On the Bihar (India) State Police Arrest of RDF Leader Rajkishore

Rise!                             Resist!                      Liberate!

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) – Press Statement, 5 November 2013

Condemn the arbitrary arrest of Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (RDF) All India General Secretary Rajkishore by the Bihar State Police!

Release Rajkishore immediately and unconditionally!

On the 1st of November at 8 pm, RDF’s General Secretary, Rajkishore, was arrested by the Bihar State police at his home in the village of Bakhari in East Champaran now called Motihari District, forced to sign on blank papers, and whisked away to the Madhuban Bazaar Police Station in Motihari town. Around 150 to 200 armed police personnel surrounded the village of Bakhari, barged into Rajkishore’s house and interrogated him and his family. Rajkishore is seventy one years of age and is ailing from serious medical problems. He suffered a recent injury to his ears and fracture in both sides of his lower jaw when turned unconscious and fell on the flower. He has been undergoing treatment at the AIIMS in Delhi, is taking heavy medication and is on a liquid diet, and had been advised by his doctors to remain at home for the remainder of his recovery.

Two days after reaching home he was picked up by the state police forces and charged in a case numbered 88 dated to 2005 that concerned an incident in Madhuban Bazaar allegedly involving the CPI (Maoist). The charge includes Indian Penal Code (IPC) 396 ‘dacoity with murder’ and Criminal Law (Amendment) Act Section 17. He has been remanded to judicial custody on case number 88/2005 based on a ‘confessional’ statement made in 2006 by one of those arrested in the Madhuban case. The arrest warrant on Rajkishore has been pending since 2006. He had visited his village a number of times in all these years but the arrest warrant was never invoked in the past. Continue reading

News of Maoist resistance to Operation Green Hunt

(PLGA) Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army youth

Gulf Times, October 24, 2010

Patna: Security was tightened across the eastern state of Bihar yesterday after six policemen died in a blast triggered by suspected Maoist rebels, officials said. 
A hidden mine targeted a police vehicle over a small bridge in Bihar’s Sheohar district.

The blast came two days after a six-phase, month-long electoral process to choose the state legislative assembly began. 
The second phase will be held today, and security was increased across the state after the explosion, police said. 
“Combing operations were intensified,” Bihar’s additional director general of police P K Thakur said. “Security has been tightened to give a sense of confidence among people a day ahead of polls following the Maoist strike.”

The attack forced the Election Commission to change the poll timing in Sheohar district.
 Polling will now be held between 7am and 3pm instead of until 5pm. 
Bihar police chief Neelmani has urged voters not to panic.
 “I appeal to the voters to exercise their franchise without any fear…security forces will be available for their security and protection. I will request people to come out of their homes and reach polling stations,” Neelmani said.
 “There is no need to panic…the police will ensure violence-free polls,” he said.
 Police officials admit the threat of more Maoist violence looms large over the Bihar assembly polls. The rebels had declared early this month they would intensify attacks to disrupt the elections.

Maoist violence was also reported from several other parts of the country. An Intelligence Branch officer and an NGO worker were reportedly abducted by the Maoists from West Bengal’s Purulia district.

In Orissa, about 30 Maoists early yesterday blew up a warehouse, police said.
“The rebels blew up the warehouse at Niliguda village with land mines,” police officer Debashis Mishra said. Continue reading

CPI(Maoist) calls bandh in six states to protest Indian repression in Kashmir

[Wikipedia:  “Bandh (Hindi:  बंद), originally a Hindi word meaning ‘closed’, is a form of protest used by political activists in some countries like India and Nepal. During a Bandh, a political party or a community declares a general strike.  Often Bandh means that the community or political party declaring a Bandh expect the general public to stay in their homes and strike work. The main affected are shopkeepers who are expected to keep their shops closed and the public transport operators of buses and cabs are supposed to stay off the road and not carry any passengers. There have been instances of large metro cities coming to a standstill. Bandhs are powerful means for civil disobedience. Because of the huge impact that a Bandh has on the local community, it is much feared as a tool of protest.“]

Maoists support Kashmiris, call strike

Times of India,  September 27, 2010

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to show solidarity with protesting Kashmiris who have been demanding “azadi” and attacking security forces, Maoists have called for a 24-hour bandh in six states on September 30.

In a statement dated September 23, the CPI (Maoist) said September 30 will be observed as a bandh in six states — Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa — and also in Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur districts of Maharashtra and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh in protest “against the killing of Kashmiri youth by security forces since June 11”.

The statement was issued by Abhay, spokesperson of the central committee, and Anand, central regional bureau spokesperson. The party said there would be a “closedown of all rail and road traffic, banks, government and private offices, industries, educational institutions and business establishments”. “We are excluding essential services like hospitals and other services from this bandh call,” the statement said.

The statement justified the stone-pelting in Kashmir and called it democratic. It has been a Maoist strategy to join forces with all manner of protests, particularly if they are directed against the state.

