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Archive for August, 2010

Mander’s aide held for Maoist ‘links,’ wife told to quit her govt house

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2010


New Delhi Can the wife of an alleged Maoist be “punished” for the activities of her husband? The Ministry of Communications & IT is seized with the question with human rights activists protesting against the eviction notice issued by the Department of Posts to Anju Shakeel, wife of Abdul Shakeel Basha, an alleged Maoist arrested last June. Reportedly on the wanted list of the Gujarat Police, Basha was picked up from his house which happens to be a government house allotted to his wife five years ago.

Basha, who is in a Surat jail now, worked for the homeless and ran an NGO called Haq in Delhi. He worked closely in Gujarat with Harsh Mander, member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC).

His wife is said to have petitioned Minister of State Sachin Pilot against his department’s eviction order last week. When contacted, Pilot declined to comment.

But a Ministry official said: “Accommodation was given to her on temporary basis and it was extended every six months. This time, the extension was not given. The fact is no unlawful activities can be allowed from government accommodation and Basha had been arrested from her official residence.”

In the eviction notice dated August 10, Anju Shakeel was given 10 days to vacate her house. She declined to answer any questions, but sources said she has asked Ministry officials for a reprieve citing her “lower backbone disorder” and “acute diabetes.” Her mother lives with her. Read the rest of this entry »

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We won’t give our land

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2010


Land Nor Freedom

August 23, 2010

‘Nahi denge zameen!’ (we won’t give our land) – said one villager of Lohandiguda, as over 150 villagers – Sarpanches and ward members with their families, stood up, and walked out of the meeting with government officials on the 12th of May of this year. In 2005, the villagers in Lohandiguda didn’t even know their land was up for acquisition by Tata Steel – they learnt about it after they read the newspapers.

This article appears in The New Indian Express on the 22nd of August, 2010.

Villagers from Lohandiguda walk out of a meeting held with government officials on the 12th of May, 2010.

It is a known fact that the Adivasis have existed long before there was any idea of India. And there are estimates that there has been more displacement by development projects in India than by the Partition, and a majority of the displaced have been Adivasis. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Elusive truth of an encounter

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2010


On August 4, for several hours, national television beamed news of a gunfight in the forest near Kutrem, 50km from the town of Dantewada. Chhattisgarh police claimed its men were engaged in a ‘fierce encounter’ with the Maoists. By evening, the policemen – local adivasi special recruits called ‘Koya Commandos’ – returned to base, unharmed, carrying a victory trophy. The body of a young man. They said he was a Maoist. His name was Kunjami Joga.

But Joga was not one of us, and the encounter was fake, now claim the Maoists. Exactly a fortnight later, they have left behind hand-written pamphlets in Kutrem, not stealthily, but with loud impact, blasting and breaking down government buildings. A school, an anganwadi and the panchayat office.

“When we arrived next morning, we found tables, chairs, books, and cupboards lying outside. They first emptied out the building and then brought it down,” said M R Tandiya, the school headmaster.

Just a day before the blasts, TOI had visited Kutrem, green with paddy and maize, nestling in an undulating forest.

Joga’s old fragile parents could barely speak. A small crowd gathered. A young man narrated in broken Hindi: “Joga had gone to his didi’s house in the next para (hamlet) for food, when the force (koya commandos) arrived. They found him on the way and shot him dead. Two days later, they came back and distributed biscuits and namkeen. They also gave the family money.”

At this point, Joga’s father became alert. He looked up with moist eyes, nodded, and said, “Do Hazaar”. Two thousand rupees for a dead son.

Villagers said Joga’s cousin Urra was also beaten up by the police. “They beat him so badly, he could not bear the pain, wo phaansi lagaa liya”. Urra’s wife gestured agitatedly. She pointed out the homestead where her husband was beaten, held her spine to indicate the nature of his injuries, and finally led inside to show where he eventually hung himself.

Another young man said similar killings had taken place in the next village Madkamiras. He offered to show the way. But on arrival there, villagers said `force’ had arrived in Kutrem.

