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Archive for August, 2007

Chhattisgarh DGP’s helicopter fired upon

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 31, 2007

Staff Reporter

KHAMMAM: Maoists on Thursday opened fire at the helicopter in which Director-General of Police (DGP) of Chattisgarh Viswa Rajan was travelling in. The incident occurred in Chintalnar village in Dantewada district .

Mr. Viswa Rajan was on his way to Mukaram village where 13 police personnel were killed by CPI(Maoist) cadres on Wednesday. Accompanied by Bastar Range IGP, R. K. Vij, he was planning to travel 6 km from the village by road to reach the spot where the policemen were waylaid and killed.

The naxalites fired five rounds from a distance in the direction of the chopper.

Police forces deployed in the village threw a security ring around the two senior police officers and guided them back to the helicopter which took off within 15 minutes of its landing. The senior police officers made an aerial survey of the place before leaving for Dantewada.

Both the DGP and the IG were safe, police sources said. There was no damage caused to the helicopter either.

Posted in Chhattisgarh | Leave a Comment »

Big Brother Is Reading Your Email?

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 31, 2007

The next time you go to a cyber cafe in Mumbai, be warned: the cops can see whatever you’re up to. The Mumbai police plans to install keystroke loggers in the cyber cafes of Mumbai, which essentially means that everything you type will be saved for the police to scrutinize. This includes your email username and password. This includes your credit card details, should you purchase something online. This includes every email you send, every website you visit, the location of every picture you download.If you’re surfing at a Mumbai cyber cafe, you would have effectively surrendered your privacy.

Yes, yes, this is meant to fight terrorism, but even if the Mumbai police had the manpower to scrutinize the vast numbers of keystroke records they will get, this move would make no sense. Terrorists use cars, live in rented flats, make phonecalls to each other. So will our cars, houses and telephone conversations be monitored as well?

In the Mid Day article, an unnamed “National Vice President, People Union for Civil Liberty” is quoted as saying, “As long as personal computers are not being monitored. If monitoring is restricted to public computers, it is in the interest of security. [sic]”

By that logic, the cops might as well install video cameras inside hotel rooms, no?

(Link via message on the Bloggers Collective Google group .)

Posted in Internet | Leave a Comment »

Bhagalpur cops axed for ‘inhumane’ act

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 31, 2007

Bhagalpur, Aug. 30: The now infamous Bhagalpur policemen, who tied an alleged thief to a bike and dragged him along the road, were dismissed today.

Assistant inspector of police Rambalak Singh and constable Ramchandar Rai, posted in Nathnagar police station, were earlier suspended for their inhumane treatment of “chain snatcher” Aurangzeb (22).

The superintendent of Bhagalpur police, J.S. Ganwar, said the dismissal came today after it was established that the duo were “guilty of inhumane acts”.

The deputy inspector-general of police, Bhagalpur range, G.N. Sharma, ordered the dismissal of the assistant inspector while Ganwar ordered the dismissal of the constable.

Meanwhile, the CPI(ML) has called for a dusk-to-dawn Bhagalpur bandh tomorrow to protest against the incident. The party today organised meetings in street corners.

Former CPI(ML) MP Rameshwar Prasad said mainstream opposition parties, including the RJD and the Congress, have extended support to tomorrow’s bandh.

RJD functionaries alleged that the law and order situation in Bihar has worsened during the tenure of Nitish Kumar. The police today arrested 6 activists of a students’ association when they tried to burn the effigy of chief minister Nitish Kumar. The law-enforcers also prevented RJD activists from taking out a protest.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior BJP functionary said: “The state party unit has informed us that the police have been instructed to curb such (protest) activities. They have also suggested that we do not create any nuisance on the streets.”

Aurangzeb, a rickshaw-puller, was on Monday kicked and beaten up by some people and then tied to a bike a dragged after a woman alleged that he stole her gold chain. The chain was allegedly found on the youth.

The protests had began yesterday in Bhagalpur. A mob had beat up some people to protest against the treatment meted out to Aurangzeb.

Officials had described the situation as tense because rumours were being spread. “We have appealed to the people not to listen to rumours and to identify rumourmongers,” district magistrate Vipin Kumar said.


Posted in Bihar | Leave a Comment »

Are We A Police State?

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

Are We A Police State?

