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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Interview with Azad, spokesperson, Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Posted by Admin on April 14, 2010


ARMED STRUGGLE: Young Communist Party of India  (Maoist) cadre at a  training camp inside the jungles in Jharkhand State.  'Our attempt will  always be to target the enemy who is engaged in war  against us,' party  Spokesperson Azad said. Photo: AFP

ARMED STRUGGLE: Young Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadre at a training camp inside the jungles in Jharkhand State. ‘Our attempt will always be to target the enemy who is engaged in war against us,’ party Spokesperson Azad said. Photo: AFP

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, Azad, Spokesperson of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), answers in writing questions on his party’s attitude to dialogue with the Union government.

The written questions were sent in the second week of March and the answers received at the end of the month. The 11,400-word text of the interview is available at The Hindu‘s website.

click here for Full text of interview with Azad, spokesperson, Communist Party of India (Maoist)

An edited excerpt:

There have been statements in recent months by government and Maoist leaders saying they favour talks but each side seems to lack seriousness. There has also been an element of theatre, with Kishenji and P. Chidambaram exchanging statements through the media. Could you clarify whether Kishenji’s statements can be treated as authoritative pronouncements of the CPI (Maoist) central leadership in pursuance of a national strategy? Or are these tactical announcements by him keeping only the specifics of the West Bengal situation in mind.

Our party leadership has been issuing statements from time to time in response to the government’s dubious offer of talks. But to generalise that there is lack of seriousness on both sides does not correspond to reality. To an observer, exchanging statements through the media does sound a bit theatrical. But the stark fact is the lack of seriousness has been the hallmark of the government, particularly of P. Chidambaram. It is Mr. Chidambaram who has been enacting a drama in the past four months, particularly ever since his amusing 72-hour-abjure-violence diktat to the CPI (Maoist) last November. As regards Kishenji’s statements, they should be seen with a positive attitude, not with cynicism. Though our Central Committee has not discussed our specific strategy with regard to talks with the government at the current juncture, as a Polit Bureau member, Comrade Kishenji had taken the initiative and made a concrete proposal for a ceasefire. Whether his statements are the official pronouncements of our Central Committee is not the point of debate here. What is important is the attitude of the government to such an offer in the first place. Our Central Committee has no objection to his proposal for a ceasefire. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jan Myrdal Interviews CPI(Maoist) Leader Ganapathy

Posted by Admin on February 15, 2010


(This interview was posted in Sanhati.)

(Click here for PDF version of the interview)

In Conversation with Ganapathy, General Secretary of CPI(Maoist)

Jan Myrdal and Gautam Navlakh, January 2010

Far inside the jungles of the Eastern Ghats we met the general secretary of the CPI (Maoists) Ganapathy aka Mupalla Laxman Rao. After welcoming us and inquiring from us whether we, in particular Jan Myrdal, faced any problem having to travel the rough terrain, the interview began. Following is the summary of the interview with him. We have retained the interview in the form in which it was given, read and approved by him with some minor language changes. In particular we draw attention of readers to the General Secretary laying down concisely his party’s stance on the issue of talks in light of the disinformation spread by the Union Minister of Home P Chidambaram that CPI(Maoist) had “scoffed” at the Indian Government’s offer for talks. Indeed he told us:

To put concisely the main demands that the party has placed in front of the government [of India] for any kind of talks are 1) All-out war has to be withdrawn; 2) For any kind of democratic work, the ban on the Party and Mass Organizations have to be lifted; 3) Illegal detention and torture of comrades had to be stopped and they be immediately released. If these demands are met, then the same leaders who are released from jails would lead and represent the Party in the talks.

