Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Alarm bells ringing everywhere !

July 1, 2007

ALARMING NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND

The districts of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, known as the Naxal-affected belts, are areas where the scheduled tribes and castes make up more than 60 per cent of the population. Poverty is endemic in this region. The government is carrying out two types of development. The first is based on industries, mining and commercialization, and the second is linked with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the mid-day meal scheme and primary education. As far as the Naxal problem is concerned, the policy is to use ‘maximum force’. Which of these development models and policies is working is a critical question for the future of these states and their people.

The first developmental policy regarding the increase of private investment and ownership in mining, forestry, and so on is not new. This type of development was the initial reason behind the alienation of tribals since they saw their communal methods of ownership and freedom being curtailed. As large areas are cordoned off to make mines, large dams and special economic zones, tribals are displaced and turned into migrant labour. Tribal customs, like the making of local brew from Mahua trees, have been banned and foreign liquor shops have come up. The Naxalites have thrived in such an iniquitous environment.

The second developmental model, connected with social and economic schemes, is becoming increasingly popular, although it is using only 25-30 per cent of its capacity. Recent surveys by the Right to Food Group have revealed many problems with these schemes which need correction to make them effective and beneficial to more people. Yet, these schemes work in the ‘Naxal-affected’ areas and because of their popularity even the Naxals support these programmes, testifying to their importance. The government argues that Naxals “impede development”. But when development is positive and supported at the ground level, anyone wanting political legitimacy is forced to support it.

The Naxals work on small-time development issues like running some schools, health centres, dams, foodgrain banks, and so on. This gives them local level support, without which they would not be able to survive. The Maoists levy taxes and extort money from contractors and the locals for such work and for procuring the wide range of weapons that they possess. The level of support to Naxals in Jharkhand, where they are fast spreading, however varies.

In areas where the local population sees that significant efforts are being made by the government for improvement, the Naxals are not popular. Who would want to go to a Naxal school if the government school functioned? But in most places people are fed up with the police. Villagers say that if the Naxals come at night and want to be fed, the police invariably turn up next morning and want to be bribed. The choice then is between the “Maowadi and Khaowadi”.

Anyone interested in these areas, from the local member of parliament or that of the state legislature, to contractors and businessmen, has to have some alliance with the Maoists. How else would elections be held? And how else would contracts be completed? The Naxals argue, “In our zones, anyone can pass through if their identity is clear.” Maoists, in fact, no longer believe in ‘liberated zones’ but in ‘zones of influence’, where they co-exist with others and where they have parallel judicial and executive structures — the jan adalat (peoples’ court) and their militia that executes. The smallest unit is the two-man village unit; then there is the area secretary and the area commander. Area decisions are taken together by the area commander and secretary. The sub-zonal committee is overseen by the zonal committee and the zonal commander. They are assisted by a local guerilla squad and a special guerilla squad. Leaders and guerilla squads do not comprise all locals. They can be from any other region. The entire party is underground.

It is known that women have functioned as supporters, couriers and leaders, but very few come up for the ‘risky work’. The women’s organization, the Nari Mukti Sangh, functions at all levels, including in the armed squad, where women get full military training. Most women join this movement because of poverty and some because of ideology. The major work of politicization is undertaken by them.

The police have little knowledge of the functioning, except when Naxals are caught and then named ‘commander’, whatever their real status. Thus the local people often suffer police brutalities as there is little to distinguish between them and the Maoists. This is especially so in Jharkhand, where the Naxals are more local.

In the meantime, the police have killed hundreds of alleged Naxalites in ‘encounters’. They do not allow first information reports to be registered and give no compensation to families. The fear of the contesting militia has divided villages and caused fear and internal displacement, forcing villagers to evacuate their houses and camps, leading to unending personal tragedies.

Like the special security forces created earlier to deal with insurgency in the North-east and in Kashmir, the Salwa Judam was created in Chattisgarh. This government-sponsored force of well-armed local volunteers comprises former insurgents and the local youth. This state-armed unofficial militia has caused much harm and turned more people towards insurgency. It has helped militarize the society, where children now dream of guns, and the use of force is the accepted method of negotiation. This militia is unable to distinguish between ordinary civilians and insurgents. They see the entire community as ‘enemy’, similar to the ‘bounty killers’ who are used in all local disputes.

