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Archive for February, 2007

Telangana: Naxal Conflict And Press : A Left Perspective

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 28, 2007

K.Stevenson/ Download

Background:


Telangana with a militant history dating back to the Telangana Armed Struggle, with all its failures and successes continues to be a source of inspiration for the Marxist-Leninist parties. Opinions vary on the phenomenon of Naxalism, the generic term used to connote Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar. The Naxalite movement owes its origins to the revolt of Santhal tribals at Naxalbari, West Bengal led by armed Communists who parted ways with the CPI (M).The uprising was crushed by the police in a few months by the United Front Government in West Bengal. The revolt against poverty and alienation acquired the label of ‘Naxalism’ and paved the way for waging struggles against the established feudal order by the oppressed masses in different parts of India. There are close to 40 groups in the country proffessing adherence to the philosophy of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism. About 11 of them occupy a predominant position. It is believed that 13 groups operate in Andhra Pradesh, 10 of which are splinter groups of CPI-ML. In Andhra Pradesh, Left Wing Extremism tends to be equated with the activities of the CPI-ML People’s War Group (PWG) and the CPI-ML Janashakti.

Academic debate projects Naxalism as a social movement and social workers view it as a problem of back wardness and poverty. In this context, Gunnar Myrdal calls India a ’soft state’ owing to the failure of theIndian State to vigorously carry out effective land reforms and other pressing socio-economic changes in the society with a view to establishing an egalitarian and less repressive society. This has led to agrarian movements like the Naxalite movement turning violent. Competition for land and jobs available with the increased allocation of resources under the State / Central plans has only sharpened this sense of deprivation. To counter this, Naxalites have adopted the avowed strategy of political activity (with the ultimate goal of seizure of power) supported by armed squads who are trained to create terror among counter revolutionaries.

Be that as it may. The State Government has been following an inconsistent and incoherent policy to tackle this problem by declaring a ban on the militant outfit and its front organisations. Despite employing coercive methods like declaring Naxal infested areas as ‘disturbed’, invoking the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), creating a separate police force in the State and coordinating with the Joint Command by the State Government has not achieved the desired effect in the northern Telangana districts where the problem is more acute.

What holds our attention in the context of Naxalism is the increasing reliance of the State on the police and other such organisations for effective governance. The role of the press in such conflict situations assumes significance also when viewsd against Gramsci’s formulations that the media and press comprise one of the hegemonic apparatuses in the definition of the State.

Also, as Mcquail points out,’content (in the mass media) is a function of ideological positions and maintains the status quo (the hegemonic approach) The concept of ‘hegemony’ borrowed by critical theorists from Gramsci’s term for ruling ideology, helps to maintain the class divided and class dominated society. A ruling ideology is not imposed but appears to exist by virtue of unquestioned consensus. Hegemony tends to define unacceptable opposition to the status quo as dissident and deviant. The mass media do not define reality on their own but give preferential access to the definitions of those in authority. In the context of Naxalism. A discussion on how the Press is responding to the Naxal conflict becomes imperative because of the rapid expansion witnessed in the regional press which in the hands of business class with other business establishments. A couple of them (Vaartha and Eenadu) have publication centres in the Naxal infested districts. The strong rural news network, growing awareness of their rights among the masses; rise in literacy levels etc. are other reasons.

All this makes defining news much more elusive. Communication scholars, newspaper editors, media professionals and the common public tend to define and interpret news in different ways. Likewise, individuals indoctrinated in a particular ideology also look at news differently. This paper summarises the views of Left ideologues on the press coverage given to the Naxalite conflict.

Broadly speaking, the views expressed by respondents reads like a charge sheet against the existing newspapers in the State; their ownership, their lack of objectivity etc.,

Failure to understand the essence of the movement


By and large, the Press, both the English and the Telugu newspapers have failed to understand and highlight the social transformation that has taken place in the northern Telangana districts during the past two decades. It has failed to present the positive achievements of the Naxalite movement.

The movement was instrumental in bringing about a sea change in the rural economy. This is borne by the fact that the movement could demolish the feudal oppression which impeded rising of capital by the landless labour. Also because the Naxalites were able to curb the practice of Vetti-forced labour, indiscriminate levying of taxes and collection of ‘Dhandaga’- surplus yield from the landless.

Significantly, the feudal landlord was transformed into a feudal capitalist. In other words, the economy changed from feudalism to feudal capitalism as the rich landlords fled the villages and made forays into capital ventures by setting up shops, real estate business etc in towns and cities. This paradoxical development, the transformation of the economy from feudalism to feudal capitalism has not been noticed by the Press though the movement aimed at radical transformation/ revolution.

In the process of transforming the society from feudalism to feudal capitalism, a section of the Naxalites who reneged from the party or were suspended rejoined the movement and turned into capitalists with the help of the money ‘received’ through voluntary contributions and ‘extortions.’

In its efforts to move from New Democratic Revolution to Socialism, the movement, in the process, as the Ford Commission Report said on Indian Agriculture, helped “change traditional rural country into a modern society that suits the purpose of the exploiters” but the Government failed to impress upon landlords. Naxalites helped this transformation which had nothing to do with the Communist or Marxist ideology.

On the social plane, people belonging to the Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes and the backward classes unfurled the flag of self respect – a Paleru – servant who was dependent on the landlord had become independent. The social and political consciousness of the landlord’s and those belonging to the lower classes changed owing to the Naxalite movement. The changed mindset of the villagers manifest in simple statements like ‘we are raising our voices, we are not like before’ has been facilitated through the Naxalite movement. But this does not find a place in the press.

In a curious development, some squads developed contacts with the landlords in their struggle against them land which has hindered the development of the society. In the absence of their main targets-wicked landlords who had either fled after selling their property or hoodwinking the Government through benami transactions or giving it for lease, the Naxalite squads now fight only the police. Also, as there is no strong organisation, the movement depends on ‘militants’-which has led to lumpen elements gaining a strong hold over the movement. The Press has failed to turn its focus on the lumpenisation of the movement; it can never understand this basic phenomenon.

The newspapers have been and are missing the leadership class struggle in the Naxalite movement between members of the lower caste and the upper caste. The Dalit Bahujans want to lead the present history not only in the outside world but also in the underground. The Ambedkar movement in Andhra Pradesh led by those who were discontented with the Naxalite leadership, has impacted and rattled the underground movement. Based on the Marx-Ambedkar thought, which a section of revolutionary forces recognise, there is a raging debate on how to carry on the struggle both against caste and class as there was no deliberation on the strategic significance or tactical necessity of caste in a revolution.

The Press has failed to understand the ’soul’, the inner meaning, economic and social significance, the scope and limitations of the Naxalite movement. Newspapers and economists failed to take cognisance of neither the positive aspects nor the negative trends.

Censoring or blacking out of Left Wing News


The capitalist press adopts a method to black out or censor news and views favourable to the Left Wing parties. For example, if there is a price rise or other issues like retrenchment closures, lock outs etc., or any other political development which affects people, the reactions of various shades of political development which affects people, the reactions of various shades of political opinion is available in the press prominently while the views of the Left wing leaders are not covered prominently. Even if they are given by force of circumstances, their views are mostly projected in a manipulated manner by not giving prominence in terms of content, space and place in the newspaper. This suppression or manipulation by the capitalist press gives an impression that the Left wing groups and their leaders are apathetic to the problems of the people. Instance where news of massive protests by people organised by the extremist groups against the anti-people, pro-capitalist and pro-monopolist polices of the successive governments are totally blacked out by the Press. A recent example, When Nalla Adi Reddy, a top PWG leader addressed a press conference to announce the party’s stand on the issue of Telangana four journalists attended the same. While The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and Andhra Pradesh Times covered it prominently, Indian Express pushed the story into one of its inside pages. Subsequently, the staff reporter of Andhra Pradesh Times from Warangal, based on the PWG document in his possession, filed a series of reports. The same was not reflected in other newspapers.

Legitimising Government Actions


Over the years, the press has been successful in moulding public opinion to make people believe that violence has no place in a democracy. But in reality, under capitalist economic, social and political conditions, the rich are given full freedom to injure any section of the society while the poor is asked to follow the path of non-violence. The umpteen murders which take place every day, communal politics leading to riots, group clashes, personal hatred, and faction feuds are adequate testimony that violence is a part of our society which is highly stratified.

For instance, the Telangana Armed Struggle involving peasants was a movement against exploitation by the landlords and demand for land to the tiller. The uprising was crushed with the might of the Indian army and over6, 000 peasants were killed for demanding a decent livelihood. The Press, in the first instance failed to identify and set an agenda for the government and the politicians.

Later, when the aggrieved organised themselves and resorted to violence and agitations for their economic demands, the violence was crushed. The press nods in appreciation and supports the State, through its law enforcement machinery ruthlessly suppresses the struggles of people who seek social justice, then such State sponsored violence gets the sanction of the press. The press is being engineered in this subtle manner.