However, we consider the full text of the interview of importance for all those who want to know more about the policies of the party which the Government of India considers its main internal security threat. Read the rest of this entry »

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ULFA should trust us: CPI Maoist

Posted by Admin on January 9, 2010


3440482297_Kishenji-with-media1_2.jpg

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW / KISHENJI, CHIEF, PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY

By Sarbari Bhaumik

A wily fox has many exits to his lair. So also with Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, national chief of the People’s Liberation Army and politburo member of the CPI (Maoist). Media-savvy, he often speaks to the press, but on his own terms. His call would come out of the blue and he would hang up immediately after giving his sound bite. Long phone calls, he knows, will give away his location. But in an interview with THE WEEK, Kishenji spoke at length on a wide range of issues, including Telangana, Kashmir and the northeast. Excerpts:

What is your response to the decision to form Telangana? Read the rest of this entry »

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Chidambaram’s action endangering peace and integrity: Interview with Himanshu Kumar

Posted by Admin on November 18, 2009


Himanshu Kumar knows that his phone is tapped and he is under surveillance not only in Chhattisgarh where he lives but even in Mumbai [ Images ] where he had come to address a discussion on ‘Insurgency and counter-insurgency: Challenges of building a shared prosperity’ last week.

Chhattisgarh’s Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] government recently demolished the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram that Kumar had established to work with the tribals in Kanwalnar, Bastar. A staunch Gandhian, Kumar spoke to rediff.com‘s Prasanna D Zore about what attracted him to work with the tribals, on the atrocities committed on tribals by various paramilitary forces in Bastar and what could possibly solve the Maoist problem in India [ Images ].

What inspired you to start your ashram in Bastar?

Mahatma Gandhi [ Images ] had said that young men should go to the villages and work there, otherwise this democracy would become a democracy of the goons.

I visited Bastar in 1988 and saw the pathetic condition of the Adivasis there. In 1992, I finally decided that I should go there and work for the upliftment of the tribals and so I set up my ashram there.

Who gave you the land to start the ashram?

As Bastar falls under Schedule V (a law that provides protection to the Adivasis living in Scheduled Areas) area, gram sabhas have the right to decide on land allotment. So the gram sabha in Bastar allotted us a piece of land on which we constructed our ashram. We used to give training to tribal boys and girls on personal hygiene, health, education and sanitation.

Himanshu KumarWhy did the Chhattisgarh government bulldoze your ashram?

Because we had started raising issues of tribal alienation, the Salwa Judum’s (the state government-supported movement against the Maoists) atrocities on tribals.

The government of Chhattisgarh was very uncomfortable about the issues we raised. While we were trying to rehabilitate the tribals, the state government was trying to evict them out of their homeland.

So we came in direct conflict with the government’s plan to evict the tribals.

But why would the state government do that?

Just to get the tribal land and give it to corporates so that they could mine the land for mineral wealth.

Are you hinting at a nexus between the corporates and the state government?

Yes, it is very clearly established. There is a government report which is published in last week’s Outlook magazine which says that the Tatas and Essar funded Salwa Judum. And being there on ground zero, we see that the Tatas and Essar have stakes there.

They want land and they want no Naxal activity in the area so that they can mine the mineral wealth peacefully and in an uninterrupted manner. So they started it and they are in the field.

Are you saying that the strong corporate presence is driving operations like Operation Green Hunt, the Union government’s military campaign against the Maoists? Read the rest of this entry »

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I Am The Real Desh Bhakt: Interview- Kishanji

Posted by Admin on November 14, 2009


TUSHA MITTAL confronts underground Maoist leader Kishenji on Maoist violence, strategy, and their quest for power- Tehalka

With unmistakable pride, he says he’s India’s Most Wanted Number 2. CPI(Maoist) Politburo member Mallojula Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji, 53, grew up in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh reading Gandhi and Tagore. It was after understanding the history of the world, he says, that he disappeared into the jungles for a revolution. During search operations in 1982, the police broke down his home in Peddapalli village. He hasn’t seen his mother since, but writes to her through Telugu newspapers. After 20 years in the Naxal belt of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, he relocated to West Bengal. His wife oversees Maoist operations in Dantewada. Now, at a hideout barely a few kilometres from a police camp in Lalgarh, he reads 15 newspapers daily and offers to fax you his party literature. If you hold on, he’ll look up the statistics of war on his computer. Excerpts from a midnight phone interview:

image Jungle lights Kishenji talks to the media but does not like being photographed
Photo: PINTU PRADHAN

