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Archive for November 21st, 2007

Nandigram:Indian army called in to quell riots in Kolkata

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

11-21-2007, 15h46
KOLKATA, India (AFP)


photo

A group of Muslim protesters shout slogans beside burning in Kolkata. Indian soldiers have been called out to quell riots in Kolkata after thousands of stone-pelting protesters demonstrated against violence by the state government’s Marxist loyalists.
(AFP/Str)

Indian soldiers were called out to quell riots in Kolkata on Wednesday after thousands of stone-pelting protesters demonstrated against violence by the state government’s Marxist loyalists.

As street clashes that have killed one person continued into the evening, a strict night curfew was slapped on four areas of the city, police chief Gautam Mohan Chakraborty said.

“Free movement of the residents in these areas will be restricted,” said Chakraborty. “Even an individual will have to take permission to move out of his home.” The curfew runs from 10:00 pm (0430 GMT) to 6:00 am.

Police fought running battles with around 5,000 mainly Muslim demonstrators who threw stones and bottles and torched dozens of vehicles including an ambulance in the heart of the capital of communist-ruled West Bengal state.

At least one person was killed and 36 were injured in the clashes and more than 200 people were arrested, police said.

The protest was called by a Muslim group angered over violence in the state’s majority-Muslim Nandigram district, where 34 people have died and thousands have been left homeless since January.

The rural area was earmarked as a petrochemical hub for Indonesia’s Salim Group but protests by villagers, unwilling to give up their land, forced the government to scrap the plan.

Since then villagers on one side and communist party members and police on the other have been battling for control of the area.

The state’s ruling Marxists, allies of the central government, called out the troops in Kolkata after police fired tear gas to break up the protests.

“Six army columns have been called into the troubled area,” state Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy told reporters.

“There is tension. Right now we have an uneasy calm,” city deputy police commissioner V.K Goyal told AFP. “We had to (earlier) resort to using baton charges and teargas shells,” he said.

Earlier this month, Marxist squads loyal to the state government “recaptured” Nandigram and were accused of murder and gang raping women when they muscled their way into Nandigram.

The violence has prompted a fierce debate over the human cost of setting up hundreds of special economic zones (SEZs) designed to lure foreign investment to India.

Some 60 percent of Indians depend on agriculture for their livelihood and farmland conversion is a political hot potato. The federal parliament in New Delhi saw noisy scenes over the issue for the third day running.

“The villages were deserted. Many people are in refugee camps,” opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani said in parliament.

“It was such a spectacle that I felt miserable,” he said of the area.

The All India Minority Forum, which called the Kolkata protest, said it was also demanding the expulsion of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen for “blasphemy against Islam.”

Nasreen has incensed conservative Muslims for writing the novel “Lajja” or “Shame”, depicting the life of a Hindu family facing the ire of Muslims in Bangladesh. The book is banned in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

The author was forced to flee her homeland in 1994 after radical Muslims decried her writings as blasphemous and demanded her

Turkishpress

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Posted in West Bengal | Leave a Comment »

Paid back in the same coin: A montage of posters of the historic rally on the 14th November

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Source: Sanhathi

14th March was the turning point of Nandigram struggle. Remembering that bloody day, a historic rally was organised on 14th November at Kolkata from College Square. No organizational banner was there. The central theme of the rally was “Stretch your hand to the attacked people of Nandigram”. Common people registered their hate and anger for the autocratic rulling party of West Bengal. They overflowed the city streets with thousands of militant yet silent protests.