Promoting the ‘dominant’ ideology or the ideology of the State


The Press supports and promotes the ideology of the State. As long as there is no ban on the PWG and its front organisations, the press gives coverage to its activities. But once, the ban is imposed, there is an unwritten ban on a section of journalists in some newspapers to write about Naxal related news. Ironically, even during such periods of undeclared ban on news on Naxals, some newspapers encourage news only on Naxals which becomes a saleable point for the newspaper. But the moment something is written against the State, the journalist earns the wrath of the management. This is best illustrated through the coverage on the recent bed on the balladeer Gaddar’s life. It is learnt that a leading Telugu newspaper management instructed its editorial and reporting staff that the paper would like to have stories on Gaddar’s health after the attack, stories on the attackers and Gaddar’s future plans after his recovery. A journalist filed a story on the formation of a Struggle committee on the attack of Gaddar was immediately shifted to the editorial department. This incident amply testifies that as long as the journalist filed news stories as dictated by the management, it was fine but the news on the formation of a committee which is spearheading the movement against the State denouncing the attack on Gaddar, it goes against the journalist. The Press is not independent but is enslaved to the interests of the State while the State is interested in the capitalist and the consumer class not the commoner’s cause. It serves the interests of only certain sections of the society. It is for maintaining the status quo of the establishment, to strengthen and consolidate it. There is no place for tribals, women, oppressed, the underprivileged.

Whither Press?


Casteism has crept into the press which is evident in the coverage when names of activists / victims of extremist violence are clearly mentioned. Also, in case of surrender, there has been no news about harassment of those from underprivileged sections who are harassed and killed while those from the upper castes are given good treatment. During the 1980s, till 1988 the mainstream Telugu Press, especially Udayam owned by a Congress Member of Parliament, absorbed people with Left leaning for their is a deliberate attempt by the newspaper managements to avoid recruiting people with a Left background. The job seekers are grilled about their antecedents. Any news clipping opposing the entry of multinationals, expansion of the activities of the monopoly business houses would go against him.

Misleading headlines


The capitalist press in pursuance of its anti-Left policy, takes full advantage of the habit of the reader to go through the headlines owing to time constraints, and twists headlines or inserts misleading headlines. The readers are deceived in the process. Interestingly the contents of the report and the headline do not corroborate with each other. There is deliberate distortion by the Press as it sometimes says that the ‘Naxalite movement is finished’. In case of a major offensive by the Naxalites, the Press reacts stating ‘Naxalites are regrouping’ followed by another news story that ‘Naxalites are building a Red Army’ or ‘running parallel governments’ in rural areas.

Propagating Lies/ Distortion/ Misinformation


‘The Press spreads lies. The biggest lie is the Press never speaks of the social and political significance of the movement.’ Also there are several instances when the Press published reports without checking facts. When Gaddar, the ballad singer, heading the cultural troupe of the PWG, Jana Natya Mandali was issued a show cause why he should not be expelled for collecting donations for his school, Andhra Jyothi published that he was suspended. When Gaddar, staged a demonstration before the newspaper office that it was a lies and a clear case of misleading people, the paper issued an errata the following day.

Another instance Balraju, legislator from koyyuru in Visakhapatnam was kidnapped by Naxalites who demanded the State Government to release one of their comrades, Kranti Ranadev, from the Warangal jail. When there was a stalemate, the State Government through its representative, Arjun Rao and Dayachary, both senior IAS officers sought the help of the leaders of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) to facilitate the exchange of the kidnapped MLA. Insiders confided that nearly 30 journalists who had converged on Koyyur were only interested in the sensational part of the event and were insensitive to the social role they could play in the release of the legislator.

For instance, a leading national newspaper reported that the police forces had moved very close to the hillock (the Naxal hideout) and the latter may be attacked at any moment. It was also reported that the commandos were on their way. A Telugu newspaper reported on its front page, in bold letters, that the police had fixed a 24-hour deadline. This was done when the police, under tremendous political pressure, was in a restrained mood. Such terroristic-journalism does not serve any purpose; it only frightens the readers who have concern for human life and human rights. Certain weekies, fortnightly and monthlies had their own stories to write. Quite a few of these reports were distorted, loaded and prejudiced. They hardly made any effort to interview the persons concerned or make a fair assessment of the situation. Such reportage of events poses a threat to human rights and violates the right to reliable information and fails in creating a healthy public opinion.

No proper debate


The first and foremost objective of the capitalist press is the protection of capitalism and projection of its leadership. In the process of defending capitalism, the press does not evoke a general debate on the social and political happenings in the state. Instead it suppresses the evils of capitalism, pushes the corrupt practices of the capitalists under the cover and gives misleading interpretations to various issues to suit the capitalist politics.

The capitalist press has failed to expose that the pro-rich policies of the Congress Government which has been in power for most of time in the post independence era has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The so-called incremental developmental policy of growth based on private enterprise has not solved the needs and expectations of the poor people in providing food clothing and shelter even after five decades. In fact, capitalism has accentuated corruption, violence, poverty, deprivation, unemployment and disease because of the inherent defects of selfishness, profit motive, opportunism, unequal opportunities and corruption which are bred by capitalism.

The needs of the people-health, drinking water, education, shelter and food and nutrition, and the claims of the Government of their achievement are never debated; instead stories are invented on violation of human rights etc. The press continues to remain silent on the Government’s policies to raise additional resources.

They import high-tech goods when there is a need for austerity and self reliance. How can the luxury imports generate employment for the millions of jobless youth and how can the country’s resources be put to proper use to ensure higher productivity? Why is it that the Government does not tax the rich landlords or rehabilitate those displaced by Government sponsored projects? No questions are asked on the closure of small scale units and laying off manpower after the Government embarked on the economic reforms.

The Press has failed to interpret the problems attributable to capitalist economic crises or violations of human values and rights. Instead, it projects that such values are better protected in capitalist societies where in reality millions of workers and farmers are crushed under the yoke of the feudal capitalists with meager wages, under employment, unemployment, unhealthy working conditions and perpetual poverty. Fierce competition resulting in deterioration of human values is manifest in the level of violence in the society. Indignity to women, prostitution, suicides, corruption and adulteration of food items have not been analysed from the viewpoint of a crisis in the capitalist economy.

The Press has suppressed and does not factually analyse the evils of capitalism. The capitalist media experts and intelligentsia have ensured that the evils of the capitalist system are not told to the people truthfully. Even if some facts are published, they should not be attributed to evils of capital system. On the other hand, news from socialist countries is distorted or suppressed lest it catch the imagination of the oppressed masses. This would place constraints on the thinking processes of the people in arriving at certain facts and conclusions as the media becomes an impediment to know realities. The people are incapacitated to analyse the exact nature of capitalist system correctly.

From this point of view, the press has been containing the Naxalite movement as persistent negative coverage about kidnaps, landmine blasts; killings build a negative opinion on the ideology and the tactics among the masses.

Sivaramakrishna P (1991), reacting to the draft report of the Cabinet sub Committee on Left Wing Extremists, states that the only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters and never the violations the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, management of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of socio-economic entities etc.

He adds that various groups of individuals study the Naxal issue from different stands; news value, ideological, political and welfare implications, civil liberties, bureaucratic action etc. without any grassroots level knowledge of the issues involved the bottlenecks and the self-interest of local leaders as well as their parties in the extra- constitutional arbitration.

Causes unreported


Seldom do newspapers provide more than cursory attention to the reasons for the actions / events. Instead the coverage focuses on facts and events and presented the LWE as an unfolding drama to be chronicled, rather than as a manifestation of a severe societal maladjustment that requires explanation. The result of this kind of coverage is two-fold. As various critics have noted, by covering ‘protests’ simply as events, without explaining the underlying causes, reporters fail to provide readers with the information they need to understand the dissidents’ grievances. The various segments of society remain sealed off from each other, and opportunities for increased understanding and remedial action are lost.

Also the papers’ focus on violence combined with their inattention to the activists’ motives, helps create a picture the LWE as unreasonably demanding and militant. This type of coverage, Eric D.Blanchard has observed, frightens and alienates the readers, reinforcing the beliefs of those who believe the protesters are criminals.

The contention of the ideologues on media inattention to causes lends support to the theory that the media tend to act as preservers of status quo by providing unsympathetic coverage to those whose behaviour threatens it.

It is indeed possible for the journalists to dig below the surface to uncover the causes of LWF or even simply to seek out dissidents’ and allow them to explain their grievances in their own words. Such coverage could make a significant contribution to the health of the society by clarifying the issues involved in social upheaval and possibly outlining possible solution. Violence, defined as the exertion of physical force to injure, damage or destroy is the primary subject of news stories covered in newspapers. This is not surprising as the Naxalite groups engage in violence which is reported in the headlines. Thus news stories with violence and headlines indicating violence appears to be an eye catching means to capture the market besides performing the function of informing the reader.

The data appear to support Podohertz’s claim that the actions of violent organisations receive undue attention. Podohertz, however, also asserts that the ’social causes’ of the groups are given equally undue attention.

For news stories about violent incidents, there are three major types of sources;

a) Perpetrators-either a member of the group, a prepared group statement, or a lawyer representing a member of the group and
b) Authority sources-police, the government officials, and
c) Eye witnesses.

Authorities routinely hold news conferences to provide the media with prepared statements on anything considered potentially newsworthy. For the stringers working in the rural areas, it is convenient to include only the authority sources and ignore the challengers.

Heavy utilisation of the authority sources leads to labeling the groups. As mentioned earlier, one person’s ‘freedom fighter’ can be another man’s ‘terrorist.’ Invariably, the police tend to look at the groups, irrespective of the social moorings of their movement as extremists or terrorists. The activists, however, however, prefer to be labeled as independent groups, people’s armies or liberation forces. In the context of Naxalism, an anti-Naxal feeling has been built among some sections of the people that they are ‘anti-socials’ and ‘criminals’ indulging in indiscriminate killings and ones without any ideology.

