Lalgarh

Where injustice prevails, Rebellion is justice!

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Lalgarh: Cop boycott call in Salboni

Posted by Admin on December 16, 2009

OUR CORRESPONDENT

Salboni, Dec. 14: Traders of a Salboni bazaar have decided to start a “social boycott” of the joint forces after some of the personnel allegedly ransacked shops following a blast in which a jawan was injured.

The boycott means shops in Pirakata, about 20km from Lalgarh, will not sell provisions to the personnel.

Such a move had forced police to the brink of starvation and pull out a camp from Kalaimuri in April, when the Lalgarh agitation was at its peak. Aided by Maoists, the villagers demolished the camp after the police left. They also blocked the supply of essentials to the camp in Ramgarh in May.

Food may not be a problem now because the roads, dug up during the Maoist-backed agitation, have been repaired. But, at a time the police are desperate to win back villagers’ confidence, the alleged ransacking of shops spells a public relations disaster.

West Midnapore police chief Manoj Verma denied any ransacking.

But stationery shop owner Debashis Ghosh had a differ- ent story to tell. “The police were brought here to maintain law and order but they are doing just the opposite. We won’t sell any item to them,” he said.

The security forces were engaged in a gun battle with Maoists in Pirakata this evening. It continued intermittently from 5pm to 9pm.

Around 8.30pm, supporters of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities ransacked the local CPM office.

Tea stall owner Pintu Manna said the jawans accused the villagers of being in cahoots with the rebels while ransacking the shops yesterday.

Ghosh alleged that 20 shops were targeted because they had refused to shut down after the jawan was injured.

Verma said the police had asked them to down shutters fearing an encounter with the Maoists. “That led to a verbal spat. But it’s not true that shops were ransacked.”

Source: The Telegraph

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091215/jsp/bengal/story_11865007.jsp

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PCAPA men ‘picked up’ by joint forces go missing, cops deny arresting them

Posted by Admin on December 16, 2009

Two activists of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), who were reportedly picked up by joint forces from their Lalgarh homes on December 6, have been reported missing even as the police deny having arrested them. Jhargram Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ulganathan P has directed the IC of Lalgarh police station to furnish a report mentioning the whereabouts of the two — Raju Adak and Jaideb Bera.

Kanika Adak, wife of Raju, and Anjali Bera, wife of Jaideb, have jointly filed a miscellaneous petition with the Jhargram Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ulganathan P, claiming that Raju and Jaideb have not been booked in any case.

Kaushik Sinha, Kanika’s lawyer, said: “On December 6, the joint forces picked up Raju from Jirakhuli and Jaideb from Jirapara. Around 16 persons were picked up from the area of which 14 were released. There is, however, no news on Raju and Jaideb.”

Superintendent of Police, West Midnapore, Manoj Verma, said: “The joint forces did not arrest anybody from Jirapara in Lalgarh on December 6. Raju and Jaideb are not in our custody.”

Kanika, however, disagrees with the police version. “Around 75-80 police personnel entered our village around 1 am on December 6 and arrested my husband. The following day when I went to the Lalgrah police station, they told me that Raju has been detained and would be released after interrogation.”

She added: “Ten days have passed since, but they have neither released Raju nor produced him in court. I am completely in the dark about his whereabouts.”

The SDM admitted that he has not received any report on the matter. “According to rules, if the police arrest anybody from the area falling under my jurisdiction, they need to intimate me. In this case, I was not informed. The matter has been brought to my notice and I have asked the IC to furnish a report by December 24,” said the SDM.

The PCAPA, meanwhile, has threatened to resort to violence if the duo is not tracked within a week. “There are several witnesses who will speak in court on how Raju and Jaideb were dragged out of their homes by the joint forces and arrested. We have information that they were handed over to the CPM cadres. If the police cannot tell us about their whereabouts in a week, we will use arms against the officials and nobody will stop us.” IE

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Chhattisgarh Groups Plan Opposition to Operation Green Hunt

Posted by Admin on December 15, 2009

Source: Revolution in South Asia Posted by Ka Frank on December 15, 2009

Results of Salwa Judum, precursor to Operation Green Hunt

Campaign for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh

For the People’s Rightto Say No to Displacement and Tribal Genocide and to Demandthe Right to Live with Justice and Peace

Raipur/Dantewada, December 1, 2009

Dear Friends,

You are aware that the tribals of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh State are continuously facing large-scale displacement from their homes, fields and forests as well as a genocide in the last five years. The first aggressive onslaught was by the state sponsored vigilante group called the Salwa Judum. In the last five months, the people of this region are victims of a war called Operation Green Hunt. Paramilitary troops along with the state armed police deployed in very large numbers by the Central and the state governments are carrying out operations against the tribals in the name of curbing Maoists and reclaiming territories from them.

In order to build public opinion and to support the tribal people in their demand to stop this displacement and genocide and to reclaim their right to live with justice and peace, several community based and people’s organisations, union and human rights groups from Chhattisgarh and outside are planning a series of activities in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.

This letter is being sent to you so that you can block the dates between 14 December 2009 and 7 January 2010 and come to Dantewada in support of tribal people. The list of events and dates are as follows:

1. Padyatra: 14 December to 26 December 2009

A padyatra [journey on foot] from Nendra village to Dantewada town via Lingagiri is being organised that will pass through more than 17 villages. This padyatra will be led by Himanshu Kumar of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram and this group of approximately 40 persons will mainly consist of students, journalists and activists from all over the country. The main objective is to restore a sense of confidence amongst the tribals who are living in acute fear due to the onslaught of the security forces. The padyatris will also document the atrocities that the tribals have been subjected to including the situation of hunger, food insecurity, lack of health and educational facilities and other forms of deprivation faced due to the ongoing displacement and war in the region.

