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Archive for April 1st, 2007

People’s March 2007 April issue

Posted by Indian Vanguard on April 1, 2007

Dear friend,
Please download PDF version of People’s March April 2007. There is no issue of People’s March, March 2007. Download

P.Govindan kutty
Editor, People’s March

Posted in people'smarch | Leave a Comment »

Sri Lanka’s Great Working Class Movement….

Posted by Indian Vanguard on April 1, 2007

Courtesy Bhumkal

Sri Lankan state crackdown on Left Wing activists and Independent Media

The Sri Lankan state under President Mahindra Rajapakse is trying to destroy the Sri Lankan working class movement – the only movement that has the capability of bringing peace to Sri Lanka

As the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) has intensified, Rajapakse has reintroduced the notorious ‘Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorist Activities’ bill – a bill that allows for the indefinite detention of suspects without trial.

President Rajapakse and the army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka spoke to the media; the media were warned not to criticize the war as it will effect the morale of the of the army – there is a de facto censorship in the Sri Lankan media about the war. The new bill aims at silencing all those who think differently to Rajapakse, and scaring and browbeating the Left. These are the ‘suspects’ of the ‘Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorist Activities’ bill: journalists, Independent media activists, trade unionists, Left wing activists and anyone else who does not believe that Rajapakse’s way can bring peace to Sri Lanka.

This new law has allowed the Sri Lankan state to harass and intimidate the Independent media; there have been killings, kidnappings, and death threats. These are aimed at identifying anyone who questions Rajapakse’s policies as accomplices of the LTTE ‘terrorists’. To anybody who follows the international news, this kind of ‘terrorism’ bill – intimidation, detention without trial etc – will sound familiar. There is a family resemblance between this bill and similar legislation that has been passed in the ‘freedom loving’ countries of the West.

There is little doubt that these attacks and abductions on journalists and Left wing activists is being carried out by the security and army intelligence services, and chauvinist paramilitary thugs working with the state. Here are some incidents:

* Subramaniyam Sugeedharajan, a correspondent for the Tamil daily Sudar Oli in Trincomalee, was killed in January last year. He was murdered a day after he wrote an article about the attacks by paramilitary groups linked to the military in the Eastern District.

* On the evening of May 2, a gang of thugs armed with T-56 automatic rifles stormed the Uthayan office in Jaffna and shot dead the marketing manager, Bastian George Sagayathas, and circulation supervisor, S. Ranjith. Two other employees were injured in the attack. Several weeks later, the Uthayan newspaper distributor was shot dead.

* Sampath Lakmal, a correspondent for Sathdina, was abducted on his way from home in the Colombo suburbs of Boralasgamuwa on June 30. His body was found the next day in Dehiwala. He was shot in the head. Police questioned an intelligence officer and a Sri Lankan army soldier about the murder. They were released.

* Last August, a senior news programmer with Sooriyan FM, Nadarajah Kuruparan, was kidnapped. His abductors released him 24 hours later; they warned him to halt a program that exposed the abuse of the country’s Tamil minority.

* On August 21 Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah, editor and the managing director of the Tamil-language daily Namathu Eelanadu (Our Eelam Nation) was shot dead by gunmen at his home at Tellippalai, 15 kilometres from Jaffna.

* On November 23, Munusamy Parameswari, a journalist with Mawbima, was arrested. To date she has been detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) without charge. According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), the CID officials have denied access to her by journalists. She was presented before a court on January 23 and her detention was extended for another 90 days. She told the court that she had been threatened by Special Task Force (STF) officers and told to stop journalism. Parameswari has now filed a fundamental rights case against her arrest and detention.

* Last month Kumaravel Gajan, a proofreader for the Tamil newspaper Thinakkural, was arrested in Colombo. He is still being detained at the Boossa detention camp in the southern district of Galle. The newspaper’s management has tried without success to get him released.

* On January 9, a group of Sri Lankan army personnel stormed the offices of Thinakkural, Uthayan and Valampuri newspapers in Jaffna and warned staff not to publish reports by the Jaffna University Student Union. Students in Jaffna have repeatedly protested against the abduction of young people.

* On January 15, K.C. Saranga, a programmer for Derana TV, was severely beaten by a mob in the Colombo suburb of Dehiwela. His video footage relating to a recent operation by STF commandos in Eastern Province was seized in the course of the attack.

* Three journalists have fled the country after receiving death threats. They are Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi, a Reuter’s photographer and journalist; Rohitha Bhasana Abeywardana, a freelance reporter, and S. Rajkumar, president of the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance and the Colombo news manager of the UK-based Theepam TV.

