Sunday, September 26, 2010

Joint Forces Killed 8-10 Men in Salboni

Yesterday joint forces along with CPM harmads attacked Bandarboni village in Binpur and gunned down at least eight people.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Delhi meet backs repeal of a ‘holy book’

Yambem Laba

ORGANISED under the banner of the North East India Women’s Initiative for Peace, it was slated as a “high profile meet on the AF(SP)A” and it took place on 8 September 2010 at the India International Centre, New Delhi. According to Binalakshmi Nepram, conference organiser, “the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has entered its 52nd year of implementation. Government panels, the United Nations and hundreds of civil society organisations across India have called for its repeal, but the issue continues to remain deadlocked”. Activists, scholars, soldiers and policemen attended and drew parallels between the North-east experience and that of Kashmir.
It all began on a very solemn note, with Sinam Chandrajini Devi lighting the inaugural lamp. Tears rolling down her cheeks, she recollected how two of her sons were shot dead by the Assam Rifles on the afternoon of 1 November 2000 at Malom along with eight others. The screen behind her, showing her younger son receiving the National Child’s Bravery Award from Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and being feted by President R Venkataraman, added to the poignancy. In fact, it was the Malom massacre that prompted human rights crusader Irom Chanu Sharmila to embark on her fast to death, calling for the Act’s repealment. Her protest has entered the 10th year.
Thokchom Meinya Singh, Congress Lok Sabha member from Manipur, minced no words when he said the Act must go in its totality. He said that in spite of it being enforced in Manipur for nearly 50 years now, the number of insurgent groups had increased from one in 1958 to more than 40 now, rendering the Act redundant. He also cited how the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by current Union law minister Veerapa Moily, the Hamid Ansari-led Working Group on Kashmir and the Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission initiated by the Prime Minister had all recommended the Act’s repeal. He also reiterated that “this is a colonial act and we do not require it” and lamented the fact that although Parliament repealed Pota, it retained the AF(SP)A.
This writer, in his address, spoke of the history of the Act beginning from 1942 when then India Viceroy Lord Linlithgow signed the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance whereby officers of the rank of captain and above, of the then British Indian Army, were given powers to shoot to kill with no questions asked. It had taken the British some 84 years of misrule to employ such draconian measures whereas the Indian Republic had taken only eight years to do the same, with Parliament enacting the AF(SP)A 1958 and the powers hitherto given to captains and above were now given to havildars and above. Such powers were not given to personnel of the white regime in apartheid South Africa or even in neigbouring Pakistan during its days of military rule, he added. He also recalled how he was arrested by the Assam Rifles despite being a member of the Manipur Human Rights Commission, with an Army officer telling him that “he does not recognise the Governor of Manipur” when shown the Warrant of Appointment confirming the membership. He also related how he and a group of other activists had, for the first time in 1980, challenged the AF(SP)A in the Supreme Court and had to wait 17 years for the apex court to pass its verdict.
Sanjoy Hazarika, who was also a member of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee, said that “there is nothing afresh that we can say about the AF(SP)A, the story is unending and the tragedy is still going on”. He added that the daily killings in Srinagar was a dilemma between civil liberties and the right of the state. He told the gathering of a Union home ministry “cabinet note” that had not been put up to the cabinet because of pressure from the Army. “Who runs the place in these parts of the country – is it the Army or the civil authorities?” he asked.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, countered the theory that repealment of this Act would enhance anti-national elements and the Army would then have to be deployed to meet a political situation. The Act, she said, could not be amended but had to be repealed. “There is a woman who has been on a hunger-strike for 10 years and there are kids screaming in Kashmir because their parents have been killed.”
Yaruigam, a Naga academician from Manipur who teaches at Delhi University, spoke of the collusion of three entities behind the continued existence of the Disturbed Area status — politicians, bureaucrats and the underground. It was the interplay of these three elements that was behind the mess, and not the Army, per se, he said.
Ram Mohon, former BSF Director-General and advisor to the Manipur governor in 2001, said the Act in itself was not draconian but it was the leadership at the ground level that mattered most. He cited the case of Lt-General VK Nayar (retd) who later became one of Manipur’s most popular governors, who, during his earlier stint as GOC of the 8-Mountain Division, while combating the PLA and Prepak in the Manipur Valley, did not experience single complaint of human rights abuse being levelled against his troops. He then mentioned the Tonsem Lamkhai massacre in 2002 when a CRPF patrol was ambushed and seven personnel and a militant were killed. Half an hour later, the CRPF fired at a bus carrying polling personnel who had arrived on the scene and seven civilians were killed. It was the lack of leadership amongst the CRPF troops that made them resort to killing, and not the Act, Ram Mohon said.
General BS Malik, president of the Control Arms Foundation of India, said that “if you have been just at war or insurgency — then no harm can come to you”, and added that the “Tughlaqs of Kashmir and the North-east sitting in the airconditioned comforts of Delhi would lead to the collapse of the Indian Republic in those regions”.
General-secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties Pushkar Raj said that history proved that draconian laws could not quell public-based insurgency and cited how the success in Punjab, which was a pseudo insurgency, gave a kind of confidence to the Indian state. The same could be applied to the rest of the country.
On the question of Kashmir, Raj said New Delhi could have solved the problem in 1953, ’54 and ’55 but did not and now, in 2010, the situation was different. The AF(SP)A was a trigger-happy law, he added. How else could one explain children between 14-18 years taking to the streets to defy the Indian state, he asked. The question, he added, was now of national security versus human security; the latter was real while the former was illusionary.
Iftikar Gilani, editor of the Kashmir Times, presented the Kashmiri perspective of the AF(SP)A. He said that under the Act anyone with a uniform was an angel who could do no wrong. He recollected how the BSF had, in 1993, “roasted” 62 people alive in Sopore, and though a judicial commission inquiry followed, nothing came of it. He also cited the case of a Major Avtar Singh of 35 Rashtriya Rifles who, after killing a fellow officer, had fled to Canada and although the CBI had been requested to put out a “red corner” notice for him, this had not been done as yet. Gilani also said that “national security” was a much-abused term and likened it to a holy cow, citing how, in 2002, he had been arrested in the “national interest” and later released in the “public interest”. This gap between national and public interest was widening by the day, he said.
Siddharath Varadaranjan, chief of the national bureau of The Hindu, recalled how he had to leak the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee report after it lay rotting in the Union home ministry after it had been submitted because the defence ministry and the military top brass had objected to it. He also spoke of how, in the post-Jammu and Kashmir scenario, both the Prime Minister and the home minister needed to take another look into the Act. He also noted how the Army chief had said the entire move against the AF(SP)A was political and how Lt-General Jaiswal had spoked of the Act as the Army’s “holy book”. Other speakers included Anjuman Ara Begum, who spoke on the Assamese experience; Zothanpari, who recalled the Mizoram experience; Ravinder Pal Singh, defence analyst; Lourenbam Ngangbi; and KS Subramanian, a retired IPS officer.
The meeting adopted the resolution that the Act should be repealed in its entirety.

The writer is a former Imphal-based Special Correspondent of The Statesman

Source: The Statesman 20 September 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

List of CPM Harmad Camps in Junglemahal

The word "harmad" has been incorporated recently in Bengali vocabulary, thanks to CPM. It means armed forces of CPM constituted by hired goons. Icore Ekdin (2 Sept 10), a Bengali daily reported that in Junglemahal  CPM runs 52 harmed camps with 1620 goons hired from Bihar, Jharkhand, Arambag, Keshpur etc. After establishing its domination over a locality CPM shifts their harmad camps to another area. The schools, CPM party offices and houses of CPM leaders are used as camps. According to the daily, central intelligence branch has also mentioned these harmad camps in their report.

Source: Icore Ekdin 2 Sept, 2010.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What does government want in Junglemahal?

Photograph: Deadbody of Umakanta Mahato. Anandabazar Patrika, 28 August, 2010.

Yesterday, Umakanta Mahato, leader of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) was found dead in Lalgarh. According to the police sources he was killed in an encounter although no casualty of police has been reported. Not only in this particular case, but also in last two encounters in Ranja and Metla forests where joint forces gunned downed total fourteen PCPA leaders-supporters including Sido Soren, no casualty of joint forces was reported. It is therefore very possible that police and joint forces have been killing the leaders of PCPA in clod blood and want us believe that they were killed in encounter. 

Fake encounter is not something which we have never heard of. In seventies, so many students and youths were killed in the name of encounter in West Bengal. Although in their words government is keen to restore peace In Jangalmahal,  actually prefers to eliminate the leadership of PCPA, the organization leading the democratic movement against police atrocities. They are not going to stop the brutal state repression, rather aggravates it.

The day before Umakanta's cold-blooded murder, Director General (DG) of West Bengal police said there was not a single camp of CPM goons (or Harmad) in Jangalmahal. And when the body of Umakanta Mahato was laying on the soil of Lalgarh, Susanta Ghosh, the minister of West Bengal state government addressing a CPM rally in Goaltore claimed that with arms CPM was going to capture the whole Jangalmahal soon. Obviously, CPM harmads have been working in unison with joint forces to unleash the terror over the people of Junglemahal.

