India: Condemn the murder of Dalits, and support the resistance of dalits and adivasi!

Rise!                                                                                      Resist!                                                                  Liberate!


  • RDF strongly Condemns the Dalit Massacre in Lakshimpeta in Srikakulam
  • Punish the Culprit Upper Caste Brahmanical Forces Including their Abettors, the Ruling Party Leaders
  • RDF Hails the Exemplary Courage of Dalit People of Lakshimpeta for Putting Up Brave Fight to Own the Land.
  • Rally Around All Dalit and Adivasi People’s Struggles for Self-Assertion and Dignity
  • Develop Self-Defense to Protect the Movement and its Gains Against Murderous Attacks of the Brahmanical Forces.

Yet another massacre on dalit people in Andhra Pradesh shows that the landowning castes still turn violent when dalits assert themselves to take over land.  Four dalit people were hacked to death, and about 30 dalit men and women were critically injured in a well-orchestrated attack by Turpu Kapu backward caste brahmanical forces in Lakshimpeta village of Vangara block in Srikakulam District on 12 June 2012. The brahmanical forces targeted 60 dalit families in the village with crude and brutal weapons like bombs, sickles, hatchets and axes supported and patronised by the ruling Congress Party leaders of the region. Burada Sundara Rao (45), Chitri Appadu (35), Nivarti Venkati (65) and Nivarti Sangameshu (40) died in the bloodbath. Bodduru Papaiah died in King George Hospital, Vishakhapatnam on 20 June while taking treatment. With his death, the number of people killed in the massacre increased to five.

Land was acquired by government for Madduvalasa reservoir built on two tributaries of Nagavali river, Suvarnamukhi and Vegavathi which, while displacing thousands of people irrigated 15000 acres of land. In Lakshimpeta village, after the construction of the reservoir, 240 acres of land intermittently comes out of the submergence when water dries up. As the land turns fertile, rich crops were being raised on it with profitable cultivation in the past five years. The government paid a compensation of two lakh rupees per acre to Kapu land owners and settled 190 Kapu families and 60 dalit families about seven kilometres away from the reservoir. The dalit families were not paid any compensation or given employment though they were also displaced and resettled except for four families, who had assigned lands—only 40 thousand rupees per acre were paid to each of these four dalit families. Meanwhile one each from 40 families of the Kapu caste was provided with employment in the reservoir office departments in addition to compensation amount for land. All 250 families were settled in pacca houses built by the government. Having been deprived of land for centuries, the dalits of Lakshimpeta, as in most other cases, aspired to take over the unaffected land under the project and they have been asserting their rights over the land which now falls under the control of the government.

As the 240 acres of land—that once belonged to Kapu community became government land after compensation was being paid—came out of submergence every now and then,  180 acres of land has been cultivated by the Kapu families while only 60 acres by 60 dalit families in the last five years.  Kapu community in the village claimed that the entire land belongs to them as it once belonged them. Dalits argued with the local revenue administration that they should be allowed to cultivate this land as it was now government land. Continue reading

India: Hikaka abductors put out April 5 deadline

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 00:38

The Odisha Government on Tuesday was faced with a pincer attack when the Andhra-Odisha border Maoists who abducted Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka on March 24 issued a video tape declaring April 5 as deadline for release of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh leaders and members incarcerated in jails under fabricated charges in lieu of Hikaka’s safe release even as a second letter by the MLA, held captive in an unknown Maoist camp since March 24, ruefully alleged that the Government had so far done precious little to secure his freedom since he is an adivasi.

The letter contained a threat by Hikaka to resign as MLA in order to lead a normal life.

The audio tape issued by Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee secretary Chandra Mauli came close on the heels of an audio tape issued by Odisha State Organising Committee of the CPI(Maoist) secretary Sabyasachi Panda on Monday evening, charging the Government with dilly-dallying over a decision to fulfill his demands for release of the Puri-based Italian tour operator Paolo Bosusco and planning a counter-attack on the Maoists. Continue reading

April 1 Seminar in Cambridge, MA: “Forest Notes on the Maoists”

A seminar by Professor Alpa Shah

Bio: Alpa Shah is a social anthropologist at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is interested in inequality and efforts to address it. She has drawn on more than a decade of field research in India to explore how marginalised people experience indigenous rights activism and Adivasi politics; poverty, the developmental state and corruption; seasonal casual labour migration and transformations in the agrarian economy; the state, education and positive action policies; and the radical left and emancipatory politics, notably the Maoist movement. She is the author of In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2010.