* The Karuna group, an armed militia led by V. Muralitharan or Karuna who split from the LTTE in 2004, has banned the distribution of the Colombo-based Tamil newspapers Veerakerari and Thinakkural in the eastern district of Batticaloa. Karuna’s outfit works with the Sri Lankan military

* On the 5th of February 2007, the Sri Lankan army intelligence service kidnapped Mr. Dallas Senaviratna, Mr. Nihal Serasinghe, and Mr. Sisira Kumara. Mr Dallas Senaviratna and Mr Nihal Serasinghe were abducted at work; Mr Sisira Kumara was abducted at home. Mr. Senaviratna and Mr. Sisira are Trade Union activists; Mr.Serasinghe is the owner of a typesetting shop and is a Left wing activist. There was no warning; they were not read their rights, there was no trial; they were simply taken away. A ‘confession’ was forced; they were forced to confess their involvement with the recent bombings in the south of Sri Lanka; a confession without a trial…

There is a great deal of official corruption in Sri Lanka; the big media, the big politicians, and the big business are on the same side and always support each other. There is a system of political oligarchy, for example, three of Rajapakse’s brothers are also in the government, one is the defense secretary while another is special advisor and another is a cabinet minister. There is growing poverty and anger; anger at the war, at the corruption of the politicians, at the family oligarchies (the Rajapakse are the successors of Bandaranayake and Senanayake families) and at the lack of any progress after so long. The current regime led by Rajapakse and his fellow travellers the JHU, the JVP, and many UNP heavyweights have no answers whatsoever – they are a part of the problem.

Over 200 journalists and trade unionists demonstrated at the Fort Railway Station in central Colombo last Tuesday to condemn the growing harassment and intimidation of the media and Left wing activists. Many people did not take part because they fear for their safety, and that of their families.

We ask for international solidarity, for all those concerned to organise protests outside the Sri Lankan embassy and to distribute this short article to anybody who is concerned. The reaction of the Rajapakse regime and its fellow travellers are typical of many ‘third world’ regimes. This intimidation is supposed to show the strength of their regime; but it actually shows its weakness. This kind of legislation and these kind of actions have made it increasingly clear to many people in Sri Lanka and all over the world that mainstream politics is bankrupt.

Posted in SriLanka | Leave a Comment »

State fighting a losing battle

Posted by Indian Vanguard on April 1, 2007

Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) have an unambiguous plan to “further strengthen the people’s army”. Various Maoist documents attest to this objective, including the one on turning the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) into People’s Liberation Army (PLA), adopted at the Unity Congress of the Maoists that concluded on February 1. The Maoists envision that, eventually, as the numerical strength of the People’s Militia expands, what is now the PLGA would transform into the PLA. In Chhattisgarh alone, the People’s Militia has an estimated strength of 35,000 men and women.

The Maoists also resolved at the Unity Congress to launch an all-India Tactical Counter-Offensive Campaign (TCOC), in order to put the state on the defensive, in the wake of the Maoist movement being weakened at the pan-India level. A succession of attacks followed across various affected states, peaking in the Rani Bodli slaughter.

On March 15, the Maoists attacked a temporary armed outpost in Rani Bodli village in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh and massacred 55 policemen, including personnel of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force and Special Police Officers. It was a chilling reminder of the lethal capacities of the Naxalites — their meticulous planning, fine execution, and large-scale deployment.

In Rani Bodli, several hundred members of the People’s Militia, comprising ordinary men and women who otherwise have an avocation in life, were involved alongside well-trained, hardened Maoist cadres in the onslaught. Significantly, not a single villager in Rani Bodli reportedly came to the rescue of the police while they were being massacred. Besides, Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam admitted to the media on March 22: “Information at the grassroots level is not arriving at the government.” This sharply illustrates the wedge that exists between the people and the ‘state’ in Naxalite-affected areas.

Successive governments both in Madhya Pradesh — of which Chhattisgarh was a part until November 1, 2000 — and for many years in the new state after it came into existence, adopted a hands-off approach towards the Naxalites, and allowed them to expand and consolidate their presence. While on the one hand, the state’s police was left unprepared to face or fight the Naxalites, on the other, meagre efforts were made to accelerate the socio-economic development of the region. Thus, the state has failed to reach out to the people.