2. Dantewada Satyagrah: 25 December 2009 to 5 January 2010

Tribal people from all over Dantewada and other regions of Chhattisgarh will launch a Satyagrah [active non-violent resistance] on 25 December 2009 which will have the support of tribals from Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, among other states. We are hoping that large groups of people from these states and from all National Networks, unions and organisations working on diverse people’s issues will respond to this call and join in the Satyagrah for some of these days. The objective of the Satyagrah is to bring together concerned people from all over the country to demand in one voice an end to displacement of people and to the war that is underway in this region.

A Raipur assistance group set up for the Satyagrah will be headed by Shri Rajendra Sail of the PUCL to help people coming to join the Satyagrah from the North, East and West India as well as from other parts of Chhattigarh. Raipur is situated on the Mumbai-Kolkata route and is well connected by train from most parts of the country. Dantewada is situated 400 kms. from Raipur and direct buses are available between the two towns through the day and night that take about 12 hours each way

People coming from the South can take train or bus from Vishakhapatnam or bus from Hyderabad. The distance is 500 kms. from Hyderabad via Bhadrachalam and takes about 16 hours.

3. Jan Sunwai: 6-7 January 2010 (the date may be advanced or postponed by a day)

The Satyagrah will culminate with a Jan Sunwai [public meeting with
a panel of experts] where tribal residents of this region will share their experiences of the Salwa Judum, Operation Green Hunt and their struggle for justice. This Jan Sunwai will be witnessed by a panel of ex-justices, senior activists from various people’s movements, ex-bureaucrats and policemen, journalists and intellectuals including those from among the tribals.

This letter is a request to you and your group/organisation to begin preparation for your participation in the series of events given above.

Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Chhattisgarh), Chhattisgarh Visthapan Virodhi Manch, Chhattigarh Mukti Morcha, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha – Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Human Rights Law Network (Chhattisgarh), National Alliance of People’s Movements, Chhattisgarh Mahila Jagriti Sangathan, Chhattisgarh Bal Shramik Sangathan, Gram Sabha Parishad, Tribal Welfare Society, and others (endorsments by other organisations are awaited)

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Orissa: Mining company’s scare tactics against human rights NGO

Posted by Admin on December 15, 2009

There have been repeated protests against Vedanta's planned mine.There have been repeated protests against Vedanta’s planned mine.
© Satyabady Naik

Metals giant Vedanta Resources’ Indian subsidiary has launched an unprecedented attack on Survival International, apparently to drive its researchers out of an area where the company is planning to mine.

The mining company has falsely accused Survival of ‘forcedly interacting’ with the Dongria Kondh tribe who live around the area earmarked for mining, and of causing ‘unrest.’ Vedanta has prompted a police investigation into Survival, with officers making a late night visit to a hotel where they believed Survival researchers were staying.

Survival researchers were in the Niyamgiri area of Orissa, east India, to talk with members of the Dongria Kondh community whose future is threatened by a proposed Vedanta mine on their sacred mountain.

Pavan Kaushik, Vedanta Group’s head of corporate communications, wrote to journalists alleging that ‘foreign NGOs including Survival International… are provoking innocent tribal’s to defame the government and the company’. In the letter, he attacked ‘foreigners’ for ‘freely moving in the region’ and alleged that they were circulating ‘false information’. The letter also invites journalists to contact the regional Superintendent of Police, who is named as available for interview.

In September the British government ruled that Vedanta had repeatedly failed to respect the human rights of the Dongria Kondh, demanding a change in the company’s behaviour. The government asked Survival to report back on what steps Vedanta had taken to implement these ‘essential’ changes before the end of the year.

Gordon Bennett, a London barrister who represented the Kalahari Bushmen in their historic win over the Botswana government, has been acting on behalf of the Dongria Kondh in their complaint over Vedanta’s behaviour, and accompanied the Survival researchers.

He said today, ‘We have not circulated any false information about Vedanta’s mining activities. All the information we have given the Dongria has been culled from Vedanta’s own mining plan, which it has never troubled to discuss with the Dongria itself. We have not ‘forcedly interacted’ with the Dongrias: on the contrary we have been warmly welcomed by all those we have been able to meet.

‘We have not provoked ‘innocent tribals’ to defame either the government or Vedanta. It is true to say however that feelings run high in Niyamgiri and that many Dongria regard Vedanta with suspicion and distrust. They believe that their way of life is under serious threat.

‘We have done nothing to create ‘misunderstanding’. It is Vedanta which has done this, both by its refusal to meet with us, and more importantly by its repeated failure either to consult the Dongria about its plans for their sacred hills, or to pay any regard to their views.’

He added, ‘If Vedanta has nothing to hide, it is difficult to understand why it has gone out of its way to obstruct our inquiries. Their press release is entirely without foundation.’

Survival researcher Dr. Jo Woodman is available for interview in India on +91 9953 409 060. For other media enquiries please contact Miriam Ross on +(44) (0)20 7687 8734 or mr

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No news from Narayanpatna

Posted by Admin on December 15, 2009

Source: Radical Notes Posted by Satyabrata December 15, 2009 at 12:43 am in India, Media, Orissa, State Terrorism

“The fact is people have lost the fear of the law because they feel they can get away with anything. My job is to take hard police action against the Naxals. The fear of the law is to be ingrained in the people.”

This is how one of the leading police officers in Chhattisgarh defined his task. All of us understand what constitutes the mechanism of ingraining the fear so that it becomes part of the people’s collective unconscious for a long time to come. It has been practiced in Kashmir, in the Northeast, in Chhattisgarh among many other places, and now in Orissa.

