India Ink: Sid Harth
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2010-04-05 13:50:19 UTC
Black Ink: Sid Harth

“Too much representation, too little democracy”

Narayan Lakshman

Democracy and free market have fused into single predatory organism:
Arundhati Roy


MoUs with transnational firms resulted in tribals moving out of their
lands: Arundhati Roy

The problem of market externality poses systemic risks: Chomsky


Washington DC: “What happens, now that democracy and the free market
have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin constricted
imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of
maximising profit,” asked author Arundhati Roy at a discussion with
Noam Chomsky, professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In the discussion, which focussed on the threats to democracy in the
United States, India, and worldwide, Ms. Roy said asking such
questions about “life after democracy” did not mean we should lapse
into earlier discredited models of authoritarian or totalitarian forms
of governance. “It is meant to say that in the system of
representative democracy too much representation with too little
democracy needs some structural adjustment.”

Environmental concerns

As an example of some of the inherent risks within democratic systems,
Ms. Roy touched upon environmental concerns. She asked the audience:
“Could it be that democracy is such a hit with modern humans precisely
because it mirrors our greatest folly, our near-sightedness, our
inability to live entirely in the present, like most animals do,
combined with our inability to see very far into the future, makes us
strange in-between creatures, neither beast nor prophet?”

Ms. Roy also touched upon the institutionalised nature of repressive
tendencies in India. “Something about the cunning, Brahmanical,
intricate, bureaucratic, file-bound, applied-through-proper-channels
nature of governance and subjugation in India seems to have made a
clerk out of me.” She said her only excuse was to say that it took
“odd twos to uncover the maze of subterfuge and hypocrisy that cloaks
the callousness and the cold calculated violence of the world's
favourite new superpower.”

Ms. Roy described her recent visit to areas controlled by groups
portrayed in the mainstream media as “violent Maoist rebels” that need
to be “wiped out.” In exchange for giving such groups the right to
vote, democracy “has snatched away their right to livelihoods, to
forest produce and to traditional ways of life,” she said.

Ms. Roy pointed out that Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West
Bengal had signed hundreds of Memoranda of Understanding worth
billions of dollars with large transnational companies and this
inevitably led to moving tribal people from their lands. “We refer to
such areas not as the Maoist corridor but the MoU-ist corridor,” she

Financial crisis

Corroborating some of her comments with points regarding risks in
global financial markets, Mr. Chomsky said even senior officers at the
Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund recently alluded
the high likelihood of a crisis in the global financial system.

Arguing that the problem of market externality posed systemic risks,
he said: “If Goldman Sachs sells complex financial instruments which
it knows are no good, it will insure itself against loss by betting
that they will fail, but it will not take into account systemic risk —
the effect on the whole system — if its transactions go bad.”

Perverse incentives

In addition, perverse incentives resulted from the “enormous” power of
the financial institutions over the state with the U.S. now changed
from a manufacturing to financial economy. This power over the state
led to “all kinds of guarantees that if something goes wrong they will
have no problem. The most famous of them is the government insurance
policy called ‘too big to fail' — if you are too big, the taxpayer
will bail you out,” Mr. Chomsky said.

As senior financial regulators had admitted, “the combination of
market inefficiencies and perverse incentives virtually guarantees a
doomsday cycle,” he argued.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 04, 2010


Chidambaram, Buddhadeb hold one-to-one meeting
Indrani Dutta

Union Home Minister declines to speak to journalists

Wide-ranging discussions held: Chief Secretary

Chidambaram to visit Lalgarh on Sunday

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union
Home Minister P. Chidambaram held a one-to-one meeting at the
Secretariat here for nearly 30 minutes on Saturday.

Officials from the Union Home Ministry and their counterparts in the
State including the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of
Police, who were waiting in an adjoining room, were called in for a 10-
minute session with Mr. Bhattcharjee and Mr. Chidambaram. Mr.
Chidambaram declined to speak to the press.

Chief Secretary Ashoke Mohan Chakraborti said Mr. Chidambaram would
visit Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur on Sunday. The DGP, Home Secretary
Ardhendu Sen and Central government officials would accompany him on
another helicopter. This would be the first visit by a Union Minister
to Lalgarh, which has become the epicentre of Maoist activities in the

Mr. Chakraborti told journalists that wide-ranging discussions were
held at the meeting but he was not in a position to divulge anything

The meeting with Mr. Bhattacharjee was delayed by nearly one-and-a-
half hour, as Mr. Chidambaram went to the Rajbhavan straight from the
airport. This is Mr. Chidambaram's second visit to the State to
discuss the Maoist problem. He had called a meeting of the Chief
Ministers of all four eastern States, racked by Maoist activities, on
February 9. That meeting paved the way for joint action by the
affected States. Operation Green Hunt has already brought some
successes, government officials feel. This is his first one-to-one
meeting aimed at framing the next strategy to combat the Maoist

However, amid rapidly changing schedules, the Union Home Minister's
proposed visit on Saturday afternoon to certain pockets of Barddhaman
district which has seen bouts of political violence between the CPI(M)
and the Trinamool Congress since last year, was cancelled following
delays in his programme in Arunachal Pradesh.

Even as it tried to mask a sense of disappointment at this
development, the Congress and its ally Trinamool Congress sought a
meeting with the Union Home Minister. . Mr. Chidambaram's scheduled
visit to Lalgarh will take place in the backdrop of a bandh-call by
the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee
which has called the bandh in the three Maoist –stronghold districts
to protest Mr. Chidambaram's visit.

A mine blast in Lalgarh on Saturday morning was a harbinger of the
Maoist presence in the area even as the police tightened security
arrangements after the incident.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 04, 2010


Encounter specialist Sharma charge-sheeted

MUMBAI: The police on Saturday filed a charge sheet against encounter
specialist Pradeep Sharma and 20 others for allegedly killing
Ramnarayan Gupta, a suspected aide of gangster Chhota Rajan, in a fake

The Special Investigation Team probing the case filed the 1,150-page
charge sheet, which says the 10 accused — Pradeep Sharma, senior PI
Pradeep Suryavanshi, three more policemen and five civilians — have
been arrested, SIT chief K.M.M. Prasanna said.

“Eleven more accused, including nine policemen attached with various
departments, were cited as absconders,” he said. — PTI

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 04, 2010


Justice Dinakaran asked to go on leave
J. Venkatesan

He has not been performing judicial functions since Rajya Sabha
admitted motion against him

P.D. Dinakaran

New Delhi: The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of
India K.G. Balakrishnan has advised Karnataka High Court Chief Justice
P.D. Dinakaran to go on leave. Since December last, Justice Dinakaran
has not been performing judicial work. In his place, the acting Chief
Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Madan B. Lokur, is being
appointed Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.

According to highly placed sources, the decision to advise Justice
Dinakaran to go on leave was taken by the collegium on Thursday,
following representations that in the absence of the Chief Justice at
the helm of affairs, judicial work in Karnataka suffered to a great

It was felt that the three-member committee headed by Justice V.S.
Sirpurkar might take at least a year or so to complete the probe into
charges against Justice Dinakaran and till then the High Court could
not remain idle without a regular Chief Justice.

Madan B. Lokur

After Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari admitted a motion seeking his
removal on charges of corruption, land-grab and abuse of judicial
office, Justice Dinakaran has not been performing judicial functions.

It all started in August 2009 with the collegium recommending the
elevation of Justice Dinakaran as Supreme Court judge along with four
others. The Chennai-based Forum for Judicial Accountability, in
September 2009, furnished a list of charges against Justice Dinakaran,
including allegations of land encroachment at Kaverirajapuram in Tamil

After this allegation was confirmed by the Tiruvallur Collector in two
reports, the collegium dropped Justice Dinakaran's name for elevation.
Thereafter on a complaint from 76 members of Parliament, the Rajya
Sabha Chairman admitted a motion for the removal of Justice Dinakaran.
Pending the completion of enquiry, he is now being asked to go on

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Apr 03, 2010


Mayawati sets up special force for guarding monuments of Dalit icons
Atiq Khan

Bill for U.P. Special Zone Protection Force, comprising ex-servicemen,
is yet to get Governor's nod

LUCKNOW: Not waiting for Governor B.L. Joshi's approval for the
Special Zone Protection Force (SZPF) Bill and an ordinance by the same
name meant for constituting a force for guarding monuments of Dalit
icons, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday decided to
constitute a special force of ex-servicemen with immediate effect.

The SZPF Bill passed by both Houses of the Legislature on February 18,
2010, was sent to the Governor for his approval. But with Mr. Joshi
sitting over it, the government sent an ordinance to the Raj Bhavan on
March 26, 2010, with some amendments. Still there was no response from
the Governor.

The proposal submitted before the Cabinet on Friday was granted prompt
approval. The recruitment of ex-servicemen would begin from Saturday
with the Principal Secretary (Home) given the authority of completing
the formalities. The Cabinet meeting was presided over by Ms.

The SZPF proposal envisages the constitution of a battalion comprising
about 1,200 security personnel, and would be headed by an ex-Army
officer of colonel rank. The recruitment process and the service rules
would be the same as applicable elsewhere in the country. About Rs.8
to 9 crore would be spent on constituting the force in the first year
and it is likely to be set up by April-end.

Executive decision

Describing the move as an executive decision of the government, which
implied that there was no confrontation with the Raj Bhavan on this
issue, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told journalists here
that the Bill and the SZPF were two separate issues.

He clarified that there was no discussion with the Governor on this
issue. As head of the State, it was the Governor's prerogative to take
any decision on the pending Bill and ordinance, he said.

To begin with, the security force would be responsible for the
security of nine sites, including memorials, museums, parks, statues
and galleries built to Dalit icons in Lucknow and Noida (Gautam Buddha

In fact, the urgency and reasons given for constituting the SZPF were
interesting. Stating that the monuments built in memory of Baba Saheb
Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and other eminent persons were the BSP
government's tribute to their contribution, Mr. Singh said the
security of these sites was a matter of concern for the government.

There was a fear that these might be vandalised by casteist and anti-
Dalit elements. That was why there was a pressing need for
constituting a special security force, Mr. Singh said.

Any damage to the monuments would create a furore in the country and
cause law and order problem. “These things were kept in mind before
taking the decision to form a separate force.”

Moreover, recruitment from the police would have caused a heavy strain
on them and there would have been a shortfall in their numbers.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Apr 03, 2010


Ahead of Chidambaram's visit, Maoists trigger blast in Lalgarh
Staff Reporter

Incident not serious, says West Bengal Director-General of Police

Blast occurred as a vehicle carrying CRPF personnel was passing by

Chidambaram scheduled to review progress of anti-Maoist operation

The road in Bamal village in Lalgarh that was damaged in a landmine
blast triggered on Saturday. Maoists are suspected to be behind the

KOLKATA: A day before Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's proposed
visit to Lalgarh in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district to review
the progress of the anti-Maoist operation, suspected Maoists on
Saturday triggered a landmine explosion, targeting security personnel
at Bamal village.

Police said no one was injured in the blast.

District Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma said suspected
Maoists triggered the explosion on a road near the village when a
patrol vehicle carrying Central Reserve Police Force personnel was
passing by.

“The explosion left a crater on the road. The blast seemed to have
been triggered from at least a kilometre away. During search
operations, an almost 1-km long wire was discovered,” Mr. Verma told
The Hindu.

He asserted that “necessary steps” were being taken to tighten the
security during Mr. Chidambaram's visit.

Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh did not see the incident as
anything serious, saying they were routine happenings in troubled

He, however, added that security would be ‘further strengthened' for
the Union Minister's visit.

Mr. Verma said that in combing operations since Thursday security
forces arrested three suspected Maoists and detained five others.

There was flutter at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International
Airport here on Saturday after the detection of an unclaimed bag just
hours before Mr. Chidambaram's arrival.

The Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee has
called a 24-hour-bandh on Sunday in the districts of Paschim
Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia in protest against Mr. Chidambaram's

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 04, 2010


Maoists kill 9 SOG jawans in Orissa landmine blast
Sib Kumar Das

Attack comes ahead of massive offensive against the naxals
— Photo: By Special Arrangement

When terror struck: The mangled remains of the vehicle ferrying SOG
personnel that bore the brunt of the landmine attack at Tanginiguda in
Koraput district of Orissa on Sunday. The mini bus was thrown over 100
metres away in the blast.

BERHAMPUR: Nine jawans of the anti-Maoist Special Operation Group
(SOG) were killed and eight others seriously injured in a landmine
blast triggered by Maoists in Koraput district of Orissa on Sunday

The attack occurred at Tanginiguda on the Govindpalli ghat road around
10 a.m. The first of three mini buses carrying the SOG jawans took the
impact of the massive blast, believed to have been triggered by remote
control. The vehicle was thrown 40 feet in the air and its wreckage
strewn over 100 metres. A 15-feet deep hole could be seen at the place
of the blast.

Sources said a brief exchange of fire took place between the security
personnel and the rebels near the blast site.

The injured were taken to Baipariguda and later to Jeypore in Koraput
district. From there they were flown to Visakhapatnam.

Koraput Superintendent of Police Anup Sahu confirmed the death of nine
personnel and injuries to eight. However, the sources said one SOG
jawan was still missing till evening.

Reports said there were 19 persons in the vehicle.

Combing operations

The Malkangiri SP and the Koraput SP rushed to the spot. Intense
combing operations have been launched in the area.

Traffic between Malkangiri and Jeypore was held up for several hours
following the blast.

The SOG jawans were on their way from Koraput to Govindpalli in
Malkangiri district.

They were on a mission to sanitise the Maoist-prone Govindpalli ghat
road so that CRPF personnel camping at Govindpalli in Malkangiri
district could move from there to Koraput.

This incident occurred while preparations are in full swing for a
massive offensive against the naxals in the undivided Koraput district
that adjoins the strongholds of the militants in Chhattisgarh and
Andhra Pradesh.

Two battalions of the Border Security Force have reached Malkangiri
district and one more battalion is expected.

Two BSF battalions are camping in the Koraput district.

The CRPF personnel deployed in these areas are being relocated to
other naxal-hit districts.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Apr 05, 2010


Chidambaram renews talks offer
Raktima Bose

Requests people not to extend support to the Maoists
— Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram meets villagers in the Lalgarh area
of West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district on Sunday.

LALGARH: Terming Maoists ‘cowards,' Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram
made a fresh offer of talks with the rebels if they abjured violence.
He ruled out military action against them.

On his maiden visit to the Maoist-affected region to review the
progress of the anti-Maoist operations and assess the situation, he
said that while the lack of development was an issue, he requested the
people not to extend either material or moral support to the Maoists
since “they will only continue killing people.”

“The naxals are cowards. Why are they hiding in the forests? We had
invited them for talks…If they really want development…, they are
welcome to talk about anything in the world. Just give up violence,”
he told journalists after his two-and-half-hour visit.

Mr. Chidambaram also slammed the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi
Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) for “directly or indirectly”
supporting the Maoists and offered to use his “good offices” to talk
to the State government if it had a “genuine problem.”

After his arrival here, Mr. Chidambaram held an hour-long meeting with
both security and administrative officials at the Lalgarh thana and
then interacted with the locals about their grievances.

Denying that under-development was driving the locals to back the
Maoists, he said: “Very poor people live in this part of West Bengal,
and nobody supports the naxalites…they are, no doubt, unhappy that
development has not come to this area, but they also know that the
naxals are not going to bring about any development.”

Acknowledging the grievances over the lack of education, proper
ration, electricity and medical care, he said the State government
should improve its performance.

Saying that the visit made a “mixed impression” upon him about the
security operations, Mr. Chidambaram said that though the positive
part was that a “few key naxalites” could be neutralised, the “weak”
part was that Maoist killings continued. The Home Secretary and the
Director-General of Police were asked to work on the weaknesses.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Apr 05, 2010


How can we fight them, ask Lalgarh residents
Staff Reporter

LALGARH: “He asked us to get united and drive away the Maoists from
the area. But tell me how are we going to do that? We have been living
on the edge for the past one year,” – middle-aged Arati Dhar said,
while talking about the interaction villagers had with Union Home
Minister P. Chidambaram during his visit here on Sunday.

Arati's dilapidated cottage is a stone's throw away from the Lalgarh
thana and she earns Rs. 100 per week as a temporary nurse at the
primary health centre.

“Living in a place where bandh is observed almost half of every month
and livelihood is uncertain, fighting Maoists is the last thing on our
minds,” she said.

Even as she spoke, the 24-hour-bandh called by the Maoist-backed
Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee in protest against
Mr. Chidambaram's visit was on.

Mithu Singh Ray, a young housewife from the same village, said that
Mr. Chidambaram told them that everything would become normal in three

“How many more times do we have to listen to such hollow promises? For
us managing two square meals a day, giving our children education and
normal life is enough. We do not need lofty promises from the
leaders,” Mithu said.

Asked if they had told the Home Minister about the lack of amenities
in the area, she said Mr. Chidambaram observed that development was
possible only if the Maoist menace was checked.

Seventeen-year-old Saraswati Ray could not appear for her higher
secondary examinations this year due to the bandh called by the

While the district administration had assured special bus services for
the students, Saraswati said that none plied on the route from her
home to the examination centre.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Apr 05, 2010


Volume 18 - Issue 09, Apr. 28 - May 11, 2001
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

A spurt in Maoist attacks

Maoists carry out daring attacks in Nepal and Bihar and Jharkhand,
indicating growing coordination between the extremist groups.


TWO naxalite attacks occurring within a week of each other, one in
Nepal and the other in Jharkhand State, have once again evoked
suspicions of a coordinated movement by Maoist rebels in areas along
the international border in the Indian States of Bihar and Uttar
Pradesh and in Nepal. A group of militants belonging to the National
Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah) is also reported to be
maintaining close ties with the Maoists of Nepal.

On April 7, armed members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
struck in a central mid-western Nepali district of Dailekh, killing 47
people, including 29 policemen. The rebels attacked a police post at
Naummle village in the district. They overwhelmed the 72-man force
after a three-hour gun battle. The police gave up the fight after the
guerillas bombed the post. The force commander, Inspector Dhruva
Prasad Dahal, and 28 policemen were killed in the encounter, in which
19 others also lost their lives.

Family members try to identify the bodies of policemen massacred by
Maoist rebels at Naummle village in Dailekh district of Nepal.

The Dailekh incident is yet another instance of increased Maoist
attacks on police posts. On April 2, Maoist extremists struck in the
mid-western Rukum district and the north-central Dolakha district,
killing 36 policemen. The extremists have been setting off explosions
at select targets, which included residences of ruling Nepali Congress
leaders and former police officers.

The underground Maoists launched an armed "people's war" in Nepal six
years ago for the establishment of a republic as opposed to the
constitutional monarchy in a multi-party parliamentary democracy.
Since then, 1,658 people, including 344 police officers, have been
killed in encounters. Initially the Maoists were active in some remote
villages but soon their operations spread to more than 30 districts.
The Maoists, considered to be ideologically close to Peru's Shining
Path guerillas, started an armed rebellion in February 1996 to set up
a one-party Communist republic. They started their low-intensity, but
sustained, campaign from the villages located in the Himalayan
foothills. Pushpakamal Dahal and his close associate Baburam
Bhattarai, who lead the movement, are reported to be in contact with
their Indian counterparts in Bihar - the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC)
and the People's War Group (PWG). The PWG is also active in Andhra
Pradesh and in Bastar district of Chattisgarh. The PWG, which did not
want Bastar to be included in the new State, is running a parallel
administration in southern Bastar district.

Within a week of the Maoist attack in Nepal, the MCC's armed squad
killed 14 members of the Gram Raksha Dal (village volunteer force) at
Belthu village in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand, in retaliation for
the killings of Sumar Bhuiyan, a self-styled MCC area commander, by
the volunteers.

Never before in the history of Jharkhand and Bihar has a 2,000-strong
MCC force taken part in such a daring attack. In the March 1999
operation at Senari village in Jehanabad district of Bihar, in which
34 upper-caste Bhumihars were killed, only 500-odd extremists were

In their latest armed action, in Hazaribagh on April 14, the
extremists laid siege to the village in the wee hours of the day. The
victims were pulled out of their homes and hacked to death after their
limbs were tied. Some houses were torched. A one-year-old girl was
burnt alive. The assailants fired in the air, threw bombs and shouted
pro-MCC slogans.

The April 14 massacre is the biggest one since the formation of
Jharkhand in 2000 with 18 districts of south Bihar. The Bharatiya
Janata Party government in Jharkhand headed by Babulal Marandi
launched a special drive on assuming office to flush out naxalites
from Jharkhand. The Chief Minister announced at that time that
"liberating Jharkhand from the grip of naxalites was the first
priority of my government". The police demolished several MCC bunkers
in the Balumath jungles and seized a cache of arms and ammunition.

The April 14 massacre has come in the face of a State government
announcement of a "rehabilitation package" for misguided extremists
who wished to surrender. The package comprises a cash reward,
provision of land for the landless and homes for the homeless.
Naxalites belonging to the Scheduled Tribe and the Scheduled Caste
would also benefit from the government's employment generation and
rural development schemes. Left-wing extremist outfits, such as the
MCC and the PWG, have so far rejected all government appeals to join
the mainstream.

That the Nepal Maoists have frequently been crossing over to Bihar and
Jharkhand and that they have been collaborating with their
counterparts in India is evident from a recent report submitted to the
Home Ministry. Informed sources said that the Home Ministry had
forwarded to the Bihar government Nepal's request to flush out from
the State extremists who are conducting training camps for Nepali

There is growing concern in Nepal over the Bihar links. The government
of India verified Nepal's claims before forwarding the plea to Bihar,
intelligence sources said. The Home Ministry was told that there had
been a steady trickle of Nepali militants into Bihar's Kaimur and
Aurangabad districts over the past two years. These districts provide
an ideal setting for such camps as the terrain is hilly and densely
forested. Kaimur, close to Uttar Pradesh on the Indian side of the
border, provides an easy escape route for the extremists.

Alarmed at the spurt of Maoist attacks, Nepal contacted India at the
diplomatic level, seeking help to bust the training camps. "Since
there are naxalites in Bihar, they may have links with their Nepal
counterparts," said a senior officer in Bihar, adding that the State
government was doing its bit to meet the challenge.


Volume 25 - Issue 19 :: Sep. 13-26, 2008
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Maoist hand?

WHO killed Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati? Confusion about the
identity of the killers kept growing even as the Sangh Parivar’s
demand for the arrest of the killers got shriller. What led to the
confusion was Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s refusal to hand over the
investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Among the questions being asked were: Were the killers Maoists or a
group of Maoists who supported a section of Christians who wanted to
eliminate the swami because he was working to bring Christian converts
back into the Hindu fold?

Were militant Christians, who were allegedly behind several attacks on
the swami in the past few years, behind this attack too?
Lakshmanananda had been attacked at least nine times before he was

The modus operandi of the assailants, the use of sophisticated weapons
and the brutal manner of the slayings point to the involvement of
Maoists. Initially the police said they suspected the Maoists and
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the swami had been killed by a
group of extremists.

But after Sangh Parivar organisations claimed that militant Christians
were responsible for the crime, the police became tight-lipped. Though
a few persons were arrested, the police would only say that the
investigation was in progress.

In fact, soon after the killing, a report in a newspaper said a member
of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) called up the newspaper to
claim that the organisation was behind the killing. Later, a few media
houses received letters saying that the CPI(Maoist) was not involved
in the incident and that some of its cadre might have committed the
crime by playing into others’ hands. However, a few days later, media
reports said the central committee of the CPI (Maoist) issued a
statement in New Delhi claiming responsibility for the murder.

Whatever the truth, a Maoist hand in the killing has not been ruled
out because the swami was expanding his base in Malkangiri district
where the left-wing extremists have a strong presence. The swami
visited Malkangiri a few months ago to attend a function of the Vishwa
Hindu Parishad.

The presence of the Maoists was also felt in Kandhamal last year when
members of the Christian community and extremists attacked Hindu
families in Brahmanigaon village. The attack took place within a few
days of the outbreak of communal violence following an attack on
Lakshmanananda on December 24.

The attackers had used automatic weapons. Interestingly, Brahmanigaon
remained peaceful during the current riots.

As regards the probe into the killing, sources in the ruling alliance
said the government was not willing to hand it over to the CBI as it
apprehended that the agency may be influenced by the Central

Whoever may be the culprits, many in the ruling alliance in the State
would not want them to be arrested before the next Lok Sabha and
Assembly elections. Identification and arrest of the killers will deny
the Sangh Parivar the chance of making it an issue in the polls in the
tribal-dominated districts where the swami had a strong following.

Prafulla Das


Volume 18 - Issue 20, Sep. 29 - Oct. 12, 2001
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

In Maoist country
in Sindhupalchowk

IN mid-August, a Maoist rally of 10,000 people in the hills of
Sindhupalchowk district, located below the Langtang range, declared
the district one of their adhar ilakas and set up a "people's
government" there. Its integration into the "red districts" was of a
pattern that was followed elsewhere in the country, said Churna Prasad
Srestha, the chairperson of Kuvinde village development committee
(VDC) and a member of the right-wing Rashtriya Prajatantra Party
(RPP). At the rally a policeman was killed. Mass arrests followed and
about 25 persons went underground. A VDC chairperson who was notorious
for oppressing the people was killed, and it was followed by mass
arrests and police excesses. Agni Sapkote, one of the three
negotiators in the talks with the government, joined the movement from

After a five-hour drive from Kathmandu, I trudged up the track passing
a gate erected by the Maoists to enter village Thulo Shurovari, one of
the 45 (out of 89) villages where the Maoists have established a
village people's government (VPG), displacing the government-sponsored
VDCs. A tussle is on to take over the offices of the VDCs and, more
important, the funds to pay for a water tank and a park recently built
by the people's government. People's labour is voluntary, but cement
had to be paid for, until they could access VDC funds. Were they
taxing people? "As a government, we tax the people," explained Tek
Bahadur Srestha, chairperson of the VPG. Surely that imposed a double
burden on the poor. "Eventually, they will stop paying taxes to the
anti people's government," he said. A cooperative bank had been set up
in the village, and the rates of interest and credit amounts varied
for the rich and the poor. There was door-to-door investigation to
assess what people had or did not have. They had not started land
redistribution yet. Tek Bahadur hopes that once people are made aware,
they would voluntarily surrender surplus land. As for coercion, he
said, it is unlikely when the People's Militia's strength is only 15.

Tek Bahadur, who is in his late twenties, is a peasant agriculturalist
and has not studied beyond the third standard. He described himself as
a Maoist sympathiser. His class analysis is well-honed Maoist rhetoric
but also resonated with the specificity of practical application. He
recognised that tourism in the villages as promoted by the Kathmandu
government was good but in its wake had come many evils - gambling,
alcoholism and wife-beating. The Maoist agenda, especially at the
grassroots level, is particularly pro-women.

We met Tek Bahadur in a school classroom. Ironically, the headmaster
of the school, along with 39 other teachers in the district, had
resigned in protest. The Maoists, as part of their school reform
campaign, have proscribed fees in government-funded schools (at the
same time, they attack private schools for charging exorbitant fees).
But there were no government funds to cover the salaries of teachers
who teach 9th and 10th class pupils.

There was no need to look over his shoulder to make sure the police
were not tailing him - of the 17 police posts in the district only
four were left, and none in these 'liberated villages', Tek Bahadur
said. The People's Militia chief, Ganesh Gautam, was unarmed and was
equally unconcerned about the security forces. He is ready to fight
the Army if necessary. "It's not written on my forehead that I am a
Maoist; so they'll have to kill many of us, including their own. And
then they'll stop. The army will split along class and ethnic lines."
Ethnic consciousness is strong in the Maoist outfit and the Army as

In Chautara, the district headquarters, the District Development
Office (DDC) is still controlled by the Communist Party of Nepal (UML)
but all effective power has devolved to the nominated, new People's
Committee headed by Shyam Krishen Srestha, himself the head of the
local trading body. In principle anyone can be nominated, but so far
there are no representatives from other political parties. However, in
the presence of Srestha, the CPN(UML) district head as well as
representatives of other political parties denounced Maoists as "Left
adventurists" who were out to destroy Nepal. Srestha denied that the
Maoists were using force to punish people. A few hours earlier we had
met a UML worker whose leg had been smashed by the Maoists. Srestha
insisted that punishment be limited to community labour. The jana
adalat or people's courts had done away with the witness system and
reverted to the tradition of asking neighbours to vouch for the
accused, he said.

The Maoists have few illusions about the talks; they feel that they
would at best produce awareness. The Maoists spoke with the confidence
of having the people with them. But can they face the full might of
the state?


Volume 26 - Issue 24 :: Nov. 21-Dec. 04, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Maoist challenge

PEOPLE in rural areas, including agricultural workers and tribal
people, have been neglected since Independence (Cover Story, November
6). The socio-economic and cultural conditions in States such as
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar are still
semi-feudal. The Central government needs to wake up.

The Maoists of India should not emulate their counterparts in Nepal as
India has a well-organised state with a big army. Even Bhagat Singh
believed that bombs and pistols alone could not bring about a
successful revolution. If the Maoists do not give up their arms and
adopt democratic means, their “Red corridor” will be confined to a few

Raj Bahadur Yadav Fatehabad,


THE Cover Story on the Maoists (“Maoist challenge”, November 6)
exposed the vulnerability of the Indian state. The government is
focussing more on planning a major police offensive than on energising
democratic processes and policies.