Many human rights groups have recorded the excesses of this militia. Such reports, however, have been ignored. Instead, journalists and activists have been branded as ‘sympathizers’. Meanwhile, the Salwa Judam model is being copied in other areas like Jharkhand, where the Nagrik Rakshak Samiti or Narsu has been working along the same lines and all local sources testify to its unpopularity and criminality.

Maximum force has been officially justified because of the killing and looting by the Naxals. Local officials say that once Naxals are caught, torture is essential to extract information. Figures, however, show that the number of Naxal-related incidents has not decreased, rather the number of human rights violations by both sides have significantly increased. Further, if the incidents and violations decrease in one area they simultaneously increase in another. For example, incidents of Naxalite strikes have gone down in Andhra Pradesh, but if nine out of 16 districts were affected in Chattisgarh, 18 out of 22 districts are affected in Jharkhand today.

In these circumstances, the schemes like the NREGA are all the more important. Yet they are still to be fully implemented. The Right to Food group witnessed that while there was increasing awareness of the act, the staff to implement it was still inadequate. There were delays in wage payments, there was lack of institutional arrangements (for example, Jharkhand has no panchayat elections), a monitoring system and accountability.

The outcome is thus already quite clear. People support ideas that benefit them and involve them. The idea of development based on human rights has become rooted in the minds of the people. To deny this is to lead to more conflict on all sides.

The Telegraph

India: Rural Development and the Naxalite Threat

July 1, 2007

June 28, 2007 20 31 GMT

Summary

Indian Maoist rebels, known as Naxalites, stepped up operations June 26-27 in their strongholds in eastern India, bringing much of the region to a standstill. As we expected, the Naxalites have seized upon the grievances of peasant farmers and tribal groups directly affected by the Indian government’s push to develop special economic zones. Though Indian politicians and security officials are quick to play up their successes against the Naxalites and brag about increasing Maoist defections, India’s security apparatus cannot contain the Naxalite movement, which is directly benefiting from a widespread rise in social agitation across rural India.

Analysis

For the second straight day Indian Maoist rebels, commonly referred to as Naxalites, wreaked havoc in the eastern Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa on June 27. Among other actions, they imposed a two-day economic blockade, attempted an attack on a power plant and brought traffic to a standstill by blowing up railway stations and rail lines.

While Indian officials tend to play up successes against the Naxalites, they cannot contain the Naxalites, who have drawn strength from rural unrest — something which carries major implications for investors outside India’s cities.

The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), the command center of India’s Naxalite movement, called the militant campaign in protest of New Delhi’s numerous development projects that have involved government land seizures. Eager to replicate China’s economic growth model, Indian politicians have caught Special Economic Zone (SEZ) fever, and with little foresight, are signing off on development projects left and right. One of the biggest problems with this haphazard economic policy is that SEZ development and expansion often displace peasant farmers and tribesmen, who are extremely adept at mounting stiff physical resistance to these projects — and do not fear engaging in violent clashes with the government to hold onto their land.

This growing dissatisfaction among India’s rural community over the SEZ push perfectly conforms to the Naxalite agenda. The Naxalites have been waging a 40-year-old popular insurrection against the government to combat exploitation and promote the creation of a classless society. Though the Naxalite movement has lost some of its intellectual appeal over the years, its campaign continues to attract men and women to its ranks.

The Naxalites have a force of approximately 15,000 cadres spread across 160 districts in the states of Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal. They operate primarily in the lawless, dense forested areas of India’s interior, with some estimates saying Naxalites control approximately 10.03 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of forests nationwide. They also have an active campaign to recruit students and other youths to help spread their left-wing extremism into India’s towns and cities. Thus far, however, the Naxalites have not demonstrated the ability to operate in urban areas.

Previously, the Naxalites have made direct threats against multinational corporations, though they primarily focus their attacks on police stations, locally owned factories and Indian government officials. The CPI-M leadership announced recently that for the first time, the Naxalite movement has created a single command center for the revolution and that more attacks are to come.