Some Posters:

https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ku5.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ku3.jpg

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https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil6.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/www.sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/14th_michhil2.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/nagarik-1.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil-10.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil10.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atgaaadsx2dwbbwnkfge5c1ck_tqdzgarwdsv_-4ox1f3gnjnsu7svufqzro7xaf561suyjwzhxcmrnybh5ecgqqkne5ajtu9vdid9fzmr_dn8jifwqhktevylclqw.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/dsc05439.JPG

https://i1.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/dsc05481.JPG

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil1.jpg

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https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atgaaadpgamwi1g9xwujchxkomaxwqzuis7wxo6zl8ghw3tng0yrxktcqc3v77cpbytvpfay63ocqmgftuyefycmyflwajtu9vbzudt6gyyi8ekcxp45fkhbzjzd7a.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atgaaadxtbjc5kggjfmwjye7mresxdogcczqbbqy5ylktnlwzkvhhwy0bzsjofmnw4bjcypsxzgr1szmo3-logre695uajtu9vanbaubepsttb-l-wjd4ezkspkq_g.jpg

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https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ku21.jpg

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https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ku14.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil-11.jpg

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https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atgaaaavcvwird6p1gu9_bdoo3ifiitnd6tetqvkd1dlr8t0rcbtxp8jbfx8i36oucdzc_fkoaetrtxdp_xdmixl-l0pajtu9vckt9-cvcpc576wz-rzc9jkyht_6q.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atgaaab_dln_muovgmmia79vandqelxg2tazxvttjpzizgztvjtv5iq1vjcqj97k8x4fv3qqr9zlzidjm94lukcqowp9ajtu9vdrc9aym8aetemgw5sb7_wqmjkagw.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil41.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ku1.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/michhil-9.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atgaaab74sy06nqdrmdyd7a4gmjepi-rmdiaeootnnaortobrvpmfgiv_rikzc2-jmde8xfnyh50rlg9nlcwnnbjvnnfajtu9vdnbny18ylsflevr_omp7uwugqcpq.jpg

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Posted in Nandigram, Pictures | Leave a Comment »

Bihar: 18 Naxalites arrested

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Biharsharif: Eighteen members of the banned CPI-Maoist were arrested and a huge cache of firearms and ammunition recovered from them while the rebels were enacting a drama with real weapons in Bihar’s Nalanda district on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off that the rebels were enacting a drama “Sultana Daku” with real weapons at Sakri village, teams from five police stations rushed there and caught them in the act, literally.

Eight rifles, three country-made carbines, three pistols, a double barrel gun and 50 bullets were seized from them, SP Amit Kumar told reporters. PTI

http://www.hindu.com/2007/11/21/stories/2007112156491600.htm

Posted in Bihar | Leave a Comment »

Paid back in the same coin: A montage of posters of the historic rally on the 14th November

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

14th March was the turning point of Nandigram struggle. Remembering that bloody day, a historic rally was organised on 14th November at Kolkata from College Square. No organizational banner was there. The central theme of the rally was “Stretch your hand to the attacked people of Nandigram”. Common people registered their hate and anger for the autocratic rulling party of West Bengal. They overflowed the city streets with thousands of militant yet silent protests.

Some Posters:

14th_michhil3.jpg 14th_michhil1.jpg 14th_michhil2.jpg 14th_michhil4.jpg 14th_michhil5.jpg

Pictures of the rally (courtesy: Nagarik Mancha)
nagarik-1.jpg dsc05439.JPG dsc05443.JPG dsc05460.JPG dsc05481.JPG click here for more.

