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Archive for July 2nd, 2009

Raids underway in villages to nab Chhatradhar Mahato

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


mahathoLalgarh (PTI): In pursuit of tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato, who has been elusive since the crackdown on Maoists began on June 19, security forces on Thursday launched massive raids on Pirakata, Bodopelia and Chhotopelia villages, located five to seven km from here.

Though the village of the convenor of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities was Pathardanga, which the security forces have already searched, the raids were also being conducted in Bodopelia and Chhotopelia.

These two villages, along with Dalilpur Chawk, were the hub of resistance by the Maoist-backed tribals since November last year, a senior police official told PTI.

Meanwhile, In Lalgarh, a landmine exploded in a field near the BDO’s office, without causing any damage.

DIG (Midnapore Range) Praveen Kumar, speaking about the explosion told PTI “no single incident is a victory or a loss.”

Stating that the operations were continuing, he said, all police officers were their areas of responsibility.

“All those against whom there are specific cases will be arrested, while it will be ensured that ordinary people are not harassed”, he said.

Altogether, 16 companies of security forces and police were deployed in West Midnapore district, with 900 men and women at Lalgarh, while the remaining were encamped at places like Ramgarh, Kantapahari Dharampur, wrested from Maoists in the past few days.

“We have gained control. We have done the basic field work,” Kumar said.

লালগড়ে স্বজন by KaushiK™.

People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) leader Chhatradhar Mahato speaks with the members of Swajan – Aparna Sen, Joy Goswami, Saoli Mitra, Kaushik Sen at Hariharpur near Lalgarh

Meanwhile, the reconstituted Task force, under which six secretaries of the West Bengal government were visiting Midnapore district met today and drew plans for amenities for the people.

Public Health Engineering Secretary Saurav Das said that schools, closed since the agitation began would be reopened with mid-day meals being provided to students.

“Sufficient food grains are available at the BDO’s office and gram panchayats,” he said.

The police camps at the school buildings would be shifted to four other areas.

Bus services, both private and government, would be introduced between Midnapore and Lalharh via Pirakata, another would link Lalgarh and Goaltore. Buses would also be available between Pingboni and Sarenga, in neighbouring Bankura district as also between Midnapore, Dharampore and Lalgarh, Das said.

Police escort would be provided for running the bus services, he added.

A number of families have been identified in Ramgarh who would be provided livestock, Das said.

The beds at the Lalgarh hospital would be increased to 35, while land was being looked for to construct accommodation for the medical staff, he said.

Three doctors would be appointed in addition to the one at the hospital, which would have stocks of medicines and live-saving drugs.

Schemes were sanctioned for constructing three drinking water pipelines to Pirakata, Kantapahari and Ramgarh as there was only a single one catering to 10,000 people in 10 mouzas (plot of land).

The administration was also looking into the irregularities in ration cards, he said.

In Lalgarh, ration dealers made the people deposit their ration cards with them as a result of which people could not collect the free six kg of rice and potatoes being provided.

New ration cards would be given to villagers after verification by panchayat members or the BDO.

The Hindu

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From the quartz mines at Chechurgeria, to Binpur where people die at 40

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


From Meena Sardar

Meena Sardar in 2001

Did any CC or polit bureau member of CPI(M) – even Brinda Karat – try to ascertain why 18 year old tribal woman Meena Sardar was gangraped for 14 days inside the 23naxalLalgarh PS in June 2001 and became insane thereafter? Why were 62 Divas women arrested on false charges between 2001-08, allegedly on concocted allegations at Lalgarh and adjoining regions? And all this happened during the chief ministership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. They never expressed regret over those incidents that question the validity of democratic polity under India’s largest Leftist party.

Binpur: life expectancy 40 years

Let’s pick Binpur, about 10 km away from Lalgarh, under the same Jhargram sub-division. It was no different from Orissa’s Kalahandi in abject poverty en masse. Bamapada Gangopadhyay, a freelance reporter, made an incisive on-the-spot survey of an undeclared famine in two villages under Binpur , Chikrakuti and Sushna of Midnapur district in the 1990s in the now-defunct Bengali fortnightly Pratikshan. Overwhelming majority of population of the two hamlets estimated at less than 400, belonged to Shabar or Lodha tribes. Forty five per cent of inhabitants of the two villages had been found suffering from tuberculosis or leprosy. Their life expectancy at birth is 40 years. There is no water source in the two villages or within eight kilometer radius of them. Both the villages, Bamapada wrote, based on his spot-survey, were languishing in an on-going famine for over two years.

Forest contractors coalesced with dishonest local officials of the state forest department to engage daily workers with unbelievably low wage for illegal felling of Sal trees. The forest cover underwent a very conspicuous denudation. The state forest department does an elaborate PR exercise to state that social forestry programme (a World Bank-aided endeavour) is apace. But the species for deforestation is Akashmoni (acacia auriculiformis) which grows very fast but depresses ground water level markedly. The idea of planting Akashmoni on laterite soil is inimical to sustainable vegetation.

Anuj Pandey and whom the CPIM calls martyrs

At Dharampur in Binpur CPI(M)’s Binpur zonal committee secretary Anuj Pandey had built a palatial two-storied building, whose valuation is conservatively estimated at Rs 40 lakhs in contrast to the chill penury. It was raided by villagers, with the moral support of Maoists. lalgarhThey pulled down the boundary wall and ripped out the first-floor balcony railing; smashed doors and windows, beating drums chanting: “Come and watch how a zamindar’s house made with money sucked from poor peasants is being demolished.” Pandey gets Rs 1500 a month as a party whole-timer. The episode was live-telecast by a couple of private TV channels, front-paged by several national dailies as well.

