Pictures that Turn a Generation, Armies that Lie


By Trevor Selvam

28 June, 2010,

A picture could very well be a tide turner. The one image that makes a nation sit up, shake itself off its torpor and ask itself, how much more of this repetitive official nonsense can we accept and justify in our quest to become a developed nation and overlook the rampant denial of due process and decency. A picture can be a conscience raiser, the final straw, the one blow that cuts up the fine line between what a civil society will accept and outright barbarism. Not too many people remember the name of Nguyễn Ngọc Loan. But a lot of people remember this picture.

The man who took this picture, Eddie Adams, won a Pulitzer prize. It helped turn the tide of one war-The Vietnam War.


Nguyen Ngoc Loan c Loan was the former Vietnamese Army Brigadier and later Chief of the National Police of South Vietnam. Here he is seen executing Nguyn Văn Lém, handcuffed Viet Cong Captain.

This was one of many pictures that turned the tide in many ways and showed American people, how bestial were the forces that they were propping up. America lost that war decisively. Lock stock and barrel. Thousands and thousands of anti-war activists and radical groups took to the streets. Nixon was caught red-handed with the Watergate break-in. The entire fibre of American society was on the block. They used all the might they had, all the firepower, WMD and chemical defoliants (remember Agent orange and its creators Dow Chemicals, who are the proud owners of Union Carbide today? ) available at that time to unleash a ruthless, at times covert war, against the Vietnamese people. Wave upon wave of Viet Cong swarmed the Americans and eventually, the world’s most powerful military in the world, scurried away with their stooges in tow and so did this Vietnamese Brigadier at the time of the fall of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).

He took refuge in America. He opened a pizza restaurant in Washington DC and managed to hide his identity for a long time. Eventually, he was exposed and history caught up with him. Signs started appearing in the bathroom of his pizza parlour. “We know who you are, fucker.” The man died a lonesome death very soon after.

Below is a picture of the bestiality of the Indian para-military forces in operation in Lalgarh, two weeks ago. A dead woman Maoist activist, trussed up as when British colonials went on tiger and deer hunts with Indian princes and rajahs. India is at War. Against its own people. And pictures like this should turn the tide of public conscience. Will India generate thousands and thousands of radicals and peace activists who are nauseated by this savagery and also take to the streets to register their opposition to this War? Continue reading

Sanhati Statement against Arrest of Activists in Lalgarh

Sanhati, June 17, 2010

We strongly condemn the detention and subsequent arrest of Nisha Biswas, Manik Mandal and Kanishka Choudhury, activists from Kolkata who were visiting Lalgarh to investigate the rampant human rights violation by the police and paramilitary forces in those areas.

The three activists, along with three print and electronic media journalists, had been visiting the Salboni-Lalgarh area since 14th June, documenting the atrocities and destruction wreaked by the joint state and central forces and the armed CPI(M) harmads who are backed by these same police forces.

On 15th June, all the six persons were detained by the joint forces from Lakshmanpur village in Salboni. Along with them around fifty villagers were also rounded up. Although the journalists were subsequently released, the three activists were charged, together with seven villagers who are activists of the Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), with violation of Sec. 144 of the Criminal penal code, which has been in force in Lalgarh for the past one year. Continue reading

West Bengal: Suspected Maoists Treated like Animals to be Hunted

Death And The Maiden

17 June, 2010,

A photograph featured in The Hindu, dated 17-06-2010 shows security personnel in West Bengal , carrying the body of a woman killed in a purported raid on a Maoist hideout.

The woman’s body had been trussed up like the carcass of a dead animal. The photo speaks volumes of how the Indian state views those it considers a threat to the internal security of the nation – as people beneath its contempt and consideration.

The photo featured alongside that of the dead woman shows a ‘captured’ young adivasi man, barely past his adolescence – a face that could stand in for a large number of disenfranchised, poor and desperate tribals, who are being treated as enemies of the state for merely wanting to lead a life of autonomy and dignity.