Pictures from those who were a part of history that Kolkata witnessed that day:
atgaaadywf5fzs2xr3mob1w-dpmmyxgxefoaf06a98wni6mgawmkqv2qisnfdljbs5lde0rgorhjz8fpsmldx3uxmvgfajtu9va9coiteauq0ju4s_mydeekx8hyyq.jpg atgaaadxtbjc5kggjfmwjye7mresxdogcczqbbqy5ylktnlwzkvhhwy0bzsjofmnw4bjcypsxzgr1szmo3-logre695uajtu9vanbaubepsttb-l-wjd4ezkspkq_g.jpg atgaaadudyhtwae1gr4o4ejcmxu_vrehr90ignz6-vfgnf79×0ux270xgp866bibpizpjzpws87wmuvqoqolkn2b8asaajtu9vcmfdyqfwb8gxysmfnbsx9g3gxnma.jpg atgaaadtdbhkfpm0zjopovvdoio6p86gsjt0y6j5scyqcertfbwwbggqb8ruw-koa9rixbfhtqjj_anzoluineunkdp5ajtu9vaidbzmldlp0_z7wxhyllpufvuulw.jpg atgaaadpgamwi1g9xwujchxkomaxwqzuis7wxo6zl8ghw3tng0yrxktcqc3v77cpbytvpfay63ocqmgftuyefycmyflwajtu9vbzudt6gyyi8ekcxp45fkhbzjzd7a.jpg atgaaacrbb-kyggpf6kqlmybd1nxnz0ygoszx75m5taektsve9bc_bzmpw3tlvguldu7hbf8pxu6vdo3v16aazmvsncwajtu9vbfoamwqtgi4lb3invpbqryr1xtta.jpg atgaaacesp_3utpw3h_xxwk9drrraunqcwkeekglykqklaqi3gjmjurluzoaa3×9swye7cl1dnvxupqmma_ksdyzbfhqajtu9vdhb2yvcsweb8pculgrennf17m8qa.jpg atgaaacdjzzgb6rjenk0fkwgsniwyss949wfg6gxureha180qdk8kr60qsw77wd-snncwdc-bkosqjlfuj486wyetm_9ajtu9vbvytc2nr3-wu5aqzvh8jmaz014pq.jpg atgaaacaibe1w_obmshwd9dfeum2043hdwv7q4o7dz4zekimsku5m1vy0qb_ig3owp3p2q490z2oaeela0gye3soodmdajtu9vc732q_kgrbxf1tdgmao4h3i_5_kg.jpg atgaaac3glkb0orf-nrm7qhlwuh2zyrvlbkykhvfbcctd8iyo__ndbbtmiksjjpf5vlncmb61lomxnorr1a-jjdhxpnnajtu9vdzvbqk_wbheaokj4ghfppawpj2rw.jpg atgaaabmyit-gicmmnk_kjxe314rujd3vf2c0cppbgq87fwmwsca1lrolfy28m0qrms5owfz3pfwn2xrmk5qup7662goajtu9vaddcckdogt-uaknlv7rquvklqg1g.jpg atgaaab74sy06nqdrmdyd7a4gmjepi-rmdiaeootnnaortobrvpmfgiv_rikzc2-jmde8xfnyh50rlg9nlcwnnbjvnnfajtu9vdnbny18ylsflevr_omp7uwugqcpq.jpg atgaaaavcvwird6p1gu9_bdoo3ifiitnd6tetqvkd1dlr8t0rcbtxp8jbfx8i36oucdzc_fkoaetrtxdp_xdmixl-l0pajtu9vckt9-cvcpc576wz-rzc9jkyht_6q.jpg atgaaab_dln_muovgmmia79vandqelxg2tazxvttjpzizgztvjtv5iq1vjcqj97k8×4fv3qqr9zlzidjm94lukcqowp9ajtu9vdrc9aym8aetemgw5sb7_wqmjkagw.jpg atgaaaan0tqau7vet03rc2b8uoymg0vt5iskjhn_prh92dzdcedzygntvdxiiyteyh4yqpwzdqhih6cnhpqcwn0ymdthajtu9vdupcubgsqjizwqvlpf2wjjxkuhua.jpg michhil-7.jpg michhil-9.jpg michhil-8.jpg michhil-11.jpg michhil1.jpg michhil6.jpg michhil4.jpg michhil2.jpg michhil5.jpg michhil3.jpg michhil-12.jpg atgaaadsx2dwbbwnkfge5c1ck_tqdzgarwdsv_-4ox1f3gnjnsu7svufqzro7xaf561suyjwzhxcmrnybh5ecgqqkne5ajtu9vdid9fzmr_dn8jifwqhktevylclqw.jpg michhil-10.jpg

Picture courtesy Maroona Murmu:
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Picture courtesy Kunal Chattopadhyay: ku2.jpg ku3.jpg ku4.jpg ku31.jpg
ku5.jpg ku10.jpg ku12.jpg ku11.jpg ku13.jpg ku1.jpg ku14.jpg ku21.jpg

