Stop Offensive, Hold Unconditional Dialogue: Call From National Convention Of Citizens Initiative For Peace
Posted by Admin on October 25, 2009
The following is the resolution adopted at the National Convention of the Citizens Initiative for Peace held in the Capital on October 20, 2009. The convention was addressed, inter alia, by Justice P.B. Sawant, Prof Randhir Singh, Aruna Roy, Surendra Mohan, Prof G. Hargopal, Sandeep Pandey, Ajit Bhattacharjea, Prof Manoranjan Mohanty, as well as representatives from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orisssa, West Bengal; victims of state violence in Chhattisgarh also gave testimony of state violence in the name of fighting the Maoists.
Stop Offensive, Hold Unconditional Dialogue
CALL FROM NATIONAL CONVENTION OF CITIZENS INITIATIVE FOR PEACE
The Government has launched a major offensive in the tribal belt of Central India where the Maoists are active. These are the poorest areas in the country where people have been alienated by exploitation and deprivation of resources. The Government must realise that Maoism is the outcome of their own failure to resolve the problems of the people in these areas. Further, they have actively acted against the interests of the people by forcibly acquiring their land, displacing them for mega projects and violating their basic constitutional rights.
The Government rests upon the power of the people. This power should be used to better their lives, not to eliminate them, in the guise of collateral damage. Using force against people will not solve any problem, it will only multiply the problem, apart from the fact that it will engender a culture of violence throughout the country. We ask the government not to unleash any violence or paramilitary offensive. Instead, they must adopt peaceful means of solving the problems of the people.
Under conditions of armed conflict between the Government and Maoists, the real issues that concern the people are relegated to the background —such as food security, land and forest rights, education, health and justice besides gender, caste and other types of exploitation. Citizens outside the affected areas are denied access to the region as a result of which no true picture about the plight of the local population is available. All these issues need to be immediately addressed, which is only possible under conditions of peace.
Concerned individuals from various parts of the country have come together to form the Citizens Initiative for Peace. Our simple yet urgent demands are:
1. The Government should first stop the offensive in the areas where the CPI (Maoist) and other Naxalite parties are active, in order to facilitate a ceasefire.
2. The CPI (Maoist) and other Naxalite parties should cease all hostilities against the state forces to facilitate a ceasefire.
3. There should be no attacks on civilians and their lives must be secure.
4. Unconditional dialogue must begin between Government and CPI (Maoist).
5. Free access to the affected areas should be provided to the independent civil organisa-tions and media.
6. People’s basic livelihood rights and demo-cratic control over their natural resources must be urgently ensured. We resolve to work for this.
It is a matter of serious concern that tribals, Dalits and democratic forces in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and elsewhere are subjected to state repression for organising popular struggles against land acquisition and forcible eviction. We strongly condemn state repression in these parts of the country where popular struggles are taking place for venting the people’s grievances. We express our solidarity with these movements and call upon the state to withdraw the repressive measures.
Our objective as the Citizens Initiative for Peace is to be in contact with all parties, including the Government, media and Naxalite groups across India. We will draw attention to specific problems in different regions and encourage initiatives for formulating alternative pro-people policies. We will apprise the government and public on these issues from time to time and try to create an environment for addressing these problems. Mainstream