glittering city of air-conditioned corporate malls and multiplexes where MNCs showcased their newest products. The better-off amongst those whose shops and offices had been sealed queued up for space in these malls. Prices shot up. The mall business boomed, it was the newest game in town. Some of these malls, mini-cities in themselves, were also illegal constructions and did not have the requisite permissions.

But here the Supreme Court viewed their misdemeanours through a different lens. The Rule of Law winked and went off for a tea break. In its judgement on the writ petition against the Vasant Kunj Mall dated October 17, 2006 (in which it allowed the construction of the mall to go right ahead), Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia said:

“Had such parties inkling of an idea that such clearances were not obtained by DDA, they would not have invested such huge sums of money.

The stand that wherever constructions have been made unauthorisedly demolition is the only option cannot apply to the present cases, more particularly, when they unlike, where some private individuals or private limited companies or firms being allotted to have made contraventions, are corporate bodies and institutions and the question of their having indulged in any malpractices in getting the approval or sanction does not arise.”
It’s a bit complicated, I know.

This was exactly when his sons went into partnership with two mall developers. Sealing helped malls; Sons & Co raked in the bucks.

A friend and I sat down and translated it into ordinary English. Basically,

a. Even though in this present case the construction may be unauthorised and may not have the proper clearances, huge amounts of money have been invested and demolition is not the only option.

b. Unlike private individuals or private limited companies who have been allotted land and may have flouted the law, these allottees are corporate bodies and institutions and there is no question of their having indulged in any malpractice in order to get sanctions or approval.

The question of corporate bodies having indulged in malpractice in getting approval or sanction does not arise. So says the Indian Supreme Court. What should we say to those shrill hysterical people protesting out there on the streets, accusing the court of being an outpost of the New Corporate Empire? Shall we shout them down? Shall we say ‘Enron zindabad’? ‘Bechtel, Halliburton zindabad’? ‘Tata, Birla, Mittals, Reliance, Vedanta, Alcan zindabad’? ‘Coca-Cola aage badho, hum tumhaare saath hain’?

This then was the ideological climate in the Supreme Court at the time the Sabharwal “affair” took place.

It’s important to make it clear that Justice Sabharwal’s orders were not substantially different or ideologically at loggerheads with the orders of other judges who have not been touched by scandal and whose personal integrity is not in question. But the ideological bias of a judge is quite a different matter from the personal motivations and conflict of interest that could have informed Justice Sabharwal’s orders. That is the substance of this story.

In his final statement to the media before he retired in January 2007, Justice Sabharwal said that the decision to implement the sealing in Delhi was the most difficult decision he had made during his tenure as chief justice. Perhaps it was. Tough Love can’t be easy.

In May 2007, the Delhi edition of the evening paper Mid Day published detailed investigative stories (and a cartoon) alleging serious judicial misconduct on the part of Justice Sabharwal. The articles are available on the internet. The charges Mid Day made have subsequently been corroborated by the Committee for Judicial Accountability, an organisation that counts senior lawyers, retired judges, professors, journalists and activists as its patrons. The charges in brief are:

1 That Y.K. Sabharwal’s sons Chetan and Nitin had three companies: Pawan Impex, Sabs Exports and Sug Exports whose registered offices were initially at their family home in 3/81, Punjabi Bagh, and were then shifted to their father’s official residence at 6, Motilal Nehru Marg.

2. That while he was a judge in the Supreme Court but before he became chief justice, he called for and dealt with the sealing of commercial properties case in Delhi. (This was impropriety. Only the chief justice is empowered to call for cases that are pending before a different bench.) .

3. That at exactly this time, Justice Sabharwal’s sons went into partnership with two major mall and commercial complex developers, Purshottam Bagheria (of the fashionable Square 1 Mall fame) and Kabul Chawla of Business Park Town Planners (BPTP) Ltd. That as a result of Justice Sabharwal’s sealing orders, people were forced to move their shops and businesses to malls and commercial complexes, which pushed up prices, thereby benefiting Justice Sabharwal’s sons and their partners financially and materially.

4. That the Union Bank gave a Rs 28 crore loan to Pawan Impex on collateral security which turned out to be non-existent. (Justice Sabharwal says his sons’ companies had credit facilities of up to Rs 75 crore.)

5. That because of obvious conflict of interest, he should have recused himself from hearing the sealing case (instead of doing the opposite—calling the case to himself.)

6. That a number of industrial and commercial plots of land in NOIDA were allotted to his sons’ companies at throwaway prices by the Mulayam Singh/ Amar Singh government while Justice Sabharwal was the sitting judge on the case of the Amar Singh phone tapes (in which he issued an order restricting their publication.)

7. That his sons bought a house in Maharani Bagh for Rs 15.46 crore. The source of this money is unexplained. In the deeds they have put down their father’s name as Yogesh Kumar (uncharacteristic coyness for boys who don’t mind running their businesses out of their judge father’s official residence.)

All these charges are backed by what looks like watertight, unimpeachable documentation. Registration deeds, documents from the Union ministry of company affairs, certificates of incorporation of the various companies, published lists of shareholders, notices declaring increased share capital in Nitin and Chetan’s companies, notices from the Income Tax department and a CD of recorded phone conversations between the investigating journalist and the judge himself.

These documents seem to indicate that while Delhi burned, while thousands of shops and businesses were sealed and their owners and employees deprived of their livelihood, Justice Sabharwal’s sons and their partners were raking in the bucks. They read like an instruction manual for how the New India works.

When the story became public, another retired chief justice, J.S. Verma, appeared on India Tonight, Karan Thapar’s interview show on CNBC.

He brought all the prudence and caution of a former judge to bear on what he said: “…if it is true, this is the height of impropriety…every one who holds any public office is ultimately accountable in democracy to the people, therefore, the people have right to know how they are functioning, and higher is the office that you hold, greater is the accountability….” Justice Verma went on to say that if the facts were correct, it would constitute a clear case of conflict of interest and that Justice Sabharwal’s orders on the sealing case must be set aside and the case heard all over again.

This is the heart of the matter. This is what makes this scandal such a corrosive one. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been devastated. If it is true that the judgement that caused this stands vitiated, then amends must be made.

But are the facts correct?

Scandals about powerful and well-known people can be, and often are, malicious, motivated and untrue. God knows that judges make mortal enemies—after all, in each case they adjudicate there is a winner and a loser. There’s little doubt that Justice Y.K. Sabharwal would have made his fair share of enemies. If I were him, and if I really had nothing to hide, I would actually welcome an investigation. In fact, I would beg the chief justice to set up a commission of inquiry. I would make it a point to go after those who had fabricated evidence against me and made all these outrageous allegations.

What I certainly wouldn’t do is to make things worse by writing an ineffective, sappy defence of myself which doesn’t address the allegations and doesn’t convince anyone (Times of India, September 2, 2007).

Equally, if I were the sitting chief justice or anybody else who claims to be genuinely interested in ‘upholding the dignity’ of the court (fortunately this is not my line of work), I would know that to shovel the dirt under the carpet at this late stage, or to try and silence or intimidate the whistle-blowers, is counter-productive. It wouldn’t take me very long to work out that if I didn’t order an inquiry and order it quickly, what started out as a scandal about a particular individual could quickly burgeon into a scandal about the entire judiciary.

