India: Maoist Statement on the Elimination of death-squad “Salwa Judum” and anti-people “Op. Green Hunt” Leaders

COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)

DANDAKARANYA SPECIAL ZONAL COMMITTEE  

May 26, 2013

Elimination of fascist Salwa Judum leader Mahendra Karma: Legitimate response to the inhuman atrocities, brutal murders and endless terror perpetrated on the Adivasis of Bastar!

Attack on top Congress leaders:Inevitable reprisal to the fascist Operation Green Hunt being carried on by the UPA government hand in glove with various state governments!

 On May 25, 2013, a detachment of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army conducted a massive attack on the 20 plus vehicles convoy of Congress party which resulted in wiping out of at least 27 Congress leaders, activists and policemen including Mahendra Karma, the bitter enemy of the oppressed people of Bastar and Nand Kumar Patel, president of the Congress’ state unit. It took place when the Congress party leaders were touring in Bastar region as part of their ‘Parivartan Yatra’ program (i.e. March of Change) keeping their eye on forthcoming assembly elections. At least 30 others also were injured in this attack including ex-central minister and veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla. The dog’s death of Mahendra Karma, notorious tyrant, murderer, rapist, robber and maligned as corrupt, in this historic attack has created a festive atmosphere in entire Bastar region. Former state home minister Nand Kumar Patel was also had the history of suppressing the people. It was in his tenure, paramilitary force (CRPF) was deployed in Bastar region for the first time. It was also not hidden from anyone that the former central minister VC Shukla who had been in various portfolios including Home ministry, was also a people’s enemy who had acted as a loyal servant of imperialists, comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and landlords and had played a key role in formulating and implementing exploitative government policies. The goal of this attack was mainly to eliminate Mahendra Karma and some other reactionary Congress top leaders as well. However, during this massive attack some innocent people and some lower level Congress party activists who were in fact not our enemies, were also killed and injured caught in the two-hour long gun battle that ensued between our guerrilla forces and the armed police forces. Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) regrets for this and expresses condolence and sympathy to the families of the bereaved. Continue reading

India–“Peals of Spring Thunder”: Oppressive System cannot control the struggle against oppression

The Naxalite Attacks at Sukma
by BINOY KAMPMARK, writing in CounterPunch

naxal_attackThey have been considered one of India’s most pressing threats, and the recent attack by the Naxalites that ambushed a convoy of the Congress Party went that much further.  The ambush took place over the weekend in Sukma on the Maharashtra, Andra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh border. Reports suggest that there were as many as 200 Maoist rebels who inflicted heavy losses – 28 killed and 24 others wounded – before fleeing.

The attacks have shaken the establishment.  Among the dead were four state party leaders including Mahendra Karma of Chhattisgarh, and five police officers.  For BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, “This new aggressive strategy of the Naxalities is a real threat to the Constitution and the rule of law. It is a challenge to sovereignty” (Times of India, May 26).  Former police chief of Punjab state KPS Gill is pessimistic about the new surge – the government of the day did not “have the political will and bureaucratic and police set-up to prevent such attacks” (Dhaka Tribune, May 26).

How the Naxalites have been treated has varied.  In 1967, when the movement first made its presence felt in the West Bengal village of Naxalbari, the Home Minister Y. B. Chavan treated the matter as a case of “lawlessness” in action.  The mistake was classic but fatal.  During the 1970s, the state authorities moved in on the movement hoping to crush it with repressive enthusiasm.  As usual with such measures, the quotient of extra-judicial killings and corrupt practices accompanied the operations.  Legislation was passed to enable various state authorities to take measures – the attempt, for example, by the N.T. Rama Rao government to free up arms licensing in Andra Pradesh in 1983 for individuals to protect themselves against the Naxals. Continue reading

“The mighty Chhattisgarh falters, once again”

Monday, May 27, 2013 | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Securitymen inspect the site of ambush on Sunday. 27 people were killed and over 30 injured in the attack.One lakh (100,000) men of state police, 40,000 paramilitary fighters and 11 IAF copters fail to make a difference on ground.

[Photo:  Securitymen inspect the site of ambush on Sunday. 27 people were killed and over 30 injured in the attack. - PTI]

 

 

 

The biggest Maoist strike in Chhattisgarh in terms of political impact that killed 27 people, including four state Congress leaders, has once again proved that little has changed on the ground in the tribal heartland and the CPI (Maoist) remains well entrenched there, capable of calling shots almost at will.