Posted in Nandigram, Pictures | 1 Comment »

West Bengal former left front minister Ashok Mitra on Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Ashok Mitra on Nandigram

Ashok Mitra is a former Chairman of the Agricultural Prices Commission and Chief Economic Advisor of the Government of India. He was the first Finance Minister of the Left Front Government in West Bengal in 1977, and a former member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. He has been a close friend to Monthly Review, from Paul Sweezy and Harry Magdoff to the present editorial committee. Ashok Mitra assisted in the creation of Monthly Review‘s sister edition in India, the Analytical Monthly Review. His heartfelt appeal to the central leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for a fundamental change of course is of the greatest significance. — John Mage

Till death I would remain guilty to my conscience if I keep mum about the happenings of the last two weeks in West Bengal over Nandigram. One gets torn by pain too. Those against whom I am speaking have been my comrades at some point of time. The party whose leadership they adorn has been the centre of my dreams and works for the last 60 years.

Let me start with the Governor. Those who remember Anantaprasad Sharma or T.V. Rajeshwar would admit that it’s a great fortune of this state and the government that they have someone as gentle, well-mannered, sympathetic, modest and erudite as Gopalkrishna Gandhi as Governor. Let me also add that he had consented to the post because of the interest shown by the central leadership of the CPI(M). What has been his fault that the ruling party is so determined to declare him as its enemy? It is being said that the Governor has termed the return of those who were forced to flee Nandigram to take shelter in Khejuri as illegitimate and unpardonable. This is nothing but a travesty of truth. He has not done so. He has condemned, in no uncertain terms, the way in which they have been brought back.

By now the machinations that went on behind the return is known to the world. The government had enough scope to rehabilitate these devastated people in their own homes through political mediation or administrative arrangements during the last 11 months. The attempts through unilateral threats, policeaction and indiscriminate firing had a tragic end. But there were still many avenues left to be explored. The government could have announced compensation for the family of the dead and injured after the idiotic incident of firing.

Promises could have been made to take action against the police officers and personnel involved in the crime. Days passed, the government did nothing.

The senior-most political leader of the state and the country had to take the initiative to call up Mamata Banerjee, sit and discuss with her a few conditions for resolution. The government was intimated, but did not proceed. On the initiative of senior Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh, an all-party meeting was convened. That also got stalled due to the indirect pressure from the ruling party.

Meanwhile, as was inevitable, opposition parties started using the unstable situation of Nandigram to their own advantage. The flame of tension was kept burning by a variety of organisations of different colours and classes. The whining one hears from the ruling party over this has no rationale whatsoever. The responsibility of unspoken suffering of those who spent 11 months as homeless rests squarely on the shoulders of the government.

It is better to look further into the past. Nandigram was not after all the ‘first blood’. The Singur episode had happened before that.

The government does not like nationalised industries; they want to set up private industries in the state. Hence, there are promises to acquire land on behalf of the national and international capitalists. Since there was declaration of industrialisation in the election manifesto, and since they have won 235 seats, it was assumed that there was no need for preparations. All of a sudden, peasants were told: leave the land, the masters would set up industries here. If it had learned even a very little from the protests, clashes and the blood-letting at Singur, the government would have been more careful in Nandigram. But that was not to be, it remained as arrogant as ever.

Even the top leaders of the ruling party have been saying there was no existence of opposition parties in Nandigram. The government itself provided them with the opportunity to grow. The loyal followers of the ruling party declared revolt and those who were not with them were driven out. The onus of this rests on the government as well.

For 11 months, complete silence and inactivity were carefully maintained. No political or administrative alternative was explored. Suddenly, a new plot was hatched. As has been repeatedly admitted by the Bengal Home Secretary, the police was instructed to remain inactive. Mercenaries were collected from across the state. Workers of the ruling party encircled Nandigram from all directions. Birds, bees, flies, journalists — no one was given the permission to penetrate the blockade.