Umakanta Mahato was the prime accused in Gyaneshwari derailment case. PCPA however several times denied the allegation. Surprisingly, police who brought the allegation did not show the enough courage and confidence to produce Umakanta before a court of law; rather preferred to kill him. It once again strengthens PCPA's allegation that Ganeswary derailment was the handiwork of CPM.

Not only the leadership of PCPA, every organization or individual, who stands for the struggles of people, is the target of the government now. Last week police arrested Naba Dutta, well known activists and general secretary of Nagarik Mancha, a mass organization working for labour issues and environment. Couple of months back police arrested Hemanta Mahato, environment activists of Jhargram. These incidents show the fascist face of the government. They even do not spare the democratic-progressive voices. A space for democratic forces is therefore a daydream now.

Red Barricade condemns killing of leaders of PCPA in fake encounters and all forms of repression unleashed by state machinery and CPM goons (Harmads).

Red Barricade

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chhattisgarh police hunt for CRPF jawan who staged his own killing

Sujeet Kumar
Raipur, 26 Aug: Chhattisgarh police have launched a drive on Thursday to track down a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) constable posted in restive Bastar district whom police claim, staged his own murder to swindle about Rs. four million insurance money meant as ex-gratia for a cop get killed in Maoist violence.
Police officials claim that the constable Kanhaiyalal Yadav of CRPF’s 204 battalion allegedly murdered a person 15 Aug and beheaded the body and then poured acid to burn him to make difficult for police to identify and then the constable put his I-card in his cloth to convince police that the murdered person is CRPF constable.
The murder incident had initially appeared that the constable was killed by Maoists and even family members of the constable who belongs to Ghazipur of Uttar Pradesh reached Raipur to receive body and claimed for the insurance amount that a police personnel is entitled if martyred in Maoist violence. But the murder story got a twist based on a forensic report that gave enough confusion that the body did not belong to the CRPF jawan. Later police said that the dead body is actually belonged a person who goes by name as Umesh Yadav.
“We have launched a drive to arrest Kanhaiyalal Yadav who staged his own killing. The CRPF constable’s maternal cousin Kapil has been arrested in Uttar Pradesh,’’ Bastar district Superintendent of Police Mr. P. Sunder Raj told The Statesman, adding, ``Kanhaiyalal along with Kapil had actually murdered Umesh Yadav and beheaded his body and disfigured his body portions to convince police that body belonged to CRPF constable,’’.
“Evidences, collected from the spot, convinced us that someone had deliberately tried to show it was a case of Maoist attack. The finger print of the body and finger prints of CRPF constable Kanhaiyalal Yadav did not match. While 10 inch shoes were found near the headless body and investigations revealed that CRPF constable shoe size was of eight inch’’, remarked Mr. Sunder Raj.
He informed that police were handling the case very seriously and a police team was sent to Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh ~ home town of CRPF constable Kanhaiyalal Yadav-- which detained the constable’s cousin Kapil, who revealed about the true story behind the murder case and informed police that CRPF constable had faked his own murder for swindling the compensation of nearly four million.’’ He said police investigations also found that Kanhaiyalal Yadav had also got a life insurance policy of Rs. three million from a private insurance company recently.

Source: The Statesman, 27 August 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Battle to save a mountain

Andrew Buncombe and Alistair Dawber

They said they considered the mountain their god, a living deity that provided them with everything they required to sustain their lives. They said they would fight to the death before seeing the pristine mountain destroyed. Remarkably, they won their battle.
The tribal people of the Niyamgiri Hills in eastern India are celebrating after the authorities in Delhi have ruled that a British-based company will not be permitted to mine there for bauxite. Drawing a line under a “David-versus-Goliath” saga, India's environment minister acknowledged the potential human and social costs of the aluminium project that could have earned billions of pounds for Vedanta Resources. “There has been a very serious violation of laws,” Jairam Ramesh said. “Therefore, the project cannot go ahead.”
In Orissa, where the Niyamgiri Hills are located, Sitaram Kulesika, a senior member of the Dongria Kondh tribe, told activists: “This is a great day for Kondhs. Mining would be the end of their existence and their god. We thank the Indian government.”
Yet the impact of the ruling reverberated far beyond the quiet hills of eastern India, where the 10,000 members of the Dongria Kondh survive as subsistence hunters and farmers. While Vedanta saw five per cent tumble from its share price, activists celebrated what they said was a rare triumph for environmental and social justice against the interests of big business.
“This is a victory nobody would have believed possible,” said Survival International's Jo Woodman. “The Dongria's campaign became a litmus test of whether a small, marginalised tribe could stand up to a massive multinational with an army of lobbyists and PR firms and the ear of government.”
The mining industry in India is powerful and campaigners have long argued that it needs tighter regulation. While the government of Orissa, which supported the project, claimed activists were holding back much-needed development in the state, campaigners said they had faced widespread intimidation. “We strongly welcome this announcement as a vindication of the struggle that has been led by the indigenous people. The laws to protect their rights have been vindicated,” said Bratindi Jena, who leads Action Aid India's work for indigenous people.
The controversy over the proposed mine dates back to 2004 and has involved India's highest court as well as a series of special committees. Many believed that fierce lobbying by Vedanta, owned by London-based industrialist Anil Agarwal, and the state government, would ensure permission would be granted to the company to proceed with its plans to mine bauxite for a refinery which it already operates close to the Niyamgiri hills using ore trucked in from a neighbouring state.
But last week a government-appointed panel recommended that permission be denied on the grounds that mining in the area would breach environmental laws. The panel also expressed concern that granting permission could boost the cause of Maoist rebels, active across India's heartland, who have seized on the resentment of tribal people against large industrial projects. “The committee is of the firm view that allowing mining... by depriving two primitive tribal groups of their rights... in order to benefit a private company would shake the faith of the tribals in the law of the land,” the panel said.
Another factor may have been the involvement of Rahul Gandhi. He visited Niyamgiri in March 2008 and said: “I feel mining the hill will destroy the environment, destroy the water supply source and destroy the culture as well as the livelihood of tribals.”
As the issue became a cause célèbre, campaigners attacked Vedanta from every angle. While activists attended shareholder meetings in London and flew in members of the Dongria Kondh to ensure maximum publicity, they also persuaded shareholders from the Church of England to the Norwegian government to get rid of their stakes.
The decision not to allow mining in Niyamgiri is not the only bad news for Vedanta. Mr Ramesh said their refinery, already operational using bauxite from other states, may be breaching environmental laws. It has also emerged that the Indian government may oppose Vedanta's purchase of a majority stake in Cairn India, a major oil producer.
Vedanta, which says the claims by the pressure groups are “lies and hoax”, rejected any accusation that it has broken the law. It also gave an assurance that it would not mine in the area “until all approvals are in place”.
Pressure groups suggested that the statement hinted that the battle on the Niyamgiri mine might not be over. Meredith Alexander of Action Aid, said that while the ruling was a “massive victory”, the row may not yet be over. “Vedanta could appeal this decision,” she warned. “But the Kondh are asking the company to respect the government's decision and their clearly expressed opposition to the mine.”
Mr Agarwal has said the economic benefits of the project far outweigh any displacement of the Dongria Kondh, or damage to the environment. He also says that less than three per cent of the tribe would be forced to move because of the mine.
The Independent
The Statesman 26 August 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Activists Ask Vedanta To Shut Refinery


NEW DELHI—Local activists campaigning against Vedanta Resources PLC's mining project in eastern India said they want the company to shut its existing alumina refinery in the area to ensure that a range of hills considered sacred by tribal people is never mined.

Their demand comes after India's federal government Tuesday rejected Vedanta's proposal to mine the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa state for bauxite, saying the project had violated forest laws and its proponents displayed "blatant disregard" to the rights of tribal people in the area.

The project had garnered global criticism, especially in the U.K. where Vedanta is headquartered. Activist groups such as the Survival International and Amnesty International had said mining in the area could endanger the survival of the 8,000-odd Dongria Kondh tribal people who worship the Niyamgiri Hills and live in and around the area.

People belonging to the Dongria Kondh tribe have also said mining could affect their hunting and farming lifestyle as it would pollute and dry up streams and rivers and destroy fruit trees and medicinal plants on which they depend for their sustenance and health.

"The tribals are feeling good about the decision to not allow mining in Niyamgiri," said Kumti Majhi, a member of Dongria Kondh tribe. "But our hills and people on it can't survive if the refinery remains functional on the foothills of the sacred mountains."

Dust and other pollution from the refinery are affecting the lives of local people, Mr. Majhi said. "Our cows are dying. Trees bearing mango and berries are drying up. That's our livelihood."

Besides rejecting its mining proposal, the ministry also said it has issued a show cause notice to Vedanta, asking why environmental clearances for the 1.0 million-ton-a-year refinery shouldn't be withdrawn. The ministry has also suspended the appraisal process for the London-listed company's plans to increase the capacity of this refinery by six times.

The refinery, Vedanta's only one in India, is key to the company's plans for rapidly expanding its aluminum output to meet rising domestic demand.

"Tuesday's verdict is a partial victory for us, not total victory," said Lingaraj Nayak, an activist of the Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti (Niyamgiri Protection Committee).

"As long as Vedanta's factory is present, there's always a chance that some other minister may come along and allow mining in Niyamgiri Hills," Nayak said. "The refinery needs to go to ensure the hills remain untouched."

