Arundhati Roy: “GN Saibaba is Being Targeted for Opposing Government’s Anti-Naxal War”

Prof. GN Saibaba

Professor GN Saibaba

GN Saibaba is a joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and the convenor of several forums against Operation Greenhunt and the persecution of adivasis and tribal people in Central India. He teaches English at a DU college.

September 13, 2013

Click this link to hear the interview: Arundhati Roy – GN Saibaba is Being Targeted

The Maharashtra police, along with the National Investigation Agency () and the Special Cell, made a surprise search at the house of Delhi University professor GN Saibaba. They refused to entertain pleas by the wheelchair-bound professor-cum-activist to contact his lawyer or colleagues. Saibaba is a joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and the convenor of several forums against Operation Greenhunt and the persecution of adivasis and tribal people in Central India. He teaches English at a DU college.

“Around 20 days ago, former student and activist Hem Mishra was arrested. The police are trying to tie me up to that case. They came in and snatched away the cellular phones of my wife, my daughter and myself and refused to let us call or notify anyone of the search. None of us were allowed to leave, nor was anyone allowed to come in. We were detained in our own house,” Saibaba told TEHELKA. Saibaba claimed that the police told him that the search was in relation to the Hem Mishra case in Gadhchiroli. Mishra was arrested for alleged links. This is not the first time that an activist has been persecuted or arrested for activism in the forests of Central India. Continue reading

India: Maruti Suzuki Workers Union pamphlet on the occasion of May day

Sanhati, April 30, 2013

[Note from Maruti Suzuki Workers Union : We are currently on an indefinite dharna in Kaithal, Haryana since 24 March 2013, which included an 8-day Hunger Strike, and will continue until our demands are met. Please join us, in large numbers on 8th May 2013 in Kaithal (in front of the D.C. Office) for a program and rally to take the struggle forward.]

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Make Stronger the Unity of the Workers of Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal and the Toiling Masses of Haryana !

On the occasion of May Day, take the pledge to challenge the attack of the Capitalists and the Government which serves their interests !

Friends and Comrades,

Our experiences in struggle since 4th June 2011 provide us with the realization of a renewed importance of May Day and its glorious history. Moulded and tempered in the hearth of the struggle against exploitation and repression, the meaning of this history confronts us with an immediacy and concreteness today.

Exploitation and unceasing exploitation, struggle and repression: what all have we not witnessed during the space of these two years! On the strength of our unity and the solidarity of the workers of the industrial belt of Gurgaon-Manesar, after three phases of strike actions in 2011, we finally formed our Union in March 2012. This expression of our collective strength was unbearable to the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Manesar and the state administration, who, to break this unity, as part of the conspiracy of 18th July 2012, declared us to be mindless criminals and terminated the jobs of 546 permanent and around 1800 contract workers. Along with this, 147 of our innocent fellow workers were thrown into jail, who continue to languish there, while non-bailable arrest warrants were thrust on 66 of us. An atmosphere of terror through continuous police repression and administrative intransigence firmly on side of the company management has been hounding us ever since. When we look at the horrible exploitative conditions of work of our fellow workers inside the factory today, the rationale behind the lies and fabrications of the company’s narrative around 18th July 2012 become clear to us. The workers working inside the factory today are bereft of all the rights that we won during the first phase of our struggle. Fewer workers than earlier toil harder than before. When even as much as an inkling of a renewed attempt to raise our voice, to establish our Union inside the factory came, 13 of the more active workers were promptly transferred to various corners of the country, and the attempt crushed there itself. So much for ‘everything’s under control’ in the Maruti’s ‘way of life’! Continue reading

India: Dalit Woman Activist Brutally Raped and Murdered

[When The Hindu, a bourgeois Indian  media mouthpiece, reported this brutal rape and murder, they could not avoid revealing, by putting  "murder" in quotes in the title, to show their skepticism at the report, and their dehumanizing view of Dalit women. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Women activists protest ‘murder’ of Dalit woman

Rahi Gaikwad, The Hindu

Patna, March 31, 2013

Activists claim their colleague was brutally raped and murdered

Women’s groups staged angry protests on National Highway 28 in Muzaffarpur district after a Dalit woman activist was found dead at Mandai village.