And then the light brigade of the ruling party charged in, beat the wayward militants of Nandigram to a pulp and into submission. Those who had fled returned. However, the moment of their return saw a parallel and opposite incident. Houses were torched anew; those who were inside Nandigram were butchered in a massive celebration of revenge. At present, the Nandigram sky is reverberating with screams of the recent batch of refugees. The problem does not involve Singur and Nandigram alone. It is much more deep and serious. The repetition of mistakes has become a habit. Just consider this for a minute: it has only been a year-and-a-half since the Left Front has won a massive mandate. And what examples of arrogance and stupidity during this brief span. Come what may, we shall have control over every nook and corner of the state. The cricket board will get its chief elected by our dictates. If our candidate loses, we would say, “Evil power has won, we will chase him out.” We are an all-knowing government: from cricket, poetry, theatre, films to the magic of land acquisition — we know everything. Neither should anyone lecture us on the pros and cons of the nuclear deal, for we have won 235 seats. Jyoti Basu won more seats in 1987 but he was never heard to mouth such hubris.

Not only hubris, ineptitude also. Decades have passed shouting hoarse about universal education, and still Bengal is behind so many states. Money is flowing in from the Centre for employment generation schemes, there is zero administrative initiative. The hungry and the unemployed go hungry and unemployed. The Centre has arranged for wheat and rice. These are not even picked up so that they could be sent to the middle and lower classes through the public distribution system.

One can borrow S.D. Burman’s songto describe what the CPI(M) was in the state a few decades ago: “You are not what you were.” Ninety per cent of the party members have joined after 1977, 70 per cent after 1991. They do not know the history of sacrifices of the party. To them ideological commitment to revolution and socialism is simply a fading folktale. As the new ideology is development, many of them associated with the party are in the search for personal development. They have come to take, not to give. One efficient way to bag privileges is to flatter the masters. The party has turned into a wide open field of flatterers and court jesters. Moreover, there has been a rising dominance of ‘anti-socials’. For different reasons, every political party has to lend patronage to ‘anti-socials’, they remain in the background and are called into duty at urgent times. In the 1970s, these anti-socials had reached the top rung of the state Congress. I fear the same fate is awaiting the communist party.

I feel sorry for Jyoti Basu. Of the four ministerial colleagues who took the oath as members of the first Left Front government with him on June 21, 1977, only I am still alive. His current state — like imprisoned Shah Jahan — saddens me deeply. But my real concern lies elsewhere. Mamata Banerjee is the safest insurance for the current ruling party. Urban and rural masses may have become discontented with the Left Front, but whenever they imagine Banerjee’s ascent to power, the sheer terror of that possibility has made them vote for the Left Front. But if it comes to a situation that the hubris and ineptitude of leaders of the Left Front government frustrate them so much that they begin to think there is no difference really, it’s all tweedledum and tweedledee, that will be the real disaster. For notice the behaviour, patronage, programme, mode of action, speech of Mamata Banerjee — she personifies fascism. My ardent appeal to the central leadership of the party which I still love to think to be mine: please think it over. You shiver at the terror of Maoism. Will that shivering compel you to throw West Bengal into the gutter of fascism?

Posted in Article, Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

Commentary: Pain, protest and the Naxalite label

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

MAJUWARA, India, Nov. 20 BIJO FRANCIS Column: Incredible India Majuwara village, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is known for its forest-dwelling community, the Vanvasi. It is also infamous as a base for Naxalite insurgent activities within Uttar Pradesh and the neighboring state of Bihar.

The Naxalites, broadly, are the Indian version of Maoist rebels. If by chance anyone from Majuwara is questioned by law enforcement agencies anywhere in the state or in neighboring states, and if the person divulges that he is from Majuwara, he is immediately arrested and detained. It doesn’t matter whether the person has committed a crime or not. The villagers in Majuwara do not appear to be Naxalites. If one takes time to talk to them, they do not sound like insurgents either. If one asks about their concerns in life, they will say they would like to escape their tainted image and stop being branded as criminals.