Bhakta Charan Das, a lawmaker representing Kalahandi where the planned mining site and the refinery are located, said Vedanta could choose to extract bauxite from other places which don't have tribal people and where the ecosystem is not as diverse as that in the Niyamgiri Hills.

There are at least three mining sites in Kalahandi district which the company can use without causing much damage to tribes or ecology, Mr. Das added.

The Dongria Kondh tribals could never survive outside the hills, he said. "They will die in the cities."

Bratindi Jena, who works in the area as an activist of Action Aid, said Vedanta now has no justification for operating its refinery on the foothills of Niyamgiri since it can't mine the hills.

"Ash floating out from the refinery is covering the trees and plants in Niyamgiri Hills and discharge from the factory is forming toxic red mud ponds in the area," she said. "How can people survive in this environment."



Now-a-days, the Punjab Police is too much pre-occupied with Naxalite-phobia. Some months ago the DGP himself came out with an extremely irresponsible statement, branding the 17 mass organizations of farmers and agri-labour as front organizations of the Naxalites/Maoists, because they have been consistently fighting against the anti-people and anti-national policies of the rulers. The police arrested Surjit Singh Phul, President of Bharti Kisan Union Krantikari, subjected him to severe torture at the Joint Interrogation Center Amritsar and slapped on him a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. During the agitation against PSEB unbundling, Dr. Darshan Pal of the Revolutionary Democratic Front, was illegally detained and interrogated by the police. In May 2010, a poster jointly brought out by various communist revolutionary parties appeared in the state. Thereafter many activists of Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. One of them, Dilbag Singh from Zira has been even charged under S.121-A IPC (attempting to wage war against the State), which attracts a punishment of life imprisonment, despite there being absolutely no such evidence against him. It goes to the credit of democratic revolutionary movement in Punjab that it has massively resisted all these attempts by mobilizing various sections of the people. A large number of prominent intellectuals of Punjab under the leadership of noted peoples’ dramatist Gursharan Singh formed a ‘Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt’ and held state-wide conventions in 15 main cities and 20 villages/towns, which were addressed by Sh. Himanshu Kumar, Gandhian Social Worker from Dantewara. The state police kept close surveillance on these conventions, and attempted to video record the proceedings by smuggling their agents under the garb of fictitious press/TV reporters. They even attempted to video photograph all the audiences. When the organizers objected to it a case under Section 384 (dacoity), 506 (intimidation), 148, 149 IPC (rioting armed with deadly weapons) was got registered at Giddarbaha Distt Mukatsar against members of the Democratic Front and Sh. Himanshu Kumar.

In continuation with this, on 28.7.2010, at about 07.00 PM Daljit Singh, aged about 60 years resident of Hazura Kapura Basti Bathinda was abducted from his house by 15/20 armed policemen in plain clothes, posing as members of a power theft checking team. His wife Sunder Pal Kaur, who is employed as Senior Telephone Supervisor in BSNL at Bathinda raised hue and cry and a large number of neighbourers assembled. On being asked the plain-clothes men refused to divulge their identity but some people in the crowd recognized them to be from CIA Police Station Bathinda. They refused to tell under which FIR or offence Daljit Singh was being arrested or where he is to be kept and when he shall be produced in court. When contacted, the SSP Bathinda expressed total ignorance about the incident. The people apprehended that the armed abductors, who were in fact policemen in mufti, might cause physical harm to Daljit Singh or implicate him in some false criminal case. Advocate N.K.Jeet, President Lok Morcha Punjab, Advocate Balwant Singh Dhillon, President Lawyers For Justice & Democratic Rights, and Gurdeep Singh, Editor AJ DI AWAZ, a Punjabi Daily, immediately brought this incident in the notice of press, Human Rights Commission, Punjab & Haryana High Court, DGP Punjab, Chief Secretary Govt of Punjab & other authorities. They contacted the SHO Police Station CIA Staff Bathinda, who admitted, having taken Daljit Singh in custody and demanded his identity proof. A large number of people along with the Corporator of the area went to the police station. The police, in order to scare away the people alleged that the said Daljit Singh is in fact Jagdish Kumar, a Naxalite leader, who has been underground since 1992, and is inciting the people in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh etc to join the Naxalite movement. They further alleged that he has assumed a false name to conceal his real identity. The people asked the police officials, to disclose the offence and FIR under which he has been arrested. The police did not have any reply. When the people expressed their apprehension that Daljit Singh might be implicated in some false criminal case or physically liquidated, the police agreed to record his formal arrest, but said that the offences under which he was to charged were yet to be determined and shall be added afterwards in consultation with the I.G.of Police.

The police afterwards registered a case FIR No. 35 dated 28.7.2010 at Police Station Thermal Bathinda against him under section 420 (Cheating), 467, 468, 471 of the IPC, on the allegation that he changed his name from Jagdish Kumar to Daljit Singh and got prepared Ration Card & other documents in the said name. However the police failed to provide any information as to whom he has cheated and in which manner. On 29.7.2010, the police presented him in the court of Sh. K.K.Singla JMIC Bathinda and sought his police remand for 10 days for affecting recoveries of the documents such as Ration Card etc. The Ration Card was immediately placed on record of the court. Thereafter no ground was left for seeking police remand. Then the police came out with another story. They claimed that Daljit Singh is a Naxalite leader and a special team of the Intelligence Bureau has arrived from Chandigarh to interrogate him and as such he should be sent to police custody. The court after hearing the arguments granted police remand for one day, with the rider that the while interrogating, the police should bear in mind that the accused is an arthritis & heart patient and he should be provided with medical care and necessary medicines. In police remand, Daljit Singh was subjected to lengthy and strenuous interrogation by the officials of the I.B., Intelligence Wing of the Punjab Police and various other agencies.
In order to cause a scare amongst the people, the police resorted to spreading lies and disinformation. In a press note issued by the District police, Daljit Singh was described as a top Naxalite leader of CPRCPI (ML) who has taken command of the organization after the death of Com. Harbhajan Singh Sohi. He was further accused of having remained underground for the last 40 years under an assumed name and inciting various organizations of farmers, agri-labour, and employees etc to resort to agitations against the Govt policies and indulge in violence. Despite this, hundreds of people including a large number of women came to the court to express moral support and solidarity with Daljit Singh when on 30.7.2010; he was again produced in the court. Earlier residents of Hazura Kapura Basti held rallies to condemn his illegal arrest and false implication and had decided to stand with and support his family. The ‘Maoist’ and the ‘Naxalite’ tag put on him by the police, did not scare them. Daljit Singh was also in high spirits. He raised slogans such as ‘Inquilab-Zindabad’, ‘Long live the Communist Revolutionary movement’ etc.

On 30.7.2010, the Police sought his police remand for 10 days on the plea that he was to be interrogated by the Intelligence sleuths at Joint Interrogation Center at Amritsar, as he was a Maoist. The police even claimed to have recovered some Maoist literature from him. This plea was vigorously opposed by the defense lawyers stating that the police cannot indulge in a fishing inquiry and shall have to limit its investigation to the accusations made in the FIR. They further pleaded that changing name is not an offence. Moreover he has been using the changed name for the last three decades and it has been duly recorded in the service record of his wife as well as birth and school record of his children. The court refused to remand him in police custody and instead sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.

Although under mass pressure, the police attack has been temporarily repulsed, but there is every possibility that Daljit Singh may be falsely implicated in a fresh criminal case or named as an accused in any pending criminal case at Bathinda or at any other place in Punjab or in any other state, to subject him to physical torture. The police is also looking for Jaspal Jassi, Editor of a revolutionary democratic monthly magazine ‘SURAKH REKHA’, currently being published from Bathinda. Their intention is to silence all the pro-people voices of dissent. Therefore democratic minded people shall have to remain vigilant.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Protest Continues in Jhargram

Source: Sambad Pratidin, 22 July 2010

Jhargram has been virtually cut-off from other parts of the district as the PCPA have blocked roads for an indefinite period at different points by digging up ditches and dumping tree trunks. The joint forces have been trying to remove the blockades.

Meanwhile, nearly 4,000 students from a dozen secondary schools at Dohijuri, Radhanagar, Shebayatan and Binpur today took out a rally in Bachhurdoba area of Jhargram town under the banner of Chhatra Samaj.

The Chhatra Samaj demanded that the joint forces be recalled from Junglemahal, that torture of innocent villagers by the joint forces be stopped and that medical tests of six housewives of Sonamukhi, a village in Jhargram, whom the police had allegedly raped on 30 June, be done and the guilty be punished.

The agitating students, however, could not venture further inside the town as the police chased them away. The district leaders of the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, in a deputation submitted to the district magistrate on 8 July, also demanded that the alleged incident of rape of Sonamukhi women be probed impartially and that medical tests be done.

