Tag Archives: naxalites

Free the innocent undertrials and Jharkhand’s jails won’t be overcrowded: Stan Swamy

Guest post by STAN SWAMY

A Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled recently in Jharkhand  Assembly says most of Jharkhand  jails are housing prisoners beyond their capacity by the end of 2010. Significantly, the most crowded jails are in Garwa, Latehar and Simdega districts where anti-naxalite operations by police and para-military forces are on. The basic question to ask is: are Jharkhandi adivasis & moolvasis increasingly taking to crimes or is the society labeling them criminals.
There are three basis on which young rural adivasi men & women are arrested: Continue reading Free the innocent undertrials and Jharkhand’s jails won’t be overcrowded: Stan Swamy

On Regret and Control

As I get ready to mail this piece, I read the news of the killing of four CRPF men who were out on a patrol in an IED blast in Begal. I know that these deaths do not qualify as deaths of the ‘people’ since all the dead were ‘combatants’. I therefore do not expect any expression of regret from the CPI( Maoist). But the sheer lack of remorse with which the CPI( Maoist) has owned the land mine blast which killed more than 40 people travelling in a bus in Chhatigarh shows that the lives of the tribal people matter little for them. Their central committee member Azad told the reporters that it could not be helped. He said that since they had informed the villagers through circulars that they should refrain from travelling with the security persons, the Maoists cannot be blamed for these deaths. They paid the price with their lives for ignoring this warning. The circular issued by the ‘Janadhan Sarkar’ very clear forbids them from mixing with Jawans or police, inviting them to village for any event , providing them food or shelter, giving any service to the security persons , or travelling with them, including the police, CRPF , SPOs or the CRPF . They have also been asked to keep track of the number of policemen in their area and also the arms they carry and report to the ‘Janadhan Sarkar’ their movement and destination. Continue reading On Regret and Control

Maoists issue a statement, the media plays it down

The CPI (Maoist) has issued a statement after the killing of the CRPF men in Dantewada. You would imagine that the statement should be all over the media. If you Google you will find it here and there, and if you’ve been reading the papers I won’t blame you for missing it. It’s buried in the inside pages today, and only the Hindustan Times yesterday had put it on its front page. This is not surprising considering that after the CRPF killings the media has gone into war mode. It’s war out there, they’re saying again and again. Anchors are shouting, news-magazines are declaring war and calling the Indian state impotent and the top editors are saying it’s a turning point, ab bas bahut ho gaya, now let’s just shoot ’em dead. What, no air strikes? get real guys.

Continue reading Maoists issue a statement, the media plays it down

The Rumour of Maoism

This essay has been published in the current issue of Seminar (No. 607, March 2010).

In his classic Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India, Ranajit Guha outlines a certain methodological imperative for the historian who wanted to ‘get in touch with the consciousness of [peasant] insurgency’ when access to it is barred by the discourse of counter-insurgency that structures official records. How does one look beyond this discourse of the state that frames the archives in order to gain access to the voice of the rebels? Guha’s solution was relatively simple: Counter-insurgency, he argued, derives directly from insurgency and is so determined by the latter that ‘it can hardly afford a discourse that is not fully and compulsively involved with the rebel and his activities.’1

Unlike British Marxist historian E.J. Hobsbawm who had tried to track the story of ‘social bandits’ through a somewhat problematic reading of folklore,2 Guha warned that ‘folklore relating to peasant militancy can be elitist too’, for many singers and balladeers belonged to upper-caste families who had fallen on hard times and were, therefore, often suspicious of the revolt of the lower castes or tribals. Guha underlined that though the records of the colonial state and its police officials registered the voice of those hostile to the insurgents – including landlords and usurers – they could not avoid being shaped by the will of the insurgents. His conclusion therefore was that the presence of rebel consciousness could be read in the body of evidence produced by the discourse of counter-insurgency itself.

The burden of Guha’s argument was that in order to decode the language of counter-insurgency, it was often enough to simply reverse the values in the terms used by the official discourse: thus ‘badmashes’ simply meant peasant militants and not ‘bad characters’; ‘dacoit village’ would indicate an entire village involved in the resistance and ‘contagion’ would most likely refer to the solidarity generated by the uprising.

Those were happier days from the historian’s point of view. For the peasant and tribal insurgencies that Guha was discussing were organic struggles which drew their leadership from amidst the peasants or tribal communities themselves. Whether it was Sidhu Kanoo, Birsa Munda or Titu Mir – the leadership of the movements and their ‘ideologies’ derived directly from the world of the tribals. The context of colonial India was also, in a significant sense, quite clearly polarized and the possibility of written records being produced from a multiplicity of sources was simply out of the question. It may, therefore, be possible to follow Guha’s suggestion and merely reverse the values in order to get a sense of that other discourse. Continue reading The Rumour of Maoism

The Plot thickens: more petitioners show up

The Gompad case gets murkier. Gachanpalli is another village mentioned in the same case I have been writing about for some time now. I visited the village this week to find a similar pattern where villagers vanish without really telling anyone where they are going and suddenly show up in the Supreme Court in New Delhi.
Given the matter is sub judice, I’ll refrain from any theorizing at this point.
Gachanpalli: A frayed umbrella, a half filled bottle of cooking oil and two shopping bags stuffed with clothes constitute the unlikely tombstone that marks Kowasi Ganga’s grave.  “It’s the sum total of his worldly possessions,” says his grandson Kowasi Muye, “It’s a Muria tradition.”
Kowasi Ganga, 75, died on September 17 2009. Muye’s last memory of his grandfather is of Ganga dying dead outside their home.  He had been stabbed multiple times.