The State has dealt with the Narayanpatna movement in Orissa too in a most brutal, yet tactful, manner so that the possibilities inherent in it are not realized, and its brutal suppression becomes a reminder lesson for others on what constitutes the legitimate within the evolving political economy in India.

As “a single spark can start a prairie fire”, the state apparatuses are not just busy beating the “spark” down, they are, in fact, trying to hide it or corrupt the vision of the beholders, so that the spark does not seem to be a spark. Even liberal fact finding teams are not allowed to enter the Narayanpatna block of Koraput. The bitter experience of the all-women fact finding team that consisted of prominent civil rights activists from all over India is only symbolic of how brutal the State can become when the question is of safeguarding the interests of capital and its agencies.

It would not be fallacious to say that the situation in Narayanpatna is a clear manifestation of the fascist conjuncture of capitalist development in India. We find a remarkable complementarity between the three wings of the Indian state and its coercive and consensual/ideological apparatuses in maintaining the rhyme and reason of political economic developments. The synergy among various levels of political and bureaucratic institutions and between the state’s repressive components (the local police, the cobra battalions, and civilian stormtroopers like salwa judum in Chhattisgarh) and the Fourth Estate of the hegemonic forces is unprecedented. Anybody who has attempted to organize press conferences in Raipur (the capital of Chhattisgarh) to highlight incidences of state repression is witness to mafia media men shouting at the organisers. All these form the fascio (a bundle of sticks or rods) by which the Indian state rules.

Today, we see entry into Narayanpatna virtually impossible. The police, local exploiters and the private militiamen whom the women’s fact finding team confronted on the 9th of December guard the very entrance of the area. To complement this, the local and to an extent the national media has been playing its role most sincerely projecting the movement as an expression of uncivilized violence, while remaining unabashedly antipathetic to the cause and scope of the movement. When fact finding teams have attempted to unravel the truth, what has happened is in front of our eyes. Hence, we have no news from inside Narayanpatna, except a few statements of the police present there – regarding how many are held or killed etc.

The height of brutality that must be going on in Narayanpatna can only be imagined from what treatment a women’s fact finding team received in the hands of ‘the armed bodies of men’ even after taking the requisite permission from the local authorities to enter the area. Abused and beaten came back a team of civil dignitaries with sincere intentions of finding the ‘neutral’ truth.

The media reports that Nachika Linga, leader of CMAS, who is now in the most wanted list of the government is under the shelter of the ‘Maoists’. It is necessary here to pontificate at the apathy of the media towards any move that has been taken in Bhubaneswar (the capital of Orissa) to empathise with the Narayanpatna movement. About 100 people from various organizations on the 10th of December silently demonstrated in the city’s Master Canteen Square against the issuing of the order to arrest Nachika Linga. This was something that could have been sublime to the media but what instead caught the media’s eyes is the probable alliance of Nachika with the ‘Maoists’. (However, if at all Nachika Linga is protected by the Maoists today, this is more a comment on India’s rule of law and those who see possibilities within it – it proves that the ‘democratic’ voices having faith in the present system are not able to protect people’s self-rule efforts).

Today, the State has militarized the democratic movement of the tribals and landless. To tackle the movement of the landless and the near-landless inside Narayanpatna, there is an already existing State sponsored militia. It is important to clarify that this is a well thought out strategy of the state, by which it demarcates the “limits of legitimation” for any popular collective action. And the state understands that the people have crossed those limits in Narayanpatna.

So war zones are being defined and the “national” media is fast becoming a “nationalist” media – a propaganda machinery to fight the influence of “aggressors”. However, this time, the aggression is from within – the “cattle class” which was bred to be slaughtered threatens the “nation” of the first class. The media in India today gives expressions to the anxieties of the first class, packaging its hallucinations as facts and news reports.

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Dantewada Padayatra – Appeal to all activists

Posted by Admin on December 13, 2009

Source: Sanhati

THERE IS NO STOPPING THE DANTEWADA PADYATRA
IT WILL TAKE PLACE AS PLANNED
APPEAL TO ALL ACTIVISTS TO GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER

JOIN THE PADYATRA FROM 14TH TO 26TH DEC. 09

JOIN THE SATYAGRAH FROM 25th DEC. ‘09

JOIN THE JAN SUNWAI, 6-7 JAN. ‘10

Dear Friends,

Himanshuji and other friends of Dantewada have brought to our notice the latest attacks of the Chhattisgarh Police and the State Government on the VCA. Many of us are aware that on the 10th of December, ‘09 on Human Rights Day, Kopa, a VCA tribal activist, and Alban who is also a tribal and a human rights lawyer from HRLN, were both picked up, illegally detained and badly beaten. Alban was released next day but Kopa was arrested on charges of being involved in the murder of Punam Honga who was abducted by Maoists on June 2nd and later his body was found in a mutilated condition.

Kopa being charged for the murder of Punam Honga is absolutely rubbish. This arrest is part of the same series of arrests as was of Binayak in 2007, Ajay TG in 2008, Sukhanth in July, 2009 and now before the end of the year Kopa. The point is only one. If you disagree with the Chhattisgarh Government and try putting across another point of view then you will be removed from the scene. This is Chhattisgarh. And the Government of India ? It will watch in silence.

Kopa and the his work with the VCA

It is also very important to know that Kopa has spent more than 13 years of his life with the VCA. He is a brilliant singer and orator. Before joining VCA, he was with the Gayatri mission where he motivated people through his songs to stop drinking alcohol. It was his singer’s voice which got him a job in VCA where he not only continued to spread his anti liquor message, but now he also started organising kala jathas. On foot he and other workers started mobilising people to demand entitlements related to their Right to Food and Health and saving and reclaiming their Natural Resources. A very effective worker, he was responsible for putting together more than 750 community workers on these issues and more than forty main trainers in the district of Dantewada and Bijapur which is the work area of the VCA.