But, of course, not everybody sees it that way.

Days after Mid Day went public with its allegations, the Delhi high court issued suo motu notice charging the editor, the resident editor, the publisher and the cartoonist of Mid Day with Contempt of Court. Three months later, on September 11, 2007, it passed an order holding them guilty of criminal Contempt of Court. They have been summoned for sentencing on September 21.

What was Mid Day’s crime? An unusual display of courage? The high court order makes absolutely no comment on the factual accuracy of the allegations that Mid Day levelled against Justice Sabharwal. Instead, in an extraordinary, almost yogic manoeuvre, it makes out that the real targets of the Mid Day article were the judges sitting with Justice Sabharwal on the division bench, judges who are still in service (and therefore imputing motives to them constitutes Criminal Contempt): “We find the manner in which the entire incidence has been projected appears as if the Supreme Court permitted itself to be led into fulfilling an ulterior motive of one of its members.

The nature of the revelations and the context in which they appear, though purporting to single out former Chief Justice of India, tarnishes the image of the Supreme Court. It tends to erode the confidence of the general public in the institution itself. The Supreme Court sits in divisions and every order is of a bench. By imputing motive to its presiding member automatically sends a signal that the other members were dummies or were party to fulfil the ulterior design.”

Nowhere in the Mid Day articles has any other judge been so much as mentioned. So the journalists are in the dock for an imagined insult. What this means is that if there are several judges sitting on a bench and you have proof that one of them has given an opinion or an order based on corrupt considerations or is judging a case in which he or she has a clear conflict of interest, it’s not enough. You don’t have a case unless you can prove that all of them are corrupt or that all of them have a conflict of interest and all of them have left a trail of evidence in their wake. Actually, even this is not enough. You must also be able to state your case without casting any aspersions whatsoever on the court. (Purely for the sake of argument: What if two judges on a bench decide to take turns to be corrupt? What would we do then?)

So now we’re saddled with a whole new school of thought on Contempt of Court: Fevered interpretations of imagined insults against unnamed judges. Phew! We’re in La-la Land.

In most other countries, the definition of Criminal Contempt of Court is limited to anything that threatens to be a clear and present danger to the administration of justice. This business of “scandalising” and “lowering the authority” of the court is an absurd, dangerous form of censorship and an insult to our collective intelligence.

The journalists who broke the story in Mid Day have done an important and courageous thing. Some newspapers acting in solidarity have followed up the story. A number of people have come together and made a public statement further bolstering that support. There is an online petition asking for a criminal investigation. If either the government or the courts do not order a credible investigation into the scandal, then a group of senior lawyers and former judges will hold a public tribunal and examine the evidence that is placed before them. It’s all happening. The lid is off, and about time too.

Click here to sign the ‘Investigate Justice Sabharwal Petition’ to the President of India

© Outlook Publishing (India) Private Limited

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Conflict among desperate Chinese revisionists

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007

Intro note:

In a recent “Open Letter” in China (of 12.07.2007), reproduced today in a message to the MLL mailing list (whose description among other things says, “We stand in the tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, and we are proud of this.”), some representatives of the ruling revisionists in China who apparently are holding relatively high posts among them have expressed a relatively quite strong dissatisfaction with the policies of the main ruling revisionists there.

In the below, I’m reproducing that message, so as further to contribute towards making that document from China known. It’s a quite interesting and tell-tale one, in my opinion.

Some excerpts from that document were brought already, for instance, by the UK Conservative newspaper The Telegraph in an articleNews with brief comments” (NWBC), the next day. on 18.07, which I commented on in item 285 of my series ”

This “Open Letter” is a clear sign of how very hard pressed are all those traitors to socialism in China, the new exploiters and really fascist-type oppressors there, by the vast majority of people in China, and by the vast majority of people on the whole globe too. It’s a sign of how desperate their situation already is, despite their regime’s being massively supported and held under its arms by all the forces of international imperialism.

The persons who signed that “Open Letter” even pretended, in it, to be “adherents of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought”. They of course are not that, as can clearly be seen in that document of theirs. If they were, they would be calling for the overthrow of the revisionist, fascist regime in China – and such a just and necessary call in the conditions now reigning there of course can only be disseminated “underground” and at the risk of most severe persecution. Most probably such calls have already been put forward in China too, perhaps in many places there, but the imperialists, to whom support of the present arch-reactionary regime in China is vital, of course are doing everything they can to prevent any such from becoming known to the masses of people in other countries.

The desperate fear of the Chinese revisionists precisely of Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought is manifesting itself internationally for instance in the fact that, in fascist manner and with the support and active co-operation of the US and other imperialists too, they have erected a “Great Firewall of China” – see a website also called by that name and bringing information about that “Firewall” – which blocks many websites from even being accessible from within The People’s Republic of China itself.

Furthermore, the Chinese revisionists several times recently have engaged in their fascist-type activities, intended to suppress the dissemination of information and of criticism against the reactionaries, also internationally, by massively attacking with technical disturbance actions such an important website as the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA) in order to prevent everybody on earth from accessing it. (See for instance my NWBC item 241 .) In this manner, the regime of the revisionists in China even is acting as a spearhead, in a certain respect, of the entire present-day international system of capitalist-imperialist oppression.

The authors of the recent “Open Letter” in China are adherents and representatives of that regime too, for instance openly lauding that infamous traitor to socialism in that country, even the main perpetrator of the overthrow of it, in 1976-78, Deng Xiaoping, calling for his – likewise arch-reactionary – policies to be followed and openly vilifying that massive resistance against them by the people which was expressed in the countrywide demonstrations in May-June 1989. (On that overthrow, see above all Info #270en Subjects in postings” section under “China, the overthrow of socialism in”.) and also other Infos listed in my homepage’s “

Here follows that message to the MLL mailing list which reproduced the recent “Open Letter” in China.


Datum: den 9 augusti 2007 02:49 [CET]
Ämne: [MLL] Chinese Maoists speak up


Chinese Maoists speak up against the economic policies of the Party and government

Our Views on the Black Brick Kiln and Other Incidents and Recommendations for the 17th Party Congress

by Ma Bin, et al.

Let us refer to a famous poem by Mao that stirs excitement among us all: “A cuckoo is crying in the midnight until she throws up blood; she believes that her crying can bring the east wind back!” We deeply hope our respected leaders will stir up the east wind!

General Secretary Hu Jintao and the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Standing Committee Members, Members and alternates:

In your June 25 speech at the Central Party School, you highlighted the importance of strengthening inner-party democracy, asking all party members to increase their awareness of anxieties. According to this call, we make the following recommendations.

The Shanxi black brick kiln incident has been uncovered, and some similar cases are still being discovered. For us communists, it is neither right nor possible to treat or even speak of such incidents as inevitable phenomena of the primary stage of socialism. This was obviously a capitalist scene, incorporating certain scenes of cruel exploitation, and the tragic, dog-eat-dog world of primitive accumulation under feudalism and slavery. The mission of The Communist Manifesto and of the CPC is to eliminate exploitation and to liberate all mankind, and these incidents are totally contradictory to our philosophy.