Green Hunt: The Anatomy of An Operation

An operation is underway in Central India, but no one really knows what it is. Variously described as a media myth, a comprehensive hearts and minds strategy, and an all-out offensive by paramilitary forces and the state forces along the borders of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Operation Green Hunt has become a shoebox of news clippings, police reports, public demonstrations and armed encounters.

Depending on the definition, Green Hunt either began in July 2009, September 2009 or November 2009. Speaking off record, senior policemen confirmed that the intensification of “search and comb” operations in Chhattisgarh began as early as July last year. In September 2009 the press reported on the progress of “Operation Green Hunt”: a massive 3 day joint operation in which the central CoBRA force and state police battled Naxal forces in Dantewada. Continue reading Green Hunt: The Anatomy of An Operation

The New Face of Capitalist War and Duty of the Left:Progressive Students Union

This guest post is an appeal circulated by Progressive Students Union (PSU) – Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) – about the state’s war on “Maoist violence” , adding to the growing criticism of the CPI(Maoist) that cannot be conveniently dismissed as pro-state or anti-Left.

As has already been declared all across the national media, the state has declared war on “Maoist violence” across the country and is about to unleash its might on some of the most neglected regions and people of this country. While the Maoists are the declared target of the State, it is needless to say that they have hardly any qualms about “breaking a few eggs to make an omlette”! The thousands of adivasis and civilians going to be caught in the crossfire would be portrayed by the media as an inevitable but necessary price to pay for the eradication of the Naxal ‘menace’. That may well be only less than half the story, because another reason for state operations in this area is the immense mineral wealth there which can not be passed on to Indian capital unless adivasis living there are displaced, and their survival systems completely destroyed. According to reports from Chhatisgarh, the state sponsored Salwa Judum has displaced more than three hundred and fifty thousand adivasis in the old Bastar area. Fifty thousand have moved to neighbouring states, another fifty thousand are living under the surveillance of para-military forces in state controlled camps, the remaining two hundred and fifty thousand have moved deeper into the jungle to escape the violence and pillage of Salwa Judum. While the adivasis of Central India have faced, and resisted state violence for long, the Central Home Ministry – under the leadership of the suave and genteel Home Minister and Prime Minister –  has made plans for a larger offensive named ‘Operation Green Hunt’ (with the open possibility of aerial bombardment) to be launched in November this year. Progressive Students Union (PSU) condemns in the strongest terms these actions of the state which amounts to nothing but declaring war on its own citizens.

Continue reading The New Face of Capitalist War and Duty of the Left:Progressive Students Union

Dead Hence Guilty?

“Governments have always lied. They naturally deny it, even long after it is abundantly clear that they have lied, trailing multiple red herrings, dismissing inconvenient evidence, implying that there is counter-evidence they are not free to produce. When a lie can no longer be credibly denied it is justified, usually by an appeal to the national interest. Governments of modern representative democracies are no different, even if they are more liable than dictators to be exposed.”
Colin Leys, Quoted in Socialist Register, 2006

The National Capital Region (NCR) witnessed a police encounter on the eve of the republic day. Two young men who were supposedly carrying a big cache of arms and ammunition were killed on the spot. We were told that this duo was part of a larger LeT module, which wanted to wreak havoc in the capital.
The killings of the two young men did not cause much uproar.
The police officers appeared jubilant over this episode for foiling such attempt. To blunt any possible criticism of the incident a due enquiry was also ordered by the powers that be and has even promised that it would be completed in a stipulated time.

Continue reading Dead Hence Guilty?

Beyond violence and non-violence – K Balagopal

Via Jamal Kidwai

[We are posting this piece by K Balagopal, hoping to continue our reflections on violence and non-violence in political movements. – AN]

The public arena is witness to dispirited discussion of the ineffectiveness of people’s movements, which are at the most able to slow down things, and nothing more. The discussion often turns around violence and non-violence, not as moral alternatives but as strategic options. Those who are sick of sitting on dharna after dharna to no effect are looking with some envy at violent options,
while many who have come out of armed groups find the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) fascinating.

It is good that there is some openness in the matter now, for dogmatic attitudes have done considerable harm. To say that one should not be dogmatic about violence may be morally a little unsettling but it is a defensible position even without adopting a relativistic attitude towards the preciousness of life or a casual attitude towards one’s moral responsibility for injury caused in the course of a struggle. More of that in the right context. But the
discussion will unavoidably be based on assessments  of the effectiveness of the alternatives, and a distant view is likely to colour the reality with hopes and assumptions, even illusions. A realistic assessment of what each strategy has been able to achieve would better inform the debate.