The Naxalites still have a host of problems to deal with, however. India has at least 10 Naxalite splinter groups that have broken away from the main movement due to differences over ideology and militant strategy, along with general disillusionment with the movement and war fatigue. Indian media also reports Naxalite defections on a nearly daily basis, though these incidents often are exaggerated and in some cases stage-managed by the police. This was most recently illustrated in January, when reports came out that as many as 79 Naxalites in Chhattisgarh had defected. Soon enough, allegations emerged that innocent tribal people were forced to “surrender” as Maoist rebels.

State governments have tried to lure Naxalite cadres away from the movement by offering amnesties and attractive rehabilitation programs, but this has not substantially increased defections. Rather, the Naxalites largely have been successful at retaining their experienced cadres by providing various types of incentives, including monthly stipends and regular medical checkups. Naxalites also attempt to recruit more female cadres by facilitating marriages within Naxalite camps. Many Naxalite cadres often surrender on orders of the party to collect intelligence and work as double agents, a common trend in Chattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The Naxalites also are extremely adept at using local agents and sympathizers to monitor the activities of true Naxalite defectors, who are often killed soon after they desert.

For the most part, Indian security forces garner little if any intelligence on Maoist activities from Naxalite defectors that would help counterinsurgency operations. The police hardly visit tribal pockets, avoiding them out of fear and lack of incentive. As a result, they have weak links with the locals and ex-Naxalites. And even when police do visit villages, Naxalite deserters avoid meeting them, since they know full well that the police cannot protect them and their families. Most prefer to keep silent and often agree to work as informers for the Naxalites even after they leave the party.

In Chhattisgarh, where Naxalite attacks are the most abundant, the state government has mobilized and armed villagers with bows and arrows, guns and spears to fight against Naxalites. This anti-Naxalite militia, known as Salva Judum, which means Purification Hunt, includes child soldiers in its ranks and is often touted by the state government as a highly successful counterinsurgency strategy. These claims are also overstated, however, and Naxalites have managed to insert spies in Salva Judum camps.

India’s Naxalite problem is rooted in socioeconomic disparities, something that will only be compounded as state governments push ahead with SEZs and development projects that threaten to displace semiliterate tribesmen and farmers. Though India has several paramilitary organizations whose sole focus is combating Naxalites, security personnel are in poor condition to tackle the menace. Many junior and midlevel police officers are severely demoralized and frustrated by overly confident senior officials and policymakers who cannot cut through India’s bureaucracy and coordinate across state lines against the Naxalites. This lack of coordination also largely results from law-and-order issues falling under exclusive control of the state governments. The central government in New Delhi cannot directly deal with the Naxalite threat in the states, and ideological differences among ruling parties at the federal and state levels result in incoherent policies across the country.

The Naxalite problem, which Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described as the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by India, shows no sign of easing. Inevitably, foreign investors looking to expand their operations outside India’s urban areas must take it into consideration.

Stratfor – Foreign Intelligence think tank

Red-buster road on PMO table

July 1, 2007

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, June 29: A decision on 1,700km answer to the Naxalite arson across three states — the Vijayawada-Ranchi corridor — lies with the Prime Minister’s Office now.

National highway status, however, eludes the dream project of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been harping on this road project at every meeting of Maoist-affected states and at Prime Minister-Planning Commission discussions.

The proposed highway will pass through 12 districts of Orissa, including the Maoist-ridden Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj.

The Orissa stretch of the inter-state road will start from Motu in Malkangiri district in the south and terminate at Tiring in Mayurbhanj district in the north.

The chief minister felt that if the corridor passing through the Maoist affected states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh is constructed, it would usher in economic development in the region and thereby reduce the intensity of Left-wing extremism.

The route is something like this: Vijayawada-Kodar-Khammam-Motu-Malkangiri-Jeypore-Koraput-Rayagada-
Digapahandi-Aska-Phulbani-Boudhi-Deogarh-Keonjhar-Tiring-Hata-Chaibasa-
Chakradharpur-Khunti-Ranchi (see map).

Since the Naxalites are rapidly infiltrating Orissa, apart from Karnataka, security experts feel the Centre should decide on the project at the earliest and implement it fast.

“After five years, the rebels may not let you work,” said an expert from Chhattisgarh working on the project.

He added that some of the stretches like from Koraput to Rayagada are heavily affected by the Naxalites and need security.

In Jharkhand, engineers working on the project disclosed that contractors have been paying the Naxalites regularly in order to progress with work.