Merely labeling the dead woman and this young man ‘Maoist’ does not explain the reasons for their disenchantment with the Indian state’s policies, both at the regional and national levels – policies which are calculated to deprive them of their right to life and livelihood. Nor does such a labeling take away from the cynical and outrageous disregard and disrespect that these photos represent. Continue reading

Indian Maoists: “We are being falsely implicated” in sabotage of railway

(In view of the train accident that took the lives of more than a hundred passengers  and left many more injured who had been travelling by Gnaneswari Express, the railways have been contemplating postponing train services along that route at night and re-scheduling its timings accordingly. In response, the CPI(Maoist) has issued a statement on 29 May 2010 that came out in a Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika published from Kolkata.  It was published on 30 May 30, 2010 under the caption ‘The Maoists ask the railways to ply trains without fear.’-ed)

Second Statement from CPI(Maoist) on the Train Accident

“We were not involved in the sabotage in the railway line. Still we are being falsely implicated in it.”

CPI (Maoist) tells the Indian rail authorities to ply their trains

Let the railway authorities ply their trains on schedule. There is nothing to fear.  On Saturday, on behalf of the State Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Aakash issued this statement to the press. “We were not involved in the sabotage in the railway line. Still we are being falsely implicated in it. There is no need to stop railway service on the plea of Maoist sabotage.  Let the rail authorities ply their trains. Nothing (no harm) will be done from our side”.

The Maoists stated: We gave a call for organizing a ‘Black Period’ from 23 May to 2 June; it was not directed against the railways. Besides price rise and operation by the security forces, it was also directed against the central government policy of selling out shares of public sector undertakings, taking US assistance for the defence sector and the creation of special economic zones. Our aim was to make propaganda and create awareness on these issues among the people. Wearing black badges, organizing processions comprise part of our programme, but there was nothing against the railways. The Maoists claimed: “Whenever there is any programme against the railways or a call for stopping railway services, there is a formal notification much before that date”. Continue reading

CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA deny any involvement in Friday train derailment

Statement from the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF):

Yesterday’s( 28 May 2010) Gnaneshwari Express and a goods train tragedy near Kharagpur in West Bengal  in which 80 people were killed and 200 injured was attributed to CPI(Maoist) and Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) by the media. The media unscrupulously played false news stories blaming CPI (Maoist) and Peoples Committee for two days. Some political parties like Trinomial Congress and the ruling CPI(Marxist)  also blamed these organisations without any verification.  Significantly Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has declined to attribute the blame on the CPI (Maoist) and also announced that there was no evidence of any bomb blast in the incident.

The Union Home Minister has ordered an enquiry to find out any possibility of sabotage. During the day the leaders of CPI (Maoist) clarified through a long statement that they were not responsible for the train tragedy and condemned any possible sabotage work if any force involved behind the incident. They have also expressed their condolences for the families of deceased. The PCAPA also clarified that their activists are not involved in this incident. They suspected the ruling CPI(Marxist) to have been involved in the sabotage desperately trying to tilt the public opinion against the fighting forces.

Purposefully the media did not cover the statement issued by the CPI (Maoist) while playing the false stories and commentaries blaming the CPI (Maoist) for the incident. Some all India newspapers like The Hindu wrote editorials blaming the CPI (Maoist) for the incident. Many other newspapers wrote major articles decrying the CPI (Maoist) as terrorist attributing the blame on them. Now when the clarifications come from CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA, will these media houses withdraw their false stories and give the facts to the people? Will they regret for propagating the false news?

These two days of false propaganda is made with a malicious intension of maligning the CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA. Continue reading

West Bengal: Report on Lalgarh Struggle by People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA)

This is a detailed report on the work of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities in the Lalgarh region of West Bengal, and the vicious attacks on the PCPA and  civilians by the police, paramilitary forces and harmads (goons) of  West Bengal’s ruling “Communist” Party of India (Marxist).

Second Letter from Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities to Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) and Lalgarh Mancha


Hope you did receive the letter that we sent to you around the end of this March. We don’t have any of your addresses. Moreover, posting the letter is a great problem. Interior villages do not have post offices. Where there is a posting facility, Harmads or the joint forces or both have camped near it. If the bearer of the letter is caught before it is being posted, it is certain that he/she will not return home. This is the scenario of the democratic establishment of Buddha-Chidambaram in today’s Jangal Mahal. We believe that there might be a few days’ delay, but you will definitely receive this letter.

The continuous false propaganda in the papers and on wireless or on TV about people’s movement in the Jangal Mahal is creating a misconception about us amongst you living in urban and suburban areas. Only 10 to 45% of our statements that are coming out almost every day are covered. That too is appended with the adverse comments of a variety of people, from local newsmen to top brass of the administration. Continue reading