The Shanxi black brick kiln case shows that there are many dark sides of our country that run completely counter to the socialist system and communist ideology. For example, mining accidents that have occurred constantly for years have claimed the precious lives of many good workers. The private coal mine owners take advantage of these workers to squeeze out millions and millions to fund their own luxury cars and residences — some of the large enterprises owned by the wealthiest men increase by billions every year. If these things continue to develop unhindered, will what we are building still be a socialist system? For instance, the state-owned enterprises, which many of us have worked hard for several decades to build, have been undermined by a variety of methods, sold off or even given away for nothing, becoming what is euphemistically called collective enterprises, although they are in fact private. Former party secretaries and plant bosses become big capitalists, while continuing to act as party members and secretaries. Is this consistent with The Communist Manifesto and the Communist Party’s founding principles? Needless to say, in the whole country, the vast majority of SOEs were also developed bit by bit through the hard work of hundreds of millions of working people under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee.

Now, the majority of property rights does not belong to the people and have become the property of private owners. Those manual workers, migrant workers, and even child laborers in the private sector, workshops, mines, and shops receive low wages to do extraordinary work while others suffer the injustice of unpaid labor in dark environments. We are afraid that this is not the only instance of black brick kiln abuses, and there may be many similar cases in other places. We eliminate pornography and illegal publications every year, but it is said that millions of women are forced to engage in the cruel physical ravages of prostitution. As a result, a number of parents and children of these families suffer through life. Do we really have no way to deal with these problems? Must we take a “laissez-faire” approach?

We still have a lot of large and medium-sized state-owned enterprises that can be managed well. There is no reason to be auctioned to foreign enterprises only for them to grip our domestic market and squeeze our national economic development. The media recently reported that the state will allow foreign capital to enter the Chinese military industrial enterprises and purchase shares in joint ventures. Even if the approval was granted only for the production of ancillary equipment and parts, it is still very disturbing and should be opposed. Without reliable auxiliaries, how can we expect reliable weapons? Regardless of the weapon, it only takes one problem with parts to make normal operation impossible, and any explosion can cause fatal accidents! In addition, they will steal our intelligence, know our capabilities, and encroach upon our entire military production system!

We have a number of provincial, municipal, and county leaders who do not highly regard national wealth and property and will do nothing when it is cheaply sold to others. Compared to domestic private enterprises, joint ventures, and wholly foreign-owned enterprises, how much of China’s current GDP is produced by state-owned enterprises? Can our basic economic institution, which is underlined by public ownership, withstand the test of time? Why have state agencies, including the Department of Statistics, not announced the statistics on proportion among different ownership sectors in the economy for many years? Workers and farmers have lost their status as masters, and the workers are either temporarily laid off or permanently unemployed with modest compensation. New land exploitation of the farmers and rich peasants, which we uprooted in the 1950s, has already begun to occur in rural areas.

In the process of economic reform, the top-down style of growing corruption, degradation of many leading cadres, and betrayal of the motherland and the people run rampant. The above issues are indeed shocking and infuriating. But every time, issues are only highlighted separately during a specific period of time. Soon after, big issues are turned into little ones and little ones turned into nothing at all. There have been very few instances where the problem is dealt with in a manner appropriate to its severity. None of the major leaders are held accountable for their actions and are dismissed or prosecuted. Only a few extremely severe cases of corruption have resulted in a few years of imprisonment, or death penalty with reprieve at most. Corrupt officials are seldom sentenced to death. In the past, a lot of these cadres might have been good, and it was only wrong ideological tendencies that caused them to betray the party and people.

There are countless concerns and troubles occurring every day, and the list goes on: bubbles in the stock market, increased prices, removal of factories without guidance, resettlement of people, speculation of real estate, soaring prices. In addition, the low-end exporting policy has led to low wages and exploitation of workers, high energy consumption and heavy pollution, etc. More seriously, some localities defy central orders and do not report to the central government or simply ignore instructions from above. The illegal black brick kiln scandal exposed us to very serious problems regarding the future of the Party and the country, which we should now face without hesitation. This is the “cause” we are working for. Is it possible that we have digressed to the wrong road, which will lead us elsewhere?

Now, the expanding social gap has become one of the largest in the world. According to recent World Bank estimates, China’s GINI index of 0.469 has already surpassed the U.K., the U.S., and Japan, and even developing countries such as India, Indonesia, and Egypt. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said that, if reform and opening leads to polarization, it is obvious that we are digressing. Digression is nothing but a mistake and the road of capitalism. Reform and opening have already been occurring for so many years, and yet the above social issues are only becoming more serious with development. Why do we still insist on the wrong things?

On the surface, some skyscrapers have been built, along with a lot of joint ventures or foreign-owned enterprises, and state-owned enterprises have merged and expanded. But if we look past appearances to the truth, we see that the problems are growing, especially the above-mentioned dark issues. How should we respond? Can we say on the surface of the facade is the road to a better-off life? Foreign bourgeoisie and the capitalist state leaders are secretly delighted about two things: the surface of the facade and speech that sidesteps and covers conflicts. Our people see that these negative issues have not changed after all, and are anxious and fearful about the Party, country, the peoples’ future and destiny, and worry that they themselves will eventually have no one or anything to depend on.

The tragedy of the Soviet Union’s and socialist Eastern European countries’ collapse and the lessons from the decline of the international communist movement that took place after the 1980s are still fresh in our minds. Imperialism, capitalism, and their agents, have encircled and suppressed us in the areas of politics, ideology, economic and political finance, educational methods, national defence and the military, diplomatic, and national issues, and religion. They have penetrated very deep. However, we see that the effects are not great, and their measures are not effective. Although we often talk about peace, cooperation, and harmony, there are indications that they are doing whatever they can to prepare the military siege against us, ready to launch a war of aggression or the threat to use force. We can currently say that the Party and government have seriously detached themselves from the people. Precarious is China’s socialism! The Chinese people have reached another extremely critical time!

Faced with this kind of domestic and international situation, the majority of party members, especially the old comrades who had received Party education for many years, were are all burning with anxiety, waiting for the Central Party to take effective measures and act quickly and courageously to resolutely lead the whole party, the armed forces, and the people from the “evil path,” the danger of which Comrade Deng Xiaoping warned of long ago.

We hope in the near future it is necessary to convene the 7th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress, which should, from the black brick kiln incident as the breakthrough, summarize and reflect upon our political ideology and basic guidelines in order to, again, uphold the truth and correct the mistakes. In the 17th Party Congress we should make the decision to establish Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as the political ideology that meets the needs of the majority of people. We sincerely recommend to the Party Central Committee that the brick kiln incidents are not excluded. We cannot talk about this issue superficially while doing nothing (the just-concluded 28th meeting of the NPC Standing Committee adopted a “Labor Contract Law,” yet the media did not show the chairman, vice chairman, and members of the Standing Committee saying a word of the Shanxi black brick kiln incident). It should be seen as a very important breakthrough and an alarm calling for the whole Party to correct the wrong path we are on.

Chairman Mao said: “the Communist Party is the core power leading our activity, and Marxism-Leninism is the guiding principle of our thought, whether our ideological and political line is correct decides everything.” This is the undeniable truth. Comrade Hu Jintao said: “at any time and under any circumstances, we must always hold high the great banner of Mao Zedong Thought.” This is completely correct. We fully and strongly support such reform and eagerly look forward to implementing it practically and effectively in the future.