The telegraph

Download peoplesmarch in Hindi

May 22, 2007

We recieved this in an email I am putting this up for download for
those who wish to study and gain a greater understanding of the armed
maoist movement in India.

Hindi People’s March May 2007

Dear friend,

Download the Hindi People’s March May 2007 PDF version

P.Govindan kutty
Editor, People’s March

CPI(Maoist) statement on 150 years of Revolt of 1857

May 11, 2007

Source : Recieved via email


Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Central Committee


CARRY FORWARD THE HEROIC ANTI-IMPERIALIST TRADITIONS OF 1857!! HAIL THE FIRST WAR OF INDIA’S INDEPENDENCE!!

CELEBRATE THE OCCASION ON A GRAND SCALE FURTHER DEVELOPING THE ANT-IMPERIALIST TRADITIONS OF OUR COUNTRY!!!

—- CALL OF THE CPI (MAOIST)

Press Release: May 5, 2007

Exactly 150 years ago on May 10th the first salvo of this great rebellion was fired. What started as a mutiny of the Indian soldiers soon turned into a prairie fire and became a great people’s war. This people’s war engulfed large parts of India embracing Oudh, Rohilkhand, Bundelkhand, Sagar, Narmada, Nagpur, Hyderabad, many districts of Bihar, Agra, Meerut, Punjab, Delhi, parts of Bengal and other places. In magnitude, depth, as also in significance, this rebellion was unparalleled in the long history of both independent and colonial India. Primarily anti-colonial, it was at the same time directed against the feudal forces. It was the soldiers of Meerut who set the ball rolling on the 10th of May. Mutinies followed in several stations of the north. In Bundelkhand, Jhansi took the lead. In many areas, British army officials were attacked and killed. At Jhansi, the rebel soldiers released all prisoners.

But this no longer remained a revolt of the armed forces. It spread to the entire peasantry and artisans. A few weeks after the Revolt began, British rule was virtually wiped out in north India. In all cases of rural uprising, violence was directed against those institutions of power with which they interacted directly and immediately, namely tehsils and thanas. Thanas and tahsils were attacked, records destroyed and government officials driven out. All vestiges of colonial rule were in the process eliminated. While confiscating the ill-gotten property was the principal form by which people asserted their power, arming themselves was the principal means by which they did so. The weapons chosen were anything that was available from matchlocks, spears, scythes, and iron-bound lathis, axes, etc to weapons seized from the British. British political power and that of their lackeys were practically demolished over entire Northern India.

The revolutionaries set up their own ‘Court of Administration’ for an independent India free from foreign control. It was set up with representatives from soldiers and civilians with two representatives each from the infantry, cavalry and infantry and four from the civilians. Each of these representatives was elected by majority vote from their own constituencies. This smaller body elected a president and a vice-president by a majority vote. This supreme body acted in a judicial capacity and also established different courts for discharge of judicial duties. Taking of bribes and other malpractices were firmly suppressed. The body took upon itself the task of administration of the land, maintenance of peace and order in the captured territories, collection of loans from the mahajans and the conduct of war. The emperor exercised no control over these affairs.

Not only did the militant masses fight the British and their lackeys they also established a new power in a rudimentary form. Such is the heroic history of this great uprising, which is as relevant today as it was over 150 years back. The direct British colonial rule has been replaced by the neo-colonial rule of the imperialists. The country continues being robbed through indirect means ever since the so-called independence of 1947. This robbery has increased phenomenally ever since the implementation of the policies of imperialist globalization in the country. The loot of our country today by the imperialists and their lackeys has reached gigantic proportions. Nothing but another Great War for Indian Independence can save this country from total devastation. On this occasion of this 150th Anniversary it is only such a message that must be sent to the vast masses of our motherland. It must be shown that if the masses revolt it is possible to seize power and smash the rule of the robbers, both Indian and foreign.

Today, while all establishment parliamentary parties are celebrating the event they are primarily doing so to hide their outright betrayal of the country and its people to the imperialists, particularly the US. While taking up a mass campaign we must expose their hypocrisy and false pretenses. We must call on the masses to continue in the revolutionary traditions of 1857 and also Bhagat Singh whose birth centenary is being celebrated this year. Both represent the great anti-imperialist and patriotic traditions of the masses of our country which is being taken forward by the Maoists and other democratic and revolutionary forces of the country.