Pandey’s henchmen, Asit Samanta, Naru Samanta, Salku Soren and Prabir Mahato, allegedly killed Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (Babu Bose faction) activist Dinu Khilari, at one of his houses at Dharampur at the end of 2008. Khiulari was summoned repeatedly by them to be told to quit the JMM faction and dance to the CPI(M) tune. The JMM activist ignored them and was one day kidnapped. He was tortured for 12 hours but in vain. Khilari refused to oblige them. His dead body was found at a nearby forest next day. Bimal Dhibar, a CPI(M) local committee member at Sijua, Lalgarh, left the party in January with a statement. He named Pandey as an extortionist and morally degraded. The four henchmen were killed by a group of Maoists between 11-13 June this year. They feature prominently in the CPI(M)’s list of martyrs. “Dinu is our inspiration”, told a PSBJC member at Baropelia when this writer visited Lalgarh on 8 May last.

Quartz mine-workers at Chechurgeria: an unresolved case

Naba Dutta, general secretary, Nagarik Mancha, voluntary action forum for workers and dependants thereof, affected by industrial sickness and occupational hazards, told the other day at a seminar on Lalgarh, arranged by multilingual fortnightly The Sunday Indian (TSI) narrated that male members in those regions used to spend nights at forests, inhaling carbon dioxide as CPI(M) toughs used to raid their huts with a view to unleash torture until they submitted. This writer, when working as a special correspondent, Observer of Business and Politics , now-defunct daily of Reliance group, filed a detailed news on this in 1995. It was obviously spiked.

Remember the 12 victims of quartz mine at Chechurgeria under the Binpur PS in the 1980s. They were all poor Adivasis, all succumbed to inhaling emission of fine particulates out of crushing process. They had to work without masks. Not to speak of CPI(M and CITU or the then CPI(M) MP from Jhargram Rupchand Murmu, the Jharkhand MLA too never cared to lodge the faintest protest. CITU leader Dahareshwar Sen in a documentary defended the inaction. His wife is Nandarani Dal who got 90 per cent-plus votes from the Keshpur assembly constituency in 2001. Nagarik Mancha fought a 15-year legal battle for the next of kins of victims of Quartz stone-crushers and ultimately fetched Rs one lakh each for them.

Why has no action been taken against Lalgarh OC Sandip Sinha Roy?

On the other side of the barricade are those that talk of people’s democratic revolution under the working class. In practice, they have been institutionalizing corruption and violence to develop a kleptocratic state fitting into the logic of a mafia or predatory gang which tries to subordinate all misusing the police and administration and exterminates those that refuse to submit. Of course, they have supporters in the media like a Bengali TV channel where a veteran journalist, belonging to the fairer sex, tirelessly justifies the episodes and dishes out abominable lies along with a retired colonel – both of them are shunned by other TV channels. And with them is West Bengal’s chief secretary Ashoke Mohan Chakraborty who is unsurpassed in canine subservience to the honchos of Muzaffar Ahmed Bhavan, headquarters of CPI(M)’s West Bengal State Committee.

Kirity Roy, general secretary of Manobadhikar Suraksha Mancha – a civil rights organisation – at the TSI seminar – pointed out that disciplinary action against the then Lalgarh OC Sandip Sinha Roy whose crime in damaging an eye of Adivasi housewife Chhitamani Murmu in early November last with the butt of a rifle was proved by medical report has been evaded. For this lapse , the main responsibility is with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, home (police) minister since 1996. Proving that in reality he is the ringmaster of the aforesaid ‘mafia or predatory gang’ comprising IPS officers and their subordinates down the hierarchy, party cadres who take orders from real estate nouveau riche and corrupt comrades among whom are ministers, let alone the Pandeys and a degenerated army, commandeered by the biggies of State Coordination Committee of West Bengal Government Employees’ Unions and Associations. And also the proverbial cabritoes who limp and cry for a suck in vain while other kids suck the she-goats– I mean the likes of the journalist and army colonel.

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U.S. CounterInsurgency: Get Out of India!

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Maoist_training_IndiaThis article was published in the Maoist Information Bulletin #8 of the CPI (Maoist) and has been made available on Banned Thought.

American delegation visits Chattisgarh to advise on countering Maoist movement

The visit to Chattisgarh by a delegation sent by the American imperialists in the first week of May 2009 shows the hideous plans of the imperialists and their compradors in India guided by their twin aim of suppressing the revolutionary movement and looting the natural wealth of our country.

It has become clear to the imperialists that the Maoists in India are growing rapidly and are emerging as an alternative to the rotten parliamentary mainstream and that a growing proportion of the population is gradually drawing towards the revolution.

The imperialists and reactionaries know that the worldwide economic crisis with its serious fall-out in countries like India serves as a fertile basis for the resurgence of the revolutionary movements and strengthening of Maoist parties as well as birth of new Maoist parties. Hence they are hatching plans to nip these in the bud. The visit by the three-member delegation from the US to Chattisgarh should be seen in this light.

Tribal marchThe delegation led by Counsul-General situated in Mumbai Consulate office, Paul Fomes B, and Michelle Nubil and accompanied by their advisor, Arundhati Mundle, visited Chattisgarh on May 5 to discuss two things: one, on the ways and means to deal with the Maoist movement; and two, the potential for imperialist investments in the region. Besides the Chief Minister, the delegation also met several ministers and bureaucrats as well as the opposition Congress leaders.

The state of Chattisgarh is known for its rich mineral wealth and the Tatas, Mittals, Ruias, and others are eyeing its wealth since long. US imperialism, caught up in the most severe crisis in its history, is trying to shift the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the people of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The visit to Chattisgarh is part of this plan.

