The news of killing of more than 40 people travelling in a bus blown by a blast in Dantewada is only a new chapter in the book of brutalities that is being scripted in Chhatisgarh and other parts of India in the name of ‘the People’. Six people were found slain in Rajnandgaon just a day before this blast. A day before that four villagers were killed in Bengal because they were thought be close to the CPM and were labeled as informers. Two days before these killings in Bengal, two villagers who were Gram Rakhis were killed in Orissa. This list does not include the death of 6 Para Military persons in Chhatisgarh who were killed a land mine detonated by the Maoists in Chhatisgarh.
Are these operations a response to the Operation Green hunt launched by the government? Or are they part of the Protracted People’s War that is being carried out by the purest revolutionaries of our earth who do not waver and shiver at the sight of blood? Or, as some friends caution us from rushing to any conclusion, as Shuddhabrata Sengupta has done, are they “ ‘ false flag operations’ conducted by some rogue elements of the state machinery” or directly endorsed by the state ? How are we to know who is the perpetrator of these crimes? Do we wait for a statement from the Maoists and if they deny their involvement, launch an investigation to find out the real culprit? It took nearly a month for the Maoists to officially own the attack which extinguished the lives of 76 CRPF men. The Maoist leadership congratulated the bravery of its combatants who had achieved the feat of eliminating a whole company of Indian para military force.
Some friends from the Rights Groups while expressing their sorrow over the death of these jawans pointed out that since they were combatants, their deaths cannot be construed as violation of the right to life. One of these groups felt bold enough to say that they, generally, on a matter of principle, do not condemn the deaths of combatants. This cold clinical approach to the issue of human rights gives you a chilling feeling. Or, it is perhaps a good news that now we have a fairly professional Human Right Technocracy in our land which tries to take an objective view of things and does not get emotional whatever be the number of dead or whatever be the method of killing.
I remember reading a letter by a human right activist addressed to the Maoists, after the beheading of the policeman Francis Induwar in Jharkhand. It was a long letter by Sujato Bhadra in which he tried to argue against capital punishment. Even this bold letter sounded defensive when he had to write seeking their attention, “You represent the advanced elements striving for social transformation. What should be your role as the vanguard? Will you submit to that violent emotion, or will you uphold advanced democratic values and guide the people under your influence along that path?” Pleading with them against killing or beheading the informers he appealed to them to find a better way of isolating them. He wrote, ‘And Mao was in favour of beheading only a few.’ Which implies that if the beheadings are only a few, they can still be excused. But to fair to Sujato Bhadra, his letter builds a case against violent ways of the Maoist politics.
Before we come to Kishanji, it would be interesting to see what Amit Bhattacharya says. Responding to the argument of Sujato Bhadra that since 224 countries have declared officially that capital punishment is abhorrent, Maoists should also follow them, Bhattacharya makes a very interesting argument, “This question is reasonable to countries and established governments; but how can it be applicable to those who do neither have any country nor an established government? The present writer is in total agreement with Sujato on one point: there should be thorough investigation before making any move; the loss of lives on the part of and damage to innocent people is totally undesirable.” Sounds perfectly logical, how can you demand from the Maoists what a state is expected to do?
If we agree with Bhattacharya , there is no point in invoking the Geneva Convention etc and seek the indulgence of the Maoists. So far as the issue of “ thorough investigation” before any decision is concerned one has to read the tonnes of pages of thorough investigation that was done by the intelligence agencies of Lenin, Stalin used by them to eliminate each and everyone who seemed to differ with them. These are now officially available to know what a truthful investigation by any Leninist Party means. Not only indictments by these agencies but confessions from the accused and condemned, seeking shooting, killing, hanging as a punishment for their betrayal!!And you ask about proof? About the persecuted of the land of Mao, we have only unofficial sources which again could be termed as stooges of world capitalism.
Responding to the appeal of Sujato Bhadra , Kishanji makes a very interesting point. He says , “as there was a resurgence of revolutionary movements in Andhra Pradesh and erstwhile Bihar in the 1980s, civil rights movement, by degrees, was beset with a crisis. That was the time when the masses rose to shake off the image of ‘oppressed masses’ and asserted their identity as the ‘resisting warrior masses’. Thus old model of civil rights movement could not fit in the new situation.” Human rights movement in Bengal still remained untouched by that crisis. This is because revolutionary movement in Bengal, as yet, had not regained its relevance in the political scenario.
Today the movement in Lalgarh-Jangal Mahal has raised a question before the human rights movement. Will the civil rights activists, who are accustomed to stand by the side of the ‘oppressed masses’, equally not be successful in standing by the side of the ‘resisting warrior masses’? ….
He continues: “Should the people fighting against fascist rule be satisfied with saving their skin by holding the hands of leaders/ lady leaders along the constitutional path? Or will the people protect themselves by destroying the fascist fortresses like that of Bastille?”
He calls upon the civil right workers to shake their indecision and join the RESISTING WARRIoR FORCES who are led by likes of Kishanji.
Indecision there is among those who are human right workers. They feel or are convinced that the Maoists are led by an advanced consciousness, that these killings are perhaps sacrifices at the altar of revolution, that Maoists are still not a state. Therefore, the criticism which applies to a state cannot be directed at them.
Even this argument which refuses to equate Maoists with the state forgets what they themselves have been saying in their travelogues written after their journeys to the land of the rebellion. By their account we get a picture of small liberated zones being governed by the Maoists. Where their people do not drink voluntarily, watch movies like Mangal Pandey or Rang De Basanti, read and write and they run their own reform programmes! Kishanji says that in Dandakaranya spies and informers are tried and kept in ‘people’s jails’. He laments that the situation in Bengal in different. Since there are no people’s jails what is the alternative before the people’s police or army but to put down them?
In the beginning of the note some questions were raised. But cannot one see a pattern in these killings? Are not they desperate attempts by the Maoists to take revolutionary struggle to a level which would precipitate a crisis in which it would be impossible for right thinking people not to take sides ?
I know that this latest incident would invite criticism from the right thinking people because there were some commoners among the killed. However, the silence of the last ten days on our part does gives an indication of the crisis our democratic and human rights movement is in.