Resultantly, large swathes of southern Chhattisgarh are today “liberated areas”. Moreover, it is, indeed, a matter of concern that there has been no change in the approach of the state even after it is widely recognised in officialdom that the focus of state response in order to stymie Naxalite influence — both of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the governments in various affected states — has been excessively tilted towards militarily crushing the Naxalites, rather than hastening the pace of socio-economic development. In this wake, the Naxalites would gain more than the state. DNA

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Naxalites kidnap three, including forest guard

Posted by Indian Vanguard on April 1, 2007

BARIPADA: Suspected naxalites kidnapped three persons, including a forest guard, from areas close to the similipal National park in Mayurbhanj on Saturday, police said. While the forest guard, identified as Prakash Mukhi, was picked up by the ultras at Baunsapala village, the other two, both members of the “Green Brigade” formed to protect the sanctuary, were taken away from Phulajhari village, police said.

Two other “Green Brigade” activists who were picked up managed to escape and walked a long distance to the forest range office at Bangiriposhi to inform of the incident.

Both the villages came under Bangiriposhi police station. The Naxalites also burnt down a forest beat house at Baunsapala village before leaving. The incident is believed to be in retaliation of the arrest of a tribal by forest personnel when he was collecting Mahua flower in the nearby area Friday.

Security personnel, belonging to the special operation group have rushed to the area. Public-police partnership appears to be working out for the sleuths quite well. Days after the locals in Borabanda caught the serial kidnapper, Sujatha leading to the rescue of five abducted children, residents of Bowenpally area on Saturday caught a drunkard, who kidnapped a toddler and was fleeing the locality.

According to Bowenpally sub-inspector, M B Sridhar, it all began around 9.30 am when the child – Mohammed Ghouse Pasha – was playing outside his house at LB Nagar locality in Bowenpally. Meanwhile, the accused – Shivaiah – who was high on drinks, spotted the boy. He abducted him and was fleeing the area when the locals got alerted by the boy’s cries.

The next moment, they spotted Shivaiah taking away Ghouse hurriedly. The locals went after him, caught him and one of them called up the police. The police rushed to the spot and arrested Shivaiah. The boy was handed over to his father, Mohammed Majid Khan, who, till then was frantically searching for his son. Majid Khan is working for a goldsmith at Pot Market.

As the police began interrogating Shivaiah, he revealed that he was a painter by profession and habituated to drinks. “I just spotted the boy and decided to kidnap him, there is no other motive,” he told the police. The sleuths however believe that Shivaiah, aged around 30 abducted the boy to demand money from his parents. “He is a habitual drunkard and stays along with his wife and relatives at Gangaputra Sangam area in Bowenpally. He is a vagabond and the motive for abduction appears to be money,” the SI said. New Ind press

Posted in NEWS, Orissa | Leave a Comment »

Interview with Dipanker Bhattacharya

Posted by Indian Vanguard on April 1, 2007

‘The CPM just can’t accept the rural poor challenging it’

Dipanker Bhattacharya, general secretary, CPI-ML (Liberation), speaks to TEHELKA about the Nandigram police firing and the role of the Left

Dipanker Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI-ML (Liberation),

What do you think about the Nandigram violence?
Nandigram didn’t happen overnight. Mini-Nandigrams have been happening in West Bengal since years. In May 1993, at Karanad village in Barddhaman district, on the day of panchayat elections, five agricultural labourers were lynched and burnt alive by CPM goons. Reason? They questioned the CPM’s anti-poor policies and joined the CPI-ML.

Singur has inaugurated a new phase in politics. Sharecroppers and small peasants were the mainstay of the CPM in Bengal. Now, they are challenging the government’s policies. After 30 years in power, CPM just cannot accept the fact that the rural poor in the state have the guts to challenge it. This intolerance is at the heart of the whole episode.

At Nandigram, in January, the farmers had their apprehensions because they had seen how land was snatched from the people at Singur without their consent. At the first warning that their land could also be taken away, they rose in protest. On January 6, the administration convened a peace meeting. It was decided that the police won’t be sent into the village and the people would repair the damage caused to roads and bridges. But that decision was just a smokescreen. While the peace talks were on, the CPM organised its armed goons and they ran amok at Nandigarm, killing seven people. Even after that, they (CPM) did say that if the people don’t want SEZ, we were not in hurry to acquire their land. At the same time, several CPM leaders including Health Minister Suryakant Mishra and the Kisan Sabha leader Binoy Kumar were issuing not so veiled threats to the people. Just before the March 11 incident, CPM organised a big rally in Kolkata to show that the peasantry of Bengal was in favour of the SEZs. In that meeting, Chief Minister Budhhadeb Bhattacharya had said no single area or a couple of panchayats could stop “our onward march”. Binoy Kumar openly declared that they “will make life hell for the people of Nandigram”.

