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Statement condemning the Maoist politics of murder Chhattisgarh

May 27, 2013

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the horrific massacre of leaders and workers of the Congress Party and the security forces accompanying them, carried out by the CPI(Maoist) in Chhattisgarh on Saturday. We also wish to express our deepest condolences to the families of all those killed in the convoy of Congressmen returning from an election rally at Sukma in Bastar dtrict.

The killing of senior state Congress leaders and their cadre is particularly barbaric and reprehensible as they had, in the course of the Maoist ambush, become captives or had surrendered voluntarily. This is tantamount to cold-blooded murder of prisoners in custody, an act that goes against all norms even in a state of civil or international war. The targeting of a political party in this fashion by the Maoists is also highly disturbing.The latest Maoist action will only invite even more state repression in the area that might as well swell the numbers of CPI(Maoists). If that is the case then this politics is as evil as that it claims to be fighting against and should be shunned by all those who stand for democratic norms in political struggles for peace with justice.We call upon the state and central governments to exercise great restraint in their response to the Maoist atrocity.  It is high time the spiral of violence in the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh be stopped as it has already claimed innumerable lives.

Abha Dev Habib, Associate Professor, Miranda House, DU

Apoorvanand, Professor, Delhi University

Anivar Arvind, IT Engineer, Bangalore

Arshad Ajmal, Social activist, Patna

Dilip Simeon, Academic, New Delhi

Jagadish, Trade Unionist , Bangalore

Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, Rajasthan

Satya Sivaraman, Journalist, New Delhi

Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD, Delhi

Vinod Raina , Educationist, Delhi

Arati Choksi, PUCL, Karnataka, Bangalor

Reetika Khera, Associate Professor, IIT Delhi

Dr Sunil Kaul, Public Health Activist,

Dheeraj, Coordinator, The Right to Food Campaign

Biraj Patnaik, Social Scientist with the Right to Food Campaign

Trideep, Advocate, Delhi High Court and Supreme Court,

Sachin Kumar Jain, Journalist and Writer with Vikas Samwaad

Radha Holla, Public Health Activist, Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India

Gurjeet Singh, Right to Food Activist, Ranchi, Jharkhand

Father Jothi, SJ, Social Activist, West Bengal

Prem Krishan Sharma, President, PUCL, Rajasthan, Jaipur

Radha Kant Saxena, VP, PUCL, Rajasthan, Jaipur

DL Tripathi, VP, PUCL Rajasthan, Ajmer

Anant Bhatnagar, Organising Secretary, PUCL Rajasthan, Ajmer

Sawai Singh, Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh, Jaipur

Harsh Mander, Director Centre for Equity Studies

Rajinder Sachar, Former Chief Justice Delhi and Sikkim High Court

Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM convenor

Aruna Roy,Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Lal Singh, Bhanwar Meghwanshi, Narayan Singh

Shail Mayaram, Senior Fellow,CSDS.

Anjali Bhardwaj, NCPRI National Convenor

Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Social Activist

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Ammu Abraham permalink
    May 27, 2013 11:49 PM

    Maoists seem to be putting themselves beyond the pale of humanity rapidly. One has felt for a while that a flirtation is on between them and the rulers of Chattisgarh; and not only in Chattisgarh. This is not the way to protect the natural resources of the country and its people. Everyone working for justice and equality should condemn such barbarism.

  2. Rajeev Godara permalink
    May 28, 2013 12:01 AM

    Attack by naxals on a political rally is to be questioned and condemned. This attack was on political activists once they were in political activity. We always demand for release of political prisoners. By raising this demand we consider political activities at some different pedestal, therefore, we demand that the political prisoners should be treated separately. The present attack by naxals giving clear indications that they do not believe that their political opponents have a right to do their own politics. Killing of political activists cannot be termed as a political activity and cannot be defended in any manner. It’s true that political leadership particularly Mahindra, under attack were also supporting state repression on tribal. This attack will become again a reason for the repression on tribals and the attacker who were involved in the attack will be disappeared by the time police will take action . When police will torture to the tribals who are not involved in any kind of armed struggle will be pushed by the state towards naxals camp. State now think upon this vicious circle of armed struggle war between state and naxals, in which tribals are being sandwiched. for miseries of tribal state and naxal both are responsible and both the parties use the argument of counter violence. Tribals want justice which is duty of the state to provide them. First it was failure of the state to provide justice to the tribals who faced lot of repression at the hands of armed group supported by state, now, it is a failure of state who cannot stop the loot of natural resources of the area and allowing to the looters for the same. State intelligence failure is apparent but if it’s not state intelligence failure than it is something more which should be investigated and enquired. We should support Justice and liberty for all, political rights for all and should stand in support of political rights of each group at the same time we how to oppose the killings of anyone by anyone. We have a question state for all the killings and to the killer at the same time