Source: The Statesman, 22 July 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Women march to Jhargram to protest against ‘police torture’

Source: Bartaman 21 July 2010

Source: Anandabazar Patrika 21 July 2010

Source: Sanbad Pratidin 21 July 2010

Statesman News Service
MIDNAPORE, 20 JULY: While the West Midnapore district police have been trying to build up police-public relations anew and wean people away from the clutches of the PCPA and Maoists in general in Junglemahal by organising a football tournament, about 6,000 women including school girls from different places under the banner of the Nari Izzat Banchao Committee (NIBC), a newly-formed women’s wing of the PCPA, marched to Jhargram town today to protest against alleged police atrocities on the women of Sonamukhi in Jhargram and Gosainbundh, Dohijuri and Baghasole in Binpur.
While three such rallies were stopped by joint forces outside the town, one rally managed to reach the office of the Jhagram SDO from where they were turned away by the police. They wanted to meet the SDO, Mr C Murugan, alleging inaction on his part, in failing to inquire into the alleged rape of six housewives at Sonamukhi by the joint forces on 30 June. However, the police made a lathi charge to disperse the protesters and detained four of them.
After receiving written complaints from the tortured women early this month, the SDO assured them that he will see that their allegations will be inquired into. However, the matter was not inquired into, nor were the guilty policemen punished, the NIBC leaders alleged. The SDO said that his inquiry report was given to the district magistrate and that the police will investigate the matter. “I have no knowledge whether they lodged complaint with the police,” the SDO said.
In Gosainbundh, Dohijuri and Baghasole in Binpur, in the name of flushing out Maoists from their homes, the joint forces beat up several residents on Friday. However, 16 injured people of Gosainbundh were denied treatment in Jhargram Sub-divisional Hospital and in retaliation, a plan to ransack the hospital and the SDO’s office and bungalow on Sunday was made. The police prevented this by arresting 30 villagers.
Source: The Statesman, 21 July 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

PCPA land redistribution on in Lalgarh

Rajib Chatterjee

KOLKATA, 18 JULY: In a desperate bid to keep its support base intact, the Maoists-backed Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) has started taking possession of land owned by CPI-M leaders in Lalgarh and distributing them among the landless tribals.

The PCPA activists are also “leasing out” ponds in villages to the people to help them earn their livelihood through pisciculture. A large number of ‘co-operatives’ have been set up in areas. 

A PCPA leader, Mr Manoj Mahato, said about 150 bighas of land, owned by CPI-M leaders, have so far been distributed among the local people in the last two months.

When asked for comment on the matter, state home secretary, Mr Samar Ghosh said: “These activities may have been taking place in an isolated manner”.

"Besides leasing out ponds to poor tribals, we are also digging up more water bodies at several villages in Junglemahal to encourage pisciculture," Mr Mahato added.


According to the PCPA leader, a water body covering over 12 bighas of land at Kalsidanga village near Jhargram has recently been “leased out” to a cooperative formed by the villagers. “Pisciculture is now taking place in the pond that was under the possession of a CPI-M leader. The CPI-M man, who had captured the pond illegally, deserted the village because of mass anger against him. We have done nothing wrong,” Mr Mahato told The Statesman.

 Similarly, several ponds were “freed from the clutches of CPI-M leaders” at Rameswarpur, Bandarboni, Modhupur, Baisadi villages in Jhargram before being leased out to cooperatives.

 “All the ponds were dug up on vested land and later captured by local CPI-M leaders. There was no initiative from the government to free the vested land from the possession of the CPI-M leaders. But during the Lalgarh movement, the people mustered courage and took control of the water bodies. We have extended our support to the people,” the PCPA leader said.

Source: The Statesman 19 July 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

C.P.I. (Maoist)-an assement

Harsh Thakor

[The view presented in this article does not reflect the view of this blog. There are so many debates on the theoretical line of Indian revolution. This article revisits some and opens few.] 

Today, the C.P.I. (Maoist) is carrying out a major movement in the areas of Jharkhand, Bihar and Dandkaraya. Without doubt they have committed serious errors and have serious theoretical flaws, but any Maoist critique must applaud their effort. To have created such bastions of revolutionary struggle in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Dandkaranya is an achievement of historical proportions. In Lalgarh they made great efforts to enhance the movement. Base areas have yet to be created but with great tenacity they have defended their guerilla zones. The fact that they have heroically resisted the enemy forces f or a period of 30 years and form a Central Peoples Guerilla army to become the strongest Maoist party in the World when no Socialist Country in the World exists and when the forces of globalization are acting as tentacles is one of the greatest achievements in the annals of the world Communist Movement.

The merger of the Maoist Communist Centre of India with the Peoples War group was s a remarkable event as Earlier the erstwhile C.P.I.M.L (Peoples War) and Erstwhile C.P.I. (M.L) Party Unity (Before and after they united in 1998) insisted that the 1969 Charu Mazumdar C P.I.M.L. was the re-organised party and not just a revolutionary organization. Now both the Charu Mazumdar C.P.I. (M.L) and the Maoist Communist Centre are recognized as the 2 original revolutionary parties... The most outstanding work of the Maoists has been in Chhattisgarh where they have been able to create alternative democratic Organs..In Lalgarh they merged with the masses like fish in water literally swimming with the tide. Above all they are now working with an All-India perspective spreading all over like wildfire.


Earlier Some historic meetings and rallies took place of mass fronts led by such forces like the rally of the 1992 and 1994 rallies of the All-India Peoples Resistance Forum ,the 2000 conference of the A.I.P.R.F., The All-India Revolutionary Student Federation conferences In 1985,1989,1993 ad 1997,as well as the 1985 and 1990 conferences of the Andhra Pradesh Rytu Coolie Sanghams.(Peasants organization)Almost 4 lakh peasants assembled for the Rytu Coolie Sangham conferences and on the day it looked like a red flame burning all over the place. The ‘Go to-Village campaigns of the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union will also have a permanent place in history where students integrated with the revolutionary peasant struggles for the first time..The author will never forget the 1994 A.I.P.R.F.rally in Calcutta where the gathering of the road masses looked like a tornado appearing and the 1997 All-India Seminar in Mumbai on the sham of 50 years of independence. I t dealt with all aspects from Democratic Rights to anti Imperialist, to revolutionary Peasant Struggles, Working Class Struggles and Nationality Struggles. What was also unforgettable was their All-India campaign against state repression in Andhra,Bihar and Dandkaranya in 1999,mainly in Bihar and Punjab. They covered area after area like a river flowing and literally lighting a torch against state repression. In earlier phase in Andhra Pradesh(erstwhile Peoples War group) it brilliantly braved the State forces inspite of intensive repression in Andhra Pradesh in 1985 and 1991.A powerful Students and peasants Movement was built and the mass organizations heroically survived working underground in conditions of repression. A series of conferences were staged by fronts combating severe repression. The erstwhile Party Unity group built revolutionary mass movements in a huge range of spheres from Democratic Rights,to land distribution, minimum wages, struggle for fishing rights , International issues, protests against Communalism. Etc.which spread from in Jehanabad and Palamau to other areas like Bhagalpur Gaya,etc.Inspite ofa ban on the their peasant organization, Mazdur Kisan Sangram Samiti, the organization resurrected itself to work under the banner of the Mazdur Kisan Sangrami Parishad.

The Maoist Communist centre survived for 35 years against the onslaught of the Indian State with phenomenal tenacity in Bihar and Jharkhand conducting a series of military actions comparable to the intensity of that of the Chinese Communist Party and forming revolutionary peasant committees..It did remarkable work in building the Nari Mukti Sangh-a classical Revolutionary women’s Front It’s final merger into the C.P.I(Maoist) is a historical achievement.

Defective mass revolutionary approach and military line.


Several Inter-Group Clashes occurred in the early and mid-1990’sbetween the People`s War Group and other groups like the Chandra Pulla Reddy Group, where the masses were reduced to helpless spectators. Armed Squads combated members from other groups struggling to maintain their bases! This was an incorrect approach to the question of mass line and political struggle. One Group always feared the entry of another group in their area of work..Later the same trend was reflected in clashes between the M.C.C and the erstwhile Party Unity Groups in Bihar. The The major hurdle of historical importance in the revolutionary movement was the period of armed Group clashes between the squads of the Maoist Communist Centre with the Party Unity Group from the mid 1990-s. Group members attacked and killed each other. It showed the wrong understanding towards mass revolutionary line in certain aspects. This had a damaging effect on the revolutionary movement.It reduced the masses to helpless spectators. Peoples War Group maintained that cadres from other groups were killed on entirely tactical grounds and they were not clashes in their statements and documents’

At the conclusion of the decade of the 1990’s 3 important leaders of the People’s war Group were slain in a police encounter. A massive anti-repression programme took place in Andhra Pradesh in December 1999.Such Comrades were truly the best sons of the land heroically laying down their lives for liberation. Various communist Revolutionary Groups belonging to various groups participated...The People`s War Group launched retaliatory Actions to give a severe blow to the Indian State. After the armed Actions the People`s War Group made a self-critical assesment stating"Even when there were ample opportunities to educate and involve the People,our cadres only resorted to protest actions.These are incorrect actions. Because of non-participation of people in such actions,the outcome of such actions, is contrary to the impact we wanted"Thus this group was not aware that such armed actions of Party Guerilla Squads, by themselves cannot succeed in their basis and ultimate objective of defeating the reactionary State.Infact the people have to own such actions and voluntarily participate in them with revolutionary political Consciousness and confidence in their own organized strength.Even in the post encounter Joint Protests the leading rank of the People`s War Group remained pre-occupied with either the representative team protests or armed retaliatory actions.-thus their organized attempts for militant mass attempts for militant mass political mobilisations remained Sparse. True the C.P.I.Maoist has mass support in major areas in Bihar, Jharkhand and Dandakaranya , has guerilla zone s in some respects similar to those of the Chinese Revolutionary period during their armed struggle and have carried out magnificient retaliatory actions in self defence against enemies-t(particularly in Chattisgarh by the P.G.A.) and been the only revolutionary Organization to have ever seriously attempted protracted Peoples Warfare in recent times. However their pockets of revolutionary resistance are dictated by their Armed squads. Even if they partially integrate with mass movements armed squads often are used to give shelter to mass organizations and replace peoples independent actions. They are losing more and more cadre day by day and are unable to consistently replace the fighting forces lost..In West Bengal,Jharkhand and Chattisharh retaliatory actions took place in retaliation of torture and killing of mass sympathizers and cadres, like the blowing up of a police jeep or landmining and killing innocent people .In revolutionary struggle ethics is an important question and revolutionary violence does not justify the killing of innocent people. The C.P.I.(Maoist)have eliminated may people suspected of being police informers who could have been innocent on grounds of their safety.In the authors view this is violation of revolutionary ethics.