Back in Kutrem, within minutes, the village had transformed. Homes were locked up. Armed men in green camouflage and black bandanas swarmed the place.

This was a party of Koya Commandos. "No, this is not the same party that engaged in the encounter a few days ago, although some fighters were common," said one of them. When asked what had brought them back, another answered, "churching," in the common mispronounciation for `searching’.

Soon, their leader, police inspector Nagavanshi arrived. “The encounter took place seven kilometres from here inside the forests,” he said, pointing towards a distant hill. “That’s where we recovered the body of a uniformed Maoist, a boy from this village, Kunjami Joga.”

Later, in a private conversation, one of the Koya fighters admitted the body was not in uniform. “But he was a Maoist and we found a black uniform in his kit”. So why did they distribute biscuits and money in the village? "We wanted to convince people not to help the Naxals. And we gave Joga’s family money because the dokra (old parents) were so poor, we felt pity. After all, Joga was from the same caste. He was adivasi like us.”

Next morning, in the debris of the school building in Kutrem, sribbled in red and green sketch pen ink, signed by the CPI Maoist Darbha Divisional Committee, a pamphlet said: "Like Kunjami Joga, 18 other innocent villagers have been killed by the security forces and Koya commandos, all in the name of eliminating Maoists, as part of Operation Green Hunt. We will give them a fitting response". TOI

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Preliminary Report of the All India Fact Finding Team on the Killing of Azad and H. C Pandey

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2010


Preliminary Report of the All India Fact Finding Team on the Killing of Azad and H. C Pandey Released to the media at Hyderabad on 22 August, 2010

by COORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

CDRO put together a team of concerned citizens consisting of Prof. Emeritus Amit Bahaduri, J.N.U., Delhi, Senior Counsel of Supreme Court Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Kavita Srivatsava, Human Rights worker from Rajasthan, Gautam Navlakha writer & from PUDR, Delhi, Kranthi Chaitanya, Advocate and General Secretary of APCLC, D. Suresh Kumar, Advocate, APCLC, Ch. Sudhakar Rao, President of OPDR, D. Venkateswarlu, OPDR. The team visited Wankadi Mandal, Adilabad District on 20th & 21st of August, 2010 where the alleged encounter of Mr. Azad @ Cherukuri Rajkumar who was spokesperson of CPI Maoist Central Committee Member and Journalist Hemachandra Pandey took place on the intervening night of 1st and 2nd July, 2010. Three fact findings had earlier already carried out spot investigations. The team met the local villagers, local police, and local media personal and perused FIR, inquest and postmortem report. The FIR No.(Crime ) 40/2010 registered at the Wankadi P.S. of Adilabad District by the Station House Officer, Mr. Mansoor Ahmed at 9.30 am of 2nd July, 2010 in the English Language gives the following account.

1. The Spl. Intelligence police provided the information that a group of 20 CPI Maoist had crossed into A.P. from Maharastra and moving about the forest. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fact-finding team for Azad killing to release probe details Read more: ‘Fact-finding team’ for Azad killing to release probe details

Posted by Admin on August 22, 2010


Azad alias Cheukuri Raj Kumar CPI Maoist leader , CPIML, APRSUNAGPUR: A ‘fact-finding team,’ formed by democratic rights and civil liberties organizations to probe into the alleged fake encounter of Naxal leader and party spokesperson Azad and journalist Hem Chandra Pandey on July 1, is set to release their findings before the media at Hyderabad on Sunday.

The team, which began its probe on Saturday in Adilabad, was sent on the behalf 24 organizations espousing the cause of democratic rights and civil liberties. The probe members already visited the villages close to the Wankedi jungle where Azad and his journalist friend were gunned down. The controversy flared up recently when railway minister Mamta Banerjee cornered the security agencies by supporting the claim of Naxals and pro-Maoist organizations that Azad was ‘murdered.’

