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Report: Indian State’s War On People And The Assault On Democratic Voices

Posted by Admin on April 29, 2010

By Forum Against War On People

29 April, 2010, Icawpi.org

In a public meeting organised by the Forum Against War on People at the Gandhi Peace Foundation on 24th April 2010, various organisations and individuals unequivocally demanded an immediate and unconditional stop to Operation Green Hunt and the plunder of people’s resources. Prof. Randhir Singh, prominent political thinker and former Head of the Department of Political Science in University of Delhi, noted that “the present government has armed itself with all kinds of armed forces in its war against people. In many parts of the country the behaviour of the Indian state can only be described as a terrorist state. Much has been made of the recent killing of 76 CRPF personnel in Dantewada. But what were they doing in that place? Is it not to repress the people and take away their land and resources to make way for the big corporations? People’s democratic verdict has been repeatedly flouted by the ruling classes. So the people need extra-parliamentary sanctions to pursue the democratic aspirations of the people. Without extra-parliamentary sanction to defend, the people will not be able to fight for democracy. What is happening in this country is part of a much larger story unfolding. Whether it is Congress or BJP, they are part of furthering the neo-liberal capitalist path of development. In contrast, the people’s alternative path of development has to be pursued and struggled for.”

Badshah Mandi from Jangalmahal (Lalgarh) in his speech stated that “Police is resorting to indiscriminate firing, torture, imprisonment and killing of the people of Lalgarh. Rape and torture is being used, people’s health centers built by the PCPA have been occupied by the paramilitary forces, the medicines have been taken away. Lalgarh has created an alternative to the governments run by the CPM, UPA or NDA, since the development policy of these governments is nothing but the policy of genocide. The sufferings of the adivasi people are the result of these government’s policies. The people of this country are suffering from state violence for more than last 60 years. The question of violence should not be reduced to armed struggle alone; the question is much deeper. The struggle is not between the Maoists and the paramilitary forces, but between the people and the Indian govt., between the ‘development’ polices of the government and people’s alternative development.” Aparna of the CPIML (New Democracy), gave more instances of atrocities on the people’s struggles all over the country in the name of fighting Naxalism/Maoism. People fighting for even their constitutionally mandated rights in Kosambi and Ghoorpur in Uttar Pradesh, Kalinganagar, Narayanpatna, Jagat Singhpur and Niyamgiri in Orissa are facing the brunt of this war on people. When people raise their voices against government’s pro-corporate policies, the government led by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram sends armed forces to crush them.

Dr. B D Sharma, the former Commissioner of SC/STs, Govt. of India and ex-Vice Chancellor of North Eastern Hills University, Shillong, who has been working among the adivasis of Bastar and other regions, noted that we must change our perceptions of and attitude towards the adivasis. We must not consider them as poor, ignorant and lacking in understanding. The adivasis are fighting for establishing their claim over common resources, for each and every inch of their land against the marauding army of the government. After 1947, in the name of industrialisation and development, the resources of the adivasis have been plundered continuously. The Samata Judgment of the Supreme Court says that the government does not have the right to hand over adivasi land to the non-adivasis and corporations. But this judgment has been conveniently set aside by the government while concluding hundreds of MoUs with foreign and Indian companies. Dr. Sharma quoted the President of India, who said that, “Let this not be known to the future generations that the edifice of the Republic of India was built on the blood and sweat of the adivasis.”

The meeting also raised its opposition to the wars waged by the Indian state on the people of Kashmir and the North East. Malem of Committee for the Protection of Democracy, Manipur (CPDM) said, “We have been raising our voice against the Indian state’s war on people for a long time. The people’s struggle for freedom in Kashmir, Manipur, Nagalim, Asom and other places against the state is going on for many decades. The people’s democratic aspiration for freedom is being crushed by the brutal armed forces of the Indian state violently. These struggles can never be crushed by military means. The military offensive waged by the Indian state must be immediately stopped.” Prof. Jagmohan the nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh pointed out that this war of the people against the anti-people policies against the anti-people character of the Indian government has reached Delhi through Kashmir, North East and the rest of the country as people have risen in revolt. The disparities between the rich and the poor have become so intense and sharp that the genuine anger of the people cannot be held back for long.

Varvara Rao, the revolutionary poet reminded the audience of the violation of its constitutional obligations by the government. He said that the Naxalites have always showed keenness from 1987 till today to sit for talks with the government to address people’s basic issues like land, irrigation, education and health. But the government’s policies have failed to address the problems faced by the oppressed sections of the society. In comparison, the Naxalites/Maoists have established a pro-people alternative model of development. In Dandakaranya region, the Naxalites have distributed lakhs of acres of land to the landless peasants, created alternative forms of agriculture and irrigation, healthcare and education. Naxalites are fighting with the masses and for the masses, unlike Chidambaram and others who are sitting in ivory towers and sending paramilitary forces to the adivasi areas. Now the Indian government is waging a war to crush this alternative form of development following the ‘Andhra model’. None, including those who differs with the Naxalites/Maoists, do not support the structural violence perpetuated by the Indian government. When the question of justice to the people has been firmly put on the agenda by the Maoists, the absurd and unheard-of condition of ‘abjuring violence’ has been forwarded by Chidambaram. When Chidambaram offered to resign, BJP on ne hand and CPM on the other, said that we are with you. This shows the bankruptcy of the parliamentary parties in India today. Talks must take place immediately, but it should take place on the question of justice and not on violence. For this, a conducive atmosphere needs to be created. The democratic forces, the media and the civil society have a crucial responsibility in creating this atmosphere for talks.