Kopa became uncomfortable for the administration and police since 2008. He took the courageous step of initiating the resettlement and rehabilitation work as per Supreme Court order of all those villagers who had left their villages due to the atrocities of the Salwa Judum and SPOs. He was the Rehabilitation coordinator of VCA. It was not just this work, he also exposed the Matwara massacre of 18th March, 2008 where three tribals were brutally killed and their bodies mutilated in a salwa judum camp. Kopa helped the families initiate legal proceedings in the High Court. He also got the widows of the three to file a complaint in the police station, which never got converted to an FIR.

He also exposed the Singaram massacre of 2009, where four girls were raped and murdered. Fifteen men were also murdered in this episode. Kopa got the families to initiate legal proceedings in the High Court and also got them to file complaints in the local police station. In 2009, he also exposed and took cudgels with the district administration regarding corruption in NREGA, including non-payment of wages to tribals. He was constantly fighting for people’s rights to get their share of PDS from ration shops, the only agency of the Government existing in the villages. Otherwise it is only the police and security forces.


The abduction of Nagesh Jhadi and Punam Honga, the 2nd June incident

Please recall that on the 2nd of June when Nagesh Jhadi and Kopa were returning from the Basaguda camp in Dantewada, their motorbike was stopped and Nagesh Jhadi the Panchayat secretary of Mallepalli was picked up by the Maoists. Kopa ran around chasing the abductors in the forest. He was unaware that Punam Honga (former Sarpanch), who was traveling in a mini truck, had been picked up later by the Maoists. Kopa decided to lodge a complaint about the abduction of Nagesh soon after, but then he was harassed by the SPOs and detained at the police station. So the next day Himanshuji went and brought Kopa out and they both decided to make their own enquiries about Nagesh’s abduction in the forest areas. But they were then led into a trap at Lingagiri by the SPOs, from where they managed to escape and drove hundred kilometres through forest areas and got out into the Bhadrachalam side of the forest where with the support of the late Sh. Balgopal of HRF, Himanshu addressed a press conference on the whole episode ( please see attachement- Himanshu’s statement from Bhadrachalam). We also know that Kopa had nothing to do with either the abduction of Nagesh Jhadi (he was released later) or the abduction and killing of Punam Honga, even then he had said that his life was in danger as he was being targeted for his work in exposing the Matwada and Singaram massacres and in trying to ensure justice to the families of those killed. In August, ‘09 too Kopa was picked up and beaten up by the SPOs. See attachment of his interview published in Hari Bhoomi saying that his life was in danger.

On 20th October, ‘09 Kopa, while addressing the meeting of the Citizen’s Initiative for Peace at Constitution Club in New Delhi, said that his life was in danger and that he would be arrested for his work.


Why the Arrest of Kopa now? IS Himanshu going to be the next one?

The arrest of Kopa has been made just five days before the padyatra that was to be undertaken under the leadership of Himanshu. The timing of the arrest completely gives away the Government’s motives. It is clear the Government does not want the padyatra to happen. They do not want the misdemeanours of the police, CRPFand other security forces to be exposed which the yatra will do as it will bring into the eyes of the public stories of people from areas where nobody has gone till now.

They also want to put the fear in the tribals of Dantewada that their fate may be the same as Kopa and Sukhnath if they connect with VCA. It is clearly an effort of trying to destroy the VCA completely. They felt that after the demolition, the VCA would shut up. But the VCA reorganised itself in Dantewada, the district headquarters. So the next attack was the arrest of Sukhnath on 30th July, ‘09, who they arrested under CSPSA on flimsy charges. The police thought that now the activists would lie low, but they were proved wrong. Nothing seemed to abate the resolve of the VCA in its endeavour to ensure justice to the people, so when the operation Green Hunt began in the forest areas of Dantewada, Himanshuji and his workers took the message all over the country. They facilitated the entry of groups and journalists to these areas who came for fact finding. They traveled thousands of miles to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai and spoke to thousands to people and built a public opinion on stopping the ongoing war and potential genocide. They provided evidence of police and SPO atrocities by bringing the victims of these attacks to the fore. Media covered all this. Under the pressure of the public opinion thus generated, even the Home Minister P Chidambaram had to meet Himanshu and agreed to come to Dantewada if a public hearing got organised. To top it all, the Supreme Court also issued notices when a case got filed there on the basis of the testimonies of the victims of the police operation.

This development and the announcement of the Padyatra, Satyagraha and Jan Sunwai was the last straw. Hence Kopa was picked up on false charges of committing murder and supporting Naxalites.

And now the next person on the radar of the police and the SPOS is Himanshu. A rally of Salwa Judum and SPOs, taken out on the 10th of December had as its main slogans ‘Himanshu ko maro”, ‘Himanshu bhagao, Bastar bachao’, ‘VCA ke karyakarta bhagao, Dantewada Bachao’ and “maro salon ko”.

Himanshuji informed me on the 12th morning that between 11th and 12th, the Thana Incharge of Dantewada sent police 6 times and also came himself investigating yet another false story that a jeep had left Himanshu’s house in the evening at 6 pm on the 11th and some of the persons in the jeep had tried to abduct one SPO who was on the road. The Thana incharge claimed that the SPO escaped under the pretext of wanting to urinate. On charges of attempt to abduction, this investigation is being carried out.