Poll Process and the Press


Another weakness of the press, according to ideologues, is that it does an excellent job of events but fails to evince interest in the processes that led to the events. For instance, the press has failed to focus on the unresolved and question and the continued tribal exploitation that provided a breeding ground for Naxalites. Nor has it adequately dealt with the inconsistency of political parties in dealing with the poll boycott call of Naxalites. For example, the founder of the Telugu Desam Party N.T.Rama Rao described the Naxalites as patriots. Later, in 1991 he said that he would neither seek Naxalite help nor would he reject it. The Congress claimed that it was implementing land reforms and tribal welfare programmes while Ramvilas Paswan, one of the top leaders of the Janata Dal, who left the party during the height of the mandal agitation shared public platform with PWG’s singer-poet Gaddar. Laxmi Parvati during her campaign tour of the Naxal infested areas in her speeches in favour the Naxalites.

The press chooses to be a key player in the political process but it failed to document the disinterest and disregard in the democratic process by the voters who turned out in poor numbers on the day of the election. In the last parliamentary elections, 480 people filed their nominations for the Nalgonda constituency. Elections were held much later. The long standing grievances for water needs were not highlighted by the press but the travails of the election officials were duly mentioned. There were no follow up stories, not to mention the newspapers’ silence over the propriety of the Election Commission’s decision to postpone the election. Another glaring lacuna pointed out was the absence of people and issues in the electoral coverage which centered round petty political squabbles, feuding in parties and switching of loyalties of local politicians.

Trial by the Press


Ideologues questioned the propriety of the police taking the initiative in publicising every arrest and surrender and commenting on it in the press. This, they said, takes place much before the person is charged as an accused or produced before a magistrate. Elaborating on the issue further, they said this raises questions concerning the freedom of the press, its rights to access to the news and the accountability of the police to the public and not the least, the people’s right to know. Also another significant aspect attached to it, they said is the fairness of a criminal trial. This interest is endangered every time a police officer holds a press conference or meets pressmen and brags about the arrest or surrender of a ‘leading Naxalite.’ The people undoubtedly have a right to know whom the police has arrested/ or taken them in as surrendered members, lest such things happen in secrecy and be denied. The press, on its part, is not only entitled but is bound as a surrogate of the public to ferret out the facts of the arrests/ surrenders. Noted Civil Liberties leader, A.G.Noorani (1981), opposes such moves of the police to divulge details to the press about the arrests of Naxalites and subsequent comments on the accused.

Glorifying Surrender of Naxals


Ideologues remarked that certain noted Telugu newspapers glorify surrenders and publish them on their front pages. The State apparatus and its representatives generally, specifically senior police officials manage the press during such surrenders by calling for press conferences and put out elaborate details of the various offences and ammunition seized by them. They pointed out that no reporter probes into the drama preceding the surrender. However, according to a published document of the People’s War Group, people in the villages are gathered by the police and issued stern warnings that all the militants and leaders of sanghams should surrender to police or the consequences will be very severe. Police officers fix time limit and dates for surrenders. In the villages people are beaten enmasses, humiliated and harassed in various ways and an atmosphere of terror is created in rural areas. The police release press statements that Naxals are surrendering. In the due course of increasing repression some sympathisers have begun to surrender. Due to serious repressive conditions, the number of surrenders in certain areas is in hundreds. That the capitalist press distorts deliberately to erode the credibility and the ideology of the movement is exemplified by the following.

The daughter of a leading member of a front organisation of the PWG wrote a letter to her father complaining of harassment and desire to get divorced. The police got wind of this information and leaked it to the press which flashed stories on the front page exaggerating and distorting the information stating that even ideologically indoctrinated people do not have scruples. However, the same press remains silent on the sex escapades of the Ministers, legislators including the Chief Minister. Another instance When a distant relative of the same leader was engaged in a real estate business in partnership with a person belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, newspapers screamed ‘ Kashaywar”- hinting at the ‘unholy nexus between the saffron party and the Peoples’s War in real estate business.

Pressmen do not have the basic understanding of the inner party functioning and the ideology of the movement. So much so, every secret conclave becomes a plenary meeting. Also, every performance of Gaddar, is reported as a cultural event or dealt in the same way as the modern day rain dances organised by the five star hotels attended by the elite and the monied class to relieve themselves from ennui. The ideology propagated by the songs and the issues taken up are never properly highlighted or debated in the press so as to sensitise people on the issues and concerns of the masses.

Those journalists have become so insensitive to the killings of Naxalites and the police repression is also exemplified by the fact that the headlines both in the English and the Telugu dailies on encounters just give figures. In all such instances and regarding underground activity, the press carries only the police version in a manner justifying the police action. For encounter reports have become stereotyped; “Three Naxalites belonging to the People’s War Group were killed in an encounter here today. Police said, the Naxalites on seeing the police party opened fire and the police returned the fire. The firing continued for two hours and, at the end, the police reovered the dead bodies of Naxals”. Ethics have been given a go by as journalists; in their haste to meet the deadline; they have stopped verifying facts thus violating one of the basic tenets of journalism-verification or checking facts with the various sources or taking the version of the party/ institution or individual named in the news story.

Market-driven Newspapers


The newspapers in the state, both English and the Telugu are market-driven. Profit motive is their primary concern. Any news story which has the potential of raking in revenue is worthy enough to be published in their columns.

Right from the day of the Srikakulam struggle, when Vempatapati Satyam was killed, newspapers screamed’Narakasuruni Vadha’. Perhaps it is understandable because a new ideology was ranged against the State. But in the subsequent years, especially during the 70s, Eenadu run by a chitfund and pickle baron was just an information source. The emergence of Udayam on the newspaper scene in the State introduced the element of competition. Udayam donned the activist role and anti-state role by publishing gory details of encounter deaths. Eenadu, not to be left behind, and to boost its circulation changed its strategy and the day Gaddar surfaced from the underground and performed at Nizam College during Channa Reddy’s liberal policy regime, Eenadu covered it on the front page with a banner headline along with his photograph. Later, when some miscreants attacked him, the same news was pushed into the inside pages. Again in 1997, when he survived an assassination bid newspapers gave wide coverage not because they were interested in him but because Gaddar sells.

Such instances abound which only reflects the passive role of the press while reporting the Naxal conflict.

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Exclusive Interview with CPI(Maoist) Spokesperson on Nepal Devolopements

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 28, 2007

“There is need for caution with the present tactics”

CPN(Maoists) may be giving over-emphasis to the possibility of advancing the movement through the Constituent Assembly!

(With the latest developments in Nepal and the tactics and Strategy now being put forward by the CPN(Maoist) and the continuous appeals by Indian Marxist and revisionists to the Indian Maoists to learn from the Nepalese Maoists, People’s March has been trying to get the response of the Indian Maoists. At last we have received by e-mail a response from the spokesperson of the CPI(Maoists) which, to a large extent, gives their response. We are giving below an interview taken by our correspondent with comrade Azad, the spokesperson of the CC, CPI(Maoist) in end June 2006.)

PM: How do you look at the current developments in Nepal?

Azad: We, in India, have been watching the ongoing developments in Nepal with great interest. The militant mass agitation by the people of Nepal against the reactionary, autocratic regime of King Gyanendra in April, in the backdrop of the powerful-armed struggle, was indeed historic. The people of Nepal had inscribed a glorious chapter in the annals of Nepal by forcing the fascist King to relinquish his adamant stand and to concede power to the parliament. Particularly the one million strong mobilization in Katmandu in June and the lakhs mobilized in the districts indicates the growing influence of the Maoists in the country. Their influence to be encompassing even the urban areas. Our Party hails the historic struggle of the people of Nepal for democracy and a better society. However, the revolutionaries in India hope that the struggle in Nepal will go on until the overthrow of the King along with the so-called parliament and capture of power by the revolutionary and democratic forces. We hope that the Maoists will be able to maintain their initiative to direct the ongoing political developments. They would need to remain alert in their alliance with the seven party alliance, which wants to strike a compromise with the King and betray the aspirations of the people.

PM: How do you view the tactics of the CPN(Maoist) in joining the interim government and promising to abide by the verdict of the constituent assembly?

Azad: The situation in Nepal and the World is complex. Due to the weakness in the international communist movement we see many a people’s war bogged down in a struggle for survival for decades. In this situation it is no doubt that the Nepalese party and people have made historic advances. But we feel there is need for caution with the present tactics. We think that Maoists forming a government jointly with the comprador bourgeois-feudal parties such as the reactionary Nepali Congress, revisionist CPN-UML and the other parties of the ruling classes will not really work out as they represent two diametrically opposed class interests. It is a wrong interpretation on the question of the state in Nepal to expect a possibility of a peaceful transition from the CA to the NDR. One may bring some reforms from above and satisfy certain deprived sections of the people but it will never solve the basic problems of the people as you cannot smash feudalism and throw out imperialism from the soil of Nepal by utilizing the old state whatever embellishments one might do to give it a refurbished image. Nothing short of a revolutionary upheaval of the masses can achieve the above objective. No doubt given the huge mass mobilizations throughout the country and the efforts to create an even wider upsurge are positive preparations to take the revolution forward, but some of the statements in the interviews tend to give the impression that the CPN(Maoists) are giving over-emphasis to the possibility of advancing the movement through the Constituent Assembly and in alliance with the 7-parties. This can have dangerous implications.

The present emphasis of the CPN(Maoist) needs to be seen with caution particularly after they had brilliantly built up their people’s army of 25,000, their Base Areas, the UF and their new Organs of Power, and had stated that they were in the phase of the strategic offensive to seize power. In the process they effectively defeated all efforts of the police and RNA to crush them, maintaining the military and political initiative. But now there is no reference even to the strategic offensive and how it is to advance. They ofcourse do refer to this being a February revolution and that preparations must go on for the October revolution, but we are not aware this later fits into their strategic offensive plan.