King Friend forwarded me a letter written by Justice H Suresh regarding “illegal arrests, torture and public statements by the Anti-Terrorist Squad, Mumbai.” Most of us would be inclined to ignore this case, because it involves alleged naxalites—but pay closer heed to that word ‘alleged’. I’m reproducing the letter in full below the fold—do read it all—with one question: Is a society where due process of law is not followed a lawless society?

Sub: Illegal arrests, torture and public statements by ATS Mumbai with regard to Shridhar Shrinivasan, Vernon Gonsalves and Adv K D Rao

We are deeply concerned at reports from the lawyers, family members and friends of Shridhar Srinivasan, Vernon Gonsalves and advocate K. D. Rao, who were arrested on August 19 and 20, 2007, in Mumbai by Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Police. The gist of their claims is as follows:

1. These persons have been arrested for their political convictions rather than any specific unlawful activity. Rao is a practicing lawyer and an office bearer of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) who has been in Mumbai from 2003. The families of these detainees were not informed of their arrests by the ATS police. Shrinivasan was arrested outside his house in Govandi and Gonsalves was arrested from near his house at 1.30 p.m. on August 19 from a busy public road. Almost 12 hours later at 12.30 a.m. on August 20, Gonsalves was brought to his house where an illegal and unauthorized `raid’ was carried out till 7 a.m. in front of Susan Abraham, his wife who is a practicing lawyer and activist and his 12-year old son. Rao was arrested at 9 p.m. on August 20 from outside YMCA where he had gone to visit Adv P A Sebastian.

2. Shridhar and Vernon were subjected to torture which was recorded by the magistrate. In court, the injuries on the accused, and their inability to stand up in court, have been ascribed to such improbable causes as their struggle at the time of arrest, to arthritis osteoporosis – conditions the detainees were suffering from which got aggravated due to the torture. They have had to undergo prolonged hours of interrogation for days together.

3. In the case of Srinivasan and Gonsalves, the ATS claimed to have found arms and ammunition from the former’s house in Govandi. However, no panchanama was produced for these items, and the accused denied ATS claim in Court. On the first date of regular remand, court gave permission for the destruction of the arms and ammunition because of which the detainees have been denied the scope to challenge the central evidence on which the police case rests.

The above account carries credibility, as we have been following this case in the press. The police have informed the media that the accused were plotting terrorist activity, such as carrying out bomb blasts throughout Mumbai. The police have plans to implicate them in murders and other such acts. These unsubstantiated claims have been given wide publicity, amounting to trial by the media.

Even more disturbingly, the police have announced that they are preparing dossiers on 75 persons and “will take action soon” (“Naxals involved even in murder, claims ATS”, Times of India, August 23, 2007). These 75 persons have committed no offence but are deemed to be sympathetic with the cause of the accused.

Moreover, the police say that “Over half a dozen lawyers are on our radar” in connection with this case, “but we cannot arrest them if there is no offence against them” (ref. the same Times article). Such a statement serves to intimidate lawyers, who are officers of the court, from performing their duties. The arrest of advocate K. D Rao is a chilling reminder of the seriousness of the police threats. We have not forgotten the statement by a senior police officer, at the time of the arrest of Arun Ferreira and others in Nagpur in May 2007, that he would take action against any persons who are taking up the case of those accused.

It is public knowledge that suspects are rounded up, taken to the police station and kept there unlawfully for days together, in order to extract confessions by torture, threats and other illegal means such as narco-analysis. It is a fundamental constitutional principle that confessions extracted by the police are not admissible in law. It is also a Constitutional mandate that no one can be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Another fundamental constitutional principle is the presumption of innocence of an accused until proven guilty. Very often, the police issue statements to the press and media that the person so arrested is a “terrorist” or “has planned to commit serious offences” etc. proclaiming to the world that he is guilty of the offence. While the police have the right to investigate, they have no right to make public statements about the guilt of the accused.

Often when the accused refuses to make statements according to the wishes of the police despite being subjected to torture, the police approach the court for permission to have narco-analysis test performed. This was done in the case of Arun Ferreira and Murali. We are of the opinion that a narco-analysis test is itself a form of torture, and we were shocked that one of the television channels displayed the entire procedure of extracting statements through narco-analysis. This was in fact, a public display of torture.