Since it is the Maoists who pose the real threat to the imperialist – comprador exploitation of the region, naturally suppression of Maoist movement becomes the top item in their Agenda. It is reported that the delegation had separate discussions with both the BJP and Congress leaders on the question of Naxalism, and the means of suppressing it.

The American imperialists are itching to interfere in the affairs of India and render all aid and advise to the rulers for suppressing the Maoists. What transpired in the secret parleys between the two sides is anybody’s guess. Maoism has become a spectre haunting the imperialists particularly the US imperialists as they confront the worst-ever global economic crisis that is threatening to transform into a worldwide social-political explosion with the potential to develop into a revolutionary upsurge.

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Solidarity Message from the Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) to the Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


STOP THE IMPENDING MASSACRE IN WEST BENGAL!
The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) strongly denounces the mass criminal offensive conducted by the security forces and the paramilitary gangs ordered by the West Bengal government against the fighting peasants and adivasis in Lalgarh, West Midnapor. The administration in Kolkata, in collaboration with the federal state and police forces have surrounded villages and rural areas, exercising brutal violence and have launched a huge tide of state terror along with prohibiting journalists, NGOs, and fact finding committees to visit Lalgarh aiming to wear down the resistance of poor peasants and adivasis in order to implement the land-grabbing policy of their lands by the multinational corporations. They have the impertinence to characterize as terrorists the revolutionaries, who under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), fight in the forefront of this just struggle against the fierce capitalist assault of the Kalkota and New Delhi governments.The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) strongly denounces the decision of the New Delhi and Kalkota government to ban the Communist Party of India (Maoist), terming it a terrorist organization. The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) calls all the progressive people across the world to express their solidarity to the just struggle of poor peasants and adivasis in West Bengal and demand to stop the military assault that has been launched in the most brutal way.
Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist)
International Bureau
Athens 24/6/2009

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Lalgarh: an analysis of the media’s war hysteria

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati. June 24, 2009.

War-hysteria in media: cobras, shields, and sanitization

police-take-lalgarhWe have been witnessing what can only be described as “war hysteria” in the media coverage of the current situation in Lalgarh and adjoining areas. It appears as if the great protectors of the “rule of law”, the West Bengal state police, propped up by the CRPF and a plethora of other armed forces, with suitably scary acronyms like COBRA, are out to regain a chunk of Indian territory occupied by a hostile country. What is conveniently not being mentioned is that for ages the police itself has behaved like invaders in the area, willfully torturing and humiliating people, and that is why they had been boycotted in that area for the past six months. With blow-by-blow accounts of their progress, and description of how they are penetrating “human shields”, and “sanitizing” whole areas, it doesn’t seem that their adversaries are the poorest of the poor, the most marginalized sections of Indian society, the adivasis who are armed with traditional weapons like bows and arrows, and some Maoist cadre, who would be a few dozen at the most, and armed mostly with weapons looted from the police and improvised explosive devices.

The trigger in Dharampur: a popular response to rampaging harmad militias

More importantly, what is being represented as a war between the Maoists and the Indian state, conveniently glosses over some points that we need to pay our attention to. The rural area of Lalgarh has been out of bounds for the administrative machinery of the state since last November, since the uprising of the adivasi-moolvasi people of the area against police atrocities. With the setting up of the PCPA, the adivasis had been running their own affairs, and even taking up much-needed developmental work, a whiff of functioning democracy in the middle of the hoax that goes on by the name of democratic governance in large parts of India.

Then, what suddenly triggered this confrontation, and this cascade of events that is lalgarh111today witnessing police dragging out women from houses in the Lalgarh area and beating them blue and black and hundreds of people fleeing to relief camps?

It points to the incident which happened in Dharampur, near Lalgarh town, on June 14th. It was reported in the press on that day, but now has been conveniently forgotten as the press is busy to set up the Maoists, and the PCPA, which they repeatedly call Maoist-controlled contrary to all evidence and denials by the PCPA leadership, as the arch-villains in this episode.

Dharampur is near Lalgarh town, and it was a CPI(M) stronghold where the house of the zonal committee member, Anuj Pandey, was located. On 14th June, a PCPA rally was proceeding towards that place, called to protest against the arrest and reported rape of adivasi women who had gone to a meeting in Chakulia in Jharkhand. It was a usual PCPA rally, with traditional weapons and led by women as usual. When it neared Dharampur, it was attacked by CPI(M) harmads, targeting the women. The rallyists couldn’t resist this attack and dispersed, but then a Maoist squad arrived and started a gun battle with the CPI(M) cadres, which continued till late in the night.

With their superior firepower, the Maoists gunned down at least nine of the CPI(M) attackers. Thereafter, the next day there were multiple rallies called by the PCPA, and the people in these rallies, who were incensed by the CPI(M) attack of the previous day, decided to take over the CPI(M) strongholds of Dharampur, a major operating base for the CPI(M) harmads, and Lalgarh town which was still under the administrative control of the government. The Maoist squad accompanied them, to resist attacks by the CPI(M), and not allow a repetition of the past day’s incident.

20,000 Maoists and “frontal organisations”?

What followed has been widely reported, how CPI(M) party offices were burnt down,lalgarh-adibasis how the palatial house of Anuj Pandey, the widely hated CPI(M) leader, was broken down, and how some CPI(M) members were killed. It was a spontaneous outburst of pent up fury of the people, people who had been subjected to humiliation and exploitation by these same CPI(M) leaders on a daily basis. They acted out of a sense of deliverance from the hegemony and corruption of the CPI(M). The Maoists were definitely present, but the 10,000-20,000 people who participated in this uprising were definitely not Maoists, as has been represented by the press. They were common people, and their anger and frustration found expression in this outburst. Although a number of political leaders, including those from the Trinamool Congress and Congress, made statements to this effect, it has completely been glossed over by the mainstream press.