Sponsored by:   The South Asia Forum at MIT,, The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

Where Ants Drove Out Elephants

The Story of People’s Resistance to Displacement in Jharkhand

January 6, 2012

By Stan Swamy, Sanhati

This article is an introduction to the trajectory of peoples’ movements against displacement in Jharkhand in the last few years. As the author writes, the resistance in Jharkhand has resulted in the fact that “[o]ut of the about one hundred MOUs signed by Jharkhand government with industrialists, hardly three or four companies have succeeded in acquiring some land, set up their industries and start partial production.” – Ed.

2010: A rally against Operation Green Hunt, in Ranchi, Jharkhand

Displacement is painful for anybody – to leave the place where one was born and brought up, the house that one built with one’s own labour. It is most painful when no alternate resettlement has been worked out and one has nowhere to go. And when it comes to the indigenous Adivasi People for whom their land is not just an economic commodity but a source of spiritual sustenance, it can be heart-rending.

A very conservative estimate indicates that during the last 50 years approximately 2 crore 13 lakh people have been displaced in the country owing to big projects such as mines, dams, industries, wild-life sanctuaries, field firing range etc. Of this, at least 40%, approximating 85 lakhs, are Indigenous Adivasi People. Of all the displaced, only one-fourth have been resettled. The remaining were given some cash compensation arbitrarily fixed by local administration and then neatly forgotten.

Independent studies done during the mid-1990s reveal that in Jharkhand about 15 lakh persons have been displaced and about 15 lakh acres of land alienated from mainly Adivasi people. Needless to say, during the last 15 years a lot more displacement of people and alienation of land have taken place. Strange but true, rehabilitation of the displaced was never taken seriously by any govt during all these six decades when the process of industrialization for ‘national development’ has been in vogue. In fact there was no rehabilitation policy at all!MOU-signing spree after the creation of Jharkhand

The real reason for the creation of Jharkhand as a separate state in November 2000 was not so much to respect and honour the long cherished wish and struggle of the indigenous people to govern themselves as per their culture & traditions, but in view of opening up the vast mineral resources to national & international mining companies whose pressure was increasingly brought to bear on the government. Quite understandably, one MOU after another was signed between the state government and various companies without any reference or consultation or consent of the mainly Adivasi people in whose land all this natural wealth is stored. Continue reading

India: Protesters “demanded water, but they gave us bullets”

Video grabs Policemen firing on farmers on the Pune Expressway

Aug 11, 2011 — Video grabs show policemen firing at the protestors on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Amnesty International issued a statement, “The Government of Maharashtra must ensure a thorough and fair inquiry into deaths during a protest by farmers, Amnesty International said today, after at least three people were killed when police fired on the demonstration on a highway in western India….Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that initially more than 200 police officials baton-charged and used teargas to clear the demonstrators from the expressway, after some of the protesters started stone-pelting the police officials and their vehicles….The police then used lethal force against the protesters….In all, about 80 protesters and 20 police officials sustained injuries and more than 250 protesters were arrested on various charges….The demonstrations are the latest in a series of protests in India by farmers and adivasis (Indigenous communities) over attempts to acquire land for industry or infrastructure development…”
Mihir Tanksale, TNN | Aug 11, 2011
PUNE: Villagers of Maval taluka initially refused to claim bodies but later gave up seeing the plight of the relatives of the three victims who died in the police firing on Tuesday. “We demanded water, but the police and the politicians gave us bullets,” said Macchindra Tile, who reached the Sassoon hospital on Wednesday to claim the body of his brother-in-law, Moreshwar Sathe, who died during the police firing on the Pune-Mumbai expressway on Tuesday.

Tile alleged that his brother-in-law was standing by the road side, but the police dragged him from the crowd and shot him at a point blank range. The post-mortem of all the three victims, Moreshwar Sathe, Kantabai Ankush Thakar and Sham Raghu Tupe, was conducted at the Sassoon hospital. According to the report, the cause of death of all the three victims was ‘death due to traumatic shock caused due to firearm.’ Relatives and villagers gathered outside the Sassoon hospital since Tuesday evening but refused to claim the bodies till action against police officers responsible for the incident was taken by the government. Continue reading

Indian Maoists: the Political Struggle with Adivasi “Special Police Officers”

Indian SPOs in training



[There have been interesting developments in India, where the formal police and army forces involved in “Operation Green Hunt” have in recent years been supplanted by rogue forces (para-military and para-police) recruited from among the oppressed tribal people.  Now the official disbanding of various “Salwa Judum,” “SPO” and Kova commando forces has been raised, as–at the same time–the formal entry of army units into rebellious regions is expanded.  The following statement is on the political struggle which Maoists in Dandakaranya are waging with the adivasis who have been involved in these anti-people rogue forces. — Frontlines ed.]