We condemn the methods and the means which is followed by the ATS and other special cells, as if they are not bound by the law and as if they had a separate law for themselves. We want to emphasize that there is no special law for the ATS or any special cell in the matter of arrest and search and in the matter of legal rights of the accused.

Against this background, we demand that the state government intervene to ensure that torture and all the illegal methods listed above are not employed on the arrested persons and that false cases are not foisted on them. It should ensure that the police do not harass and threaten persons who have not committed any offence simply on the ground that they are suspected of holding certain political beliefs or sympathies. It should stop the police from threatening lawyers who are representing the detainees.

In a word, the state government must intervene to uphold the rule of law and ensure that the law meets the needs of justice.

Justice H Suresh

Justice Suresh and some others will speak at a press conference on the subject at 3pm tomorrow (August 31) at Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh Hall, near Azad Maidan, Mumbai. In case you’re interested…

Posted in Maharashtra | Leave a Comment »

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Central Office

Press Communiqué circulated to the Press Conference

Present journalists,

First of all, we heartily welcome the entire journalists and other masses present in this press conference organized to make public the important decisions adopted by the recently concluded Fifth Expanded Meeting of the central committee of our glorious party the CPN (Maoist) that has been playing a leading role in the campaign of building a new democratic republic of Nepal. We are immensely feeling glory and pleasure to have had this opportunity of publicizing here the summary of the historic fifth expanded meting decisions synthesized as ‘great unity and great victory’.

1. The latest fifth expanded meeting of the central committee organized in the chain of expanded meetings that had had immense importance in the history of the CPN (Maoist) had been accomplished grandiosely from August 3 to August 8, 2007 in Balaju Industrial Area, Kathmandu.

a) The meeting was inaugurated amid applause by Chairman Comrade Prachanda by lighting a lamp at 4 PM on the third of August 2007 in the Martyrs Memorial Building . In the inaugural session that had begun by paying heartfelt homage to the great martyrs of the great people’s war and the mass movement, various senior comrades and advisors of the party, shedding light on the importance of the expanded meeting, had presented meaningful statements.

b) Altogether there were 2,174 comrades comprised of the central committee members of the party to the secretariat members of the district committee, to the general branch secretary of the PLA, central office bearers of mass and frontal organizations and invited members. Of them, there were 1,672 comrades from 75 districts, 455 from 7 divisions of the PLA, 40 from India, 5 from Europe and 2 from Hong Kong. It was the biggest gathering so far in our party history.

c) There had been discussions in 42 groups over the political proposal presented by Chairman Comrade Prachanda all the day long of August 4 and morning session of August 5 while the group leaders started presenting their comments and suggestions from the day session of August 5 and it was carried on to the evening of August 6. Chairman Comrade Prachanda clarified all the day long of August 7 the spirit of the document and replied the questions arisen therefrom. The document was unanimously adopted in the very evening.

d) All the day long of August 8, there had been a concluding program in which 42 comrades presented opinion based on their feeling. Chairman Comrade Prachanda, saying that the historic fifth expanded meeting was a meeting of great unity and great victory, concluded at 5:30 evening of the very day. At the last, different sky-piercing slogans were chanted.

e) The PLA and the YCL had provided security to the meeting and the central command had made the whole logistical arrangement. Samana and Sen-Chyang family had presented various cultural programs in between.

2. The central question of the expanded meeting was the proposal “Unite to make a new ideological advance and a new revolutionary movement” presented by Chairman Comrade Prachanda. There had been very high and profound democratic discussions among the representatives divided in 42 groups over the proposal and important amendments were suggested. By incorporating the suggestions, the proposal was at the last adopted unanimously. The important aspects of the document are as follows.

a) There are three important sections in the document. Important ideological and political questions have been discussed in the first part. In the second part, the past movement and peace-negotiation has been reviewed. And in the third, light has been shed on the forthcoming tactic and the party plan.