According to Rinku Devi of the Janwadi Mahila Samiti — a group that the victim was a member of — the woman was raped and murdered.

“The activist was raped and murdered in a brutal fashion. According to the family, sticks and mud were found in her private parts and her mouth was stuffed with a cloth. Her body was found near a cycle shop in the village. When we protested, the police slapped cases on us,” Ms. Devi told The Hindu after speaking to the victim’s family members.

The victim was fighting alleged irregularities in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the public distribution system.

“Earlier, the police picked up the victim’s husband and son. But we put pressure on them to release them. Family members cannot [carry out] an act so brutal. Everyone in the village knows who the perpetrators are but their lips are sealed in fear,” Ms. Devi said.

The SP and the DSP paid a visit to the site on Saturday. The police said they were awaiting the post-mortem report and investigating the case. No arrests have been made yet.

Arundhati Roy speaks out against Indian rape culture

Channel 4 News, Friday 21 December 2012
The writer Arundhati Roy tells Channel 4 News she believes rape is used as a weapon in India and that women in the country are “paying the price”.

London: A Call to Boycott India’s 63rd Republic Day and stand against sexual assaults on women

 DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE INDIA HOUSE IN LONDON, Aldwych, WC2B 4NA.

11am to 1pm 26th January 2013

As India prepares to celebrate its 63rd Republic Day on 26 January 2013, Delhi is trying to come to terms with the recent gang rape of a young woman on a moving bus and her subsequent death. Such rapes have become rampant in the Indian cities and towns. Few months ago London Guardian commented India to be the worst country for women among the G20 nations. Indian rape laws are stringent enough; however, the executive and the judiciary are so much feudal and patriarchal that the conviction rate for rape cases in India between 2001 and 2010 was 26%. In the case of Muslim and Dalit women the rate of conviction is lmost nil as evident from the gang rape case of Bhanwari Devi in Rajasthan.

However a bigger dimension to this is that the Indian state itself has proved time and again to be the biggest perpetuator of rapes and all forms of assaults on women. State violence is institutionalised through a culture of institutional impunity to the police, the paramilitary and the army. In June 1984, hundreds of Sikh women were gang raped in the sanctity of golden temple by the Indian Army during ‘Operation Blue Star’. In the village of Kuman-Poshpura in Kashmir valley, about 100 women were mass raped by the Indian Army in a single night of 23rd Feb 1991. Hundreds of Muslim women were gang raped by security forces during the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, as the Chief Minister Narendra Modi just watched. The brutal gang rape and execution of 32 year old Thangjam Manorama in Manipur in July 2004 is another example of Indian Army’s ongoing repression on women in the North-East. Continue reading

Attack on Dalit colonies pre-planned, says commission

A Dalit woman grieves over the property damage at her house in Natham colony in Naikkankottai on Friday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

PTI, November 12, 2012 — Taking a serious view of the recent violence in which 268 huts at three Dalit colonies in the district were set on fire, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which visited the violence-hit areas, on Monday said the attack was “out and out pre-planned.”

The Commission inferred from the visit that the attack was “out and out pre-planned and organised crime” against the Dalit community, NCSC Chairman P.L. Punia told reporters.

The violence was triggered after a man committed suicide on November 7 over his daughter’s marriage to a Dalit.

Mr. Punia said the mob had attacked a Dalit family in Kondampatti village where an inter-caste marriage had happened, revealing that they were taking revenge.

Petrol bombs were hurled at four-wheelers, two-wheelers, and valuables looted from houses revealing that it was not a sudden attack but a pre-planned one, the NCSC chairman said.

No casualty was reported. But all the houses in the colonies suffered damaged, Mr. Punia said, adding that the villagers were in a state of shock. Continue reading

April Conference in India: “Turn the Prevailing Economic Crisis into Revolutionary Upsurge!”

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

 Friends,

The first Conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) is going to take place at a time when the imperialist forces and their props – the ruling classes of various colonial and semi-colonial countries – are going through an unprecedented economic depression resulting in a worldwide economic crisis, a condition which is of their own making. The reactionary Indian ruling classes, being agents of imperialism, have transferred the burden of the world economic crisis to the people of this country – the masses of the people who are already grappling with acute exploitation, poverty, unemployment and deprivation of the basic necessities of life. Their purchasing power has come down drastically. They have been denied the right over jal-jangal-zameen (water, forest and land resources) and other resources. Such conditions have generated disaffection amongst vast sections of people of the subcontinent manifested as a multitude of peoples’ struggles.