  3. aniruddha kumar permalink
    May 28, 2013 5:13 AM

    A banal protest note followed by more banal comments, steeped in typical Indian left of centre pontifications about violence, democratic space etc etc.. Why don’t these same signatories call for an internationally sponsored cease fire and peace talks at a neutral location, as is going on with FARC and NPA? Why this self effacing, self cleansing statements to gratify the killers of Azad and Kishenji and hundreds of villages who fell to the bullets of the Judum and CRPF?

    • Enough! permalink
      May 28, 2013 2:06 PM

      “to gratify the killers of Azad and Kishenji and hundreds of villages who fell to the bullets of the Judum and CRPF”

      The killings are fierce on both sides . Should i remind you the killings of hundreds of activists/leaders of CPI(Marxists) in West Bengal and elsewhere in this country? Of course , maoists have no tears or sympathies for the families of their victims.
      Also Azad and Kishenji are brutal murderers in the mould of bin laden and company BUT justifying their actions with leftist terms instead of religion.

      “We call upon the state and central governments to exercise great restraint in their response to the Maoist atrocity. It is high time the spiral of violence in the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh be stopped as it has already claimed innumerable lives.”

      Totally agree.

  4. Shankar permalink
    May 28, 2013 9:24 AM

    I refuse to label the note as one that is “steeped in typical Indian left of centre pontifications about violence, democratic space etc etc..”, however, the condemnation of violence needs more nuancing. Some not so unfamiliar questions need to be adressed first- Are these democratic spaces available to those in Chattisgarh? These very democratic spaces are available to us (middle class, educated, university going “citizens” of the country), has the state respected the norms of these democratic spaces? What is happening in the University of Delhi is an example of how these democratic spaces don’t really exist even for the most well to do people in the country. Protests and dharnas have been going on for a while now, yet most the teachers are less than hopeful in preventing the FYUP from being implemented. The brutal denial of “democratic spaces” to the Maruti workers, the killing of the anti-posco protesters. I apologise for having listed these recent tragedies, but I think our understanding of the violence in Chattisgarh needs to be placed in the context of the failiure of the “democratic” spaces.

    I do not support the violence. More thought needs to go into the means of achieving our end, however, I disagree with what appears to be a simplictic view on the matter.

  5. Madhur permalink
    May 28, 2013 1:54 PM

    Will any of the distinguished persons will go inside the Bastar forest and talk to Maoist leadership for handing over the guilty persons to law or have own judicial probe/trial and punishment (Maoist probe) as they regularly demands in case of atrocities caused by security forces

  6. BHANU SARKAR permalink
    May 28, 2013 2:58 PM

    PLS PRAISE N UPHOLD THE UNCOUNTED RAPES, BURNING OF HOME N PROPERTY, KILLINGS OF CHILDREN, EVICTION OF VILLAGES AND REIGN OF TERROR BY SALWA JUDUM MEMEBERS. MOREOVER THE CONTINUATION OF SALWA JUDUM AETER SUPREME COURT VERDICT BY MAHENDRA KARMA WITH THE HELP OF RAMAN SINGH GOVT, CENTRAL GOVT N FOREIGN CORPORATE WITH THEIR INDIAN AGENT LIKE TATA-AMBANIES.

  7. Sudeep Singh permalink
    May 28, 2013 9:50 PM

    While condemnation has been published, Kafila should publish Maoists version too:

    http://www.jansatta.com/index.php/component/content/article/1-2009-08-27-03-35-27/45665-2013-05-28-08-28-32

  8. Roshni permalink
    May 29, 2013 12:39 AM

    just a few days back 8 adivasis including three children were killed by the state by branding them as ‘maoists’, these distinguished intellectuals did not sign any petition to condemn that. May i ask these intellectuals do they at all consider it as their sheer failure as ‘civil rights activists’ that they could not even ensure a ‘legal’ trial of Mahendra Karma while he was openly and proudly championing the cause of salwa judum that caused innemerous murders, rapes, evicted 3,50,000 people out of their homes and yet maintained his position as a MLA and political leader? Kartam surya the other salwa judum criminal who after salwa judum was declared banned by the supreme Court openly became the chief of koya commandos, moved around with his killing spree despite scores of legal cases on him, till he too was killed by maoists. the legal system for long has shunned justice for the common masses in this country and has become a refuge for rapists and murderers which has nothing to with justice. justice finally has been done after mahendra karma has been killed, you coffee-house intellectuals like it or not..