Tell me about your personal journey. What made you join the CPI(Maoist)?
I was born in Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh (AP). In 1973, after a BSc mathematics degree , I moved to Hyderabad in to pursue law. My political journey began with my involvement in the Telangana Sangarsh Samiti, which has been pressing for a separate Telangana state. I launched the Radical Students Union (RSU) in AP. During the Emergency in 1975, I went underground to take part in the revolution. Several things motivated me: Writer Varavara Rao, who founded the Revolutionary Writers Association; India’s political atmosphere and the progressive environment in which I grew up. My father was a great democrat and a freedom fighter. He was also vice-president of the state Congress party. We are Brahmins, but our family never believed in caste. When I joined the CPI(ML),my father left the Congress saying two kinds of politics can’t survive under one roof. He believed in socialism, but not in armed struggle. After the Emergency ended in 1977, I led a democratic peasant movement against feudalism. Over 60,000 farmers joined it. It triggered a nationwide peasant uprising.

The Home Minister has agreed to talks with CPI(Maoist) on issues like forest rights, land acquisition and SEZs? Why did you reject his offer? He’s only asking you to halt the violence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview: I am ready to review all the corporate MOUs: P Chidambaram

Posted by Admin on November 14, 2009


Home Minister P Chidambaram tells Shoma Chaudhury everything he is willing to do to de-escalate violence- Source: Tehalka
image 1-Class war?- A cop killed by Maoists at Sankrail, Bengal
PHOTO: PINTU PRADHAN 

2-Doctored Binayak Sen was jailed for two years for criticising the Salwa Judum 

3-Ashes to ashes A tribal woman in Chhattisgarh stands by her burned hut

In the past few months there’s been an escalated rhetoric from the State about Operation Green Hunt and “an all-out war against Maoists”. Now, with your offer for talks, a lot of that rhetoric has been toned down. What lay behind this sudden escalation and this toning down? And what, according to you, is really the best way to dismantle Maoist violence?
Everybody, especially the media, loves a war. You find this in every country – in the US after 9 / 11, in India after 26 / 11. You must not underestimate the gravity of the situation. The CPI(Maoists) have virtually taken control of many districts in seven states and completely paralysed the civil administration. Despite this, there was no conscious effort imageon the part of the government of India to raise the level of the rhetoric. We went about it in the only manner that we have to address a problem, namely, consulting the states. We consulted the states in January, we consulted the states in August and, necessarily, we put out a statement on what the consensus was. The consensus was that there should be coordinated action to take on the CPI (Maoists), which I think is perfectly right. So the Central Government offered paramilitary forces, real-time intelligence inputs, training, technical equipment and technology to the states. Show me one statement on the part of the Central Government, or me specifically, where I have raised the rhetoric against the CPI(Maoists). So I don’t agree that the rhetoric was raised and then toned down. The toning down, in fact, is again a perception. When we were asked if we will talk to the Maoists, I said yes, if they abjure violence we will talk to the Maoists. That’s been our stand from day one. The Prime Minister has said this, I’ve said it. So the so-called escalated rhetoric happened after the consultation with the chief ministers and the so-called lowering is after we said we’ll talk to the Maoists. Each event is simply how the media perceives it.

imageThere’s been a key shift in phrase from asking Maoists to “lay down arms” to merely asking them to “abjure violence”.
I never asked the Maoists to lay down arms because I know they will not. It is against their ideology. I have merely asked them to abjure violence. Unfortunately, much of the media did not notice the difference.