The undetected movement of a well equipped force of over 250 Maoists that engaged for nearly two hour gun battle in broad daylight on a state highway has thrown up several questions for both Centre and Raman Singh-led state government to answer for.

The first and the foremost question that intrigues is how over a lakh strong state police machinery that has support of almost 40,000 central armed police personnel on ground and air support of drones and 11 IAF and BSF helicopters failed to track and fight such a large movement of Maoists.

While the security officials blamed vastness of the area, its rocky and jungle terrain and ill-equipped and low morale state police as reasons for unable to overpower the Maoists, activists like GN Saibaba, vice-president of Revolutionary Democratic Front of India claimed the reason for Maoist domination lies in having a popular support base among the tribals.

“The tribals have been at the receiving end at the hands of the state machinery. They have been harassed and killed by repressive governments for last 60-70 years and find a natural ally among Maoists. Till you do not have a pro-people government such situations will keep arising,” said Saibaba.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh indicated slackness on part of the Chhattisgarh government for not being able to change the ground situation. “If you go by statistics I don’t think we have been able to see any change in districts like Kanker, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Sukma and Dantewada in last 9 years like we have been able to see in several Maoist affected districts across Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal…. The target of the attack was to send a message that this is a liberated zone, political parties keep off,” said Ramesh. Continue reading

India: Government officials ordered to learn local tribal languages

[The inability of government officials to communicate with millions of adivasi (tribal) people has long been a feature of the non-existent relations over the great divide in India.  The communication gap is rooted in the officials' lack of language skills, and in their political disdain for the poor.  But growing attention to the powerless majority and their waves of rebellion and revolutionary struggle, has embarassed the government of the self-proclaimed "largest democracy" to announce new plans for communication with their oppressed peoples.  What they fail to mention is that Maoists, over several decades, developed the written form of the Gond language and others, thereby enabling literacy campaigns, educational programs, and publications which have become accessible to the people.  Now, some government officials, if they follow their directives, will be reading Gondi books published by Maoists, or using Maoist literation systems.  It remains to be seen if these officials will make somewhat friendly conversation, or will be only measure these verbal encounters in counter-insurgency terms -- by how clearly government and military orders are barked at and understood by the victims of Operation Green Hunt and other attacks on tribal people.  -- Frontlines ed.]

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Speak the same tongue

Suvojit Bagchi, The Hindu, April 25, 2013

Grassroots communication: Imperative for better problem solving. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
[The Hindu Grassroots communication: Imperative for better problem solving. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury]

Now it is mandatory for IAS and IPS officials posted in Chhattisgarh to learn at least one local tribal language

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) had made local tribal language learning mandatory for its cadres in Chhattisgarh (erstwhile Madhya Pradesh) soon after they arrived from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in the early Eighties. Hence, in the next decade, all its Bengali, Telugu or Marathi speaking cadres picked up at least two main languages of the Gond tribals in Dandakaranya — Halbi and Gondi.

Thirty years after the CPI (Maoist)’s dictum to learn tribal languages, the government has decided to coach its administrative officers in tribal languages of Chhattisgarh. IAS probationers now will have to learn at least one of the local languages to “communicate more effectively at the grassroots,” Sunil Kumar, Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh, told The Hindu.

Cultural sensitivity is mandatory to counter the guerrillas militarily or to introduce various welfare programmes in the rebel strongholds, especially if the State officials are ethnically alien to the local people. The fact is, the tribal languages of Chhattisgarh are alien to most of the IAS or IPS officers who would carry the State-sponsored schemes. In this context, the State government has decided to impart training in oral communication skills in all dialects of Chhattisgarh.

According to Mr. Kumar, the State Academy of Administration has already been advised to “strengthen necessary language laboratories with facility to impart” language training. However, it would be limited to oral communication. Continue reading

Indian state attacking villages, homes, schools and organizing centers in Chhattisgarh

[Note:  The "Janatana Sarkars" are collective forms of political and economic organization of the adivasis (India's indigenous peoples) who have organized themselves under the leadership of the Maoists. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Preliminary Report on the Fact Finding In Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh

Democratic Students’ Union, University of Delhi
(Released in a Press Conference at Women’s Press Corps on 15 March 2013)