    • Satya permalink
      May 29, 2013 10:54 AM

      Agreed, Mahendra Karma was guilty of all that he has been accused of plus more, but what is the point of killing another 27 people with him? Like George Bush Jr. the Maoists and their apologists are going to talk of ‘collateral damage’ is it? If for every ‘enemy of the people’ in this country the Maoists are going to kill an extra 27 -there will be nobody left by the time their wonderful ‘revolution’ happens!

      Further, there were many more villains in the Salwa Judum story than just Mahendra Karma, so why stop at just bumping him off? Can we expect the Maoist ‘revenge’ for Salwa Judum to extend all the way to Raman Singh, Chidambaram, Manmohan Singh, Home Ministry officials of various descriptions and so on? Is assassination of the entire Indian ruling class now the official political line and strategy of the CPI (Maoist)? (If not, why not?)

      Thirdly, it may be true that ‘coffee house intellectuals’ cannot solve the problems of the oppressed Adivasis in this country but it does not follow logically that the Maoists can solve them either. There is no evidence to show that the people of Bastar are better off today than a couple of decades ago when the CPI(Maoist) decided to shift its base here from Andhra Pradesh or if there have been any improvements at all, these could not have been achieved through any other means. There are plenty of people’s movements and organisations throughout this country (and not only from the Left) who have achieved as much or even greater social transformation through a variety of less bloody means and with much greater public mobilisation.

      And if one were to indulge in the ‘where were you when…’ kind of rhetoric one can ask where were the Maoists when the anti-Sikh pogrom took place in Delhi in 1984 or the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 or when Narendra Modi’s men carried out a genocide against Muslims in 2002? And where are the Maoists when 2.5 million children, under the age of 5, die of malnutrition related diseases in this country every year or when women are raped on a daily basis in our towns and cities?

      No, it would be futile to ask all such questions simply because the fact is the Maoists are a tiny, irrelevant political force in a large country like India with its humungous variety, depth and scale of problems. If one did a count perhaps the number of coffee house intellectuals nationally would be way larger than the membership of the CPI (Maoist)!

      Finally, even if one believes in armed warfare as a means of changing the social order there are some universal norms that those who claim to be revolutionary and ‘Maoist’ must follow irrespective of whether their opponents do so or not. Executing prisoners of war or those who have surrendered or have been abducted shows whatever else the Maoists may achieve in the future it will certainly not be any revolution in Indian society, its structure, values or culture.

      While mutilating the bodies of ‘enemies’ and dancing on their corpses while shouting ‘zindabad, murdabad’ may provide color to their ‘ambush videos’, the Maoists and their apologists should understand there are enough number of other forces in this country which are capable of such barbarism on a much larger scale. And against whom a handful of ‘jungle book revolutionaries’ are not a match at all, in terms organisational strength, political influence or as we know now, even in terms of the human values they represent.