b) In the context of discussing “Some fundamental theoretical questions” emphasis has been given upon the question of distinguishing the difference between the Marxist and opportunist outlook mainly on compromise, reform and revolution, and revolutionaries are instructed to remain resolute in MLM and Prachanda Path by way of struggling against right capitulationism, centrist vacillationism and ‘left’ adventurism. In the present backdrop of negotiations and peaceful development of revolution, the question in which the revolutionaries should specially prioritize ideological struggle is against the rightist tendency of “enjoying in the status quo, conceiving of compromise and reform as everything and refusing to propel the revolution forward” has been mentioned in the document. Likewise, it has been mentioned in the document that the struggle against the centrist opportunism that surfaces in different forms in which one always falls prey to vacillation between right and wrong, talks of revolution but practices right reformism and shows sense of disappointment, frustration and escape must not be undervalued. Also, the document has cautioned the revolutionaries to remain cautious towards the danger of ‘left’ phrase-mongering and adventurism that “Without having concrete analysis of the concrete situation subjectively opposes all kinds of compromises”.

c) Discussing the strategy and tactic of revolution, it has been clarified in the document that the party, going ahead with flexible tactic and firm strategy of democratic revolution, has synthesized a slogan of all party conference, interim government and constituent assembly election as a political tactic while arriving at the historic second national conference accomplished in 2001 and the same with modification has been carried on till now from the Chunwang Meeting held in 2005. Likewise, in relation to tactical slogan of democratic republic, quoting the decision of Chunwang meeting the document says, “Party has regarded the democratic republic neither in the form of bourgeois parliamentarian republic nor in the form of the new democratic republic. With an extensive restructuring of the state power, this republic will play a role of transitional multiparty republic as to resolve the problems related to class, nation, region and sex.”

d) Likewise, in the context of assessing peace-negotiations and the events following it, the CPN (Maoist), which had not incorporated itself in the old parliamentary main stream, but had, preserving the achievements of 10 years of people’s war, participated in a transitional state of compromise to institutionalize through constituent assembly the new type of democratic republic but now it has been concluded that the major parliamentarian parties leading the government, going against the spirit of 12-point understanding, have destroyed the basis of unity with the CPN (Maoist). In particular, “Although it had been said that army would be confined at barracks and PLA at the cantonments as to make the interim state a neutral one as far as possible and all of the decisions to run the state would be taken up in consensus, the theoretical, political and moral basis for the CPN (Maoist) to stay in government is getting to an end because the state in the present transitional period has been tried to run as the state of feudal, bureaucrat and comprador bourgeois” has been the important conclusion of the resolution. So cautioning seriously the forces that lead the interim government the proposal says, “The CPN (Maoist) will have no alternative to go to movement by quitting the government, if it is not guaranteed to ensure running of the interim government in accordance with the spirit of the agreement, bring an end to terror and regressive feudal conspiracy taking place against the constituent assembly election by declaring republic, take up actions against the criminals involved in a series of killings in Madhesh, publicize the state of disappeared citizens, impartially distribute relief to the families of martyrs, push forward the process of scientific land reform according to the spirit of the interim constitution, take up effective steps to stop killings, conspiracies and terror against the CPN (Maoist) and treat the PLA respectfully”.

e) Summing up that the party tactic from the 12-point understanding to the participation in the interim government was correct and politically advantageous; however, in the resolution serious self-criticism has also been made on behalf of the party for some mistakes and weaknesses committed in this course.

1) In the later part and mainly after the Gaur-massacre, there was a mistake on the way how should the party have made coordination between compromise and struggle. It was the main aspect of the party weakness.

2) While making compromises with the parliamentarian parties masses should have been informed of those agreements and mobilized along them as far as possible. Especially when party failed to inform the masses of the struggle that the party had kept up on the federal state system and proportional election till the last minute inside Baluwatar room, it provided opportunity for the reactionaries and opportunists to launch a campaign against the party by spreading confusion that Maoists left their agenda on Madhesh.

3) After joining the interim parliament and interim government, there have been some limitations on the way how should have we gone with preparation, plan and the spirit in struggles to carry out minimum possible tasks for the masses.

4) Likewise, there have been weaknesses on the questions like inner party communication, external propaganda, work in Madhesh, economic field etc.

f) In the resolution, decisions have been taken up to develop special policies and plans to repeatedly proletarianize, rectify and consolidate the party and develop new unity on the new basis in agreement with party’s new line and complexities. Accordingly, the property of all the central committee members has been publicized to initiate party rectification from the central level and supervision from broad cadres and even the masses on it has been anticipated. Also, it has been decided to have extensive changes in the party’s organizational structure and division of labor and launch a campaign to build organizations up to villages.