In the three weeks from mid-January till the first week of February, several villages in the Bijapur District of Chhattisgarh experienced the terror of the armed forces of the Indian state. The CRPF, Chhattisgarh state police, erstwhile SPO’s of the Salwa Judum along with various coercive arms of the state orchestrated a systematic targeting of villages, burnt down hundreds of homes, ostensibly in random, further, burnt down the schools built by the people, picked up villagers, young and old, and physically tortured them while their homes burned to the ground. The affected villages are Pidia, Tomnaka, Singham, Lingham, Komati, Tomudum, and Kondapadu, and in each of these between eight and thirty homes were burnt down by the armed forces. In the village of Dodi-Tumnar, a school with hostel facility for about a hundred children, both girls and boys, run by the Janatana Sarkar was looted and then burnt down by the invading forces in the last week of January. Two battalions of about 1000 CRPF personnel each, besides Koya commandos and SPO’s arrived at the village school at 9 am on that day. They systematically proceeded to destroy the school after firing into the air twice. Even as the students and the schoolmaster fled into the forest, the armed forces caught an old man on his way to the field and chopped off his hand with his own sickle. Following this, the forces looted the storeroom and the kitchen of the school, poisoned the water well, and destroyed the roof, walls, and furniture of the school before finally burning it to the ground. They then marched to the nearby village of Pidia. This village, that houses approximately 265 homes, witnessed first hand the ruthlessness with which the armed force burn down the homes and livelihood of those who stand up for their right to life and liberty. Close to thirty homes were burnt down in one part of this village alone. The charred remains of the homes, cattle sheds, storerooms, utensils can be seen littered with empty bottles of beer and other brands of alcohol. It is clear that this planned attack is part of the routine of military life that participates in wanton destruction and celebrates the impunity they enjoy.

The burial of slain villagers

The burial of slain villagers

By burning schools and homes, looting sources of livelihood, and physically torturing hundreds of adivasis, the state attempted to legitimize the violence in the name of ‘development’. This methodical burning of homes and schools reveals the carnival of violence practiced by the forces to intimidate, brutalize and squash the spirit of those living in these parts without any concern for consequences. The villagers were forced to remain in the forest for three days as the force camped in the village as well as the hills surrounding the village. A few young men were picked up by the armed force and brutally beaten. Most of the men were released while one still remains in jail. They looted the means of livelihood and sustenance in the village. Before leaving, they burnt the leftover rations and supplies of the villagers that they had looted. Traces of the violence faced by the village can be seen in the charred remains of homes, shelters, and broken utensils and fences. Here, it is the Janatana Sarkar to whom the villagers turn to in times like these. The Janatana Sarkar provided medicines and food to the affected villagers. It is now also helping them rebuild the burnt homes. Even as the bare frames of the homes are being rebuilt pillar by pillar and brick by brick, the spirit of resistance is visible for all to see. Continue reading

India, the ever-present threat of rape, and the right of self-defense — part 1

Indian women demanding guns for defense against rapists

Indian bus rape: Delhi sees rush for guns

Hundreds of women inquire about gun licences following woman’s murder, showing the lack of faith in law enforcement

in Delhi

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 January 2013

[An Indian man takes part in a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of the gang-rape victim in Delhi. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP]

Hundreds of women in Delhi have applied for gun licences following the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman by six men in a bus in the city last month.

The news underlines the widespread sense of insecurity in the city, deep before the incident and deeper now, and the lack of faith in law enforcement agencies.

The ashes of the victim of the attack – who died on Friday after 13 days in hospitals in India and Singapore, and was cremated in Delhi in a secret ceremony under heavy security on Sunday – were scattered on the surface of the Ganges river, sacred to Hindus, in northern India on Tuesday.

The case has provoked an unprecedented debate about endemic sexual harassment and violence in India. Tens of thousands have protested across the country, calling for harsher laws, better policing and a change in culture.

Politicians, initially caught off-guard, have now promised new legislation to bring in fast-track courts and harsher punishments for sexual assault. The six men accused of the attack are to be formally charged with murder later this week and potentially face execution.

Indian media are currently reporting incidents of sexual violence that would rarely gain attention previously. In the last 24 hours these have included a teenager fleeing repeated abuse by her brother, who was allegedly assaulted on a bus by a conductor, a 15-year-old held for 15 days by three men in a village in Uttar Pradesh and repeatedly assaulted, an 11-year-old allegedly raped by three teenagers in the north-eastern city of Guwahati and two cases of rape in the city of Amritsar.

One case reported on Tuesday involved a woman, also in a village in Uttar Pradesh, who suffered 90% burns after being doused in kerosene, allegedly by a man who had been stalking her for months.