If one persists and manages to establish rapport with these villagers, they will slowly divulge their side of the story, which explains why the entire village has been branded as Naxalite and anti-state. In Majuwara the government is represented by the local forest office and the police. Most of the villagers come from the low Vanvasi caste, which literally translated means “forest dweller.” The members of this community once depended upon the pristine forest that existed in the region.

There are huge buildings in Naugarh town, close to Majuwara, where the state government once planned such institutions as a forest research institute, a cattle research station and even a seed farm. These buildings were never occupied, however, since by the time the buildings were constructed, the forest had disappeared. The State Forest Department, charged with administering the forest, has “protected” and “preserved” the forest to such an extent that there is hardly any forest left in the region. Once the forest was gone, the fertile land opened up new opportunities for the once nomadic tribe to settle down and cultivate the cleared land. Poverty, malnourishment and deaths from starvation among the Vanvasi community came down considerably. But the one and only landlord in the village was opposed to this.

If the Vanvasis were allowed to have their own cultivable land, the landlord would lose the free labor which he and his forefathers had long enjoyed at the expense of the Vanvasis. The landlord, who had contacts within the Forest Department, sought assistance from the department to evict the “illegal occupants.” Department officials readily agreed and came down with full force upon the Vanvasis and their families. Huts were destroyed and the occupants chased away. The patches of land cultivated by the Vanvasis were eventually handed over to the landlord, not officially but by illegal means. Left with no forest, land or homes, the Vanvasis were pressed to accept forced labor on the landlord’s farms. Poverty, malnourishment and deaths from starvation returned in full force. All of this happened some three decades ago.

Since then two generations of Vanvasis have lived and died in Majuwara. In the meantime, a human rights group known as Gramya intervened in the village and started organizing the villagers to protest against the unfair practices forced upon them. The villagers managed to reclaim small patches of land to cultivate. The son of the earlier landlord, like his father, was furious and again sought assistance from the Forest Department, which was readily provided. Once again, homes were destroyed and people were thrown off the land. However, this time there was resistance. The human rights group, mustering support from similar groups in the state, organized a protest march, which later led to the Forest Department returning some land to the Vanvasis. Still, many of them lost their property and livelihoods. During the span of these years, the Naxalite movement began spreading in the region.

This had nothing to do with the Vanvasis in Majuwara. It had much to do with the lack of government attention to the region. For example, although concrete buildings were constructed for a public health center, the center is not functional as there is no staff. Virtually no government services are provided in Majuwara. The spillover of Maoists from neighboring Nepal, whenever there was trouble in that country, resulted in a number of Maoist cadres settling in and around Chandauli district near Majuwara. The remote area was an ideal location for the rebels due to its proximity to the completely lawless state of Bihar and the poor quality of local policing. Meanwhile governments changed, and local issues started getting attention beyond the borders of Majuwara village. Many more human rights groups joined the struggle. Some participated only on paper; some made money by selling projects that were supposed to benefit the people. Some joined hands with Gramya to fight for the rights of the Vanvasi.

The government also came under pressure and implemented the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 in the district. The implementation of the rural employment act has not been much of a success, however. The third generation of the landlord’s family still commands considerable authority in Majuwara. The act in theory is supposed to ensure a minimum of 100 days of work per year to unskilled adults in the rural community. With this intention, job cards are issued to those who qualify. However, the cards are not handed over to the applicants, the Vanvasis. Instead the landlord, who now also happens to be the village head, collects the cards from the government, keeps them in his custody and also collects the minimum wage that is due to the laborers. The minimum wage in Uttar Pradesh now is 100 rupees (US$2.50) per day. The landlord however only pays 50 rupees for the men and 35 for the women. Gramya came to know about this and asked the villagers to ask the landlord for their cards and demand proper payment. The landlord obviously refused. This time too, learning from his ancestors, the landlord sought help from the Forest Department and also the local police.