Let us turn this 150th year of the historic 1857 uprising and Bhagat Singh birth centenary into a great festival of revolt in all parts of the country. Let us build this anti-imperialist tempo in every nook and corner of the country; starting from May 10th and culminating in huge actions/meetings/celebrations on Sept.28, the birth centenary day of Bhagat Singh.

Azad

Spokesperson,

Central Committee,

CPI(Maoist)

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May 8, 2007

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A top Maoist guerrilla leader captured

May 8, 2007

A top Maoist guerrilla leader captured

From correspondents in Chhattisgarh, India, 12:30 AM IST

A top Maoist guerrilla leader from West Bengal was arrested Sunday from a railway station here even as Maoists killed two tribals in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bijapur district on suspicion they were police informers.

According to police, the arrested Maoist was identified as Piyush Guha, a resident of West Bengal. He was nabbed while carrying a letter meant for a top Maoist leader currently in a Chhattisgarh jail in connection with masterminding over dozens of major landmines blasts in India, a senior police officer said.

It was the first-ever instance of Leftist radicals roaming around urban areas in the insurgency-infested state.

Guha’s arrest came two later after police trapped a 50-year-old Maoist leader Gazalla, a member of Dandkaranya Zonal Committee in Gariaband area, 25 km from here.

(Staff Writer, © IANS)

Open letter to Maoists and Government of India for initiation of Peace Dialogue in Bastar

April 14, 2007

You can leave your feedback and views about this project at
http://bastarpeacedialogue.blogspot.com/

Open letter to Maoists and Government of India for initiation of Peace Dialogue in Bastar

Bastar Peace Dialogue

Peace dialogue initiative by social scientists and independent citizens in Bastar area of Chhattisgarh.

To

The General Secretary,
CPI (Maoist)

Sir,

We, the members of Peace Initiative Team of Social Scientists and Independent Citizens, visited Bastar area and moved around 1100 sq. kms, talked and interacted with tribals, Salva Judum supporters and CPI(Maoist) supporters in villages and haats to find out the reasons, dimensions and levels of violence in the area as well as to find out the possibility of peace for a creative and imaginative socio-cultural and economic development of the tribals. We came to the conclusion that unless there is a prolonged period of peace, the hapless tribals of Bastar would not only continue to suffer but no development of the tribals or the area is possible. We, however, fail to understand why the CPI (Maoist) are not able to understand this and are continuing with their romantic belief and vision of capturing state power through a prolonged and protracted violent armed struggle.

We are also not able to understand why the Maoists are not able to understand the basic scientific underpinning of Marx which made him question everything in a scientific manner and come to rational conclusions. Marx, more than anyone else, realized that history never remains frozen in time and that the dialectics of cause and effect may unleash forces, which make the dialectics extremely complex, and seeing it as a simple binary conflict between thesis and anti-thesis would lead to romantic simplicity. If this would not have been so, Leninism and Maoism would not have come into existence as both were trying to respond to the unique complex dialectics which existed in Russia of 1917 and China of 1940s. In fact, Mao even after 1949 kept on evolving new strategies which were some time successful land some time unsuccessful to response to the complex dialectic processes which undergoes sometimes complex sometimes subtle changes. Sometimes the dialectic challenges may even go unnoticed.

Further the responses to these dialectic challenges have to find roots in the civilizational, cultural and ethical ecology of the area where they exist. India has certain unique civilizational, cultural and ethical psychological make-up, which abhors violence on a large scale. Any strategy whether political or social which does not accept this fact would, on long run, create problems for itself. We, as anthropologists and social scientists fail to understand how CPI (Maoist) leaders are not able to see this. Gandhi succeeded in his movement because he could understand this unique Indian psyche.

Another fact which came to our notice during our interaction with people of Bastar area is the doubt which is now gradually growing in their minds because of contradiction between what the CPI (Maoist) leaders say and what they actually do. We would also like your response on doubts expressed by them (which are also some of our major doubts):

1. You claim to espouse the cause of the tribals and blame the state for exploiting the tribals but for the last 26 years of your stay in Dandakaranya area of Bastar, you have done very little for the development of tribals.