Our party has a glorious tradition, which is: be open and upright, do not engage in machinations; breed unity and not division; unite under the correct determination. In the interests of the people, we overcome difficulties and strive for a greater victory. Therefore, to have a fully democratic environment, the Central Committee must set an example for the entire party, and create a new situation of freedom that allows party criticism of fine traditions and cadres’ ability to speak their minds. The CPC Central Committee needs to listen to the majority of people, especially the workers and peasants, concentrated in line with the correct Marxist views, and establish the 17th Party Congress as one which opens a correct path, achieves united victory, and is of great historical significance. We must adhere to the truth without hesitation, and be ready to correct mistakes, which is a very arduous task.

We recommend that we launch a study of Marxist theory before the 7th Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee and the 17th Party Congress. The central government should decide to select some important documents of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, such as The Communist Manifesto, Anti-Duhring, The State and Revolution, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, “Serving the People,” “Yu Gong Yi Shan,” “Study Bethune,” “Combat Liberalism,” “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” and other works of Chairman Mao, as well as the full lyrics of two songs, “The International” and “The Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention,” and have members of the Central Committee Central Commission of Discipline Inspection and representatives of the 17th Party Congress to run classes of seriously study. We should also organize and help all of the Party members to study as long as they have the ability to read.

We recommend that, before the 7th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress of the CCP and the 17th Party Congress, we should begin to criticize democratic socialism, socialist revisionism, and bourgeois liberalization according to Marxism. Without abolishment, there is no establishment; without difficulty, there is no success. Without criticizing these erroneous ideas, it is impossible to truly uphold Marxism as the guiding principle and political guideline, and it would even undermine the construction of socialism. At the turn of spring and summer in 1989, because of bourgeois liberalization, a counterrevolutionary riot broke out. Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the nature of the riot was “bourgeois liberalization and opposition to ‘The Four Basic Principles.’ The goal of the riot was to “subvert our country and our party.” The most important lesson is that “we address the importance of the ‘The Four Basic Principles,’ ideological and political work, anti-bourgeois liberalization, and anti-spiritual pollution, but we lacked consistency, action, or did not tackle these problems adequately.” He also pointed out: “In the 6th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress of the CCP, I said that we needed 20 years more to fight against bourgeois liberalization. Now it seems that it will be more than 20 years. The rampant spread of bourgeois liberalization will lead to extremely grave consequences” (Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, the third volume, 305, 374).

Today the spread of bourgeois liberalization is greater than ever. In addition to the aggressive propaganda of bourgeois liberalization, there is another thought of bourgeois liberalization disguising itself as Marxism, and that is democratic socialism. It seriously distorts Marxist scientific socialism and denies the fundamental principles of scientific socialism — public ownership of instruments of production and dictatorship of the proletariat. It is attempting to turn China into a bourgeois country, which is the vassal of Western countries. It may confuse people because it disguises itself under the cloak of Marxism. We should seriously criticize it.

In short, we must thoroughly criticize all wrong anti-Marxist thinking, and establish order from this chaos to ensure the guiding status of Marxism. We suggest that the 17th Party Congress make decisions to restore the party as a vanguard of the working class, correct the wrong ideas of “dual vanguards”, and change the erroneous regulation that allows capitalists to join the party. The vanguard nature of the working class has been clearly regulated since The Communist Manifesto. As early as in 1879, when the heads of the social democrats, Bernstein, and others opened the doors of communist parties to the “educated, philanthropic” assets, and attempted to change the Party into a “full party,” Marx and Engels immediately denounced the idea, and said that if they persisted in this thinking, they would have to resign or at least remove themselves from Party leadership positions (see The Complete Works of Marx and Engels, the third volume, 367). Since the establishment of the Communist Party of China, we have been maintaining the fundamental principle that the CPC is the vanguard of the working class. On June 9, 1952 the CPC Central Committee stressed in a document that: “No party members should be allowed to exploit others (regardless of whether it was feudal exploitation or capitalist exploitation). If they are reluctant to give up exploitation, or continue exploitation through kulak or other forms, they should be unconditionally expelled from the party.” On September 16, 1956, Deng Xiaoping, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, pointed out that “in the report on the amendments to the Party constitution, Party members must engage in labor and not exploit the working people. We must make every Party member firmly draw a line between labor and exploitation.” These fundamental principles had been maintained until the 16th Party Congress. Since the 16th Party Congress, there has been a closer relationship between the Party and bourgeoisie but a more distant relationship between the Party and workers, peasants, and working intelligentsia, and this is quite dangerous. We recommend that the 17 Party Congress restore previous regulations about the characteristics of the Party and the requirements for membership, readopting the correct Marxist stance.

For those capitalists who have already become Party members, we can give them two options: 1. Continue to be Party members by ending exploitation, returning the instruments of production currently used for exploitation to the Party and People’s government, and becoming laborers that depend on themselves; or 2. Automatically resign from the Party and continue to be capitalists, but love the country, obey laws, and make contributions to the motherland. Some of them may join democratic parties on a voluntary basis.

Looking at the current facts, we have to confess that China’s reform is heading towards changing public ownership to private ownership and socialism to capitalism. If the 17th Party Congress continues firmly down this path, a Yeltsin-type person will emerge, and the Party and country will tragically be destroyed very soon. However, since the specific conditions in China are different from the former Soviet Union’s, the Chinese version of Yeltsin may not publicly announce the dissolution of the Communist Party, change the name of the country, or sell our territory. Rather, they will use Marxism-Leninism and the five-star red flag to disguise themselves and deceive the people. How did this problem begin? The answer lies in 20 years of implementing the wrong policy guided by wrong ideology.

We cannot solve the fundamental problems only by adding a few social welfare policies and imprisoning some corrupt officials if we are not able to break ideological restraints, correct the privatization of the reform policy, and change the wrong regulation that allow capitalists to become Party members. Without these changes, we will face endless disasters. We hope that the Central comrades in leadership can truly understand the significance of these issues.

We sincerely hope and suggest that we thoroughly deny the wrong theories and paths, thinking and approach routes to completely break away from the wrong theoretical ideas. We should take firm action to return to the revolutionary road and list Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as the Party’s sole guiding ideology, rather than only airing another wave of words. As long as we implement the above policies faithfully, all the serious problems existing in politics, theory, ideology, culture, education, economy, agriculture, industry, military, national defence, diplomacy, foreign trade, government officials, corruption, and the elimination of pornography, illegal publications, and gangs will be fundamentally resolved.

Faced with such a grim situation and in this extremely important historical juncture, we also recommend that the Central Standing Committee and the Politburo consider the best options, eliminate the various negative factors, and overcome adversity to change the current negative situation. The CPC Central Committee Political Bureau should call on the entire party to relate the reality of China today with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought on the proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship, the history of the Communist Party of China, the history of the international working class struggle, colonial history, and study them. Leading cadres should not worry about personal gains or losses, but rather ensure that all true views of Party members can be expressed.

Given the long absence of inner-Party Democracy and rigid hierarchy, Party leaders have detached themselves from the people, and erroneous working styles, such as bureaucratism, sectarianism, formalism, opportunism, and liberalism run rampant. Most of the people have acclimated to taking cues from the boss rather than speaking their own minds or putting forth different ideas. If this problem cannot be solved, the Party Congress and NPC will not have positive results.