The latest incident of the Collector of Dantewada getting the Danteshwari Sarwajanik Dharmashala to return the money that VCA had deposited for booking rooms during the Satyagraha period, clearly shows that the State will not allow any other voice to express itself.

So friends, there is a clear cut war in Chhattisgarh. Whoever speaks out against this will be cleared from the scene.

This is a wake up call for all of us.

Come support the Padyatra, Satyagrah and the Jan Sunwai!!! See the attached announcement for details.

You can send volunteers, blankets, food and money and, of course, above all come to Dantewada!! You can send your Cheques or Demand Drafts to Vanvasi Chetna Ashram payable at Dantewada. ( see details below.)

Please circulate this message to others.

With regards

Kavita Srivastava

(PUCL, National Secretaty)

1. Name and address of the bank : State Bank of India

Dantewada (C.G.)

2. Bank A/C No. : 10753239968

3. Bank A/C Name : Vanvasi Chetna Ashram

4. Branch Code No. : 0545

5. IFS Code : SBIN0000545

6. MICR : 494002006

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ALL-INDIA CONVENTION AGAINST SEZ, LAND-GRABBING & DISPLACEMENT

Posted by Admin on December 13, 2009

ALL-INDIA CONVENTION
AGAINST SEZ, LAND-GRABBING & DISPLACEMENT

Date: 13 December 2009
Time: 10am – 8pm

Venue: Garhwal Bhavan, Panchkuyan Road
(next to Jhandewalan Metro Station, near Paharganj),
New Delhi

Organised by:
"ALL INDIA CO-ORDINATION OF MOVEMENTS AGAINST SEZ, LAND-GRABBING AND DISPLACEMENT",

an initiative which has been formed to co-ordinate the various peoples’ movements on these issues all over India.

Representatives from anti-SEZ movements of Kalinganagar, anti-POSCO, Raigad, Bhayandar, anti-DOW in Maharashtra, Singur, Nandigram, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and others, Struggling organisations and eminent intellectuals like Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty, Gautam Navalakha, Anand Swaroop Verma and others will participate in and address the convention.

Demands:

1. Scrap the SEZ Act of 2005 and all related state SEZ acts.
2. Immediately stop all SEZ projects and return the acquired lands to the farmers.
3. Stop the anti-people land-grabbing and plundering of natural resources.

4. Fight against globalization.
5. Withdraw all cases against activists of anti-SEZ movements.

Any struggling organisation or individual who are in agreement with these common minimum points are invited to be a part of this initiative to intensify the struggle.

The functioning of the committee would be based on the following policies:

1. A basic perspective towards the SEZ and land-grab policies as anti-people tools of exploitation.
2. Coordination of the various struggles against SEZs and land acquisition going on in various parts of the country.
3. Compensation/rehabilitation would not be accepted as an objective of anti-SEZ movements.
4. Non-participation of NGOs in the committee.

5. Participation of all organizations, movements and individuals engaged in anti-SEZ and anti-landgrab struggles based on the five points of common minimum understanding and the above policies for the functioning of the committee.

Preparatory committee:

1. Justice P.B. Sawant (Convenor) (Maharashtra)
2. Justice Kolsepatil (Maharashtra)
3. Vilas Sonawane (Coordinator) (Maharashtra)
4. Y. S. Rao (Andhra Pradesh)
5. Abhay Sahoo (Orissa)
6. Prashanta Paikray (Orissa)
7. Bhalchandra Sadangi (Orissa)

8. Sheomangal Siddhantkar (Delhi)
9. Chandrashekar (Karnataka)
10. Amitabha Bhattacharya (West Bengal)
11. Kushal Debnath (West Bengal)
12. Alik Chakrabarty (West Bengal)
13. Partho Sarothi Ray (West Bengal)

Nayanjyoti, Amit (9873057637), Arya(9873887667)

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Rally Against War on People (December 17, 2009)

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2009

Rally Against War on People
from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street
11 am, 17th December 2009,
New Delhi

Dear friends,

For a vast majority of the people of our country, these are indeed difficult times. It is not just because the prices of every commodity in the market is rising sky high, not even because jobs are being cut and workers are facing retrenchment, also not because health care and education are increasingly going out of reach of the man on the street. In this period of an all-encompassing crisis, when a vast majority of the people in the cities and villages of this country are struggling to procure even the basic necessities of life and to make the ends meet, a greater and more immediate crisis is looming large on a section of the most oppressed people of this country: the entire population of central and eastern India. This crisis is forced upon them because the Indian government led by Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram has declared war on the people, a war not against any external enemy, but against our own people. This war however is not going to be confined to the forested and far-off adivasi regions alone. It will engulf the entire country and all its inhabitants, including each one of us. In a desperate attempt to wriggle itself and the big corporations out of the present economic crisis which has engulfed the entire capitalist world and their dependent economies, the Indian government is at war against the poorest and most exploited of our people, a war that we must make all efforts to stop.