The landlord and government officers warned the Vanvasis that if they protested against the practices of the landlord they would be branded as Naxalites and arrested. The result is that anyone challenging the established feudal practices in the village is by default branded a Naxalite. Gramya has taken up this issue and is attempting to pursue it further with local authorities. Branding a person a Naxalite and detaining him makes things easier for the administration in Majuwara. No one dares to challenge the authorities about the detention since the moment one expresses concern, that person too could be branded a Naxalite and taken into custody. This is in fact what the landlord has done. Additionally, the landlord and his private mafia make use of the Naxalite image of the village to engage in illegal activities like the smuggling of whatever timber is left in the region. The Naxalite tag attached to the village has served the landlord’s interests very well, and also those of other criminals in the locality.

The losers in this game are the Vanvasis in Majuwara. They are pressed into bonded labor by a powerful landlord, backed up by the Forest Department and the local police. Yet for the malnourished Vanvasi men, women and children, even if they cry aloud when they are assaulted by the landlord or his men, it is enough to send them to jail. Crying aloud is not a crime in India. But as a form of expressing pain and protest, it is good enough reason to be sent to jail in Majuwara. Those who protest are Naxalites, and Naxalites go to jail. — (Bijo Francis is a human rights lawyer currently working with the Asian Legal Resource Center in Hong Kong. He is responsible for the South Asia desk at the center. Mr. Francis has practiced law for more than a decade and holds an advanced master’s degree in human rights law.)

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Maoist leader in police custody

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Cops nab dreaded Maoist

Bokaro, Nov. 20: A special task force of policemen here arrested the senior zonal commander of Maoists, Dhiren Da alias Mahru, at Chaura (Kasmar), 45km from here, today.

Wanted by the police of six states for 16 years, the rebel admitted having killed more than 106 persons, including two dozen policemen in 47 cases.

He was nabbed by the special task force led by inspector Vijay Kumar after his mobile number was intercepted by the deputy inspector-general of Bokaro Anurag Gupta, following a tip-off from a Maoist youth about Dhiren’s stay in Ranchi, Bundu, Sambalpur and Sundargarh recently.

Dhiren, who joined the red brigade at the age of 17, said: “I joined the organisation to change the social system which is being run by the bourgeoisie clan. No doubt I killed several innocents who came in our way. But I became highly successful in Orissa.I do not repent joining the red brigade.”

Cases which the Maoist spearheaded includes two dozen cases of police killings and arms loot of Kisinda, Naktali Dual, Jujumura, Jamunkira, Charmal and Sambalpur, in which more than two dozen policemen were killed.

He also led a Bagodar mass killing in 1998, Churchu policemen blast case in 2000, in which 13 policemen died and dozens of arms were looted rifle, killing of six policemen and loot of rifles at Barhi in 2000 and killing of four innocent persons at Ichak I and several others..

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1071121/asp/frontpage/story_8572786.asp

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West Bengal:Shop-owners as Maoist informers…

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Rajib Chatterjee

KOLKATA, Nov. 20: Petty bourgeois they may be, but their pettiness may have, for once, escaped the Maoists, who, if Intelligence officials are to be believed, are turning to them for help.

Shop-owners who run their business near police stations and police outposts in Maoist strongholds of the state have been acting as a source of information for the Communist Party of India-Maoist, a state Intelligence official said. Mr Sujit Sarkar, additional director general of police, state Intelligence Branch, said he was “aware of the new techniques” of this “information gathering system” of Maoists.

“We are also taking counter-measures that can’t be disclosed,” he said, adding “since we can’t take legal action against shopkeepers on the basis of Intelligence reports, some preventive measures have been taken.”

That the Maoists have developed such a method to glean information about police movement came to light after police interrogated a suspected Maoist, allegedly involved in planting a landmine near Jamtalgora camp of the CRPF at Belpahari a few days ago. He said militants operating in Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia are also using children working in shops adjacent to police stations and police outposts as their sources. “The shopkeepers use code language to transfer messages to insurgents from their mobile phones. Sometimes, shopkeepers give missed calls to mobile numbers of Maoist insurgents to inform them that a team has left the police station,” the official said. He said shopkeepers use code numbers to avoid arrest. Police are also keeping a watch on shopkeepers who act as sources of CPI-Maoists. Police have issued a warning to them, saying they would be interrogated or arrested if any links between them and Maoists are established.