After 30 years in power, the Left Front government of West Bengal will be known for the police excesses at Nandigram and Singur, not for land reforms or panchayati raj experiments

Then came the genocide. Nandigram is a clear case of a cold-blooded police operation. Initially, Budhhadeb said, “I was under tremendous pressure to send police in”. Then on the floor of the Assembly, he said the police had opened fire in self-defence. Finally, he said, “I take moral responsibility. We didn’t anticipate this. I am sorry for the police excesses”. It was pre-planned. Even CPM leaders at the national level had approved the blueprint of the operation. The whole idea was to teach the peasants a lesson.

Against the backdrop of Nandigram firing, what does Left politics in India mean?

There is a very clear divide within the Left. The opportunist group, which has been numerically and electorally dominant, now stands unmasked. The unmasking began 40 years back when the Naxalbari incident happened. On the one hand, you have examples of degeneration of the Left in power. On the other, you have growing peasants’ resistance. When you speak to the victims of Nandigram, they only talk about the injustice meted out to them, and ask if there is any political solution for that.

There is a very clear divide within the Left. The opportunist group, which has been numerically and electorally dominant, now stands unmasked

There will be fresh growth of the Left movement in this country. Polarisation has happened between the derailed Left and the revolutionary Left. The derailed Left is busy killing peasants and the rural poor to appease Big Capital. When the Left came to power in Bengal 30 years ago, they promised that they would provide immediate relief to the people and restore democracy, which was murdered by the Congress regime during the Emergency. Over the years, they have even curbed the freedom to protest and suppressed peasants’ movements. The CPM neither listens to the Left intellectuals nor to the peasants. But the real Left, like our party, is still fighting for the rural poor. In the days to come, you will witness the Left polarisation clearly.

Do you mean that the years in power have eroded the Left’s mass base in Bengal and corrupted it?

You can’t say that power will invariably result in this. They could have used the power for different purposes. But they feel so “responsible” to the system and the ruling classes that they have completely redrawn their priorities. It is this reversal of priorities that has resulted in Nandigram. After 30 years in power, now the Left Front government of West Bengal will be known for the police excesses at Nandigram and Singur, not for land reforms or panchayati raj experiments.

Where do you see CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP standing?

They have been a part and parcel of the state government. It’s true that, after

In 1993, on the day of panchayat elections, five agricultural labourers were lynched and burnt alive in Barddhaman district by CPM goons. Reason? They questioned the CPM’s anti-poor policies and joined the CPI-ML

Singur and Nandigram, they have raised voices of protest. The two meetings they held in Kolkota gave the impression that they were out to debate the issues threadbare. But at the Front meeting, the CPM said, “Henceforth, we would listen to you more” and there would be more meetings. Their protests ended there.

It’s time for people to speak out. Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar did. Prakash Karat expressed regret, only after four days of silence. If Budhhadeb really feels morally responsible, he should quit.

Do you see these incidents as the beginning of the end of Left rule in Bengal?

Definitely. The CPM has never been so isolated as it is today. Nobody believes them today and I find this isolation a major blow to the party. Certainly, the Budhhadeb government has lost its popular support and public trust.

Do you expect any realignment of the Left bloc?

I do not see it at this moment. But definitely there will be a realignment of forces and ranks. If the CPI, FB and RSP leaders cannot address the grievances of their ranks, there will be a disconnect between the power-obsessed leadership and the cadres. Tehelka

Posted in CPI(ML) Liberation, Interview | Leave a Comment »

Six cops injured in Maoist attack in Bihar

Posted by Indian Vanguard on April 1, 2007

At least six police personnel were injured Saturday when over 200 suspected Maoist militants attacked a police station and a bank in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district.

Armed with sophisticated weapons and dressed in olive green military uniform, the rebels carried out the attack in Riga block, about 300 km from here, to loot arms and ammunition from the police station and cash from the Central Bank, police said.

The Maoists blasted the Manihari bridge connecting Riga block near the India-Nepal border.The rebels fled when the police returned the fire and local people came out shouting slogans against the Maoists. They, however, failed to take any arms or cash, police said.

The Sitamarhi district Superintendent of Police A.R. Nayak said that the rebel attack was foiled by timely police action and no casualty was reported barring injury to a some police officials.

However, the top brass of the state administration is worried about the attack in Riga block as it is close to the Nepal border. It was the first such Maoist attack in Sitamarhi district, which is regarded as a sensitive spot and vulnerable to Maoist activities.

State Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah told newspersons that the government was awaiting detailed reports of the incident and admitted that the attack was a failure on the part of state intelligence. India eNews

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