A war against the people: As a result of the government’s war preparations, a civil war situation is building up in the regions of central and eastern India inhabited primarily by the adivasis which include Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal and adjoining areas. After Kashmir and North East, where the Indian government has been fighting the nationality movements for decades, it is now opening its third war front. The central government is drawing its troops from Kashmir and the North East for deployment in the regions where Operation Green Hunt is presently going on. More than 100,000 soldiers of the Indian security forces are already operating in these regions, and these forces are being increased to 2,50,000. Central paramilitary forces such as CRPF, IRB, ITBP, CISF, along with Grey Hounds, CoBRA and other special forces, state police and Special Police Officers, state-sponsored vigilante gangs like Salwa Judum, Sendra, Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, Tritiya Prastuti Samiti, Harmad Vahini, Sunlight Sena etc., all are being pitted against the adivasi people. The special units of the army such as the Rashtriya Rifles are being readied for deployment, air force helicopters and drone surveillance aircrafts are brought in to strengthen the war operations. The government is taking help of intelligence inputs from US defense satellites too, as was revealed during the joint paramilitary operations in Lalgarh, West Bengal. It is worth noting that many teams of US security establishment secretly visited Chhattisgarh in order to assess and assist in the government’s war preparations. Draconian laws like the UAPA, NSA, Chhattisgarh Public Securities Act etc. has been put in place to silence all voices of resistance and dissent and to give the security forces a license to kill without impunity, as AFSPA has been used in Kashmir and North East. This is in addition to the state’s routine acts of extra-legal murders through fake encounters and custodial killings, of using torture, rape and arson as means to crush the people’s resistance against exploitation and repression in all these regions. The results of these acts by the government have already started to take its toll.

The war has begun: After the war was started on 1st November this year, the casualty among the people is escalating by each passing day, as grows the number of burnt villages, persons displaced, injured or arrested, as per the sporadic news from the war zone that through the media. By mid-November, more than 12 villages have been completely ravaged, their inhabitants forced to take shelter deep in the forests. Two separate incidents of mass killings took place in Dandakaranya and one in Orissa, in which more than 17 adivasis were murdered by the government’s armed forces. There are reports that thousands of adivasis are abandoning their houses in Chhattisgarh and migrating to adjoining Andhra Pradesh after the Operation Green Hunt was launched. The renewed offensive by the joint forces in Lalgarh too has left hundreds of protesting adivasis homeless. The brutalities of the government forces are increasing by every passing day as can also be seen in Narayanpatna, Orissa. Last month, adivasi peasants demonstrating for land rights were fired at by the police killing two of their leaders. Seventy two people were arrested on cooked-up charges. Cantonments are being built and school buildings are being used to station Security Forces in these areas. Likewise, three districts in UP in adjoining Allahabad have been declared ‘Naxal-infested’, and a meeting of peasants and workers was disallowed by the government. No open meeting is now allowed in this region. And these are only two examples of state terror unleashed during the present war. Given these developments, the number of dead and injured people along with the displaced and destroyed villages will only mount in the coming weeks if the Indian government does not call for an immediate halt to this military offensive against the people, against our fellow citizens. And the government is not going to stop this war on its own, it can only be stopped by building up a strong people’s resistance against it.

Whose war and against whom? The declared aim of this war is to ‘re-establish the sovereign rule of the Indian state’ by clearing off these areas from the Naxalites or Maoists. However, this war is being fought by the Indian government at the behest of the corporates and for their benefit, targeting the life and livelihood of lakhs of adivasis. The worldwide imperialist economy presently faces its most severe crisis after 1929. The military-industrial complex, which includes multinational and Indian big business interests, is looking for wars that have the potential to artificially generate the much needed demand for their products in a crisis-ridden market. Moreover, this war is an attempt to forcibly displace the adivasis from their ancestral homeland and hand over their land and forests to the multinational and Indian corporations who will then plunder the rich natural resources. One of the main proponents of this war on people is Manmohan Singh, who was an economist with the World Bank controlled by US imperialism before he joined active politics. Till the day of becoming the finance minister of the UPA government, P Chidambaram was a member of the Board of Directors in Vedanta, the British mining multinational. He was also the lawyer of the notorious US electricity corporation, Enron. Both Singh and Chidambaram have been die-hard advocates of foreign investment to the country, the two foremost agents of US imperialism in the country. Three years back in June 2006, the prime minister told the parliament that ‘the environment for foreign investment is going to be severely affected if left-wing extremism continues to grow and expand in the mineral-rich regions of the country’. This makes it very clear in whose interest the government is waging this war. This at the same time his war is to crush all forms of resistance against the policies of the government. In the pretext of war, the government has imposed an undeclared emergency, and is curbing the democratic rights of the citizens guaranteed by the Constitution. Right to free speech and opinion is restricted or is denied outright, the media is being muffled, bribed and censored to ensure that only the government’s version gets publicity. A situation already exists in many parts of the country where any protest or dissent against government policies is branded as anti-national or ‘against the national interests’, where all forms of resistance is termed as ‘Naxalism’ or ‘Maoist’, and persecuted.

After ‘liberalisation’ in 1991, and particularly from the year 2001 there has been a scramble among various state governments to outsmart one another in inviting foreign investors and big business houses of the country to their respective states, and to conclude hundreds of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). In Jharkhand itself, more than 100 MoUs were signed by the state government with Mittal, Jindal, Tata, RioTinto and other foreign and Indian big corporations in the last nine years involving mining projects, steel and aluminum plants, electricity plants, dams, and so on. In Orissa too, companies like Vedanta, POSCO, RioTinto, Tata, Hindalco, Jindal and Mittal are eyeing for the unexplored natural resources. The BJP government in Chhattisgarh has already concluded many agreements with big corporations to set up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the mining sector. In these three states alone, agreements worth Rs.873,896 crores of investment in various projects have been concluded till September 2009. In addition, the people of Bengal, Maharashtra, etc. too are facing the forceful acquisition of land, leading to an outburst of people’s anger and protests. There are many more MoUs, the information of which the government has been hiding from public view.