The state Intelligence Branch has prepared a report on the counter-Intelligence network of the CPI-Maoist, said an officer posted at Midnapore West. The report revealed that insurgents are trying to get information about police movement from domestic helps of senior police officers posted in insurgency-hit areas of the three districts. The report on the counter-Intelligence network of CPI-Maoists has compelled the state police administration to improve its Intelligence network.

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=1&theme=&usrsess=1&id=177179

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Jharkhand Maoists issue CDs against Tata, Mittal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Ranchi, Nov 20 (IANS): Maoist rebels in Jharkhand have come out with audio and video CDs against the Tata and Mittal steel companies.

The audio CD has seven songs in Khotha, a tribal language. The first song calls the steel majors plunderers of the state’s resources.

“Mittal hai Jharkhand ke lutera, ekera ke bhaga debe re. Garib janata ke assu piye re Mitaal aur Tata ekere bhaga debe re. (Mittal is the plunderer of Jharkhand, we will force them to flee from the state. Tata and Mittal are drinking the tears of poor people, we will force them to flee from Jharkhand),” says the song.

Arcelor Mittal has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a 12 million tonnes steel plant in the state with an investment of Rs.400 billion. Tata Steel has been in the state for the last 100 years and is working on an expansion plan.

“Around 20,000 copies of this audio CD have been made and they will be circulated in rural parts of the state. The recording of the music album was done in Mumbai to keep it a secret,” a source close to the Maoists said.

“Hamara raj dekh ke, hamar satta dekh ke, shosak shashak ghabara gaile re. Mohe ugrawadi bana dele re. (The government is scared of our rule and administration, so they have branded us extremists),” says the second song.

“Our Jharkhand is beautiful, the land emits gold and the jungle is silver but people are poor. This is the land of Birsa Munda and Siddhu and Kandhu who sacrificed their lives for the state. We will take our right on the land and forests by fighting the repressive class,” says the third song.

The video CD shows the beauty of the state and how the government and industrial houses have spoilt it. The video CD also has a short film of 22 minutes, which shows how security personnel enter villages and harass people in the name of the anti-Maoist operations. It also shows how innocent people are branded members of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and booked by the police.

Sources said around 50,000 copies of the video CD have been prepared. The video CDs will be shown in villages of the state to garner the support of people and instigate villagers against the police and government.

http://www.kalingatimes.com/business_news/news1/20071120-jharkhand-maoist.htm

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Indian cops free pro-Nepal Maoist demonstrators after 27 hrs

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Kantipur Report

NEW DELHI, Nov 20 – The Haryana state police in India Tuesday afternoon freed 18 members of the Maoist affiliated Jan Adhikar Surakshya Samiti (JASS), including its chief T. P. Pathak, who were arrested on Monday night.

When the JASS activists were staging sit-ins and corner meetings in different parts of India demanding the immediate implementation of the motions passed by Nepal’s interim parliament seeking an immediate arrangement for a republic and a fully proportional representation system for CA elections, they were arrested.

When the agitators were going for dinner after the meeting, they were arrested by the police who came from Jind of Haryana, said Chairman of Delhi committee of the JASS, K P Pun.

They were under the custody of Jind district police.

“(The Indian police said) you are Nepali Maoists. Why did you hold a meeting here and what did you plan in the meeting,” Pathak Kantipur after his release after almost 27-hour detention. “They have freed us after registering our details. They have said that we could be re-arrested any time.”

Pathak added that the Indian police even confiscated their cell phone sets.

He further said that one of the Indian police officer told them that they were arrested following an order from the “higher-up” authority.

The JASS has been organising various campaigns in different parts of India to press for the enforcement of the motions in Nepal.

http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=128837

Posted in Haryana | 1 Comment »