Therefore, we recommend that the CPC Central Committee makes an official decision and informs the whole party that the Central Committee members, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection members, representatives of the 17th Party Congress, and all of the Party members criticizing the government or putting forth different ideas should not be blamed, placed in prison, supervised, or killed, and their relatives and friends must be kept safe. We must enable everyone to speak the truth. It is imperative to recall and carry forward the spirits and lessons of the Zunyi Meeting during the Long March and Yanan Rectification Campaign in the 1940s.

Meanwhile, our Party should make a decision to welcome the retired former Party and state leaders to support the Party Congress and NPC. As for the propaganda that has been proven wrong, related comrades should, following the Party’s discipline, actively avoid any restatement of these expositions and be wary of making historical mistakes. The central leaders should hold high the great banner of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as a guide, and take the lead in conducting self-criticism. They should seek truth from facts and adopt the attitude of “speaking the truth without caring about losing face” to systematically and comprehensively summarize the experience of reform and opening in the past 30 years — what progress or error has been made and what lessons can be learned in order to uphold the truth and correct our errors. We should make policies that truthfully consider the principles of socialism and the interests of workers, peasants, and the people. Regardless of how principles and policies are made or who is responsible for them, as long as they are anti-Marxist, they are inconsistent with the interests of the people previously mentioned and should be totally rejected.

The economy may be temporarily impacted, but it will gain the sincere support of the broad masses, and will therefore greatly promote political and economic unity, as well as greater development. We have friends all over the world, and we will develop.

On the issue of how to select candidates for the 17th Party Congress, we suggest that the Central Committee adheres to the principle of meritocracy. The candidates must be the ones who uphold Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought, become close to the people, contribute to peoples’ interests, as well as the cause of Communism, dare to maintain truth, correct mistakes, and have high moral standards and ability, and are self-disciplined rather than caring too much about personal gain or loss.

We suggest that the Central Committee adjust the name list according to the situation of the 7th Plenum of the 16th Party Congress and 17th Party Congress. The decision should be made through competitive elections regulated by the Party Constitution, which was the case in the 7th Party Congress.

We suggest that the Central Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the General Secretary be elected by all the representatives of the 17th Party Congress or the Central Committee in direct competitive elections.

We firmly believe that if the leading comrades of the Party Central Committee can make up their minds, realize the problems we face, and truly return to the Marxist-Leninist Mao Zedong revolutionary stance without fear of pain, shame, evil, or pressure, we can summon the spirit of revolutionary struggle, work together to overcome difficulties, turn the tide, captivate the world, and firmly correct the direction of socialism.

We can also unite the whole Party and all the comrades who participated in the 17th Party Congress and make correct Marxist and Socialist policies through study, discussion, debate, and united understanding, thinking, and action.

Only through the above actions can the 17th Party Congress be a successful, united, and historically important one, which holds high the great banner of Marxist-Mao Zedong thought and follows the correct path. The Chinese people and our friends from all over the world will support and praise us. The Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo will also be successful. We will certainly be able to build a better country, and the Chinese people will be able to have a better future.

Finally, let us refer to a famous poem written by Mao that stirs excitement within us all: “A cuckoo is crying in the midnight until she throws up blood; she believes that her crying can bring the east wind back!” We deeply hope our respected leaders will stir up the east wind!

Please deeply consider the above proposals and adopt them.

Ma Bin (former consultant, State Council Development Research Center)
Zhou Chuntian (former director, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Advisory Committee)
Li Chengrui (former director of the State Statistics Bureau)
Qin Zhongda (former minister of the Chemical Industry Ministry)
Mao Linchun (former deputy minister of the metallurgical Industry Ministry)
Wu Fanwu (former State Department Bureau of Foreign Experts)
Yang Shouzheng (former Chinese ambassador to the Soviet Union)
Hua Guang (wife of Zhang Haifeng, former Chinese ambassador to Romania, and former minister of political affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Romania)
Han Xiya (former alternate secretary of the All China Federation of Trade Unions)
Zang Naiguang (former deputy chief executive of the Bank of China)
Xu Chengzhi (former director of the Political Affairs Department of the PLA Railway Corps)
Long Guilin (former chief of staff of the PLA Railway Corps)
Bai Xuetian (former political commissar of a People’s Liberation Army tank division)
Chen Xiao (former deputy director general of the Political Affairs Department of the PLA Navy)
Yu Quanyu (member of the CPPCC National Committee, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
Xu Fei (associate professor of the Communication University of China)
Mo Mengzhe (editor, Institute of Contemporary China )

July 12, 2007

Translation by Nicole Dabney, Ying Zhang, and Guanhui Dai. This open letter was posted to A-List by Henry C. K. Liu, who says that it is “creating much debate in Chinese political circles.”

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Tribals prevented from paying homage to martyrs

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007


BY V L Srinivasan & S Anil Kumar

Indervelli (Adilabad Dist), April 20: “People’s heroes are immortal,” says the inscription on the 15-foot-high memorial erected in this tribal village in memory of 13 (by official count) Gond tribals who were shot dead at the spot by the police exactly a quarter century ago.

Tucked away some 18 km from the national highway, Indervelli, also known as the second Jallianwala Bagh, caught the world’s attention when police opened fire at a massive gathering of Gonds who had come to attend a meeting organised by the Grijana Rythu Coolie Sangham on 20 April 1981. While police records show that only 13 persons were killed, the toll was estimated to be much higher, and scores of others were injured.

As is its wont, the district administration decided not to allow a single villager in the vicinity of the memorial to pay homage to those who fell to the hail of bullets, and posted more than 500 police personnel from three sub-divisions — Utnoor, Mancherial and Adilabad.

To ensure that the tribals did not congregate at the venue, the authorities imposed Section 144 in all villages between Gudi Hathnoor and Utnoor mandals for three days.

Buses and autos were not allowed on the road leading to Indervelli, causing much hardship to the people, especially students appearing for the Class VII common examination, in nearly two dozen villages. ”Today is the last exam and we are somewhat relieved,” said 12-year-old Ganga, a resident of Emaikunta. She has had to walk with her peers to Indervelli, which is three km away, in the scorching sun to write the test.

”We did not allow the tribals here because the Naxalites would then have mingled with the crowd and created a law and order problem,” a senior police official told Express.

Apparently, the anxiety stems from the alleged seizure of literature by the special operations group in an “encounter” with Naxalites that purportedly revealed that the Maoists were planning to hold a massive rally to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the incident.

Pittabongaram village head Wetti Rajeshwar, whose mother, Isrubai, was one of the witnesses to the outrage and who died just two months ago, said there had been no development of their rain-dependent area. ”My mother was not paid any compensation after the incident. No one gives us the pattas and we don’t know what to do,” he said.

Kinaka Mankubai is another eyewitness. She suffered two bullet injuries in her shoulders and has been leading a lonely life as none would marry her and ekes out a livelihood by working as a labourer. ”She too did not get any relief from Government,” Rajeshwar said.

Determined to honour the martyrs, Indervelli ZPTC Kanaka Tukaram, vowed the tribals would visit the memorial after five days.

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Rebels’ kitty swells by Rs 40cr each year

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007

Ranchi, Sept. 25: A section of contractors, transporters and businessmen involved in illegal mining pay over Rs 40cr annually as levy to CPI(Maoist) in the state.