The most oppressed of our people and their resources are the targets of this war: Exploited and dispossessed continually by the feudal forces as well as by British colonialism, the adivasis who have been systematically robbed of their natural resources, have continued to pay the heaviest price for ‘national interest’ even in the post-1947 period. They have been forced to give up their land and forests for big projects, be it for mining or for big dams. Even though constituting about 10 percent of the country’s population, the adivasis constitute more than 40 percent of the 5 crore people displaced by such projects in the last six decades. The rich of the country have become richer by plundering the adivasi land, who themselves have remained the poorest of people. They are among the people who come to our towns, build our houses, construct your metro, work on our roads… people who paid with their land, homes and lives for the benefit of a few. Theirs are the land where our steel, coal, electricity comes from, but has got nothing in return. The rulers have been mindlessly selling away the most precious minerals of the country to the MNCs to extract super-profits at a time when minerals have become scarce anywhere in the world. The government intensified its onslaught on the people soon after the agreements and MoUs were concluded, and the adivasis in particular subsequently became the targets of state terror.

The unleashing of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh have left hundreds of adivasis dead, raped and mutilated, thousands of houses burnt, and more than seven hundred villages displaced. Children were decapitated, dead bodies of adivasi villagers were mutilated and hung from trees, rape and violence on women was used as a means of state repression. Around three lakh adivasis were forced to leave their villages, of which more than fifty thousand were forcibly kept in Salwa Judum camps. As a recent government report admits, the first of these police camps that came up in Chattishgarh were financed by Essar and Tata. Those who have refused to be herded into these camps or give up their land are being all termed as ‘Naxalites’, and the Operation Green Hunt launched against them. The peasants who are largely dependent on land, forests and rivers for their livelihood, particularly the adivasis, have refused to give up their resources for corporate plunder. Inheritors of a glorious legacy of uncompromising anti-colonial struggles, the adivasi masses have organized themselves against age-old exploitation and oppression, against forcible land-acquisition for big projects, and for defending their lives and livelihood. Both unarmed and armed, the resistance movements of the people have been able to beat back the brutal repression of the state, be in the form of police-paramilitary or the Salwa Judum-Harmad. The present war is an intensification of the offensive by the government which has so far failed to crush the people. Though the state is presently targeting the adivasi-inhabited regions for its war offensive, this war is not against the adivasis alone. It is against all the oppressed people who have chosen the path of resistance. Nor is it only against the Maoists and or all Naxalites, but is against any and every people’s movement and organization that questions or challenges the imperialist-dictated policies of the government at the centre or the state.

All the democratic and progressive forces of the country must come together to resist this war. We need to demand that the Indian government must stop this war on people, followed by an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its armed forces from these regions. We must demand that all the MoUs and agreements with foreign multinationals and Indian corporations for the plunder of natural resources of the people must be scrapped, and the land forcibly acquired for such projects must be restored to their rightful owners. The rights of the people over land and forests must also be acknowledged.

Participate in large numbers in the RALLY AGAINST WAR ON PEOPLE on 17th Dec. 2009 from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street (Assemble at Ramlila Maidan, 11 am).

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Indian media must wake up to violence committed by the state

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2009

The Asian Human Rights Commission says in a statement:

The existence of independent and strong media is a prerequisite for the working of a free and just society that governs itself by the rule of law. The role of media in establishing such a society is to act as the eyes and ears of the people, forming the collective conscience of the nation. After all what else does a democracy mean than letting its citizens make decisions that affect their lives? Independent media help the citizens in making informed choices by bringing news and perspectives to them. In short, free and impartial media is an important component to a democratic framework like its justice institutions.

The relative success of the democratic experiment in India in comparison to its neighbors owes considerable debt to its media. The robust resistance of the media to the declaration of emergency, one of the darkest hours in Indian democracy, is an example. It was the media that had the courage, augmented with exemplary resistance put up by all political and social forces, that openly opposed the dictatorial declaration of the emergency by the then prime minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

The Indian media did not spare even Jawaharlal Nehru, the first and perhaps the most loved prime minister of the country, when few of his cabinet colleagues were accused of corruption. It was the media that had courage to expose the gruesome events during the Gujarat state-led pogrom of innocent Muslims in that State. Bringing out the fascist nature of the rightwing Hindutva groups leading the carnage was perhaps the singular achievement of the media, leading to the erosion of support for the politics of hatred in India.

Viewed in this context, the recent developments in the Indian media are worrying to say the least. This is in spite of the contributions the media have made in exposing corruption, for instance, the shady arms deal during the National Democratic Alliance regime by the Tehelka, the petrol pump allotment scam during the same period by the Indian Express and the telecom allocation scam by the current United Progressive Alliance regime.

Similarly unambiguous is the media’s role in fighting against communalism, by continuously reacting against the witch hunt of the minorities by some political groups. Equally substantial is the role the media played in publishing the criminal and financial backgrounds of many candidates, who contested and eventually lost, in the recently held parliament elections. While the media has definitely held its ground and stood true to its prestigious past, on many current issues it has been regularly faltering.

Unfortunately, the media do not appear to be caring for its own record when it comes to the reporting of acts of terror committed by the state, while it comes down heavily on those committed by non-state actors. The media, both electronic and print versions, have been instrumental in enlightening the citizenry about the use of dastardly and mindless violence committed by non-state actors upon innocent civilian populations.

The argument put forward by the media to condemn the violence is plain and simple, that there are no issues in a democracy which cannot be sorted out by deliberations and peaceful means of protest, and that dissent can always be dealt with politically and democratically and violence, not sanctioned by the law, is intolerable in a democratic set up.

The media however appear to be swallowing its logic by failing to give equal seriousness against state-sponsored violence. Extrajudicial executions, torturing of suspects, murder of prisoners and under trials, and disappearances are quite rampant in India. These characters of a failing state require equal treatment or probably more attention than that is given to violence committed by non-state actors. Yet, the media do not give enough time and space to discuss these issues.