“The autopsy report (of Azad) suggested that the entry and exit wounds were narrow in diameter, indicating that bullets were fired from close range. In case of a real encounter, the diameter of bullet wounds and exit points would be different, establishing the fact that the encounter was fake,” said activist Kranti Chetan, general secretary of Andhra Pradesh civil liberties committee.

The allegations of pro-Naxal front organizations were that Azad and Pandey were picked up by Andhra Pradesh-based security and intelligence agencies from Nagpur railway station on July 1. They were later taken to Adilabad and gunned down. The activists had rubbished outright the claim of security agencies that Azad and Pandey were intercepted while crossing over to Adilabad from Maharashtra and killed after an exchange of fire. Read the rest of this entry »

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Naba Dutta: More Than Just An Arrest

Posted by Admin on August 22, 2010


By Nagarik Mancha

21 August, 2010
Sanhati

On 17th August 2010, social activist and our General Secretary, Naba Dutta, had been arrested from West Medinipur. Owing to unprecedented public outcry against the arrest, he was granted bail next day, but not before serious, and totally fabricated, criminal charges were brought against him.

Why and how did this happen? Let us look at the context of this incident:

FACTS

1. Mr Naba Dutta, General Secretary of Nagarik Mancha, along with Ms Prajnaparamita Dutta Raychaudhuri, Mr Dipankar Majumdar and Mr Gautam Ghosh, all associated with our organization, had travelled to the Narayangarh BDO Office (155 km from Kolkata) in Belda Subdivision of West Medinipur, West Bengal on Tuesday, 17 August 2010.

2. This team from Nagarik Mancha went there in solidarity with a hunger strike and a sit-in demonstration programme organized in front of the said BDO Office by the ‘Paschim Medinipur Lodha Shabar Kalyan Samiti’ (Lodhas and the Sabars are adivasis). This organization was agitating with a 14-point charter of demand which included a demand for rebuilding 11 hutments burnt down by politically motivated miscreants. Announcement about the demonstration had been made in a Press Conference at Medinipur Town on 12 August 2010 including the news about Naba Dutta’s forthcoming visit.

3. Naba Dutta and others including Joydeb Singh (an activist with Paschim Medinipur Lodha Shabar Kalyan Samiti) headed towards Kolkata in their rented car (WB-02M-8565) just after 5pm. About 5 km from the venue a police car (WB-34N-0011) approached them and a plain clothed personnel (later identified as the OC, Belda PS) informed them that they were to follow the police car to Narayangarh PS. Read the rest of this entry »

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I told them I was not a Maoist: Anti-Vedanta leader Lada Sikaka Majhi

Posted by Admin on August 22, 2010


Lodu (Lado) Sikaka and Sena Sikaka, two Dongria Kondh  men from Odisha, have been leading their tribe’s struggle against a massive bauxite mine planned for their land by  Vedanta Resources.Both the SPs of Rayagada and Kalahandi deny that anti-Vedanta activist Lada Sikaka Majhi (35) was tortured in custody. But the deep injury marks on Majhi’s body have something else to say. Majhi is associated with the Niyamgiri Surakshya Parishad, which is opposing the Vedanta Group’s proposed mining lease in Niyamgiri hills, spread over Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, both about 550 km south-west of Bhubaneswar.

It is meant to be a captive unit of the group’s R8,400-crore, 500,000-tonne aluminium plant in Orissa.

On August 9, Majhi was on his way to Raipur in Chhattisgarh in a vehicle, along with two other anti-mining activists, to board a train to New Delhi. They were to attend a meeting on the Forest Rights Act.

As their vehicle was passing through the Niyamgiri forest, more than 12 armed men with AK-47 rifles stopped their car, snatched the car key and a mobile phone, and dragged out Majhi, his companion Sana Majhi and a woman activist. The men packed them into another vehicle and drove towards Rayagada. They threw Sana Majhi and the woman out of the vehicle on the way.