Base areas and Guerilla Zones

 It must be noted that nowhere in Andhra Pradesh,Dandkaranya,Jharhand or Bihar has any struggle been developed even half as strong as the Telengana armed struggle.. Quoting the eminent intellectual and critique of Naxalite Movement Sumanta Banerjee ‘It should be pointed out however that despite their survival for almost four decades, the Naxalites do not yet control any large area comparable to the `liberated zone' that the Chinese Communists could establish in Yenan within a decade or so in the 1930-40 period. They have not been able to reach out to the masses of the peasantry in the vast countryside of other parts of India, and have expanded only to a few isolated pockets and stretches of areas inhabited mainly by tribal and landless poor. Closeted in their rural underground shelters, the Naxalite leaders have ignored the task of setting up bases among the large number of workers both in the organized industrial and the unorganized sectors. They have also failed to build up a regular army like the Chinese People's Liberation Army, or the Vietnamese military organization – that helped both the Chinese and the Vietnamese to effectively fight their enemies.. The failure to establish a `liberated zone' has frustrated their original strategy of setting up an alternative order to bring about agrarian and social reforms. Instead, all their energies are now devoted to defensive actions to preserve their pockets of influence, and offensive assaults which are degenerating into acts of terrorism against soft targets like village headmen or junior government employees.’ In the author’s view the military line has shades of Che Guevera’s focoist tendency.. Historically there is a difference between revolutionary base areas and guerilla zones. Quoting Mao’s writings on military line, “When guerilla Warfare began, the guerillas could not completely occupy the places, but could only make frequent raids, they are areas which are held by the guerilla forces when they are present and the by the puppet regime when they are gone. Thus they are not guerilla bases but zones. These zones can be converted into bases by consolidating guerilla warfare and after large portions of enemy troops have been annihilated, and the puppet regime destroyed.The mass organizations also formed as well as people’s local armed forces. The extent to which the enemy is destroyed is the vital factor.” The C.P.I. (Maoist). in implementation of line often confused the difference between forming a guerilla zone and a base area. Today the trend is similar. In their zones they retaliate and defend their areas through their guerilla squad actions and are not able to replenish their losses. They do not have sufficient support of the broad masses. There is insufficient development of mass agrarian revolutionary struggle and revolutionary democratic movement. A maoist mass military line has not been built.For many a action there is lack of adequate preparation of agrarian revolutionary Movement. What was defective was the nature of squad actions not properly evaluating the co-relation of the enemy with the masses..Over-emphasis has been placed on armed struggle without combining effective mass struggles. To a considerable extent the military actions reflect anarchist tendencies and have not adhered to a the maoist mass military line Today it’s all India Front the Revolutionary Democratic Front can hardly function openly like the A.I.P.R.F could earlier. t has been dealt a severe blow In states like Orissa and West Bengal, and is for all moral purposes banned in states of armed Movements. Unable to withstand the counter-onslaught of the state the mass organizations of such groups were virtually crushed and forced to function underground. Now mass struggle is completely substituted by armed Struggle. They have not created the level of preparation for armed struggle which was done In the Telengana Armed Struggle of 1946-1951 where work was initiated in the AndhraMahasabha ,or in the 1924-1927 period in China where Peasant associations were formed and a base was built for mass agrarian revolutionary Movement., or even the preparation period for he launching of armed struggles in Phillipines or Peru I the periods of 1959-1968 a 1968-1980 respectively. A lthough M.C.C built a classically Red Defence corpses, there was hardly adequate development of agrarian revolutionary Movement in many areas to launch all-out struggle against the State.Infact it almost totally neglected open mass work and did not even form a mass based peasant organization. Similarly although Andhra Pradesh had a strong peasant Movement in the late 1970’s often even in the stage before armed Struggle was officially launched in 1980,acts of “Individual annihilation of the class enemy's were initiated. Slogans were raised by the student Organization not compatible with the mass consciousness.”The Party Unity group ‘”in Bihar although forming huge open fronts like the M.K.S.P or Bharat Naujavan Sabha were unable to devise a correct policy in attaching armed wings to peasant fronts. Today the Peoples Guerilla Army has been formed, without the development of base areas or developed Agrarian Revolution. Even in the period of launching armed struggle the C.P.C. gave attention to the building of mass Movements.

Theoretical Weaknesses

On the trade Union Front the C.P.I.(Maoist) has not been able to form democratically functioning trade Unions and often has ended up giving political slogans of revolutionary Armed Struggle not compatible with the political capacity of broad sections of the Working Class.The Working class was not fully explained the link between their interests and the agrarian revolutionary movement but slogans glorifying heroes of Armed squads are raised by the Peoples War Group. The relationship of the movements in the towns with the major cities is like a bark of a tree with its branches. There are strong tendencies of forming mass organizations as front organizations. Only when the major section of a mass organization accepts the politics of the revolutionary party can mass organizations function as front organisations.Although such sections have formed mass organizations there are still tendencies of confusing the mass organizations with the Party. Historically, the ideology of MaoTse Tung thought was introduced in manifestos of mass organisations, which was an erroneous tendency.This was true of organizations like Radical Students Union and All-India League for Revolutionary Culture.Although on the practical plane they lead a powerful mass democratic movement there is still not enough democratization as needed in a mass movement within a mass organization. Mass organisations were used as party platforms. Mao always stressed on separating the role of the mass organisations with the Party .He always stressed that The Chinese Communist Party had to be differentiated from the Youth league and the Peasants Associations. True major rallies have been led containing sympathizers but this is not necessarily mean that the mass line is being carried out..

They have also wrongly replaced the term ‘Maoism’ with ‘Mao Tse Tung Thought.’This is wrong understanding of the present era which is actually the era of ‘Leninism.’Even after the Chinese revolution it was called the “thought of Mao Tse Tung” and not ‘Maoism. Replacing Mao Tes Tung Thought with Maoism means replacing the era of Imperialism or Leninism .To the author this does not make a difference to the practical work but has an implication to the theoretical era.It is significant that C.P.I(Maoist) adopts the thesis that it is the era of the “total collapse of Imperialism”which was adopted by the Charu Mazumdar CPI(M.L) 40 years ago.The C.C.P,always mantained that it was the era of Leninism and Imperialism . A very important question is that of the International Line. and approach towards the formation of a Communist International.....Today the organization still maintains relations with the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, which is defective. The virtually defunct because it made hasty arrangements for he formation of a new Communist International where the proletarian revolutionary development was most inadequate worldwide .

There is also an erroneous understanding with regards to the Dalit or scheduled caste movements. The Organization has not applied a correct class analytical study and often replaced class struggle with Caste Struggle.Dalit Parties which collaborate with Ruling Class politics have been supported like he Dalit Panther and Republican Party of India. The Dalit Mahasabha has been supported in Andhra Pradesh. Even In Bihar in the agrarian revolutionary movement there has been a strong tendency to support Ruling class Dalit Organisations.Killings have taken place often on caste line instead of implementing class struggle.)It is significant that even in earlier periods the organization (that time Peoples War Group) supported the 1989 Chinese Student Movement as well as the movements in East European Countries toppling the Revisionist Regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 ,not taking into account the petit bourgeois nature of the agitations ,virtually devoid of proletarian content. Similarly they have supported nationality struggles devoid of proletarian content like the Kashmir, Sri Lanka, the U.L.F.A in Assam Etc.True they have correctly defended the right of nationalities to secede but have not analyzed that the nationality struggles are led by petit-bourgeois ideology . The C.P.I.Maoist regards itself as the re-organised Communist Party and that after the merger of C.P.I.M.L (Peoples War Group. with the Maoist Communist Centre the Proletarian party was formed.This is also wrong as there are other genuine groups in in the revolutionary camp.They ignore the groups from the Chandra Pulla Reddy or Nagi Reddy Line. Another erroneous tendency is accepting Election ‘boycott’ as a strategic slogan and rejecting participation in election throughout the revolutionary Course.Even Comrades Lenin and Mao asserted that in certain situations participation in parliamentary elections could be tactically deployed.There has also been a trend in areas to impose the slogan of ‘Boycott the Election’, instead of stressing on ‘building the revolutionary organs of Peoples Power.”

