India: The largest “democracy”? — or, a brazen — but false — electoralism?

[As Maoists in India denounce India's claimed "democracy" as deceptive and fraudulent, the Indian state deploys nearly 150,000  troops, and moves hundreds of voting stations out of rebellious regions.  See the following two reports from the mainstream Indian press.  --  Frontlines ed.]

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Maoist posters calling for poll boycott found at bus stand

Business Standard, Tuesday, October 22,

Bottom of Form

Maoist posters calling for boycott of the upcoming Assembly polls were found pasted at a bus stand in the Kanker district in Chhattisgarh, where as many as 18 Maoist-affected constituencies will go to polls on November 11.

Three posters and two banners were found put up at the waiting hall of the bus stand under Pakhanjore police station limits last evening, a senior police official told PTI today.

Although, security personnel regularly visit villages to instill confidence in the people to vote, the rebels have appealed to villagers to kick both the BJP and Congress out of power, the police said, adding that a case has been registered in this connection.

Meanwhile, taking serious note of the Maoist threat, the Centre has sent additional 40,000 personnel of paramilitary forces to ensure peaceful polling, in addition to around 65,000 police personnel and 27,000 paramilitary troops already engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the state. Continue reading

India: It’s people’s right to boycott elections: Maoist leader

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It's people's right to boycott elections: Maoist leader
CPI (Maoist) Dandakaranya special zonal committee secretary Ramanna speaks on the party’s stand on the Chhattisgarh assembly elections.
CPI (Maoist) Dandakaranya special zonal committee secretary Ramanna speaks on the party’s stand on the Chhattisgarh assembly elections and justifies the May 25 attack on Congress leaders that killed Mahendra Karma and V C Shukla among others.

Q: Why have you appealed for election boycott? A: As usual, we have appealed to people to boycott the elections because they are a farce. Elections only renew five-year tenures of loot and torture by the elected representative in the present system. Our target is to change this system from the root and establish a people-centric society and that is not possible through elections.

Q: Will the poll boycott be violent this time too? A: This does not depend on our saying anything. Like always, this time too, the government has deployed a huge a number of security forces in the name of conducting free and fair elections, which are already exploiting and torturing people. Attacks on villages in the name of search operations, arrests, beating up people, fake encounters are consistently on. It is important to resist such acts. Therefore, I can only say that when the government tries to defuse our poll-boycott movement through crackdown on the people, then there will certainly be a counter to it. Continue reading

“Bastar attack a punishment to Salwa Judum supporters”

[Here, a corporate media report on the discovery of Maoist banners about a recent armed conflict which eliminated the architect of the notoriously brutal anti-tribal Salwa Judum program (para-military violent squads organized and paid by the state).  The media, typically, expresses the police view, referring to the Maoists as "ultras," thereby indicating their support of the Salwa Judum. -- Frontlines ed.]

Zeenews.com, Friday, June 28, 2013

Gadchiroli: Maoists on Friday put up banners in remote parts of this district justifying the attack on the convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar area on May 25, in which 29 people were killed, as an act of punishment for “supporters of Salwa Judum”.


“How can punishing the supporters of Salwa Judum be an attack on the democratic values,” the ultras asked in the banners put up by Gadchiroli Divisional Committee of CPI (Maoists), at different places in Regdi, Kasansur, Ghot and other areas of the district.

“The death of Mahendra Karma and other Congress leaders is a punishment given by the people. It is a natural justice,” the banner further said.

Karma, who was the founder of Salwa Judum, the erstwhile anti-Naxalite movement, was killed in the brutal attack in Jiram valley of Darbha region in Bastar.

Former union minister VC Shukla, state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, his son Dinesh and former legislator Uday Mudaliyar were also killed in the incident.

PTI

 

Chhattisgarh: Maoists Torch Road Construction Machines

Outlook India | Raipur | Jun 10, 2013
Maoists today torched two road construction machines and took away a tractor in the insurgency-hit Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.”Maoists torched a bulldozer and a JCB machine of the forest department, apart from taking away a tractor, engaged in road construction work in Mendra village,” Pakhanjore Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Anil Kumar Soni told PTI.

Maoists are observing Jan Pituri Week from June 5 to June 11 to commemorate their `martyrs’.

Vehicular traffic was thin at many places in south Bastar’s remote areas. People faced difficulty in reaching their destinations.

As the Railways have decided not to run the passenger train from Visakhapatnam to Kirandul beyond Jagdalpur fearing Naxal attacks during the week, passengers were forced to travel by bus from Jagdalpur to Kirandul.

Police said patrolling by paramilitary forces had been intensified in the Naxal-infested areas.

However, this time Maoists neither announced any relief for public transport system nor gave any call for bandh during the Jan Pituri week, contrary to their past practice.

Meanwhile, a Naxal was arrested from Mardapal police station area of Kodagaon district, police said. “Guddu Muriya, 25-year-old member of Usri Jan-militia, was arrested in Mulnar village on Sunday late night,” Additional Superintendent of Police Surjeet Atri said.

Maoist attacks are a counter violence of resistance against the state: Arundhati Roy

 

First Post, May 28, 2013

(First Post) Editors note: This interview was originally run in April 2010 by CNN-IBN. Given the context of the recent attack in Chhattisgarh on a Congress convoy, (First Post) has republished the interview as it resurfaces some interesting points of view. 

In that interview, Arundhati Roy says that the Maoists have no choice but to indulge in ‘counter-violence’. Here is Roy’s interview with CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghosh:

Arundhati Roy. AFP

Arundhati Roy. AFP

Sagarika Ghose: You wrote your article ‘Walking with the comrades’ in The Outlook before Dantewada happened. In the aftermath of the Dantewada (incident of 2010), do you still stand by the tone of sympathy that you had with the Maoist cause in that essay?

Arundhati Roy: Well, this is a odd way to frame before and after Dantewada happened, because actually you know this cycle of violence has been building on and on. This is not the first time that a large number of security personnel have been killed by the Maoists. I have written about it and the other attacks that took place between the years 2005-07. The way I look at is, people make it sound that, ‘oh, on this side are people, who are celebrating the killing of CRPF jawans, and that side of the people who are asking for the Maoists to be wiped out.’ This is not the case. I think that you got to look at the every death as a terrible tragedy in a system, in a war that’s been pushed on the people and that unfortunately is becoming a war of the rich against the poor. In which rich put forward the poorest of the poor to fight the poor. CRPF are terrible victims but they are not just victims of the Maoists. They are victims of a system of structural violence that is taking place, that sort to be drowned in this empty condemnation industry that goes on. This is entirely meaningless because most of the time people who condemn them have really no sympathy for them. They are just using them as pawns. 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

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