g) The expanded meeting has also adopted different resolutions over some important and timely issues. Like for example: resolution on Madhesh, resolution on propaganda and publication, resolution on mass organizations, resolution on national and regional fronts, resolution on revolutionary polarization and republican front, resolution on international communist movement, resolution on three weapons of revolution etc.

h) Naturally, the most important and an issue of people’s concern has been the evaluation of present situation and in accordance with it party’s forthcoming tactic and plan. The document has appraised today’s political situation as “to have been manifested in the form of a very fluid and serious revolutionary crisis.” In the same manner, it has been pointed out that a situation of triangular contradiction among feudal royalist forces, status quoist bourgeois parliamentarian forces and revolutionary democratic forces exists and all of them are trying to hold sway of their own. The fact that has been emphasized on is that the future of constituent assembly election depends upon the relative supremacy of these three forces and the revolutionary democratic forces should set up the sequence of their strategy and tactic in compliance with it. Pointing out that the country is now at the frontier of a big revolutionary possibility and an awful accident it has been mentioned in the document that revolutionary democratic forces, by appraising it correctly, should take up proper tactical steps. For that, party has emphasized on the need to create a broad mass movement by keeping up a strong unity with the republicans and left forces. For the reason that the domestic and foreign reactionary powers are not in favor of constituent assembly election but are conspiring to avoid it by laying the blame on the CPN (Maoist) and mobilize army in the name of law and order, the resolution concludes that the mass movement “Should be propelled forward as a serious initiative to build up suitable environment and prerequisites in favour of the forthcoming constituent assembly election”. In order for this, it has been concluded that Roundtable Conference, Republic and Constituent Assembly should be made the main slogan of the movement. In addition, emphasizing on the need to continue with ceasefire and the peace process, it has been said in the document that “Taking into account of today’s international and national situation that kind of movement can be and should be propelled forward by continuing with the ceasefire and the peace process”.

3) The central committee meeting held after the conclusion of the expanded meeting has shaped three separate committees to organize roundtable conference among agitating different groups, political forces and representatives of the civil society, take initiative for unity among different left forces, and prepare party manifesto for the forthcoming constituent assembly election and the mass movement.

To prepare for roundtable conference and have talks with different sections, under the leadership of comrade Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal) a committee made up of comrade Barshaman Pun (Ananta), comrade Matrika Yadav, comrade HisilaYami and comrade Lekhraj Bhatta has been constituted.

In order to have talks with different left forces, under the leadership of comrade Mohan Vaidya ( Kiran) a committee made up of comrade Barshaman Pun (Ananta) and comrade Dinanath Sharma has been constituted.

In the same way, in order to prepare manifesto, a committee made up of comrade Dev Gurung, comrade Dinanath Sharma, comrade Matrika Yadav, comrade Hitman Shakya, comrade Pampha Bhusal, comrade Janardan Sharma (Prabhakar), comrade Gopal Kirati and comrade Khadka Bahadur Viswakarma under the convenorship of comrade Baburam Bhattarai has been built up.

Journalist friends,

We, the Nepalese, are now in a very sensitive and serious transitional juncture. At this time, revolution and counterrevolution, progress and regress are conflicting at close. The recently concluded fifth expanded meeting of the central committee of our glorious party has taken up a historic decision to prop up revolution and progress by institutionalizing republic and defeating counterrevolution and regress. For this, we expect active help and support from all including entire patriots, republican and left political forces, civil society and media persons. Thank you!

August 12, 2007



Communist Party Of Nepal (Maoist)

Posted in Nepal | Leave a Comment »

Cops busy guarding VIPs from Maoists

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

HYDERABAD: Terrorists have been able to strike at will in Andhra Pradesh because the state security policy is geared to protect the VVIPs from Naxals, and not the common people from subversives, say senior police officials.

As a result, while the counter-intelligence wing, whose job it is to tackle terror threats, is understaffed and ill-trained, the anti-Naxal wing is flush with money and manpower. This complete negligence of the counter-intelligence wing has been going on for the last decade, despite central agencies alerting the state since the early ’90s that Hyderabad is on the radar of terrorists in terms of strikes as well as developing sleeper cells.

“The entire police machinery, from village to the state-level, is deeply involved in anti-Naxal operations. This is because their targets are political VIPs and powerful people close to the ruling establishment. Therefore, with Naxalism becoming the core security issue for the police, the entire set up is geared to protect VIPs from the CM down to the MLA. In other words, by implication, the common man is worthless and can die by the dozens,” a senior politicial official said.