Despite every effort of the Indian state to hide the gravity of the crisis in which it is, the Indian economy has been severely shaken by the worldwide economic crisis due to its increasing dependence on the imperialist economy. The exploitative ruling classes, who never tire of making tall claims about outstanding ‘growth’ and ‘development’ riding on the fortunes of an export-oriented economy aided by imperialist globalisation, have lost their sleep over the present crisis. Those who used to wax eloquently of ‘development’ citing the speculative growth in the sectors of information technology, outsourcing, real estate, etc. has now been put on the dock. Due to the imperialist domination and dependence prevalent in the Indian economy, lakhs of workers have been rendered jobless and thrown out of sphere of production. Workers in hundreds of thousands have been at the receiving end of lay-offs and pay-cuts as a result of the closure of a large number of firms in the real estate industry, export-based industries, textiles, brass industry, jewellery and metal industry, mining, and so on. Now, the introduction of Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade will render more than 50 lakh people jobless by bringing Wal-mart and other imperialist players in retail business. Students particularly in the professional courses like engineering are finding little avenues of employment even through placement agencies. At the same time, however, imperialist forces such as foreign institutional investors are siphoning off the hard-earned wealth of the working people through speculative trading in the share market which are completely cut off from the real economy.

The impact of the economic crisis is evident in each and every sector of the Indian economy. The worst ever economic depression since the Great Depression in the 1930s has further deepened the agrarian crisis. As the demand of ‘Land to the Tiller’ remain yet as a tall promise with the ruling class bereft of any political will to fulfil the demand, the impact of the economic crisis on the working people engaged in agriculture has been very severe. The growing dependence of the rural masses on the agrarian sector has strengthened the landowners and moneylenders in the countryside, and has given them the opportunity to continue their exploitation and oppression. This exploitation and oppression takes the concrete form of caste-atrocities and caste-violence, the number of which is on the rise all over the country. Khairlanji, Lathor, Mirchpur incidents provide glaring evidence of this fact. More than 2.5 lakh peasants and agricultural workers have been forced to commit suicide in the last fifteen years due to the anti-peasant policies of the Indian state. In spite of this devastation, the imperialist stranglehold over Indian agriculture is being further tightened in the name of Second Generation Reforms and the Second Green revolution. Continue reading

Delhi students investigate the mass struggle and state repression in Odisha

Preliminary report of the DSU fact-finding visit to Narayanpatna, Odisha

Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), Delhi

PRESS RELEASE:  A REPORT FROM GROUND ZERO

Tribal people of Narayanpatna in 2009

A team of students from DU, JNU and IGNOU belonging to the Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) visited Narayanpatna Block in the Koraput district of Odisha from 11 April to 16 April 2011. The objective of
the visit was to study the ground situation at present in the region where a militant mass struggle is going on for the last few years, and according to the media reports, has faced extreme forms of state repression. The aim was also to study the socio-economic aspects of
the social life of Narayanpatna region, and to look into the factors that have contributed to the emergence of this important peasant struggle in contemporary South Asia.

Narayanpatna is inhabited by sixteen tribal communities including Kui, Parija, Jorka, Matia, Doria and others, of whom the Kuis are numerically predominant. The adivasis, who constitute more than 90 percent of around 45,000 people of Narayanpatna block, are interspersed with Dalit communities such as Mali, Dombo, Forga, Paiko, Rilli, etc. Continue reading

INDIA: Caste-based discrimination and corruption pushing 83 families to death in Orissa

