In a statement issued on April 16th 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) claimed that the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is ‘a multi-pronged strategy involving security and development related measures’. This new policy, apparently in place since the NDA government came to power at the centre, claims to have ‘zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of development reached the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas’. The statement talks of substantial improvement in the LWE scenario by indicating reduced incidents of violence over the last four years. Within a week of this statement to the press, several Maoists are killed in an alleged encounter in Gadchiroli district of Maharastra and, then, in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. The Maharashtra state police immediately issued press notes and organised a press conference on April 24th declaring the operation an unmitigated success. A week later, Chhattisgarh police did the same. Even as the death count of Maoists kept rising, the police claimed that none of their personnel, primarily the elite C-60 force in Maharashtra and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), were seriously injured let alone killed in action.
The NAPM (National Alliance of People’s Movements) has written the following letter, signed by many movements and orgnizations, to the Governor and the Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh
Date: 11th May, 2017
Shri Balram Das Tandon, The Hon’ble Governor, Raj Bhawan, Raipur, Chhattisgarh,
Shri Raman Singh, The Chief Minister, Civil Lines, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
Sub: Revocation of suspension orders of upright, Dalit woman officer, Ms. Varsha Dongre, Asst. Jail Superintendent, Raipur Central Jail and restoration of peace and good government in the V Schedule adivasis areas of Bastar – Reg.
Respected Balram Das Tandon ji and Shri Raman Singh ji,
We, the undersigned, representing a large number of people’s movements and organizations, across India, as the National Alliance People’s Movements (NAPM), are writing to you with a deep sense of anguish regarding the arbitrary suspension of a young and dynamic dalit woman officer of your state, since she publicly expressed concerns over the serious human rights abuses of young adivasis girls in the jails of Chhattisgarh.
[ This is a letter addressed to Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh by several concerned individuals and organizations regarding the impunity with which medical guidelines are put aside by professionals who enjoy the patronage and protection of the state government.]
We, the 138 undersigned individuals and organizations working across the country on health and women’s rights are shocked and dismayed that the case against surgeon Dr. R. K. Gupta has been dismissed by the Hon’ble High Court on grounds that “the alleged act committed by the petitioner was while acting in discharge of his official duty and admittedly no previous sanction was obtained before initiating prosecution case against him”.
The Anita Jha Judicial Enquiry Commission report has clearly pointed out that “It is evident from the facts that in the camps organized on 8.11.2014 and 10.11.2014 there was a breach in the important necessities hence the standard operating procedure were not followed. As a result of which the symptoms of infections were found in post operative female beneficiaries“. It further states that “On the background of deliberation of investigation point number 1 to 3, investigation committee has found following persons Guilty/responsible, functionary, during 08 and 10 November, 2014:- 4.1 For not following standard procedures and for medical negligence by immediate functionary Block Medical Officer, Takhatpur…………….and surgeon who conducted surgery in tubectomy camp at Sakri and Gaurella ( Surgeries were completed by the same surgeon in the both camps)”.
Statement of Solidarity for journalists’ movement in Chhattisgarh
We extend our unconditional support to the journalists’ movement proposed on December 21, 2015 in Jagdalpur district of Chhattisgarh demanding the enactment of a protection law for scribes and immediate release of two reporters Santosh Yadav and Somaru Naag, who were arrested in September and July this year in fabricated cases and charged under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA). We have seen a surge in the attack on right to freedom of expression in recent times where journalists have been intimidated, bullied and even killed in different parts of the country. This has raised questions over legitimacy of democratically elected governments and is threatening the basic principles of democracy. Continue reading Release Santosh-Somaru! Enact protection law for journalists, Repeal CSPSA: Statement of Solidarity→
This is a review by JUSTIN PODUR of Nirmalangshu Mukherji’s book Maoists in India: Tribals Under Siege (Pluto Press 2012)
Central India is a place where all the fault lines of “development” in today’s world converge. Indigenous people, vast stretches of natural forest, mineral-hungry corporations; media, government institutions, and political parties heavily compromised by private interests; people’s struggles, armed insurgency, counterinsurgency, military occupation, paramilitarism – all are present, and until recently, it has all been a well-kept secret.
The struggles play out differently in different parts of Central India. In Orissa, indigenous people’s movements have battled mining companies and stalled projects for years, in Kashipur and Lanjigarh. In Chhattisgarh, in the northern Bastar region, one of India’s billionaires, Naveen Jindal of the Jindal Group (also a polo player and a Congress Party Member of Parliament for a different district), wields tremendous economic and political power. The mines use captive power plants, coal or hydro, so each mine causes massive ecological and agricultural damage. In a profile by Mehboob Jeelani in Caravan Magazine on March 1, 2013, Jindal explained his philosophy: “We don’t control all the raw materials, but we have captive mines for 60 or 70 percent. This is something my father really believed in—that we must control our raw materials. If we don’t, then other people control us. So we made a conscious effort to acquire coal and iron ore mines.” In southern Bastar in Chhattisgarh, a Maoist insurgency is fighting against government forces, police, paramilitaries, and vigilante groups, from bases deep in the forest, in a war that was largely unknown for decades.
In India, the secret of the insurgency was broken by a series of atrocities committed by a group called Salwa Judum, starting around 2005. Salwa Judum in the Americas would be called paramilitaries, but in India is called a vigilante group. Salwa Judum was organized by the state and headed by a Congress Party politician named Mahendra Karma. It burned hundreds of villages, committed murder and rape, and tried to channel the indigenous people of the forest villages into roadside camps, where their movements could be controlled. This was all done in the name of fighting the Maoist insurgency, and it largely failed on those terms: Maoist numbers increased, the indigenous people went deeper into the forest. But it was a human disaster, and that human disaster has continued. The objective is the lands where the indigenous people (in India called adivasis) live – specifically the minerals underneath those lands, which put them in the way of the extractive development model and hence, in the line of fire. Continue reading To Break a Siege: Justin Podur→
Protests against Sexual Violence continue in Delhi. Earlier this morning, there was a gathering to protest against the gruesome sexual violence committed on Soni Sori while in custody in Chhattisgarh under the supervision of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada. Ankit Garg was awarded with a presidential police medal on Republic Day (January 26) in 2012.