The plain and stark fact is that while all strategies have been effective in curbing some injustice, none has succeeded in forcing the government to take back a single major policy in any sphere. And none has been able to reverse the trends inherent in the structures of society and economy. Yet no serious political movement or social struggle we know of is only for softening oppression or improving relief. The general understanding is that governance of the country – and may be the systemic infrastructure of society – is fundamentally wrong and needs remedying, maybe overturning. Do we know of any
effective strategy for that? I am not talking of political strategies,
but strategies of struggle that will successfully put pressure upon the State and the polity to stop them in their tracks. The struggle may be built around class or caste or any other social combination. It may in the end seek reform or the upturning of the polity. It may operate mainly or in part within the polity or keep out of it altogether. Whichever it is, the common problem is this: the experience of this country is that governments do not stop doing some thing merely because it has been demonstrated to be bad. Or even contrary to constitutional directives and goals. They stop only if going along is made difficult to the point of near impossibility. No democratic dispensation should be thus, but Indian democracy is thus. Short of that, you demonstrate the truth of your critique till you are blue in the face or shout till you are hoarse in the throat, it is all the same.

Continue reading Beyond violence and non-violence – K Balagopal

Maoist disruption of the non-violent Human Shields movement in Chhattisgarh

[We are posting below a statement issued by some of us on the Maoist threats and intimidation in Chhattisgarh and its most recent manifestation in relation to the human shields programme of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram. It is a distressing but undeniable fact that, by and large, the civil liberties and democratic rights movement has fought shy of condemning Maoist violence. This is a matter of deep concern as the absolutely undefensible, nihilistic violence perpetrated by the Maoists violates all tenets of the great revolutions of the twentieth century that they themselves swear by. Despite their subsequent degeneration (after coming to power), neither the Chinese revolution nor the Vietnamese (the Russian, of course happened without a single shot being fired) made a cult of violence. Never, in any case, did they use violence against defenseless civilians. In fact, revolutionaries have been known to court defeat and annihilation, rather than kill ordinary people – whenever they were presented with the choice between the two. The perverse cult that targets ordinary, unarmed civilians simply in order to have its way can only be seen as, to say the least, a kind of Left-wing Fascism. – AN]

We, the undersigned, are distressed to learn that a peaceful movement in the conflict-ridden Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh to help villagers return to their land has been disrupted by the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The villagers had been displaced earlier by the state-sponsored Salwa Judum campaign that began in 2005 and has resulted in horrific violence against ordinary villagers in the area. Continue reading Maoist disruption of the non-violent Human Shields movement in Chhattisgarh

Breaking News – Shiv Sena’s secretly Maoist!

Narcoanalysis, it has been scientifically proved by Indian law enforcement agencies, is the final frontier of truth. What comes out of narcoanalysis is solid stuff, the real thing. Confessions and self-implications account for almost all the crimes the cops “crack” – when was the last time you heard of a revelation of who dunnit coming out of careful deductive reasoning based on evidence? Terrorists send emails that can be tracked to physical addresses (“the IP address led the police to B ek batta chaar, gali number 2, Balli Maran”), or they are caught bearing in their pockets, maps of sensitive border areas, scribbled over with little reminders like “death to hindus” in Urdu; or murderers confess under narcoanalysis, like Krishna the compounder in the Arushi murder case, that he and four other “servants” were responsible, thus freeing, thangod, all middle-class people so far involved, from the taint of suspicion. Without confessions no crimes would ever be solved, and narcoanalysis is the scientific, sophisticated, twenty-first century alternative to the “Abey bol, kaise nahin bolega, tera baap bhi bolega” school of confession extraction which has been the mainstay of coppery so far.

So narcoanalysis reveals the truth. And the truth is apparently, that the Shiv Sena and Bal Thackeray have funded Maoist activities. “Suspected naxalite” Arun Ferreira confirmed our deepest suspicions in his narcoanalysis test – while other political parties, bless their souls, will never fund maoist activities, he blurted out, Shiv Sena and the ABVP have always helped out the comrades with money.

Shiv Sena has issued a strong denial. It has in fact, “rubbished” these allegations, making the bizarre claim that “Naxalism is born out of a communist agenda” (oh come on!), and since the Shiv Sena is well known to be anti-communist, why would they pour money into naxal coffers? I don’t know, it all sounds very plausible to me, and anyway, it’s not up to us to decide whether the claim is false or not. This fact came out of narcoanalysis, let me remind you, and we HAVE TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.

To add to their cavalier disregard for truth, the Sena spokesperson further added, “a drugged person might talk any rubbish“.

I propose the Shiv Sena be immediately banned for its anti-national contempt for narcoanalysis, the unimpeachable symbol of the nation’s commitment to truth.