The Maoists have presence in about 18 districts at present and are currently engaged in covert exercises to cement their base in six districts in Santhal Pargana.

Inputs garnered by the state police and intelligence agencies suggest that rebels collect levy mainly from the illegal miners of iron ore and coal.

Even a section of contractors involved in government projects and transporters oblige the extremists by paying hefty amounts at regular intervals. Else, they cannot run their business, intelligence officials said.

A part of the levy, claimed the additional director-general of police (special branch), G.S. Rath, is sent to the central committee and a part to the local committee.

“This illegal money is also used to carry out various training programmes, purchase explosives, arms and ammunition,” said the additional director-general of police (special branch).

A recently prepared seven-page report by the state police headquarters, “Naxalite scenario in Jharkhand state”, reveals that levy collec- tion has become a serious threat for the development of the state.

The report stated that the police were able to recover over Rs 1.75 crore from some of the over 2,500 arrested rebels since the creation of the state.

Besides, 8,500kg of explosives, 2,000 weapons, 45,431 ammunition, 1,033 bombs and landmines were also seized during different combing operations and raids against the rebels.

Police officials confessed that the money seized by the state police is “peanuts” compared to the amount collected by the rebels in the state in a year.

Against this backdrop, director-general of police V.D. Ram has directed the district police chiefs to go all out to arrest and lodge cases against the rebels harassing businessmen and contractors for levy.

Spokesperson of the state police R.K. Mallick said the number of cases lodged against the rebels has increased enormously in the recent past.

“We are working to create a situation where the rebels would not dare to demand levy from any quarters,” Mallick said.

The report also claimed that the Maoists have planned to unleash more planned attacks on police, railways, paramilitary forces to loot weapons and demoralise jawans in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Bihar in the near future.


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The Political Stand Off In Nepal

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007

By Harsh Dobhal

25 September, 2007

This week, Maoists have resigned from the government after most governing parties opposed their demand that the monarchy be abolished before the elections scheduled in November. They have clearly accused PM Koirala and his Nepali Congress of trying to protect King Gyanendra and have warned to start a new “people’s revolt” for the abolition of monarchy. Maoists were quick to gather that conservative elements in political parties are gathering together. Other coalition partners contend that the decision about Nepal’s future political system should be decided by a special assembly after the November elections.

Having suffered for decades at the hands of a brutal, Royal Nepalese Army, armed police and king’s other security forces, the people of Nepal rose in millions during the April revolution last year with a clear objective in mind: abolition of the centuries-old monarchy.

Despite American, Chinese and Indian chess games of diplomacy, the people of Nepal succeeded in putting their stamp on history and the king was forced to retreat and give up his absolute and unlimited powers. As in all revolutions, there was always the danger that the forces of reaction would regroup and old hawks of Nepali politics will try to have their way.

After over a decade of underground struggle, Maoists came over ground, disarmed and joined the government with the Seven Party Alliance. They put forward a series of unprecedented proposals for the restoration of true democracy, the disarming of the militia and drafting of a new Constitution. It was a brave decision by Maoists to outline the roadmap for a brave new Nepal.

Maoists, as much as the people, were always clear that monarchy should have no place in Nepali politics, that the country should be immediately declared a Republic. They never had any doubt that Nepal needs a general election, having abolished monarchy where the most marginalized – the dalits, the adivasis, madhesis, vanvasis, women, minorities and other weaker sections – will have adequate representation.

At that time the move was seen as an end to their armed rebellion and this little, beautiful Himalyan nation appeared to be on the threshold of a new era. This week, Maoists have resigned from the government after most governing parties opposed their demands that the monarchy be abolished before the elections scheduled for November.

They have clearly accused Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and his Nepali Congress of trying to protect King Gyanendra and have warned to start a new “people’s revolt” for the abolition of monarchy. Other coalition partners contend that the decision about Nepal’s future political system should be decided by a special assembly after the November elections.

The Maoists had earlier joined the interim government in April 2006, after signing a peace agreement with the government. The new developments simply signify the fact that Nepal’s politics has been slowly but steadily lapsing into complacency from such momentous changes that were paving the way for not just consistent and lasting democratisation of the State but also its secularisation from a declared only Hindu State.

Maoists were quick to gather that conservative elements in political parties are gathering together. However, these forces would be compelled to come to negotiation with Maoists as the tide might rise once again. Maoists may have lost some ground after April Revolution of last year, but they have enough base to win back that ground. And they know it, for otherwise none is going to be as hard hit by new developments as Maoists who had laid down their weapons at a time when the mood in Nepal was upbeat.

The crisis that had been gathering over Nepal howsoever surreptitiously during past few months bode ill for the Maoists. And, they had no option but to take a strong decision to quit the government. Koirala had sadly been missing this till the Maoists decided to part away with his dispensation. Even if the country goes to polls on November 22, the appeal of the Maoists would be powerful, as they have raised more basic issues than merely electing legislators. So it is in the best interest of the government and the people to see as to how the Maoists’ participation in not just polls but the political process is won back.

India has come under Nepalese ire, for Koirala has been blamed of toeing New Delhi’s line. Yet, the fact is that the Manmohan Singh Government is grappling with its own crisis where the Left is miffed by it over the nuclear issue and it lacks the kind of cohesion that it had until last year when the Nepal crisis was solved.

India can facilitate in solving a crisis in a neighbouring country like Nepal, but it can only ill afford to dictate anything to any one. The move by Maoists has raised fresh questions about the peace process and stability in Nepal. Will the feudal, pro-monarchy forces and their external patrons come together for maneuver? Does the political mainstream of Nepal now belong to these elements or to radical forces?

Is the spirit of the April revolution still lingering in the hearts of Nepalese people? Are some of the parties engaging in a conspiracy against the peoples’ aspirations and demands? The answers to these and many other questions will unfold in coming weeks and months.

( )

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Dalits to organize ‘Dhikkar Rally’ to mark 1 year of Khairlanji incident

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007

khairlanji one year

On September 29, several Dalit organisations across Maharashtra have planned to organize a ‘Dhikkar rally’ in Bhandara just to mark the 1st anniversary of the murder of four members of a Bhaiyalal Bhotmange at Khairlanji village.

On September 29, 2006, four members of the dalit family were reportedly massacred in Kherlanji village in Bhandara, near Nagpur in Maharashtra.

The incident was reported first in some Marathi daily and the mainstream media did not provide any space to this incident till October first week. Some political parties had organised a protest but it remained a mere ritual.

DNA had reported about the incident on October 7 that Surekha, 44, and her daughter Priyanka, 18, were beaten and gang-raped in front of villagers for an hour before they fell dead. According to the report, Surekha’s sons, Sudhir and Roshan Bhotmange, were murdered in the same incident on September 29.

Bhiyyalal, the head of the family, had managed to save his life when his family was attacked. Later, online media exposed the matter that led it to the nationwide protests. [1], [2]

Now, several Dalit organisations has decided to hold a rally in Bhandara and more than 30,000 people are likely to attend the gathering on September 29. According to the report, a a Dalit cultural front from Mumbai is the main organiser of the rally.

The Khairlanji incident had even given a chance to the various divided Dalit groups to be united against the state government’s poor action taken in this matter.