India has witnessed more than 1184 deaths in police custody according to the data published by the National Human Rights Commission. The data is concerning cases reported to the Commission between April 2001 and March 2009. Of these, 601 custodial deaths have taken place in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, all peaceful states with no insurgency or other armed militia operating within. Yet, this news appeared in an almost invisible corner in the print media as a single column news in the inside pages. The electronic media ignored the news all together.

Similar is the case of fake encounters. Instead of condemning it and demanding prosecutions the media have actually been instrumental in the glorifying the killers in uniform. ‘Encounter specialist and super cop’ are media inventions in their attempt in showering accolades upon murderer police officers for ‘successful’ encounters. Some of these media heroes are now in jail or killed. For instance, the former Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police, Mr. Rajbir Singh, was killed by a friend allegedly over disputes regarding his illegal investments, Mr. Daya Nayak of Maharashtra police, is in jail facing corruption charges and for his alleged nexus with the underworld. Mr. D.G. Banjara, Deputy Inspector General of Gujarat Police is in jail for his proven role in fake encounters. Even after the exposure of the real faces of these murderers in uniform, the media have singularly failed to get its act together barring a few exceptions.

After all, just how many times can one find such brazen acts of lawlessness like a live recording of the murder of two civilians by the police as it happened in Manipur? Just how many times the police, paramilitary forces and the army will let the media impartially cover their operations exposing their utter disregard for the rule of law as well as the constitution?

Any act of terror, violence, and extrajudicial executions is a crime against humanity. The question who did it is irrelevant. No law or ideology can legitimise the killings of innocent civilians, unfortunately caught between the state and its opponents. Murder or other forms of violence by the non-state actors based on whatever justifications – religion, ethnicity or ideology – should be unambiguously condemned. So should be the case with extrajudicial and illegal killings and other forms of violence committed by the state.

For one fact, unlike the non-state actors, the state warrants even sterner criticism for torture, killings and disappearances of its citizens as it is the state’s duty to protect, promote and fulfil constitutional guarantees. The state deserves a far stricter scrutiny as it derives the legitimacy to use force by being the custodian of the law, guaranteeing to use it only for the protection of the citizens and not for killing them.

The studied silence maintained by the media, in this context, is unfortunate. A single murder, unsanctioned by the law, committed by state agents should let the press hit the panic button. 1184, is an exception. Yet the country’s media chose to observe blissful silence. This prevents the possibility of exposing the countless unreported ones, which the media could have exposed.

The Asian Human Rights Commission expects that this silence is not from complicity, and that the Indian media will wake up to its legacy of standing by the people and the truth that they have the right to know.
Indian media must wake up to violence committed by the state

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Lalgarh: Police fire on mob, 1 dead

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2009

- Rebels kill 4 CPM activists, stir trouble at cop camp
OUR CORRESPONDENT

Midnapore, Dec. 10: Police firing killed a man and injured several others who were part of a mob allegedly backed by Maoists that raided their camp this evening, capping a 24-hour spell in which the guerrillas gunned down four CPM supporters, looted homes and torched an office.

Those who stormed the state armed police camp at Satbari in Salboni, 15km from Midnapore town, were allegedly armed with bombs and pistols.

They were protesting this morning’s arrest of alleged Maoist squad member Dipali Mahato in connection with a blast on November 27 which killed two cops.

The police said that between six and seven this evening, a large crowd gathered in front of the camp and tried to prevent two groups of policemen from entering after duty. The mob dispersed when chased, only to reassemble.

When reinforcements arrived at 7.30, the van drove through, but scores of people made it in, too, following it.

Once inside, the police said, they started hurling bombs and firing.

West Midnapore superintendent Manoj Verma the police fired in “self-defence”.

“While four people took bullets, four sustained splinter injuries from bombs that some of their own were throwing.”

None of the policemen was injured.

One of the injured villagers, Tapas Mondal, said they were not armed. “Some people came from behind and started firing at the police.”

The police suspect the firing from behind was a Maoist handiwork.

During the day, villagers found three bullet-riddled bodies laid side by side on a road barely 3km from Jhargram town. A fourth had been left behind about a kilometre from a police camp in Salboni.

“All the murders took place within 3 to 5km of camps where the forces are staying,” an officer said. The victims were Manik Mahato, 42, Bijoy Mahato, 30, Brihaspati Mahato, 35, and Rabi Mahato, 45.

Posters the assailants left behind screamed out against the joint forces’ operations in Lalgarh. “The Maoists have been driven out to a large extent from Lalgarh and its surroundings. So, now they are killing people in Jhargram and Salboni,” said Verma.

However, as if to prove their presence, the guerrillas torched the beat office in Jhitka forest on the outskirts of Lalgarh town and looted its staff quarters. Employees were dragged out and thrashed.

“They took away television sets and DVD players and broke the furniture,” said forest guard Duryodhan Mudi.

Among the slain, Manik and Bijoy were related to each other. A Mallabhum Grameen Bank employee, Manik was a CPM branch secretary and secretary of the managing committee of a local high school. Bijoy was his nephew and both used to stay at Lohamelia village in Jhargram as part of a 26-member family.

Brihaspati, who lived in the nearby Saralia village, owned a stationery shop.

Bijoy’s father Binod said 50 to 60 people came around 11 last night and called out the names of his son and brother. “We opened the door and found Maoists with rifles,” he said. “The Maoists told us they will take Bijoy and Manik to a kangaroo court that will decide how they should be punished for their CPM links.”

Brihaspati was picked up from his shop, where he used to spend the nights. His body was found near Jhargram’s Sebayatan Polytechnic College.

Rabi’s body was found near the Salgeria police camp in Salboni, 3km from his home. TT

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