2. You blame the state for exploiting the tribals but you dissuade them from plucking Tendu leaf till the government agrees to a particular rate dictated by you but, at the same time, you allow plucking once the corrupt contractors or their agents pay you your share. Where does that leave the helpless tribals? Don’t you see that it is because of this contradiction in your behaviour that the tribals revolted against you and the phenomena is now being called Salva Judum. Don’t you see that if you give such an opportunity, any adversary would support such a movement? You thought that you would suppress the movement through brutal and violent methods but even after one and half years and death of 300-400 innocent tribals, the movement still against you still continues. You have lived in Dandakaranya area for a long time to realize that the tribals of Bastar cannot be forced into a sponsored movement unless they have been greatly offended by you.

3. You claim that it is your avowed intention to clean the corrupt bureaucracy (which you term as class enemies) but you have no hesitation from collecting ‘levies’ and taxes from the very same corrupt officials. The tribals are also not very clear what you do with that money because he knows that very little of it is spent on his development.

4. You claim you do not harbour any anger towards ordinary and lowly paid constables, head constables and sub-inspectors as well as ordinary civilians but nobody is able to understand how you can then indulge in indiscriminate acts of killing of innocent civilians as well as lowly paid policemen.

5. You conduct your own Jan Adalats claiming that you do not have faith in the corrupt judiciary system of the country. It is then very difficult to understand why you take recourse to the same legal-judicial systems and its laws to get your cadres released on bail or make efforts that your leaders in jails are treated as political criminals. Is it not better to have the honesty of a Gandhi or a Tilak or a Bhagat Singh and tell the court that you do not accept it or its laws? Your behaviour in criticizing the judicial system but using it to gain benefits of freedom is interpreted as hypocrisy by even simple tribals.

6. We also came to know in our interaction with tribals of Bastar that while you do not believe in the democratic system, hoist black flags on Republic and Independence Days and call the mainstream politicians including those belonging to Left parties as corrupt and class enemies, you do have back channel contacts with the same politicians to further your personal agendas.

The aforementioned contradictions in your behaviour is not only confusing to us but has also been noticed by the tribals who claim to be your supporters and is fast leading to a sense of disenchantment.
We would make an appeal to you for deep introspections. We are sure if you do so (and we are also convinced that your Party has senior leaders who can understand history, politics, theory and applications in a dispassionate manner) you would come to the conclusion that prolonged and protracted violent armed struggle would only leave destruction, debris and pain and that you can succeed in achieving your goals through a Constitutional and democratic mechanism. The peace will have to be given a chance. We think that the CPI (Maoist) leaders would have to take the initiative:

7. First and foremost it is for you to make an offer for a period of prolonged peace and also offer an agenda for serious negotiations with the government. You will not be taken seriously if you again demand as you did during your talks with Andhra Government that you would continue to hold on to your weapons, run your own parallel courts, etc. but the government should release all the imprisoned cadres. No government anywhere in the world would accept such conditions. The agenda has to incorporate a rationally and logically conceived pragmatic proposals.

8. You will have to make the first offer of peace, which should include a six-month moratorium on violence perpetuated by you on so-called class enemies, Salva Judum activists and government servants and police. You should also make your intentions clear that in a phased manner you would surrender your weapons and join the political mainstream. You should realize that while the ‘barrel of the gun’ strategy succeeded in 1917 and 1949, the world has undergone major changes in its political and socio-economic belief systems and developmental paradigms and that it is now no more possible to defeat a state through violent insurgent means.

9. You could also start holding parallel negotiations with Left parties to form a United Left Front and can enter combative and a competitive politics in the open political space supplied by a democratic polity. You must realise that mass base cannot be created in an atmosphere of fear and compulsion. By coming in the open political arena you would actually get a real understanding of your existing mass base and may even expand it.

Thanking you, with regards, love and hope,

Yours sincerely,

1.Prof. S. Narayan(Anthropologist and Sociologist, Patna, Bihar)
2.Dr. Raji Ahmad (Gandhian Social Activist, writer and leader, Patna, Bihar)
3.Dr. Ajay Kumar Singh (Patna, Bihar)
4.Mr. Dhirendra Singh (Patna, Bihar)
5.Prof. Mitashree Mitra (Raipur, Chhattisgarh)
6.Prof. O.P. Verma (Raipur, Chhattisgarh)
7.Prof. Dinesh Kumar Verma (Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
8.Dr. Rajendra Singh (Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
9.Mrs. Shoba Narayan (Patna, Bihar)
10.Mr. Farjand Ahmad (Media person, Lucknow, UP)
11.Mr. Ajay Sharma (ANI/Media, Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
12.Mr. Mithelesh (Media person, Pat

An Appeal to the Indian Government

To

1.The President of India, New Delhi.
2.The Prime Minister of India, New Delhi.
3.The Union Minister of Tribal Welfare, New Delhi
4.The Governor of Chhattisgarh, Raipur
5.The Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh, Raipur.