Many government functionaries have spoken of Operation Green Hunt to the media, but both you and Home Secretary Gopal Pillai have recently made public statements that it is a media creation. Are we to take it that this Operation does not exist? And if so, what are we to expect in the months to come?
There is no Operation Green Hunt. Name me an officer who has said this and I will take action. I have not seen a single paper or a single document in the Ministry of Home Affairs that uses the phrase Operation Green Hunt. It’s a pure invention of the media. What you can expect in the months ahead is merely a more coordinated effort by the state police to reassert control over territory or tracts of land where regrettably the civil administration has lost control. And for that purpose we will assist them in whatever manner is possible, particularly by providing paramilitary forces and sharing of intelligence.

There have been some other disturbing statements recently. At your interaction in the Indian Express office, you said, if need be, you would call in the army or the Rashtriya Rifles. You have also been saying that civil society is abetting a “climate of terror” and must “choose”. Raising one’s voice against State violence, excess or failure is the legitimate duty of a citizen; by doing that it does not mean one is supporting Maoist violence. Why trap people in this fatal binary? Why must we choose between two evils? Why would you want to outlaw democratic voices and lump them with Maoists? Read the rest of this entry »

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The State will fail if the Army and Air Force are used against the Maoists: Aruna Roy

Posted by Admin on November 3, 2009


[Aruna Roy]

Aruna Roy, a political and social activist, gave up her career in the Indian Administrative Service in 1975 to devote her time to social work and social reform. She has focused her energies on Rajasthan, where she helped establish the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan in 1990, a grass roots peoples organization that works for the empowerment of workers and peasants. In 2000, Ms. Roy won the Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership and for her role in empowering Indian villagers to claim what is rightfully theirs by upholding and exercising the people’s right to information. As Maoist violence continues unabated in the country, Ms. Roy spoke exclusively to Jyoti Malhotra for the Wall Street Journal. Excerpts from the interview.

WSJ: In recent weeks, India’s Maoists rebels have unleashed a reign of terror across the countryside, especially in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, murdering people and damaging public property. As someone who has worked as an activist for many decades in rural India, what is the reason for this sudden violence?

AR: It is now widely accepted that development has not reached people in Chattisgarh and other parts of the country. The Adivasis, or tribals who live here, are delinked from other parts of the country socially, culturally and politically, they are really like an island. Since Independence, most government officials have treated these areas as punishment postings. Few have wanted to live and work there and those who have gone have not treated the tribals as their equals. It’s been a sort of sahib-servant relationship. Several activists and those in the development sector did work there, but always came under surveillance like Binayak Sen. With Sen, as you know, he was arrested and put behind bars and accused of sympathizing with the Maoists. An important group which reached the tribal areas were the Christian missionaries who set up schools there, followed by Hindu right-wing groups who decided that the tribals must be “saved” from the Christians. These religious tensions usually ended in violence. In the meantime, the tribal belt, which is really the mineral belt of India, became the focus of interest of multinational companies… Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview with Koteswar Rao, CPI (Maoist) leader.

Posted by Admin on October 21, 2009


Supplement‘To establish a liberated area’

SUHRID SANKAR CHATTOPADHYAY
Interview with Koteswar Rao, CPI (Maoist) leader.

KOTESWAR RAO, alias Kishenji, is a politburo member of the banned CPI (Maoist) and is in charge of the party’s operations in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. He was drawn into the revolutionary movement when he was doing his B.Sc. (Mathematics) in Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh. He became a full-time member of the CPI-ML (People’s War) in 1974.

“We plan to spread our movement to north Bengal, the plains of Bihar, the central districts of Orissa and eastern Chhattisgarh,” he told Frontline in an exclusive telephonic interview in which he talked about the Lalgarh movement, the Maoist programme of individual killings and future plans of the Maoist movement. Excerpts:

Do you think the movement in Lalgarh is the fallout of the Singur and Nandigram movements rather than a heritage of the Naxalbari movement?