Ever-increasing corruption, inefficiency, a biased law-and-order
machinery and poor governance are pushing more and more tribal people
and the poor into the naxal fold. That is why any strategy to curb
naxalism should focus on development.

Vitull K. Gupta
New Delhi

THE Cover Story gave an in-depth analysis on the causes and problems
posed by the Maoists. The problem can be traced to the flawed system
of Indian bureaucracy.

The multidimensional strategy that the government has been talking
about of late should be implemented wholeheartedly, and it should not
be confined only to areas under Maoist influence.

It is a fact that tribal people and backward communities back the
Maoists. In view of this, the government should think twice before it
goes in for a military solution.

Bhaskar Pegu

BOTH the Maoists and the government must strive to change their
ongoing stand on violence by sharing a political platform instead of
battlegrounds to sort out the chronic socio-economic maladies of the
hinterlands. The government has to accept the reality of the
discontent in these areas.

Naxalism and any other movement that emerges from socio-economic
inequality need to be seen with a fresh perspective because counter-
insurgency or any other violent move by the state on their own
citizens will only intensify the anguish and desperation of the

The Maoists in India need to take a fresh look at their basic

Atul Kumar Thakur
Ghaziabad, U.P.


THE article “A battle won” (November 20) on the spirited struggle
waged by the Dalits of Chettipulam in Nagapattinam district for temple
entry was an excellent summary of the events that ultimately forced
the local administration to act. That the issue is far from over is
clear from the way the caste Hindus kept themselves away when the
District Collector and other top officials led Dalits into the
Ekambareswarar temple.

It is a pity that even when the State is under the rule of a Dravidian
party swearing its commitment to the ideals of the social reformer
E.V. Ramasamy, the administrative apparatus chose to side with the
opponents of temple entry.

S.V. Venugopalan

IT is disgusting to note that Dalits are being subjected to social
alienation in several parts of our so-called secular country. Denying
temple entry and other such discriminatory practices exist even

The sacred writings, hymns and holy books of various religions do not
exhort people to follow such filthy practices. But, some sections of
society strive to divide the nation on the basis of religion, caste,
creed and language. The Nagapattinam Collector deserves applause for
tackling the situation effectively.

Ippili Santhosh Kumar
Srikakulam, A.P.

‘Love jehad’

THE articles on “love jehad” (“Love and hate” and “Divisive debate”,
November 20) were interesting. Earlier, in Kerala, student politicians
used to keep a watch over terrorism among students.

Now, with the High Court ban on campus politics, there is no good
organisation operating on campuses. It is high time to allow student

E.A. Ibrahim Vyttila,


THIS is with reference to the article “Unholy row” (October 23). Why
should anyone use only a particular language when God should be able
to understand and reply in any language.

It is time that all clergy, missionaries, preachers and religious
heads realised and admitted that religions, sects, cults, languages
and rituals are manmade and undergo modification and modernisation
over time.

V.N. Ramaswamy
Secunderabad, A.P.

THE issue of who should recite prayers and intone mantras and in what
language has dragged on until judicial intervention. This is a
testament to the religious intolerance within the Hindu fold.

R. Ramachandra Rao

Letters, whether by surface mail or e-mail, must carry the full postal
address and the full name, or the name with initials.


Volume 19 - Issue 18, August 31 - September 13, 2002
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Through Maoist country

An exclusive, first-person account of a journey to Nepal's mid-west -
the heartland of the Maoist insurgency.

in Rolpa and Kathmandu

'PIRAM' is the password this Wednesday night as the barbed wire is
rolled out across the gate at 7 p.m., enclosing the hollow of Libang,
the district headquarters of Rolpa, in a multi-layered security siege
of checkposts and curfews. Perched sentinel-like on a hill is the camp
of the Gorkha Bahadur gan (battalion) of the Royal Nepal Army (RNA).
Libang lives in fear; its barricaded residents fear that the Maoists
will overrun the city if the Army withdraws.

Rolpa is the heartland of the 'People's War' launched by the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoists) in 1996 to establish a democratic republic. A
day's hard trek up and down the soft hills around Libang, and across
swing bridges, brings you to territory controlled by the CPN(M).
"Strangers who come, we arrest. And if it's an Army-police patrol, we
melt away into the fields and jungle and wait it out," said a
confident 'People's Army' guerilla in 'red' Tebang. Nine months of
Army deployment and a state of Emergency have resulted in mobile Army
encampments, but when these are withdrawn, the Maoists return to
reassert control. The barely 35,000-strong RNA fighting force cannot
be everywhere and eventually has to pull out. Formidable logistics in
the hills make combing operations more symbolic than effective.
Helicopters with night vision equipment are on order.

An Army-police patrol team sets off from Libang, the headquarters town
of Rolpa district. This town lives in fear.

As we climbed to Tebang, leaving way below us the market of Sulichaur,
where the road stops, photojournalist Usha Titikchhu and I were
accosted by three armed men and a woman. They emerged from a clump of
trees, pointing a magnum rifle and two locally made shotguns, and
identified themselves as members of the 'people's militia'. Who were
we? Did we have permission? In the distance, at Satobato the tin roof
of the Army camp glinted in the sunshine. An 'independent' gulmi
(company) of 137 soldiers there had a commanding view of the Maoist
hills. "They see us, we see them", said a 'people's militia' recruit,
pointing to the camp. These inaccessible midwestern hills, the power
base of the CPN(M), are ideal terrain for guerilla warfare. Said a
young Army officer posted in Libang: "We raid their homes, but can't
find them. It may be that they're staying at their gote (shed) in the
upper reaches for grazing, or (maybe) another gote near their fields
below, or they've gone to India for work. We can't arrest everyone.
Take this man, he's unarmed; a peasant by day, he could be a Maoist by
night. What can we do?"

Such restraint is not borne out by reports of Army high- handedness
and brutality. Mobile Army encampments and patrols leave, as in
Tebang, a trail of arbitrary arrests, random killings, torture, arson
and terror. Maoist retribution, says Gopal Tamoli of Tarun Dal (the
student wing of the Nepali Congress), is equally brutal. At Akalgaroha
village in Banke district, blasted houses, signs of targeted,
execution-style killings of 'informers', and generalised terror are
testimony to this. It is a war in which both sides give no quarter,
taking few or no prisoners.

Since February 1996 the 'People's War' has spread from Rolpa to two-
thirds of Nepal's 75 districts, establishing 'people's governments' in
22 districts and threatening to encircle Kathmandu. After four months
of stalemated talks, the Maoists launched a series of attacks, taking
on the Army for the first time. A state of emergency was imposed and
the Maoists were dubbed terrorists. The United States put Nepal on its
international terrorism map. The international community, including
India and China, backs the military option. Within Nepal's Kathmandu-
centric politics, multi-party democracy is imploding since the June
dissolution of Parliament was peremptorily sanctioned by the new King.
The Nepali Congress Party, which led the 1990 movement for democracy
in Nepal, has virtually split. Power is gravitating back rapidly to
the Palace and the Army. King Gyanendra's recent visits to India and
China were not the visits of a constitutional monarch, but of a king
negotiating the destiny of Nepal.

CPN(M) Chairman 'Comrade' Prachanda, in his renewed offer of talks on
July 18, specifically alluded to the threat of extreme anarchy with
the ganging up "of domestic feudal forces and international
reactionary forces". He echoed former Prime Minister G.P. Koirala's
line of a conspiracy behind the dissolution of Parliament and
indicated a willingness to participate in elections provided there
were provisions for an interim government or mutually agreed upon
election procedures. Shyam Srestha, the Editor of Mulyankan, regards
this as a significant show of political flexibility and a scaling down
of the demand for a constituent assembly to renegotiate the power
structure, abolish the monarchy and make the Nepali people sovereign

At Fortress Libang, behind barbed wires, policemen take time off to
play carrom. Army and police watchtowers encircle the town and
movement is severely restricted.

Militarily, there is a stalemate. Army deployment has yet to make an
appreciable shift in the tactical advantage that the Maoists gained
following dramatic attacks on Army and police camps. A visiting Maj.-
Gen. Ashok Mehta (retd), who has close links with Indian Gurkhas in
Nepal, said the seized training videos of the Maoists and their
military tactics were impressive, especially as the military
commander, 'Comrade' Badal, has reportedly had no professional
training. However, certain Maoist reverses in June at Khara in Rukum
district, where the Army battalion reportedly had prior warning of an
attack, suggest that Army intelligence is advancing on the learning
curve of infiltrating the 'enemy'. In Libang and other fortified
district headquarter towns the number of 'surrendered' Maoists and
'escapees'- internally displaced people (IDPs) - is increasing, and
they are seen as being vulnerable to use by the Army as guides,
porters for arms and ammunitions, and informers. In Tebang, the area
committee member, 'Comrade' Dileep, spoke of five families in Libang
which had escaped Maoist justice and whose members accompanied Army-
police patrols in uniform.

FIVE years ago, the influence of the Maoists was everywhere in Libang,
a market town that is now virtually a fortress. The chief district
office is a hollow shell and its staff of six has no work as the
parallel 'people's government' has taken control of land records,
revenue and the courts. Today, Army and police watchtowers encircle
Fortress Libang and movement is severely restricted.

In the open maidan, two trucks were busy unloading sacks of rice,
branded fruit drinks in tetrapacks, shampoo and so on. A district-
level official waves a sheaf of papers - permits signed by the Chief
District Officer (CDO) who is also the head of the Security Committee
- sanctioning supplies. There is a blockade in place in Rolpa. It is
aimed at the Maoists but hurts ordinary village residents who are
faced with severe food shortages and no easy access to life-saving
drugs. Village residents walk a day and a half to reach the market and
return with 10 kg of rice. CDO Birendra Nath Sharma explains that rice
is merely supplementary to the staple diet of maize and barley.
However, this is the scarcity period that lasts six months and the
peasants are dependent on the market. Moreover, with the uncertainty
about the rain and the standing crop of maize drying up, what is a
difficult situation could become alarming.

A Maoist suspect, Buji Maya, in the Libang jail. At one point of time
a third of all Maoists were believed to be women.

Medicine stocks are running dangerously low as no sanction for
purchases has been granted for a month and a half. In Sulichaur,
medical shops have run out of anti-diarrhoeal drugs, saline solution,
tetracycline and so on. Village pharmacies, as in Maddichaur village,
are closed. Items on the banned/restricted list include battery cells,
pressure cookers, instant foods and Nepal-made 'Gold Star' shoes. It
is the favoured shoe of the Maoists and has disappeared from village
stores. In Libang you can buy a pair and no more, as long as stocks
last. Shopkeeper Man Shyam Pun at Maddichaur told us that before the
regime of restrictions was put in place after the Khara incident, an
armed Maoist bought 15 pairs of Gold Star shoes from him. "You mean
before the Emergency?" I asked. "No, just two-three months ago," he
replied. The state of Emergency, as we discovered, was not a watershed
in these 'control' areas. Incidentally, Indian rupees is the currency
of exchange, whether it is to transact official banking business or to
buy an umbrella. It is a reflection of the dependence on the
remittance economy here. Also on the restricted list is colour film,
lest you be tempted to take scenic shots and give away the location of
the defences of Libang.

There are no restrictions on black and white film, though. It is in
demand for use in citizens' identity cards and passports. The chief
district office had to expand its staff from six to 21 to cope with
the demand for ID cards and passports. In the last eight months alone
8,990 ID cards have been issued, compared with 2,260 last year. As
many as 1,336 passports have been issued in the same period. Young
boys like Karna, 21, of Jamkot are queueing up to go to Malaysia,
Saudi Arabia or India. Karna had been picked up for interrogation when
the Army set up a camp in adjoining Kotgam in April 2002. He had
apparently played in a volleyball match organised by the ANNISU
(Revolutionary), a mass student organisation of the Maoists, and
Maoist leaders later dined in his house. Jamkot and Maddichaur are
known control areas with 'people's governments' or Gajjasas.

The 'Martyrs' Gate' in Tebang.

Bimla Garti and her infant are in the Libang jail, with about 28
inmates, for much the same offence as Karna's. In the jail courtyard,
the striking murals of Communist icons Marx, Lenin and Mao had been
whitewashed over since we last saw them in 1998. But the inmates had
not changed. Buji Mala, now 21, is still bewildered about the reasons
for her arrest. She was in the upper regions grazing animals and might
have given shelter or food to the Maoists.

At the Army camp checkpost we waited for the battalion commander, Col.
Sudheer Sharma, to see us. Also waiting was a group of 20 men aged
between 18 and 40 years. "They're internally displaced people," a
Major told us. Evidently, some kind of temporary recruitment was going
on. The names of sensitive villages were taken. One of them held back;
he was not wearing shoes and would not have been able to move fast.
They let him go. The others walked into the camp. The next day we
heard of a pre-dawn Army raid on Dhabang village. Apparently, these
'volunteers' were the guides and even carried equipment and
explosives. They were not paid. According to Army sources, they had
intelligence information about a group of Maoists - 'people's militia'
- meeting in a house in Dhabang. Travelling in the dark on hill
tracks, the Army patrol surrounded the house. Of the 11 who were
inside, two, a man and a woman, were shot dead even as the others
fled. "We ask them to surrender but they flee, so we shoot them," said
the Major. He dismissed allegations of the Army taking prisoners.
Anecdotal accounts speak of people being picked up and interrogated
and then killed while fleeing. "No, it's not true, look at the many
who have surrendered. You can meet them in Libang," he said.

Maoists inside the Roka Bahadur School. Since 1996 the 'People's War'
has spread from Rolpa to two-thirds of Nepal, an area covering 75
districts. People's goverments' were established in 22 of them.

In Libang, a commercial-cum-civic complex was being constructed in the
town's public space and a group of IDPs owing allegiance to the
conservative Rashtriya Prajatantra Party was hard at work, digging.
One of them, Tek Bahadur Biko, was evidently a man of some means
because the young woman by his side was his 11th wife. The family had
moved from Gam village to the safety of the police post of Sulichaur.
After the November attack by Maoists in Dang, when the police pulled
out to Libang, so did Biko. After Maoists attacked Gam, the Army took
Biko to the village to dig up the bodies of 40 Maoists to try and
identify them. "I went to perform the last rites," he said.

Working alongside Biko was Amber Singh Buda. He had been in a group of
45 IDPs who had trekked four days to Tebang and back when the Army set
up camp there. "We carried explosives and other equipment for which we
were paid for three days at the rate of (Nepali) rupees 90 a day,"
said Buda. The going rate for civilian porterage is rupees 250. The
government has not paid any money as compensation to the IDPs but
people like Biko and Buda are required to be guides, informers and
porters by their military benefactors. While the Maoists are accused
of using human shields, was the Army also crossing the line using
'forced' porterage?

A young Maoist recruit.

Libang was full of escapees associated with Nepal's many political
parties which stood bail for them. They were an important source of
information about life in Maoist-controlled areas. Tham Bahadur Sunar
(of the United Marxist-Leninist, or UML) spoke of the practice of
contributory labour in his natal village, Irribang, where the Maoists
had built a bridge. He had contributed six days' labour. In Gartigaon,
his village by adoption, he was taxed rupees 1,200 a year because he
was a Sunar. After the Dang action, when the Army set up a camp in
Gartigaon, it took utensils from his house. Meanwhile, higher up in
Ramkot, at a mass meeting of the 'people's militia', his nephew, who
was on sentry duty, overheard the political commissars name his uncle
for elimination. So when the Army pulled out, he also left. Ten days
later, the Maoists came calling and warned his wife to leave.

Kheema K.C., 19, from Maddichaur and Sun Kumari Buda, 20, from Wama
are 'surrendered' Maoists. Alongside the class struggle, the Maoists
have taken on board the women's question, and issues relating to
ethnic nationalities and Dalits. Indeed, in the Maoist heartland,
Hisala Yami, the then leader of the All Nepal Women's Organisation
(Revolutionary), had told this correspondent in 1998 that a third of
the Maoists were women. In Maddichaur, Kheema was among three other
young women who joined the Maoists. Some 12 students of classes 7 and
8 of Shree Bal Uday Middle School had also joined the Maoists.

However, Kheema's story is one of forcible induction. She had gone
with some friends to a mass meeting. While the others returned home,
she was asked to do contributory labour in lieu of the tax that her
three brothers, soldiering in India, had not paid the Maoists. Her
work comprised household chores, collective cultivation and fetching
water for mass meetings. She attended mass meetings but indoctrination
exposure seems to have been minimal. Kheema returned to her village
and apparently was not under any pressure to rejoin the Maoists.
Eventually the family paid rupees 1,200 as tax. Later Kheema was again
asked to do contributory labour because her brother's sister-in-law
stayed in her house before surrendering.

Maoist leaders Baburam Bhattarai (left) and 'Comrade' Prachanda, in a
file photograph.

Sun Kumari Buda's story differs only in that there was no forcible
induction. She went to a mass meeting at Kotgam and stayed with the
Maoists for nine months. For six days the police interrogated her and
she now reports to them regularly. Both live in Libang's 'Pakistan

Evening curfew and the mandatory blackout drive everyone off the
streets and into dimly lit houses. There has been no electricity ever
since the Maoists blasted the hydro-electric facility at Jhimkri.
Telephones do not work because the Maoists blasted the repeater
(telecommunications) tower. Army sources claimed that the Maoists used
drugs and alcohol before an action. Dead Maoists were found to have
pocketfuls of condoms.

AT the entrance to Maddichaur is the remains of the Victory Memorial
Gate blasted by the Army when it set up an encampment in Kotgam. Still
visible through the coat of whitewash is the commemoration to Raju
Chappamar. In the 'people's militia' structure, the first unit is
chappamar, then platoon and company. A year after the 'People's War'
was declared, the police chowk in Maddichaur was attacked, and six or
seven policemen were killed. By 2000 there was a Gajjasa. The Army set
up a camp at nearby Kotgam in April 2002. Rajesh Oli, a young student,
narrated the killing of a young woman who was suspected to belong to
the 'people's militia'. He said: "A group in civilian half pant-style
clothing, like the Maoists, came patrolling and surrounded the house
of (23-year-old) Man Mali Biko. A contingent of 24 uniformed Army men
followed. She was shot. Amrit Garti, an elderly person who happened to
be outside, was also shot dead." "Was she a member of the 'people's
militia'?" There were no answers. Her father and brother have since

In the Maoist heartland, an uneasy coexistence with security forces.

On the question of how many people were arrested, Rajesh said he and
four other students were taken to the Army camp and handcuffed. One of
them, Shyam Bahadur, was beaten for two weeks. The soldiers wanted to
know what work they did for the Maoists. Two schoolteachers were also
picked up and now report regularly to the authorities. School
headmaster Barman Buda moved to Libang after he was accused of being
an informer. The Army pulled out in May.

As we stopped for lunch at the Maddichaur end of the bridge linking it
to Libang, three men were waiting for us. The eldest, 'Comrade'
Ashish, took out a notebook folded in a plastic bag and wrote down our
names. The questions came quickly: "Did we have permission?'' ''Were
we planning to go on to Jamkot and maybe meet someone there?"
Inexperienced about authentic and non- authentic Maoists, we let the
opportunity slip. 'Comrade' Ashish was an old-time party activist, an
area committee functionary.

There, out in the open, with likely informers coming and going across
the bridge, three hours from Libang, the Maoists sat down for a chat.
Apparently, the Emergency had not driven underground the Maoist
political activists, especially those belonging to the Gajjasas.
'Comrade' Ashish refused to be photographed full face. However, a
young recruit who had been with the militia for six months, his Gold
Star shoes worn out from action, posed obligingly. "There are
thousands in the 'people's militia' who look like me," he said. I
asked whether there was any rethinking in view of the U.S. and India
materially backing the RNA in its fight against the Maoists. "I won't
deny, we are taking heavy losses. But this is a people's war, no
outside force can win."

Three herdsmen with 10 goats were about to cross the bridge and onto
Libang to sell them. Had they paid the tax - rupees 25 a goat, the
Maoists asked. Yes, they said, and crossed to the other side. Later,
on the road, they told us that they had lied. Krishna Bahadur Pun, the
local school teacher, too, had not paid the required 12 days' salary
as tax. No, he had not been threatened. The shopkeeper of the general
store, Man Bahadur Shyam, paid rupees 150 a month. The Maoists gave
receipts, but after a couple of times he tore them up. What if the
police found them, he explained. Maoists would come openly, carrying
arms, and eat in the village. Did the people believe that the Maoists
used drugs and alcohol to embolden themselves before an attack? "Can't
be," said the students.

TEBANG is on the Maoist map, at the base of the forested ridge of
Lisne Lek, where the Army claims it encircled a Maoist training camp
and killed hundreds of Maoists in May. Lack of helicopter support
enabled a group to escape and it attacked a security camp in Gam in
the northeast. Tebang had a long history of revolutionary left-wing
politics, as did much of Rolpa. Police excesses during Operation Romeo
and its successor Kilo Sera II generated many recruits and the process
of regenerating the 'people's militia' is going on.

It is a steep two-and-a-half-hour climb from the Sulli river to a
watering spot, where we rested. Four men appeared, three of them
carrying rifles and shoulder pouches, which I later saw had socket
bombs and a transistor. They had watched us for some time. Did we have
permission? The militia leader brandishing a magnum rifle and in a
stylised version of fatigues agreed to arrange a meeting with the area
committee leader. On top of the ridge was the Martyrs' Gate.

Tebang was declared a 'people's government' in 2000. A congregation
hall with wooden totemic guards and a bronze bell lay in disrepair.
Inside was the board of a discredited official body and other stuff
that had been thrown away. The Maoists closed it three years ago and
stopped the tradition of local melas. 'Comrade' Dileep, the area
committee member, said the mela attracted outsiders. He denied that it
was an anti-religious move and claimed that there had been instances
of people congregating for a mela being fired upon by the Army. In the
village, described as Hindu, people were free to worship their gods at

In the apron ground of Rok Bahadur School, maize is growing as part of
a pilot project in collective farming, 'Comrade' Dileep said. On the
school ground there are ashes from the cooking fires of the Army when
they camped there on their last patrol on July 4. Members of INSEC, a
human rights organisation, told us that the Maoists often blew up
schools because the Army had used them. In Tebang they reclaimed the

On March 25 an Army patrol from the Satobato company blasted 11 houses
and looted several others, said our village hosts. They came again on
May 2, this time in battalion strength, walking and on helicopter, and
set up camp for five days. Eight people were killed, according to
'Comrade' Dileep. Kirti Bista, 23, was shot dead when he was repairing
a gote. Durga Mohre, 20, was grazing his goats when the Army shot him.
"They point a bayonet at you and charge you with being a Maobadi, and
then feel your heart. If it beats faster than usual, they shoot you,"
'Comrade' Dileep said. Were they Maoists, we asked. "No, just ordinary
peasants," he said.

The Maoists claimed that the Armymen picked up two young girls, Pooma
Bista and Pokchi Thapa, who were out tending cattle, and took them to
the camp. They also took the wife of the village ward member, who
happened to be in the field, and the aunt of human rights activist
Ghanshyam Acharya. All four were made to work at the Army camp.
Meanwhile, the Army raided the adjoining villages and blew up 62
houses, they claimed. On the fifth day, there was a confrontation
between the RNA and the 130-strong Jan Sena at Lisne Lek. Two men,
Mukti Bika and Dil Man Thapa, were killed and the Army blasted a
martyrs' pillar. 'Comrade' Dileep said that just before leaving the
camp the Armymen killed the four women. "We found them naked and shot.
The ward member's wife had every finger of her hand cut off," he said.
He dismissed as propaganda the Army's claim that it had attacked a
training camp and killed 400 Maoists.

What did the 15-member area committee think about 'Comrade'
Prachanda's latest offer of talks, which scales down the demand for a
republic and for a new constitution? "The political leadership decides
these things, our goals remain as before - the achievement of
livelihood needs such as food, clothing, shelter, health, security and
roads," said 'Comrade' Dileep and the others.

On the government's charges that the Maoists used human shields and
took drugs and liquor before an attack, Dileep insisted that "these
are huge lies". "We are fighting a 'people's war' and are extremely
conscious that our image must be above reproach," he said.

ON July 9, about 300 Maoists attacked Akalgaroha, a Tharu-Yadav
village about 7 km from the highway to Nepalgunj, killing two persons
and injuring five. They blew up two houses. Eyewitnesses said that
they saw hundreds of torches in the field coming towards the village.
People were warned not to flee and to stay indoors. They went from
house to house and pulled out the men and the boys. "I was taken out
and tied with my brother Sohan Lal Yadav, and pushed along to the open
space where the panchayat meets," said Santosh Yadav, 19. "We were 35,
squatting in two rows. They would shine torches in our face and pick
us out." Santosh did not see his brother Sohan Lal being hacked and
killed, nor his brother Inder Yadav, 16, have his left foot chopped
off. Moti Tamoli, a former UML party candidate, was caught on the
Tharu side of the village and killed. Dhani Ram was shot but managed
to escape.

Akalgaroha has been the site of Maoist mobilisation, especially among
a section of the Tharus, one of Nepal's most oppressed communities.
Kamal Choudhury (Tharu), the Maoist contact, has gone underground. His
brother, Ganga Ram, showed us that they had separate kitchens as he
wanted to keep out of it all. A few weeks earlier, six or seven
Maoists attacked N.C. activist Gopal Tomali, suspecting him of being
an informer. The local people set out after the Maoists and captured
two outsiders, Renu Tharu and Saresh Tharu, and handed them over to
the police. The Maoists took their revenge and attacked the village,
which is on the highway to Nepalgunj.

The military option seems to be the line that the Palace-Army and the
'caretaker' Sher Bahadur Deuba government are bent on pursuing,
emboldened by the international support and the lures of a war
economy. Prachanda's offer of talks has produced the Deuba
government's routine reaction - disarm and then talk. New Delhi
getting tough with Maoist supporters in India in the wake of the
King's visit has made the Palace combine more inflexible. On July 11,
at 4-30 p.m. in the Bengali Market cultural complex in Delhi, Special
Branch operatives picked up Partha Chettri (alias Surrinder Karki),
Aditi, Maheshwar Dahal and Moti Prasad on a tip-off from the Nepal
Embassy that they were supporters of the Maoists. (Writer-activists
Gautam Navlakha and Anand Swaroop Varma were also arrested but
released a few hours later.) The four, three of whom are journalists,
were accused of being members of the recently proscribed Akhil
Bharatiya Nepal Ekta Samaj. Declared by the Foreigners Regional
Registration Office as 'undesirable aliens', they were handed over to
the Banke district Superintendent of Police G.B. Pal at 11-30 p.m. the
same day. Since then they have joined the long list of missing
persons. More than 34 journalists are on that list. Editor Krishna Sen
died in custody in June.

The main left-wing Opposition, the UML, has opted for the status quo
and insists that the proposed November elections will be free and
fair, will deliver it a victory and save the gains of the 1990
democracy movement. It is hard to share their confidence, especially
in the Maoist heartland, where the state exists only as the Army and
the police. The People's War was launched to make the Nepali people
sovereign. Escalating violence, deprivation and the erosion of
democracy loom ahead.


Online edition of India's National Newspaper

Exclusive interview with Prachanda, Maoist leader

This is a complete verbatim transcript of Nepali Maoist leader
Prachanda's interview with Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu,
conducted at an undisclosed location in the first week of February
2006. Highlights and excerpts from the interview were published in the
print edition of The Hindu of February 8, 9, and 10, 2006.

Varadarajan: Your party has waged a "people's war" in Nepal for 10
years and the anniversary is now coming up. There are some who say
that this war - and the Royal Nepal Army's counter-insurgency campaign
- has cost the country dearly in terms of the violence and bloodshed
that has accompanied it. In your estimation, what has been the main
accomplishment of these 10 years?

Prachanda: For 250 years, our peoples have been exploited under the
oppression of feudal lords. The people's war has helped crush the
feudal structure in the rural areas. We think this is the main
achievement. Also, in the overall sense we feel that in Nepal there is
going to be a great leap forward in the socio-economic condition
because we are going to lead the country to a democratic republican
structure. A political situation has been developed through this
process, and we feel this is also a very big achievement of the
people's war.

Varadarajan: In your party plenum last August in Rolpa, you took a
momentous decision - to strive for and participate in multiparty
democracy. If you were going to accept multiparty democracy after 10
years of war, why go about this in a roundabout way?

Prachanda: I want to answer your question in two parts. There is the
whole theoretical and ideological question that we are trying to
develop, because we want to analyse the experience of revolution and
counter-revolution in the 20th century on a new basis. Three years ago
we took a decision in which we said how are we going to develop
democracy is the key question in the 21st century. This meant the
negative and positive lessons of the 20th century have to be
synthesised in order for us to move ahead. And three years ago we
decided we must go in for political competition. Without political
competition, a mechanical or metaphysical attitude will be there. So
this time, what we decided is not so new. In August, we took serious
decisions on how practically to build unity with the parliamentary
political parties. We don't believe that the people's war we initiated
was against, or mainly against, multiparty democracy. It was mainly
against feudal autocracy, against the feudal structure.

Varadarajan: How difficult was it for your party to come to this
decision? How difficult was it to build consensus on the need for
multiparty democracy within the leadership and cadres?