1 April 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received the information that 83 Dalit families of Ranapada village have been deprived of their food security by non-Dalits from about 54 neighboring villages. It is reported that the reason for the aggressive discrimination against the Bauri families (Dalits) is because three women from Bauri community tried to enter the Hindu temple on August 28, 2010. The temple priest and non-Dalit villagers refused to allow the Dalit women to worship in the temple and even charged INR 50,000 as a penalty from the women. When the Dalits refused to pay the penalty, non-Dalit villagers who had leased their farmland to the Dalit families for sharecropping promptly took the land back. Furthermore, non-Dalit villagers from 54 villages collectively went to Dalit hamlet of Ranapada village and threatened to kill and assault the residents. The police have failed not only to take any affirmative actions in the case, but also were assaulted by non-Dalit villagers. The police have arrested only four of the accused, allowing other accused to freely threaten the victims. 83 Dalit families who depended on the farmland of the non-Dalit villagers have lost their only source for food and face hunger. Continue reading

San Francisco Activists Want Gandhi Statue Removed, Allege Racism, Violence

Gandhi statue in San Francisco protested

Saturday, 02 Oct 2010

(NEWSCORE) – A group of protesters in San Francisco Saturday planned to demand the removal of a statue of Mohandas Gandhi, hoping to expose the “racism and sham nonviolence” of the famously nonviolent Indian leader, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Organization for Minorities of India will ask for the removal of a bronze statue of Gandhi that has sat in a plaza behind the prominent San Francisco Ferry Building since 1988. And the group — which seeks to publicize the oppression of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and other Indian minorities — claimed Gandhi was a racist with violent urges, the paper said.

“The popular image of Gandhi as an egalitarian pacifist is a myth,” Bhajan Singh, one of the organizers, reportedly said in a statement. “We plan to challenge that myth by disseminating Gandhi’s own words to expose his racism and sham nonviolence.”

The protesters planned to direct their demands at the Ferry Building management, but the statue is actually under the supervision of the San Francisco Arts Commission, which doubted the statue would be taken down, the Chronicle said.

“I suppose Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela must have their critics as well,” Arts Commission President P.J. Johnston told the Chronicle in response to the planned demonstration. “These folks are free to lodge their protest, but I doubt that our commission will move to take down the statue.”

Source: San Francisco Gate Continue reading

Background on the People’s Struggle in India and Operation Green Hunt

Mass meeting of adivasis in Lalgarh, West Bengal

by the International Campaign against War on the People of India

All over the world, people are asking questions about the nature of India’s society and government, and about the war on the adivasis-the tribal peoples-that has recently been launched by that government with strategic assistance from the US and Israel.

Most commentators admit that the Indian people suffered greatly under British rule. Today, it is claimed, India is on a path of rapid technical progress and development; India has its own Silicon Valley, complete with high-tech R&D and hundreds of call centers for everything from Amazon to Victoria’s Secret.  New wealth is being created at a rapid rate, a large middle class is developing that is enjoying shopping malls, multiplex cinemas and imported cars, and much of this wealth is working its way down to the villages and urban slums seen in Slumdog Millionaire.

Largest Democracy in the World?

The most common claim is that India is “the world’s largest democracy.” However, it is a reality that the vast majority of the 1.2 billion people who live in India have no control over their lives.  Living and working conditions have not changed for the better from colonial times to the present. According to a 2008 study by the US Agency for International Development, three-quarters of the people live on less than $2 per day.

Illiteracy is widespread in the countryside, where more than half of the women cannot read or write and many children leave school to support their families. Nothwithstanding its “socialist” pretensions, successive governments since independence in 1947 have postponed and put off free and compulsory education for children. Continue reading

Gujarat, India: Arrest of Dalit leader and wife as ‘Naxalites’ condemned


Srinivas Kurapati was arrested at Ghodasar on 30 May 2010

AHMEDABAD, June 6, 2010

Manas Dasgupta

Several voluntary organisations and “concerned citizens” fighting for human rights have condemned the “indiscriminate” detention of some human right activists and trade union leaders, branding them as “Naxalites.”

“It has become an obsession with the Gujarat government and its police to brand human right activists as Naxalites to stifle the voice of protest by the poor and the downtrodden. The civil society need to stand up against such undemocratic methods of the police to curb dissensions against the government administration,” Mr. Hiren Gandhi, director of “Darshan,” a voluntary organisation, noted human right activist and advocate Girish Patel, and several others said here on Tuesday.