Sirs,
We, the members of the Peace Initiative Team of Social Scientists and Independent Citizens visited Bastar area and moved around 1100 sq. kms talking and interacting with tribals, Salva Judum supporters and CPI (Maoist) supporters in villages and haats to find the reasons, dimension and levels of violence in the area as well as to find out the possibility of peace for a creative and imaginative socio-cultural and economic development of the tribals and the area. We have come to the conclusion that a prolonged period of peace, it is absolutely necessary for the development of the tribals of Bastar as well as the entire area affected by violence.

As social scientists we are aware that no government, especially one which adheres to a constitutional democratic polity will accept surrendering to an alternative ideology which shows open hostilities and repugnance towards a constitutional-democratic polity and structures even though it may allow to adhere to such beliefs free debating space. We are, therefore, making an appeal to CPI (Maoist) leaders to give peace a chance.

However, after stating the above, we must point out that the alternative ideologies of CPI (Maoist) could grow, capture the imagination of many as well as got entrenched due to government’s own inept handling of various development problems in tribal areas. Some of the steps, which the government will have to take once the peace if realised, are suggested as under:

a)The government must realize that it cannot step up the pace of development in tribal areas, especially areas that are inhabited by primitive tribals. It must realise that if the politics of development in tribal area is undertaken without understanding the ‘felt’ needs of the tribals, more often than not, the development becomes ‘Derivative Development’, ‘Discriminatory Development’, or ‘Differential Development’. Only ‘felt need’ development model can lead to an acceptable and sustainable development in tribal areas.

b)In this context it would be important to emphasise the need of recruiting anthropologists and sociologists for not only evaluating the development programmes but also to act as an interface between the tribals and the policy makers.

c)Before planning any development interventions, it is important that the suspicions of the tribals are allayed. The tribal has a litany of real or presumed grievances against the more advanced cultures, which it has been carrying for ages. He has to be convinced that the members belonging to the advanced cultures and their institutions have concern and respect for them their culture, their ethos and their institutions. Attempts should be made to encourage their plays, games and sports, etc. can be organized on all India level. Similarly, as the tribal education has generally been non-formal in its dimensions, this will have to be synergised with the formal brand of education in a graded and gradual manner.

d)Development would have to be prioritised. For the tribal need of nutritious food is more important than road and electricity. Because of small land holdings, irrigation facilities become more important than credit facilities. The need of modern medical facilities including that of nutrition supplements cannot be underestimated in tribal areas. Similarly, the importance of good and clean potable water cannot be underestimated. Most of the diseases, which afflict the tribals of Bastar, can be traced to their drinking contaminated water.

e)The policy makers should also understand that there is really no contradiction between economic growth of the nation with the growth and development of a geographical area inhabiting primitive tribals. If India as a nation needs iron-ores and coal for its steel plants for its economic and industrial growth and most of the iron-ores and coal mines are situated in tribal areas, one has to find ways and means to exploit these minerals without reducing the tribal to a state of penury by dispossessing him of his land and offering him compensations which are inadequate in the long run. The way out should be creating a permanent stake of the tribal in the mining and industrial projects. One of the suggested ways is to make the tribal a shareholder in the mining or industrial projects apart from the one-time compensation for his land. Alternatively, a programme will have to be formulated for general growth of the area.

f)It is also important that a consultative body of traditional tribal chiefs, anthropologists and policy makers is constituted at the district levels in the erstwhile district of Bastar (which has now been divided in 2-3 revenue districts) for deciding on the felt-needs of tribals as also as a body to educate, persuade and convince the tribals of a policy the introduction of which is felt necessary but is being resisted by the tribals.

The government must also realize that development cannot take place unless there is an atmosphere of peace. It must seriously consider a genuine proposal for peace offered by the naxalites in a compassionate manner.