Prachanda: An agenda was first presented to the Central Committee on
democracy. Then there was an internal debate within the party rank and
file for a whole year. After that, the CC plenum unanimously decided
that within a definite constitutional framework we have to go in for
competition. Without competition, we will not be able to go forward.
This was a unanimous decision.

Varadarajan: Is this decision a recognition by you of the
impossibility of seizing power through armed struggle? That because of
the strength of the RNA and the opposition of the international
community, a new form of struggle is needed in order to overthrow the

Prachanda: Here again there is not only one question. There is a
specificity to the political and military balance in today's world.
This has to be seen. The second thing to be seen is the experience of
the 20th century. Third, there is the particular situation in the
country - the class, political and power balance. It is by taking
these three together that we came to our conclusion. We are talking of
multiparty democracy in a specific sense, within a specific
constitutional framework. We are not talking about bourgeois
parliamentary democracy. This multiparty democracy will be anti-
imperialist and anti-feudal. In other words, only within an anti-
feudal, anti-imperialist constitutional framework is multiparty
democracy possible. That is why armed struggle is also necessary, and
unity in action with the other political parties against the monarchy
is also a necessity. The socio-economic change we are fighting for is
against feudalism and imperialism and it is within the context of that
struggle that we are talking of multiparty democracy.

Road map to democratic republic

Varadarajan: So if the king announces tomorrow that the steps he took
last year were wrong and allows free and fair elections under the
present Constitution, the Maoists will not take part? Is a new
constitutional framework a pre-condition for taking part in

Prachanda: Yes, you can put it that way. If the king says that I was
wrong to have done what I did last year, now come on, let us sit
across the table, and then he talks of a free and fair election to a
constituent assembly, then we will be ready. Our minimum, bottom line
is the election of a constituent assembly, that too under
international supervision, either by the United Nations or some other
international mediation acceptable to all. Under those circumstances,
we will go in for elections and accept whatever the peoples' verdict
is. This is our bottom line. But if the king says, come on, make an
interim government and hold elections, we will not come forward.

Varadarajan: But will you oppose the parties doing that? If the
parties agree to go ahead on this interim basis, what will happen to
your alliance or agreement with the parties?

Prachanda: If the king asks them to form a government and the parties
go in for parliamentary elections without looking at the demands we
have been making for the past 10 years, it would be difficult for us
to go along with the parties. Because this is what you had before. The
king and the parties were together for 7-8 years. That was the
situation. And still there was struggle, because the demand for a
constituent assembly is a longstanding one. It is not a demand that
came up only today.

Varadarajan: How crucial was the August plenum decision on multiparty
democracy to paving the way for the 12-point agreement with the

Prachanda: After the Royal Palace massacre itself, we had made an
appeal to the parliamentary parties. There was a general understanding
and some meetings were also held because the 2001 royal massacre was
against democracy. In the 1990 movement, we were together with the
Congress and UML [Unified Marxists-Leninists]. We felt the change that
was needed in Nepal was against feudalism but the parliamentary
parties were not ready for this. For three years we struggled inside
Parliament. For three years we were there. Our 40-point demands were
placed but there was not even any discussion on this. So the seeds of
our armed struggle were sown inside Parliament, in a manner of
speaking. This is a very big difference between us and, say, those in
India who say they are waging a people's war. They didn't begin from
inside Parliament. We were inside Parliament, so we had good relations
with the parliamentary parties for a long time.

The 1990 movement produced limited gains. We could have taken more but
got less from the palace because of a compromise. At the time we said
the Nepali peoples have been cheated. We said this compromise was bad
and that there was a danger of the palace grabbing power again, as had
happened in Mahendra's time. We said this from the rostrum of
Parliament but the other parties did not have the courage even to act
against those elements from the panchayat system that the Malik
commission had identified as criminals. And gradually a situation
arose where those elements were able to enter the parties, the

After the palace massacre, we said that what we had predicted in 1990
had come to pass, that diehard elements have hatched a conspiracy and
come forward. And we appealed to the parties to unite together as we
had done in 1990. The parties were in government so it was not
possible for them to understand our appeal. But slowly, the king's
designs became clearer: he dissolved Parliament, dismissed the
government and took direct power. This is when I think the parties
realised they had been taken for a ride all this time. This is also
when our plenum took concrete steps on the question of multiparty
democracy. And our statement stressed that the time had come for all
the parliamentary parties to join hands with our movement and civil
society to fight against autocracy and monarchy.

At the plenum, we decided we needed to show more flexibility, that it
was our duty to do this. So we took concrete steps and declared to the
parties, 'You lead, we will support you.' This so-called king - he is
not a traditional king and the Nepali people do not accept him as
king. He and his group are well-known goons and people see them as a
regicidal-fratricidal clique. He is not even a person who is capable
of thinking politically. So we told the parties, come on, we want to
help you. Before the plenum, we contacted the Nepali Congress and UML
leaders and tried to bring them to Rolpa. But this was not possible.

Commitment to democracy not a tactic

Varadarajan: Nowadays, we hear the phrase 'The Maoists will sit on the
shoulders and hit on the head.' Does this mean your alliance with the
parties is tactical rather than strategic, that when the head - the
monarchy - is weakened or defeated, you might then start hitting the

Prachanda: It is not like this. Our decision on multiparty democracy
is a strategically, theoretically developed position, that in a
communist state, democracy is a necessity. This is one part. Second,
our decision within the situation today is not tactical. It is a
serious policy. We are telling the parties that we should end not only
the autocratic monarchy but monarchy itself. This is not even a
monarchy in the traditional way it was in Birendra's time, so we have
to finish it. After that, in the multiparty democracy which comes -
interim government, constitutional assembly and democratic republic -
we are ready to have peaceful competition with you all. Of course,
people still have a doubt about us because we have an army. And they
ask whether after the constitutional assembly we will abandon our
arms. This is a question. We have said we are ready to reorganise our
army and we are ready to make a new Nepal army also. So this is not a
tactical question.

Varadarajan: The 12-point agreement suggests you and the political
parties have met each other half-way. They have agreed to a
constitutional assembly and you have dropped your insistence on a

Prachanda: We have not dropped our demand for a democratic republic.
But to achieve that minimum political slogan, we have said we are
prepared to go through free and fair elections to a constituent
assembly. There shouldn't be any confusion that we have now agreed to
a ceremonial monarchy. Some people have tried to draw this conclusion
from the 12-point agreement but even at the time we explained to the
parties that our slogan is a democratic republic. Earlier, we were
saying people's democratic republic but this does not mean we have
dropped that goal either. It's just that according to today's power
balance, seeing the whole situation and the expectation of the masses,
and that there [should] not be bloodshed, we also responsibly believe
that to get there too we will do so through peaceful means.

Varadarajan: So the struggle for "people's democracy" will also be

Prachanda: We will go for the goal of the people's democracy through
peaceful means. Today, we are talking of a democratic republic and our
understanding with the parties is that the way to realise this is the
constituent assembly. At that time, any other party would be free to
call for a ceremonial monarchy, some may be for constitutional
monarchy - such a thing is possible with the seven parties.

Varadarajan: But whatever the outcome, you are ready to accept it.

Prachanda: We are ready to accept whatever is the outcome. This we are
saying in clear-cut language.

Logic of ceasefire

Varadarajan: Your three-month ceasefire, and then the one month
extension, did a lot to improve the profile and image of the Maoists,
which had been damaged by certain incidents like the Madi bus blast.
What was the logic behind that ceasefire and what are the roadblocks
in the way of declaring another ceasefire in the near future?

Prachanda: When we called our ceasefire, there was no 12-point
agreement with the parties nor was there any particular political or
moral pressure on us from them or civil society. But we acted based on
the whole political situation, because on our side too, some mistakes
were increasing, from below, in the implementation of our policy and
plan. At the lower level, some mistakes were happening such as the
Madi bomb blast. So with the middle class our relationship was getting
worse. Earlier, there was an upward trend in that relationship but we
felt there was a danger of the graph falling. We were saying things
from the top but still this was not being implemented. So we wanted
the middle classes to be with us, and put out our political message to
the broad masses in a new way. We also wanted to tell the
international community that Gyanendra is not a monarch, these are
autocratic, fascist elements who are more keen on bloodshed and
violence than anybody else. We wanted to demonstrate this, and
rehabilitate our image with the masses. So for these reasons we
decided to go for a ceasefire.

As for the specific timing, there were two factors. The UN General
Assembly was going to be held and the so-called king was going to go
there. There he would have said he was for peace and democracy. Such a
notorious element was going to go and create confusion over there.
This possibility also needed to be crushed. This was a question. So we
thought of a ceasefire as one way politically to hit out at him.

It was only after the ceasefire that the dialogue with the political
parties began. And then a conducive atmosphere got created for the 12-
point agreement. We also wanted to send a message to the international
community that we were different from the way we were being projected
ideologically. For example, right now we are having discussions with
the European Union and with others, but among all the international
forces, U.S. imperialism is the most dogmatic and sectarian element.
The U.S. ruling classes are dogmatic. They don't understand what is
happening. We are trying to look at the world in a new way, to change
in a new way, and we wanted to send out this message. And in this
regard, during the ceasefire, we were quite successful.

Right from the outset, we knew the monarch wanted us to abandon the
ceasefire immediately. He was under so much pressure, he had to cancel
his programme of going to the U.N. He was so politically isolated that
he was desperate to provoke us to break the ceasefire. We knew that we
had to sacrifice and ensure that for three months at least it was
upheld because there were festivals, and we wanted to develop our
psychological relations, spiritual relations with the masses. When we
extended the ceasefire by a month, it became clearly established that
this so-called monarch does not want a political solution, does not
want peace. He is a bloodthirsty element, a fascist and autocrat. And
when we finally ended the ceasefire, we clearly stated that if a
forward-looking atmosphere for a political solution emerges, and all
the political forces are ready for peace and democracy, then in that
situation at any time we can again announce a ceasefire, and sit down
for negotiations. But now, that situation does not obtain.

Nature of alliance with parties

Varadarajan: As a first step, are you prepared to join together with
the parliamentary parties, with Mr. Koirala and Madhav Nepal, and go
and talk face-to-face with the king to discuss the future of Nepal?

Prachanda: Immediately after the 12-point agreement, I had clearly
said that if there is a unanimous understanding with the parties that
we should go and talk to the king, then we will go. We are not
prepared to meet the king alone, and we are also requesting the
parties that they should also not go alone. Nothing will come of it.
Only if we act collectively can we achieve anything. The alliance has
to be strengthened and taken forward. For example, right now we have
this huge drama of municipal elections. More than two-thirds of the
seats will be vacant, and still he is trying to stage a drama.

Varadarajan: But rather than the Maoists calling a seven-day bandh,
wouldn't it have been better as a tactic for you and the parties to
have given a united call for the political boycott of the elections.
That way, the king would not get the opportunity to claim the
elections were a farce because of Maoist threats.

Prachanda: Yes. I agree with what you are saying. That would have been
better. When the 12-point agreement was reached, there was a second
understanding that within a week or two, we eight parties - the seven
party alliance and the Maoists - would issue a joint statement
appealing to the masses to boycott elections and stage mass
demonstrations. But that has not proved possible.

Varadarajan: Why?

Prachanda: Because the parties' leadership is a little hesitant. They
are perhaps a little afraid that if they join with the Maoists and
issue a joint statement for boycott, there could be greater repression
on them. I think this could be a factor, though we have not had face-
to-face discussions on this with them.

Varadarajan: Some feel that the Maoists' military actions are reducing
the political space for the parties. For example, a few days before
the parties were planning a big demonstration in Kathmandu, the
Maoists attacked a police station in Thankot and the king got the
opportunity to impose curfew, thereby ensuring the demonstration
failed. Have you considered what actions you need to take so that your
political space also increases but the parties don't feel squeezed
between the king and you?

Prachanda: I agree a way has to be found. This is a serious and
complicated question. When the 12-point agreement was reached, there
was a need for continuous interaction between us and them. There was
need for several meetings. Only then could we establish some
synchronicity between their movement and ours. This did not happen.
Despite this, we told the parties through other mediums that whether
we stage actions or not, the king is still going to move against you.
This is the same king, the same goons - he is also a very big smuggler
- who made sure we couldn't peacefully demonstrate. When we went for
negotiations in Kathmandu and our team was there, we decided to have a
big meeting there. Sher Bahadur Deuba was the Prime Minister at the
time. But the RNA and Gyanendra insisted we could not have such a
rally and threatened curfew. They compelled us to move the meeting to
Chitwan. So we told Girija and Madhav that even if we had done nothing
in Thankot, they would not have allowed any big demonstration. Curfew
would have been imposed anyway. Instead, Thankot has put Gyanendra
under greater pressure.

Nature of monarch

Varadarajan: You mentioned the RNA and I would like your assessment:
Does the king control the RNA or does the RNA control the king?

Prachanda: This is a very interesting question. Right now, in fact,
this is precisely what we are discussing within our party and outside.
Until now, it seemed the balance was 50-50. Sometimes the RNA runs the
king, and sometimes the king runs the RNA. But it seems as if we are
now going towards a situation where the RNA is in the driving seat. It
seems as if power in the hands of Gyanendra is decreasing and he is
doing what the RNA dictates. This seems to be the emerging situation
but we cannot say this with facts. But looking at the overall
situation, it seems that Gyanendra is going down the path laid out by
the RNA. One thing is clear. He became king after the royal massacre -
and it is clear that without the RNA, that massacre could never have
happened, the Army core team was in the Narayanhiti palace and they
are the ones who engineered the massacre. So he was made king in the
same way as before, during the Rana days, when Tribhuvan fled and came
to India and Gyanendra as a small boy was put on the throne. So there
is no question of his going beyond the script dictated by the RNA. And
this small clique of feudal aristocrats designed the royal massacre
and is dominant. The manner in which he became king obliges Gyanendra
to follow their direction.

Varadarajan: I too was in Kathmandu immediately after the palace
massacre to cover the story. Like many reporters, I was initially
suspicious of the Dipendra theory but later, after managing to meet
some of the closest relatives of those who died, who spoke to actual
survivors like Ketaki Chester and others who cannot really be termed
as people connected to any monarchical faction with a particular
agenda. And they all said it was Dipendra who committed the crime.

Prachanda: This is impossible. Of course, the clique has managed to
establish the story amongst its own circles, among people who may be
neutral as you say. They have established it in their class but that
is not the reality. You know how different stories were put out
immediately. First that the guns went off automatically, then another
story was made. There was even an effort to suggest the Maoists had
made a surprise attack. In the end, they pinned it on Dipendra. So the
question arises, if it was so clear-cut, why didn't this story come
out in the beginning? But my main logic is not this. If you look at
the whole history of [crown prince] Paras - he was there at the time -
now the whole history of Paras is well-known. Second, the role of
Gyanendra in the 1990 movement. He had a big role then - he wanted to
shoot down 2,000 people in Kathmandu and control the movement through
force, he was a die-hard element. Even Surya Bahadur Thapa used to
call them the bhoomigat giroh, an underground clique, and their leader
was Gyanendra.What kind of goon Paras was - this is also known. For
more than a month, the massacre was planned and Gyanendra based
himself outside. So I don't think for even a moment that it was
Dipendra. And in any case, the Nepali people simply refuse to believe
this story.

Reorganisation of PLA and RNA

Varadarajan: Let us say a situation is created for a constituent
assembly. In the run-up to that, the People's Liberation Army is not
going to lay down its arms. Is it not possible that the parliamentary
parties will feel themselves threatened by your dependence on arms?
What kind of guarantees can you give in the run-up to any election
that there will be no obstacle placed by you or the PLA in the
political mobilisation by the parties?

Prachanda: When we had discussions and had an agreement last year -
and we hope to meet again and take things forward after these
municipal elections - we said we understand you have doubts and
reservations about us and our army. We want a political solution to
Nepal's problems, a democratic solution. So we made a proposal that
you rehabilitate Parliament, we will support you. A two-thirds
majority of MPs is with the Nepali Congress, UML and smaller parties.
Call a meeting and declare that Parliament has been reinstated, that
this is the legitimate parliament and that what Gyanendra is doing is
illegitimate and illegal. Do this and then set up a multiparty
government. We will not be part of it but will support it. And then
you invite us for negotiations and we will come forward. After that,
there will be a move to set up an interim government, and the main aim
of that government will be to have elections for a constituent

In this rehabilitation and restoration of Parliament, there is no need
to have anything to do with the king. He would have become illegal
anyway. He has violated the constitution and also people's
expectations for peace and democracy. So he would be illegal, your
parliament would be legal and we would fully accept the legality of
your parliament. We will come for negotiations with your leadership.
Under your leadership, we will be in the interim government.

As for the RNA, you should appeal to the democratic elements within it
by saying the king has violated the constitution, and the expectations
of the masses, you come over to this side, this is the legal
government and it is your responsibility to support it. And then the
king should be given an ultimatum of a week or two weeks - that he
should move back to the status quo ante before February 1, 2005 and
agree to elections for a constituent assembly. If he doesn't agree, we
would then abolish the monarchy. And we would tell the international
community, this is the legitimate government, please stop recognising
or supporting him. Ours is a legitimate government and this should be
under the leadership of Girija Prasad Koirala. We are ready to support

Under such a situation, the democratic elements of RNA will be there,
and so will the PLA, so we will organise the army as a new Nepal army.
At that point, the problem will not be our weapons. The problem of
arms and weapons is with the RNA which for 250 years has been loyal to
the feudal lords. That is the problem. Our army has only been around
for 10 years. This is not a problem. If there is a political solution,
we are prepared to change that too. This is the first proposal that we
have put forward. We will abolish the monarchy, there will be an
insurrection (bidroh), the kingship will be over and then we will have
the peaceful reorganisation of the army.

This is one way to deal with this problem and we are seriously putting
it forward. It is revolutionary, it is viable, it is possible. It is
precisely in this way that it is necessary to end the monarchy in
Nepal. This is our first proposal and I feel the parties are not ready
for this.

Varadarajan: What you are proposing is that the parliamentary parties
stage a revolution!

Prachanda: Yes, but we feel their role can be a historic one. But they
are not ready. The second way is also what we have been discussing,
that the U.N. or some other credible body will supervise things. The
RNA will be in the barracks and the PLA will also be under
supervision. Both armies and arms will be under international
supervision and will not enter the fray. Then there will be elections
for a constitutional assembly. Our army will not interfere in the

Varadarajan: But what form will this international supervision take?
Will it include foreign troops?

Prachanda: No troops. There can be a militia or police, which we
create only for election purposes.

Varadarajan: Who will be part of this militia?

Prachanda: We have not gone into such details - there can be the
cadres of the different parties, but all without firearms, to manage
security for the elections. So there will be elections for the
assembly and whatever verdict of the masses comes, it is on that basis
that the army has to be reorganised. If the republic result comes,
then the RNA's generals and commanders will have to go and the interim
government would appoint as generals officers who are loyal to
democratic values. If a constitutional monarchy wins, then there is
the danger that the old generals will remain. So my point is that the
army can be changed. This is the underlying idea behind the 12-point
agreement and the parties also agree with this.

Varadarajan: So you are saying the problem of the PLA and its arms is
not a big problem.

Prachanda: It is certainly not a problem the way people outside
believe. If there is political will on our side and the parties, it
can be solved.

Varadarajan: But you concede there is a history, which is why the
parties are suspicious.

Prachanda: Yes there is, but we are talking about this too. There have
been attacks by us on them, and we had seized property. Whatever had
been taken from the Congress leadership has been returned - land and
property - UML leadership too. So we are trying to build an
understanding. If the parties' leaders say that in the past the
Maoists attacked us, then we can also say that the RNA army was
deployed against us when you were in government and so many of our
comrades were killed. Whatever we may have done, the other side did so
much more and this also has to be accounted for. But if we start
talking like this, we will not be able to solve the major problem. If
we have to make a breakthrough, then we should both review our
history. We have to review our mistakes but you have to as well,
because we have a common enemy - feudal aristocracy. We have to defeat
this enemy and in consonance with democratic values we have to
reorganise the army and state.

Role of India, China, and U.S.

Varadarajan: How do you see the role of India today? Last year, when
the King seized power, India took a tough stand against him which
surprised many. Today, this policy has its critics but the bottom line
is that the Indian Government does not seem to regard the Nepal
Maoists as illegitimate in the way that the king and the U.S. regard

Prachanda: In the past, India's role was not good. It was a policy of
total alignment with the king. Last year, after February 1, when the
situation changed in a big way, the role of the Indian authorities
strikes us as positive. There is now a tough stand against autocracy.
Still, the two-pillar theory [that Nepal's stability rests equally on
constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy] persists and the
Indian authorities have not officially abandoned this theory. They
haven't said there is need for only one pillar. So officially, India
is still sticking to the two-pillar theory and we want the Indian
authorities to change this theory. They are right to support the
democratic movement, but sticking to the two-pillar theory causes

Varadarajan: But if India abandons it, wouldn't the King accuse the
Indians of interfering in Nepal's affairs, and then he will accuse the
Maoists of being agents of India.

Prachanda: We do not think such a thing is possible. During the 1990
movement, when Rajiv Gandhi imposed a blockade on Nepal, the Nepali
people did not oppose the blockade because it was in the context of
the blockade that the democratic movement picked up speed and advanced
very fast. If India is in favour of the democratic movement and a
forward-looking political solution, then it will not be considered
intervention. But if India supports regressive forces, this would be
called intervention. Exertion of external pressure in favour of the
masses is never regarded as interference. This is how it seems to us.
The people of Nepal will not see this as intervention.

For example, some political leaders came from India recently to show
solidarity with the movement. Gyanendra tried illegally to detain them
at the airport, calling it intervention. But more than 99 per cent of
Nepali people did not regard that as intervention. They saw it as
fraternal assistance. Of course, when Hindu fundamentalists like this
Singhal comes to Nepal, the King welcomes him. When they crown him
'King of the Hindus', he doesn't call it interference, but when
political leaders come and say there should be democracy, he says this
is interference. So the anger of people has grown against the King,
not India. This is why we feel it is time for India to abandon the two-
pillar theory.

Varadarajan: If tomorrow you were to meet Manmohan Singh, what would
you ask him to do?

Prachanda: First, change this two-pillar theory. The Nepali people are
trying to end the monarchy and you should end your relationship with
it. Second, release all our comrades who are in prison in India. We
are fighting for genuine multiparty democracy but they are imprisoned
there, in Patna, Siliguri, Chennai. If you release them all, a message
will go out. And if you feel the Naxalite movement in India is a
problem for you, we feel we are trying to deal with the problems in
Nepal in a new way, so if you release our comrades and we are
successful in establishing multiparty democracy in Nepal, then this
will be a very big message for the Naxalite movement in India. In
other words, the ground will be readied for them to think in a new
political way. Words are not enough, we need to validate what we are
saying by establishing that democracy. Third, once a democratic
republic is established in Nepal, then the historical doubts that have
existed in the relations between Nepal and India can be ended once and
for all. So for all these reasons, you should strongly support the
movement for democracy.

Varadarajan: In many ways, the United States has emerged as the king's
strongest backer. How do you evaluate Washington's role?

Prachanda: Their role has not been good. After February 1, India's
role has been positive - for example the agreement we were able to
reach with the political parties, I do not think it is likely that the
Indian authorities knew nothing about this. But the U.S. role from the
beginning has been negative and they are still trying to effect a
compromise between the monarch and the political parties against the
Maoists. Despite the fact that we are talking of pushing multiparty
democracy, the U.S. has decided our movement and alliance has to be
crushed. So they have a negative role.

Varadarajan: What is the American interest in being soft on the king?

Prachanda: It is not that they are afraid of what might happen in
Nepal. Rather, their strategy is against the Indian and Chinese masses
and also, I think, against the Indian and Chinese authorities. The
U.S. has a grand strategy, and Bush is talking of China and India as
big economic powers and even as threats. Perhaps they see Nepal as a
country that is between these two countries and believe that if the
situation here does not give rise to forces which are in step with
themselves, then there could be a problem. So the U.S. is looking at
Nepal from the strategic point of view. It is not that they have any
economic interest here. Political control is the key, so they want to
strengthen the king.

Varadarajan: What about the attitude of China? Some people in India
argue that if India continues to take a tough stand against the king,
he will turn to China for help and Beijing will benefit.

Prachanda: Earlier, we had a doubt, that perhaps China might be behind
the king, that China would try and take advantage. But then we
analysed the situation and came to the conclusion that China would not
play this role. China's relations with India are improving and China
will not want to jeopardise such a big interest by backing the Nepal
king. And in the end, I think our analysis has been proved correct.
Recently, when the Indian Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, went to
Beijing, he had talks, and a few days later, for the first time, the
Chinese authorities issued a statement that they are worried about the
situation inside Nepal and that it needs a careful resolution. Until
then, Beijing had always maintained that what was happening inside
Nepal was an internal problem. Today, China has no interest in
antagonising India to build a relationship with the king. This is our
analysis. And it looks like India and China could have a common
approach towards Nepal. Certainly, a common approach is needed. If
China and India do not work together, there will be a big problem not
only for now but the future. So they need to have an understanding in
favour of democracy, in favour of the people of Nepal. As far as U.S.
interests are concerned, they are neither in favour of Indian or
Chinese masses. So at the political level, all of us must come
together to counter them, we should not fall under their trap.

Varadarajan: How do you explain for the contradictory nature of some
of U.S. Ambassador Moriarty's statements? Last year, he did use tough
language against the king in his speech to the Institute of Foreign

Prachanda: The U.S. from the start believes the Maoists are a more
immediate threat than the king. Even in the most recent statement from
the State Department, they said the king should immediately open talks
with the parties to deal with the Maoists. And this is the product of
their vested interest. If the Bush administration's intentions were
good, there is no reason to regard us as a threat. If its intention is
in favour of democracy and solving Nepal's political problems, then
there is no reason to see us as a threat especially when we are saying
we are for multiparty democracy and are willing to accept the verdict
of a constituent assembly.
We are glad with the new situation that is emerging after Shyam Saran
went to China, it seems the situation can change. Our movement is also
going forward and I think in 2-3 months, if the struggle continues,
then there is a real chance of ending the kingship once and for all
and making a democratic republic in Nepal. This is the best outcome
for China and India, and everyone else. The U.S. does not want this.
They want to maintain the monarchy at all costs.
Moriarty consistently has been speaking against the Maoists. He is
connected to the Asia-Pacific military command of the U.S. He is not a
political man. And we know that although his views are different from
some in the U.S. establishment like, say, Senator Leahy, but overall,
the position of the U.S. authorities is not in favour of democracy and
Nepal people.
Leadership question and inner party life

Varadarajan: Has your party put behind it the differences which
emerged last year between yourself and Baburam Bhattarai?

Prachanda: There was a problem and we solved it so well that the unity
in our party is stronger than ever before. Our problems were not of
the kind the media wrote about. We had an ideological debate about how
to evaluate the 20th century. Why did the communist movement suffer
such an enormous setback? Why did the Russian revolution get overcome
by counter-revolution? Why did China also go down that path? This was
a debate within the central committee for many years. There were other
problems linked to shades of opinion within the party - like the Madi
blast - but the purpose was to sort out our future plan. This was the
purpose of the debate. But the timing was such that these things
happened after February 1. If the timing had not been so bad, there
wouldn't have been that much propaganda. But the time the king took
over was also the time the debate in our party sharpened.

Varadarajan: The question was raised of a cult of personality in the
party. As you know, any objective evaluation of the experience of the
20th century communist movement has to consider the cult of
personality as certainly one of the factors in the reversals.

Prachanda: That is correct. But I want to clarify one thing. Between
Dr. Bhattarai and me, there was never any debate on the issue of
leadership. He has never challenged my leadership. On the issue of
leadership personally, there has never been a difference. There were
differences on ideological questions, about what we should do now, and
there was a debate. And this debate we solved in the Rolpa plenum in
August. We took it to a higher level and our unity has become
On the issue of leadership I want to say that our party will be the
first communist party in the 21st century which has picked up on a
clue from the 20th century - where it had got stuck - and we are going
to open it. At our plenum, we placed a resolution on the question of
political power and leadership. That when we go for state power and
are in power, then we will not do what Stalin or Mao did. Lenin did
not have time to deal with issues of power. Although Stalin was a
revolutionary, his approach, was not as scientific as it should have
been, it was a little metaphysical, and then problems came. We also
evaluated Mao in the plenum. If you look at his leadership from 1935
to 1976 - from when he was young to when he was old and even speaking
was difficult - must he remain Chairman and handle everything? What is
this? So we decided that when we are in power, the whole team of our
leadership will not be part of day-to-day power. Not just me but our
team. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Badal, Mohra, others, we have a
leadership team which arose from the midst of the struggle. When we go
to Kathmandu, we will not be involved in power struggles or day-to-day
power. That will be for the new generation, and we will train that
generation. This is a more scientific approach to the question of
leadership. If we don't do this, then we will have a situation where
as long as Stalin is alive, revolution is alive, as long as Mao is
alive, revolution is alive.
This will be a big sacrifice for our leadership. Of course it does not
mean we will be inactive or retire from politics. Our leadership team
will go into statesmanship. We are hoping that by doing this we will
solve a very big ideological problem of the communist movement. This
is not only a technical question but a big ideological question. There
can be no question of concentrating power in the hands of any
individual or group. When we placed this resolution before the plenum,
then our entire leadership team gained confidence in themselves, the
movement and the line. Our unity has become much stronger. Now we are
in an offensive mood.
We feel we have contributed to the ideological development of Marxism-
Leninism-Maoism. Traditionally, in the international communist
movement there are two types of revisionism - right revisionism of
class collaboration, and the other, dogmato-revisionism, of turning
certain ideas into a dogma and getting stuck to them. This is more
among the Maoists. Those who call themselves Maoists are more prone to
dogmato-revisionism, and we have to fight against this too.