The Greyhound force was raised in 1989 to combat Maoist violence and protect VVIPs from Left-wing terrorists. The force gets special incentives and a huge budgetary support from the political machinery that is liberal in arming the unit with manpower and money as it is their lives that it protects.

However, similar arrangement hasn’t been made for the counter-intelligence wing. “Of the total 80,000-odd police force in the state, only about 30,000 are of the armed and special police wings. From these numbers, regular personnel are deputed as personal security for 294 MLAs and 90 MLCs. A huge number is also deployed on convoy duty whenever the CM travels. The result: Not many personnel are left for law and order duty or protecting the common man,” the official said.

Posted in Andrapredesh | Leave a Comment »

No check on Naxals’ strongho;d in Chhattisgarh

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

RAIPUR: Wednesday’s Maoist ambush on policemen in the forests of Dantewada in which at least 12 security personnel were killed shows how Naxalites, despite the heavy security dragnet in the area, are able to quickly cobble together attack squads of more than 100 combatants.

The security team was on its way to secure an area at Tarmekla village in Jagargunda, where the Naxals had blocked construction of a road. “The team comprising Chhattisgarh Armed Force, SPOs and cops was divided into two groups. The Maoists hiding in the area ambushed the rear party and opened fire on them,” DGP Vishwaranjan said. There was heavy exchange of fire during which the police party got fragmented and scattered in the forests. When the cops regrouped, 15 of their men were missing and were presumed dead. Later in the day, three policemen returned to the camp.

“Though 25 securitymen returned to the Jagargunda police station by evening, 12 of them, including Jagargunda SHO Hemant Kumar, were killed in the attack,” the DGP said. Three policemen were wounded in the gunbattle. The guerrillas also looted sophisticated weapons like AK-47s, SLRs and .303 rifles, police sources said.
In another incident, Naxalites set a Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board’s truck on fire in Nukanpal village under the Avapalli police station in Bijapur district.

Naxalites have targeted security personnel venturing into the forests, essentially to prevent them from setting up strongholds inside their areas. But the Red guerrillas also regularly hit development works to prevent interior villages from getting connectivity to the outside world.

Posted in Chhattisgarh | Leave a Comment »

12 Chhattisgarh Cops Missing After Gunfight With Maoists

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

Wednesday 29th of August 2007 As many as 12 policemen were missing Wednesday in a forested region of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district after a fierce gun battle with armed Maoist militants, police said.

‘Twelve policemen, a majority of them special police officers (SPOs) and Chhattisgarh Armed Forces personnel, are missing after a fierce encounter with rebels in a forested pocket in Dantewada district,’ Inspector General Girdhari Nayak told IANS by phone.

‘The gun battle broke out when two separate police platoons numbering 40 cops went to a thick forested area of Tadmetla for road opening. Firefighting began when rebels attacked one of the search teams from behind, injuring six cops,’ he added.

Nayak said that at least an hour after the gun battle that ended around 4 p.m., 28 cops had returned to the camp.

‘A search team led by superintendent of police Rahul Sharma has left for the encounter site to trace the missing cops,’ the official added.

Posted in Chhattisgarh | Leave a Comment »

Urban revolutionaries in Naxal fight

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

The arrest of two men – a former college professor and an ex-student leader – in Mumbai presents a shadowy confusing world of urban revolutionaries.

Vernon Gonsalves and Sridhar Srinivasan were arrested with arms and explosives.

Police in Vidarbha, where these men are said to operate, say they are Naxals – not just members but senior leaders of CPI Maoist – the banned Naxal group.

”Fashionable parable of Leftism in the drawing rooms of Mumbai results in fatality and murdering of innocent villagers in Gadchiroli,” said Pankaj Gupta, Inspector General, Anti-Naxalite Operations, Maharashtra Police.

Police say just because Vernon and Sridhar were educated, urban activists, it does not mean they are not hardcore Naxals.

”This is a banned organisation. Being a member of CPI (Maoist) is an offence in itself. But a number of cases have been registered against both of them, of looting explosives, burning railway engines, encountered attack on police,” said Gupta.

So why the delay in arresting them?

”You have to realise system of CPI (Maoist) party underground. All activities (of CPI Maoist) are secret. They have double roles, double names. On one side, they are activists, on another side they may be working for them,” said Gupta.