PM: And what about the dissolution of the revolutionary organs of power and merging of the two armies?

Azad: These organs are the product of protracted people’s war against the old state and they stand out as shining examples of people’s democratic dictatorship at the local level brilliantly built by the CPN(Maoist) party. The immediate task and the tactics should serve to strengthen these organs and mould them into organs of uprising like the Soviets in revolutionary Russia and China. While consolidating these organs of power we need to strive to mobilize the masses in a big way into uprisings and strive to capture the cities leading to the final seizure of power at the opportune moment. In fact in the concrete situation in Nepal today the Maoists have really only two revolutionary options. Either they must intensify the mass upsurge, evolve the organizational forms of political power suitable for seizing political power at the national/all Nepal level or if that is not possible owing to an unfavorable balance of class forces the existing base areas should be consolidated and strengthened and steps taken to complete the democratic tasks and advance towards in the direction of the socialist tasks. It is possible that in this process two Nepals will emerge – a reactionary one based in Kathmandu and few cities and a revolutionary Nepal based in the countryside.

As regards merging the army within a reconstituted state army, it is even more dangerous. Mao said that without a people’s army the people have nothing. The army is one of the main instruments of class rule. How can two diametrically opposed classes have a single army? By merging the people’s army with the reactionary army of the ruling classes (until now the faithful servant of the King) the people will become defenseless in case of a reactionary armed offensive by the enemy. We have experiences of several countries where the toiling masses suffered heavily due to the wrong line of the Communist party. In Indonesia we know of the cruel massacres of communists and their sympathizers carried out by the ruling classes due to the line of hobnobbing with the reactionary ruling classes whom they considered as nationalist and democratic forces. We also have before us the examples of Chile, Nicaragua and several other countries. One cannot rule out the possibility of the reactionary ruling classes carrying out a coup and reestablishing their monopoly over political power at an opportune moment when the revolutionary forces have been effectively disarmed or weakened. This has been the experience in several countries following the 2nd World War i.e France, Greece etc. But, of course, if the Maoists do not pose a threat to the interests of imperialism and the comprador bureaucratic bourgeois (CBB) and they get accommodated and incorporated into the system then they too would be received with warmth by the ruling classes. The invitation to the UN to supervise the cease-fire and monitor the demobilization of the people’s armed forces is also dangerous. The UN is essentially an instrument of imperialism and particularly American imperialism. It is bound to work in the interests of the reactionary ruling classes of Nepal and imperialism. Overall, the decision of the CPN(Maoist) to dissolve the revolutionary people’s governments in the countryside and to merge the PLA with the reactionary army will unfold an irreversible process of losing all the revolutionary gains achieved till now.

PM: The various parliamentary parties in India, not to speak of the Left parties like the CPI and CPI(M), have been hailing the line of participation in the interim government and parliamentary democracy taken by the Nepali Maoists and say that it will have a positive impact on the Maoist movement in India. How does your Party assess its impact?

Azad: It is the wishful subjective thinking of these parties in India that the develop-ments in Nepal will have a “positive” (what they mean by positive is the Maoists shun-ning armed struggle and joining the so-called mainstream of parliamentary politics) impact on the Maoist movement in our country. Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Maoist movement in India, with the numerous ups and downs it had gone through in the past four decades after Naxalbari, knows how resilient our movement is. Even when confronted with great difficulties and odds against the revolutionaries, the genuine Maoists in India never vacillated or drifted from their line of new democratic revolution and achieving it through the line of protracted people’s war. They had not only rejected the parliamentary path but also fought against the parties who wanted to participate in elections in the name of utilizing it as a tactic. Of course, there are some pseudo revolutionary parties, like the CPI(ML)-Liberation which had degenerated into parliamentary parties but these stand exposed before the people as revisionist parties in the guise of MLM.

No wonder, the various ruling class parties and the so-called left parties in India are elated at the change of stance by the CPN(Maoist) led by comrade Prachanda. They are naturally hailing the line taken by the CPN(Maoist) and are calling upon the Maoists in India to realize the futility of armed struggle and to follow the Maoists of Nepal by participating in the parliamentary pig-sty in India. As bitter enemies and opponents of revolution all these parties have been in the forefront in suppressing the ongoing people’s war in India. The decision of the CPN(Maoist) to participate in the government along with the reaction-ary parties, declaring their commitment to the so-called rule of law and the future constitution, and to become actors in the ensuing game of parliamentary elections following the elections to the constituent assembly has come as a breather for the ruling class parties in Nepal and the parliamentary system of India.

In fact, in his interview with The Hindu last February, comrade Prachanda himself hinted at the “positive” impact that his line of multiparty democracy will have on the Maoist movement in India. It must have come as a great relief for the Indian ruling classes to hear comrade Prachanda speak of his Party’s commitment to multiparty democracy and the message he wants to give to the Naxalite movement in India by successfully establishing multiparty democracy in Nepal.

When asked what he would say if he were to meet the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, comrade Prachanda said:

“We are fighting for genuine multiparty democracy but they are imprisoned there, in Patna, Siliguri, Chennai. If you release them all, a message will go out. And if you feel the Naxalite movement in India is a problem for you, we feel we are trying to deal with the problems in Nepal in a new way, so if you release our comrades and we are successful in establishing multi-party democracy in Nepal, this will be a very big message for the Naxalite movement in India. In other words, the ground will be readied for them to think in a new political way. Words are not enough; we need to validate what we are saying by establishing that democracy.”

It is really a matter of grave concern that comrade Prachanda, instead of demanding the expansionist Indian ruling classes to stop all interference and meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs, only talked of how their tactics would bring about a change in the outlook of the Maoists in India. Needless to say, these remarks will not only be deeply resented by the revolutionary masses of our country who have seen the wretched system of parliamentary democracy in India but will also be proved totally wrong through their revolutionary practice.

PM: The CPM and one of its top leaders, Sitaram Yechuri, was focused as a messiah from India to play a role between the Maoists and SPA. After returning back to India he and his party advised the Indian Maoists to follow the line of the CPN(Maoist). How do you explain this when they seem hostile to the Maoists here? Apart from this Yechury told the press that the Indian Maoists have planned to kill him and the secret regarding this decision was informed to him by the Nepali Maoists. What is your comment please?

Azad: The CPM is a party of the Indian ruling classes, representing the interests of imperialism, feudalism and the CBB in India. Their primary task seemed to be to bring the Nepalese Maoists into the parliamentary ‘mainstream’, which they also keep preaching us in India. When we do not accede they have used the worst forms of state terror against us as in West Bengal. Their aim is the same in both countries — to pacify the Maoists in India with bullets and do the same with the Nepalese Maoists with sugarcoated bullets. Yechuri and the CPM in effect played a more affective role for the Indian ruling classes when the Congress was fumbling with the Karan Singh fiasco. But when he overdid his ‘diplomacy’ and was sidelined, he cooked up the conspiracy theory of the Maoists in India planning to kill him to regain some credibility and try and sow seeds of mistrust between the two Maoist parties. A true Chanakya!!

PM: Why are you opposed to the tactic of multiparty democracy as proposed by the CPN(Maoist)?

Azad: Firstly, we are greatly perturbed by the proposal put forth by comrade Prachanda in his various interviews that his party was committed to multiparty democracy, which will be practiced not after the revolutionary seizure of power by the proletariat but within the semi-colonial semi-feudal society. The 2003 Plenum document was quite vague regarding CPN(Maoist)’s concept of multiparty democracy or political competition, i.e., whether it is applicable after the seizure of power by the revolutionary party or prior to seizure itself. It only says it is possible to organize political competition within the constitutional limits of the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist democratic state. However, the statements, interviews and documents released after the 12-point Delhi Agreement between the CPN(Maoist) and the Seven Party Alliance in November 2005 all point to the need for competition within the existing system after the Constituent Assembly is elected.

There is also confusion regarding the class character of the Parties with whom such political competition has to be conducted. While the 2003 document clearly stated that these forces will be anti-feudal and anti-imperialist in character, the post November 2005 documents and interviews of CPN(MAOIST) provide scope for such competition with the constituents of SPA who are basically comprador bourgeois-feudal in their character in spite of their role against monarchy, or, more specifically, against King Gyanendra’s autocratic rule.

In fact, in the same document entitled “Present situation and our tasks”, presented by comrade Prachanda and adopted by the Central Committee Meeting of the CPN (Maoist) in May 2003, it correctly described the nature of the parliamentary parties in Nepal in the following words—

“In form it may appear as a triangular struggle involving monarchy, parliamentary forces and revolutionary forces, but in essence and if one looks from a class point of view, the struggle involving only two forces (reactionary and democratic forces) are seen. It has been practically proved that the differences between the autocratic monarchical and parliamentary groups are nothing other than that of share of power within the old state. It has been time and again proved in Nepal that monarchy in the name of nationalism (fake) and parliamentary forces in the name of democracy (fake) want to occupy the seat of power and betray the nation and the people on identical class basis.

“What we have been saying from a class and theoretical point of view and what has become all the more exposed in the present cease-fire and negotiation process is that it is the clash of interests between different international reactionary centers which is behind the mutual recriminations and contradictions between different reactionary groups in Nepal. As the royal army and the palace elements are being manipulated and protected by western imperialism, particularly American imperialism, and the main parliamentary forces by the Indian rulers who seek special hegemony in South Asia, they are having a continuous tug of war between them. Hence the whole Party should be clear that, in the background of political development particularly after the palace massacre, the idea of seeing either the monarchical or the parliamentary forces of Nepal as more democratic or more nationalistic than the other, will be specially harmful and wrong. It has become all the more clear in the present day Nepal that we can never have any ideological and political relationship with either monarchical or parliamentary groups except to manage contradictions in a particular situation.”