Varadarajan: To what extent do you think the logic of your line on
multiparty democracy applies also to the Maoist movements in India?

Prachanda: We believe it applies to them too. We want to debate this.
They have to understand this and go down this route. Both on the
questions of leadership and on multiparty democracy, or rather
multiparty competition, those who call themselves revolutionaries in
India need to think about these issues. And there is a need to go in
the direction of that practice. We wish to debate with them on this.
If revolutionaries are not going to look at the need for ideological
development, then they will not go anywhere.

Varadarajan: The Indian police agencies say you are providing weapons
and training to the Indian Maoists but here you are saying they should
go in for multiparty competition.

Prachanda: There is no question of us giving anything. They blame us
for Madhubani, Jehanabad, but we have no relationship of this kind
with them.

Varadarajan: What is your evaluation of the recent political
developments in Latin America - with what is happening in Venezuela
with the Bolivarian movement, in Chile, Bolivia?

Prachanda: We feel there is a new wave of revolution on the horizon.
The first wave began with the Russian revolution and ended with the
Cultural Revolution but now it looks like the second wave could be
starting. Dogmatism and ideological stagnation is evident in the U.S.
Bush is in league with Christian fundamentalists. Throughout Latin
America there is resentment and hatred against imperialism, from
Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile, and an explosion can come at any
time. The encirclement of America has begun. But I also believe this
explosion can start from South Asia. Nepal and India have a big role
to play. The U.S. will not be able to control things. And the
developments in Latin America are a good augury.

Varadarajan: In conclusion, tell us a little about yourself. How old
are you now? When did you join the movement? Where did you study?

Prachanda: I am 52 and have been in the movement full time for the
past 34 years. I drew close to communism when I was 16, as a student
in high school, and became a whole-timer when I was 28. I did a B.Sc.
at the Chitwan agriculture university and was studying for a Masters
in Public Administration when there was a big movement around the time
of the referendum Birendra was organising. That is when I joined the
movement, and couldn't complete my course. Since then I have been
active, most of the time underground.

Varadarajan: And family life? Are you married?

Prachanda: Yes. My family, of course, is also in the movement.

Varadarajan: Thank you very much for this interview.

Prachanda: Thank you.


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Maoist attack

Gaya, April 2: Armed Maoists today attacked paramilitary forces in a
forest in Bihar’s Gaya district.

A PTI report said about a 100 rebels attacked a CRPF camp inside Latua
forest, but the figures were not confirmed by police.

Anupama Nilekar, the DIG (Magadh range), said the rebels ambushed a
patrol party around 9pm. They started firing indiscriminately and the
police retaliated. About 100 rounds were fired in one hour. The police
have not given any casualty reports.

The gun battle lasted 45 minutes, Nilekar said.

The rebels, however, have fled deeper into the forest.


Army chief rules out Maoist fight
- Naxalite violence a problem of law and order, not military, says
General Singh

Army chief General VK Singh and his wife at South Block in Delhi on
Thursday. (Prem Singh)
New Delhi, April 1: Deploying the army against Left-wing militants is
impractical because the Maoists are not secessionists, the new army
chief, General V.K. Singh, said here today.

“The Naxalite problem is a law and order problem that has stemmed from
certain issues on the ground. Law and order is a state subject and I
think our polity is astute enough to understand the implications of
deploying the army against our own people,” the general said.

He was answering a question on whether the army should be involved in
the offensive against the Maoists. “We (the army) are there to assist
the state (police) forces and, at the moment, it is in terms of
training,” Singh said.

Singh said there were indications of a “downward trend” in the
infiltration of militants across the Line of Control in Jammu and

In Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast, however, the army will
continue to operate with the “protection” afforded by the Armed Forces
Special Powers Act (AFSPA) despite demands for its repeal.

“The AFSPA was made with certain provisions in mind. If you want your
army to perform certain tasks, you have got to give them certain
protection,” the chief said.

The act allows special powers to army personnel in counter-insurgency
operations. Civil rights groups allege the army misuses the law
because it grants soldiers immunity from prosecution.

The general, who was the eastern army commander before taking over as
the chief, said in the last two years, India had “re-aligned its
policies” in the east. Relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh have
improved. Notwithstanding allegations of intrusions, the disputed
border with China is peaceful.

“The east was always important. All that we did in the last two years
was to realign focus in an area that is the future of India. It does
not mean that we are shifting priorities,” he said.

The army chief conceded that China’s border infrastructure was better
than India’s: “It is wrong to assume that China is modernising only in
the Tibetan Autonomous Region.”

“It is modernising as a whole and (its armed forces) getting into
digitised battle space. We are fully prepared (for any challenge).
Preparedness is (an) ongoing process.… We are making our training
methodology more practical,” he said.

On a Delhi High Court order to grant permanent commission to women,
the general said the experiences of countries that have women in the
armed forces needed to be studied and analysed.

Moreover, a government committee had recommended cutting down the
number of permanent cadres and increasing the number of short-service
commission officers.

The army was analysing the issue of permanent commission as a whole,
and not only for women.


Mind of the Maoist
How Subhrajit Mitra’s Aagunpakhi traces the roots of terrorism.

(Above and below) Moments from Aagunpakhi

What’s going on in the mind of a Maoist? Subhrajit Mitra’s Aagunpakhi
might shed some light on the matter when it releases later this
summer, post-IPL. Mon Amour-maker Subhrajit tells t2 why he took a U-
turn from Tagore with Aagunpakhi, starring Rituparna Sengupta,
Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Rajesh Sharma, Shantilal Mukherjee, Sagnik,
Shrreya Pande and Kharaj Mukherjee.

What made you make a film on the Maoists? Have you justified their

I’m a very apolitical person but I believe in their cause. I wouldn’t
like to call Aagunpakhi a film on Maoism, it’s a film on humanism. It
tries to explore the root cause behind the existence of terrorism. But
I have not justified terrorism.

Every system has its pros and cons and Maoism is a small part of a
bigger game. There are so many similar activists in Bengal itself,
like the Kamtapuris in north Bengal... There’s a never-ending struggle
between the oppressed and the oppressor. I believe that the way of the
Maoists is wrong and that’s my stand in the film. Aagunpakhi is an
open-ended film. It’s a documentation of the present, turbulent

How does the story go? What is Rituparna’s role?

‘Aagunpakhi’ means phoenix. The story centres around a group of people
involved in guerrilla warfare. They are Maoist guerrillas on a
mission. The team comprises Shantilal, Sagnik, Shrreya, TV actor
Anindya Chakraborty and Ankita, a newcomer. Rajesh is their leader.
Rituparna plays a documentary filmmaker, Sabyasachi and Kharaj play
cops. This Maoist group takes Rituparna hostage and while trekking
through dense forests with them, she suggests that she wants to make a
documentary film on them. Through her documentary, we see the
backstories of six activists and there’s a parallel story of the cops
trying to track them down.

Subhrajit Mitra
What kind of homework did you have to do before shooting?

I made a couple of documentaries for National Geographic which I had
to shoot in remote places. During that process, I had seen the
oppressed and the have-nots. I had come close to the Himalayan tribes
and the dwellers of the Chhotanagpur belt. I’ve seen in what extreme
conditions they live. I was touched by their lives and wanted to say
it in a realistic manner. That’s how Aagunpakhi happened.

Where did you shoot the film?

We shot in West Midnapore’s Chandrakona when the temperature had shot
to 50 degrees Celsius and above. We also shot in the Dooars... in the
Gorumara and Gorubathan forests, Samsing, Sakham and Udlabari. The
terrain was terrible, to say the least. We shot deep inside the
forest, where elephants and snakes abound. We would take forest guides
along with us. Mindscape Maestros, the producer of Aagunpakhi, had
arranged for insurance cover for each and every member of the film
team. That’s why the budget shot up to around Rs 2.5 crore.

What’s next for you?

I am planning a comedy, a spoof on the health system. Then there’s an
archaeological adventure set against the backdrop of World War II.
Talks are on with Resul Pookutty and A.R. Rahman. We are trying to get
the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham and Sushmita Sen.


Maoist attack stalls trains

Salboni, March 22: Suspected Maoists triggered a blast damaging a
railway line in West Midnapore a little after Sunday midnight,
prompting suspension of service on the Adra-Midnapore section for
about 10 hours.

Officials said trains, halted at various stations for three to nine
hours, started running again at 10.35am.

A little after yesterday midnight, the driver of a goods train heading
towards Adra in Purulia heard a blast saw a banner and red flags on
the tracks. He stopped somewhere between Godapiasal — about 30km from
Lalgarh — and Midnapore stations and called the railway authorities in

“Immediately, all trains were stopped,” a railway official said.

The official added that the damage caused was minor. Only a few clips
that fix the tracks to the sleepers were dislodged. But it took so
long for the service to resume as several kilometres of tracks had to
be scanned for possible explosives.

The strike took place on the first day of a 48-hour bandh called by
Maoists in Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra
Pradesh demanding an end to the crackdown on the guerrillas.

The Bhubaneswar-bound Rajdhani was among the trains delayed today. It
was stuck in Bankura for 45 minutes because of the damaged tracks. The
same train, while it was heading to Delhi on October 27 last year, had
been detained for around seven and half hours at Banstala in West
Midnapore by Maoists demanding the release of some of their leaders.

Some of the other trains stalled were the Purulia-Howrah Express,
Asansol-Haldia Express, Shalimar-Adra-Santaldih Aranyak Express and
the Rupasi Bangla Express.


Cops’ SOS on Maoist sandbank visits

A char island in Malda. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, March 19: The Malda district police authorities have alerted
the state home department on Maoists frequenting the difficult-to-
access and unmanned sandbanks of the Ganga to create a support base.

The Maoists have chosen the char land in the river flanked by Malda in
Bengal and Sahebganj in Jharkhand for “strategic reasons”, a senior
district police officer said. “First, there is conflict between the
two states over the delineation of the border. Secondly, the police
presence is virtually non-existent on the char land and the third
reason is that the Maoists have found soft targets among the
illiterate and poverty-stricken people there to spread their support
base.” The char had been formed over the past decade because of the
erosion of the banks of the Ganga and silt depositing to form islands
in the middle of the river.

According to official sources, there are 24 small and big char islands
in the river between Manikchak and Farakka, a stretch of about 40km.
People inhabiting the islands mainly depend on agriculture. None of
them have documents like voter identity cards or BPL cards as the
islands are disputed land between the two states.

Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said his officers were awaiting
directives from the home department. The district police hardly have
any infrastructure to gather intelligence on the Maoists activities in
the areas. “But whatever intelligence inputs that have reached us so
far clearly indicate that the Maoists are exploiting the anonymity of
the islands to take shelter there and try to spread their ideology,”
he said.

The islands are also infested with hardened criminals because they
know that the police cannot touch them in areas that are difficult to
access. There is not even a single outpost in the islands, Mondal

Erosion-prone Panchanandapur, which also has a char island, is hardly
25km from Malda town. Jharkhand’s Rajmahal police station area in
Sahebganj is just opposite Panchanandapur. President of the
Panchanandapur Erosion Prevention Action Committee Kedar Mondal
claimed that the Maoists were making inroads into the islands
inhabited by poor people. Over two lakh people reside on the sandbanks
according to the 2001 census report, he said.

CPM MLA from Kaliachak Biswanath Ghosh alleged that the Maoists were
taking advantage of the border dispute between Jharkhand and Bengal.
He said the Centre should take the initiative to settle the dispute.
Denied citizenship, education and minimum civic facilities, people
living on the islands have every reason to become frustrated with the
government. “It is likely that the Maoists can win them because the
administration is not standing by them,” Ghosh said.


Maoist states asked to guard tracks

New Delhi, March 24: The Centre has asked all Maoist-affected states
to deploy as much manpower possible to protect railway tracks,
including taking help of village defence committees.

The warning came hours after the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani
derailed in Gaya after the Maoists blew a hole in the tracks late on

The advisory, sent to Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar, also
mentioned intelligence inputs that suggested more such strikes were
possible on railway properties.

A senior home ministry official said protecting the railways was a
manpower intensive exercise because of which all the affected states
have been asked to take help of village defence committees, home
guards and civil defence committees. An advisory similar to the one
issued last week had been sent to the same four states late last week.

The Centre, in a statement, condemned the “mindless acts of violence
and terrorism” by the Maoists.

“It is clear that the CPI(Maoist) are not serious about their
pronouncement of stopping violence and having a meaningful dialogue
with the Government of India on various issues. Such acts of violence
which target innocent people, disturb normal life and damage public
property expose the true character of the CPI(Maoist). The Government
of India strongly condemns such mindless acts of violence and
terrorism and hopes that all right-thinking people will condemn such
violence,” the statement said.

The Union home ministry also mentioned details of the Maoist attacks
during the 48-hour bandh call in seven states on Monday. “In West
Bengal, Maoists blasted a railway track (at Gidhni) in West Midnapore
district. In Orissa, the CPI(Maoist) cadres caused two blasts along
the Howrah-Mumbai trunk route, causing derailment of a goods train and
exploded a bomb near a railway level crossing, both in Sundergarh

The letter mentioned the Rajdhani accident. “In Bihar, Maoists
exploded can bombs between Kastha and Paraiya railway stations,
district Gaya, causing damage to 2-3 feet of railway track leading to
derailment of nine bogies of the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express in which
seven passengers sustained minor injuries in the intervening night of
March 22-23.”


Cop killed in Maoist ambush
Cong worker shot in Dumka

A Narsing Ispat vehicle that was damaged by rebels during Tuesday’s
Chowka raid. (Srinivas)
Ranchi/Jamshedpur/Du-mka, March 23: In an eventful Day 2 of an eight-
state bandh sponsored by the CPI(Maoist), a steel plant was raided in
Chowka, a police constable killed in an ambush on Chowka-Kandra Road
in Seraikela-Kharsawan and a Congress worker was abducted and released
in Palamau, within hours of another party member being shot dead in

The ambush also triggered an hour’s gun battle between Maoists and the
police. Around 200 rounds were fired after which the rebels retreated
into the forests.

A squad of 30 heavily armed rebels attacked Narsing Ispat around
12.30pm, prompting the steel unit to call for help. A police party,
including Jharkhand Armed Police jawans, stationed at Chowka,
responded to the SOS.

The jawans detected a powerful can bomb planted in a culvert on the
approach road to the factory in Khunti village.

Apprehensive of a trap on the main road, the jawans took a bypass
around 1am and were ambushed by some 20 rebels who were hiding in
trenches and behind trees. Constable Kalicharan Bodra was killed in
the firing.

Seraikela-Kharsawan superintendent of police (SP) Abhishek said the
attack on Narsing Ispat was a ploy to draw the police team to the bomb
trap. “When they managed to detect the bomb, the rebels switched to
plan B and began firing,” he said.

The can bomb that was planted weighed about 25kg and was powerful
enough to blow up everything within a 50m radius, the SP added.

The ambush triggered an exchange of fire that lasted for an hour.
Paramilitary forces arrived soon thereafter and a combing operation
was launched, but the rebels had disappeared under cover of darkness
by then.

Zonal IG Rezi Dungdung and DIG Kolhan M.K. Mishra gave the slain jawan
guard of honour at Chowka.

Normal life remained affected for the second consecutive day in
Ghatshila sub-division and rebel pockets of Singhbhum-Kolhan. Long-
distance buses stayed off the roads while two armoured vehicles
escorted goods carriers on NH-33.

In Palamau, suspected Maoists abducted and released Congress worker
Ajij Ansari.

SP Anup T. Mathew said the incident took place 155km from the state
capital and was spurred by a dispute over levy.

Ansari was on his way to Daltonganj around 11am when three suspected
rebels intercepted him near Dubiakand village in the Satbarwa police
station area.

He was taken into Satbarwa forest at gunpoint. Police surrounded the
rebels and secured the Congress worker’s release around 2pm.

In another incident last night, an armed squad of Maoists killed
Congress worker Rampada Gorai (65) at Phatharia Para, a remote hamlet
some 50km from Dumka district headquarters.

Gorai was a close associate of former deputy chief minister Stephen

After successfully executing their plan, the rebels reportedly moved
towards Massanjore hills mouthing slogans like “police dalal murdabad,
CPI(Maoist) zindabad”.

Dumka SP Arun Kumar Singh said they had launched a combing operation
in areas bordering Birbhum district of Bengal, which is close to
Phatharia Para.

Stephen Marandi, who visited the hamlet today, condemned the incident
and accused the Shibu Soren government of failing to curb Naxalism.
“Isn’t it strange that the chief minister claims there are no rebels
in Jharkhand while innocents get killed?” Marandi said.

He also demanded adequate compensation for family members of the
deceased party worker.


Maoist leader’s aide arrested

March 16: Marshal Topno, an alleged associate of Maoist leader Kishan,
has been arrested in Jharkhand, police announced today.

Considered a prize catch after the arrest of Telugu Deepak in
Calcutta, Topno was caught yesterday during security operations in
West Singhbhum.

The joint forces in Bengal said 11 suspected Maoists, including four
“actively associated with the rebels’ action squad”, were arrested in
Goaltore in West Midnapore.

One of the 11 arrested has been identified as Nanigopal Goswami, the
alleged mastermind of strikes in the area.

“He was wanted for the murder of at least four persons, apart from
running an extortion racket,” an officer said. He added that Goswami
could have been involved in the murder of the officer-in-charge of
Sarenga police station.

In Jharkhand, director-general of police Neyaz Ahmed said the ongoing
operations against the Maoists were about to be expanded to other
areas in the state.

Referring to Topno’s arrest, an officer said: “He used to operate in
the jungles of West Singhbhum. The intelligence department had also
given a tip-off about his movement.”

Today, Jharkhand police arrested five Naxalites and recovered arms and
ammunition from them in Garhwa and Lohardaga. The two districts are
not included in the zones of the operation that has so far led to the
arrest of 13 Maoists.


States share Maoist inputs

Midnapore, March 19: Senior police officers from Bengal, Jharkhand and
Orissa met today to exchange inputs for a joint anti-Maoist operation
that sources said would last a fortnight and cover a 120-200km

The officers, who met at the Midnapore police lines, discussed the
“extent of Maoist presence” on the three states’ borders.

A senior officer from West Midnapore who attended the meeting said
that since last week’s four-day joint exercise against the Maoists on
the Bengal-Jharkhand border, the forces had been interacting with
local people.

“We have gathered some intelligence on specific Maoist presence in the
border areas. At today’s meeting, we shared our information with
officials from Jharkhand and Orissa,” he said.

Among those at the meeting were Bengal director-general of police
(DGP) Bhupinder Singh, inspector-general of police (western range)
Zulfikar Hasan, the police chiefs of West Midnapore, Bankura and
Purulia, as well as inspectors-general from Jharkhand, Orissa and the

“We discussed the information we have gathered as the (upcoming) joint
operation is expected to be specific and intensive and would be
carried out across a stretch of 120km to 200km,” an officer said.

“If necessary, we might even go to the areas on the border of West
Midnapore and Orissa. A joint exercise with Orissa was held near the
West Midnapore border in January.”

Officers said the first phase of the operation had been more
“exploratory” in nature, and neither were Maoists arrested nor shots

DGP Singh had expressed satisfaction over Jharkhand police’s
participation in the four-day joint operation.

“The operation will be resumed after getting specific inputs,” he had


Maoist top gun shot dead

Hyderabad, March 12: Police today gunned down a top-rung Maoist leader
in Andhra Pradesh, who carried a reward similar to that on offer for
Telugu Deepak, the arrested Naxalite leader in charge of Bengal

Shakamuri Appa Rao, a member of the central committee as well as the
state committee of the CPI (Maoist), was shot dead in an encounter in
the Nallamala forests in Prakasham district, about 435km southeast of
Hyderabad. Appa Rao, 50, who used the aliases Ravi and Venkanna,
carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, the same as that
offered by the state for Deepak, an Andhra Maoist leader who had
shifted base to Bengal and was the architect of the military campaigns
there. Deepak was arrested in Calcutta on March 2, weeks after the
massacre of security personnel in a camp at Shilda in Maoist-infested
West Midnapore district.

Appa Rao’s death was a double whammy for the Maoists in Andhra
following the gunning down of another senior leader Kondal Reddy,
alias Tech Ramanna, in the Tadavai forests of Warangal district.

Police said a team of Naxalite hunters spotted four or five guerrillas
atop a hillock near Netikonda village, deep inside the Nallamala
forests, early this morning. “A combing team cited four or five
Maoists atop a small hillock in the forests and surrounded it. One
activist was killed in the exchange of fire and later identified as
Shakamuri Appa Rao,” said Prakasham superintendent of police V.

The police recovered an AK-47 rifle and several documents on Maoist
activities in the state from the hilltop den.


Maoist leader caught in Behala

Calcutta, March 2: The alleged chief of the Maoist guerrilla wing in
Bengal was caught from a busy bus stop at Behala tonight,
plainclothesmen apparently walking up to him, uttering his name and
confirming his identity from his startled expression.

Venkateshwar Reddy, known as Telugu Deepak because of his Andhra
Pradesh origins, was arrested as he stepped out of a bus at Sarsuna in
Behala to meet a “source”.

The police claimed that Deepak, an alleged explosives expert entrusted
with training Lalgarh’s tribal youths in guerrilla warfare, “was
present” among those who attacked the Shilda camp where 24 policemen
were killed.

The 42-year-old Deepak is said to be a state committee member of the
CPI (Maoist) and close to rebel leader Kishan who also hails from

The presence of two senior Andhra leaders in Bengal confirms how
Maoists have taken shelter in perceived “soft states” such as Bengal
after the late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy had launched a crackdown in the
southern state.

The police said a “Maoist source” had provided specific information
about the arrival of Deepak from the forests around Lalgarh. He had
taken a train from Jhargram to Howrah and then boarded a bus to

“We had information on his appearance, his clothes and the colour of
the bag he was carrying. We were waiting for him to get off the bus,”
an officer said.

CID officers said around 15 plainclothesmen waited at the Sarsuna bus
stop from 6pm. Since the bus stop is crowded till late at night, the
group did not draw attention. The officers had also been shown
footage, which the CID had managed to capture from arrested Maoists,
that showed Deepak moving around in the forests of Lalgarh.

When Deepak got off the bus, one of the officers went up to him and
uttered his name. “It was Deepak’s reflex action that provided the
final confirmation,” an officer said. “As soon as he heard the name
‘Deepak’, he whirled around and stared at the officer in disbelief.”

The other policemen then encircled Deepak, took him to a Sumo parked
nearby and whisked him away to the CID’s Bhabani Bhawan headquarters.

Kalyan Sengupta, the president of the Sarsuna Byabsayee Samiti, was at
the bus stop chatting with friends when the arrest took place. “We saw
a person in jeans and shirt suddenly being encircled by about 15
people,” Sengupta said. “This man was smartly dressed. He did not
protest as the policemen caught him by his hand and led him away.”

Sengupta said one of the policemen told him that the person was a
Maoist. “I did not know Maoists looked so sober and decent,” he added.

The police still do not know whom Deepak had come to meet in the city.

An officer said Deepak had left Andhra four years ago when it became
“too hot” there because of the crackdown. “In a way, he did what his
mentor Kishen did.”

In Andhra, too, Deepak was a CPI (Maoist) state committee member.
After leaving Andhra, Deepak reached Jharkhand and met Kishan who was
already operating there. Thereafter, Deepak was brought to Bengal and,
gradually, he took charge of Maoist operations here.

The police said Deepak grew up in Guntur and was studying in a
polytechnic when he joined the Maoist movement at the age of 17.


Officer killed in Maoist trap

(From left) Rabi Lochan Mitra, the inspector’s widow at their home in
Purulia and Mitra’s son Ranabir after appearing for his Madhyamik
exams. Pictures by Mita Roy
Sarenga (Bankura), Feb. 25: Ten minutes after the guns had fallen
silent and the Maoists had stopped firing from the Kusumbani forest,
Rabi Lochan Mitra, the inspector in-charge of Sarenga police station,
turned back with his men and had barely walked half a kilometre in the
dead of night when firing started from a half-constructed market.

Mitra had walked into a Maoist trap.

After a 20-minute gun-battle, Mitra took a bullet in his chest and a
few minutes later, he lay dead. Police later said that had Mitra been
wearing the bullet-proof jacket kept in the station, he would have
been alive now.

According to the police, the Maoist attack in Sarenga, a town on the
border of Bankura and West Midnapore, began a little past midnight,
when a group of 20 rebels came in a minibus and walked in a single
file to the house of a local CPM leader, Tarashankar Patra, near the
Gobindapur market.

Seeing some of the lights on in the house, the Maoists, who had
entered from the back, shot at the bulbs and plunged the house into
darkness. Then they started shouting for Patra to come out of the
house, all the while calling him a “CPM harmad”. When no one
responded, they kicked open the door and pulled Patra out.

The Maoists tied his hands and feet and made him squat on the steps
leading to the backdoor. As he struggled and screamed, the Maoists
shot him in his left leg.

Patra’s wife Mita had by then quietly called up the Sarenga police
station and by 1am, 40 personnel of the special trained company
(Straco) of the police, led by Mitra, arrived at Patra’s house.

The police personnel, who had taken up defences behind the boundary
wall, shone two powerful searchlights at the house. With the backdoor
lit up, they saw Patra sitting crouched on the doorstep with a Maoist
holding a revolver to his head. One of the policemen shot the Maoist
in the chest. As he fell to the ground, the other Maoists retaliated.
The exchange of fire went on for about half an hour, after which the
Maoists took to their heels.

The Maoists then broke up into two groups and while one went towards
the Kusumbani forest, the other headed to the Gobindapur market.

In the confusion and the darkness, the police did not notice the group
bound for the market. Instead, they followed the group of Maoists who
went into the forest that began almost from the back of Patra’s house.

Misled into thinking that all the Maoists had gone into the forest,
the police engaged them till the rebels’ guns fell silent. The police
then fell into the Maoist trap while returning to the market.

“Just like the Straco men, the Maoists also appeared to be armed with
Insas and AK-47 rifles,” said DIG, Midnapore range, Piyush Pandey.
Both Mitra and Patra were rushed to hospital. Mitra was declared dead,
while Patra is recovering.

At Writers’ Buildings, director-general of police Bhupinder Singh
said: “The police station was equipped with both night-vision
equipment as well as bullet-proof jackets. The police should always
use them. We are recommending his name for gallantry award.”

In the Sarenga encounter, while one Maoist was shot dead, another who
suffered bullet injuries is admitted to hospital. He will be arrested
soon, police said.

Shilda arrests

Three persons have been arrested from near the Jharkhand border and
Kharagpur in connection with the Shilda camp attack. Police said
Suklal Soren was a Maoist action squad member who took part in the
attack while Ashis Mahato and Manas Mahato had helped the rebels buy
two vehicles used during the strike. A Bolero and a pick-up van were
used to ferry the Maoists.


Strikeback in Maoist fight

Lalmohan Tudu
Kantapahari, Feb. 23: The president of the People’s Committee Against
Police Atrocities (PCPA), the Maoist-backed tribal resistance group
based in Lalgarh, was killed last night in what police claimed was
“retaliatory fire” after guerrillas attacked a CRPF camp here.

However, the PCPA said Lalmohan Tudu, 48, was picked up from his home
when he had dropped in for a brief visit and shot dead in a paddy
field behind the house.

Such persistent claims during the day and the smouldering mood among
security forces after the police massacre in Shilda suggest the
stirrings of an undeclared strategy shift in the fight against

No one would publicly call it an “eye-for-an-eye” crackdown but
several officers recalled such a policy had crushed the Naxalite
movement of the late 1960s. ( )

If Tudu was killed as a result of a policy shift, it has come at a
time the Maoists have betrayed signs that they could be feeling the
heat of low-intensity security operations now under way in states such
as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. A Maoist leader had
yesterday made a conditional truce offer to the Centre.

In response, Union home minister P. Chidambaram today sought to
tighten the screws, telling the rebels how to draft such messages (“no
ifs, no buts”) and sending them a fax number of an additional
secretary’s office. ( )

On record, the security forces insisted that PCPA chief Tudu died in a
shootout with the CRPF in Kantapahari, 6km from Lalgarh town.

According to the district police, the security forces received
information of a Maoist “build-up” in the forest outside the camp
around 8.30 last night.

The CRPF jawans took up positions outside and within a brief while,
the police said, firing started from the forest. The jawans retaliated
and the exchange carried on for half an hour.

When the guns fell silent, the jawans found a body with several bullet
marks. Next to him were two firearms: a 9mm pistol and a country-made
revolver. The body was later handed over to the police.

“This morning, the body was identified as that of Lalmohan Tudu and he
was obviously among those firing at the police camp,” said West
Midnapore SP Manoj Verma.

However, Asit Mahato, a spokesperson for the PCPA, said: “Lalmohan
Tudu was picked up from his house by the police and shot dead.”

