India: “Justice” System Produces Political Prisoners

Vira Sathidar, right, in a scene from “Court,” directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. Credit Zeitgeist Films

 The wheels of justice grind slowly and mercilessly in “Court,” Chaitanya Tamhane’s quiet, devastating critique of the antiquated Indian legal system. As it follows the case of Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar), a 65-year-old folk singer and social activist accused of inciting what is presumed to be the suicide of a sewer worker in Mumbai, the film conjures an absurdist nightmare of bureaucratic incompetence, indifference and social inequity.

Narayan is first seen teaching children Indian geography in a crowded Mumbai classroom, then hurrying to board a bus that takes him to an outdoor theater where he is introduced to a small crowd as “the people’s poet.” Backed by a troupe of musicians, he sings a forceful song urging everyone to rise up against “religious, racist, casteist and nationalist jungles.” Midway through, Narayan is arrested.

The remainder of the movie observes his protracted trial. A travesty of justice that another filmmaker might have directed as a farce, the work has a gravity, a measured pace and a detachment reminiscent of a Frederick Wiseman documentary — “Court,” however, is fictional. Continue reading

Democratic Illusions Infect Judiciary in India’s Repressive State

[The Indian state, thoroughly repressive toward over 90% of the people in India, has often claimed, since being “granted” independence by the British Empire, that it is democratic, even “the world’s largest democracy.”  This claim is belied by the brutal displacement and oppression of the majority of the people–the adivasis, dalits, the peasantry, the women of the oppressed castes and classes, Muslims, political opponents of the neo-colonial, semi-feudal state and their imperialist masters, and the Maoists (and all other opponents loosely, and falsely, labelled “Maoists”).  As the opposition continues to grow against the oppressive police state, the contradiction with the democratic myth has grown sharply, infecting even the ranks of the repressive judiary.  The rebellious people will carefully study how these “democratic dissidents in high places” will be dealt with by the repressive “powers-that-be”.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Person can’t be taken into custody just because he is a Maoist, Kerala HC rules

Person can’t be taken into custody just because he is a Maoist, Kerala HC rules

Justice AM Muhammed Mushtaq said that a Maoist can be arrested and put behind the bars only if he or she indulges in unlawful or anti-national activities.

KOCHI: In a significant development, the Kerala high court made it clear that a Maoist cannot be taken into police custody just because of his political leanings.  Justice A M Muhammed Mushtaq, in his order on Friday, said that a Maoist can be arrested and put behind bars only if he or she indulges in unlawful or anti-national activities.  “Being a Maoist is no crime, though the political ideology of Maoists would not synchronise with our constitutional polity. It is a basic human right to think in terms of human aspirations,” Justice Mushtaq said in his order.The court was hearing a petition filed by Shyam Balakrishnan of Wayanad stating that he was arrested and harassed by the Thunderbolt team — a special police unit – for alleged Maoist links. The court ordered a compensation of Rs one lakh for the petitioner and also asked to state to pay litigation costs of Rs 10, 000. Continue reading

Professor GN Saibaba, Political Prisoner, ‘Kept in isolation, denied medication’

[It is horrifying to consider the sadistic glee of police and prison officials, as they carry on with their interrogation and torture of Professor GN Saibaba, jailed for his opposition to the crimes of the Indian State.  This article from a Mumbai  (where he is being held) newspaper details the physical and medical mistreatment of Prof. Saibaba, even as protests across India and around the world continue to grow. — Frontlines ed.]
‘Kept in isolation, denied medication’

G N Saibaba is physically challenged and has a history of heart disease
By Prateek Goyal, Pune Mirror, May 14, 2014
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee appeals to State human rights commission, claiming G N Saibaba needs to be provided with basic facilities

The Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) has appealed to the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC), asking that wheelchair-bound Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, arrested for his alleged affiliation with Maoist groups and confined in Nagpur jail, should not be tortured during interrogation and provided with basic facilities.

A representative of APCLC and a fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) V Hargopal met former justice of Kerala High Court and current chairman of MSHRC, S R Bannurmath, in this regard on Monday.

Continue reading

Revolutionaries in India Find Greater Unity in New Merger of Maoist Parties

[Decades after the first wave of Maoist revolutionary struggle in India, often referred to as the Naxalite rebellion, was brutally suppressed by the Indian State, and the movement was splintered into many groups and parties, the struggle to unite the Maoists has taken a great step forward.  Beginning nearly 10 years ago with the merger of the People’s War Group and the Maoist Coordination Center, forming the Communist Party of India (Maoist), now, a further step merging the CPI (Maoist) with the CPI(ML)-Naxalbari has advanced the struggle to a stronger and more developed stage.  The newly unified party announced this advance on May Day, International Workers Day, with the following statement.  —  Revolutionary Frontlines]



May 1, 2014

Merger Declaration of CPI(Maoist) and CPI(M-L)Naxalbari
Hail the Merger of the Maoist Parties in India into a Single Party!

(Released to the press by comrades Abhay and Krantipriya, spokespersons of the respective parties)

On this occasion of the International day of the world proletariat, the glorious May Day, we the Maoists of India, with a great sense of responsibility and firm conviction, announce the merger of the CPI (Maoist) and CPI(M-L) Naxalbari into a single party, to be known as CPI(Maoist). Thus strengthening the vanguard of the Indian proletariat, which is a contingent of the world proletariat, we dedicate ourselves evermore firmly to the cause of the Indian revolution and the world proletarian revolution.
The Maoist movement took form through the great Naxalbari uprising of 1967. Inspired and led by comrades Charu Mazumdar and Kanhai Chatterjee, founder leaders of our party, thousands of leaders, cadres and masses laid down their invaluable lives to advance the revolutionary movement and build a strong party.
After the setback of early 1970s and the martyrdom of comrade Charu Mazumdar, the communist revolutionary forces were divided into many groups. The genuine revolutionaries while trying to build the movement in their respective areas made serious attempts to unify all revolutionaries into a single party. In the course of this process over the last four decades the two main streams represented by the erstwhile CPI (ML) (People’s War) and the MCCI merged into a single party, the CPI (Maoist), on 21st September 2004. This marked a qualitative leap in realizing a long drawn aspiration of the workers, peasants and other oppressed masses to build a single directing centre leading the new democratic revolutionary war in India to success and marching forward to establishing socialism and then communism. Continue reading

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.]


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.]


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.