Human shields – a physical protection of liberty and development

In order to reinforce this idea, multiple press reports have tried to represent the human walls set up by the adivasis as “human shields” being used by the Maoists to protect themselves from the police and paramilitary. It is possibly incomprehensible to the corporate media that these people were standing there not to protect the Maoists, but to protect the freedom that they have enjoyed for the past six months, freedom from daily harassment and humiliation, and to preserve the gains that they had made during that time, like the building of a few roads and digging of a few ponds, meeting the immediate needs of the people, things that Indian state has not provided in the past sixty-two years.

Teaching adivasis a few lessons along the way

mass_movement_lalgarh_maoismHowever, as expected, they could not resist the brute force unleashed by the same state that had failed them so miserably. The police and paramilitary dispersed them by teargas and lathicharging, and since then there has been innumerable reports of atrocities being committed by the police. Remarkably, much of these atrocities were committed in the villages on the way to Lalgarh town, which were not even within the zone that was under the control of the PCPA. It appears that the state is bent upon teaching the adivasis a lesson for standing up for their dignity, and the Maoists represented a suitable bogey for doing so. The Maoists, according to their stated policy of guerrilla warfare, would not engage in a frontal confrontation with the paramilitary forces. So what have effectively taken place are a few skirmishes between vastly assymetrical adversaries, and the brave saviours of “law and order” have vented their righteous ire on the unarmed adivasis.

Maoist presence: an old fact and a rehashed bogey

The Maoists have been active in the entire jangalmahal area for a long time, and have been fighting a running battle with the state. The adivasis in the area have long been victimized by the police for this, and it was the police brutalities in the wake of the landmine attack on the West Bengal CM’s convoy by the Maoists that triggered this uprising. The Maoists have been with the adivasis of Lalgarh in this uprising against the state, just as members of many other political parties including the Congress, have been with them. What we are witnessing today is that the Indian state is using this as an excuse to delegitimize the just demands and aspirations of the adivasis, which stemmed from a simple demand for the recognition of their dignity. Attacks on indigeneous people are taking place all over the world, whenever they are resisting the state and the corporations attempt to deprive them of their land, water, forests and dignity, as we recently saw in the attacks on the Peruvian indigeneous people in the Amazon area. All attempts to resist and retaliate are being represented as insurgency and a breakdown of “law and order”. The corporate press is playing along with this, as we see in the case of Lalgarh, and deliberately glossing over facts and issues, to represent the struggle of the indigeneous people, in which armed struggle is increasingly playing a part, as a loss of sovereign authority by the state, which has to be regained at any cost.

Ground dynamics and civil society

The “civil society” in West Bengal, and all over India, has rightly been very distressed over these incidents and condemned both the atrocities committed by the state and what many think to be the reckless behaviour of the Maoists. However, it is also to be expected that the civil society cannot decide, or dictate, what course a movement on the ground will take. A movement develops its own dynamics, based on the ground conditions, and always does not follow a linear path to the most desirable end. Therefore, it becomes the duty of civil society to stand up and be counted when common people are at the receiving end of oppression by the state. We should express our solidarity with the struggle of the adivasis for justice and development, deplore the atrocities being committed on them by the armed forces of the state and demand the immediate withdrawal of the latter from the area as a necessary condition for normalization of the situation and also condemn all the attempts by the state to use this excuse to impinge on the democratic rights of the people. The adivasis had risen up with the demand of a small apology from the police, if what is happening now does not stop, the Indian state will owe them a much bigger one.

Sanhati

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The Dark Side: A Political Travelogue through Orissa

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Traveling through cut-off villages near Balimela reservoir, to parts of the Dandakaranya forest and the Niyamgiri hills, the writer encounters villagers who have been paying the price of “India’s economic miracle”. His guide-book promises a great place for scenic beauty and adventure water sport – he finds instead darkness, hospitals five hours away, aluminum behemoths displacing tribals with impunity – and growing mutinies.

Balimela reservoir: The cut-off village of Sitagandhi

Our launch took two hours to reach Singaram, the first “cut-off” village on Balimela reservoir, which my tourist guidebook calls “a great place for scenic beauty and adventure water sport.” As the lone boat of the day had left, the only way in was to hitch a ride with the police. As advertised, serene deep blue water surrounded lush and lofty green hills. But life for people in this unhappy corner of Orissa state is no idyll.

India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, built dams here in Orissa in the 1950s to improve the lives of the poor. He called them “the new temples of modern India.” Balimela was a pioneer project of a hopeful new experiment of a newly independent nation: Nehruvian development. Read the rest of this entry »

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PUDR on the banning of the CPI (Maoist)

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Peoples Union for Democratic Rights

In 2004, when the Congress led UPA government came to power it repealed the POTA, which it admitted had been grossly misused. It simultaneously amended an existing law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 (UAPA), siphoning into it some of extraordinary provisions of POTA, including those pertaining to banning of terrorist organizations. The conditions of banning under the amended Act no longer require a statement to explain the reasons of issuing a ban, a gazette notification merely adding an entry to the Schedule of the Act is sufficient, and there do not exist any provision for judicial redress.

On 22 June 2009, the CPI (Maoist) was added to the list of banned organizations in the Schedule of the UAPA. The Home Minister has claimed that the notification banning the organization was made necessary to remove ambivalences. Indeed, the CPI (M-L), PWG, and the MCC, which later merged to form the CPI (Maoist), were banned organizations since 5 December 2001. Apart from the futility of banning, the notification shows the total disregard the government continues to have towards people’s movements around issues of livelihood, dispossession and alienation that have accumulated and aggravated over the last several years of the unleashing of neo-liberal policies on unsuspecting tribal populations and the rural poor.