Tudu, who kept a low profile, had become the president of the
committee in November 2008 when it was floated. He was rarely at the
forefront of the movement, but had accompanied Chhatradhar Mahato, who
is now in jail, to a meeting with the Election Commission before the
Lok Sabha polls.

At Tudu’s village Narcha, 3km from the CRPF camp, Sanatan Murmu, a 60-
year-old neighbour, said: “I saw Tudu here at 7.30 last evening and he
said he had come to collect a few things since his daughter was
appearing for the Madhyamik exams from today. After that, I went to my
house and shut the door.”

Murmu said that around 8.30 he heard a lot of footsteps and peered
out. “I saw a lot of policemen and quickly shut the door,” Murmu said.
“About 15 minutes later, I heard four or five gunshots from the paddy
field behind the house and now I hear that the police are saying that
he had died in a gun battle. I find it very difficult to believe.”

Another neighbour also more or less echoed Murmu.


From JNU and Maoist choice for U-3

Lucknow, Feb. 9: Arrested social science scholar Chintan was working
on a plan to make the Naxalites fill the vacuum caused by the
elimination of dacoit gangs in Uttar Pradesh and pursue armed action
for the rights of the poor.

Chintan, also known as Banshidhar Singh, has MPhil and PhD degrees in
social science from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. The 64-
year-old scholar from Bihar’s Champaran district, the epicentre of
several uprisings involving land and social justice, was one of the
leading guerrilla leaders of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre
(MCC) which later merged with the People’s War Group (PWG) to form the
CPI (Maoist).

A former member of the organisation’s central committee and politburo,
the apex decision-making body, Chintan was tipped to be the future
head of the three Us: Uttar (north) Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and

Police said Chintan was a close associate of Khobad Ghandy, the Maoist
ideologue who was arrested from Delhi last year.

To spread the Maoist network, Chintan was working in tandem with
Balraj alias Baccha Prasad, a resident of Chapra district in Bihar.
Prasad, 51, was a science student of Patna University and had
participated in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement in the mid-seventies
before joining the Naxalite outfit, becoming regional commander of

“He (Prasad) is soft-spoken, suave and well informed about the
functioning of Maoist cadres,” said a police officer.

The Maoist duo were among 11 arrested in night raids on Saturday at
Kanpur, Allahabad and Gorakhpur.

From the Maoist literature seized from the Naxalite leaders, the
special task force has learnt that Chintan was targeting the poverty-
racked districts in Bundelkhand region, many of which were dacoits
hubs till recently.

Although most of the powerful dacoit gangs have been eliminated, a
large chunk of backward caste leaders have plenty of weapons in their
possession. These, the Maoists felt, could be used for future action.

Last week, the police had taken into custody Ratan Bahadur, 43, who
was allegedly drafted by the Maoists to work among the families of the
slain dacoits of Bundelkhand and make them join the Naxalite cause.
Bahadur came in touch with the Maoists through a former Allahabad
University union leader who has since gone underground.

To spread the network in Uttarakhand, the Maoists had supported to the
movement against big dams. Chintan’s team was working for the
thousands uprooted from their land by power projects in the hill

“The Maoists have got a cause for social action and support given that
thousands of people have been rendered homeless and landless by the
upcoming projects across the state, from Pithoragarh district in the
Kumaon region to Chamoli in Garhwal. The projects have sounded the
death knell for several towns and villages by submerging them,” said a
police officer.

During the past three months, four suspects with alleged Maoist links
have been arrested in Chamoli. They had earlier taken part in
demonstrations on behalf of people ousted by power plants.

All these leaders were in touch with Chintan, according to information
in the CDs seized from the arrested leaders.

“Chintan was in jail for several years and was out on bail too,” said
Uttar Pradesh director-general of police Karamveer Singh.

Chintan, along with the other arrested Maoists, was produced before
the Kanpur chief judicial magistrate today and remanded in judicial

Activists of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) alleged
that two of those arrested, Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay,
were office-bearers of the organisation.

Social worker and PUCL official Sandeep Pandey said: “We know Seema
Azad is our office-bearer. She cannot have Maoist leanings. We don’t
know much about the other so-called Maoist suspects.”

S.R. Darapuri, organising secretary of the PUCL and a former inspector-
general of police, also said Seema, the state secretary of the
organisation, was innocent. “Possessing Maoist literature is no
offence,” he said.

Karamveer Singh, the state police chief, took a hard stand when asked
about the PUCL outcry. “Those sympathising with the arrested persons
and trying to label them social workers ought to realise they are
running the risk of associating with anti-nationals,” he said.


Ethnic heartburn on NC Hills new name

Guwahati April 3: Call it decentralization of power, recognition of
ethnic identity, or just a way of helping militants come overground
with a face-saving measure — an essential element to avoid a backlash
from the public who have suffered grevious losses while being led up
the garden path with utopian promises — but the name of North Cachar
Hills being changed to Dima Hasao yesterday through an Assam
government notification could have ramifications of its own, including
serious opposition to the move from other ethnic groups, including the
Zemes and even the Nunisa faction of the Dima Halam Daogah (DHD).

The Dimasa community itself has tried to play it safe. Barring a few
firecrackers, celebrations in the district were largely restrained
through the day today, officials of the district administration said.

“That was done to reassure the other tribal communities in the
region,” explained Dethang Naiding, president of the Jadikhe Naisho
Hoshom (JNH), the apex body of the Dimasas, who had pressed for the
name change, among others.

“We ourselves called up the police to keep an eye on our youth to
ensure that no one goes overboard and hurts others’ sentiments. The
change in name is merely symbolic. Fifty per cent of the unrest in the
district would be taken care of by this welcome gesture of the
government but we should not send out wrong signals to other
communities which, I feel, are unnecessarily opposing the move. The
clarifications couldn’t have come a day too soon.”

Jona Zeme, general secretary of the Zeme Council, told The Telegraph
this evening that they had moved the Prime Minister as well as the
Union home minister against the change in nomenclature.

“We have in our memorandum told them that they can go ahead with the
move provided they bifurcate the district,” Zeme said.

The Zeme Council has now decided to hold a protest in Haflong and
Guwahati on Monday against the move.

Added to this, the Indigenous People’s Forum, another group
representing around 18 non-Dimasa communities, is planning to bring
out a procession in Haflong to oppose the name change.

The coinage itself, it is understood, was a climbdown from Dima Hasao
Raji, or “Kingdom of the Dimasas” which was originally proposed,
something the government didn’t want to take a chance with given the
presence of the other ethnic groups. Even the decision to settle for
Dima Hasao, or “Dimasas of the Hills” came after the government was
convinced by various groups that it would be difficult to stop
militants of the dreaded Jewel Gorlosa group of the Dima Halam Daogah
(DHD) from returning to the jungles unless the administration gave in
to at least one of their main demands. Given the political stakes
involved, the Dilip Nunisa faction of the DHD, which is in a
ceasefire, has also come out in protest against the move, which it
said was a case of “misplaced priorities”.

“Instead of restoring peace through negotiations, the government is
concentrating on changing names,” said Dilip Nunisa, its chairman.

Not surprisingly, Dispur’s declaration yesterday too was a low-key
affair — a two-line press note released in the evening.

Question is, will the government now succeed in preventing ethnic
unrest (which, for example, the Zeme Council apprehends) in a region
that is known to be volatile when it comes to matters of ethnicity.

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Burdwan cadres flash red signal

Chidambaram at the Writers’ on Saturday evening. (Sanjoy
Burdwan, April 3: Alleged CPM supporters barged into a railway station
and forcibly turned the signal red, putting lives of passengers at
stake on a day home minister P. Chidambaram reached Bengal.

The station rampage by alleged supporters of CPM veteran Benoy Konar’s
son unfolded in Burdwan, a district Chidambaram could not visit today
because poor weather forced him to extend his stay in the Northeast
and reach Calcutta late. Chidambaram, who is scheduled to visit
Lalgarh on Sunday, is expected to visit the state again to tour
Burdwan and some other places.

The protest was apparently intended to avenge a perceived slight to
CPM leaders at a railway flag-off event which was originally
inaugurated by Mamata Banerjee in Burdwan.

Around 100 protesters barged into the cabin of the station manager of
Memari railway station, about 80km from Calcutta, around 8pm, and
switched on the red light. The change in the signal triggered a chain
reaction, holding up at least 10 local trains.

An official said the unscheduled signalling changes could have caused

The protesters took control of the public address system for around
two hours.

“Mamata Banerjee today inaugurated the Memari-Howrah Passenger from
Burdwan while her party leader Mukul Roy flagged it off from Memari
station. We felt humiliated as we were not invited. We tried to inform
the residents by stopping trains and announcing it over the PA
system,” said Avijeet Konar, the vice-chairman of the Left-run Memari

Burdwan railway police said they were not alerted.


Rebel felled in Patamda encounter

A jawan waits outside a hospital in Jamshedpur where the rebel’s body
is kept. (Srinivas)
Jamshedpur/Ranchi, April 3: A member of the Dalma squad was killed in
an encounter in Patamda today as paramilitary forces fought a pitched
battle with rebels along the Goelkera-Sonua border in West Singhbhum
and police sources confirmed that operations against Maoist rebels had
begun in Sonua, Manoharpur and Chaibasa.

Over half-a-dozen companies of CRPF and two companies of police were
taking part in the operation, said a police officer, adding that a
bunker and a training camp had been destroyed.

Amar Singh, alias Sunil Gorai, was killed in a police encounter at
Srirampur village in Patamda police station area, about 45km from
Jamshedpur, around 2am today.

The killing comes five days after another member of the squad, Prabodh
Singh, alias Gangadhar Singh, fell to police bullets at Bagudih
village in Patamda.

Thirty-year-old Amar, a close associate of Dalma squad commander Arup
Mochi, was hiding in his relative Sudhir Gorai’s house when he was
killed. The police recovered his bullet-riddled body a little away
from the house. The police and CRPF jawans reached Srirampur following
a tip-off that Amar and some rebels were hiding there and surrounded
Gorai’s house.

“The rebels started firing from inside the house and we retaliated,”
said Sanjay Kumar Singh, officer in-charge of Patamda police station.
He added that two Naxalites managed to flee under the cover of
darkness. “We could not chase them as the firing was on. We recovered
Amar’s body at 4am,” Singh said, adding there was no trace of the
other rebel. However, it was yet to be ascertained how many rebels
were hiding in Gorai’s house.

nBid to choke rebel cash flow, Page 6

Amar, a resident of Kamalpur village in Patamda, had been engaged in
rebel activities for quite some time.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring West Singhbhum, security forces engaged in
a fierce gun battle with the Maoists for over four hours this

The forces, including jawans of the CRPF, district police, Cobra and
special task force (STF) personnel, came across the Maoists while
conducting long range patrolling near the dense forests of Goelkera.

The exchange of fire started near the rebel stronghold of Goelkera and
Sonua border at 11am, said Akhilesh Jha, police superintendent of West
Singhbhum. According to Jha, the exchange of fire took place in a
forest located between Bandu and Sinku villages on the Goelkera-Sonua

“Over 300 rounds were fired from both sides. No casualties have been
reported yet. The Maoists fled after heavy firing from the security
force’s side. The forces are still combing the area,” Jha said.

While fleeing, the Naxalites left behind some essentials and Maoist
literature, the SP added.

Speaking in Ranchi, DGP Neyaz Ahmed said: “The information on today’s
progress is being compiled. Our boys are doing their job. Our
operations will be going their usual way.”

He added that the police were intensifying efforts to stop the flow of
cash to the rebels.


iPad’s challenge: Khulja SIM SIM
- Micro card tries to foil breakers but some are not giving up hope

April 3: Steve Jobs loves to play mind games with hackers and code

The Apple boss seems to have thrown down another challenge to the so-
called “jailbreakers”, including those in India, with his eagerly
awaited new gizmo — the iPad.

The iPad will be available in two versions — a wi-fi version that was
launched in the US today — and a wi-fi cum 3G version that is expected
to debut within a fortnight.

It’s been long suspected that the iPad — a tablet computer that could
pose a serious threat to the ubiquitous laptop — would try to tie the
code breakers in knots with a micro SIM card.

It now turns out that those suspicions — voiced in several blogs back
in January — were well founded.

Apple has deliberately picked a SIM card format that isn’t used by the
telecom industry.

The SIM card for the iPad will have a 12mm by 15mm dimension — roughly
half the size of the telecom industry’s standard SIM measuring 15mm by
25mm. This micro SIM format is only used in the US in a GPS watch for

This is bad news for Indians who may have been hoping to snap up a
grey market device and pop their 2G SIM cards into it — and pray that
they would somehow work even if a little slowly. It’s a trick that
they had learnt when the iPhone was launched in 2007.

The iPhone was formally launched in India 12 months after it had
debuted in the US and Europe, handing grey market operators and code
crackers a lucrative business proposition.

This time it won’t be so easy.

The wi-fi version won’t find too many takers in India because India
doesn’t have a very robust network that would give users a pleasurable
experience anywhere, anytime.

If the wi-fi version doesn’t find takers, what about the 3G version?

Indians have a lovely word that encapsulates enterprise and ingenuity:
it’s called jugaad. This was evident when the code breakers found a
way to “unlock” the iPhone three years ago.

Already, there’s chatter in blogosphere that the normal SIM card could
be snipped and re-sized to suit the iPad’s peculiar design format.

But not everyone is sure that it will work well — if at all.

“The standard-size SIM can be converted into a micro SIM by trimming
the plastic around the electronic contact area to specifications.
However, it is not recommended and there are technical issues involved
with the usability of such SIM cards,” Rajat Agrawal, editor at
webportal CellPassion, told The Telegraph.

Software hackers at Delhi’s Gaffar Market were still cocky about their
skills in “jailbreaking” to circumvent any technical hurdles that
Apple may have created.

Hackers use the term “jailbreaking” to describe the act of overriding
the restrictions that bar users from installing unauthorised software
on any device.

The micro SIM card was developed by the ETSI (European
Telecommunications Standards Institute) to offer things like more
storage space on-chip for provider applications, increased control and
security functions. AT&T is the sole partner for Apple in the US.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the micro SIM card would be used
in the devices that are legitimately sold in India. The iPad launch in
India will be some way off — essentially because the country has yet
to build a credible 3G network. Auctions for 3G spectrum are due to be
held next week and a proper 3G network won’t be available until the
last quarter of this calendar year.

Romal Shetty, telecom analyst with KPMG India, said: “The product
(iPad) is completely based on wireless connectivity. India is far
behind in that space. It will take a few more years to have good
wireless networks in India.”

According to him, the value-added services (VAS) market in India is
very small compared with the US and the UK. “VAS accounts for only
about 10 per cent of the mobile telephony market in India. Of this,
only 3 per cent is dominated by data,” Shetty added.

Indian operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone may explore business
opportunities with Apple for the iPad once they establish 3G networks.


IIM ends fee socialism

Calcutta, April 3: The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta
has increased the fees for the two-year postgraduate diploma programme
to Rs 13.5 lakh from Rs 9 lakh, citing “excellent placements” and
finally acknowledging that money does matter.

The revision — the steepest hike among the “ABC” IIMs this year
largely because of Calcutta’s penchant to stay on the lower side till
now — makes the figure comparable to those of the institutes in
Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

“The decision to raise the fees was taken after considering the fact
that we have had excellent placements this year. And we need more
funds…. So, the hike is justified,” said Ajit Balakrishnan, the
chairman of the board of governors of IIM Calcutta.

The new fee will come into effect for students taking admission from
this academic session, due to start in another two months. The
decision was taken at a board meeting held today before the
institute’s annual convocation.

IIM Calcutta authorities had earlier announced that the institute
would not raise fees this year following a Rs 2-lakh increase last

The institute, which had refrained from big hikes claiming that fees
were not “make or break” for an institute, today conceded that it
needed more money. “Earlier, we used to believe that fees are not the
benchmark for academic quality but things have changed. We need more
money for infrastructure development and research. Moreover, we can
give more scholarships with this money,” Balakrishnan said.

For the past three years, the top three business schools in the
country had not received any grant from the Centre except for the
allowance for infrastructure augmentation to implement the OBC

“We are adding over 5 lakh sqft to accommodate more students and
create more facilities. We also want to focus more on research. The
increased fees will help us turn IIM Calcutta into a world-class
institute,” a faculty member said.

The fees at the three IIMs are still around one-fourth of those
charged by top B-schools in the US and Europe, the faculty member

The fee hike will enable IIM Calcutta to generate surplus funds for
long-term development. The institute is estimated to spend around Rs
10 lakh on each student.

Although IIM Calcutta had planned to admit around 464 students this
year to implement the OBC quota, lack of infrastructure has forced the
authorities to restrict the number to 375.


Centre eyes hike in enrolment
- 63 IIM Shillong students conferred degrees

Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presents a medal to Mayank
Arora for coming second at IIM Shillong on Saturday. Picture by
Eastern Projections
Shillong, April 3: The Centre, after redefining education as a
fundamental right, is looking at increasing the gross enrolment ratio
in higher education from the present dismal 12.4 per cent to 30 per
cent by 2020.

Addressing the first convocation of Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of
Management (RGIIM) here this morning, Union finance minister Pranab
Mukherjee said to achieve the 30 per cent enrolment ratio in higher
education, there was a need to have additional infrastructure and
increased capacities in higher education system.

“This will require effective partnerships with all stakeholders and
collaborative efforts,” Mukherjee said.

According to him, there is a need to create an architecture in
education that allows access and inclusion without diluting the

The first batch of 63 IIM students, including four from Assam —
Abhijit Boro, Kantha Bhuvan Das, Pranab Jyoti Talukdar and Saugat Das
— who have successfully completed the two-year post-graduate diploma
in management were conferred degrees today. All the 63 also got
placements in the corporate sector.

The finance minister said that as skill development was a key factor
for the economic and social growth of the country, the Prime
Minister’s Council on National Skill Development had laid down the
core governing principles for operating strategies for skill

The council had a mission of creating 50 crore skilled people by 2022,
he added.

According to Mukherjee, with the expansion of the economy, there was
an increase in demand for skilled and adequate human resources. “What
is required is to empower the youth with appropriate skills and seize
the opportunities at the domestic and international levels,” he said.

On other means of improving human resources, Mukherjee said the Centre
had set up the National Knowledge Commission in 2005 to guide policy
and direct reforms, focusing on key areas like education, science and
technology, agriculture, industry and e-governance.

“The easy access to knowledge, creation and preservation of knowledge
systems, dissemination of knowledge and better knowledge services are
other core concerns of the commission,” he said.

Touching on the present position of the Indian economy, Mukherjee said
the Indian economy has weathered the global economic crisis well and
is in a far better position than it was a year ago.

However, he said one of the challenges before the Indian economy is to
quickly revert to the high GDP growth path of 9 per cent per annum.

“The second challenge is to harness the economic growth to consolidate
the recent gains in making development more inclusive in the fields of
rural development, to strengthen food security, improve education
opportunities and provide health facilities,” Mukherjee said.

The Union minister also said that the third challenge is to improve
the public delivery system. The system of governance must work towards
economic empowerment and make growth human-specific, he added.

Praising the RGIIM, Mukherjee said the institute was making efforts to
provide an educational framework that would have sustainable
management education as the core thrust area.

He also said there was a need to alleviate poverty and ensure that the
benefits of growth and development percolate down to every section of

“The decision of RGIIM to set up a Centre for the Development of
Northeast Region is one such step. The Centre seeks to ensure that
local communities imbibe the best management practices and become
partners in India’s economic growth and success story,” Mukherjee

He also praised the institute for its stress on research and
development activities.

“Research combined with extension activities can help in nation
building by facilitating the benefits of sound technical education to
reach more people,” he said.

The director of the RGIIM, Ashoke Dutta, said its aim was creation of
an institution of excellence having a national character while also
considering the needs and aspirations of the people of the Northeast.


Down! All lie flat on road
- Caught in Maoist blast, an account

Suspected Maoists set off a landmine explosion near Lalgarh on
Saturday, missing a security posse by a whisker and blasting a crater
on a road less than 5km from a helipad where home minister P.
Chidambaram is scheduled to land on Sunday. Naresh Jana of The
Telegraph and Samir Mondal, a photographer, were with the security
forces when the landmine was ignited. Jana recounts the close shave
The message that reached Lalgarh police at 10.05 this morning was
brief but alarming: a group of suspected Maoists had gathered at a
place between Bamal and Brindabanpur and were “suspiciously” moving
around the spot. Brindabanpur is around 6km from Lalgarh police
station where Samir and I had gone around 10am.

The caller informed the police that it appeared that the group had
planted an improvised explosive device (IED) and were waiting to
explode it at an “appropriate time”.

As soon as we learnt of this, Samir and I set off towards Brindabanpur
in a car. Since the road was deserted, it did not take us long to pass
Bamal and reach Brindabanpur. If the landmine had already been planted
on that stretch, we could not spot it from the car.

Soon, we came across a CRPF truck approaching from the opposite
direction. Our car stopped; so did the CRPF.

CRPF assistant commandant A.K. Adhikari, who was leading a force of
about 25 jawans, climbed out of the truck and approached us. We had
met a few times before. The officer said he was on a reconnaissance
trip and asked me whether we had heard about the IED that may have
been planted nearby.

When I said I had but had not seen any on the road, the officer said
it was safer to walk towards Bamal rather than travel in vehicles. He
instructed his men to get off as well and travel on foot.

The jawans broke up into groups of three and, keeping a distance of
about four to five feet between them, started walking towards Bamal,
all the while scanning both sides of the road as well as the nearby
fields and bushes.

The group I was part of had walked about 2km and had just passed a
freshly dug-up patch by the side of the road when one of the jawans,
Ramchandra Sau, cried out: “Sir, I can see a wire!”

All of us whirled around and Adhikari shouted: “Down! Everybody lie
flat on the road!”

Since Samir and I weren’t battle-trained and our reflexes were slow,
Adhikari caught our arms and pulled us down.

At that instant, there was a huge explosion. A lot of earth and
splinters were flung in the air and scattered all around. The time, I
noticed, was 10.55am.

Then the firing began.

From one side of the road, the Maoists opened fire at us. The jawans
retaliated quickly, but choosing their shots selectively and not
opening fire at random as the Maoists were doing.

From the other side, another CRPF truck hove into view and I realised
reinforcements were heading towards us from Lalgarh.

Probably sensing this, the Maoists scaled down the frequency of the
firing that soon became sporadic. I realised that they were

After another 10 or 15 minutes, the firing from the Maoist end stopped
altogether. The forces waited for sometime and then searched the

I got up and ventured towards the spot where the blast had taken place
and found a crater about two-and-a-half feet deep and about three feet
wide. I realised that the explosion had occurred a few minutes after
Adhikari and I had walked past the spot. The distance that the
personnel kept between themselves probably saved many lives, though
two jawans were injured.

The security forces found a wire that stretched to a bush about 250
metres from where the IED had been detonated.

Adhikari said that if the truck had been passing when the blast took
place, it could have been blown apart. “It was a desperate effort by
the Maoists to prove they are still around,” Adhikari said.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-05 20:05:27 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

Left-wing Extremist group

People’s War Group (PWG)

Official name: The Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist)
(People’s War) -- CPI-ML (PW)

1. Formation

The People’s War Group was formed in Southern Indian State of Andhra
Pradesh on April 22, 1980 by Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, one of the most
influential Naxalite leaders in the State and a member of the
erstwhile Central Organising Committee of the Communist Party of
India––Marxist-Leninist, (CPI-ML). Seetharamaiah was later expelled
from the group. He died unsung on April 12, 2002. The PWG’s operations
commenced in Karimnagar district, in the North Telengana region of
Andhra Pradesh, and subsequently spread to other parts of the State as
well as in other States.

2. Objectives

The PWG traces its ideology to the Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung’s
theory of organised peasant insurrection. It rejects parliamentary
democracy and believes in capturing political power through protracted
armed struggle based on guerrilla warfare. This strategy entails
building up of bases in rural and remote areas and transforming them
first into guerrilla zones and then as liberated zones, besides the
area-wise seizure and encircling cities. The eventual objective is to
install a "people’s government" through the "people’s war". In short,
as the PWG claims, it wishes to usher in a New Democratic revolution

3. Leadership and Command Structure

Muppala Lakshman Rao, alias Ganapathi is the General Secretary of the
outfit. The Central Committee (CC) leads the PWG, and is the highest
policy making body of the group. Elections to the CC were last held in
March 2001, at which its strength was expanded as well as vacancies
filled in, following the death in an encounter, in 1999, of three CC
members in the Koyyuru forests, Karinmagar, Andhra Pradesh.

The CC of the PWG comprises 21 permanent members and six alternate
members, reportedly referred to by the PWG as 21 plus six. Alternate
members are those who stand in for the permanent members at meetings
during their absence. It is believed that the following 21 persons are
the permanent members of the CC; Their name/ designation/ identity is
listed here:

1 Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathi––General Secretary.

2 Cherukuri Rajkumkar alias Devanna alias Uday alias Madhu.

3 Mallojula Koteswara Rao.

4 Naveen Prasad, of Party Unity that had merged with the PWG.

5 Nambala Keshava Rao @ Ganganna, also a member of the Central
Military Commission.

6. Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand.

7. Former Karnataka State Committee Secretary.

8. Mallojula Venugopal @ Bhupathi.

9. Jingu Narasimha Reddy @Jampanna, Secretary of the North Telengana
Special Zone Committee (NTSZC).

10. Sande Rajamouli @ Prasad, earlier Andhra Pradesh State Committee
Secretary, Full Timer in the Central Committee.

11 Lanka Papi Reddy @ Lachchanna, Secretary, Dandakaranya Special Zone
Committee (DSZC).

12. Akkiraju Harahopla alias Rama Krishna, Andhra Pradesh State
Committee Secretary.

13. Wadkapoor Chandra Mohan @ Devanna, Secretary, Andhra Orissa Border
Special Zone Committee and member of the Central Military Commission.

14. Central Committee Member belonging to Karnataka, Full Timer.

Ramesh alias Balaji

15. The Bihar State Committee Secretary.

16 The West Bengal State Committee Secretary.

17. Tippadi Tirupati @Devuji, Secretary, Dandakaranya Area Committee.

18. Sumit, of Party Unity that had merged with the PWG.

19. Surjit, of Party Unity that had merged with the PWG.

20. The Maharashtra State Committee Secretary

21. The Tamil Nadu State Committee Secretary

Dr. P Vara Vara Rao is another influential leader, and is often
projected as the PWG’s principal ‘ideologue’. Yet another leader is
balladeer Gadar.

The PWG draws a clear distinction between the political and military
wings of the outfit. On the political side the organisational
hierarchy of the PWG consists of the Central Committee at the apex,
Regional Bureaus, Zonal or State Committees, District or Division
Committees and Squad Area Committees. In the military sphere, the
Central Military Commission (CMC) headed by the General Secretary
Ganapathi stands at the top. And there are military commissions
parallel to the political committees at each level. At the bottom is
the Village Defence Squad, consisting of a handful of people in a
village, organised as a people’s militia, and possessing basic
training in handling small arms. At the political level, the Village
Governance Committee is the mirror committee.

The main fighting force of the outfit is a platoon comprising 25 to 30
highly trained guerrillas organised into sections and sub-sections.
There are two types of paltoons––the military platoon and the
protection platoon. The outfit organises its platoons as military
platoons and protection platoons and fields them in the guerrilla
zones. The dalam or armed squad comprising 5-7 cadres is a secondary-
fighting unit. The strength of a squad is varied, as is its type.
Mostly, it is in the form of a local guerrilla squad (LGS) and in some
areas it functions as a central guerrilla squad (CGS).

The fighting force of the PWG is organised as the People’s Guerrilla
Army (PGA). It has a flag and an insignia, too. The PGA was formed in
December 2000.

Estimates on the fire-power of the PWG suggest that the group has
about 60 highly mobile and motivated squads of 40 persons each. In
about 125 villages they run parallel administration. According to
police estimate, the PWG has around 1000 to 1050 underground cadres.
Besides the outfit has about 5,000 overground activists.

The PWG also has a string of front organisations of students, youth,
industrial workers, miners, farm hands, women, poets, writers and
cultural artists. Some among these are listed below:

Andhra Pradesh

Rythu Coolie Sangham (Agricultural labourers association)

Singareni Karmika Samakhya (Singareni collieries workers federation)

Viplava Karmika Samakhya (Revolutionary workers federation)

Radical Students Union

Radical Youth League

All India Revolutionary Students Federation


Lok Sangram Morcha (People’s Struggle Front)

Mazddor Kisam Mukti Morcha (Workers-Peasants Liberation Front)

Jan Mukti Parishad (People’s Liberation Council)

Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Morcha (Workers-Peasants Unity Front)

Bharat Navjawan Sabha (Indian Youth Association)

Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Parishad (Workers-Peasants Struggle Council)

Shramik Sangram Manch (Workers Struggle Platform)

Nari Mukti Sangharsh Samiti (Women’s Liberation Struggle Association)

Sangharsha Jana Mukti Morcha (People’s Liberation Struggle Front)

Democratic Students Union

All India People’s Resistance Forum

Madhya Pradesh

Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (Tribal Peasants-Workers Association)

Krantikari Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (Revolutionary Peasants-Workers

Krantikari Balak Sangh (Revolutionary Children’s Association)

Gram Raksha Dal (Village Defence Force)

Gram Rajya Samiti (Village governance council)

4. Area of Operation

The PWG maintains a string of bases in remote and inaccessible areas
and currently runs virtual parallel government in some ‘liberated
zones’, particularly in the tribal areas in the Dandakaranya belt.

