Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hint of scarred cops getting tough - Sections of police voice support for shoot-on-sight strategy

Day before yesterday Lalmohan Tudu, president of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), Sumitra Murmu and Yubaraj Murmu was brutally were murdered by joint forces. He returned his home after couple of months and the joint forces drove him out of the house and shot dead. Joint forces on the other hand said that he was killed in an encounter. In India death in fake encounter is quite common and is widely used to wipe out voices of protest.

This blog condemns all forms of state repression and the cold blooded murder of Lalmohan Tudu, Sumitra Murmu and Yubaraj Murmu.

Bellow is the report of The Telegraph on this killing and how state machinery prepares itself for more.

Pronab Mondal
Kantapahari (West Midnapore), Feb. 23: Police say People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities president Lalmohan Tudu died when they retaliated against a Maoist attack on their camp here.

The committee, and Tudu’s neighbours, insist he was killed in a “fake encounter” at Narcha village, 3km from the Kantapahari camp.

If what the villagers say is true and the indications from a section of the police are co-rrect, the crackdown against Maoists is set to see a new strategy emerge from the debris of the Shilda EFR camp, where 24 policemen were massacred by the guerrillas last Monday.

“The brutal attack at Shilda has firmed up our resolve to strike in equal measure against the Maoists,” a police officer said. “The instruction we have been given is to go for the kill instead of trying to make an arrest if we sense any danger whatsoever.”

With charges and counter-charges flying thick and fast, it is not known if Tudu last night had posed any danger to the police. But if what the residents of Narcha say is true, Tudu’s is the first major case of the new strategy being put into operation.

“This is a strategy that had worked very well during the Naxalite movement of the late ’60s,” said an officer. “Then the strategy was kill on sight; do not wait to make arrests, produce the culprits in court and offer them chance to get bail. After Shilda, there is a strong opinion among top officers in favour of the same strategy.”

This officer could not say for sure what happened in Tudu’s case, but he said he would not be surprised if it was an instance of a new “shoot-on-sight” strategy being put into operation.

Several officers pointed out that such a strategy could never be official and no such order could be issued from the top. “Only the force should informally be informed that no cop would get into trouble for shooting dead a person associated with the Maoists even if that person is posing no immediate danger,” the officer said. “This should work well.”

Explaining that Tudu was heading a “Maoist frontal organisation” meant to “aid and abet” their cause, an officer said such a strategy could “justifiably” be used against a person “waging war against the nation”.

“What is the (People’s) committee if not an outfit run by the Maoists to help their cause?” asked an officer. “Can there be any justification for using the soft hand with persons associated with such a committee? They are all Maoists in the garb of running a movement for tribals.”

A policeman admitted that post-Shilda, they had unofficial instructions that if they caught a hardcore Maoist deep in a forest or a secluded spot, they should not take the trouble of bringing him back to the camp. “No one wants to talk about it, but the thinking now is not to have any mercy on those who commit such heinous crimes as killing innocent cops,” an officer said.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hectic lobbying by arms producers