There were signs that a further taboo was about to be broken when one of India’s best-known English-language television presenters asked viewers who had experienced abuse from a family member to contact her.

The rush for firearms will cause concern, however. Police in Delhi have received 274 requests for licences and 1,200 inquiries from women since 18 December, two days after the woman and a male friend were attacked in a bus cruising on busy roads between 9pm and 10pm.

“Lots of women have been contacting us asking for information about how to obtain licences. Any woman has a threat against her. It’s not surprising. There are fearless predators out there,” said Abhijeet Singh of the campaign group Guns For India. Continue reading

India, the ever-present threat of rape, and the right of self-defense — part 2

[In a culture of male 'rape entitlement' and government's disregard for women, knives for self-defense--Shiv Sena party began handing out the weapons to women at a function in Mumbai.  Local party official Ajay Chowdhary told supporters "the way you cut vegetables, cut the hand of the person who touches you the same way," saying women should keep the three-inch (seven-centimetre) blades in their purses. -- Frontlines ed.]

Chili powder and knives given to Mumbai women to fend off rapists

26 January, 2013

AFP Photo / Punit Paranjpe

[AFP Photo / Punit Paranjpe]

The Shiv Sena party has distributed knives and chili powder to women in Mumbai to send a message to ‘eve-teasers’ after the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi last month, which has ignited a debate on India’s appalling rise in sexual offenses.

The Shiv Sena party, an ally of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has distributed 21,000 knives with 3-inch (7 cm) blades to women in Mumbai and its surrounding areas and plans to hand out a total of 100,000.

This is a symbolic gesture. Its only to pass a signal to eve-teasers, anti-social elements and perpetrators of crime against women that women are empowered and can take care of themselves,” said Rahul Narvekar, a spokesman for the party. ‘Eve teasing’ is an Indian euphemism for molesting women.

“Don’t be afraid of using this knife if someone attacks you. We have set up a team of nine advocates to protect you from any potential court cases that may arise.” Ajay Chaudhari, who is running the knife campaign for Shiv Sena, was quoted as saying by the Party’s newspaper, Saamana. Continue reading

India, the ever-present threat of rape, and the right of self-defense — part 3

Women Maoists pledge security to tribal girls

RANCHI: ‘Tribal girls who go to cities in search of jobs get raped in return and either come back home pregnant, or with babies and diseases,’ read a poster of the women’s wing of the CPI (Maoist) Nari Mukti Sangh (NMS), a frontal organization of the rebels. Some tribal girls are not fortunate enough to return home, instead their bodies arrive at their villages, read another poster.

The posters, recovered from Pitambar Mahato, alias Pritam alias Lambu, an aide of CPI sub-zonal commander, Kundan Pahan, said, “NMS will vow to ensure the safety of women during the International Women’s Day celebrations on March 8.” Mahato was arrested by district police on Thursday. The NMS women’s special programmes will continue till March 31 across the state. ‘If you support our movement and make it successful, it will result women emancipation,’ screamed another poster. Official figures suggest that crime against women continues to rise unchecked in Jharkhand.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, crime against women has grown from 2,490 cases in 2002 to 3,132 cases in 2011 in the state. NMS has claimed that government has not been able to do anything to check crimes against women. The posters, which also have details of atrocities on tribal women at the hands of CRPF and district police in Chhatisgrah, have been widely circulated. ”Unless Mahila Mukti Andolan (agitation to liberate women) is intensified, women will continue to be under attack,” the posters said. It has urged tribal women, labourers, women organizations, among others to support their cause. Instead of working to ensure safety of women, the police are working to arrest our cadre members, the posters seemed to suggest. Continue reading

Rape As Weapon of Domination: The Clout of Caste And Class in India

By Ershad Abubacker,  Countercurrents.org, 27 December, 2012

More often than not, Arundhati Roy speaks unwelcome truths, truths that essentially do not go down well with the elite class. And hence she always gets dubbed as outspoken and is being criticized for that. She was recently in the headlines for speaking out against Indian rape culture in the back drop the gang rape at New Delhi and the mass protests that drew attention all over.