Final Complement

One of the greatest tributes to the C.P.I. (Maoist)is the courage which they are displaying in openly projecting their struggles, line and policies in journals like Peoples March and on blogs on the internet. They have made an International stamp. ‘Peoples March’ has heroically combated the repression of the State and even come back after facing a ban. Such an open journal of serious revolutionary organization was unheard in the previous decades. It is not for nothing that they have won the hearts of people worldwide including intellectuals like Arundhati Roy or Amit Bhattacharya.A veteran comrade of the Naxalite Movement in India,Com Sunder Navalkar staunchly defends the organization, feeling it is the only serious revolutionary force in India implementing a mass line and defends their practice as being almost perfect. However she disagrees with the organization on the question of upholding ‘nationality struggles’,upholding “Maoism’ and lacking ‘urban’ work.(I have marked all these points earlier )Even Com.Suniti Kumar Gosh acknowledges that they have mass support.

Great efforts have made to rectify the past errors and a serious plan to start urban work with mass-line approach has been launched. In areas where they have faced severe repression they have even floated effective platforms for survival. If they could extricate themselves from their wrong trends it may not be a long time before the India New Democratic Revolution would emerge.The manner in which they have combated the state repression in different junctures through organizing people’s court or famine raids was remarkable as well as their protests in term of armed actions or mass protests. .The C.P.I. (Maoist) is burning a red flame in the annals of International Communist History.

Friday, June 18, 2010

‘Anderson was assured safe passage’

17 June 2010
NEW DELHI, 17 JUNE: Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson was assured “safe passage” before he came to India in 1984 in the wake of the Bhopal gas disaster, the then foreign secretary Mr MK Rasgotra said today, adding a new twist to the renewed row over the tragedy.
The decision, Mr Rasgotra said, was taken by the Union home ministry, then under PV Narasimha Rao, and the Cabinet secretary. Rajiv Gandhi was subsequently told about the decision, to which he did not object. “I got in touch with the home ministry and I got in touch with the Cabinet secretary. I told them what Gordon Streeb (the then deputy chief of the US mission here) had asked for,” Mr Rasgotra said. This was after a request from the US Embassy asking for a safe passage for Anderson, he said.

His comments came on the eve of the meeting of the Group of Ministers to discuss various aspects of the fallout of the court verdict in the gas tragedy case.

Mr Rasgotra said in an interview to CNN-IBN that the decision to give Anderson safe passage was taken “the same day”. “He (Streeb) said Anderson wanted to come here. There was a tragic situation and he wanted to see things himself, wanted to offer his condolences but he would come only if granted safe passage,” Mr Rasgotra said.

He said he could not say if the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Mr Arjun Singh was unaware of the safe passage, which resulted in Anderson's brief arrest in Bhopal.

Source: The Statesman 18 June 2010

Cops parade deranged man as Maoist

SALBONI (WEST MIDNAPORE): The "dreaded" Maoist captured by joint forces on Wednesday the only one apparently caught alive at the encounter site where eight rebels lay dead is a 20-year-old mute and mentally challenged youth from Duli village. No wonder, police haven't been able to make him speak.

In what may cast a shadow on the way the police are rounding up suspects, Rameshwar Murmu has been branded a hardcore Maoist and slapped with the most stringent of charges, including sedition under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The Midnapore court on Thursday remanded him in 15 days judicial custody. While on Wednesday, the cops claimed the "captured Maoist" was too stunned at the loss of so many comrades to speak and admitted that he hadn't said a word, Rameshwar's father, Bankim Murmu, cried, "My son can't speak. He may scream if you hit him, but he can't speak a word." The Murmus live right behind Wednesday's encounter site.

Bankim says Rameshwar suffers from congenital epilepsy and developed ENT problems at a very young age leading to loss of speech and hearing. He produced medical records to support his claim. "He can only make barely legible sounds. It affected his behaviour and he lost his mental balance. That is why he could not pursue education beyond class IV," a tearful Bankim told TOI on Thursday.

Bankim owns a mud house and a small plot of land on the edge of Ranjya forest where the bloody encounter took place on Wednesday. His elder son, Ram, works in a factory in Orissa.

Recounting Wednesday's developments that led to his son being captured, Bankim said they woke up to the sound of gunfire behind his house. The family rushed out in the direction of the village to avoid being hit.

"My wife Madina was holding Rameshwar's hand as we ran. The gunfire had woken up other villagers as well and they were running helter-skelter. In the melee, Rameshwar broke free and ran back towards the house. I don't know what was on his mind. My wife ran after him. But before she could reach Rameshwar, police caught him. They put a gun to his head and said they would shoot if anyone took a step forward," he said.

The parents could only watch helplessly as the forces led their son away. "We pleaded with them to let him go. We told them that he is mentally challenged and not involved with Maoists. But they refused to listen," said Madina. They don't know where their son has been taken. Nor do they have the courage to go to the police for fear of being thrashed.

According to medical documents, Rameshwar was treated at several places between 2004 and 2006, including ENT specialists at Tarakeshwar in Hooghly and Midnapore. On June 5, 2006, when Rameshwar was 16, he was taken to Anirban Diagnostic Centre Pvt Ltd in Midnapore town (ID B-6884, checked by Dr N Adhikari).

Other villagers, like Sudha Soren and Lakshmi Murmu, confirmed that Rameshwar was mentally challenged. "He never behaved like a normal kid. Now we hear that he has been paraded before TV channels with his hands tied and branded a Maoist," Sudha said.

Rameshwar was bare-bodied and wearing blue shorts when he was caught, an unlikely dress for a guerrilla. Police insist Rameshwar was present alongside senior Maoist leaders Bikash and Akash. "After the gunfight, we caught him hiding behind a hedge. He had a single-barrel gun," a cop said.

Source: Times of India, 18 June 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Intellectuals And Their Arrest In Lalgarh

Day before yesterday, 15 June 2010 West Midnapur police detained Nisha Biswas, Kaniska Chowdhury, Manik Mondal and three journalists along with other local people at Salboni with alleged Maoist-link. Although the journalists were released later, Nisha Biswas, Kaniska Chowdhury and Manik Mondal were arrested. They were sent to jail custody by Jhargram court.

Nisha Biswas, scientist of a CSIR institute in Kolkata, Kaniska Chowdhury, a professor of a college and Manik Mondal, a well known writer are human right activists and have been associated with peoples' movement for years. Nisha regularly participates in various programmes and street corners organized by Lalgarh Mancha and Sanhati Udyog.

Lalgarh remains besieged by the state armed forces for the last one year. No human right activists are allowed to visit. Statements issued by the police and government officials prevail in mainstream media and remain the major, if not the only source of information regarding Lalgarh. Nobody can think this as a healthy situation, especially when incidents of severe human rights violation by joint forces surface out. Recently three open letters were issued by People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) regarding different issues of People's resistance of Lalgarh and human right violation by joint forces. 

It was therefore timely decision of these intellectuals of Kolkata to visit Lalgarh for having first hand experience of the situation of Lalgarh. When state does not allow any human right activist to visit a place, a true activist must earnestly try to reach there to remain honest to his conscience. Given the prevailing state repression, their visits have to be in clandestine.  And, a clandestine visit has long been cherished by current West Bengal Chief Minister; remember he spent some time for translating "Clandestine in Chille" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then what went wrong with Nisha Biswas, Kaniska Chowdhury and Manik Mondal?

It was shown in a TV channel that they were booked as they participated along with others in a meeting of PCAPA. We do not know whether they really participated in such meeting. Even if they participated, how can it be an offense? This organization is not a banned organization, it works for democratic rights; government officials including state election commissioner met the representatives of PCAPA couple of times till June 2009. And a meeting between them was scheduled to be held on 14 July 2009, which did not happen as operation of joint forces started on 18 June 2009. Then what goes wrong if people participate in the meeting of PCAPA? Is it just because it has raised some important issues which state does not like? Is it because of the mobilization of masses behind their demands? If so, then any democratic individual has to take the side of PCAPA. And that was exactly what these intellectuals did. 

Government and police officials sometimes say that the movement of PCAPA has its own trajectory and with time it became closer to the Maoists. It is ridiculous. PCAPA and its movement should be judged on the basis of its content—on the basis of their demands, not on the basis of how close Maoists are to them. People can build movement on several issues. Any organization can find those issues relevant and extend their support. Only with the malicious intention a movement can be assessed on the basis of these supporter organizations. 

With such steps against activists working for democratic rights the government gradually establishes the fact that whatever exists is nothing but fascist rule. Such notion when roots in people's mind nowhere help the ruler, rather expedite their fall. India will not be an exception.