The outfit, at present is active in parts of, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, West
Bengal and Bihar. The outfit has been making attempts to establish and
expand its presence in several other States such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala
and Karnataka in Southern India, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and
Rajasthan in Northern India.

Andhra Pradesh

North Telangana—Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Adilabad

South Telangana—Mehboobnagar, Nalgonda and Medak districts

Rayalseema Region—Anantpur and Kurnool districts

North Coastal Andhra—East Godavari, Visakhapatanam, Vizianagaram and

South Coastal Andhra—Guntur district


In Bihar, the PWG established its presence with the merger with the
Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist, CPI-ML (Party Unity) in
1998. Since then the outfit has expanded and consolidated its area of
operations in many districts. At present, the PWG is active in Patna,
Aurangabad, Gaya, Jehanabad, Rohtas, Buxur, Saharsha, Khagaria, Banka
and Jamui districts.


Palamau, Garhwah, Latehar, Gumla, Chatra Hazaribag and Koderma


Malkangiri, Koraput, Gajapati, Rayagada and Nowrangpur in Southern
Orssia, and Mayurbhanj district in Northern Orissa.


Gadchiroli, Bhandara and Chandrapur districts.


Jagdalpur, Bastar, Kanker, Rajnadgaon, Dantewada, Sarguja, Kawardha
and Jashpur districts.

Madhya Pradesh

Balaghat, Dhindoli and Mandla districts.

West Bengal

Midnapore, Purulia and Bakura districts.

5. External Linkages

The PWG is believed to have links with left-wing extremist groups in
other parts of the World. The outfit has fraternal relations with the
Liberation Army of Peru and the Kurdistan Workers Party. The PWG has
also been trying to internationalise its appeal. It attended an
international Seminar organised by the Workers Party of Belgium in May
1995, along with 60 other organisations from 40 countries. The group
is believed to have links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) of Sri Lanka, and some of its cadres are reported to have
received arms training from LTTE rebels.

The PWG maintains active links with other Maoist outfits in South
Asia. On July 1, 2001, nine left wing extremist outfits active in
India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh formed an umbrella
organisation, the Coordination Committes of Maoist Parties and
Orgainsations (CCOMPOSA) with a purpose to unify and coordinate the
activities of the Maoist parties and organisations in South Asia. The
CCOMPOSA comprises

India: People's War Group (PWG),

Maoist Communist Centre (MCC),

Revolutionary Communist Centre of India (MLM),

Revolutionary Communist Centre of India (Maoist) from India,

Bangladesh: Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party (Maoist Punargathan Kendra)

Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party

Bangladesh Samaywadi Party (ML)

Nepal: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Sri Lanka: Communist Party of Ceylon (Maoist)

The PWG along with the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and the Maoist
insurgents in Nepal is believed to be instrumental in the formation of
the CCOMPOSA for greater cooperation and understanding among the left
wing extremist groups in India and Nepal. The real significance of the
consolidated of linkages between the PWG and Maoists in Nepal needs to
be assessed within the context of the larger strategy to set up a
"Compact Revolutionary Zone" (CRZ) extending from Nepal through Bihar
and the Dandakaranya region to Andhra Pradesh. For some time now, the
PWG with other left wing extremists groups active in the sub-continent
has been trying to achieve the objective of the CRZ to further unifiy,
expand and consolidate left wing extremist movement in different parts
of India and its neighbourhood

6. Major Incidents


August 2: PWG cadres kill a surrendered Naxalite, namely Bukya
Raghavulu, who was with the Kothaguda-Manuguru Local Guerrilla Squad
near Gundala in the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh.

July 30: Armed Naxalites of the outlawed PWG kill one person at
Padriya village in the Rohtas district of Bihar.

July 21: Andhra Pradesh Home Minister, K. Jana Reddy, announces that
the ban on the PWG and its six frontal organizations has been allowed
to lapse.

July 11: Two Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an exchange of fire
between two groups in the forest area near Oddugudem village in the
Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.

June 30: PWG names a team of six mediators for holding peace talks
with the Andhra Pradesh Government.

June 22: PWG reciprocates the Andhra Pradesh Government’s goodwill
gesture and announces a cease-fire for three months, paving the way
for peace talks.

June 16: Andhra Pradesh Government declares a three-month ceasefire
with the PWG.

June 12: The Jharkhand State Home Department says the MCC and PWG are
being provided with sophisticated arms by terrorist groups operating
in India’s northeast.

May 17: Andhra Pradesh Government decides to stop combing operations
against left-wing extremist outfits operating in the State.

May 11: Four persons are killed and six others sustain injuries during
an attack by the PWG at Chakri village in the East Singhbhum district
of Jharkhand.

May 4: Police kill four PWG cadres, including two women, of the
Guttikonda area dalam (squad) and Bollapalli ‘special guerrilla squad’
during an encounter at Jayanthipuram village in the Guntur district.

May 1: PWG cadres kill a former Naxalite, identified as Venkatadri
alias Murali, at Chinnamandem in the Cuddapah district.

April 29: The United States adds PWG and Maoist Communist Centre in
its Terrorist Exclusion List.

April 26: Armed activists of the Ranvir Sena, a private militia of
landlords, kill three PWG Naxalites near the Karpi police station area
of Arwal district in Bihar.

April 25: Three villagers are shot dead and 11 others sustain injuries
in a PWG attack at Adai village in the Gaya district of Bihar.

April 24: Naxalites of the PWG kill an independent candidate, Daku
Majhi, from Gunpur Assembly constituency and injure his two brothers
at Muniguda forests in the Raygada district of Orissa.

April 20: Two PWG cadres, including a woman, are killed during an
encounter near Bandlamottu village in the Guntur district.

April 18: Senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Kinjarapu Yerrannaidu
escapes an assassination bid by the PWG in the Srikakulam district of
Andhra Pradesh.

April 14: Eight armed PWG cadres, including three women, suspected to
be members of the Achampet dalam kill a Telugu Desam Party (TDP)
leader, Sugunakar Rao, at Vattipalli village of Mahabubnagar district
in Andhra Pradesh.

April 11: Two PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter with security
forces at Kondaparthi in the Warangal district.

April 2: Police kill three Naxalites of the PWG during an encounter in
the Guntur district.

March 28: Three PWG Naxalites are killed in an exchange of fire with
the police at Pullayapallipenta in the Mahabubnagar district.

January 14: Around 60-65 PWG Naxalites kill four persons at Mirjapur
village in the Jehanabad district of Bihar.

January 12: Three PWG cadres are killed in an encounter with the
police at Sukhnadi village in the Garwah district of Jharkhand.


December 29: A Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader is allegedly shot dead
by the PWG Naxalites at Oppicherla village in the Guntur district.

December 25: Announcing at a press conference in Tirupati, the Special
Investigation Team (SIT) chief D T Nayak says nine PWG members
allegedly carried out the assassination attempt on the Chief Minister
Chandrababu Naidu at Alipiri in Chittor district on October 1, 2003.

December 20: Two PWG cadres kill a ruling TDP activist of Chintakuntla
village in Andhra Pradesh's Nalgonda district.

December 19: Naxalites of the proscribed Communist Party of India-
Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) belonging to the Guttikonda Bilam dalam
(squad) kill two villagers of Vemagiri village in Andhra Pradesh's
Guntur district, while branding them as police informers.

December 12: Two PWG cadres are killed in an encounter with the
security forces at Durgam village in the Vishakapatanam district of
Andhra Pradesh.

December 9: PWG Naxalites kill a ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP)
leader and chairman of Maisamma Temple Development Committee at
Dandumalkapuram in Andhra Pradesh's Nalgonda district.

December 4: A former left wing extremist-Naxalite-belonging to the
Janasakthi group, is killed at Ghanpur village in Andhra Pradesh's
Dubbaka mandal (division).

November 29: Seven police personnel are killed in a landmine attack by
the People's War Group between Guddipal and Modypal in the south
Bastar district of Chhattisgarh State.

November 23: Naxalites of the PWG kill two persons after branding them
as 'back-stabbers' in Andhra Pradesh.

November 22: PWG Naxalites kill three civilians in separate incidents
in Andhra Pradesh.

November 21: Naxalites of the PWG kill two civilians at Hanumapuram
Thanda in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, suspecting them to be
police informers.

November 17: Four PWG Naxalites, including two women cadres, are
killed in two separate encounters with the police in the
Visakhapatanam and Mehbubnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh.

November 17: Police kill two women Naxalites of the PWG at Bollottu
Forests near Eedu village in the Udupi district of Karnataka State.

November 15: Four PWG cadres are killed in two separate encounters in
Andhra Pradesh.

November 12: Ten-armed PWG Naxalites kill a TDP leader accusing him to
be a police informer at Miryala in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur District.

November 11: Two woman Naxalites of the PWG, including an 'area
committee secretary', are killed in an encounter near Bongulagunta
tribal hamlet in Andhra Pradesh's Karimnagar district.

October 24: Security forces kill two top leaders of the PWG in an
encounter near Venkatreddypuram forests in the Guntur District of
Andhra Pradesh.

October 17: A special combing operation team kills one of the top
leaders of Banswada-Yellareddy Dalam of the PWG in an encounter at
Gargul village in the Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

October 17: Naxalites of the People's War Group kill a civilian and
abduct a government schoolteacher at gun-point under Latehar's town
police station in the Latehar district of Jharkhand State.

October 6: PWG kills a local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party at
Hajipur village in the Mehboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.

October 5: A Dalam member and two hardcore Naxalites belonging to the
Ramagiri Dalam of the PWG are killed in an encounter at the
Gangampalli hillocks in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

October 3: PWG claims responsibility for the October 1-attack on
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

October 1: Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandra Babu Naidu,
escapes a PWG assassination attempt when a powerful landmine ripped
through his motorcade on a forest road between Tirupati and Tirumala
in Chittoor district. Five persons, including the State's Information
Technology Minister B. Gopalakrishna Reddy, are injured.

September 22: Police arrests a woman Naxalite of the PWG from the
Latehar railway station in Jharkhand for her alleged involvement in
the killing of Lohardaga district police chief Ajai Kumar Singh on
October 4, 2000.

September 21: PWG Naxalites kill the village head of Ganthimarri in
Anantpur district at his native village Penubolu in Andhra Pradesh.

September 20: PWG Naxalites kill a Samata Party leader at Lodhki
village in the Garwah district of Jharkhand.
In Andhra Pradesh, a special police party during a combing operation
kills three PWG Naxalites.

September 19: Two Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an encounter at
Chityal reserve forest in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

September 16: Three PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter in the
forest area near Mulguvenkatpur village of Warangal district in Andhra

September 15: Orissa Police arrests an ‘area commander’ of the PWG
during a combing operation inside the Lupang forests in Mayurbhanj

September 13: One police personnel is killed and seven others injured
when PWG Naxalites attack and loot Gidham police station in the
Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

September 12: PWG Naxalites attack the Dantewada district police
chief’s convoy near Dodari close to the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border.
A police personnel is killed in the incident.
The Special Task Force (STF) of Bihar Police arrests a top PWG
Naxalite from an area under the Gandhi Maidan police station
jurisdiction in the State capital Patna. The arrested Naxalite leader
Ram Badan Tanti alias Pankajji alias Navinji is said to be among the
five top PWG leaders in the State.

September 11: PWG Naxalites kill the ruling TDP Devalamma Nagaram unit
president, Bingi Anjaiah Goud, in the Choutuppal area of Nalgonda
district in Andhra Pradesh.
Separately, three PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter near
Bhatrupalem in Guntur district.

September 9: Naxalites of the PWG attack the ancestral house of a BJP
legislator, Praveen Singh, in the Hesway village of Lohardaga district
in Jharkhand.
In Andhra Pradesh, 22 Naxalites of the PWG surrender before the
district police chief in Visakhapatnam.

September 8: 11 police personnel and a civilian are killed in a
landmine blast triggered by Naxalites of the PWG and the MCC, in a
joint operation, in the dense forests of Kaimur range in Rohtas
district of Bihar.
In Jharkhand, three PWG Naxalites surrender before villagers at
Kasiabera under the Ghorabandha police station-limits in East
Singhbhum district.

September 3: Two PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter in the
Nallamala forests near Mallapur village of Mahboobnagar district in
Andhra Pradesh.

September 2: PWG Naxalites kill a former headman of Akkapally village
in the Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.

August 30: Two PWG Naxalites, including a former ‘commander’ of the
special guerrilla squad, Nalgonda, surrender before the Deputy
Inspector General of Police, Hyderabad Range.

August 29: Five police personnel are killed and two others injured in
a landmine blast triggered by the PWG near Tadgaon village in
Bhamragar taluka (administrative unit) of Gadchiroli district in

August 21: Residents of Asthakuwale village under the Ghorabandha
police station-limits in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand lynch a
PWG Naxalite.
In Andhra Pradesh, 13 PWG Naxalites surrender before the Warangal
range Deputy Inspector General of Police, Krishna Prasad, at the
district police headquarters in Karimnagar.

August 18: Seven PWG Naxalites surrender before the district police
chief in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh.

August 17: Thirteen PWG Naxalites, including three key functionaries
of the Chandravanka dalam (squad) surrender at a health camp organized
by the police at Tangeda village in the Guntur district of Andhra

August 15: PWG Naxalites kill a local leader of the BJP at Nizampalle
in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.

August 14: PWG Naxalites kill a local leader of the ruling TDP in the
Maidambanda village of Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh.

August 9: Residents of Chirugoda village in the East Singhbhum
district of Jharkhand lynch a PWG Naxalite.

In Andhra Pradesh, six PWG Naxalites surrender before the State police
chief, S R Sukumara in Hyderabad.

August 8: Nine Naxalites of the PWG, including two women and an ‘area
commander’, are lynched by residents of the Lango village in the East
Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.

August 7: PWG Naxalites kill a landlord in the Paramaturu village in
the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.

August 4: A police personnel is killed and three others injured in a
landmine blast triggered by the PWG in Palamu district of Jharkhand.

August 2: Three PWG Naxalites are killed during an encounter at
Koushettyyai in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.

July 31: Naxalites of the PWG kill a panchayat samiti (local body)
member of Teleraj panchayat, in the Malkangiri district of Orissa.

July 30: Five personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and
five personnel of the Orissa State police are killed and eight others
injured in a landmine blast triggered by the PWG near Vejingiwada
forest in the Malkangiri district of Orissa. The Naxalites also attack
the Motu police station in the same district.

July 23: 17 PWG Naxalites are arrested during a combing operation by
the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and State police in the
Malkangiri and Rayagada districts of Orissa.

Andhra Pradesh Government extends ban on the PWG and six of its
frontal organizations by another year.

July 21: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local level group leader of the
Government-sponsored Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas
(DWCRA) scheme, Annamma, at her residence at Adigoppula village in the
Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

July 17: PWG Naxalites blast the house of Samata Party Member of
Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Water Resource Minister, Ramchandra
Kesri, at Paraspanikala village, Garhwa district, in Jharkhand. This
is the second time that Kesri house has been attacked by the PWG.

July 18: PWG Naxalites kill a local leader of the ruling TDP at
Mellavagu village in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

July 15: The Warangal-Khammam ‘divisional committee member’ of the
PWG, S Chandrakala alias Bharatakka, surrenders before the State
Police Chief P Ramulu in Hyderabad.

July 7: Naxalites of the PWG kill a civilian in Karkatta village under
the Rehla police station-limits, Daltonganj district.

July 4: Three ‘action team’ members, including two Local Guerrilla
Squad (LGS) ‘commanders’ of the PWG and two police personnel are
killed in an encounter in Bellampalli town, Adilabad district in
Andhra Pradesh.

July 1: Two Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an encounter between
Krosuru and Anantavaram villages, Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.

The PWG Naxalites kill a local leader of the ruling TDP, Atmakuri
Suribabu, in his medical shop at Venkatapuram, Khammam district.

June 29: Naxalites of the PWG blast the district forest officer’s
quarters near Achampet, Mahboobnagar district in Andhra Pradesh.
Property worth Rs 800,000 is destroyed in the blast.

In Guntur district, 10 PWG Naxalites surrender along with 55

June 27: Naxalites of the PWG kill the Kollapur Major village Sarpanch
(headman) in Mahboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh.

June 26: A fast-track court in Garhwa, Jharkhand sentences four
Naxalites of the PWG to death for killing three persons in Meraal
village in the same district on October 10, 1999.

June 24: Four Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an encounter at the
Chintalamudipi village, Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh.

A PWG Naxalite, involved in the June 23-attempt to abduct a Member of
Andhra Pradesh’s Legislative Assembly (MLA), is killed in
Kanaganapalli mandal (administrative unit), Anantpur district.

June 23: A person is killed when PWG Naxalites open fire on villagers
who resist their attempt to abduct an MLA of the ruling Telegu Desam
Party (TDP), Sharadamba, at Ralla Anantpur village of Anantpur
district in Andhra Pradesh.

June 22: Two PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter near Ayinapur
village on the border of Warangal and Medak districts in Andhra

June 19: PWG Naxalites kill the founder of a Non-Governmental
Organisation (NGO), Vivekananda Youth Association, Depa Janardhan
Reddy, near Devarakonda town, Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh.

June 17: Two SF personnel are killed and another injured in a landmine
blast triggered by the PWG on the road between Porulamilla and
Bandamamidi villages under the Duscharthy police station-limits of
East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.

June 16: Three police personnel are killed and another is injured in a
landmine blast triggered by the PWG at Nemalipuri village, Nalgonda
district of Andhra Pradesh.
In Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites blast a mini
hydel plant owned by family members of the Minor Irrigation Minister,
KE Prabhakar, near Guntakandala.
In Chhattisgarh, PWG abducts four police personnel from Togugudem, a
forest village on the border with Andhra Pradesh.

June 13: PWG Naxalites kill a former Kalwa Srirampur mandal president
of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Pegadapalli village, Karimnagar
district, Andhra Pradesh.

June 11: Bihar unit chief of PWG, Dev Kumar Singh alias Arvindji, is
arrested along with three other associates in Patna.
In Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites blast a police station at Addanki in
the Prakasam district.

June 10: PWG Naxalites kill three local leaders of the TDP and BJP in
separate incidents in Andhra Pradesh.

June 6: In Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites set ablaze a telephone
exchange in Medipur village, Mahboobnagar district.

June 5: Naxalites of the PWG blast a police station at Roddam mandal,
Anantpur district.

June 4: PWG Naxalites loot Rupees 4,03,850 in cash and nine kilograms
of gold worth Rupees five million from the State Bank of Hyderabad’s
branch in Dondapadu village, Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh.

June 1: Naxalites of the PWG blast the Chigicherla railway station at
Anantpur district, Andhra Pradesh.

May 30: Two PWG Naxalites are killed during an encounter at Anadugula
in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.
In Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagarm district, a police personnel is killed
and another injured in a landmine blast triggered by the PWG.

May 28: PWG Naxalites set ablaze a telephone exchange office at
Rayavaram village, Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh.

May 27: A woman is killed when PWG Naxalites attack the Gudabanda
police station, East Singhbhum district in Jharkhand.

May 26: Thirty PWG Naxalites and their sympathisers surrender in
Anantpur district, Andhra Pradesh.

May 25: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local leader of the ruling TDP in
Arigoppala village, Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.

May 24: Naxalites of the PWG blast the house of a former Sarpanch
(village council head) and local leader of the ruling TDP in
Nadimpalli village, Mahboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh.

May 23: Four Naxalites of the PWG, including the Palakonda dalam
(squad) area committee secretary, Bharathakka alias Jyoti, are killed
in an encounter at Akkamulamma hillocks near Appalavantenavandlapalle
village of Cuddappah district in Andhra Pradesh.

May 22: Naxalites of the PWG set ablaze the Mandal Revenue Office
(MRO) at Dahegaon, Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh.

May 20: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local Congress leader in Taduvayi
village, Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.

In Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh, Naxalite kill a local TDP

May 19: Naxalites of the PWG raid a private rice mill and loot
approximately 150 bags of rice in Khairagarh Nagar, Rajnadgaon
district in Chhattisgarh.
In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG attack Singareni Collieries
Company at Chetlapur village, Adilabad district and decamp with 216 kg
of gelatine sticks and 1,900 detonators.

May 15: Twenty Seven PWG Naxalites surrender at Banupratap Pur, Kanker
district in Chhattisgarh.

May 14: Three PWG women Naxalites are killed in an encounter near
Agarguda village, Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh.

May 13: Naxalites of the PWG kill their former colleague near
Yellampet of Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh.
In Chhattisgarh, Naxalites of the PWG abduct and later kill a tribal
youth in Hatlanar village, Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.

May 11: PWG Naxalites kill an activist of the ruling TDP at Pulipadu
in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
In the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites kill an
alleged police informer.

May 7: PWG Naxalites kill two persons alleging them to be police
informers at Pamidipadu in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

May 5: A security force personnel is killed during an encounter with
PWG Naxalites in the Malkangiri district of Orissa.
In Andhra Pradesh, PWG triggers a blast at the Pullampet railway
station in Cuddapah district causing loss of property estimated to be
Rupees 1.8 million.

May 4: A police personnel is killed during an encounter with PWG
Naxalites at Chitrakonda on the Andhra-Orissa border in Visakhapatnam
district in Andhra Pradesh.

Six Naxalites of the PWG, including an Area Committee Secretary (ACS)
and a ‘commander’ of the Local Guerrilla Squad (LGS), surrender before
the district police chief in Karimnagar.

May 2: The central organizer of Talakonda dalam (squad), Chittoor
district, of the PWG - Bhupathi alias Kishta, is killed in an
encounter in the Batrapalli forest area of Talupula mandal
(administrative unit), Anantpur district in Andhra Pradesh.

PWG Naxalites kill two persons at Jalakallu village, Guntur district.

April 29: PWG Naxalites set ablaze heavy machinery belonging to the
Associated Cement Companies (ACC) at Sarvailoddi, Adilabad district in
Andhra Pradesh. The loss is estimated at approximately Rupees 20

April 26: PWG Naxalites two fair price shops and a Girijan Cooperative
Corporation outlet and loot ration in Balmuru mandal, Mahboobnagar
district, Andhra Pradesh

A top leader of the PWG, carrying a reward of Rupees one million on
his head, is killed in an encounter near Khansaipet forest under
Manthani sub-division, Karimnagar district.

In Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites kill the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lingampet mandal president, Shiv Kumar.

April 24: Three PWG Naxalites and two security force personnel are
killed in an encounter in Takilod village, south Bastar district in
the State of Chhattisgarh.

April 23: PWG Naxalites blow up unmanned communication towers of
private cellular phone companies near Batasingaram village, Cyberabad
police commissionerate-limits in Andhra Pradesh.

PWG Naxalites and sympathizers conduct a ‘famine raid’ and loot three
houses in M Bandameedipalli village, Rapthadu mandal, Anantpur
district, Andhra Pradesh.

April 22: Eight PWG Naxalites and two security force personnel are
killed in an encounter in Talikod area, south Bastar district,

April 20: Two PWG leaders, including Hyderabad ‘District Committee
Secretary’ Ramana Reddy, are killed and a police personnel is injured
during an encounter near the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad suburbs.

April 18: Suspected PWG Naxalites from Andhra Pradesh loot a jewel
shop and kill a civilian in Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

In Orissa, 17 PWG Naxalites, including three front ranking leaders,
wanted for criminal offences such as blasts, arson and looting, are
arrested in Kesada and Kedarpur forests, on the Andhra Pradesh-Orissa

April 16: PWG Naxalites blow up the Nauhatta police station building,
which was under construction in Rohtas district, Bihar.

In Andhra Pradesh, 11 Naxalites of the PWG surrender to State police
chief, P Ramulu, in Hyderabad.

April 15: Naxalites of the PWG set ablaze a Road Transport Corporation
bus and damage two more buses in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

April 13: Naxalites of the PWG kill four persons in Karpi police
station area, Jehanabad district in Bihar.

April 14: Angry passengers of a Road Transport Corporation bus lynch a
PWG Naxalite when a group of Naxalites attempt to loot them and set
ablaze the bus, between Gamalapadu and Sankarapur villages, Guntur
district in Andhra Pradesh.

April 11: Naxalites of the PWG release three police personnel whom
they had abducted in Prakasam district on April 2.

April 9: PWG Naxalites kill two villagers in Karongha under the Kusmi
police station-limits, Balrampur district, Chhattisgarh.

In Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites blast a ticketing counter at Gudipudi
railway station, between Pedakurapadu and Sathenapalli, Guntur

In the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites assault
three local leaders of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Parkal

April 6: In Andhra Pradesh, PWG Naxalites kill Telangana Rashtra
Samiti leader Vosa Bakkanna at Mogilpet village, Karimnagar district.

In Anantpur district, Andhra Pradesh police arrest three local-level
leaders of the ruling Telugu Desam Party for allegedly passing over
the weapons of their security guards to PWG Naxalites.

PWG Naxalites destroy four cold drink shops at Tagarakunta village,
Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh.

April 3: Three PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter near
Tiganpalli village, Kostaram police station limits, Dantewada district
in Chhattisgarh.

In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG kill a former Naxalite and a
leader of the TDP in separate incidents in Mahbubnagar and Khammam

April 2: Naxalites of the PWG abduct four police personnel from
Peddaraveedu, in Nallamala forests, Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh.

In protest against the killing of their leader Polam Sudarshan Reddy
alias Ramakrishna alias RK in an encounter on March 25, PWG Naxalites
attack a private company at Suddapally village, Dichpally mandal, and
set ablaze 11 vehicles.

April 1: In Bihar, Naxalites of the PWG blast the building of the
Nadaul railway station, 37km away from Patna, on the Patna-Gaya
section, Danapur division during the bandh (strike) called by the PWG
and the MCC to protest the US-led military action in Iraq.

In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG blow up a government building
at Ykkala village, Eeturunagaram, Warangal

March 31: Naxalites of the PWG storm a godown of soft drink
multinational Pepsi at Piduguralla, Guntur district, and destroy
approximately 200 cases of the soft drink.

March 30: Three PWG Naxalites are killed in an encounter near Gudena
village, Rayagada district in the State of Orissa

March 27: Police unearth three arms dump belonging to the PWG and
seize a huge quantity of explosives in Murtholi and Laharidaga
villages, Chandili police stations-limits, Rayagada district in

March 26: Naxalites of the PWG attack a group of police personnel on
guard duty and kill one, at a weekly market in Kolibeda village,
Jagadalpur district in Chhattisgarh.

March 25: Five Naxalites of the PWG, including senior leader and
member of the North Telengana Special Zone Committee (NTSZC) Polam
Sudharshan Reddy ‘Ramakrishna’, are killed in an encounter in
Lakshmipur forest, Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh.

March 23: Condemning the US attack on Iraq, Naxalites of the PWG blast
a godown belonging to the multinational Pepsi soft drink company, on
the outskirts of Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh. They also destroy a cold
drink shop at Kondamallepally, Nalgonda district, and at many other
In Mahbubnagar district, Naxalites of the PWG attack a forest resort
and blast the restaurant, dormitory and other structures of the state-
owned Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department at Farhabad, in the Nallamala
forests, under Mannanur police station-limits. They also set ablaze
buses belonging to Ushakiron Movies in the same area.

March 21: Naxalites of the PWG conduct a karuvu dadi, famine raid and
loot approximately 90 bags of rice from a fair price shop and the
house of a village secretary, at Chintapatla village, Rangareddy
district, on March 21.

March 20: Naxalites of the PWG kill a former Naxalite at Akkannagudem
village, Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh.

March 17: Naxalites of the PWG stab to death a police constable 300
yards away from the police station, in Gollapalli village, Bijapur
district, Chattisgarh.

March 16: Naxalites of the PWG kill Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Gundala
mandal (administrative unit) convenor Vagaboina Jaggaiah, in Guntur
district in Andhra Pradesh.

March 15: Naxalites of the PWG kill a mandal (administrative unit)
convenor of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the Yerrapahad
village of Karimnagar district Andhra Pradesh.

March 13: Naxalites of the PWG blast a Forest Development Corporation
shed in Adivikamalapur village of Bhupalpalli mandal (administrative
unit), Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh.

March 12: A Naxalite of the PWG is killed in an encounter near
Banakacharla, Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh.

March 8: Naxalites of the PWG blast the house of a local-level Telugu
Desam Party (TDP) leader and set fire to a telephone exchange in
Muthanakaluva village, under KV Palli police station-limits, Chittoor
district in Andhra Pradesh.

March 5: Five Naxalites of the PWG surrender to the Guntur district
police chief in Andhra Pradesh.

March 1: Naxalites of the PWG blast a cinema in Cuddapah and attack a
Mandal Parishad Territorial Council (MPTC) member and a sarpanch
(village headman) in Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh.

February 24: Naxalites of the PWG kill a person near Nimmagudem
village, Karimnagar district, Andhra Pradesh branding him a police

February 23: Naxalites of the PWG fire at a Communist Party of India--
Marxist-Leninist [CPI-ML] public meeting at Karso village, Palamu
district, Jharkhand. A CPI-ML activist is killed in the incident.

February 19: Naxalites of the PWG blast the house of a ruling TDP
leader at Reddyvaripalle in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh

February 14: A Naxalite of the PWG is killed in an encounter at
Pandikunta village, Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.