She recently noted that India lives simultaneously in several centuries. While nearly 10 Indian industrialists make it to the first 50 in the Forbes World Richest Men List, the capital of India is dubbed as ‘The Rape Capital’ and is a combination of incredibly crowded, ill-smelling slums; wide modern roads and elegant villas; the extremely poor and wretched; the fabulously wealthy and super-indulgent, and yet unable to protect its women traveling in buses. Speaking to Channel 4 on the recent gang rape of a 23-year old women in a running bus in Delhi, she asks critical questions on how and why and could this case be an exceptional crime demanding widespread protests; something which was uncommon in many prior instances of violence against women mete out by the Upper Class, Police and Armed Forces.

There is no doubt, the cruelty of the gang rape in a running bus at New Delhi is brutal and the culprits should be given maximum punishment in a model way. Our thoughts and prayers must be there with the girl who had her whole life tormented within a night’s bus journey.

Having said that, the present case does not stand vindictively different from the many of the rape cases registered earlier in Delhi . So what makes it a flare point for youngsters to protest at India Gate daring to defy the water cannons of Delhi police? Continue reading

Internationalism and the revolution of the masses in India: an interview with GN Saibaba

[On 14th of April 2012, the  "Jan Myrdal great award, the Lenin award" was presented in a theatre in Varberg, Sweden. Individuals from different countries and from different parts of of Sweden came for the celebration. Many of participants stayed at Hotell Gästis in central Varberg, where Indiensolidaritet interviewed the secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front of India, G.N.Saibaba.]

Indiensolidaritet, Sweden, August 28, 2012

GN Saibaba

Interview with G.N.Saibaba in Varberg Sweden, 14-15th April 2012

Indiensolidaritet: Can you say something about the political work you do in India?

Saibaba: I work for an organization called Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF). It is a federation of revolutionary mass organizations working among different oppressed classes and sections of Indian society.  Revolutionary students and youth organisations, revolutionary peasants’ organisations, revolutionary workers’ organisations, revolutionary cultural organisations as well revolutionary womens’ organisations from different regions across India are constituents of RDF. Thus RDF is a large network of revolutionary organisations reaching out to all sections and strata of the society.

From the year 2009 onwards Operation Green Hunt began, the Indian state’s genocidal war on the poorest of the poor in India. All of us in our organization RDF work with other parties, groups, democratic organisations and individuals to raise our voice collectively and unitedly against the present military onslaught on the people and the extermination campaign against the people of India. We see this massive military operation as a continuation and the latest addition in the war waged by India’s ruling classes against the people of the subcontinent for last many decades be it in Kashmir, North East, Punjab, and now in central and eastern India. So we are at one level involved in the basic struggles of the people and at another we are working along with a large network of political forces and carrying out a countrywide campaign against Indian state’s anti-people policies, particularly Operation Green Hunt.

Indiensolidaritet: The way we see it, there are two lines regarding solidarity work in Europe. One line is trying to unite people on an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal basis and another one focuses more on Maoism. What do you think about this?

Saibaba: Yes, there is this perception and understanding of how to develop the solidarity movement for the peoples‚ struggles and the particularly the military attack on the people that is going on in India. So what I can see is that there are large sections who think that the large sections of the people of India and the larger confrontation is more important to focus on, to tell the world outside India. There is another section of organizations which hold that the present campaign by the Indian state is targeting the revolutionaries in India and therefore the revolutionaries should be supported directly. What is important today is that the people of India, the poorest of the poor 80 percent of the country who live an extremely perilous existence, are looking forward to a basic change in their lives. The poorest section of humanity in the world therefore is waging a defiant struggle in India under the leadership of the revolutionary Maoists who are from among their own. So if you take the larger picture of what is happening in India, you can see that this is a great resistance against the loot of the land and minerals by the corporate sector. Monopoly capital in its desperation to dominate the world’s resources would like to overcome its crisis by exploiting the cheap raw materials in India and other oppressed countries. It’s an attempt by the imperialists, by monopoly capital on the world scale, to transport their burden of the economic crisis upon the shoulders of the poorest of the poor in India.