17 June 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Did UPA back Dow in 2006?

Press Trust of India
WASHINGTON/BHOPAL, 15 JUNE: An RTI response issued by the Indian Embassy here suggests that the UPA government had assured Dow Chemicals, the parent company of Union Carbide, in 2006 that it would not be held liable for the Bhopal gas tragedy ~ even when the matter was sub-judice.
In a letter to the then Indian Ambassador to the USA, Mr Ronen Sen, Dow Chemicals CEO Mr Andrew Liveris claimed that the Indian government had said that his company was not liable for the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984. A copy of Mr Liveris' letter dated 8 November, 2006, was obtained by US-based Mr Somu Kumar of the International Campaign for Justice for Bhopal from the Indian Embassy by invoking the Right to Information Act. A copy of the letter and other documents obtained by Mr Kumar were circulated in the Indian media here.
“Given the statements made by Government of India representatives... that Dow is not responsible for Bhopal and will not be pursued by the GoI, it will be important to follow through to ensure concrete, sustained actions are taken that are consistent with these statements,” Mr Liveris said in his letter to Mr Sen. .
“It is shocking that GoI representatives had announced that Dow was not liable even when an Indian court was still deliberating on this issue,” Mr Kumar said. Members of the International Campaign for Justice for Bhopal, including Mr Kumar demonstrated outside the Indian Embassy here.
In 2004, Jabalpur High Court began hearing the case on who should pay for the sanitisation of the defunct Carbide plant in Bhopal and in 2005, minister for chemicals and fertilisers Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, sought Rs 100 crore from Dow for the clean-up. In his letter, Mr Liveris sought withdrawal of the application seeking financial deposits for the clean-up.
According to the information provided by the Indian Embassy, Mr Liveris met Ambassador Sen on 21 September, 2005 and followed up the visit with two letters. Mr Liveris also met the then finance minister in New York on the sidelines of an Indo-US CEO Forum meeting on 25 October, 2006. He met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 14 September, 2005 in New York during a CEOs’ luncheon co-hosted by the Indian envoy.

Meanwhile in an embarrassment to the BJP, its senior leader and Madhya Pradesh minister Mr Babulal Gaur, today said the Union government headed by his party too had been “totally apathetic” to the problems of the Bhopal gas victims and that Mr Arjun Singh should not be blamed alone for the events after the disaster.

Source: The Statesman 16 June 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Complaint filed in court against Arjun Singh in connection with Bhopal gas tragedy

In Madhya Pradesh, a Bhopal lawyer has filed a private complaint in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) seeking legal action against senior Congress leader and the then chief minister Arjun Singh, his son and congress MLA Ajay Singh, the then chief secretary of the state Brahamswaroop and Hanumganj police station in charge Surinder Singh, who had lodged a FIR in connection with Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Complainant in his plaint has alleged that the respondents had hatched a conspiracy under which the then chairman of Union Carbide Corporation Warren Anderson was allowed to escape from Bhopal after his arrest.

On the other hand Arjun Singh’s son Ajay Singh has admitted having received a donation of one lac fifty thousand rupees from the Union Carbide for his Churhat Children’s Welfare Fund in 1983. However, saying that he is not a spokesperson of his father, he declined to comment on his father’s role in the release of Warren Anderson.

Meanwhile a group of gas activists has written to US president Barrack Obama asking him to order judicial processes that will fix the accountability of US corporations and individuals responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Bhopal news leakage disaster

Rajinder Puri
In Bhopal leaking gas killed people. From Bhopal leaking news is killing reputations. Arjun Singh ordered the release of Warren Anderson after earlier arresting him. Why did he do that? He is under a cloud. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked his ministers to consider the Dow Chemical proposal to waive its financial liability in lieu of helping obtain foreign investment in India. He is under a cloud. Chief Justice Ahmedi who reduced the criminal liability in the Bhopal case later headed the hospital trust set up by the accused. This was gross violation of judicial propriety. He is under a cloud. Chidambaram and Kamal Nath lobbied for Dow Chemical with the government to write off the compensation for Bhopal victims due from it in return for promised foreign investment. Both are under a cloud – but enough! There is little point in mentioning names. Why pick on a few individuals? The entire political class is under a cloud.
However Rajiv Gandhi is not under a cloud. No Congress leader dares to name him. Rajiv was Prime Minister when Anderson was released in Bhopal. He was Prime Minister when Anderson was allowed to fly from Delhi to the USA. He was in Bhopal with Arjun Singh on the very day and at the very time when the latter reversed his earlier decision of arresting Anderson to order his release and fly him to Delhi in a State aircraft.
Rajiv Gandhi alone could have been responsible for the release of Anderson. The PM’s principal secretary PC Alexander has confirmed that the Cabinet meeting convened soon after the Bhopal gas tragedy did not refer to Anderson’s release. Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said: “I categorically deny involvement of the then central government.” She is right. Anderson’s release was not ordered by the Central government. It was ordered personally by Rajiv Gandhi who sat next to chief minister Arjun Singh in Bhopal when the latter addressed the press confirming Anderson’s arrest.
Rajiv Gandhi must bear ultimate responsibility for allowing the government’s claim for settlement of US$ 3.3 billion from Union Carbide to be whittled down to a paltry US$ 470 million that was eventually paid. The Supreme Court directed the final settlement of all litigation in the amount of US$ 470 million to be paid by 31 March, 1989. Both the Indian government and Union Carbide accepted the court's direction for payment of US$ 470 million. In May, 1989 the SC offered its rationale for the settlement. It stated that the compensation was higher than ordinarily payable under Indian law.
Did the honourable Judges pay any attention to international law? In the same year 1989 Exxon Valdez spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil in the waters near Alaska. Exxon had to shell out US$ 5 billion for a disaster in which no human lives were lost! Given our recent history it is legitimate to ask: was any amount in the huge gap between 3.3 billion US$ claimed by the government, and 470 million US$ received by it, pocketed by any politician? And let us not be surprised by the SC settlement. After all, the Supreme Court just months earlier overcame its doubts to sentence innocent Kehar Singh to death in the Indira Gandhi assassination case.
Let us not miss the wood for the trees. This issue is not about Rajiv Gandhi or the Congress. All our past political icons deserve scrutiny by scanner. The issue is no longer about the Bhopal gas disaster. The victims are no longer the 500,000 disabled or the 20,000 dead of Bhopal. The issue is the independence of India. The victims are the one billion plus citizens of India. They do not need compensation. They need revolution. They need liberation from the corrupt, venal ruling class that enriched itself by bartering the nation’s independence and self respect during the past six decades.
Yes, six decades! The time has come to recall all the disgraceful betrayals of the national interest since 1947 by those who have ruled us. The time has come to revisit history. The exposures of the Bhopal gas disaster present a defining moment. If India seeks remedy for its decadence and decline the diagnosis must be based upon truth. There is a generation of Indians ignorant of our history. It will need to acquaint itself with the truth. It is available for all those who seek it. If India’s new generation wants a future it will have to fight for it. It will have to fight for the future of the nation. Who knows, it may surprise history by doing just that.

Source: The Statesman, 14 June 2004

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chief minister's office told us to fly Anderson to Delhi: Pilot

10 June 2010
Indo-Asian News Service  
BHOPAL, 10 JUNE: A former director of aviation at Bhopal and a pilot have both claimed that the Madhya Pradesh chief minister's office had instructed them to fly former Union Carbide chairman Mr Warren Anderson to Delhi after the Bhopal gas tragedy.
"We got a call from the chief minister's office and were asked to arrange a flight," former director of aviation, Bhopal, Mr RS Sodhi told television channel NDTV. Senior congress leader Mr Arjun Singh was then Madhya Pradesh chief minister.
Mr Sodhi remembered that two cars stopped in front of the aircraft parked at Bhopal airport. "The first car was carrying the superintendent of police and the second one had Mr Warren Anderson and Mr Moti Singh (then district collector)," he said.
"Mr Anderson boarded the plane and we took off," Sodhi said.
A video broadcast by CNN-IBN today and filmed by a French television team Dec 7, 1984 shows a blue Ambassador car with a red beacon going through the airport gates and running on the tarmac. The car, said the channel, belonged to the then district collector and also had Mr Anderson inside.
The pilot who flew the plane has also come forward to talk about the events of that December afternoon. "We waited for Mr Anderson and he came with the superintendent of police and the collector. He got down from the car and we asked him to get in the aircraft… he boarded the plane and I closed the door," reminisced Captain SH Ali.
One hour before reaching Delhi airport, he asked the airport manager to send a car for a VIP, which should be ready once the plane landed. "I took him in the car and dropped him outside the airport manager's room and there was one car waiting for him… that person came and asked him to board the car and he left," said the former pilot.
He remembered that Mr Anderson was "looking tired and upset", but at the time, he was not aware of the identity of his passenger.
But, he was clear that the instructions came from the chief minister's office. "This (order) came from Captain Sodhi. He was our director ~ he gets the information from the chief minister or chief minister's staff or secretary to the chief minister," said Captain Ali.

Source: The Statesman

How Anderson got bail...