While the above analysis of the class character of the parliamentary parties, their fake democracy and loyalty to various imperialist powers, is basically correct, it is indeed very unfortunate that the CPN(Maoist) has not adhered firmly to that analysis from a strategic and class perspective. It is one thing to make necessary adjustments, understandings and tactical unity with these parliamentary forces and even with a section of the imperialists against the main enemy when conditions for such alliances become ripe. But to create illusions on the character of these parties or overlook their links with imperialists and Indian expansionists will do great harm to the revolution in the long run.

Moreover, we find that comrade Prachanda and the CPN(Maoist) had turned the tactics to the level of strategy and path of the world revolution in the 21st century. Thus, in his interview to The Hindu comrade Prachanda stressed that the Maoists’ commitment to multi-party democracy is not tactical but the result of a lengthy ideological debate within the party over three years. He said: “our decision on multi-party democracy is a strategically, theoretically developed position and we are telling the parliamentary parties that we are ready to have peaceful competition with you all.”

The CPN(Maoist) leader directly assured the comprador bourgeois-feudal parliamentary parties that his Party is ready to have peaceful competition with all of them. And by describing this decision on multiparty democracy as a strategically, theoretically developed position comrade Prachanda has brought a dangerous thesis to the fore—the thesis of peaceful coexistence with the ruling class parties instead of overthrowing them through revolution; peaceful competition with all other parliamentary parties, including the ruling class parties that are stooges of imperialism or foreign reaction, in a so-called parliamentary elections; abandoning the objective of building socialism for an indefinite period; and opening the doors wide for the feudal-comprador reactionaries to come to power by utilizing the backwardness of the masses and the massive backing from domestic and foreign reactionaries or the comprador bureaucratic bourgeois and feudal and petty bourgeois forces to hijack the entire course of development of the society from the socialist direction to maintaining the existing system (even if in a new form) in the name of democracy and nationalism. Whatever may be our good intentions for building a more democratic system, the laws governing class struggle will not permit of such a system. History has proved this time and again from the days of the Paris Commune right up till the earlier revolutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

PM: Then are you in favour of multiparty democracy at least after the seizure of power? If not what is the form of government you envisage after the revolution?

Azad: The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist understanding regarding the form of government that will be best suited for the proletariat is the Commune or the Soviet or the Revolutionary Council that can best serve the proletariat and the vast majority of the masses as they act not as talking shops and mere legislative bodies but as both legislative and executive bodies. The representatives to these bodies are elected and are subject to recall any time the people feel they do not serve their interests. If we look at the very process of the protracted people’s war it entails the setting up democratic power in the Base Areas of all anti-imperialist and anti-feudal forces UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF PROLETARIAT elected democratically at gram sabhas with the right to remove them also by the gram sabha. Here there is a close interaction between the power structures and the will of the people and therefore truly democratic. Once power is seized at the all-India level, till the transformation to the socialist stage all genuinely anti-imperialist and anti-feudal parties will be part of the new power, and the transition to socialism can only take place through continuing the class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. This does not deny democracy for the masses at large but, as Lenin said, petty production generates a bourgeoisie daily, hourly and these elements will find their representative at all realms of state power, including the Party. Can anyone think of a better form of government and better form of exercising democracy in the real sense of the term?

“To decide once every few years which members of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament—this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary- constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics”, said Lenin.

This was said by Lenin over a century back. Since then, particularly since World War II, the parliament and its related institutions have become even more corrupt and rotten to the core.

A good example of how the new power was built was the Paris Commune. The concepts practiced there were further worked out in the Soviets of the USSR, the communes in China and the experiments of the GPCR and is being sought to be practiced in the Base Areas being set up by the Maoists in different parts of the world.

Comrade Lenin also explained very lucidly how the Parliament functions even in the most democratic of the republics and, contrasting it to the Commune, showed how the Communes (or the Soviets in Russia and Revolutionary Councils in China) are the most suitable forms of government for the proletariat and the toiling masses.

“The parliamentary bourgeois republic hampers and stifles the independent political life of the masses, their direct participation in the democratic organization of the life of the state from the bottom up. The opposite is the case with the Soviets.

“The way out of parliamentarism is not, of course, the abolition of representative institutions and the elective principle, but the conversion of the representative institutions from talking shops into “working” bodies. “The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary body, executive and legislative at the same time.”

“The Commune substitutes for the venal and rotten parliamentarism of bourgeois society institutions in which freedom of opinion and discussion does not degenerate into deception, for the parliamentarians themselves have to work, have to execute their own laws, have themselves to test the results achieved in reality, and to account directly to their constituents. …. We cannot imagine democracy, even proletarian democracy, without representative institutions, but we can and must imagine democracy without parliamentarism, if criticism of bourgeois society is not mere words for us, if the desire to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie is our earnest and sincere desire, and not a mere “election” cry for catching workers’ votes, as it is with the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries,”

PM: And how do you ensure political competition with other parties? The CPN(Maoist) claims that it is only by organizing political competition and institutionalizing the right of the masses to install an alternative revolutionary party in power that counter-revolution can be effectively checked.

Azad: It is, indeed, surprising that the CPN(Maoist) should arrive at such a conclusion even after the proletariat is equipped with rich and varied experiences on the period of transition from capitalism to socialism, after it is armed with such an appropriate form, method and weapon as the cultural revolution and is in possession of a wealth of writings by our teachers—Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao—and by several Marxist writers on the subject of checking the degeneration of the Party, Army and the State; preventing the restoration of capitalism; and building a new type of state and society. To think that continuous proletarianization and revolutionization of the Communist Party can be ensured and that counter-revolution can be effectively checked by organizing so-called political competition or by institutionalizing the right of the masses to install an alternative revolutionary party or leadership on the state means falling into the trap of bourgeois formalism and under-mining the real task of mobilizing the masses extensively to wage bitter class struggle against the old reactionary defeated classes and the new bourgeois class developing within the Party, Army and the Administration. It is difficult to grasp how alternative revolutionary parties can exist- especially since the communist parties have always understood that different political lines represented either a proletarian outlook or a bourgeois outlook.

The crucial point lies not in ensuring the right of the masses to replace one Party by another through elections, which is anyway the norm in any bourgeois republic or bureaucrat bourgeois-feudal republic, but ensuring their active and creative involvement in supervising the Party and the state, in checking the emergence of a new bureaucratic class, and themselves taking part in the administration of the state and society and in the entire process of revolutionary transformation. And it will be the foremost task of the Party to organize and lead the masses in checking counter-revolution and bringing about the revolutionary transformation in all spheres through continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. And this is the most important lesson handed down to us by the entire historical experience of the world revolution, particularly by the GPCR.

Moreover, is it possible for the Party of the proletariat to prevent the comeback of the defeated classes to power and check counter-revolution peacefully or by a coup by providing such an opportunity to them to compete in a “democratic” manner? Would the Bolshevik Party have won the elections in Russia after the revolution had it organized such political competition given its near-total absence in the vast backward countryside where the most reactionary ideas ruled the roost? In fact, the Bolshevik Party had to even dissolve the constituent assembly immediately after it captured power despite the fact that it was only a minority in it as the constituent assembly acted as an instrument of the reactionaries and became an obstacle for carrying out revolutionary reforms and for exercising proletarian dictatorship as in the Soviets. It is not just the case of Russia, in many countries, particularly in semi-colonial semi-feudal countries, where petty commodity production and peasant economy predominate, the feudal ideology, culture, customs and the force of habit among the majority of the population will make it possible for other non-proletarian and even reactionary parties under the anti-feudal anti-imperialist cloak to come to power relatively easily. Hence it will not be surprising if we find that the idealist and subjective proposal of the CPN(Maoist), though made with good intentions, ultimately becomes a convenient tool in the hands of the capitalist-roaders to seize power.

As regards political competition with other parties, we have the experience of China where several democratic parties such as the Democratic League, Peasants and Workers’ Party and others competed with the CPC and contested in elections to the various organs of power. Although these existed for almost a decade after the revolution the people rejected them when they refused to support socialism and tried to take China along the capitalist road. Political competition was encouraged in China, not in the form of participation in Western-type bourgeois parliamentary elections but in the elections to various bodies. Democratic parties and organizations belonging to the four classes that comprised the motive forces of revolution were to take part in the elections to the various bodies.

The CPC had strived to unite all the anti-feudal anti-imperialist parties and forces during the new democratic revolution and also after the seizure of power and establishment of people’s democracy or the people’s democratic dictatorship.

In his article On the correct handling of contradictions among the people, in 1957, Mao explained the policy of the CPC towards other political parties after the capture of power thus:

“It is the desire as well as the policy of the Communist Party to exist side by side with the democratic parties for a long time to come. But whether the democratic parties can long remain in existence depends not merely on the desire of the Communist Party but on how well they acquit themselves and on whether they enjoy the trust of the people. Mutual supervision among the various parties is also a long-established fact, in the sense that they have long been advising and criticizing each other. Mutual supervision is obviously not a one-sided matter; it means that the Communist Party can exercise supervision over the democratic parties, and vice versa.”