It is indeed ironical that a month back, this government had claimed to have returned to power on the weight of its social policy programmes. The politics of banning is indeed reflective of a regime which despite its electoral victory, has but a truncated social base. Banning the CPI (Maoist), is therefore, not just arbitrary, it shows that the UPA government has lost the political courage to address the substantive issues of land and livelihood that the adivasis have been raising across the country in Chhattisgarh, Orissa or West Bengal. While banning itself is undemocratic and constrains the ideological spaces of freedom, in this case, it seems to also send across the message that like the government of any authoritarian state, this government too would prefer to use the law to suppress dissent violently. Much has been made of Maoist violence in the press. Without condoning this violence, PUDR would ask the Home Minister to note the extremely debilitating socio-economic contexts which has precipitated the adivasi movements in the country, and use the electoral mandate it has received to direct attention where it is required most, and in a way which is conducive to democracy through long term social programmes addressing issues of economic disparity.

Moushumi Basu
Gautam Navlakha

Secretaries
PUDR

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Armed movement in city before 2011 poll: Kishanji

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


KOLKATA: The Maoist offensive will not be contained within West Midnapore for long. An interview with CPI(Maoist) politburo member Kishanji,printed in the latest edition of the Maoist mouthpiece Gana Pratirodh Mancha, talks about the banned group’s plan to start its movements in Singur and Nayachar soon. It also talks about an armed movement in Kolkata before the 2011 Assembly elections.

While the Lalgarh movement continues, it is possible that the movements might spread to Singur and Nayachar, the interview suggests. “Trinamool Congress will not be able to lead the Singur movement for long, as it has tied up with Congress. People in Singur are already seething at the present nonchalance of Trinamool. The latter is playing safe because any friction with Congress before the Assembly will prove fatal. The land movement needs leaders now and we are about to fill the vacuum,” he says in the interview. After entering Singur, the primary objective of the Maoists will be to drive a wedge between the other political parties there, he adds.

Kishanji also quashes popular belief that it was Trinamool alone which was leading the people’s resistance in Nandigram. He claims that the CPI(Maoists) did play a strong role in building up mass resistance in Nandigram, so much so that it has today become a model in the anti-SEZ movements. “We are now heading towards Nayachar because we will not let the chemical hub come up there. We are about to build up public awareness against such a chemical hub by sensitising people about the harms that it will cause to the environment and natural resources,” he says.

He calls the Lalgarh movement a “second Naxalbari”, because of the armed resistance that it has been able to offer in the face of “state-led coercion”, adding, “We have 1100 villages with us in the movement. Even the mass vote boycott during the Lok Sabha elections was the first to happen since the days of the Naxalbari movement. Just like it happened in the earlier movement, we struck at a place which is the weakest spot of the state and which automatically makes it our stronghold.”

For the past few days, since the state-led forces launched the Lalgarh attack, Naxal leaders of yesteryears have been accusing the Maoists of misleading tribals of the area. It has been said that their armed uprising negates the very purpose of a people’s movement. Kishanji counters these accusations in the interview.

“Most Naxal groups of those days have chosen the easy path today that of the parliamentary system. Look at Santosh Rana, whose group actually swivelled from ultra-Left politics to help usher in Rightist politics in the country,” accused Kishanji. He added that people like Rana could not be forgiven for leaving the Lalgarh movement in the lurch.

TOI

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Rising ambitions of India’s Maoists

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Tribespeople of Lalgarh

The Communist government has neglected tribals in Lalgarh, say analysts

Maoist rebels took control of a tribal area in India’s West Bengal state for nearly eight months before a security offensive forced them out last month. Subir Bhaumik on why the rebels chose to wrest control of Lalgarh and their future plans.

Why did India’s Maoist rebels end up taking over a tribal-dominated area barely 250km from the eastern Indian city of Calcutta?

The Communist state government lost control of Lalgarh in West Midnapore district last November. It took all of eight months and paramilitary troops to drive out the rebels from the area late last month.

Lalgarh, an embattled forest enclave on the borders of the eastern Indian states of West Bengal and Jharkhand, has been described as “the second Naxalbari” by Maoist leaders.

This indicates how important it was for them to take control of this tribal-dominated area.

Naxalbari, the site of India’s Maoist-inspired uprising in 1967, is now a sleepy village in West Bengal bordering Nepal. It is inhabited by smugglers or struggling tea garden workers.

‘Alienated’

The only thing that is common between Naxalbari and Lalgarh is that both have predominantly tribal populations who are alienated and have not benefitted from the land reforms of the Marxist government.

“The tribals in Bengal’s Junglemahal area (in which Lalgarh falls) have been completely alienated because in the last 30 years, they have got nothing from the Communist coalition government here. The Communist rulers have taken the tribals for granted,” says Ranabir Sammadar, director of the Calcutta Research Group, who has worked on the area.

A Maoist leader talking to the media in Lalgarh

The rebels took over the Lalgarh area last November

Maoist leader Kishenji claimed in a BBC interview that the mass movement in Lalgarh against “oppression of the establishment Left and its police” has given them a major base in West Bengal for the first time since the Naxalite uprising was crushed in the mid-1970s.

“We have 1,100 villages with us in the movement. The resistance they have offered in the face of massive state-led coercion has given us much hope, as did the mass boycott of the parliament polls in the area,” he said.

“For the first time since the Naxalite movement, we have struck a place which is the weakest spot of the state and which automatically makes it our stronghold.”

‘Guerilla zone’

That is why the Maoists, who have already established their influence in at least eastern and central Indian states, were keen to hold on to Lalgarh as their “first major guerrilla zone” in Bengal.