Removing the people from their homes and hearths has become pertinent for the corporations backed by the government to capture the valuable mineral resources which are estimated to a value of several trillions of dollars.  So the resistance movement is built up by the indigenous people, the poorest of the poor, the millions and millions of the wretched of the earth. To crush this movement and to silence all the people the Indian government has sent more than 250,000 armed personnel to these regions backed by its air force and navy. You therefore can see the importance of the struggle. Of course the revolutionary forces are involved. They work in these areas and organise the people, but the question is much larger. It is an anti-imperialist struggle of the people, led by the revolutionary Maoists. This is a larger question because this resistance exists not only in the central and eastern parts of India where the Maoist movement has a strong presence, but extends to every part of India even where the Maoists are absent.  Continue reading

Tribal weapons ban in Indian state of Chhattisgarh

[This article, though phrased as if tribal arms usage by revolutionary fighters has been newly discovered by state (and media) forces, actually confirms the long term preponderance of adivasis -- tribal people -- in the Maoist "Peoples Guerilla Liberation Army" and in the much larger people's militias which have been rapidly growing in thousands of adivasi villages, according to recent reports. -- Frontlines ed.]
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14 August 2012 -By Salman Ravi, BBC News, Raipur -Tribal or indigenous people in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh are to be banned from carrying traditional weapons such as sickles, axes and bows and arrows, police say.

Naxalites are reportedly using traditional weapons of locals living on edge of Abujmadh forest

They say that the move is necessary because of increasing attacks on police and civilians by Maoist insurgents with tribal weapons in public places.

The move has drawn criticism from tribal bodies and political parties.

They argue that it curtails the rights of tribal people.

Maoists are active in more than a third of India’s 600-odd districts. They say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and labourers.

Chhattisgarh is one of the Indian states worst affected by Maoist violence.

Rebels in its Narayanpur district have established a “liberated zone” over an area of 4,000 sq km (2,485 sq miles).

Boards, written in Hindi and local dialects, have been erected by police throughout the state warning of “legal action” if anyone is found to be carrying traditional weapons in public places, especially in markets. Continue reading

India: Protests of government’s June 28 massacre of adivasis continue to grow

[As a revolutionary democratic activist has noted, The 28 June Adivasi Massacre is the biggest ever single incident in which the largest number of adivaisis have been killed since 1947. The massacre is indicative of scale of atrocities that are presently going on in the tribal regions.” It is essential that international attention and protest is brought to this atrocity by the Indian government—but, unfortunately, many “progressives” and “leftists” continue to turn a blind eye to such realities.  Here we post (1) a report from an all-India fact finding team; (2) a report from investigators; and (3) statements from families of villagers killed.  We have heard that local and countrywide protests are underway, involving a wide spectrum of political forces. – Frontlines ed.]

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Report from Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations

An all-India fact-finding team of rights activists belonging to the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) visited the area in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh where 17 adivasis died as a result of firing by CRPF forces on the night of June 28, 2012. The team visited the villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta and elicited information about the events. The following is a brief report of the team. A more detailed report will follow in due course. The team visited the villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta on July 6 and 7 and elicited information about the events.

All three villages are small settlements located close to each other and in the jurisdiction of the Basaguda police station which is located about a km. away. There is a CRPF camp at about three km from the three villages. While Sarkeguda with 25 households and Rajpenta (12 households) are in Korsagudem panchayat, Kottaguda with 30 households is in Cheepurupatti panchayat. Most residents of the three villages belong to the Dorla Koya tribe.

About 60 adivasis of these three villages assembled from around 8 pm on June 28 in an open area between Sarkeguda and Kottaguda. Such meetings where decisions have to be taken collectively are usually held during the night since adivasis are busy with work most of the day. As the sowing season was upcoming, the meeting was held to discuss several issues related to farming including fixing the date for the traditional seed sowing festival known as bija pondum- (this was to have taken place a few weeks earlier but was delayed because the pujari who conducts the ritual had died), distribution of land for tilling, lending help to those families who were without cattle, deciding the amount of rent for using the new tractor they had brought and how to raise fish. Arrears of Rs 10,000 due to the adivasis since two years for tendu leaf collection were paid only recently and they also wanted to discuss what use to put it to. It was a fairly cloudy night and visibility was poor. All those in the gathering were adivasi residents of the three villages and unarmed.

While the meeting was going on, a large contingent of CRPF personnel and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, a specialised anti-naxalite guerilla unit of the CRPF) commandos numbering well over a hundred, cordoned off the area. According to the villagers, at about 10 pm there was gunfire without any warning. The first burst was from towards the west and it hit three adivasis who died instantly. This was quickly followed by firing from three other directions. Terrified villagers began screaming and running. Most ran towards their respective villages. Some tried to hide in a hay-storing enclosure. Those who were fleeing for their lives were also fired upon. The firing continued for about 30 minutes after which, as if to survey the dead, the CRPF forces fired two flare guns that lit up the area. The forces stayed on in the area.