Thanking you and hoping that the government would initiate steps leading to an atmosphere of peace in Bastar area so that all-round development of the area without unnecessary stimulating the fears and concerns of tribals living in that area is made possible. Thanking you again with a hope that you would give serious thought to our study and suggestion.

Yours sincerely,

1.Prof. S. Narayan(Anthropologist and Sociologist, Patna, Bihar)
2.Dr. Raji Ahmad (Gandhian Social Activist, writer and leader, Patna, Bihar)
3.Dr. Ajay Kumar Singh (Patna, Bihar)
4.Mr. Dheerendra Singh (Patna, Bihar)
5.Prof. Mitashree Mitra (Raipur, Chhattisgarh)
6.Prof. O.P. Verma (Raipur, Chhattisgarh)
7.Prof. Dinesh Kumar Verma (Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
8.Dr. Rajendra Singh (Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
9.Mrs. Shoba Narayan (Patna, Bihar)
10.Mr. Farjand Ahmad (Media person, Lucknow, UP)
11.Mr. Ajay Sharma (ANI/Media, Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
12.Mr. Mithelesh (Media person, Patna, Bihar)

Mamata breaks 25-day fast, furore continues over elderly couple’s death

December 29, 2006

Mamata breaks 25-day fast, furore continues over elderly couple’s death

Kolkata Dec 28, In a dramatic midnight development, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee ended her 25-day fast protesting the location of a Tata car project after intervention by both the president and the prime minister.

Mamata broke her fast at midnight Thursday after receiving a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The letter was faxed to the office of West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi that was immediately delivered to Mamata, who was protesting the Tata project at Singur on the ground it would eat away 997 acres of fertile farmland.

‘I thank all the political parties for their support,’ Mamata told her supporters at Esplanade, the venue of the fast.

She will be admitted to a nursing home for a while to enable her recuperate.

Mamata’s decision came on a day of dramatic developments during which President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam expressed ‘serious concern’ over her health and spoke to Manmohan Singh to stress the need to find a way to resolve the issue. Kalam also appealed to Mamata to end the stir as ‘life is precious’.

‘The President spoke to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and expressed his serious concern and emphasised the need to find a way to end the stalemate and to enable her to end the fast,’ a press release – the second of the day – issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
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In Singur, furore over elderly couple’s death

Singur, December 28 : The gruesome murder of an old, well-off farmer couple in Singur’s Doloigacha — about 5 km from the Tata Motors small car project site — put the area on the boil once again this afternoon, even as a compromise formula was being worked out between the government and fasting Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee.

The victims — Tinkari Dey, (56) and his wife Maya (50) — were found in a pool of blood on a ground floor room of their two-storied concrete house. Tinkari had a sharp cut on the back of his head. Both had electric wires tied around their neck, fitted to a plug-point. The bodies bore signs of strangulation and burn injuries from electric shock. “It is certainly not a case of suicide,” said Arun Gupta, IG Western Range, who visited the spot.

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Maoists shot in Chhattisgarh

November 24, 2006

Maoists shot in Chhattisgarh

Security personnel gunned down three Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja and Dantewada districts, reports our correspondent from Raipur. Of the three slain rebels, two were from Jharkhand.

In the first incident that took place late last night in Balrampur police district of Sarguja, jawans from the special task force and district force shot dead two Maoists from Jharkhand in the Joba forest near Manikpur village.

A zonal commander of the CPI(Maoist), Ram Singh Cherwa — also from Jharkhand — sustained bullet injuries, but could not be caught.

Balrampur superintendent of police S.R.P. Kalluri said the operation was conducted on a tip-off from an informer that more than 40 Maoists from Jharkhand had sneaked into Chhattisgarh.

After the shootout, the police discovered two bodies, which were identified as those of Sanjay Singh and Lal Bihari. Arms, ammunition and Maoist literature were recovered from the spot.

In another encounter that took place around 9.30 am today in Bhairamgarh area of Bijapur police district in Dantewada, Central Reserve Police Force jawans shot a rebel leader near Utla village and arrested at least five others.

Bastar inspector-general of police R.K. Viz said the slain Maoist leader — in uniform — was yet to be identified.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1061124/asp/jamshedpur/story_7043434.asp