Security forces patrol Lalgarh

Federal security troops had to be brought in to wrest control of Lalgarh

“It was not a liberated area, as has been wrongly referred by the media. But it was surely emerging as an effective guerrilla zone, where we could undermine if not fully drive away the state,” says Kishenji.

If Lalgarh was secured as a base, the Maoists could then spread their influence elsewhere in Bengal.

“They were already getting some sympathy from a section of the intelligentsia that is disillusioned with the ruling left after police excesses in the land rights movement in Nandigram,” says political analyst Sabyasachi Basu Raychaudhury.

“Besides, they could also penetrate the disgruntled industrial workers unions which were upset with the Left’s support for capitalism.

“Winning over the Bengali middle class through the intelligentsia and the industrial workers are key elements in the new mass line that the Maoists adopted in their last party congress.”

But some feel the Maoists overplayed their cards.

They set alarm bells ringing by throwing out the local police and by staging random attacks against ruling left supporters in late May, says analyst Maj Gen KK Gangopadhyay.

The state government initiated a huge operation with federal paramilitary forces and state armed police to retake Lalgarh in early June.

‘Human shields’

“The Maoists did not perhaps expect such a huge security response, such a big operation, against which they have no chance of holding territory,” Mr Gangopadhyay said.

Maoist rebels in Lagarh

The rebels plan want to move forward

The BBC’s Amitabh Bhattasali has been with the security forces from the beginning of the operation to retake Lalgarh.

“The state police is clearly not yet ready for counter-insurgency, they can just about manage riot control,” says Mr Bhattasali.

“It was a strange sight to see so many policemen and policewomen enter the Lalgarh jungles with lathis (batons) and shields.”

Maybe they were deployed to tackle “mass agitations” by villagers who, police alleged, have been used as “human shields” by the Maoists.

But security analysts agree that without the federal paramilitaries , the operation to cleanse Lalgarh of rebels would not have been successful.

Kishenji says that by the time Bengal goes to its next state assembly elections in 2011, the Maoists will have expanded their influence in Bengal, even as far as Calcutta.

“We will have an armed movement going in Calcutta by 2011, that’s for sure,” said Kishenji.

Control over Calcutta has been a key objective for Indian Maoists since the beginning of the movement in the 1960s – so perhaps Lalgarh is the half-way house to Calcutta.

BBC

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Press Release: Condemn the Arrest of Peaceful Demonstrators

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Joint Demonstration in Delhi Opposing Military Action and repression on Adivasis of Lalgarh was disturbed by Delhi Police

A protest demonstration was held today June 30th 2009 at A K Gopalan Bhawan against repression on adivasis at Lalgarh by security forces. Several intellectuals, students, youth and workers participated in the programme, organized by, Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) and several mass organizations.

Delhi police swooped on the protest demonstration in front of CPI-M office in Delhi against Paramilitary – police action on Lalgarh and arrested 21 activists and dispersed hundreds by using heavy force. The arrested have been detained in Mandir Marg police station. Four activists were injured. Some media persons were beaten up and manhandled.

Earlier in the morning a huge police force was deployed to prevent the protestors to gather at Bhai Veer Singh Marg where the All-India office of CPI(M) was located in Delhi. The road leading to this office was barricaded and closed so that the demonstrators could not reach. Some protestors sneaked in through by-lanes and shopping complex entries. Then the police closed these lanes also. About 150 protestors reached the CPI (M) office gate and raised slogans against the police atrocities on Lalgarh people. A huge number of intellectuals, youth, students and workers not allowed to gather by the police by imposing prohibitory orders.

However groups of protestors at various corners condemned the joint Police paramilitary action of the Central Govt. and the CPM led West Bengal Govt. who have unleashed CoBRA, Eastern Rifles, Assam Rifles, BSF, and CRPF along with armed police of the state against adivasi citizens of the country. They have told the press that the police action was is in retaliation to the struggle of the adivasis of Lalgarh against police atrocities on them in November 2008. Expressing solidarity with the adivasis’ struggles, the protestors demanded:

* Immediate withdrawal of Central paramilitary forces and West Bengal state police forces from Lalgarh and adjoining areas,

* The Central Govt. and West Bengal Govt. initiate dialogue with the tribals on their demands for the political solution and immediately address the demands of the tribal people in Lalgarh,

* Stoppage of harassment of women and children for refusing to be mistreated and exploited, and

* Immediate steps be taken to end all sufferings of the tribals due to the actions of Central and state forces.

Protestors condemned Congress led UPA Govt. for unleashing the terror against adivasis through paramilitary forces and denounced CPM led West Bengal Govt. for its apathy for the conditions of tribals and continuing police atrocities over them during over three decades of its rule and refusal to negotiate with the adivasis on their issues attempting to suppress their movement against oppression and injustice.

Protestors also condemned the arrests of and FIRs against concerned and well known social activists and film makers who have tried to go among the tribal people of Lalgarh since the massive action of the security forces in the area and who have tried to open routes for a negotiated settlement with the tribals on their issues. The prominent social activists have been prevented to visit the region to hide the massive atrocities committed by the security forces and state police along with the CPI (M) cadre-goons on the tribal people in Lalgarh and the adjoining areas.

The protest was called by Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS), Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), while a number of democratic organizations and individual intellectuals of Delhi joined.

Later in the afternoon the arrested protestors were released.

(G N Saibaba) (Dr. Mrigank)

RDF NBS

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Masses make their own histories — Democratic Students Union Document

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Expose SFI-CPM’s Lies! Stand by Lalgarh’s Struggle against State Repression!

Masses make their own histories, not in the best of circumstances of their own choice but in the circumstances given to them.

–Marx

The old is dying and the new is struggling to be born; in this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms.