It was clear to the fact-finding team that a peaceful gathering of adivasis, none of whom carried any firearms, was surrounded by the CRPF and without any warning fired upon indiscriminately. As a result of this firing, 16 adivasis died — 15 that night and Irpa Suresh (15) in Bijapur hospital the next day. Six of the dead were minors, including a 12 year old girl Kaka Saraswati, daughter of K Rama. She was hit while fleeing towards her house in Kottaguda. Of the other five minors, two — Kaka Rahul (16) and Madkam Ramvilas (16) — were studying in class 10 at a school in Basaguda. Both stayed at a hostel in Basaguda and had come home during the summer vacations.

It was plain slaughter that night near Sarkeguda.

According to the villagers, those who did not die from the bullet wounds were killed by the police with axes they picked up from the village itself. Several eyewitnesses from outside the village, including mediapersons who saw the bodies before they were cremated, referred to some of them as having been brutalised with deep hacking cuts on the chests and foreheads.

The 17th victim of this senseless butchery was Irpa Ramesh, husband of I Lachmi and father of three children. After the firing began, he ran and made it to the safety of his house and stepped out at dawn at about 5 am to survey the area. He was fired upon immediately and though he was hit, managed to get back inside his house. The CRPF men followed him in and clobbered him to death with a brick in front of his family members. According to Ramesh’s father Irpa Raju, the CRPF men also stole Rs 5,000 from their house. The same night the police also stole Rs 30,000 from Irpa Narayana’s house in Rajpenta as well as Rs 2,000 from the house of Madkam Nagesh. Continue reading

India: How deep, and how intelligent, is “deep intelligence”?

[When the Indian State is caught committing massacres of adivasis, their spokesmen and mouthpieces routinely retreat to Wizard of Oz claims of legitimacy and authority, stating that their actions were based upon secret and dependable sources which cannot be revealed.  This argument is designed for the arrogant, privileged, and gullible--to enable them to dismiss adivasi experience and suffering, and to endorse the malicious acts of the state as necessary and justifiable.  This article digs into these claims of "deep intelligence," of "collateral damage" and of the need to disregard the victims, who have been used as "human shields," as the official invented stories go.  --  Frontlines ed.]

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“Deep Intelligence” in Bastar: Mapping The Maoists From The Skies

By Trevor Selvam

07 July, 2012
Countercurrents.org

The Chiefs of the Indian Police Paramilitary Forces have repeatedly stated
that their operations against Maoists guerillas in the Bastar/Dantewada
area are reinforced by “deep intelligence.” Initially, I had glossed over
the expression and did not pay much attention. Then I noticed it a second
and a third time. And something rang a bell or rather hit a warm spot, as
you shall soon see. It was as if something was being held up by the Para
military Police Chiefs as “irrefutable evidence” which they were not
prepared to discuss any further. They had confidently emphasized that there
was no way the 20 villagers who were killed were not Maoists. Because,
again, they had “deep intelligence.”

My curiosity had by now peaked. What was this “deep intelligence” that they
had repeatedly cited? Did they have plants amongst the villagers who were
the eyes and ears of the police? Did they have plain clothes Selwa Judum
types who had been operating in the outskirts of the jungle areas, where
the Maoists have their strongholds? Are there tribal folks whom they have
promised land and other benefits in exchange for information on the wily
Naxalites/Maoists?

For the love of deep intelligence, a term used once upon a time in the
computer world, for embedded intelligence in microchips, I was deeply
intrigued by the repetition of this term. Mr. Chidambaram, the depressing,
lugubrious Indian Home Minister has also used similar terminology in
asserting the authenticity of the now totally discredited news that
“hardcore Maoists” were killed in this spat. He also said that he had
absolute authoritative evidence that hardcore elements had been eliminated.
Mr. Chidambaram, normally, judiciously avoids commentary on such
situations. He waits for investigations to reach his desk, before he
delivers his Harvardian mulch-chewing manifests. Turns out that even the
names of the hardcore elements were disclosed to ensure that the public
understood that there was hard work done by the sleuths before they opened
up with their Galils and Tavors on the villagers. They knew who they were
targeting! They went after their kill with method and precision. These were
11-year old girls, some seventeen year old “toppers” in the local high
school, majority of them teenagers. Hellfire visited them at 10 pm that
night as they sat in a circle to discuss sowing. Of course there must have
been Maoists around. Of course the Maoists are close to them. And as one of
the villagers clearly stated, “We have no problems with Maoists. They help
us.” Continue reading

India: More on the state’s false “Maoist” labels on adivasis killed by security forces

Day after encounter, villagers say no Maoist among those killed

Ashutosh Bhardwaj | The Indian Express | Sarkeguda, Bijapur |  Sunday July 01 2012

The bodies of 20 who were killed by the Central Reserve Police Force in the dense jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Friday.