In China many methods were evolved to prevent capitalist restoration and the rise of a new bourgeoisie in the Government and Party. Mao’s let a hundred flowers blossom and let a hundred schools of thought contend; his ‘Three-thirds’ system of democratic representation which restricts the seats of Communist party members in all elected bodies to a maximum of one-third of the whole and gives two-thirds of the seats to members of other parties and non-party elements; his putting six political criteria for political parties to stand for elections; etc; are only a few of the examples adopted. Democracy is not merely a formal putting a vote but must exist in the very living process of any organization, with the leadership under the close supervision of the masses and cadre; this too is possible with only a general raising of MLM consciousness of the Party and the masses and intensifying the class struggle. In China there were many parties after the revolution sharing power, but the unity was on a principled basis, and was part of the front to deepen the class struggle against the remnants of the feudal and CBB forces. In Nepal they in effect dilute the class struggle by forming a government with feudal and CBB elements.

The most important thing is that all the revolutionary bodies in the proletarian or people’s democratic state are elected and every person so elected is subject to recall, which is not seen, in the so-called parliamentary democracies.

PM: Do you find anything wrong when the CPN(Maoist) says it will go to the new democratic stage via the bourgeois democratic or multiparty republic?

Azad: No Maoist would say it is wrong to fight for the demand of a Republic and for the overthrow of the autocratic monarchy. And likewise, none would oppose the forging of a united front of all those who are opposed to the main enemy at any given moment. Needless to say, such a united front would be purely tactical in nature and cannot, and should not, under any circumstances, determine the path and direction of the revolution itself.

The problem with the theorization by the CPN(Maoist) lies in making the fight against autocracy into a sub-stage of NDR and, a tendency to make the sub-stage overwhelm (dominate and determine) the very direction and path of the revolution. The programme and strategy of NDR drawn up by the Party prior to its launching of the armed struggle, its targets to be overthrown, and even the concrete class analysis made earlier based on which the revolution had advanced so far, are now made subordinate to the needs of the so-called sub-stage of Nepalese revolution. The sub-stage of a bourgeois democratic republic appears, from their interviews and statements, to have become the all-determining factor.

As far as we know, , we can say that the numerous types of state system in the world can be reduced to three basic kinds according to the class character of their political power: (1) republics under bourgeois dictatorship {in addition to these there are the fake republics in the backward semi-feudal, semi-colonial countries under the joint dictatorship of the CBB and feudal elements, backed by imperialism ); (2) republics under the dictatorship of the proletariat; and (3) republics under the joint dictatorship of several revolutionary classes. In essence, the slogan of a bourgeois democratic republic given by the CPN(Maoist) cannot but come under the first type of republic in spite of the participation of the revolutionary party in the state power along with the comprador bourgeois-feudal parties.

In his interview with the BBC correspondent, comrade Prachanda gave his vision of future Nepal in the following words:

“We believe that the Nepali people will go for a republic and in a peaceful way the process of rebuilding Nepal will go forward.

“In five years’ time Nepal will move towards being a beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation.

“In five years’ time the millions of Nepalis will already be moving ahead with a mission to make a beautiful future, and Nepal will truly start becoming a heaven on earth.”

He further asserted that a democratic republic elected in such a way will solve the problems of Nepalis!!

“We believe that with the election of a constituent assembly, a democratic republic will be formed in Nepal. And this will solve the problems of Nepalis and lead the country into a more progressive path.”

Anyone reading the above lines would think that these views reflect more a nationalist sentiment than a proletarian class outlook.

How will Nepal start becoming a “heaven on earth” after becoming a bourgeois republic? How can the formation of a democratic republic “solve the problems of Nepalis”? Can it free itself from the clutches of imperialism after becoming a republic in the present imperialist era? Does the CPN(Moist), which claims to believe in MLM, really think that the “process of re-building Nepal will go forward in a peace-ful way”? And is there a single instance in world history where such peaceful process of rebuilding has taken place? Does not the history of world revolution show that bitter class struggle, bloody and violent at times, continues even after decades following the capture of power by the proletariat? Then how could comrade Prachanda think of such a peaceful process of rebuilding Nepal even at this sub-stage? Do the parties belonging to the SPA really fight imperialism, Indian expansionism and feudalism in Nepal? Is there a guarantee that the CPN(Maoist) will defeat the bourgeois-feudal parties, with which it wants to go for political competition, in the elections and ensure that Nepal does not drift into the clutches of imperialism and Indian expansionism? How could one believe that once the elections to the Constituent Assembly are over and Nepal becomes a Republic, not under the leader-ship of the working class party but may be under an alliance of a hotchpotch combination of Parties i.e., an alliance of ruling class and working class under CPN(Maoist), the country would free itself from feudalism and imperialism and become a “beautiful, peaceful and progressive nation” ?

According to comrade Prachanda’s opinion, “the reactionary class and their parties will try to transform this republic into bourgeois parliamentarian one, where as our party of the proletariat class will try to transform it into new democratic republic. How long will be the period of transition, is not a thing that can right now be ascertained. It is clear that it will depend upon the then national and international situation and state of power balance.”

This so-called transitional multiparty republic is sought to be transformed into a new democratic republic through peaceful struggle by means of political competition with reactionary class and their parties, which try to transform it into a bourgeois parliamentary republic!!

Whatever be the tactics adopted by the CPN(Maoist) the most objectionable part in the entire matter is its projection of these tactics as a theoretically developed position which it thinks should be the model for the revolutions in the 21st century. In the name of fighting against dogmatism our comrades of CPN(Maoist) are slipping into dangerous territory.

Moreover, as long as the Party wages a consistent struggle against imperialism and local reactionaries and pursues the line of redistribution of land and wealth, nationali-sation of all comprador, foreign industries, banks and foreign trade, it is certain to face opposition from the other parliamentary parties. And if it wants to be part of the parliamentary game it has to abide by its rules and cannot carry out its anti-feudal, anti-imperialist policies in a thoroughgoing way. Even the independence of the judiciary has to be recognized as part of the game of parliament and can cause obstruction to every reform which the Maoist party tries to initiate after coming to power through elections. This is already being seen with the 8-point agreement being said to be illegal. US imperialism is even strongly demanding that the Maoist should participate in the constituent assembly only after they lay down their arms. The CPN(Maoists) have rightly opposed this position of the US and also Indian expansionists. We expect that they will remain firm in this.

Then there will be several institutions like the judiciary, the election commission, the media, various artistic, cultural and even religious bodies, non-government organizations, and also human rights organizations some of which are floated by the ruling classes, and so on. If one slips into the quagmire of the so-called multiparty democratic republic, one cannot escape from upholding these so-called independent institutions. Many of these can become hideouts of the reactionary forces and work for counter-revolution in diverse subtle ways. One cannot forget the subtle manner in which the western agencies infiltrated and subverted the societies in East European countries and even in the former Soviet Union.

PM: Comrade Prachanda says that the tactics adopted by his party are based on the specificities of the political and military balance in the world as well as particular class, political and power balance in Nepal besides the experiences of the 20th century. What is your Party’s opinion on this?

Azad: It is true that comrade Prachanda in his interview to The Hindu last February cited the above three factors for his party coming to the decision on multiparty democracy. In fact, this understanding could be seen in the CPN(Maoist) even before the said interview. For instance, in the CC meeting in August 2004, it began to be skeptical about the prospects of victory in a small country like Nepal when it is confronted by imperialism and there is no advancement of any strong revolutionary movement.

“In the present context, when along with the restoration of capitalism in China there is no other socialist state existing, when despite objective condition turning favorable currently there is no advancement in any strong revolutionary movement under the leadership of the proletariat, and when world imperialism is pouncing on people everywhere like an injured tiger, is it possible for a small country with a specific geo-political compulsion like Nepal to gain victory to the point of capturing central state through revolution? This is the most significant question being put before the Party today. The answer to this question can only be found in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and on this depends the future of the Nepalese revolution.”

The same Plenum had also pointed out why the series of tactical steps like cease-fire, negotiation, political way out etc., were taken up.

“There is no doubt that the imperialist forces are now in preparation for even more vicious assault as the Nepalese People’s War is in preparation for strategic offensive from its current position of strategic equilibrium. The entire complexities, opportunities and challenges of Nepalese revolution are the manifestations of this objective condition…but, in Nepal, the development of revolution has reached a very sensitive stage of preparation for strategic offensive. It is essential to understand that the series of tactical steps undertaken by the Party such as cease-fire, negotiation, political way out etc. are based on this strategically favorable and tactically unfavorable world situation and the condition of strategic equilibrium inside the country.”

It is true that the revolutions everywhere are confronting a tough situation especially after the setback of China. Tactically speaking, in the present-day world, the enemy forces are quite strong while our subjective forces are weak. World imperialism has unleashed a massive offensive on the revolutionary forces, national liberation movements and on the people’s movements everywhere. But this is only one side of the coin. At the same time, the objective conditions are quite favorable; imperialism, particularly US imperialism, is hated by the people everywhere and massive people’s movements are breaking out against imperialism, particularly US imperialism, throughout the world. Any revolution in today’s world has to inevitably face the attacks by the imperialists.

To face an enemy much bigger than the revolutionary forces there are no question that it may and will require a great flexibility in tactics. Particularly when we are a sizable force such flexibility can more effectively be wielded for the achievement of our goals. But while doing so there is always a danger to lose sight of our strategic tasks of the seizure of power by armed force. From the statements being made by the CPN(Maoist) leadership it appears that that danger is there. Many statements being made and the interviews being given tend to negate some of the basic Marxist understandings regarding state and revolution. It may be said to have been made in the context of diplomacy; but its end result is to mis-educate the revolutionary and progressive camp. It is not expected from a Marxist statesman.