February 13: A PWG Naxalite of a group of eight is killed in an
encounter at Varsalapalli, Chittoor district.

February 12: Two Naxalites of the PWG are arrested from different
locations in Jharkhand’s Daltonganj district.

February 11: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local-level leader of the
ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) at Venkatapuram village, Adilabad

February 9: A senior activist of the TDP is beaten to death by
Naxalites of the PWG at Kambalapalli, Nalgonda district in Andhra

February 8: Six Naxalites of the PWG surrender to the Guntur district
police chief.

February 7: An ‘area commander’ of the PWG is arrested from Komarada
mandal, Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.

February 2: Four police personnel and five civilians are killed in an
attack by PWG Naxalites on a private bus, near Basagura, Bijapur
district of Chhattisgarh.

February 1: Approximately 40 Naxalites of the PWG surrender to the
Superintendent of Police (SP) in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.

January 31: Naxalites of the PWG loot Rs two lakh from the Bheemaram
branch of State Bank of Hyderabad, in Adilabad district.

January 29: Naxalites of the PWG abduct a Circle Inspector, a Sub-
Inspector and a mandal (administrative unit) president near Siddapuram
village, Atmakur mandal, Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh.

January 25: Naxalites of the PWG blast a cinema and the house of a
local-level TDP leader in separate incidents in Kurnool and Karimnagar

January 24: Naxalites of the PWG beat to death a local-level leader of
the TDP in Akulavari Ganaparam village, Warangal district.

January 21: Maharashtra police sources say two police personnel,
including a Sub-Inspector, were killed in a landmine blast triggered
by Naxalites of the PWG at Singhandoh, under Chichgarh police station-
limits, Bhandara district in Vidarbha region, a few days ago.
In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG kill a former colleague in
Narsapuram forest, Warangal district, accusing him of being a police

January 20: Three Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an encounter in
the dense forests near Manala village, under Kammarpalli police
station-limits, Nizamabad district in Andhra Pradesh.
In Warangal district, police unearth a huge arms dump of the PWG in
Kukkamadugu forest, Kothuaguda mandal.

January 18: Naxalites of the PWG blast a cinema belonging to a local-
level TDP leader at Timmapuram village, Kurnool district, during the
Statewide bandh (general strike) in Andhra Pradesh to protest alleged
fake encounters. Separately, Naxalites blast the residence of a close
associate of State Minister for Higher Education N Mahammed Farooq at
Santajutur village, Bandi Atmakur mandal (administrative unit).

January 17: Naxalites of the PWG blow up the newly constructed Polleru
police post, Malkangiri district in Orissa.
In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG set ablaze a private bus bound
for Hyderabad from Guntur at Gamalapadu, Dachepalli mandal
(administrative unit), Guntur district.

January 15: Responding to the PWG’s offer of conditional talks with
the Orissa government, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik says his
government is not averse to talks, but the Naxal group should first
stop violence.

January 13: Naxalites of the PWG kill two police personnel in Nistoor
village, Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh.
In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG set fire to a telephone
exchange in Dodleru village, Guntur district.

January 11: A police personnel is killed in an encounter with
Naxalites of the PWG near Lusam village, Visakhapatnam district,
Andhra Pradesh.
Separately, in Warangal district, the ‘commander’ of the PWG’s
Champaka Hills Local Guerilla Squad (LGS) is killed in an encounter.

January 10: Naxalites of the PWG kill a sarpanch (village headman),
belonging to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and a relative of the
then Union Minister of State for Home Ch Vidyasagar Rao, in Madimalla
village, Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh.
In Warangal district, 21 Naxalites of various outfits––including three
‘commanders’ and two ‘deputy commanders’ of the PWG––surrendered to
State police chief P Ramulu.

January 8: In a statement issued in Bhubneshwar, the Andhra-Orissa
Border Special Zone Committee of the PWG says it is prepared for talks
with the Orissa government. However, the PWG demands withdrawal of
police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel from the
southern districts and the immediate release of arrested PWG activists
and innocent people.

January 7: Naxalites of the PWG blast a culvert between Pocharalapadu
and Goruntla villages, Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.
A division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court directs a group of
experts to conduct postmortem on the bodies of six Naxalites of the
PWG killed in two encounters on January 5 and 6, in Guntur district.
In Anantpur district, Naxalites of the PWG blast a telephone exchange
at Mamillapalli village.
In Karimnagar district, a District Committee member of the CPI-ML
(Janasakthi) is arrested in Korutla.

January 6: Three Naxalites of the PWG are killed in a second encounter
in a span of 24 hours in the forests near Remidicherla village, Guntur
district. The encounter occurs during combing operation to track down
the perpetrators of the January 5-landmine blast. In Maharashtra,
Naxalites of the PWG kill a youth in Gadchiroli district.

January 5: Three police personnel are killed in a landmine blast
triggered by Naxalites of the PWG. Three Naxalites are killed in the
subsequent encounter, in between Kothur and Dachepalli villages,
Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

January 3: Naxalites of the PWG blast a telephone exchange in
Kakarpally village, Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh.

January 2: On the opening day of the 10-day 18th Janmbhoomi (community
development) programme, Naxalites kill Kathalapur mandal (local
administration) Telugu Desam Party (TDP) convenor Katta Narayana, who
was returning home from a village meeting, in Gambhirpur.
In Guntur district, four government officials are abducted and later
Naxalites blow up the house of Ganapuram Mandala Praja Parishad chief
and TDP leader Yerrabelli Rameshwar Rao in Rangaraopally village,
Warangal district.


December 30: Naxalites of the PWG kill two persons in Kakaria village,
Kalpa police station limits, Jehanabad district in Bihar.

December 29: Two Naxalites of the PWG are killed by CPI-ML-Liberation
activists, in Rasalpur village, Jehanabad district in Bihar.

December 28: Naxalites of the PWG set-off a blast and extensively
damage a forest guesthouse on Guvvalacheruvu road, Ramapuram mandal
(administrative unit), near Cuddapa.

December 27: Naxalites of the PWG blast Khanpur Mandal Parishad
(administrative unit) Development Office (MDPO) in Adilabad district,
Andhra Pradesh. In Orissa, police foil an attempt by the PWG to attack
Pattangi police station in Koraput district.

December 26: Naxalites of the PWG blast a telephone exchange in
Madhapur village, Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh.

December 25: Seven persons, including three children, are killed by a
breakaway group of the PWG at Baraichak, rural Patna in Bihar.
In Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites of the PWG blast the house of a ruling
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) local-level leader and Mulugu Agricultural
Marketing Committee chairman, in Turimpeta village of Eturuagaram
mandal (administrative unit) in Warangal district.

December 24: Naxalites of the PWG blast the engines of a goods train
at Pandurangapuram railway station, Khammam district in Andhra

December 23: Naxalites of the PWG blow up the office-cum-residence of
a range officer of the forest department at Mahuatand, Latehar
district in Jharkhand.

December 22: Naxalites of the PWG attack a passenger bus near Chanan
river at Santoshinagar in Balrampur police district, Chhattisgarh, and
kill a civilian.

December 19: Naxalites of the PWG abduct two police constables
attached to the Dachepally police station, Guntur district in Andhra

December 18: Naxalites of the PWG blow up a telephone exchange at
Nirupalla village, Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh. Eight
Naxalites of the PWG are arrested from different places in Karimnagar

December 17: Khamman district police chief V V Srinivasa Rao says
three persons have been arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
(POTA) for supplying arms to Naxalites.

December 16: Naxalites of the PWG loot approximately 100 quintals of
rice from a government godown (storehouse) in Malayaram village,
Kalimela block, Malkangiri district in Orissa.

December 15: Naxalites of the PWG blow up a telephone exchange in
Guntur district and a railway engine in Nizamabad district, Andhra

December 12: The Bijapur Superintendent of Police (SP) and Additional
SP have a narrow escape when Naxalites of the PWG ambush their convoy
between Nukanpal and Cheramungi, Bastar division in Chhattisgarh. In
the subsequent combing operation, police arrest 31 Naxalites.

December 11: Naxalites of the PWG blow up the office-cum-residence of
a forest ranger and the official residence of a forest official at
Kundri village, Palamu district in Jharkhand.

December 8: Naxalites of the PWG blast the office of the Block
Development Officer (BDO), under Bishrampur police station-limits,
Palamu district in Jharkhand.

December 6: Naxalites of the PWG blast an abandoned police station in
Veldurthi, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

December 5: An estimated 18 police personnel belonging to the Orissa
Special Armed Police (OSAP) are injured in a landmine blast triggered
by the PWG, under a culvert near Kolnara, on the Rayagada-Behrampur
State highway, Orissa. Bihar police arrest a self-styled ‘area
commander’ of the PWG.
In Andhra Pradesh, Warangal district police arrest four Naxalites of
the PWG and recover 300 gelatine sticks, 49 detonators and a bundle of
electric wire.
Two Naxalites of the PWG are killed in separate encounters in
Dantewada and Bijapur police districts, Chhattisgarh.

December 3: Andhra Pradesh police repulse an attempt by the PWG to
attack Balmoor police station, Mahboobnagar district. In the same
district, PWG Naxalites blast a telephone exchange in Velturu

December 2: Police in the States of Orissa and Chhattisgarh foil an
attempt by the PWG to attack four police stations in the two States.

December 1: Naxalites of the PWG blast four private buildings in two
separate incidents in Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts, Andhra

November 28: Naxalites of the PWG kill a police personnel and injure
another in Upper Sileru, Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh.

November 27: Andhra Pradesh police arrest two Naxalites and seize
approximately 1,000 gelatin sticks and 1,200 detonators during a
vehicle inspection drive taken up following the bandh (general strike)
call given by the PWG.

November 26: Naxalites of the PWG kill the District Secretary of the
ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Jajati Sahu, in Naira villageunder,
Gunupur subdivision, Rayagada district, Orissa. In Andhra Pradesh,
Naxalites of the PWG set afire a telephone exchange at
Yerraguntapalli, Anantpur district.

November 24: An ‘area commander’ of the PWG is killed by another ‘area
commander’ of the same group at Tura village, Nauhatta police station-
limits, Rohtas district, Bihar. According to media reports, both the
‘area commanders’ had differences over levy collection in the
A suspected leader of the PWG is killed while a police personnel is
injured in an encounter in Chinnakanakampatti, near Uthangkari,
Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu.

November 22: Jharkhand police arrest six Naxalites of the PWG in
Magdgari village, Garwah district. PWG Naxalites blast a forest office-
guest house at Mellavagu village, Bollapalli mandal (administrative
unit), Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

November 20: Naxalites of the PWG kill eight security force personnel
in a landmine blast near Lamarnaka, Latehar district,in Jharkhand.

November 19: Naxalites of the PWG set-off an explosion at
Tummalacheruvu railway station, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

November 21: Residents of Pedakodamagundla village, Guntur district,
Andhra Pradesh, foil an attempt by PWG Naxalites to blast the
telephone exchange in the village.

November 18: An estimated 20 persons are killed and 16 injured in a
landmine explosion set-off by Naxalites of the PWG under a moving bus
at Chintagudem village, in Andhra Pradesh’s Warangal district.

November 17: Five Naxalites of the PGA, the armed wing of the PWG, are
killed in an encounter in the jungles of Ilapuram village, in Andhra
Pradesh’s Warangal district.
Local residents of Nadikoda village, in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar
district, foil an attempt by Naxalites of the PWG to abduct village
council headman (sarpanch) Rajender Reddy.

November 12: Three Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an encounter in
Chandrajupalem village, in Andhra Prtadesh’s Guntur district.

November 11: Six Naxalites of the PWG surrender to the Nalagonda
district police chief, in Andhra Pradesh.

November 9: West Bengal police arrest two Naxalites of the PWG from
their hideout in Contai, East Midnapore.

November 4: Four persons are arrested with a huge consignment of arms
and ammunition from Patiala district, Punjab. The consignment was
reportedly being supplied to the PWG and Ranvir Sena.

November 3: Two PWG Naxalites are killed and four others injured in an
encounter in Bastar district, Chhattisgarh.

November 1: The PWG calls a bandh (general strike) in Bastar and
Dantwada districts, on the second anniversary of the formation of
Chhattisgarh State.

October 30: PWG Naxalites kill a former ‘commander’ of the Chityal
Local Guerrilla Squad, who had surrendered several years ago, in
Nainpak village, Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh.

October 28: Naxalites of the PWG loot the Pentlavalli branch of the
Andhra Bank, in Mehboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh, and decamp with
Rs 1.3 million in cash. Eight Naxalites of the PWG surrender in
Visakhapatnam district.

October 27: West Bengal police arrest three Naxalites of the PWG from
Tulsihata village, Malda district

October 21: Two women Naxalites of the PWG are killed in an encounter
in Manglitanda village, Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh

October 20 Naxalites of the PWG kill three persons in Nadauli village,
Patna district, in Bihar, on the suspicion of they being police

October 19: PWG Naxalites kill three activists of the CPI-ML
(Liberation) in Sevnam village, Jehanabad district, Bihar.

October 15: Naxalites of the PWG kill a leader of the ruling TDP in
Adigoppula village, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

October 14: Five police personnel are killed in a landmine blast
triggered by suspected Naxalites of the PWG near Vemavaram village,
Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

October 12: Three police personnel and a civilian are killed in a
landmine blast triggered by PWG Naxals near Charpalli village,
Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh.

October 9: Seven police personnel are killed and two more injured in a
landmine blast triggered by suspected PWG Naxalites in Kanda Ghati,
Palamu district, Jharkhand.
Naxalites of the PWG set ablaze a Road Transport Corporation bus at
Medipalli village, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh.

October 6: Suspected PWG Naxalites loot approximately nine tonnes of
explosives being transported in a truck from Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur
to a copper project in Malajkhand, near Laungur Udghati, Balaghat
district, Madhya Pradesh.

October 3: Naxalites of the PWG blow-up the building housing the
Mandal Revenue Office (MRO) in Addavedu village, Prakasham district,
Andhra Pradesh.

October 1-2: An estimated 70 members of the 'peoples militia' of the
PWG surrender at the G K Veedhi police station in the agency area of
Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh.

September 30: Five Naxalites of the PWG, involved in blasting the
Anakapalle police station, Visakhapatnam district, on August 23, 2002,
are arrested near the Mallikarjunaswami temple, Koyyuru village,
Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh.

September 29: PWG Naxals blast a forest department guesthouse on the
Hyderabad-Srisailam road, Mahbubnagar district, Andhra Pradesh.

September 28: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local leader of the ruling
TDP, Y Ravindra Reddy, between Etigattu Rachapalle and Pedda
Balijepalle villages, near Rayachoti, Cuddapah district, Andhra

September 26: PWG Naxalites beat to death an activist of the Bhartiya
Janata Party (BJP) in Malyamkunda village, Orissa.

September 25: An unidentified Naxalite of the PWG is killed and some
arms and ammunition recovered after an encounter in Dammannapet and
Gandi Gopalpur forests, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh.
Naxalites of the PWG kill a contractor and also set ablaze his lorry
near Manamkunda village, Motu police station-limits, Malkangiri
district, Orissa.

September 23: Four Naxalites of the PWG are killed by allegedly
activists of the Ranvir Sena (private army of landowners) in Majidpur
village, Kinjer police station-limits, Jehanabad district, Bihar.
Three Naxalites of the PWG surrender to Andhra Pradesh police chief P
Ramulu, in the State capital Hyderabad.

September 20: Naxalites of the PWG attack the house of Janga Krishna
Murthy, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing
Gurazala, in Gamalapadu vilage, Dachepalli mandal (administrative
unit), Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

September 19: Two excise head constables and a private jeep driver
killed in a landmine explosion triggered by Naxalites of the PWG in
the forest area between Buchchaiahgaripalli and Siddarampuram villages
of Bukkapatnam mandal (administrative unit), Anantpur district, Andhra

September 18: Five police personnel are injured in a landmine blast
triggered by PWG Naxalites at Koti, near Bhamgarh, Gadchiroli
district, Maharashtra.
Three police personnel are injured in an encounter with PWG Naxals in
the Uparturia forests, Senah police station-limits, Loherdaga
district, Jharkhand.
Naxalites of the PWG kill a supporter of the Communist Party of India--
Marxist-Leninist [CPI-ML] (Liberation) in Bahadurganj village, under
Singauri police station limits, Patna district, Bihar.

September 17: Naxalites of the PWG kill three local-level leaders of
the ruling TDP in two separate incidents in Prakasam and Kurnool
districts, Andhra Pradesh.

September 12: Andhra Pradesh police arrest 10 Naxalites of the PWG at
Kulwakurthi, Mahboobnagar district.

September 4: Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh, police arrest six
Naxalites of the PWG responsible for blasting the Hanamkonda police
station on December 24, 2001.

August 29: PWG Naxalites kill the Anantagiri mandal (local unit of
governance) unit president of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), at
his house in Anantagiri, Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh.

August 27: Naxalites of the PWG kill a police personnel of the
Gudipalli police station, at Chitrala village, Nalgonda district,
Andhra Pradesh.

August 25: PWG release three of the four police personnel and a Home
Guard, abducted earlier on August 23, in Visakhapatnam district.

August 23: Naxalites of the PWG blast two police stations in
Vishakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh --one at Ankapalle and another
at Chodavaram, and the treasury office in Chodavaram, besides
abducting four police personnel.

August 18: Seven PWG Naxalites surrender to Warangal district police
chief Nalin Prabhat.

August 13: Naxalites of the PWG kill a former Naxalite cadre who had
joined the Home Guards after his surrender in Guralagondi village,
Vishakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh.

August 12: PWG Naxalites kill a farmer and seriously injure two others
in Vemavaram village, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

August 11: Seven security force personnel killed and five more injured
in a landmine blast set off by PWG Naxalites near a culvert in the
Gunupur sub-division, Rayagada district in Orissa.
In Bihar, Naxalites of the MCC kill three police personnel and a
government employee in Lohradih village, Rohtas district.

August 10: Naxalites of the PWG kill a fair price shop dealer in
Gundaram village, Nizamabad district, Andhra Pradesh.

August 8: Andhra Pradesh police unearth 10 landmines in Ghanapur area,
Warangal district, and say they suspect Naxalites of the PWG planted
them. They also say those could have been planted to target Major
Irrigation Minister Kadyam Srihari who represents the Station Ghanapur
Assembly constituency.

August 7: Naxalites of the PWG kill a person at Chelpur, Warangal
district, Andhra Pradesh.

August 6: Naxalites of the PWG kill a police personnel in Mannanur,
Mahboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh.

August 5: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local-level leader of the ruling
Telugu Desam party (TDP)--also a former Sarpanch (village headman), at
his residence in Bellamkonda mandal, Guntur district in Andhra
Pradesh, branding him as police informer.
Police arrest 45 sympathiser of the PWG in Guntur district.

August 4: In a statement issued in Kolkata, the PWG says it is willing
to hold talks with the West Bengal government, provided police action
against all PWG activists is stopped and all police and paramilitary
forces are withdrawn from the PWG's areas of influence.

August 3: Naxalites of the PWG killed two killed two of the 10
activists of the CPI-ML (Liberation) abducted by them in Jehanabad
district on August 3, in retaliation to the killing of their four
supporters by the CPI-ML (Liberation) on August 2.

August 2: Four Naxalites of the PWG killed by the cadres of the
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI-ML] [Liberation], in
Mahuagoan village, Jehanabad district, Bihar. In retaliation the PWG
Naxalites abduct 10 activists of the CPI-ML (Liberation).

July 30: PWG conduit arrested in Midnapore, West Bengal.

July 29: PWG Naxalites blows up the police station in Sauna village,
Bhojpur district, Bihar.

July 28: A PWG Naxalite is killed in an encounter in the hillocks near
Chandra Rajupalem village, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

July 27: Eight Naxalites of the PWG, including two ‘commanders’ and a
‘deputy commander’, surrender before Andhra Pradesh police chief P
Ramulu in Hyderabad,.

July 26: PWG Naxals kill a Telugu Desam activist in Birsaipet village,
Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh.

July 26: Five PWG Naxalites, including three women, are killed in an
encounter with Police in Dameru village, Warangal district, Andhra

July 25: Three PWG men are arrested in Birbhum district, West Bengal.
Andhra Pradesh government extends ban on PWG and its affiliates and
declares it as an unlawful association for a further period of one
year with effect from July 23.
A ‘military platoon commander’ of PWG is killed in an encounter in

July 23: PWG Naxals kill four police personnel and injure eight more
by setting-off a landmine blast between Karampudi and Adigoppula
villages, Guntur district.

July 24: The West Bengal unit of the ruling Communist Party of India–
Marxist (CPI-M), rules out any conditional talks with PWG.

July 22: PWG makes an abortive attempt on the life of a local leader
of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) near Mutyalampadu village in
Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh.

July 22: PWG Naxal surrenders in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

July 20: PWG kills a former ‘dalam (squad) commander’ of the Communist
Party of India–– Marxist-Leninist [CPI-ML (Janasakthi)] at Lakkepur
village, Manthani mandal, Karimnagar district, alleging that he is a
police informer.

July 19: PWG withdraws from peace talks with the Andhra Pradesh
government, accusing the State government of being insincere.
Two Naxalites of the PWG surrender in Adilabad district, Andhra

July 17: A PWG Naxalite surrenders in Sangareddy, Medak district,
Andhra Pradesh.
A ‘zonal commander’ of PWG, surrenders before a court in Bhagalpur,
Bihar, in connection with a murder.

July 15: Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet decides to further extend the
ban on the PWG by another year. The ban, originally imposed in May
1992 would have expired on July 22.

July 11: The two-day Andhra Pradesh bandh (general strike) called by
PWG begins.

July 10: At least five PWG Naxals and a policeman are killed in an
encounter in Maranpur village, Bhojpur district in Bihar.

July 9: Naxalites of the PWG kill a Communist Party of India--Marxist
(CPI-M) local-level leader and his bodyguard near Bolanpur, Midnapore
district in West Bengal.

July 7: A State technical committee member of the PWG, Sudhakar alias
Raghu, killed in an encounter in Guntur district.

July 6: PWG emissaries-Gaddar and Vara Vara Rao-withdraw from the
ongoing peace talks with Andhra Pradesh government. PWG protests 'fake
encounters' and 'police repression'.

July 4: PWG Gudur Local Guerrilla Squad (LGS) commander killed in an
encounter in Warangal district.

July 2: Peace talks in Andhra Pradesh suffer a jolt as four PWG
Naxalites, including a woman cadre, are killed in an encounter at
Narella village, Karimnagar district. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu
says the police cannot keep quiet if PWG cadres went about visiting
villages armed with guns.

June 27: Mallaiah, the 'Khammam district military services activities
in-charge' of the PWG arrested in Krishnasagar village, Andhra

June 24: Two women Naxalites of the PWG killed in an encounter in the
Aswapuram Reserve Forest area, Paloncha mandal, Khammam district, in
Andhra Pradesh. Five PWG Naxalites arrested in North 24 Parganas and
West Midnapore districts in West Bengal.

June 20: At the end of the third round of discussions between PWG
emissaries and Andhra Pradesh government, the PWG express readiness to
hold direct talks with the government.

June 17: PWG Naxals blast the house of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP)
politburo member and Narsarampet Legislator R Prakash Reddy in
Kesavapur, Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh

June 11: A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and his colleague are
killed while five more are injured in a landmine blast set-off by PWG
Naxalites, near Kalapahar, Palamu district, Jharkhand.

June 5: Nine Naxalites of the PWG surrender to the police in
Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh government and PWG emissaries hold first
round of talks in Hyderabad. They ecide to meet again on June 9 to
discuss the modalities of direct talks. At the meeting, the PWG
representatives submit a note asking de-proscription of the PWG.

May 31: PWG nominates two persons-Vara Vara Rao and Gaddar, as
representatives at the talks to determine the modalities of holding
direct talks with Andhra Pradesh government and suggests that the
Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) should function as an observer
at the talks.

May 27: Four Naxalites of the PWG, including a 'sub-zonal commander',
are killed in an encounter near Gatiarwa village, Palamu district in
Madhya Pradesh government bans PWG and its six front organisations.
They include the Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (AKMS), the Krantikari
Adivasi Mahila Sanghathan (KAMS), the Krantikari Kisan Mazdoor Sangh
(KKMS), the Krantikari Balak Sangh (KBS), the Gram Raksha Dal (GRD)
and the Gram Rajya Samiti (GRS).

May 18: Naxalites of the PWG kill a local-level leader of the Congress
party in Kothapullareddipuram, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.

May 17: Bihar Police arrest 12 Naxalites of the PWG from Paliganj and
Dulhinbazar areas in Patna district and seize firearms from their

May 12: Elders of 18 tribal villages under Asifabad police station
limits, Nizamabad district, Andhra Pradesh, pass a resolution banning
the entry of the PWG into the villages.

May 8: PWG Naxals kill five Rajasthani dalits (downtrodden) in
Bhadaura village, Patna district in Bihar.

May 7: On the second day of the two-day economic blockade in
Jharkhand, PWG and MCC Naxals set-off a land-mine blast killing some
15 police personnel in Mathadih village, Koderma district.
PWG declare unilateral, one month-long cease-fire beginning May 10 in
Andhra Pradesh.

May 6: The PWG and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) jointly call a
two-day economic blockade in Jharkhand to protest the Prevention of
Terrorism Act (POTA).

May 5: Police arrest 16 Naxalites of the PWG Lathar district in

May 3: A 'Special Guerrilla Squad commander' and Adilabad district
'action team leader' of the PWG killed in an encounter in the forest
area near Mandamarri, Adilabad district.

May 1: PWG 'Zonal Commander' killed in an encounter in Nagauli
village, Patna district, Bihar.

April 30: Five PWG Naxals, including a 'squad commander', surrender in
Adilabad, Andhra Pradesh.

April 25: Naxalites of the PWG strike at the Hindalco's bauxite open
caste mine near Raipur in Chhattisgarh and set fire to property worth
Rs one crore.
The PWG Naxalites attack the Hindalco bauxite open cast mine near
Raipur and set fire to eight dumpers of the company.

April 12: Founder of the PWG Kondapalli Seetharamaiah died in his
grand daughter’s house at Vijaywada on April 12.

March 22: PWG calls for general strike in the States of Andhra
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa to
protest against the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

March 21: 22 Naxalites of the PWG surrender before the State Director
General of Police in Hyderabad.

Reports from West Bengal said that more than 100 PWG Naxalites had
been arrested over the weeks from the border areas of Bankura and

March 18: A PWG Naxalite killed and three police personnel injured in
an encounter in Paralakhemundi, Gajapati district in Orissa. The East
Divisional Committee of the PWG calls for Orissa bandh on March 22 to
protest the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Act.
In Andhra Pradesh, the PWG Naxalites blast the Tirumala Engineering
College building in Karimnagar district.

March 15: A Deputy Superintendent of Police, two other police
personnel and the driver of the vehicle seriously injured in a
landmine blast triggered by the PWG in Ghanasar village, Srikakulam
district in Andhra Pradesh.
The PWG rejects the offer of talks by the Andhra Pradesh State
government. In a statement released in Warangal, State PWG secretary
Ramakrishna, Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zone Committee secretary
Balakrishna and North Telangana Special Zone Committee secretary
Jampanna declares that they would resort to guerrilla warfare in
retaliation to ‘bloody encounters’. The PWG also gives a call for a
Statewide bandh (general strike) in protest against the killing of 11
Naxalites in the March 11-encounter in Warangal district.
The Bihar-Jharkhand State Committee of the PWG calls for a protest day
in Bihar against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) decision to conduct
symbolic worship in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

March 11: Eleven PWG Naxalites and police personnel killed in an
encounter near Tupakulapalli village, Warangal district in Andhra
Pradesh. The police also recover 10 weapons, including a light machine
gun, three self-loading rifles (SLRs), a .9 mm carbine, a .303 rifle
and four double-bore guns from the encounter site.

February 24: Naxalites belonging to the Peddapalli Local Guerrilla
Squad of the PWG blast a police station under construction at
Potkapalli village, Karminagar district in Andhra Pradesh.

February 11: The PWG Naxalites kill the district president of the
Congress party at Bhamragarh, Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra.
In Andhra Pradesh, the PWG Naxalites blow up the engine of a goods
train and a building of the railway station in the forests in
Nallamala range, Kurnool district.

January 27: Eleven persons, including nine Jharkhand Armed Police
(JAP) personnel, killed in a landmine blast triggered by the PWG in
the Chainpur police station limits in Gumla district, Jharkhand.

January 17: 28 sympathisers of the PWG surrender before the police in
Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh.

January 11: Eight PWG Naxalites surrender before the police in
Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh.

January 10: Six Naxalites of the PWG arrested in combing operation in
Midnapore district West Bengal.


December 29: PWG Naxalites kill a Congress Member of the Legislative
Assembly (MLA), D Raghya Naik, near Maddimadugula village,
Mahboobnagar district in Andhra Pradesh.

December 25: Four Naxalites of the PWG, killed in an encounter near
Padmakshigutta in Hamumakonda town, Warangal district in Andhra

December 10: 15 Naxalites of the PWG and the Communist Party of India-
Marxist-Leninist (Janasakthi), CPI-ML (Janasakthi) group surrenders
before the police in Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh.

December 8: The PWG Naxalites blast a guest house of the Singareni
Collieries on the banks of Kinnerasani river, near Palvancha in
Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh.