The movement in Lalgarh is the fallout of the Naxalbari movement, but the movements in Nandigram and Singur also had an impact on the Lalgarh movement and the people of Lalgarh. Such a long and sustained movement on a political issue has never taken place in the history of independent India. The main reason for this is the increase in political awareness among the masses.

At the same time, there is, on the one hand, a worldwide economic crisis and, on the other, Indian multinationals seizing the land and property of the common people. These, too, had a role to play in the eruption in Lalgarh.

And of course the Nandigram and Singur agitations, in which we were also present, are certainly big factors. At present, it is not possible to carry out just a peaceful agitation in West Bengal; along with peaceful agitations there must be huge rallies and meetings involving the direct participation of thousands of people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview with com. Ganapathi, CPI Maoist General Secretary

Posted by Admin on October 17, 2009


 

In this interview, taken from the October 17, 2009 issue of Open magazine, Ganapathi, General Secretary of the CPI (Maoist), talks about the party’s work in Lalgarh, its response to the government’s upcoming military offensive, the political situation in Nepal, the defeat of the LTTE, the contradictory nature of Islamist movements in the world today, and the role of the new chieftain of US imperialism.

Oct 13, ’09: Villagers watch as Maoists burn effigies of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in Dumariya, Gaya district, Bihar

Oct 13, ’09: Villagers watch as Maoists burn effigies of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in Dumariya, Gaya district, Bihar , Picture: Out Look

“We Shall Certainly Defeat the Government”

The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) talks to Open in his first-ever interview.

At first sight, Mupalla Laxman Rao, who is about to turn 60, looks like a school teacher. In fact, he was one in the early 1970s in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. In 2009, however, the bespectacled, soft-spoken figure is India’s Most Wanted Man. He runs one of the world’s largest Left insurgencies—a man known in Home Ministry dossiers as Ganapathi; a man whose writ runs large through 15 states.

The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) is a science graduate and holds a B Ed degree as well. He still conducts classes, but now they are on guerilla warfare for other senior Maoists. He replaced the founder of the People’s War Group, Kondapalli Seetharaamiah, as the party’s general-secretary in 1991. Ganapathi is known to change his location frequently, and intelligence reports say he has been spotted in cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kochi.

After months of attempts, Ganapathi agreed to give his first-ever interview. Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, he spoke to RAHUL PANDITA on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements.

Q Lalgarh has been described as the New Naxalbari by the CPI (Maoist). How has it become so significant for you? Read the rest of this entry »

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An interview with Arundhati Roy on India’s conflict with Maoist rebels, the occupation of Kashmir, ongoing Ind ian-Pakistani tensions, Obama’s war in “Af-Pak,” and more

Posted by Admin on September 29, 2009


Source: Democracy Now

Author Arundhati Roy on the Human Costs of India’s Economic Growth, the View of Obama from New Delhi, and Escalating US Attacks in Af-Pak

Roy-web

We’re joined from the Indian capital of New Delhi by the Booker Prize-winning novelist, political essayist and global justice activist Arundhati Roy. Her books include the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things and her latest essay collection, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. We speak to Roy about India’s conflict with Maoist rebels, the occupation of Kashmir, ongoing Indian-Pakistani tensions, Obama’s war in “Af-Pak,” and more. [includes rush transcript]

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Arundhati Roy, world-renowned Indian author and global justice activist. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. Since then she has written numerous essays on war, climate change and the dangers of free market development in India. Her new book, published today by Haymarket Books, is called Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. An adapted introduction to the book is also posted on Tomdispatch.com._

AMY GOODMAN: We turn to a woman the New York Times calls India’s most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence, Arundhati Roy, world-renowned Indian author and global justice activist. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. She has a new book; it’s called Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. An adapted introduction to the book is posted at tomdispatch.com, called “What Have We Done to Democracy?” Arundhati Roy joins us now from New Delhi, India, on the country’s biggest national holiday of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

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