“I could not see where they were taking me because I was blind-folded. After about four hours, my blind-fold was removed and I found myself in a police station,” Majhi said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Repression in India from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu, Amnesty International & PUDR statement

Posted by Admin on August 21, 2010


PUDR statement on the arrest of Naba Dutta

PUDR is outraged at the arrest of Naba Dutta of Nagarik Manch, an organization that has been working for over two decades, devoted to environmental and labour issues. The trumped up charges against him is yet another instance of the West Bengal state government deliberately targeting activists, civil liberties groups, media representatives…in order that truth about the actual happenings on the ground in Lalgarh area remain suppressed.

Naba Dutta along with his 3 companions; Progna Paromita Dutta Roy Chowdhury, Gautam Ghosh and Dipankar Mazumdar, are all members of Nagarik Mancha, an organization mainly focused on environmental and labor issues, attended a sit in, in front of the Block Development Officer’s office at Narayangarh block of West Midnapur. The programme was organized by Lodha Shabar Vumij Kalyan Smiti, whose patron is Mahashweta Devi. After the program when they were returning to Kolkata they were all detained by the police.

While driver of the vehicle and Naba Dutta’s three colleagues were later released the police proceeded to arrest Naba Datta and charge him among other things under Arms Act, S 307 (attempt to murder) 120 B of IPC, pretending that he was the mastermind of the incident in Jhargram where vehicles belonging to an illegal sponge iron mill were burnt on December 18, 2009. Significantly, in the past eight months, since the incident occurred, not once did the Jhargram police summon Naba Dutta, if they indeed have evidence in their possession to link him to the crime. Naba Dutta was not in Jhargam when the incident took place. And it is the CPI(Maoist) which carried out the act of arson, which they publicly declared to be a result of state government’s failure to take action against the owners of the illegal plant and its contractors. Nagrik Manch had filed a PIL in Kolkata high court against the illegal operations of the plant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop the Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing of Tamils: Demonstration on 21st August 2010 at Westminster – London

Posted by Admin on August 21, 2010


“There has been a deafening global silence in response to Sri Lanka’s actions, especially from its most influential friends. The international community cannot be selective in its approach to upholding the rule of law and respect for human rights. Impunity anywhere is a threat to international peace and security everywhere.” – Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General

We all remain silent since we heard the Sri Lankan government massacred fifty thousand Tamils, according to a United Nation filed officer, in a tiny area in the north of country within three days. More than two hundred thousand innocent Tamils are held in concentration camps without any valid reason. Thousands of pregnant women, innocent children were killed by aerial attacks and chemical weapons. In the name of eliminating minority ultra nationalists, the Sri Lankan government committed a shocking genocide, preventing the entire national and international media, right groups, United Nation and so on, in the war zone.

Is this an example for eliminating the resistant politics, for the international power? Is this the new feature of new world order? Will it be the general phenomena of the world’s power? Just some months after this Sri Lankan humanitarian disaster, India has started to massacre in order to evacuate poor hill country forest inhabitants from acres and acres of their own land for exploitation of mines. Similar atrocities of power against the innocent poor people and against those who resist, is becoming social recognition in the other parts of the world. The war between the business power and the innocent is the real Avatar.

Sriri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multicultural country. Despite this, the Sinhala-Buddhist Government claims that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala-Buddhist country. The ethno-religious mix of Sri Lanka, with 20 million people, consists of ethnic Sinhalese (74%), Tamils (18%) in two groups (ethnic Tamils, 12.5%, and the plantation, or Indian, Tamils, 5.5%) and Moors (6.5%).

The major Sinhalese political parties competed with each other to discriminate the Tamils in language, education and employment with the clear intention of gaining the Sinhalese vote. The head of the SLA stated in an interview last year that the Sinhala-dominated Sri Lankan Armed Forces comprise of 99% Sinhala.

After the so called genocide, the Sri Lankan government is currently conducting the ethnic cleansing against the minorities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are we living in a State that mouths peace but shoots its messengers?