–Gramsci

As more and more write-ups and commentaries on the people’s uprising in Lalgarh is pouring in, it is important to respond to some of the salient points that keep coming up albeit couched in political sophistry. Whether it is from the sensation-crazed media or from Karats to Yechury, Biman Bose or Buddhadeb and their likes in the Liberation, or the SFI and AISA in this campus, all have striking similarities. The most striking aspect which also speaks volumes of their political bankruptcy is their latent and mortal fear to accept that people, the masses of the people, can also think. They do have a political will determined by their objective and subjective experiences of the harsh realities of eking out a livelihood in some of the most economically backward regions of the subcontinent. This is a deliberate vice of all ruling class ideologies and their practitioners to portray people as lifeless beings, empty receptacles who can only be `gullible’ and `innocent’. So like the “white man’s burden” it is for the righteous CPM, Liberation and their torchbearers in the campus —including some of the learned faculty— to show the people the `true’ path. But this path is of servility to the existing exploitative, blood-thirsty policies promoted by all the political parties that have put their money-bags in the parliament.

Why are these parties insisting that the people of Lalgarh are gullible, ignorant, innocent, illiterate…? It is only in that way they can justify their massive police-paramilitary build up in the region to `liberate’ the people from the clutches of the Maoists who have led them astray under the barrel of the gun. What CPM, Liberation, SFI and AISA is conveniently forgetting is that the same people of Lalgarh has long been fighting the harmads, the fascist goons of the CPM armed to the teeth with ammunition provided from the government ordinance factories. These storm-troopers were the forces through which the CPM used to maintain their control over the people, enforce elections, corner government money meant for the development of the adivasis, and maintain an informers’ network which used to work in tandem with the police. So to say the Maoists have terrorised the people of Lalgarh into submission to indulge in their `infantile disorder’ is to refuse to admit the bold and daring initiative of the masses of Jangalkhand, their efforts to build a future free from all forms of exploitation and domination. The efforts to build health centres, roads linking up all the villages, small check dams and other water harvesting methods through which they have managed two crops a season are all definite indicators of the political will of the people, their vision of their future. Through these efforts where the people –adivasis and dalits were at the centre of development and not CPM and its village strongmen – the impoverished masses of Lalgarh has succeeded in freeing themselves from CPM’s stranglehold in the last eight months of the movement against state repression, and to reverse their dependency on migratory labour outside the region. This people who have dared to manage their own future can rebel against any form of domination and exploitation, and as per SFI if the Maoists are doing that, then they too will be taught a lesson by the masses. The People’s Committee have given an open call for everyone to visit these areas to have a first hand knowledge of what is becoming and what is passing away in the unfolding struggle of Lalgarh. Perhaps the SFI and AISA members should go to these areas and see the initiative of the masses for themselves, and discover the truth.

SFI was quoting Mao perhaps to teach the DSU a lesson or two on the need for politics to be in command of all the actions by the revolutionaries. But strangely one thing that is missing in all the SFI and AISA pamphlets was politics from the point of view of the oppressed, deprived, discriminated and exploited. While reading Mao, SFI might have also come across this great insight from that Marxist practitioner—to have faith in the masses and only the masses. All the parliamentary parties fear the masses. Whenever the masses rise in revolt they grab the constitution which normally and conveniently they forget. They turn upside down all dissidence of the people into a `law and order’ question. So when Yechury is busy asking Manmohan Singh to show his seriousness by deploying the forces with immediate effect in Lalgarh and adjoining areas, Prakash Karat makes a song and dance about the virtues of dealing with the Maoists politically and `administratively’. To add to this, Brinda Karat has gone senile to the extent that she has harped on the imperialist backed (for CPM’s alleged opposition to the Nuke Deal) efforts of the Congress-Trinamul-`Ultra Left’ combine to dislodge a democratically elected government of West Bengal. In all this double–talk of the CPM leaders, their fascist face could not be hidden from the masses. Soon they set the gun on Chidambaram’s shoulder to declare the CPI (Maoist) as a terrorist organisation. So much for their political and ideological dealing with the Maoists. They have even declined to differentiate between the Maoists and the members of the People’s Committee leading the struggle, paving way for the persecution of one and all resisting state repression. When we look into the arms-haul made from the CPM office in Khejuri near Nandigram—which Mamata Banerjee had declared as `liberated from the clutches of CPM’—nobody asked as to how a party could have police uniforms and ammunition from the ordinance factories in its office. Predictably, there was no police-paramilitary operation against Mamata’s `liberated’ Khejuri. This also shows the class character of ruling class oppression of all forms of dissent —whether armed or unarmed— that are genuinely from the masses of the people. As long as it is turf war between CPM and Trinamul, Congress or BJP, it is not a law and order question.

SFI has blamed the Maoists for making people’s struggles a `law and order’ question. Does that mean the people do not have any right to defend themselves against the flagrant violation of their right to livelihood, dignity, and security? There was also an indication that in Kandhamal it was due to the Maoist killing of the Hindu Fascist Lakshmanananda that the people of Kandhamal had to suffer the persecution of the RSS-Bajrang Dal goons. So does that mean by the same standards, the people of Lalgarh have to suffer in the hands of the security forces because the Maoists sided with the oppressed masses? The SFI should come clear. They would make even an RSS and ABVP proud with their findings, which lacks any class analysis and reads like the handout of the officialdom.