Later, Naxalites had even taken keen interest and even issued warnings to deliver justice to the perpetrators of the crime. At present, a fast-track court in Bhandara is hearing the case.

Bhandara District Collector S M Sarkunde said that he was unaware of any proposed rally. He said:

We get to know about it only through newspapers. Protests may be held, but we do not think there is any reason for additional security.


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Maoists threat to MNC retail outlets

Posted by Admin on September 26, 2007

HYDERABAD :Retail units of multinational companies are being targeted by Maoists, a document of the extremists indicates. The police has asked MNCs to beef up security at retail stores following the threat. A Maoist communiqué, now in the hands of the police, asks cadre to unite in the fight against the retail business of MNCs which they said would affect small traders, shopkeepers and the middle class.

An intelligence official said, “Retail stores and petrol pumps are being set up by MNCs in various cities and towns. In cities it is very difficult for Maoists to carry out attacks on these concerns. Even in towns they will not do it when there is a crowd. Maybe at night the Maoists may resort to blasts.”

Maoists alleged that MNCs have almost taken control of retail trade in developed countries and they are looking to do so in India. The Maoists added that retail shops which provide employment to many stand to lose from the entry of MNCs.
A senior police official said, “Security can’t be provided to all the retail outlets.” The Maoist letter states, “A voice has to be raised against these sharks. The government is not going to stop them. A resistance movement of the vast affected masses is the need of the hour. Already there is a movement against the retail chains, particularly Reliance… but this has been crushed by the police.”

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Brutal Lathicharge and Molestation of Women at Workers’ Dharna in Rudrapur

Posted by Admin on September 25, 2007

Workers of factories under the SIDCUL industrial area (of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttaranchal Ltd.) were brutally lathicharged on September 18. Women (mostly family members of the workers) who had joined the peaceful dharna were molested; several male policemen would attack women protestors together, tear off their clothes and abuse them.

The agitation here began several months ago against the illegal lockout by the Bhaskar Factory Management. Despite the clear evidence of legal violations by the Management, the Uttarakhand Government and local Administration have protected the management and penalised the workers. The agitation spread to neighbouring factories as well. In the ACME Telepower factory, 3 workers were thrown out for participating in the protest; and when a Strike was held to demand restoration of these activists to their jobs, 200 workers were thrown out. The peaceful protest dharna at the factory gates has been ongoing for a long period. On September 18, around 150 workers and their family members were at the dharna spot at the factory gates. They were brutally lathicharged, and 70 activists have been arrested. These include AICCTU leader KK Bora, SIDCUL workers’ leaders Vijay Sharma, Shishupal Negi and Harish Joshi as well as CPI(ML) leader Sanjay Sharma.

In response to the outcry against the brutal assault on workers and women (footage of which was carried by some media channels), the DGP has ordered an enquiry. But the fact that the SDM was present during this display of police brutality, and management goons in plain clothes joined the police force in their attack, shows that the crackdown and attack on workers has happened with the full approval and under the orders of the Uttarakhand Government.

The CPI(ML) has demanded punishment of the police officials guilty of the lathicharge and assault on women; release and withdrawal of charges on all the workers and leaders; and immediate compliance with the just demands of the workers.

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More lynching and assaulting as social turmoil in India

Posted by Admin on September 24, 2007

(Paul Ciniraj)
Patna (Bihar, India), Sept 23, 2007: Two more suspected thieves lynched at Saketpuri, a lower middle class neighbourhood under the jurisdiction of Sultanganj police station of Patna in Bihar state on September 21.
The alleged thieves were attacked by an angry crowd after a resident raised an alarm on Friday night.
“One of the victims jumped into a pond to escape, but the mob encircled, stoned, pulled him out and he was beaten to death,” Anwar Hussain, City Police Superintendent told to the SVM News Service.
Another man’s body was recovered on Saturday morning.
There are many incidents of lynching, dragging and assaulting in Bihar state since last few days.
It was on Sept 12, ten people belonging to a poverty-stricken community in Bihar itself, were lynched in Vaishali district. A high-level probe has found those men were not thieves as suspected earlier.
Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar imposed a fine two days after the incident against the residents of a village that lynched 10 alleged thieves and taking the law into their own hands.
On August 29, an unemployed youth named Salim Aurangzeb was tied to the motorcycle of a police officer and was dragged along the road in Bhagalpur in full view of the cheering crowds for alleged chain snatching.
On Sept 5, two children were beaten, paraded on the streets and had their heads tonsured by villagers for allegedly stealing a few packs of detergent in Vaishali.
On September 9, three boys aged between 17 and 18, who had robbed a motorcycle at gunpoint near Shriddala, escaped lynching when police reached thescene on time. However, the right eye of one of the boys was gouged.
A 60-year-old dalit man, a landless laborer named Bhagawat Ravidoss was beaten to death and his relative Hari Ravidoss seriously injured on September 18 by landowners of Bhadrar village in Banka District.
Same day, an young man, Rakesh Kumar, 26, lynched by a mob in Patahi village in Sitamarhi district for allegedly stealing a statue from a temple. He was beaten to death with sticks and rods after a witchcraft practitioner identified him as the one who had stolen the statue.
In another incident in Bhagalpur district, two minor girls were assaulted by their neighbours in Kulkuliya village under the Ghogha police station. The police failed to register a case despite visiting the affected family.
In Jharkhand state also a mob of villagers from Daridag and Kodi localities in Ramgarh district in Jharkhand attacked a gang suspected to be involved in a number of thefts and beheaded three of them on September 20 night. Those killed have been identified as Faiaz and Umar of Soso village under Gola police station, and Maniruddih of Piri village under Barkakana OP.
There are many other incidents of social and religious turmoil throughout India during the last month.
On August 26, a tribal man and three women were brutally beheaded by a group of villagers who suspected them that they were practicing sorcery in Balasore district of Orissa.
On the same day, a violent attack on a house church in Kolar district of Karnataka state and was beaten pastor Emmanuel Venkatesh and M.S. Thimmakka and stabbed a church member Venkattarajappa on his hand and hips as a christian persecution.
The next day, a 24-year-old man named Ramesh Patel was chained to a tractor, dragged and murdered in Palanpur district of Gujarat. A whole village watched yet no one uttered a word.
On August 28, a mob gathered after a speeding truck in Agra, the home town of the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, crushed four teenagers and burned more than 54 vehicles and many shops nearby in which one person was killed and many were hospitalized. The same day, retaliatory killings were prevented in Gohana village in Haryana state due to the prompt intervention of the Dalit elders and police force after one of their youths was found murdered.
On August 29, Raibhan Tembhurne, a 55-year-old school teacher allegedly killed his 19-year-old college studentdaughter Ratna as a human sacrifice along with his two wives Reema and Sharda by the instruction of a black magic petitioner because he had fathered a son at village Kudegaon, which is about 50 miles from Bhandara in Maharashtra state. Same day, Mathews Pulimoottil Cor-episcopa, an 81-year-old village bishop of the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church, was severely beaten and hospitalized in Cochin in Kerala.
On August 30, a Dalit woman was allegedly raped by two persons in Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh.
The following day, four alleged fuel thieves were tortured for hours and made to crawl by villagers and truckers near Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Also that day, as also previously reported by the news service, Mariyam, an elderly 83-year-old woman, was murdered in Trissur district of Kerala. A 45-year-old Dalit man, Brahmadas, was allegedly burned to death by his employers in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh on the same day.
On Sept 1, two elderly women were allegedly murdered by their sons in Keonjhar district in Orissa for practicing sorcery. The arrested youths told police they killed their mothers, who were in their 60s, because a witch doctor told them that their mothers were trying to kill them in order to achieve success in witchcraft after killing their fathers, who had died some time ago.
The next day, a girl and a boy were beheaded at Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh after they were found in a compromising position.
On Sept 3, Itwari, a ten-year-old boy was tied to a horse by a rope and dragged on the road by a Gujar crowd in Jalandhar District of Punjab for trying to stop their horses from grazing his fields. On that same day, T Solomon was tied to a tree near Kollam in Kerala and mercilessly beaten for allegedly stealing a cow. Police later found him mentally unsound. Also on that day, an elderly Dalit woman named Hirawati, 60, was beaten to death by four upper caste women over a petty dispute in the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
The next day, September 4, women of Vachunuru village in Andhra Pradesh ransacked belt-shops and seized ID liquor and IML when the authorities failed to prevent liquor ‘menace’ despite their requests. That same day, angry crowds lynched Shiv Mohan and tried to set his house on fire for allegedly raping and murdering a three-year-old girl in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. Also on September 4, Boraj Panchayat near Ajmer in Rajastan conducted a compulsory body search of all its citizens to detect the alleged rapist among them. The villagers also beat a man to death near Rourkela in Orissa for allegedly molesting a woman.
On September 5, Krishna Khoya, suspected of murdering an elderly couple with witchcraft was executed by a tribal council in Jharkhand State.
Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand also witnessed a gruesome incident of mob violence last month in Tupudana in which three people were done to death.
On Sept 16, Hindu extremists burned down a prayer hall and beat Pastor Virendra Singh and his wife Bhavna in Barauli village near the Madiaon police station in Uttar Pradesh during the worship service as an act of Christian persecution. A mob of 30 extremists, led by Narendra Singh and Giri Baba, reached the prayer hall and picked a fight with the pastor. They threatened the couple and then set the thatched building on fire. The whole structure was reduced to rubble in a matter of a few minutes.