Arundhati Roy asked, is the government ready for talks? The government is claiming that it is ready for talks, only the Naxalites are not interested. However the reality is that the government badly needs war, not peace. The money generated by the mining industry can buy off the government, the political parties, the judiciary, everything. This war is waged by Mr. Chidambaram on behalf of them. Who are the Maoists? They are the malnourished, hungry and poverty-stricken adivasis going through an acute struggle for survival. The government is using two guns to repress the people: ‘development’ and the media. The government is confident that similar to Telangana, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur or Kashmir, it will be able to crush the ongoing movements of the adivasis as well. But the government needs to be reminded that it has got embroiled in wars in Kashmir and North East like the USA has got entrapped in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are saddened by the death of CRPF personnel. But what of those adivasis who were brutally massacred by the government’s armed forces in places like Gompad? It is simply possible for the government to kill of all the Maoists. Will the people be killed for dreaming of justice? There needs to be talks, but it is going to be difficult unless pressure is exerted by all of us on the government to sit for negotiations. We must demand that there has to be an immediate cease-fire. Operation Green Hunt must be stopped immediately. The MoUs must be scrapped. The lakhs of adivasis displaced by the war and by the mining projects must be rehabilitated.

Apart from the above, the public meeting was also addressed by speakers representing many organisations, including PUDR, Jan Hastakshep, and also by prominent activists and intellectuals. The meeting reaffirmed the demand that Operation Green Hunt be immediately stopped, all armed forces (special police, paramilitary, etc) be immediately withdrawn, the MoUs concluded with various corporations in the adivasi regions be immediately scrapped, the grievances and issues of the people be addressed and settled politically and not militarily. The government’s increasing practice of crushing democratic dissent and branding of people’s organisations and civil rights activists as Maoist/Naxalite sympathisers was also condemned. The gathering demanded that an immediate stop be put to such intimidatory tactics.

The following Resolution was passed in the Public Meeting:

A barbaric, bloody and unprecedented war has been let loose by the central government against the common people of India. Paramilitary forces, helicopters, are already in operation against the people; the government is now actively preparing to use military under the name of ‘special force’, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), etc. Successive governments of India have anyway been at war with the people of Kashmr and the North East for decades; now the attack is engulfing all parts of the country. In various garbs and in various names all forms of people’s struggles, all struggles in defense of land, of mineral resources, for defense of democratic rights are the targets of the government.

The objective of this unprecedented armed offensive against the people is to crush all forms of struggle and revolutionary movements so as to clear the way for giant MNCs and big corporates with whom hundreds of MoUs have to be signed by the government. This ongoing war is leaving a trail of devastation and death. Adivasis in scores of villages in Chhattisgarh have been killed, democratic voices are under attack. Swapan Das Gupta, the editor of Bangla People’s March and arrested under UAPA died in custody on 2nd February 2010. Lalmohan Tudu, president of PCPA was picked up and shot dead by the paramilitary forces on 23rd February 2010. General terror on the fighting people of Lalgarh is ever increasing. On 20th November 2009, Wadeka Singana, the President of CMAS in Narayanpatna was shot dead by the police. Two leaders associated with the struggle, Gananath Patra and Tapan Mallick have been arrested on trumped up charges. In Kalinga Nagar, 28 platoons of the police moved against the struggle of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Manch, and 16 adivasis were injured in police firing on 30th March 2010. The police is continuing its atrocities. In three districts near Allahabad in UP, no mass activity is allowed declaring these areas as ‘Naxalite infested’. 17 leaders of AIKMS stand arrested under the Gangster Act. Over 450 peasant leaders in Punjab were arrested to prevent joining a peasant demonstration on 25th March 2010. Thousands are in jail and are being tortured for allegedly being Naxalite/ Maoist sympathisers. People’s organisations like the UCL, IAPL, PUDR, RDF, PDFI, CRPP, APDR, DSU etc, and their activists have been falsely implicated by the government.

Welcoming and saluting the resistance of the fighting people in various forms in various parts of the country, we call for Stop war on people, stop Operation Green Hunt, and hold dialogues with the organisations of the struggling people.

All India Students Association (AISA), Campaign for Peace & Democracy Manipur (CPDM), Committee Against Violence On Women (CAVOW), Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), Correspondence, CPI (ML) (Liberation), CPI (ML) (New Democracy), CPI (ML) (New Proletarian), Delhi General Mazdoor Front (DGMF), Delhi University Campaign Against War on People, Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), International Association of People’s Lawyers India, Jatisoshan Virodhi Samithi, JNU Forum Against War on People, Kashipur Solidarity Group, KRALOS, Krantikari Lok Adhikar Sanghatan (KLAS), Krantikari Yuva Sanghathan (KYS), Left Democratic Teacher’s Front (LDTF), Mazdoor Ekta Manch (MEM), Mazdoor Kranti Parishad (MKP), Mehanatkash Mazdoor Morcha (MMM), Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Naga Students Union Delhi (NSUD), Nari Mukti Sangh (NMS), Navjawan Bharat Sabha (NBS), People’s Front (PF), PFD, Popular Front of India, Progressive Democratic Front of India (PDFI), Radical Notes, Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), Individuals: Randhir Singh, Arundhati Roy, BD Sharma, Neshat Quaiser, Prashant Bhushan, Tripta Wahi, Vijay Singh and others. For further contact: stopwaroncitizens, Visit the site: www.icawpi.org

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