Today anyone who defiantly speak against the anti-people policies of the government and at the same time keep all ruling class parties away from their struggle are branded Maoists. And Chidambaram-Buddha combine have also called the Maoists as terrorists. The SFI taking cue from that has also started profiling the very ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. If they have differences with the ideology of the revolutionaries, they should state first their ideological-political differences. Who is the genuine representative of the revolutionary ideals of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao and all people’s heroes will be determined by those who have dared to make their own histories not in circumstances of their own choice but in circumstances given to them. Lalgarh and its people have dared to do it. The progressive and democratic forces including the Maoists have said they are with them. It is only the CPM, SFI, Liberation and AISA by indulging in duplicity have turned against the fighting masses, or are parroting the oft-repeated sophistry that `innocent’ [read ignorant] people are caught between the state and the Maoists. They should know that the failure of the revisionist CPM in West Bengal or Kerala does not mean the defeat of communist ideology in the subcontinent. It only shows the failure of a party that turned against the cause of social change by caricaturing Marxism, by becoming a part of the Indian ruling class, and thereby the trusted agents of imperialism, feudalism and the big bourgeoisie. The complete failure of CPM in addressing the genuine demands of the adivasis and poor peasants even after their 30 years of virtual reign in West Bengal is a tell-tale sign of the party’s deviation from the basics of Marxist politics. Their reactionary political ideology as is visible from the failure of land redistribution among the masses, and also from the invitation to the Tatas and Jindals for establishing the industries at the cost of poor peasants and adivasis. It is no different from Congress and BJP’s pro-imperialist political line.

Branding anyone who is standing against state oppression as Maoists has become a license to torture and kill. And it is not a new tactic, it was employed when dalit Christians were burnt alive by the RSS goons in Orissa, in persecuting adivasis in the name of Salwa Judum, in the cold-blooded murder of adivasi youths on mere suspicion of being Maoist supporters in Chattisgarh, and in the present state repression in Lalgarh. The SFI is trying hard to justify the butchering of poor adivasis because they have started to resist the perpetuation of decades of organized and systemic violence on the most oppressed sections of the society. The SFI is ruing the punishment of Avijit Mahatos and Anuj Pandeys of the CPM, who has generated people’s wrath because of their fascist stranglehold over the poor masses. SFI must understand that Marxist politics is not what is propagated by CPM, but what is manifested by the conviction of Lalgarh’s adivasi masses to fight against the ruling class’s dictatorship. No amount of `course-correction’ and `introspection’ can save CPM from its eminent doom, and no amount of repression can break the resolve of the heroic Lalgarh masses for their liberation.

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US Intervention in Lalgarh

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2009


Latest Report from Lalgarh

Amit Bhattacharyya

Dated, 28 June, 2009

The Bengali daily Sanbad Pratidin of 27 June 2009 carried a front-page news item which clearly shows that US intelligence agencies and the Indian space research centre, the ISRO are very much involved in this war declared by the central and WB state government against the people of Lalgarh. The report is captioned ‘Chemical dyes and foreign technology used to locate Mao’, and written by Rajarshee Dasgupta. This is a free translation.

“Goaltore: A literally ‘high tech’ war has started in Lalgarh. The names of both the US intelligence satellite and the Indian space research centre, ISRO have been tagged with this war preparation for regaining the areas held by the Maoists. On the other hand, in order to trace the Maoist guerrillas who have kept themselves mixed with the villagers, the administration has taken the help of the most modern technology. At the beginning of the second round of the ‘Operation Lalgarh’, the air force has dropped special chemical dyes over Murarka village adjoining the Burishol forest where 1,500 Maoist guerrillas are supposed to be holed up. In case that dye falls on the bodies of the guerrillas, that colour will last for one year. It means that after they are driven out from that area by the forces, they would take shelter in another village; it would thus be easy to identify them. As a result, the Maoists, on the one hand, would not be able to get themselves mixed up with the villagers; on the other hand, the police forces would not be accused of arresting innocent people while going for the Maoists. The first part in this ‘high tech’ war was successful on Friday(i.e,26 June). There will be a fresh expedition on Saturday. On that day, the administration has taken the decision to apply this special method.

For the last eight months, the police were totally in the dark about what had been taking place in the interior. It was only after decision was taken to undertake joint expedition that the state home department woke up from its slumber. They requested the central government to help them know about the whereabouts, base area, the location of the forces etc of the Maoist guerrillas inside the ‘core area’. After a lot of discussion, it was decided that foreign technological assistance would be taken. The central home department also thought about satellite pictures. Accordingly, the government turned towards the ISRO and US technology. It was through RI Sat-2 and US intelligence satellite that areas such as Baroperlia, Kantapahari, Ramgarh, Mahultal, Kadashol, Pingboni, Goaltore on one side and Dhrampur and Jhitka on the other came under the satellite scanner. After continuous scanning, the two institutes started sending still pictures. Then army intelligence officers were called upon to analyze the data. The army intelligence officials sat down at the eastern army headquarter at Fort William, Kolkata and noticed the movement of a massive guerrilla army inside the Kadashol forest. They could also identify the movements of armed squads in Ramgarh-Narcha region. The news of a red Maruti van being parked in Ramgarh bazaar was communicated to police officials in charge of operations. On the basis of this information, the expedition started from Goaltore towards Ramgarh. More companies of the central forces were brought in. After that, order was given to those leading police supers, deputy supers and CRPF commandants for march. Ultimately, the expedition started on Friday(i.e, 26 June). As the forces had prior knowledge about the area, the joint forces could, with ease, capture the 6-km area from Goaltore to Kadashol by overcoming the difficulty posed by 12 landmines and the Maoist guns.

In course of the expedition, time and again did debate broke out over the question of how to separate Maoists from the villagers. It was to overcome this problem that the decision to drop one particular chemical from the helicopter was taken. On Friday, it was dropped on the Maoist guerrillas on an experimental basis. On different occasions in foreign countries and in many a war, this method was applied. It is in Lalgarh that for the first time in a state-led expedition, such things were applied against the secessionists(sic!). On the whole, it can be stated that from the satellite pictures to the dropping of helicopters—everything in the ‘Operation Lalgarh’ is ‘high tech’”.

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