”Sufficient evidence that people earlier working as activists have participated in violent activities as Dalam members. Similar evidence that Dalam members have been shifted to perfectly front organsaitions for propaganda,” he added.

But this police claim opens up a minefield of debate on the nature of support to Naxal cause.

Student radicals

Vidarbha, the backward region of Maharashtra, acted as a magnet for student radicals from Mumbai in the 80s.

”As far as myself goes, I don’t think I have made any big sacrifice. I am teaching in college and getting good salary. I am only active in women rights movements and democratic rights movements,” said Shoma Sen, Professor, Civil Rights Activist.

”But as far as some of my friends in the student movement go, they did continue their revoltionary lives and make these sacrifices. Some of the people I knew, Vernon, Sridhar and others seem to have gone underground,” Sen said.

Shoma names others like the academic Anuradha and her husband Kobad Gandhi.

Police documents say they are senior Naxal leaders but Shoma calls them victims of state repression.

”Anuradha Gandhi, who was mass leader friend of mine was active here. Now there was this thing among lawyers: ‘Look madam, sooner or later you will be put under TADA.’ Now there was a choice before her. She could continue that way and go and sit in jail. Or she could go to another place and take another name and work. They are out to fight against the state. That is the path they have chosen,” Sen said.

Shoma Sen is unapologetic about the Naxal movement and its aims, even its use of violence. These views have placed her on an informal police watch list.

The police do not admit to this watch list but privately it says more than 30 groups are being closely monitored.

Legal support

On the surface are civil rights groups, those working for the poor or for students. But according to police, in reality, Naxal front organizations meant to provide legal support or help with propaganda.

Surendra Gadling is a Nagpur-based lawyer known to take up only cases of those arrested as Naxals.

”I believe in Mao’s ideology. If that makes me a Maoist, then yes I am a Maoist,” said Surendra Gadling, advocate.

It’s an increasingly polarised debate with little middle ground for an activist who wants to work for social change but does not support the Naxals.

Paromita has been working with Tribals in Gadchiroli for nearly a decade and was labelled a Naxal supporter when she spoke out against fake police encounters.

But she was also targeted by the Naxals when she condemned their killings.

Of the two, she says, the Naxal groups are more dangerous because there is no one to question them unlike the state.

”We have to understand, in this environment, the police at least we know them. They are in uniform. Even when they killed China Matami, I could identify the police. I could go to High Court and say this inspector is responsible. As a citizen, there was a face I could hold responsible,” said Paromita Goswami, activist.

”The problem with non-state people are, who are these people, how do we identify them, what are there names, what do they look like, why do they kill people. For us as citizens when we have a right to life it doesn’t matter whose bullet is killing the tribals,” Goswami said.

What angers Paromita is her’s is not a view shared by many other civil rights groups.

”When the police arrests someone they raise a hue and cry but when Naxals kill tribals they are nowhere to be seen,” said Goswami.

Is it a wider Naxal political strategy? On one hand to reject the Constitution and wage war on the state but selectively invoke the same Constitution and its rights when need be?

”What’s wrong with that? Because you are rejecting it, it means through a process you would like to overthrow the present system and replace it with a better system. But while you are living in the present system, you use so many things of the present system,” said Shoma Sen.

The same language of human rights is now surfacing after the arrest of Vernon. So is this in defence of an innocent man or is it again the Naxal strategy to mislead?

Posted in Maharashtra | Leave a Comment »

Five-day bandh by Maoists in Malkangiri

Posted by Indian Vanguard on August 30, 2007

Malkangiri (Orissa), Aug. 28 (PTI): A day after exploding a landmine at Kalimela, Maoist outfits today called a five-day shut down in the district to protest alleged excesses by security forces in Andhra Pradesh during anti-naxal operations.

The Maoists put up posters and banners at several places in the district to garner support for the bandh.

Shops and business establishments downed shutters and vehicles kept off the roads. Schools and colleges were, however, closed today on account of Raksha bandhan festival.

Security forces intensified patrolling and combing operations and borders with neighbouring naxal-affected states of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were sealed to prevent ultras from sneaking in, police said.
The Maoists had triggered a landmine blast at Kalimela yesterday and at least 17 CRPF personnel had a narrow escape when their vehicle crossed the area just seconds later.

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