On Saturday, over 40 hours after the “biggest encounter” involving security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh, bodies of 19 alleged “hardcore Maoists and Jan Militia members” lay outside their huts in the three villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta in Bijapur.

Villagers alleged no government official had spoken to them or visited their homes, and no autopsies had been carried out on the bodies.

Several bodies appeared to have been brutalised. This correspondent saw deep, hacking cuts, apparently made by axes, on some chests and foreheads. A senior CRPF officer rejected the possibility that the wounds might have been inflicted by security forces. “Our forces have never done such things and will never do this,” the officer said.

Bijapur superintendent of police Prashant Agarwal said, “Proper post mortem was conducted in Basaguda thana. A team of doctors visited the thana and a report will be prepared.”

Policemen at the thana — where the bodies were kept for about 12 hours before being handed to the families — were unable to say when the post mortem happened. No stitches or other tell-tale marks of an autopsy were visible on the bodies that this correspondent saw in the villages.

At Sarkeguda, the spot deep in the Dandakaranya jungles 520 km south of Raipur where the encounter happened, the stench was overpowering. A rotting pig lay nearby, a bullet in its jaw and two in the torso.

Late in the afternoon, one by one, the villagers began to cremate the bodies.

Yesterday, Home Minister P Chidambaram said three important Maoist leaders, Mahesh, Nagesh and Somulu, had been killed in the encounter.

There is no Mahesh in the official list of those killed. There are two Nageshes. Continue reading

Chhattisgarh, India: Villagers bury their dead as Maoists and CRPF forces trade charges

Aman Sethi | The Hindu

A tribal family grieves over the death of a victim of Friday’s police action against suspected Maoists at Sarkeguda in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. Photo: Aman Sethi

SARKEGUDA, 1 July 2012 — The air is thick with rhythmic wailing and smoke from funeral pyres on the barren fields of Sarkeguda, Kotteguda and Rajapetta in the Kotteguda panchayat of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.

“The funerals are being conducted one by one as there aren’t enough men to help out with so many bodies,” said Sangam Ravi, a resident. “Some have to be buried, but who will dig all the graves? Some bodies must be burnt, but then you need to collect the wood.”

A day after the Chhattisgarh police claimed to have killed 20 Maoists in an encounter in Bijapur, villagers have offered a sharply divergent description of the incident, claiming that the security forces fired at a peaceful gathering of villagers, killing 20 of them, including five children aged 12-15, and sexually assaulted at least four teenaged girls during the encounter.

“There were no Maoists present at the village that night,” said Madkam Ganpat of Rajpetta. “We had gathered to discuss the upcoming seed festival, which is held every year before sowing begins.” He said the meeting continued for several hours, when the participants were suddenly surrounded by a large contingent of the security forces.

Mourners surround a corpse at Sarkeguda village in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. On Friday morning, the Chhattisgarh police claimed they had killed 20 Maoists in an operation. Yet villagers insist that the victims were innocent tribals attending a village meeting. Photo: Aman Sethi

“The forces immediately opened fire, all of us tried to run away but many were shot in the legs, back and chest,” he said. Kaka Saraswati was among those killed in the ensuing confusion. “She was only 12 years old,” said her mother Kaka Sinakka.

Several of the bodies seen by this correspondent had bullet wounds in the torso and the neck. Sabka Mitu, 17, was killed when his throat was slit by a sharp object. Several bodies also had lacerations from what could have been a knife or an axe.

Mr. Ganpat’s account was corroborated by a number of villagers who insisted that no Maoists were present at the meeting, but none could explain how six policemen were injured. “The forces had encircled us,” said Mr. Ganpat. “Maybe, they accidently shot each other.”

The firing lasted several minutes, the villagers said, after which the forces radioed for a tractor that took away a number of bodies. “The force then camped in the village and dragged me into the fields,” Devi (name changed), a 14-year-old girl, said in an interview. “They threw me on the ground, beat me, kicked me, tore my clothes and kept threatening to rape me.” She said three other girls were similarly molested.

Continue reading