Press Release

July 7, 2011
An Appeal from Maoists to SPOs (Special Police Officers):

Defeat the ploys of the government to divide us and rule!
Stop fighting for the exploiters and oppressors
and come back to your villages!!

The Supreme Court delivered a judgment on the petition filed by social activist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramchandra Guha and ex-bureaucrat E.A.S. Sharma on July 4, 2011 and ordered the Chhattisgarh government that appointment of Adivasis as SPOs on the pretext of fighting Maoists and arming them with guns should be stopped. The SC opined that the very appointment of SPOs is unconstitutional. Previously too it had commented several times in the negative about Salwa Judum, SPO and Koya commandos.
In fact, since the launch of the fascist repressive campaign in the name of Salwa Judum (SJ) by the central and state governments in a planned manner, the process of appointing Adivasi youth as SPOs began. Since then in a series of repressive campaigns in the name of SJ and later in the name of Operation Green Hunt (OGH) nearly 700 villages were destroyed. Each village was burnt down in phases. More than 1200 people were killed. Hundreds of women were gang raped. Many of them were murdered too. Granaries were razed to ground. Properties were looted. Hens, pigs and goats were whisked away. In all these terrorizing acts SPOs recruited from Adivasis were pushed to the forefront. It was the SPOs that were pushed to the forefront to act as guides to the paramilitary forces and to identify the people and their houses when they attack villages. Later due to the decision taken to recruit SPOs on a huge scale their numbers increased to nearly 5,000. Some selected SPOs were given training by Greyhounds and Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army and a new force called Koya commando was constituted. As it was not possible to suppress the Maoist movement even with the repressive methods employed by all these types of armed forces, the state has now deployed the Army as its last resort. Though this deployment is done in the name of `training’ at present, in fact the process of directly using the Army in the `War on People’ has started. Continue reading

Arundhati Roy on Indian Democracy, Maoists

The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2011

By Krishna Pokharel

Writer and activist Arundhati Roy, winner of the 1997 Man Booker prize for “The God of Small Things,” is undoubtedly India’s iconoclast no.1. During the launch of her two latest books—“Broken Republic” and “Walking With the Comrades” —on Friday evening, she came to the defence of the military tactics of India’s Maoists in her polemical best:

“When you have 800 CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force, a paramilitary force deployed to fight country’s internal insurgencies] marching three days into the forest; surrounding a forest village and burning it and raping women, what are the poor supposed to do? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Can people who have no money boycott goods? What sort of civil disobedience we are asking them to adhere to?”

She backpedaled a little saying: “But at the same time what goes on in the forest in terms of resistance cannot go on outside the forest.”

In “Walking With the Comrades,” Ms. Roy recounts time she spent last year in the forest with the banned Maoist insurgents, who are active in large swathes of central and eastern India. In “Broken Republic,” she writes about the character of Indian democracy. Both books are published by Penguin India. Continue reading

India: Vedanta’s violence on workers in Orissa

[This article describes how Vedanta Mining has not only acted against the interests of tribal people, but in utter disregard of the interests of Vedanta employees.  Nonetheless, the corporation has created and organized open antagonisms between the workers and the tribals, and even gotten sections of the workers to demand that the government in Orissa give a green light to Vedanta’s mining and refinery operations on adivasi (tribal) lands.–ed]

Vedanta workers

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Following the government order on scrapping of the Niyamgiri mining project and indictment of Vedanta for carrying out expansion work of its refinery at Lanjigarh without permission, more than 5000 workers were suddenly retrenched yesterday by L&T, the contractor for carrying out Vedanta’s construction work.

On being served the retrenchment notice – verbally – the workers demanded their backlog payments’ and compensation to which the company did not heed. Workers then went on to stage a strike. It is reported that demands and downright denials led to a violent situation, in which there was some damage to the plant properties. Then the police accompanied by vedanta goons attacked the demonstrators and beat them up mercilessly… More than hundred workers are injured with bleeding heads, broken limbs, and internal injuries. Hundreds of workers have been arrested and, as reports coming from Lanjigarh this morning suggests, are being further beaten up in the police station. Continue reading