Posted by Admin on August 21, 2010


Shoma Chaudhury Managing Editor

Source: Tehalka

FAKERY HAS always been a key instrument of power. But last week, as the President and Pr ime Minister of India made their Independence Day speeches, cocooned symbolically in towers of glass, the scale of that fakery shot skyward. Both leaders augustly urged the Maoists, yet again, to “abjure violence” and come for talks. Few among the millions of Indians who heard them would have caught the cynicism.

Swami Agnivesh certainly would have. It’s just over a month since the State shot down a man called Azad. There’s been some fitful noise over it. Civil society has protested valiantly; Mamta Banerjee has asked for a judicial inquiry. But for the most part, Indians have gone about their business, registering little and understanding even less. (I tried sharing some of its indignant shock with a public icon from Mumbai. He replied: “So what if they shot one guy?” The chasm was so wide, I subsided into silence.)

But the hard truth is the killing of Azad is a desperate new low in Indian public life. Azad was not just a key leader of the CPI(Maoist) — a mans whose death would be a face-saving notch on the carbines of competitive violence, one big fish to even the score for 76 jawans. He was a man mid-stream in a peace process initiated by the government itself. How could the State just ignore his death, then stand coldly on the ramparts of the Red Fort urging a new round of talks? Where are the certitudes that make the foundation of a civilised society? Read the rest of this entry »

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Fake Encounters in Jharkhand

Posted by Admin on August 19, 2010


By Gladson Dungdung

In the afternoon on July 5, 2010, the security forces comprising of JAP and SAF under the leadership of E.H. Siddique the officer-in-charge of Tamar Police Station arrived to Gunti village and picked up 45 year-old Etwa Munda of Papirdah village comes under Tamar police station of Ranchi district in Jharkhand, when he was in the house of his relative Manav Munda. The police also caught a girl Bengi Kumari and escorted both of them towards Jabla pahari (forest). After sometime, the villagers heard the sound of firing and rushed toward the spot. They were shocked to see the dead body of Etwa Munda laying on the ground. The police framed the cold-blooded murder of Etwa Munda as a result of an encounter between the police and the Maoists. The police also depicted him as a hardcore Maoist who was very closed to the Maoist Zonal commander Kundan Pahan. Perhaps, Etwa Munda was not an innocent person but under which laws the police killed him in a fake encounter is the question needs to be answered.

Since the villagers were fully aware of the cold-blooded murder of Etwa Munda therefore the police spared Bengi Kumari and threatened the villagers and family members of the deceased for keeping quite. However, the villagers wanted to raise the issue therefore they approached to a local activist Xavier Soy and told him about the fake encounter. Meanwhile, when the police came to know about Xavier Soy’s acts of attempting to unearth the fact of the fake encounter and encouraging the villagers for raising the issue, the police put Xavier Soy with his school going son behind the bars alleging them of keeping the Maoist literature in their house. The police also do not allow the outsiders especially the Human Rights Activists and the Journalists to roam in the area so that the truth remained buried. Finally, the police succeeded in shutting up the villagers’ mouths and in framing the cold-blooded murder as a genuine case of encounter between the police and the Maoists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report on New York protest against Operation Green Hunt on August 13

Posted by Admin on August 17, 2010


Sanhati, a forum for solidarity with peoples’ struggles in India, successfully organized a protest demonstration in front of the Indian Consulate in NYC on August 13 against Operation Green Hunt to coincide with India’s independence day on 15th August . The protest demonstration was endorsed by the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia and was attended by individuals from Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas representing diverse South Asian and international organizations like SASI (South Asia Solidarity Initiative), ILPS (International League of Peoples Struggles), ISO (International Socialist Organisation), RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party) USA, FRSO (Freedom Road Socialist Organization), WWP (Workers World Party) and others. A legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was also present during the protest.

The demonstration continued from 11 am to 1pm and was marked by chanting of slogans, distributing pamphlets to passers-by, making speeches in support of peoples’ struggles in India, singing songs of resistance and finally submitting a signed petition registering a strong protest against the government’s military offensive in the regions populated by the indigeneous (adivasi) people. The text of the petition is appended below for reference.
Sanhati Collective

Read the rest of this entry »

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