Rights Defenders Condemn India’s Political Arrests of Activists

[The arrest of civil rights activists in Andhra Pradesh is a dramatic extension of the state’s intensified suppression of rights activists.  Eleven were arrested — for organizing a press conference, and for organizing a protest petition against — but police claimed this was only to deal with the “Maoist threat.”  Here, below, is the response of civil liberty organizations, followed by a mainstream (police directed) article which equates Maoism with rights activism. — Frontlines ed.]

October 10, 2014

Detention of civil rights activists in Vishakhapattanam “a threat to constitutionalism, rule of law”: PUCL 

The police thwart the committee’s call for a public meeting in protest against operation Green Hunt, an anti-Naxal operation by the security forces in various the states

Deccan Chronicle: “The police thwart the committee’s call for a public meeting in protest against operation Green Hunt, an anti-Naxal operation by the security forces in various the states”

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has strongly condemned “arbitrary and illegal” detention of civil liberties activists and human rights defenders in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on October 9, 2014 when they were trying to hold a press conference at the Civil Library, Vishakhapatnam, to announce a meeting on October 12 to protest against Operation Green Hunt. “The hostile and intimidatory action of the police was supported at the highest level in the state government”, said PUCL, adding, this was clear “when the Vizag police arrested five other human rights activists who had gone to the Camp Office of DIG, Vishakhapatnam Range, to bring to his notice the illegal arrests of their colleagues.”
Signed by Prof Prabhakar Sinha, national president, PUCL, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, PUCL, the statement by the influential civil rights group said, “The fact that the Andhra Pradesh police released the activists subsequently does not mitigate from the fact that the government and police’s action constitute a serious threat to constitutionalism, rule of law and fundamental right to free speech and expression, assembly and dissent.”

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Andhra Pradesh: Against the Suppression of Democratic Activists

APCLC district president Vijay Kumar, vice-president Harinatha Reddy and general secretary Bommaiah were also taken into custody and were put under house arrest top restrain them from attending the meeting of 42 people's organisations scheduled to

APCLC district president Vijay Kumar, vice-president Harinatha Reddy and general secretary Bommaiah were also taken into custody and were put under house arrest top restrain them from attending the meeting of 42 people’s organisations scheduled to be held in Tirupati on Sunday to highlight their demands. They were released from house arrest on Sunday evening. (Photo: DC/File)

[42 Organizations demand release of Democratic Activists including Dr. GN Saibaba, APCLC leaders, and others.  And they demanded an end to Operation Green Hunt, military withdrawal from tribal areas, and cancellation of multinational deals. Civil Liberties’ leaders were released after meeting was over.  This is what the Indian State, and imperialists, deceptively call “the world’s largest democracy.”  —  Frontlines ed.]

DC CORRESPONDENT | September 29, 2014

Kurnool: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee president and state convenor of Operation Green Hunt Vythireka Porata Samiti Prof S. Seshaiah has been taken into custody and put under house arrest by Anantapur police on Saturday night. 

APCLC district president Vijay Kumar, vice-president Harinatha Reddy and general secretary Bommaiah were also taken into custody and were put under house arrest to restrain them from attending the meeting of 42 people’s organisations scheduled to be held in Tirupati on Sunday to highlight their demands. They were released from house arrest on Sunday evening.
It is reported that the police have stepped up surveillance on their houses  and tapped their phones to know their movements.

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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

India: Bhilai Steel Plant to ‘fund barracks’ for paramilitary forces to access iron ore

RAIPUR, November 7, 2012

by Suvojit Bagchi, The Hindu

CPI-Maoist have formed several committees to oppose the project

Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), one of the main steel-producing units of Steel Authority of India (SAIL), ‘will fund construction of barracks’ for paramilitary forces to ensure security for the coming mining project at Raoghat in Kanker, central Chhatisgarh. The construction has been initiated, both Union Home Ministry and SAIL sources confirmed.

The BSP needs iron ore from the Raoghat mines, about 175 km south of Bhilai, as its existing nearby mines are fast depleting. The banned CPI-Maoist, which has a strong presence in Raoghat, has opposed the mining project.