They were particularly protesting against the detention earlier this week of a Dalit leader, Ambubhai Vaghela Srinivas Sattayya Kurapati alias Kishore, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, but has made Gujarat his work place for the last eight years or so, and his young wife, Hansaben. Continue reading

Bihar Professor Beaten for Speaking Out against Demolition of Dalit Homes

This article was published in the Times of India.

Bihar cops thrash Jamia professor, brand him ‘Naxal’

Pranava K Chaudhary, 26 December 2009

PATNA: Associate professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, Rahul Ramagundam, was assaulted, abused and branded a Naxalite by Bihar police for daring to ask the cops why the hutments belonging to Musahars — among the most backward of Scheduled Castes — were being demolished. [The Musahars, or rat-eaters,  are one of the Dalit subcastes in Bihar. See article below for more information on them.]

Ramagundam, who teaches at Dr K R Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies at JMI, was thrashed and abused and called a Naxalite by Khagaria police at Amausi village. His local companion was also manhandled and beaten up by lathi-wielding police constables and officers. The incident took place on December 22.  ”How could asking just one question lead to such physical violence? How can one be called a Naxalite and assaulted and humiliated like this,” asked Ramagundam.

Amausi had hit headlines on October 1 when 16 villagers, mostly OBCs (Kurmi), were killed allegedly by Musahars. The village has some 300 Musahar families who live in thatched huts.

“On December 22, I rode pillion on the motorbike of Varun Choudhry, a grassroots activist with Khagaria-based NGO Samta, to go to Amausi. When we reached, the village was in turmoil. The cops were breaking thatched houses of people who were said to be absconding. Shankar Sada, whom Varun met in the village, took us to the place where the police party had camped before taking up the rip-and-strip job,” Ramagundam said.

“Just as we spoke, a police party arrived and pulled down the thatched roof and walls of a hut. I couldn’t control myself. I asked the cops if they had any written orders to pull down the houses of the absconding accused.” A tall uniformed man stared at me. Instead of answering, he asked me my identity. I teach in Delhi,  I told him. ‘Name?’ I told him. ‘Father’s name?’ I told him. But even before I could take out my identity card, he turned hostile. Continue reading

Police Attack Dalit Rights Movement in Kerala

Kerala Dalits demand land on rubber plantation

Posted on Counter Currents

Kerala’s So Called Dalit Terror: How a Dalit Minister Turns Against His Own Community

B.R.P. Bhaskar, Gulf Today, December 14, 2009

The fate of a set of proposals sent to the Kerala government by the State Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission illustrates how the political establishment scuttles efforts to address the problems of the weaker sections.

The Commission, headed by PK Sivanandan, a former IAS officer, received on Oct.6 a complaint from VV Selvaraj, chairman of Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM), alleging police atrocities against the organisation’s supporters in Varkala. It also received a petition signed by 536 Dalit women containing the same allegation. The commission forwarded the complaints to the Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police and the Secretaries to the Home and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare departments. It received no response from any of them.

Varkala was the scene of a dastardly murder on Sept.23. The victim was a person named Sivaprasad with no known affiliation. Within hours of the murder, the police said DHRM members had killed him to proclaim the organisation’s strength. Police swooped on Dalit colonies and arrested many DHRM workers. However, it has still not filed a charge-sheet in the murder case. Continue reading

West Bengal: Evicted Dalit Starves to Death

This statement was posted on the Asian Human Rights Commission website on November 18, 2009.

Government of West Bengal must act to prevent further starvation deaths

E.M. Parvati died yesterday. Parvati was a resident of Belgachhia Bhagar, a municipal dumping ground of Howrah in West Bengal. The doctor who examined Parvati’s body certified that the cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis aggravated by severe malnourishment and anaemia.

Parvati is not the first person in her family to die in this manner. Her daughter E.M. Lachhmi, died of starvation at the age of five on 11 March 2005. Her two sons, E.M. Shiva, died in December 2003 and E.M. Gaddama alias Chhottu, died in November 2004. Shiva was three years old and Gaddama was about a month old.

Parvati’s death is further proof to the despicable apathy of the West Bengal state government and that of the government of India to the plight of the poor and marginalised in the country. It is also part of the continuing saga of an estimated 7000 Dalits who were evicted from Bellilious Park on 2 February 2003 by the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC). Continue reading