Indian Vanguard

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Archive for September 3rd, 2009

Bastar rally of BSKSS: Demands, attitude towards Maoists and established activism

Posted by Admin on September 3, 2009 Gautam Navlakha and Asish Gupta. August 28, 2009.

This article reports the first rally of a newly formed peasant organisation in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. The rally voiced its protest against corporate landgrab and the complicity of the state. Interestingly, the political background of members covers the full spectrum, bound together by common demands, and the attitude towards established social activism is one of watchful distance. Equally interesting is the attitude of attendees towards Maoists. This is a nominally edited version of the report on Radicalnotes. – Ed.

After two months of persistence Bastar Sambhag Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (BSKSS) could hold its first rally cum public meeting on June 1, 2009 in Jagdalpur, Bastar district, in the state of Chhattisgarh. This rally was held to protest displacement of adivasi peasants from their land and forest as well as construction of Bodh Ghat Dam, privatization of mines and river water resources. As the only two ‘outsiders’ we looked on as streams of people at the height of summer month walked raising slogans and their fist.

Click here for leaflet distributed at rally [Hindi, JPG] »
Click here for list of slogans raised in the rally [Hindi, JPG] »

They gathered at College Campus and then from Dharampura the rally made its way to Indira Priyadarshini Stadium. Their short but wiry bodies in terms of age and gender may have been different but the steps they took, many barefoot, were determined and firm. After the rally as people made their way into the Stadium some were seen leaving in a different direction. These were people who had arrived the night before, and had to travel long distances to return home. They were anxious to do so before dusk fell. But those who remained behind for the public meeting sat under the shade provided by canopies rented by the organizers. They sat down to listen. Slogans had been shouted; now was the time to hear what their own people had to say. Read the rest of this entry »

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Delhi public meeting and statement on impending offensive of the government

Posted by Admin on September 3, 2009

The following statement was formulated during the course of a public meeting in Delhi on August 4 2009, on the impending armed offensive of the government “to wipe out the CPI(Maoist)”. It reflects a certain aspect of civil society response to the issue. – Ed.

Stop Militarization- Engage in Dialogue

4th August 2009, New Delhi


We are a group of citizens concerned about the escalating armed confrontation between the CPI (Maoist) and Government forces.

Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh recently said “dialogue and engagement is the best way forward… Unless we want to go to war with Pakistan, dialogue is the only way out.” Surely, the fallout of waging war on one’s own citizens is as serious, and perhaps more so, than the fallout of war between two states. Yet, from all accounts, the government is planning a major military offensive after the monsoons across several states, in an effort to wipe out the CPI (Maoist). This attempt to replicate the recently concluded war in Sri Lanka, will involve a similar huge cost in civilian lives, which is unacceptable in any country, which claims to be a constitutional democracy.

The military build-up by the government is accompanied by the increasing use of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and the enactment of security laws, which penalize ordinary freedom of expression. It has also involved, as in Chhattisgarh, the use of non-state actors like Salwa Judum to terrorise villagers, burn their homes and force them into camps or outside the state. Over a thousand people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced and rendered destitute by the Salwa Judum, SPOs and security forces acting in concert. In the context of Pakistan, the Prime Minister has said: “I was told that Mumbai was the work of non-state actors. I said this gave little satisfaction and that it was the duty of their government to ensure that such acts were not perpetrated from their territory.” What is applicable to the Government of Pakistan must be equally applicable to the Government of India and the Government of Chhattisgarh, which continues to support and promote the illegal activities of the Salwa Judum and Special Police Officers (SPOs). In addition, even when the Supreme Court has ordered that the Chhattisgarh government give compensation and rehabilitate victims of Salwa Judum and security forces, the CG Government has taken no action whatsoever. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lalgarh: Two Maoists killed in police firing

Posted by Admin on September 3, 2009

LALGARH (WEST MIDNAPORE): Two suspected Maoists have been shot dead following a heavy gunbattle at Madhupur village near Lalgarh in West Midnapore on Wednesday evening.

Police claimed that two more suspected rebels were caught from the village and three guns recovered from the nearby forest along with ammunition and some explosives. This is the first time that police managed to recover the bodies of Maoists after an encounter in Jangalmahal.

Police sources claimed that in the afternoon, security forces were on patrol at Madhupur and Birbhanpur village near Lagarh. While they were crossing the forest stretch near Jora Bridge a bridge across an irrigation canal inside the forest the Maoists started firing on the police team.

Jawans secured cover and replied with heavy firing. Facing strong resistance from them, the Maoists reportedly moved towards Madhupur village known as their stronghold.

Meanwhile, reinforcements from Salboni police station headed towards Madhupur and the force which was battling near Birbhanpur started chasing the rebel brigade. Being chased, the red brigade tried to take shelter deep inside the forest near Memul another hamlet near Madhupur. A fresh battle started at Memul and the heavy firing forced the Maoist brigade to retreat, leaving behind two of their slain comrades.

Police took the bodies to Salboni thana and rounded up two others from the spot of firing. Police claimed that one of the bodies has been identified as Haradhan Mahato’s who had been an active member of Maoist squad. “Both of them died of bullet injuries,” confirmed a senior district police officer.

The arrested duo have been identified as Gautam Mahato of Goaltore and Ajay Mana of Madhupur village. While police claimed that Mahato and Mana are Maoists, PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato rubbished the claim. “Both are members of our organization and police are branding them as the Maoists,” said Mahato.

Police said that three guns, 17 rounds of ammunition and some explosives were recovered from the spot along with water bottles and dry food, which proves that rebel brigade had been stationed there for the past few days.

Earlier, after each encounter, police claimed that they had managed to gun down some of the rebels, but never managed to recover any body to back their claims. From this aspect, Wednesday’s operation can be called a major success for the security forces who have been criticised for failing to flush out the Maoists.

Days before, two important members of the Maoist “military commission” were held in Jharkhand and police are hoping that with their help, it will be easier for the security forces to find out rebel hideouts. TT

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