      • bharat permalink
        May 29, 2013 5:15 PM

        yes I think he had it coming
        this is a part of Waking with the Comrades by arundati roy on march 29 2010
        “Enter Mahendra Karma, one of the biggest landlords in the region and at the time a member of
        the Communist Party of India (CPI). In 1990, he rallied a group of mukhias and landlords and
        started a campaign called the Jan Jagran Abhiyaan (public awakening campaign). Their way of
        ‘awakening’ the ‘public’ was to form a hunting party of about 300 men to comb the forest, killing
        people, burning houses and molesting women. The then Madhya Pradesh government—
        Chhattisgarh had not yet been created—provided police back-up. In Maharashtra, something
        similar called ‘Democratic Front’ began its assault. People’s War responded to all of this in true
        People’s War style, by killing a few of the most notorious landlords. In a few months, the Jan
        Jagran Abhiyaan, the ‘white terror’—Comrade Venu’s term for it—faded. In 1998, Mahendra
        Karma, who had by now joined the Congress party, tried to revive the Jan Jagran Abhiyaan.
        This time it fizzled out even faster than before.
        Then, in the summer of 2005, fortune favoured him. In April, the BJP government in
        Chhattisgarh signed two MoUs to set up integrated steel plants (the terms of which are secret).
        One for Rs 7,000 crore with Essar Steel in Bailadila, and the other for Rs 10,000 crore with
        Tata Steel in Lohandiguda. That same month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made his
        famous statement about the Maoists being the “Gravest Internal Security Threat” to India. (It
        was an odd thing to say at the time, because actually the opposite was true. The Congress
        government in Andhra Pradesh had just outmanoeuvred the Maoists, decimated them. They
        had lost about 1,600 of their cadre and were in complete disarray.) The PM’s statement sent
        the share value of mining companies soaring. It also sent a signal to the media that the
        Maoists were fair game for anyone who chose to go after them. In June 2005, Mahendra Karma
        called a secret meeting of mukhias in Kutroo village and announced the Salwa Judum (the
        Purification Hunt). A lovely melange of tribal earthiness and Dwij/Nazi sentiment.
        Unlike the Jan Jagran Abhiyaan, the Salwa Judum was a ground-clearing operation, meant to
        move people out of their villages into roadside camps, where they could be policed and
        controlled. In military terms, it’s called Strategic Hamleting. It was devised by General Sir
        Harold Briggs in 1950 when the British were at war against the communists in Malaya. The
        Briggs Plan became very popular with the Indian army, which has used it in Nagaland, Mizoram
        and in Telangana. The BJP chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh, announced that as far
        as his government was concerned, villagers who did not move into the camps would be
        considered Maoists. So, in Bastar, for an ordinary villager, just staying at home became the
        equivalent of indulging in dangerous terrorist activity.”

        • Enough! permalink
          May 29, 2013 11:31 PM

          This is comrade venu’s version.

          There would have been no Salwa Judum no Jan Jagran Abhiyaan no Democratic Fronts had there been no maoists.

          • ARUN permalink
            May 30, 2013 9:46 AM

            There woild not have been no Maoists if the tribals were given their rights on their lands and mine mafia like Posco,, Vedanta etc,,with the help of the multinational’s stooges the central and state governments had not poached into our natural resources.Donot for get that we call ourself a Democracy and a constitution to follow.and even the supreme court chided and passed strictures on Karma,s Salwa Judum .Why all these so called Democrats did not open mouths when the state police and paramilitary police in connivance with Judum in the guise of S.P.Os burnt thousands of villages, raped women and killed innocent women ,men and children.Why do’nt U read the experiences of journalists ,who toured Baster area and saw the alternative development model, being implemented there.The so called intellectuals are willingly blind and deaf to see what actually happening there and deaf to listen the voice s of hither to voices .The tribals under the leadership of Maoists just enacting a la Bhagat Singh.,Rajguru.What Bhagat Singh Birsa munda did to British Coloniasts,,Maoists are doing tothe present comprodor,govts.

            • Enough! permalink
              May 31, 2013 10:32 AM

              Just for your info , Maoist were there since 1960s….there were no posco , no vedanta , no mining mafia then.

          • Pradipta Basu permalink
            May 30, 2013 11:28 AM

            Right! And, had there been no feudal oppression, no money lending at cut throat rate, no mining mafias and no unscrupulous politicians (who are often also one or more of these just listed [un-]social types) there would not have been any Maoist backlash! Also, please remember – this is not just a recent phenomenon. The first tribal uprisings date back to the early Raj era (Santhal revolt in Chota Nagpur)! The educated people who helped the Santhals were not communists as communism was not born yet. They were oftener than not the British missionaries!

            • Enough! permalink
              May 31, 2013 10:35 AM

              Fine. Then fight in the name of tribal development. Why under the banner of communism?
              The real reason maoists are there is because of jungles where they can hide. All over India , whereever they got Jungle cover there are maoists.

      • Roshni permalink
        June 1, 2013 2:47 AM

        well the krantikari adivasi mahila sangathan in bastar alone has 1 lakh member!! need i say more..its a mass organization, mind you, built by the maoists! get ur fact clear, the least that you could do!

  9. Pradipta Basu permalink
    May 29, 2013 10:31 PM

    Apparently, as Sathya says, the Maoists have gone to an extreme. On the other hand, I wonder had they not picked up guns and instead followed a peaceful path what would have happened to them over the years! Probably, we the city bred middle class folks would not have spared even a thought for that silent suffering mass. I say, “suffering”, because I do not believe that a peace loving tribal population would have turned the ruthless moneylenders, the corrupt state forces, the brutal mining lobby and last but not least our “democracy loving” politicians into angels. Probably, the tribal people would be dying slowly and silently, or would have become drunkards steeped in loans [look at the native Indians in America].

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