The BSP is accessing iron ore from various captive mines in and around Dalli-Rajhara, 85 km south of Bhilai, for a few decades. However, those mines are depleting, according to SAIL officials.

The BSP needs to access iron ore from Raoghat, a hilly forested patch another 95 km south of Dalli-Rajhara. The BSP and Dalli-Rajhara are connected by rail to transport iron ore, unlike Bhilai and Raoghat. SAIL is keen to have a rail road to Raoghat from Dalli-Rajhara. However, strong Maoist presence and land acquisition issues are postponing the project, resulting in cost escalation.

In the recent meetings between Home Ministry officials and SAIL, it has been decided that four battalions, with more than 4,000 personnel, of elite paramilitary forces will be deployed to guard the railway construction site between Dalli-Rajhara and Raoghat. The Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force will provide two battalions each. The BSP will ‘fund barracks’ of the paramilitary forces along the 95-km track. Continue reading

India: Counter-insurgency wars expand with drones and tech surveillance

[There’s no mention in this press report of the routine failures of drones and satellites in assessing and exaggerating the techonoligical prowess of these instruments, wherever they are being used (in many countries), with broad targeting of civilian non-combatants as the result.  As a result, this “news” report sounds more like a sales brochure from one of the US or Israeli drone suppliers. — Frontlines ed.]

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“First NTRO station activated in Maoist hotbed”

Press Trust of India, 31 October 2012

NEW DELHI, 31 OCT: The country’s specialised department for technological surveillance , National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) has set up its first base in a naxal hotbed in Chhattisgarh to monitor the movement of armed Maoist cadres and fly UAVs to help security forces to track them.

This key project has been operationalised with the establishment of five satellite-linked terminal stations at a designated location in the state by the NTRO with the help of paramilitary CRPF, the lead anti-naxal force with more than 75,000 troops deployed for such tasks.

Sources involved in the technical department of the base station said CRPF has now linked the operations of its ten Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with the new NTRO facility which will function round-the-clock. 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

India: Report on the Historic 2012 Revolutionary Democratic Front Conference

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) leaders at the concluding session of their first conference in Hyderabad

Report on the first All India Conference of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

The historic first conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) was held on 22 and 23 April 2012 in the Sundarayya Vignana Bhavan in Hyderabad. The conference was inaugurated with the hoisting of the RDF flag by Goru Madhava Rao, the veteran fighter of the Srikakulam armed peoples’ uprising, the founding president of All India Peoples’ Resistance Forum (AIPRF) and an untiring revolutionary who recently passed away on 18 July 2012. Slogans hailing ongoing revolutionary movement and condemning the Indian state’s repressive class violence in the form of Operation Green Hunt, Operation Haka and Operation Vijay were raised. The martyr’s memorial was unveiled by Mallamma, the mother of the martyred revolutionary leader G. Shankar, also known as Sheshanna and Shamsher, state committee member of the North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC) of the CPI(Maoist). Resistance songs were performed by members of Jharkhand Abhen of Jharkhand and revolutionary cultural activists of Revolutionary Writers’ Association (Virasam) of AP and Revolutionary Cultural Front of Delhi.

In the inaugural session, B. S. Raju, the Secretary of the Reception Committee of the Conference welcomed the delegates and participants, and declared that the RDF stands resolutely in favour of a democratic and separate Telangana state. M T Khan, chairperson of the Reception Committee, condemned the Chhattisgarh government for preventing the 34-member team of delegates from that state coming to attend the conference.

Professor Jagmohan, noted democratic rights activist and the nephew of shaheed Bhagat Singh, inaugurated the 40th issue of Samkaleen Jan Pratirodh, the magazine of RDF, dedicating it to the people of India and the Indian revolutionary struggle. Pankaj Dutt, the renowned people’s intellectual and academic presented the Keynote address on economic crisis and possibility of revolutionary upsurge in the country. He analysed the confluence of imperialism and feudalism in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial reality like India, which then generates what is usually understood as ‘growth’ and  ‘development’ which is so disastrous for the vast masses of the country. He noted that it is the poor and landless peasantry – so far denied the power to exercise their labour creatively – who holds the key to the change of property relations and thereby turn the present world economic crisis into a revolutionary upsurge for a complete social transformation. Continue reading