9 June 2010

BHOPAL/HYDERABAD, 9 JUNE: More embarrassing details tumbled out today in the Bhopal gas tragedy case of how former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson got bail immediately after his arrest but the then CBI chief rejected claims that the agency was asked not to pursue his extradition.
Meanwhile, with the verdict in the case coming under an all-round attack, the Central government today reconstituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to go into a range of issues including the relief and rehabilitation of victims and their families.
The MP government sought to step into the picture, saying it would appeal against the Bhopal court verdict seeking enhancement of the punishment to the convicts. On top of a former CBI official's charge on Anderson's extradition, the then DM of Bhopal came out with his version of how he was asked to ensure bail for the Carbide official hours after his arrest.
“They (Anderson and others) came to Bhopal from Bombay by service flight. They were taken into police custody at the airport and taken to the Union Carbide guest house where they were told that they were under arrest and they were lodged in three separate rooms and the formality of arrest was completed,” former DM Mr Moti Singh told reporters in Bhopal. Then, he said, around 2 p.m. (7 December, 1984), the Chief Secretary called the SP and the DM to his office and told them to release Anderson and put him in the same plane waiting in the airport to go to Delhi. “Accordingly, we went to the place where he was lodged. We observed the formalities of granting him bail. A Carbide employee stood surety and thereafter he was released on bail, taken to the airport and put on a plane to New Delhi,” Mr Singh said.
In Hyderabad, former CBI Director Mr K Vijayarama Rao today rejected claims of a former joint director Mr BR Lall that the agency was asked not to pursue Anderson's extradition from the USA. “The Government of India as well as the CBI did everything they could to extradite Anderson from the US. But, the US refused to allow it,” Mr Rao told reporters. “Their (USA) claim was that the Union Carbide factory was only a holding and that this man (Anderson) cannot be held responsible as he is not directly involved in the running of the factory. We can, however, hold him morally responsible (for the Bhopal gas tragedy),” the former CBI Director said.
Mr Lall yesterday said that he was asked by the Ministry of External Affairs officials not to follow extradition of Anderson when the gas leak took place 26 years ago. Mr Rao recalled that there was a lot of correspondence between the CBI and the MEA and also between the MEA and the US government. “In the course of such correspondence, there may have been a letter from the MEA saying that the US is not allowing the extradition of Anderson. But I can say that at no point was there any pressure on the CBI..” PTI

MEA clarification
NEW DELHI, 9 JUNE: With questions being raised over its role in Warren Anderson’s non-extradition in Bhopal case, the MEA today said it has time and again requested for his extradition, which has been turned down by the USA for want of more “evidential links”. Maintaining that the ministry has “renewed the request for an extradition on a number of occasions, a senior official said the MEA will “proceed on the basis of the collective decision of the government” on the issue. PTI

Source: The Statesman

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Talking points: why justice cannot prevail

According to Eveready Industries, the successor to Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), there was never any danger of a judgment against the company, consequently no need to provide financially for that eventuality. Whence comes this overweening confidence? 

“Trial proceedings before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal, on the modified charges framed under the directions of the Supreme Court that commenced in September 1997, are yet to be concluded. As per advice of legal counsel, allegations against the Company are without any firm basis and possibilities of proceedings against the Company, succeeding are extremely remote. Since the charges are very likely to fail, no provision is necessary at this stage.”

Unaudited Standalone Financial Results (Provisional) for the Quarter and year ended March 31, 2010

Will justice be done in Bhopal on June 7, 2010? Read on.

Qu. 1. Will justice be done in Bhopal on June 7?

Justice in Bhopal will be done only if the individuals and corporations responsible for the death of over 25 thousand and toxic exposure and damage to over half a million people are punished in an exemplary manner. The punishment accorded to the individual corporate officials and the corporations must be of such that it deters other corporations and corporate officials from being recklessly indifferent to human life and health.

We think that even if the verdict on June 7 is fully against the nine accused, justice will not be any where near done on the world’s worst corporate massacre.

Firstly, the prime accused in this case are Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), and Warren Anderson and both are absconding from Indian courts since 1992. In the last 18 years, the CBI has not taken the tiniest step to get the authorized representatives of UCC, USA extradited and has made only one unsuccessful attempt in 2003 to get Anderson extradited. The third foreign accused, Union Carbide Eastern Limited, Hong Kong, deregistered itself in 1992 without ever appearing in court and the CBI has not taken any action against this absconding accused. Only a concurrent trial of the foreign accused can adequately address the nature and extent of the crimes committed in the disaster in Bhopal.

Secondly, the charges against the accused are much weaker than they should be. There is ample evidence that individual officials and the corporate boards demonstrated reckless indifference towards the lives and health of the workers in the factory and people in the city. They were manifestly aware that the technology employed in Bhopal was exceptionally hazardous, that cost cutting measures had made it more hazardous still, that 30 major hazards had been identified through a safety audit and that safety and maintenance had been run down to a threadbare basis in advance of an intended sell-off. Yet the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) decided to charge Union Carbide and its officials only with criminal negligence.

For their criminal indifference to human life and health, Union Carbide and its officials should have been charged with culpable homicide (Sec. 300 Part IV of Indian Penal Code punishable by life imprisonment) for running the factory knowing that it was so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

Thirdly, because of an unjust order of the Supreme Court and the CBI’s inaction, the criminal charges against the Indian corporation and its officials have been further diluted. The order of Justice A M Ahmadi delivered on September 13, 1996 brought down the charge from Sec. 304 Part II of Indian Penal Code (IPC) to Sec. 304 A of the IPC without considering the evidence of the culpability of Union Carbide India Limited and its officials. By reducing the Bhopal disaster to the equivalent of a traffic accident the prison term for the crimes of Bhopal was brought down from 10 years to 2 years. Further, a conviction under Sec. 304 A, does not necessarily lead to imprisonment. It could well be reduced to criminal fines.

Finally, because the CBI has done a shoddy job of prosecuting the Indian corporation and its officials, it is very doubtful that the verdict on June 7 will be fully against the accused.

2. How has the CBI fulfilled its role as a prosecutor?

The CBI has done a shoddy job of prosecuting the Indian and the foreign accused.

a) Despite the fact that the documentary evidence is all available, the CBI has failed to present evidence :

- that demonstrate that UCC, USA and Warren Anderson were well aware in 1973 that the technology for the MIC plant in Bhopal was “untested”

- that show that the design of the Bhopal plant was substantially different and inferior in terms of safety when compared to the MIC plant owned by Union Carbide in Institute, West Virginia, USA.

- that establishes that Keshub Mahindra and other officials knew or should have known about the hazardous design of the plant and the additional hazards due to design modifications.

- that links each of the accused to deliberate acts undermining operational safety such as rewriting of operation manuals, decommissioning the crucial refrigeration unit and eliminating the maintenance supervisor from most work shifts.

- that demonstrate that UCC, UCIL and its senior officials were indifferent to the injuries caused to people in the neighbourhood communities due to routine leaks in the factory prior to the disaster in 1984

b) The CBI has also failed to

- produce the three absconding foreign accused in India court.

- stop accused Union Carbide Eastern Inc., Hong Kong from “disappearing”.

- visit the Institute, West Virginia plant to document the design differences between the two plants that would show that the Bhopal plant was deliberately under designed.

- deliver summons and execute arrest warrants despite being India’s Interpol agency.

- prevent the sale of shares of UCC, USA in UCIL in 1994 thus loosening the grip of the Indian court over the absconding corporation.

- appeal against the order of the Supreme court that diluted criminal charges against Indian accused.

- take action against the sale of Union Carbide’s intellectual property in India while the corporation is absconding from justice.

- make Dow Chemical, USA, current owner of Union Carbide, appear in the Bhopal court despite clear orders.

3. Why did the case against the Indian officials take so long?

The verdict against the Indian accused is now expected 25 years after the disaster in 1984. The CBI filed charges only in 1987. From 1989 to 1991 it was quashed by the Supreme Court’s order on settlement. From 1993 to 1996 the matter was under revision by the State High Court and the Supreme Court which diluted the charges from culpable homicide to death by negligence.

The case involved examination and cross examination of 178 prosecution witnesses and 8 defence witnesses and presenting over 3000 documents before the court. Hearings in the case were usually scheduled once every month but very often there was a gap of two to three months between hearings.

Repeated demands of survivors’ organization to set up a Special Prosecution Cell for effective and quick prosecution was turned down by the government.

4. What needs to be done to bring the absconding accused to trial?

As the Minister in charge, the Prime Minister must:

- create a Special Prosecution Cell in the CBI for effective and timely action on extradition of foreign accused and collection and presentation of evidence against the foreign accused.

- direct CBI to move on extradition of authorized representative of UCC and resend extradition request for Warren Anderson.

- direct CBI to follow the assets of Union Carbide Eastern Inc. to ensure that the representatives of the accused corporation face criminal trial.

- direct CBI to take action on illegal trading of UCC technology in India.

- direct CBI to take legal action so that summons issued against Dow Chemical, USA can be delivered.

Above all, there is need for sea-change in the political will of both the US and Indian administrations for broad assistance and mutual cooperation on the criminal prosecution of the foreign accused.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

City intellectuals voice concern

KOLKATA, 10 May: Several city based intellectuals today urged the Centre to stop the use of violence in dealing with Maoists in affected areas in the country.
The intellectuals, including Magsaysay award winner, Mahasweta Devi, poet Sankha Ghosh and painter Bivash Chakraborty, urged the Centre to initiate talks with Maoists. The intellectuals while voicing their concerns against Operation Greenhunt apprehended that pursuing the operation can “degenerate into an uncontrollable civil war.”

“Dialogue and not arms is the only way forward : not an option but a compulsion of the situation,” a statement released by these intellectuals said. The statement also expresses regret of the loss of lives of 74 jawans in Dantewada. It also mentions that this loss of lives is a “direct fall out of the government's wrong headed policy of declaring war on the poorest sections of it own people.” The intellectuals urged the Centre to look into issues arising out of the memorandum of understandings (MoUs) signed by the state governments with mining and other industrial houses. These MoUs have led to land grabing and loss of common resources. of these people.

Source: The Statesman 11 May 2010