Sri Krishna
NEW DELHI, 16 FEB: With the defence budget for 2010-11 likely to be enhanced as indicated yesterday by the defence minister, Mr AK Antony, hectic lobbying has begun at the ongoing sixth DefExpo here by top arms producers of the world for a slice of the cake.
Russia (and the erstwhile Soviet Union) has been the biggest seller of arms to this country but it is now facing stiff competition from other nations.
A former defence ministry official observed that ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union and with Russia regularly hiking up price of defence equipment as in the case of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, arms manufacturers have been looking at making profits and this is one of the major reasons that other competitors are stepping in.
The four-day biennial event to showcase some of the latest defence equipment by leading manufacturers does not appear to have been impacted by the economic slowdown and recession that had affected many countries as the $11 billion that India spends every year on foreign military supplies is up for grabs.
The arms makers seem to have taken the hint from the minister of state for defence, Dr Pallam Raju, who said that India was “looking for partnerships and co-development arrangements and formation of joint venture in critical technical areas and the defence expo, which is a one-stop shop, is an ideal platform for doing business in defence”.
With the weaponry in the Indian armed forces being mostly of Russian make, the Russians are indeed lobbying hard for their aircraft for the 126 multi-role medium range combat aircraft (MMRCA) that India is planning to purchase as part of its modernisation drive.
All the major bidders for the 126 MMRCA to be bought by the IAF have their stalls at the Defexpo almost cheek by jowl and have been lobbying hard for their product. “India is the number one partner for the Russian defence industry, since it is not only the volume that is exported, but also the quality of the equipment and scientific technical potential that we put in India’s industrial military complex within this cooperation,” said Mr Victor Komardin, deputy director general of Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms corporation.
One of the biggest success stories of Indo-Russian collaboration in the weapons system is the Brahmos, the only supersonic cruise missile in the world. Both countries are equal partners in this project, contributing their own areas of expertise.
“We are very strong in guidance technology and software,” said Dr Sivathanu Pillai, CEO of Brahmos Aerospace, “whereas Russia is very strong in propulsion and cruise missile technology. So having technology available in both, and respecting each other in trust, we formed a joint venture”.

Source: The Statesman, 17 February 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swapan Dasgupta expires while in UAPA custody - A Sanhati Statement

Swapan Dasgupta, editor and publisher of the Bengali edition of the political magazine People’s March passed away on 2nd February, while he was in the custody of West Bengal police. He had been arrested in October 2009 under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for allegedly publishing Maoist literature, along with other political activists. Till date, he had not been chargesheeted. As per the official records, People’s March is a legal publication and therefore not a banned literature as claimed by sections of mainstream press.

Swapan Dasgupta was suffering from blood cancer and according to activists in West Bengal, he was not provided with the necessary medical attention, including crucial blood transfusions, while he was in custody. He was hospitalized in the month of January 2010, only when his condition became critical because of the lack of proper treatment. Therefore, his death is a case of utter negligence, if not an instance of premeditated systemic violence, by the state apparatus which seems determined to eliminate voices of dissent in one way or the other. Such circumstances also make this incident the first case of custodial death under the UAPA. We strongly condemn the role of the state in the death of Swapan Dasgupta and demand that the UAPA be repealed without further delay, and people arrested under UAPA be released.

Swapan Dasgupta’s body will be taken out from Peace Haven in Kolkata at 10 am on 3rd Febuary 2010. There will be a protest march at the Kolkata book fair, starting at 4.00 pm from the APDR stall, followed by a condolence/protest meet at the Mont Marte open stage from 5.45-6.45 pm.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Suman slams rebel-fight law

Calcutta, Feb. 2: Kabir Suman today publicly expressed his anger at the Centre for en- forcing the “undemocratic” Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to combat Maoists, keeping up his penchant for embarrassing Mamata Banerjee.

After paying tributes to the publisher of the People’s March who died at SSKM Hospital today, the Jadavpur MP said: “The death of Swapan (Dasgupta) has again brought to light that the UAPA, under which he was arrested, grossly violates human rights. I believe he was wrongfully arrested.” 

The singer-MP made it clear he did not support the central law. “Just because the government has power and the law-enforcing agencies are at its disposal, it cannot brand anyone a traitor or anti-national and put him behind bars under the UAPA.”

Dasgupta had been arrested from Calcutta on the night of October 6. He was hospitalised in December with cancer.

Suman’s observations about the UAPA left Mamata red-faced as her party is part of the government that took the decision to enforce the law to fight Maoists.

Source: The Telegraph February 3, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Under trial UAPA prisoner Swapan Dasgupta Passed Away

Photo: Indian Express

Today at 5 am Swapan Dasgupta, Bangla People's March (a registered magazine) editor and an under trial UAPA prisoner passed away at S.S.K.M. Hospital, Kolkata. 

It is the sheer negligence from part of the jail administration and government that killed Dasgupta. 

Swapan Dasgupta, first UAPA martyr will be forever in the hearts of progressive and democratic people.