In their attempt to gain support from Kashmiris, the party demanded “immediate end to massacres by Indian armed forces in Kashmir, withdrawal of military and paramilitary forces, repeal of AFSPA, plebiscite for Kashmiris and release of all political prisoners”. Continue reading

India: Bihar police in no mood to fight the Naxals

Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 37,  September 18, 2010

Broken will -- Members of the Bihar Special Auxiliary Police look desolate while taking a break from Naxal ops

YOU DID nothing for me. The police and the government did nothing to rescue me. My family negotiated with the Naxals for my release. I am pleading with folded hands, please let me go home. I will not accompany you to the police station. I don’t want to be in the police.” –Sub-Inspector Abhay Yadav to Lakhisarai Superintendent of Police, Ranjit Kumar Mishra, after the Maoists released him on 6 September.

Eventually Lakhisarai’s new SP forced Abhay, Rupesh Sinha and Mohammad Ehsan Khan, the three surviving policemen from the abductors, to take a detour to the police station for a debrief session. These policemen survived an eight-day ordeal as captives of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in Lakhisarai, Bihar. The PLGA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), popularly known as Naxals.

It is unlikely that Abhay will give up his job. Employment in the government service, especially the police, is coveted because it brings in unaccounted wealth. “I want to leave my job. But my family will decide,” he says. “Dheeraj Rakhiye” (Please be patient). These words were used every time a police officer spoke to those in the lower ranks. But each expression brought despair and a sense of inadequacy to the policemen in Lakhisarai, Jamui, Munger and Banka.

In some areas of the dense hills connecting these districts, several teams of the Bihar Police and the CRPF staged short bursts of combing operations to trace the kidnapped policemen. Some, like Jawaharlal Singh, assistant sub-inspector, Jamui Police Station, berated curious villagers: “Your netas are responsible for Naxalism. They create the problem, they use Naxals for political one-upmanship and we have to face the brunt of it.”

Several policemen, overwhelmed by the killing of Lucas Tete, admitted that the writ of the government runs dry across a large swath of Lakhisarai. Tete was killed when the state government refused to release eight imprisoned Naxal commanders. Continue reading

Madrassas exploit child labor in India

Tehelka Magazine, September 11, 2010

Lost Children of the Prophet

Madrassas are the cornerpiece of Muslim community life. In a disturbing twist, some of them are being used as transit shelters for child trafficking. Or worse, doubling up as sweatshops themselves. NEHA DIXIT reports

Lost Children of the Prophet

IN SHAKURPUR Basti, a teeming Muslim-dominated, workingclass neighbourhood in North Delhi, there is a four-storey building with a mosque on the ground floor. This is the Darul Ujloom Nizamia Ghausul Uloom Madrassa. On the face of it, there is nothing to set this madrassa apart from an estimated 35,000 madrassas in the country. But unknown to the community, the Darul Ujloom madrassa is subverting its foundational pact with both Allah and his followers.

In many ways, madrassas are a cornerpiece in Islamic community life. They are seminaries where children go for religious education, and in poor neighbourhoods, for non-formal schooling. Most madrassas in India are affiliated either to the Deobandi, Barelvi or Ahl-i-Hadith sects and are funded by zakat — the com- passionate Islamic practice of people donating 2.5 percent of their income to support hospitals, charities or Islamic schools. Zakat donated to madrassas is meant to pay for maulvis’ salaries and free meals, clothing, books and lodging for children.

In keeping with this tradition, the Darul Ujloom Madrassa, set up in 1992 by three maulvis of the Barelvi sect, is supposed to house 150 poor Muslim children and provide them with shelter, education and food. Far from doing this though, in a disturbing twist, TEHELKA found that the Darul Ujloom Madrassa was illegally sending its minor children out to work harrowing twelve hour shifts at nearby factories and sweatshops. 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

Dalits Rescued Last in Floods

Gavin Rabinowitz, Associated Press, 02 September, 2008

TRIVENIGANJ– In the two weeks since a monsoon-swollen river burst its banks, ancient prejudices have run just as deep as the floodwaters. India’s “untouchables” are the last to be rescued – if at all – from a deluge that has killed dozens and made 1.2 million homeless.

Dalits, the social outcasts at the bottom of the Hindu caste ladder, have borne the brunt of the devastation as the rampaging Kosi River* swamped hundreds of square miles in northern India after it overflowed and shifted its course dozens of miles to the east.

On Sunday, one Dalit, Mohan Parwan ran up and down a half destroyed bridge that has become the headquarters for rescue operations in this town near the border with Nepal, desperately scanning arriving boats for signs of his family. Dozens came in but each time he was disappointed.

Parwan, 43, is from a Dalit village just 2 miles away but completely cut off by a deep lake created by the swirling waters. As the village headman, he was put on the first rescue boat that came and was promised his wife, four children and the rest of the community would follow. Continue reading