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‘More naxal attacks likely’

Posted by Admin on September 24, 2007

KOLKATA: The Maoists’ decision to dissociate themselves from Nepal’s interim government has got the Intelligence Branch (IB) of West Bengal police worried.

With the Maoists abandoning democracy in Nepal, their counterparts in West Bengal are gearing up for a series of insurgency operations in the coming months, according to sources.

Intelligence findings also revealed that communication channels between Maoists in Nepal and those in Bengal have opened again. Top IB sources told DNA that silence on the part of West Bengal Maoists for the last few months was a strategic decision following lack of patronage from Nepal.

“This renewed communication with the parent group (Maoists in Nepal) has also been picked up by Maoists in Jharkhand and Bihar,” a highly placed IB official told DNA.

Maoists in the state have also outlined a three-prong strategy to highlight the return of Maoists in Nepal to insurgency.

The first and foremost component of the strategy is to free comrades who are currently locked up in different prisons of the country. Recently IB had submitted report to the state government cautioning it about the Maoists’ plans to attack the Krishnagar prison and free their 16 comrades.

The second component is to attack and destroy some of the established and ongoing major industrial projects in the state.

The third and final component of the strategy is to assassinate select police officials and CPI (M) leaders, particularly those who are active in anti-Maoist operations.

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Naxalites on rampage, two killed, vehicles burnt

Posted by Admin on September 24, 2007

Gaya, Sept. 23 (PTI): A police jawan and a civilian were killed in an encounter as naxalites went on the rampage today burning over a dozen vehicles in Bihar’s Gaya district during their day-long bandh called to protest the recent arrest of their leaders.

The CPI (Maoist) rebels burned 13 trucks and two buses at places under Amas and Barachatti police stations, official sources said.

Hundreds of heavily armed guerrillas of the banned organisation set ablaze six trucks and two buses on NH 2 (Grand Trunk Road) under Amas police station around 1.30 am.

As a Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) contingent comprising ex-servicemen reached the spot, an encounter began in which jawan Shanker Singh was killed. The driver of a private bus, Kameswar Rai, also died in the cross fire.

The naxalites took away some passengers of a bus as cover for their escape but later released them, the sources said.

In another incident at a place under Barachatti police station, the maoists set afire seven trucks.

The CPI (Maoist) have called a bandh in Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to protest against the recent arrest of its top leaders including its chief of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and North Bihar Tushar Kant Bhattacharya.

Bhattacharya, hailing from Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh, wanted in several cases in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Delhi, was arrested by special task force from Dujra locality in Patna on September 19.

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Road to end Naxal menace?

Posted by Admin on September 22, 2007

NEW DELHI: In a fresh initiative, the Planning Commission has formulated an “arterial road” blueprint to help hot pursuit of Left-wing rebels and to open up the affected districts for trade.

The ambitious plan aims to create two major arteries — first, connecting Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh with Ranchi in Jharkhand, and the second, linking Bastar in Chhattisgarh with the Vijayawada-Ranchi highway or straight with Ranchi.

The home ministry recently discussed the action plan, ‘Development Strategy for Naxal Affected Areas’, with four related ministries — rural development, tribal affairs, panchayati raj and environment and forests.

To counter planting of mines by Naxals, the panel has suggested an “intensive” cement-concrete road network under PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana) in the most affected areas to interlink all hamlets having a population of 250.

The paper is a result of growing concern over the Naxal problem, now raging in 125 districts (over 20% of total 604) of 13 states, expanding from just 55 five years ago, a Plan panel source said.

It has sought creation of a rural electrification “backbone” under RGGVY (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana), besides making BSNL and/or private operators ensure complete mobile phone connectivity in the affected regions.

“In many of these districts, local administration has been paralysed and a parallel government holds sway. There is a consensus that this is not primarily a security problem but has roots in the feeling of oppression and desperation fuelled by poverty and lack of development,” says the blueprint.

MHA has appended the note to discuss a “methodology for more focused action for effective implementation of development schemes in states/districts affected by Naxalite problem”.

The paper stresses that the affected regions are mostly tribal-dominated, forested and mineral-rich. “Despite being resource-rich, the local population has remained poor.

Forest wealth and minerals have been exploited by ‘outsiders’ with almost no local value addition. Administration has been thin and weak, connectivity poor and the more difficult areas can only be reached on foot. There is also near absence of education and health facilities,” it says.

To check employee absenteeism, the panel has suggested use of biometric identification and radio frequency. The commission wants the affected states to accord priority to the vulnerable pockets in implementing core development schemes and inform the Centre if any relaxation of norms is necessary to ensure that the areas are not left out.

The aim, it says, should be to “saturate” the difficult areas with facilities as these regions usually lack the “political voice” which developed areas use to corner funds.

“An employment plan should be prepared as part of the district plan through the convergence of various schemes. A skill development initiative should be taken up on massive scale. Information communication technology should be used with an imaginative media policy to ensure that information related to the programmes is available to everyone. Local culture, dialects and perceptions should be used to prevent disinformation and subversive propaganda,” the blueprint suggests.


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