In the interview com Prachanda had gone to the extent of saying:” We are ready to accept the people’s verdict, if they chose constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy.” It is indeed a great tragedy to see the Maoist party finally ending up in these political positions in spite of having de facto power in most of the countryside.

PM: Comrade Prachanda says that the line of multiparty democracy applies to the Maoist movement in India too. How does your party see this?

Azad: We saw his comments on this point in his interview with The Hindu correspondent. It says:

“We believe it applies to them too. We want to debate this. They have to understand this and go down this route. Both on the question of leadership and on multiparty democracy, or rather multiparty competition I believe those who call themselves revolutionaries in India need to think about these issues. And there is a need to go in the direction of that practice. We wish to debate with them on this. If revolutionaries are not going to look at the need for ideological development, they will not go anywhere.”

Such advice has been coming forth from the various ruling class parliamentary parties in India since long. The revisionist CPI and CPI(M), who swear by Marx and Lenin, regularly sermonize through their magazines, documents and statements, regarding the futility of armed struggle for seizing state power and achieving revolutionary social transformation. They desperately try to show how parliamentary multiparty democracy is the best instrument for achieving this transformation as witnessed in West Bengal and Kerala. The CPI(ML)-Liberation, in the name of MLM, preaches the virtues of multi-party democracy and calls all those who do not wish to be tied to the parliamentary pig-sty as anarchists and adventurists.

It is good that the CPN(Maoist) wants to debate with the Maoists in India on the question of leadership and multiparty democracy. There have been interesting discussions and exchange of opinions and experiences between the leaderships of our two parties on the concept of leadership, on the question of personality cult and concentration of all power in the hands of one individual, etc. Our opinion has always been that it is necessary for a good section of the Party leadership to work among the masses and concentrate on building class struggle even after the seizure of power in order to prevent the degeneration in the Party functionaries, officials in the various state departments, particularly the armed forces, in the various units in the production sphere, and so on. We must encourage the masses to criticize the mistakes committed by the party and the party leaders even in the course of the revolutionary movement prior to the seizure of power. We must develop collective leadership rather than focusing on any one individual or delegating revolutionary authority. Dependency on one or few individuals instead of developing collective leadership and involving the entire Party membership and the masses in decision-making has been one of the causes that led to great reversals in Russia and China where, after the demise of outstanding proletarian leaders like Stalin and Mao, the CPSU and the CPC turned revisionist so easily.

We agree with comrade Prachanda when he says that “from the lessons of the 20th Century communist states – we want to move to a new plane in terms of leadership – where one person doesn’t remain the party leader or the head of state.”

In fact, this had also been one of the major points of debate during the inner-party struggle in the CPN(Maoist) during 2004-05 when comrade Bhattarai (Laldhoj), in his Basic Questions for Inner-Party Discussion, raised questions such as: Is proletarian leadership a centralized expression of collectivity, or is it a person centered? Does the principal law of dialectics, viz. one divides into two, apply to the main leadership or not? How does the system of a single person occupying the top Party, army and the state posts, and that too for life, solve the question of generating revolutionary successors and of continuous revolution? Our party, the CPI(Maoist) wish to conduct a serious debate on these questions and also on the question of Prachanda Path and on the concept of path, thought and ism.

PM: What would you say with regard to the concept of 21st century democracy as proposed by the CPN(Maoist) led by comrade Prachanda?

Azad: What is new in the concept of 21st century democracy raised by the CPN(Maoist) and how is it qualitatively different from the democracy of the 20th century? The CPN(Maoist) had also claimed that its “decision on multi-party democracy is a strategically, theoretically developed position” which is even applicable to conditions in India. One knows about bourgeois democracy and proletarian democracy, that democracy too has a class character, which in a class-divided society democracy will serve the ruling class while exercising dictatorship over the rest of the people. In bourgeois republics the nature of democracy is bourgeois. It is meant to serve the bourgeoisie while oppressing the vast majority of the people. Its essence is bourgeois dictatorship. Likewise, in people’s democratic republics, the democracy is meant for all the anti-feudal, anti-imperialist classes while dictatorship is exercised over the enemies of the people and their agents. The qualitative difference between different types of democracies lies in their class character. But when the CPN(Maoist) says that there is a qualitative difference between the democracy of the 20th and 21st centuries without any reference to the class character, it is not only unconvincing but also seems to be highly subjective.

One reason given is that in the 21st century there has “been unprecedented development in science and technology, particu-larly in electronic communication techno-logy, in the world.” How this unprecedented development has a bearing on the strategy of the revolutions in the 21st century or on the nature of democracy in the 21st century is not clear.

It says that “in the field of ideology, the central committee has attempted to draw a strategic outline of the world revolution based on the analysis of today’s world situation and mainly the new analysis of globalized imperialism and proletarian movement and has succeeded to present a totally new concept in relation to leadership and accomplishing revolution and preventing counter-revolution” and “in the field of politics” it says, it has made a “qualitative leap in the concept regarding political and military strategy and tactic established in the 20th century.”

We are still not clear what is this new concept and qualitative leap claimed by CPN(Maoist) except for their line of multiparty democracy and political competition which boils down to competing peacefully with the various reactionary and revisionist parties for power in a so-called transitional multiparty democratic republic.

PM: Finally, where do you see the Nepalese revolution heading?

Azad: We also do see reports that the PLA still maintains its firepower and alertness. Also there is reference to the recent upsurge being the February revolution and the preparations going on for the October revolution. There are also reports of huge mass mobilization to win over new forces to the side of the revolution, including in the urban areas. Also the US imperialists and Indian expansionists (including their stooge, Yechuri) are openly trying to sabotage the alliance demanding as a prerequisite the laying down of arms by the Maoists. Besides, the Maoists have stated that they will not give up their arms and will maintain their own camps. All these are positive trends indicating the readiness of the Maoists to advance towards the New Democratic Revolution. There is need to beware from two situations: falling into any traps laid by the ruling classes and their imperialist and expansionist masters; second to beware of a sudden coup and massacre of communists as witnessed in Greece, Indonesia, Chile and a number of other countries. Even a huge mass base in these countries did not stop such massacres. But we will expect that the CPN(Maoists) will steer the Party forward and advance the revolution for the seizure of power countrywide.

PM: One last question. What is the message you would like to give to the revolutionary ranks of Nepal, India and the rest of the world?

Azad: First we would seriously request the CPN(Maoist) and its leadership to reconsider some of its recent positions and learn from the history of past mistakes. The Nepalese party and people have a great history of struggle and sacrifice. Over 10,000 have lost their lives in the course of the present people’s war. We salute these heroic martyrs of the Nepalese and world revolution. We are confident that the great Nepalese people will advance the revolution forward facing the numerous twists and turns in the movement. There is no doubt that revolution today is no simple task; the path will be zig-zag.

We also call on the people of India to lend full support to the Nepalese revolution. But while doing so it is also the duty of the Indian and world proletariat to render friendly suggestions to their comrades in Nepal. After all, the interests of the Nepalese revolution are very much in the interests of world revolution, and more particularly of its neighbor, the Indian revolution. The revolutionary people of India are ready for any sacrifice in support of the Nepalese revolution. We are confident that we will march forward, together, against the obnoxious system of world imperialism and its local semi-feudal base.

PM: We, on behalf of the People’s March wish to thank you for the interview on this so crucial issue in a neighboring country.

Azad: Thank You

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Pseudo leftists loose in college polls in Bengal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 28, 2007

Revolutionary path

SFI(Student’s Federation of India), the student’s wing of the pseudo-leftist revisionist party, CPIM(Communist party of India-Marxist) has been defeated in the Student’s union elections of Presidency College, Kolkata, which is one of the most prestigious college in India.

SFI was defeated by an organisation named IC(Indipendent’s consolidation) which is fighting for democracy against the tyrannical terror unleashed by SFI backed by their Social Fascist bosses of CPIM who are in power in West Bengal province of which Kolkata is the capital.
However after being defeated SFI is crying foul and is alleging fraud although the college authority who held the elections are supposed to be hand in gloves with the state govt. and the ruling party CPIM, and SFI is a front organisation of that CPIM.

For the last year CPIM has been engaged in grabbing land of poor and marginal peasants and giving those lands to Big Comprador and Imperialist bourgeoisie at a very low price.
This unmasks the pseudo-marxist reactionary nature of CPIM.

Discontent has been high among the people regarding this anti-people measure. In the following paragraphs a report by a local newspaper about the elections is being cited.

SFI defeated at Presidency election

KOLKATA, Feb. 27: The pro-industrialisation campaign run by Students Federation of India (SFI ) during the run-up to the Presidency College elections at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels apparently went against them.

With the maximum number of seats going in favour of Independent Consolidation (IC) candidates, SFI alleged false votes were cast by external supporters of IC. Mr Koustav Chatterjee, SFI Kolkata district secretary, said: “Our slogans were in favour of industrialisation and we demanded a repoll in the two seats as IC used false voters.”


Out of 73 seats, 38 seats went in favour of IC candidates and 33 seats in favour of SFI candidates and two seats still remain at a tie. Prof. Harendranath Bhattacharya, head of the Geology department at the college, said: “In these two seats, re-polling will take place tomorrow. SFI will also have to prove their allegation against IC before the tribunal.”However, Dibyajyoti Konar of IC said the pro-industrialisation publicity of the SFI had backfired and IC’s victory proved students were against the state government’s land acquisition policy.

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Naxal violence on the wane in Bengal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 28, 2007

Kolkata, February 27: The Union Government’s policy of ‘zero-tolerance’ towards the various Maoist and Naxalite groups active across the country has led to an overall decline in Naxalite related violence, with West Bengal gaining further following the launch of development works in the affected areas.


In the first two months of 2007 also, the state reported fewer incidents —- just two incidents and one civilian death. The last calendar year had begun on a violent note because of the Assembly elections.



Overall, incidents of Naxalite violence in India declined by 6.15 per cent in calendar 2006 over 2005.


According to officials of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA), in West Bengal, the number of such incidents declined to 23 during 2006, with eight security personnel, nine civilians and two Naxalites reported killed.


Last year, the Union Government deployed 33 battalions of central paramilitary forces on anti-Naxalite duty across the Naxal belt and sanctioned the raising of 29 battalions of the India Reserve Force (IR).


Meanwhile, the Centre has also increased its spending to modernise the forces in terms of weaponry, telecommunication equipment and infrastructure. While Rs 371 crore was released during 2006, compared with Rs 506 crore in 2005-06, it also reimbursed the affected states Rs 219 crore under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme for Naxal affected areas.


Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pointed out that Naxalite violence is not only a law and order problem but a socio-economic problem. The Union government has earmarked special funds for the development projects in the Naxalite affected states.


It has provided Rs 2475 crore under the Backward District Initiative (BDI) to fill in critical gaps in physical and social development. Funds are given now under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) Scheme.


According to planning commission figures, West Bengal was allotted Rs 360 crore under the BDI during 2003-06, but it received only Rs 157.50 crore till September last year.


MHA officials said the decline in Naxal violence in West Bengal was a result of development works being carried out in different districts.


Moreover, 2006 had begun on a violent note because of the assembly elections in the state. The incidents of Naxalite violence declined after the elections.


In a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the Naxal affected states in Delhi last year, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had urged the Centre to start operation along the ‘Red corridor’, the hideout of the Naxalite groups.


Starting from Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Red Corridor’ runs through eastern Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar, covering almost 155 districts in India.


It links the ‘liberated zones’ of India with the Maoist held territories of Nepal. MHA officials feel the ‘Red Corridor’ helps in uniting the left-extremists of India with their counterparts in Nepal.


After the July 9, 2005, incident in Bankura district, where three CPIM leaders and a policeman were killed in two separate attacks by left-wing extremists of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, events of such big magnitude were on the decline in West Bengal.


According to an official in the state home department, “the current version of terror culture is an import from Andhra Pradesh”. “Neither this is an extension of the Naxalite movement nor does it have any local basis. They are not local people. They are outsiders who are using some local youth in a game of bloodshed,” he felt.


Meanwhile Center has established Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) and Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI) and a special cell to fight Naxals in order to facilitate coordination of intelligence efforts among the Central intelligence agencies and between the Central and state intelligence agencies. Kolkotta news

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Maoist raid kills four policemen in Bihar

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 27, 2007

Maoist rebels have shot dead four policemen and wounded another four in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, police say. A police spokesman quoting local eyewitnesses said the officers were killed just after midnight when up to 600 rebels attacked a police camp.

Police say the attack took place at Khaira village in Lakhisarai district. They say that the rebels ordered the police to give up their arms but they refused to do so, and fought back.

Bloody history

Police said the rebels also blew up railway tracks at two places nearby. The Maoists say they are fighting to defend the rights of the poor and indigenous tribes. Maoists are active in several Indian states

Correspondents say that of Bihar’s 38 districts, 18 are badly affected by the Maoist insurgency. Central Bihar in particular has a long bloody history of killings. In November 2005, Maoist rebels raided a jail in Jehanabad district and freed more than 300 inmates.

The rebels are pressing for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. BBC NEWS

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Articles

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 27, 2007

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Books

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 27, 2007

Telungu booklet: Salwajudam special

Salwa Judam a ‘New front of Hiden War’ The Inside story

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Anti Naxal seminar in Delhi

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 26, 2007

Civil rights groups should not defend Naxalites—Dr Raman Singh


The Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini organised a national seminar in New Delhi on February 14, 2007 on “Innovative Strategies to Counter Naxalism: Experiment of Salva Judum.” The seminar was held in four different sessions throughout the day which had eminent speakers drawn from a wide spectrum of on-field workers to policymakers to law enforcers.

Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, addressing the seminar strongly lamented the lack of comprehensive coordination across the affected states and the Centre. Dr. Singh pointed out that within the Naxal movement various outfits like People’s War Group and MCC had managed to merge and form outfits like the CPI (M). It had also received help from LTTE and Maoists, yet in India it had not been possible to put an integrated action plan into place to combat them.

While 13 states in the country are riddled with Naxalism, a people’s movement against Naxalism called ‘Salva Judum’ has come up as a huge non-violent retaliation rattling Naxals in two districts of Chhattisgarh. The rest of the states affected with Naxalism have been viewing this agitation with interest to assess its fallouts, Dr Singh pointed out.

Shri K.M. Seth, former governor of Chhattisgarh, while speaking on the occasion called Naxalism the greatest threat to the internal security of the nation. He warned that under the present strategy of Naxals, the whole movement is shifting towards cities. Shri Seth added that it is now merely a terror-based organisation involved in kidnapping, abductions and killings of the innocent people. He lauded the Salva Judum as a combative movement above party politics and stressed that it is a ground movement, which could not be stopped by the government.

Shri Rathore, DG Police, Chhattisgarh, started the second session by calling the participants practical persons involved in the process of purification called Salva Judum. He called it a non-cooperation movement against violence equating it with Satyagraha. He said it is movement that is removing the poison from the social fabric.

Shri Kedar Kashyap, MP from Chhattisgarh, spoke on his actual experiences of participations in Salva Judum padyatras. He informed that Salva Judum has succeeded to such an extent that areas which were inaccessible and unsafe because of Naxal presence some two years back now facilitate easy mobility. He also said that Naxals are no longer receiving funding from the local people as earlier and are being forced against the wall as they have to call for money from outside now.

Shri Chhabinda Karma, Chairman, Jila Panchyat, Dantewada called Salva Judum the biggest people’s agitation after the freedom struggle. He spoke of how the Naxals had managed to eat into people’s confidence, their culture and also weaken the will of the police.

Shatabdi Pandey in a power-point presentation depicted the role of women in the Salva Judum. She also lamented the false propaganda by Naxals and called for bringing forward the thinking brain.

Shri Girishkant Pande, academician with close study of the Naxal movement over decades, in his address displayed a comparative study of the Salva Judum agitation and the Naxal organisation. He pointed out that while Naxalites are well trained particularly in guerilla warfare, the Salva Judum activists are untrained. The Naxals possess sophisticated firearms and hi-tech equipments while the Salva Judum activists have low-profile firearms and mostly use primitive arms like arrows and axes.

Shri Swapan Dasgupta, eminent journalist, said that we have deluded ourselves that Naxalism is not an assault on the sovereignty of the nation. He said that it is still defined as a movement originating from a socio-economic problem. Differing on these oft-stated views, Shri Dasgupta said that Naxalism followed a design. “Surely poverty is not a corridor”, he said referring to the red corridor developed through the 13 states of India by the Naxals. He further said that Salva Judum is only one of the innovative strategies, that can combat Naxalism.

Shri K.P.S. Gill, former Punjab DGP called this his assessment of the Naxal problem particularly in the state of Chhattisgarh. He said that such issues could be effectively addressed only when the political establishment, administration and police work in tandem. While he pointed out that problems like short-staffing of police in Chhattisgarh are being taken care of now, he also had a word of praise for the political establishment saying in his assessment there is political backing to weed out the problem.

Shri Balasubramanium Kamrasu from Andhra Pradesh refused to call Salva Judum an experiment. He said that it is a people’s outburst and not planned, as is the case with an experiment.

Shri Bal Apte, MP and RMP Director Shri Vinay Sahasrabudhe were also present on the occasion.

Organiser

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WB: Police lathicharge Medha Patkar

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 26, 2007

Monday, 26 February 2007 18:02 IST

Singur, Feb 26: Police today resorted to lathicharge to disperse social activist Medha Patkar-led protesters after they tried to approach the fenced area for the Tata Motors small car project at Singur in West Bengal.
Hooghly Superintendent of Police Supratim Sarkar said two persons were arrested.

Patkar said two of her associates, Amita Bag and Dhananjay Das, were injured in the lathicharge.
Additional Superintendent of Police, Hooghly, Asit Pal said police removed the demonstrators.

Patkar with her associates then began a sit-in demonstration a few metres away from the fence.

Earlier addressing farmers from Goplanagar and Bajemelia villages who had set up camps in the area since yesterday, Patkar came down heavily on the state government for going ahead with the Tata Motors project at Singur and the Salim project in Nandigram in East Midnapur.

She said the government was using the police in favour of the enterprise and added that it should stop the project as the farmers were unwilling to hand over their land.

Slogan-shouting farmers from Beraberi Purbapara marched upto the fenced area of the Tata Motors small car project where they had an altercation with the police who stood guard. Police then resorted t”
News From Sahara Samay

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Chhatisgadh; Naxalite killed in police firing

Posted by Indian Vanguard on February 26, 2007

Raipur: A naxalite was killed and a policeman injured in a gun battle between naxalites and a police party on Saturday at Pedametta village, about 450 km from here.

Bijapur District Superintendent of Police Ratan Lal Dangi told PTI on Sunday that on receiving information that Abujhmad Dalam group of naxalites would be holding a meeting at Pedametta, the police party raided the area.

Following this an exchange of fire between the police and the naxalites took place for over an hour, the senior official said.

The police recovered 25 landmines, three hand grenades and one weapon from the encounter site, he said.”

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