December 7: Nine PWG Naxalites arrested in Garhwa district in

December 5: Union government bans PWG under the Prevention of
Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

December 1: To commemorate the first anniversary of the People’s
Guerrilla Army (PGA), the PWG unleash a fresh wave of violence. They
attack the Koyyuru police station, telephone exchange, house of a MLA
and office of the Mandal Revenue Officer in Visakhapatnam district.
The PWG attack Y Ramavaram police station in East Godavari district in
Andhra Pradesh. In Orissa, the Naxalites blast the house of State
Cooperation Minister at Poteru Market in Malkangiri district. In
Chhattisgarh, the Naxalites attack two police stations in Dantewada

November 29: The PWG blasted a milk processing plant owned by Chief
Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s wife, on the Tirupati-Pileru road in
Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.

November 21: Six persons including five personnel of the Bihar
Military Police (BMP) were killed in a landmine blast triggered by the
PWG in Koiribigha Harijan Tolla, Gaya district in Bihar.

October 21: The PWG Naxalites blew up Coca Cola bottling plant in at
Atmakaru in Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.

October 19: Seven persons including six police personnel were killed
in a landmine blast triggered by the PWG in Jagpura village, Patna
district in Bihar.

October 17: Four persons including two police personnel were killed in
a PWG landmine blast in Gorkhagaon village, Dantewada district in

September 9: Five personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
were killed in a PWG ambush at Sunnampalli, East Godavari district in
Andhra Pradesh

August 20: Ten police personnel were killed in a landmine blast
triggered by the PWG in Remidicherla village, Guntur district in
Andhra Pradesh.

August 9: Six police personnel were killed and an estimated 22
seriously injured when the PWG launched simultaneous attacks on
Kalimela and Motu police stations in Malkangiri district in Orissa.
Two Naxalites were also killed in the incident. The Naxalites also
took away huge quantity of arms and ammunition.

July 9: The PWG sent a threatening letter to the Tribal Development
Minister of Maharashtra demanding that all government schools,
teachers who are not from Gadchiroli district should be replaced with
local educated youths by July 20, 2001. The letter threatened that if
the State government fails to agree to its demand, it will trigger
large scale arson in the district.

June 14: An estimated nine personnel of the Andhra Pradesh Special
Police (APSP) were seriously injured when the PWG Naxalites attacked
the Yerragondapalem police station, Prakasam district in Andhra

April 19: Four police personnel were killed and three more seriously
injured in a landmine blast triggered by the PWG in Chintakarrapalem
village, East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.

April 9: The PWG Naxalites attacked and destroyed the Hindalco mine
office in Sarguja district, Chhattisgarh.

March 22: In two separate incidents, the Naxalites of the PWG raid and
blast two police stations at Srisailam, Kurnool district in Andhra
Pradesh and looted some weapons and communication equipment.

February 12: The District Collector of Warangal and his driver injured
in an attack by Naxalites of the PWG in an unspecified location in
Warrangal distrtict.

May 27: The PWG blow up the house of former Union Minister and
Congress leader Jaipal Reddy in Mahboobnagar district, in Andhra

May 25: The PWG Naxalites blast the house of Andhra Pradesh Minister
for Higher Education in Medak district.

March 7: Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Minister A Madhav Reddy was
killed in a landmine blast set-off by the PWG Naxalites on the
outskirts of Hyderabad.

February 20: Twenty two police personnel, including an Additional
Superintendent of Police killed in a landmine blast triggered by the
PWG Naxalites in Bastar district, Chhattisgarh.

February 19: Seven police personnel were killed in an attack by the
PWG Naxalites near Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.


December 16: The PWG Naxalites killed Madhya Pradesh State Transport
Minister Likhiram Kavre in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh.

September 13: The PWG Naxalites PWG blew up police station and kill
five police personnel in Medak district in Andhra Pradesh.

September 4: The PWG Naxalites killed Assistant Inspector General of
Andhra Pradesh Police, Umesh Chandra in Hyderabad


October: The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Party
Unity), CPI-ML-PU merged with the People’s War Group (PWG). After the
merger, the new party was named the CPI (ML) (People’s War).


January 10: The PWG Naxalites storm a police station in Khammam
district in Andhra Pradesh killing 16 police personnel.


November 28: Ten personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
were killed by the PWG Naxalites in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.

November 14: Nine police personnel including a Superintendent of
Police, were killed by the PWG in a landmine blast in Mahboobnagar
district in Andhra Pradesh.

January 27: Deputy Inspector General of Police, K. S. Vyas, who had
earlier led the Grey Hounds, anti-Naxal elite police force in Andhra
Pradesh , killed the PWG Naxalites in Hyderabad.


September 24: The PWG Naxalites killed 13 personnel of the Border
Security Force (BSF) in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh.


November 10: Ten personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
were killed and 13 others injured in a landmine blast in Etapalli
tehsil of Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra.

May 11: P. Sudhir Kumar, Andhra Pradesh State youth Congress (I)
president and son of former Union External Affairs Minister P.
Shivshankar, abducted by the PWG, from his residence.


February 1: Seven police personnel were killed in Adilabad district,
Andhra Pradesh, by the PWG


December 27: Six Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers,
including Principal Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh government
abducted by the PWG in the Agency area in East Godavari district,
Andhra Pradesh.

July 29: Six police personnel killed by the PWG on the border of East
Godavari and Vishakhapattanam districts in Andhra Pradesh.

Chronology of Massacres in Central Bihar (1977-2001)


West Bengal: The Bitter Fruit of Neglect - -Fakir Mohan Pradhan ,
Jharkhand: On the Boil - -Ajit Kumar Singh, SAIR
Bihar: Macabre Reminder - -Ajit Kumar Singh , SAIR
West Bengal: Lalgarh: Eruption Unimpeded - -Fakir Mohan Pradhan, SAIR
Orissa: Without Will, Purpose or Capacity - -Fakir Mohan Pradhan,
Maharashtra: Red Surge in Gadchiroli - -Ajit Kumar Singh , SAIR
Chhattisgarh: Ages of Unreason - -Ajai Sahni , SAIR
Jharkhand: Steady Erosion - -Fakir Mohan Pradhan, SAIR
Lalgarh: Paradigm Case - -Ajai Sahni, SAIR
India: Maoists and the Elections- -Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR
Andhra Pradesh: From Tactical Retreat to Disordered Flight - -Bibhu
Prasad Routray, SAIR
Chhattisgarh: Chasing a False Peace - -Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR
Maharashtra: Harsh Reminder - -Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR
Orissa: Fissures in Red - -Fakir Mohan Pradhan, SAIR
Bihar: Ambiguous Gains - -Ajit Kumar Singh, SAIR
Orissa: State of Denial - -Fakir Mohan Pradhan, SAIR
West Bengal: State Myopia, Maoist Consolidation - -Bibhu Prasad
Routray, SAIR
The Maoist Threat: Inescapable Illusions - -Bibhu Prasad Routray,
Arunachal Pradesh: New Command in an Old Frontier - -Wasbir Hussain,
Chhattisgarh: Ill-prepared and Vulnerable - -Bibhu Prasad Routray,
Maharashtra: Beyond 'Spillovers' - -Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR
Bihar: The State's Enveloping Failure-- Bibhu Prasad Routray ,SAIR
Jharkhand: Tentative Crystallisation against the Maoists --Bibhu
Prasad Routray ,SAIR
Orissa: The Maoists March On --Prasanta Kumar Pradhan ,SAIR
Bihar: Deceptive Calm-- Bibhu Prasad Routray ,SAIR
Maharashtra: No Scope for Smugness-- Bibhu Prasad Routray ,SAIR
Andhra Pradesh: The State Advances, the Maoists Retreat-- Ajai Sahni
Jharkhand - Paralysis and Drift-- Ajai Sahni ,SAIR
Asleep in Chhattisgarh --Ajai Sahni ,SAIR
Orissa: Maoist Citadel in Malkangiri-- Prasanta Kumar Pradhan ,SAIR

Maoists: Creeping Malignancy-- Ajai Sahni ,SAIR
Yet another 'surprise' strike -- Bibhu Prasad Routray
The Maoists: Their Decisions, Our Abiding Omissions -- Ajai Sahni,
Lurching towards a Crisis -- Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR
Silent Maoist Consolidation -- Prasanta Kumar Pradhan, SAIR
What Maoists Want -- Ajai Sahni, SAIR
A Tactical Retreat by the Maoists -- Ajit Kumar Singh, SAIR
Maoists: Deadly Arsenal -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Maoism: Expansive Vision -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Bihar & Jharkhand: Playground of the Maoists -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Andhra Pradesh: Maoist Reverses… but will they last? -- Saji Cherian,
West Bengal: Polls Under a Maoist Shadow -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Maoist: The Truth Won't Go Away -- Ajai Sahni, SAIR
Orissa: Overrunning the State -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
'Misunderestimating' the Maoist -- Ajai Sahni, SAIR
Chhattisgarh: Populist Follies, Confounded State -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
The Red Revolution's Economy -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
New Blood in a War Without End -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
The Shape of Things to Come -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
IMaoist Flowering Under benign Neglect -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Realities of a Peaceful Election -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Red Spred Over Jharkhand -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Dangers of Vigilantism -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Bitter Fruits of a False Peace -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
West Bengal: Naxalbari Redux -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Uproar in the South, Strike in the North -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Terror on the Fringes -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Reality Bites -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Contagion in Orissa -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Back to square one… and worse -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
The Economy at Risk -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
What, Me Worry? -- Ajai Sahni & Saji Cherian, SAIR
Left Wing Extremist Consolidation Undermines Electoral Processes --
Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
Qualified Gains against Terror --K P S Gill, SAIR
Maoist Insurgencies: The Eclipse of Governance - Ajai Sahni , SAIR
While We Were Sleeping -- Ajai Sahni, SAIR
A Compact of Fire -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Bad Medicine for a Red Epidemic -- Ajai Sahni, SAIR
Unprincipled Peace, Expanding Violence -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Another Throw of the Dice -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Tactical Harakiri -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Left Wing Rampage -- Saji Cherian, SAIR
Emerging Co-operation Against Maoist Subversion-- P G Rajamohan, SAIR
Synchronized Onslaught -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Maoist Incursions across Open Borders --P G Rajamohan, SAIR
Democracy vs. 'People's War' -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Violence Without End -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Vigilantes in a Cycle of Violence -- Nihar Nayak, SAIR
Growing Concern -- Sanjay K Jha, SAIR
The MCC in Bihar and Jharkhand -- Sanjay K Jha, SAIR
A Blow to the Bastion, but Naxalites Still a Force -- P.V. Ramana,
The Compact Revolutionary Zone -- Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
Jharkhand: Leftist Carnage -- Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
Expanding Left-Wing Violence -- Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
Bihar: The Privatisation of Terror -- Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
The Maoist Maze -- Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
A False Peace and More Violence -- Sanjay K. Jha, SAIR
Maoists in Orissa: Growing Tentacles and a Dormant State -- Nihar
Nayak, Faultlines
Naxalism: Retreat of civil Governance -- Ajai Sahni, Faultlines


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-07 13:16:14 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Negative action


The book seeks to demolish precepts that deny the benefits of
affirmative action to the minorities.

FOR long, the debate on the equality provisions in the Indian
Constitution has centred around the issue of compensatory
discrimination in favour of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes
and the Backward Classes. Any mention of affirmative action (AA) in
favour of the deprived minority groups in India has always invited
derision as it is construed as a manifestation of communalism. Zoya
Hasan, professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University
and a Member of the National Commission for Minorities, has to be
commended for writing Politics of Inclusion, an extraordinary book,
which questions many of the precepts and stereotypes that figure in
Indian debates on equality.

One such precept is that the concept of exclusion is applicable
primarily to historically oppressed groups and not to minorities. The
author seeks to demolish this assumption by relying on Amartya Sen’s
distinction between active and passive exclusion: the former works by
fostering exclusion through deliberate discriminatory policy
intervention, while the latter works through social processes such as
the caste system.

Exclusion, she says, leads to the denial of economic opportunities and
consequent powerlessness. Low income, low merit and low productivity
are not the causes but the consequences of such exclusion, she

Among the minorities, Muslims constitute a significant segment – 13.4
per cent – of Indians. The Sachar Committee Report found stark
underrepresentation of Muslims and systematic evidence to show that
they are in many respects as disadvantaged as the lowest caste groups
among Hindus. She points out that caste divisions remain central to
the definition of disadvantage, and thus disadvantages suffered by
lower castes in terms of development and access to public services are
well documented and addressed through policy intervention. For the
minorities, however, knowledge and concern are invariably centred on
issues of security and identity and not on equity and justice, she

It is argued that the policy of AA cannot apply to minority
communities as it militates against the constitutional project, which
seeks to make religious identities less salient for participation in
the economic and political processes.

According to the author, it is not clear whether recognising the
minorities for policy attention is against the rules of a secular
democracy or whether it is unacceptable because it leads to
communalisation of the polity. Dwelling on the Constituent Assembly
debates, she observes that the trade-off between preferential
treatment for lower castes and cultural rights for religious
minorities proved to be disadvantageous for the latter as it meant
that the real problems of minority citizens in terms of livelihood and
access to resources were not tackled.

The two key issues with regard to inclusion, according to the author,
are backwardness (which in principle covers the Muslim community but
is not specific to it) and underrepresentation (which is specific to
the Muslim community). Drawing from the data compiled by the Sachar
Committee, the author points out that the absence of Muslims in
positions of power and at the decision-making level is as marked today
as it was 55 years ago when Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister, drew
attention to it. Muslims’ share in government jobs is 4.9 per cent and
their representation in the armed forces is believed to be just 2 per
cent. The Sachar Committee showed that only 8 per cent of urban
Muslims were part of the salaried classes compared with the national
average of 21 per cent for urban India. It reported severe
underrepresentation in government jobs even in States in which Muslims
constituted large minorities.

The author reveals that the situation is worse in the private sector.
According to one survey, just over 1 per cent of corporate executives
are Muslim. One effect of this exclusion in the economic sphere, she
claims, has been the slowing down of the emergence of a Muslim middle

She attributes the educational backwardness of Muslims to their
perception that they will not be able to get government jobs in
comparison to other communities, and hence there is no incentive to
complete higher education. This encourages them to drop out and take
up self-employment. The author admits that it is hard to establish the
existence of any discrimination against Muslims in public employment
but points to evidence (in the form of court cases) that Muslims feel
they are affected by biases in selection. The Sachar Committee cites a
number of instances of discrimination against the Muslim community.

Zoya Hasan believes that educational backwardness can explain Muslims’
underrepresentation at the higher levels of employment but cannot
account for their near-complete absence from the lower levels of
employment, for instance, at the level of Class IV jobs such as
drivers, messengers and constables. For example, in 2003 when the
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was asked to excavate the Babri
mosque site at Ayodhya following the Allahabad High Court’s orders, it
turned out that of the 55 or so diggers it engaged, not one was a
Muslim. However, after the court’s intervention in the matter, the ASI
hired a few Muslims.

She argues that it is imperative to promote participation of ethnic
minorities in public institutions and the hierarchies of power so that
these groups do not become vulnerable to exclusion from the broader
policy discourse. According to her, it is because of reservation in
public employment that a middle class has emerged among the S.C.s, and
this has in turn provided a measure of energy and leadership to the
community in its struggle for equity, dignity and justice.

Zoya Hasan notes that by and large all the States have listed backward
Muslim groups as Other Backward Classes (OBCs), but States with a high
demographic concentration of Muslims have not been able to provide
adequate representation to Muslim OBCs in government employment. AA is
possible on the basis of social backwardness defined in caste terms
but not on the basis of minority identity.

The author finds from the data collected by the Sachar Committee that
Muslim OBCs have not benefitted from their inclusion in the OBC list:
it has had no significant impact on their access to jobs or education,
nor has it contributed to an improvement in their welfare. Muslim OBCs
constitute 40.7 per cent of the Muslim population, and their share
among the OBC population of the country stands at 15.7 per cent. But
this is not reflected in their representation either in public
employment or in educational institutions, Zoya Hasan laments.

The Sachar Committee recommended special measures and targeted
intervention to help the disadvantaged minority, but it was not in
favour of reservation for the community as a whole because it lacks
legitimacy as against caste groupings. However, the committee’s
emphasis on the institutional deficit of Muslims bolstered the long-
standing claim of the Muslim community that it has been unfairly
treated by successive governments. Zoya Hasan agrees that mandatory
reservation is not the best solution to problems of institutional
deficit and that AA need not be synonymous with reservation. She
suggests that AA can give preference to minorities in public
institutions and higher education.

She seeks to justify this kind of AA because making political elites
and legislatures more representative is an important objective that
stands on its own. The demand for AA or a sub-quota for Muslim OBCs,
according to her, is not a radical one, yet a positive response to
that can signal a major conceptual shift in the approach towards the
minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, which has been outside
the developmental and constitutional discourse on social justice and
equity, and facilitate its integration into the national mainstream.

Zoya Hasan succinctly sums up her central thesis in the concluding
chapter: “Reservations on the basis of religion are not permissible
under the Constitution, yet from the beginning religious criteria have
been inherent in the process of classification and designation of
beneficiary groups and the definition of backwardness, since the
government as well as the court have conceived caste as a constituent
of Hinduism.”

This is obvious, she says, from the continuing exclusion of Dalit
Muslims and Christians from the S.C. list. She believes that AA minus
reservation in employment or education may address the deprivation and
disadvantage among Muslims, but even this faces opposition on the
grounds that it violates secularism. Targeted intervention through the
15 per cent budgetary resource allocation for minorities in all
government welfare schemes could help address empowerment issues, she
says. End of exclusion, on the other hand, would require bolder
initiatives, such as the recruitment of Muslims in government, she

A recurrent theme in the book is that while India has been relatively
successful in addressing discrimination and disadvantage among caste
groups, it has not been equally alive to discrimination against
minorities. She makes a plea for taking a fresh look at the Supreme
Court’s rejection of the economic criterion in framing AA yardsticks
in the Indra Sawhney judgment in 1992 as, in her view, rapid economic
and social changes in the past 15 years have increased the stakes of
those who face marginalisation.


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


A criminal legacy


Madhurima Sen’s book shows how racism and discrimination characterised
colonial prisons.

THE colonial prison has attracted a wide range of scholars. They
include historians such as Ranjan Chakraborty, David Arnold and
Basudeb Chattopadhyaya and political scientists such as Ujjwal Singh
whose monumental work has been on political prisoners.

Issues and themes ranging from the ideological underpinnings shaping
the prison and the location of crime/criminality to the life of
prisoners – including political prisoners – have already been
explored. Madhurima Sen’s book, however, introduces one to the makings
and the specificities of the colonial prison. She weaves in her story
a rich variety of archival sources and reports, harmonising it with
the paradigms of interdisciplinary research.

Developing her arguments around the process of India’s colonisation
and what can perhaps be called the “birth” of the “colonial prison”,
she draws on European and English history in order to emphasise the
way industrialisation and the development of capitalism and
urbanisation saw the emergence of the judicial system and the way it
located crime as something synonymous with the poor. This, in other
words, was a virtual class offensive against the “dangerous classes”
that were at the receiving end of the emerging civil society. Thus,
the judicial system, prison laws and the setting up of the colonial
prison had the distinct footprints of what the coloniser inherited
from “home” (namely, England).

This coexisted with serious colonial inventions. One can highlight
here the special terms used to define and create “criminal” tribes and
castes. Madhurima Sen locates these as a part of the colonial
knowledge-production system. Perhaps this also needs to be located as
an area where the indigenous upper-caste/class order collaborated with
the colonialist.

The author delineates certain characteristics of the colonial prison
from the time it was put in place. For instance, the Cornwallis Code
of 1793, which emphasised “equality before law”, was operationalised
on the basis of racism. This meant the birth of two legal systems –
the Supreme Court in Calcutta (now Kolkata), which examined the cases
of Englishmen on the basis of English law, and the Sudder Nizamat and
the subordinate courts, which administered justice for the “natives”.
As the author rightly asserts, colonialism adjusted and readjusted
itself to negotiate changes over time.

These changes were generated, among other factors, by the conflicts in
the countryside, like the rebellions (the Fakir-Sanyasi and the
Santhal rebellions) that occurred in the first half of the 19th
century. The anxieties posed by the rebellion of 1857 and the
subsequent takeover of India by the Crown (1858) were also major
markers that led to the strengthening of prison laws. The basic thrust
was to camouflage the problems that made people rise against the
British which were, ironically, created by colonialism.

Focussing on prison discipline, Madhurima Sen refers to its uneven
nature. The Sudder Nizamat Adalat made the pioneering effort to
formulate rules for administering jails, in 1811. However, the lack of
a uniform code of rules left the matter to individual judges and this
hardly produced any impact. The issue of prison discipline was viewed
seriously only after 1838 when a “worthwhile plan” was adopted for the
purpose. The pressing needs of the emerging colonial state blurred any
serious possibilities for reforms.

The overwhelming emphasis on punishment and deterrence, along with the
mixing of habitual and non-habitual offenders as well as adults and
juveniles, led to the emergence of the prison as “manufacturing units
of crime”. Besides, the jails were overcrowded as they were located
within buildings meant for some other purpose. This was the context in
which some steps were taken to institute prison reforms (1838).
However, these proved to be largely ineffective as they ignored vital
aspects such as housing women and juvenile prisoners. This was taken
up in the Prison Act of 1894.

The author refers to the classification of prisoners into the
categories “habitual” and “casual” primarily as a strategy to avoid
“contamination” of the latter. Alongside, there were “under-trial”
prisoners and the problems involved in allowing some of them who were
innocent to mix with convicts.


The Cellular Jail in the Andamans. The 1857 rebellion supplied the
first batch of political prisoners to the Andaman jail after it was
resurrected as a site to accommodate political prisoners.

Of course, the colonial prison had inmates whose segregation was
desired by the government. This meant curbing the liberty of
individuals whom the government could not tolerate. Aspects like
preferential treatment for European and Eurasian offenders meant the
entry of racism into the jails.

A point that comes out rather sharply is the deplorable hygienic
conditions in the prisons, leading to high mortality. The prisoners
were exposed to “prison diet” as well as “penal diet”, and punishment
included solitary confinement and the use of handcuffs and fetters.
These factors together precipitated prison offences, which included
escaping, refusing to work and disobeying prison authorities.

The basic idea of putting people in prison was to make prison
sentences as distasteful as possible and to extract hard labour.
Another aim was to spend as little as possible over these enclaves.

The author refers to the colonial prison as a distorted caricature of
what existed in contemporary England. This was especially so as the
attempt was to blend the contradictory worlds of “modernity” and
“backwardness”, and “indigenous” and “foreign”.

The author’s effort to examine the official staff within the prison is
laudable since this is a relatively unresearched area. The prison
staff included the “superior” white staff, who were paid well, and the
“natives” who were recruited as the “subordinate” staff. Here again,
racism was clearly inscribed on the colonial prison. The colonial
administration depended on the “natives” to administer the prison.
However, the inherent problem of low salaries and corruption plagued
the “subordinate” staff.

As outlined in the book, the prison reforms led to the setting up of
central jails, with the first one being built in Agra (1846). This was
followed by the construction of several other presidency jails,
including the one at Alipore (Calcutta) in 1864. The second major
aspect involved the recruitment of inspectors-general for these jails.

The penal reforms failed to achieve any success. Although this was
attributed to the “corruption of the native mind”, the author sees the
failure to be clearly rooted in a system that was based on racism and
discrimination. Moreover, there was a lack of desire to put in
resources to improve the condition of the jails and to see the problem
as one beyond crime and criminals.

The author looks at two methods of punishment associated with prison
labour and transportation. Prison labour was founded on the logic of
confining people as cheaply as possible, without any major investment.
A closely connected aspect involved making profits out of prison
inmates’ labour. An unarticulated aspect involved producing a
demonstrative effect in order to make the prison a terror house.

This was supposed to act as a deterrent and help maintain law and
order. Consequently, reforming the inmate was not an issue; it was
suggested for the first time by the Jail Committee in 1919, along with
some other points, to humanise the prison.

However, the most macabre aspect involved transporting convicts to
“kala pani” – the Andamans. Interestingly, it was a committee that
included F.J. Mouat, a doctor who was a specialist in the building of
jails, which suggested a site that existed in the 1790s and was
abandoned subsequently. Political exigencies – counter-insurgency
operations and the need to wipe out memories of those involved in the
1857 rebellion – led to the choice of this location. The 1857
rebellion supplied the first batch of political prisoners to the
Andaman jail after it was resurrected in 1858 as a site to accommodate
political prisoners. Consequently, the logic of transportation saw the
colonialist creating a “penal colony” to stamp out any opposition to
his rule.

As one concludes reading the book, one wonders about the remarkable
continuity between the colonial prison and the prison system of free
India. Although we do not have ‘kala panis’ any more, the class
component associated with the criminalisation of the poor and aspects
of repression seems to be still prevalent. After all, some imprints of
the colonial penal system have been preserved as a “valuable” legacy
of colonialism. And, coupled with the absence of police reforms, the
echoes of the past most certainly haunt our present.


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


The battle for employment guarantee


The NREGA is making a difference to the lives of the rural poor,
slowly but surely.

“THE dream I have for my son is that he should get at least 15 days of
casual labour every month,” said an elderly agricultural worker at a
public hearing held in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh three years
ago, on the sidelines of the Rozgar Adhikar Yatra, an awareness drive
launched as part of the campaign for a national Employment Guarantee
Act. His dream was not that his son would earn the minimum wage or
become a skilled labourer – he just wanted 15 days of casual work
every month. With local wages as low as Rs.25 a day at that time, it
is not difficult to imagine the living conditions of a family that
survives on 15 days’ earnings.

It may seem that this modest dream has now come true. Under the
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), anyone who is willing
to do manual labour at the statutory minimum wage is entitled to being
employed on local public works within 15 days, subject to a limit of
100 days a household a year. In reality, however, workers still have
to fight at every step for their entitlements under the Act: to get
employment, to be paid on time, to earn the minimum wage, to avoid
harassment, and so on. This is the “battle for employment guarantee”.

The battle for employment guarantee is also a larger struggle,
stretching from remote villages to the national capital, to ensure
that the Act is implemented in letter and spirit. At times, alas, the
battle has turned violent. Whistle-blowers have been the main target.


IRRIGATION WELLS ARE among the useful assets being created under the

On May 14, 2008, Lalit Mehta was brutally murdered as he was about to
initiate a social audit of the NREGA in Palamau district in Jharkhand.
About a month later, Kameshwar Yadav, an activist of the CPI-
ML(Liberation) working on the NREGA and related issues in Giridih
district – also in Jharkhand – was killed in circumstances that
suggest a link with his political activities. In early July, Tapas
Soren immolated himself in Hazaribagh to protest against harassment
and corruption in the context of the NREGA (a harrowing video of his
last words is available at www.youtube.com).

There have been violent incidents in other States, too, and while most
of the deaths reported so far have occurred in Jharkhand, this wave of
violence may well spread to other States as the battle intensifies.

However, there is some good news too. Slowly but surely, the Act is
making a difference to the lives of the rural poor. In Rajasthan, in
the very first year of the NREGA (2006-07), the average rural
household worked for as many as 77 days under the programme. This is
an unprecedented achievement in the history of social security in
India. In most other States, the promise of 100 days of assured
employment is still a distant dream but employment generation is
nevertheless much higher than under earlier public works programmes.
And where employment is available, the NREGA is having an impact:
wages are rising, migration is slowing down, productive assets are
being created, and the power equations are changing too.

These positive achievements have been lost in the din of critical
reports and anti-NREGA propaganda. “Expensive gravy train”, “money
guzzler”, “costly joke”, “wonky idea” and “Sonia’s pet scheme” are
just a few of the colourful terms that have been used in the corporate
media to rubbish the programme. This article’s main purpose is to take
a more informed and open-minded look at the NREGA on the ground.
Social background

We begin by taking note of the perceptions of NREGA workers, who have
rarely been heard in this noisy debate. This we do on the basis of a
field survey conducted in May-June 2008 in six States of North India
(see box, “NREGA survey 2008”). These States account for about 40 per
cent of India’s population and 62 per cent of NREGA expenditure in
2007-08. The survey involved unannounced visits to 100 randomly
selected worksites spread over the six States and interviews with a
random sample of about 1,000 workers employed at these worksites.

Most of the NREGA workers belong to the most disadvantaged sections of
society, as is fairly obvious from casual observation at almost any
worksite. Yet, it is worth mentioning because doubts have been raised
about this feature of the programme (the “self-selection” aspect). To
illustrate the point, 81 per cent of the sample workers live in a
kaccha house, 61 per cent are illiterate, and 72 per cent have no
electricity at home (Table 1).

Scheduled Caste (S.C.) and Scheduled Tribe (S.T.) families are also
joining the NREGA in large numbers. They account for 56 per cent of
all workers at the all-India level, according to official data, and
for 73 per cent of the workers in our sample. It is hard to think of
any other development programme that involves S.C./S.T. communities to
this extent, without any reservation or quota. Clearly, the NREGA is a
powerful tool of economic redistribution and social equity.
Massive demand for work

Another “obvious” point that bears mention is the fact that there is a
massive demand for NREGA work. Among the myths floated some years ago
to scuttle the enactment of the NREGA was one according to which there
was little demand for this sort of employment. One of India’s leading
economists even argued that the NREGA was unnecessary because “poor
agricultural workers had an unemployment rate of only 1 per
cent” (Business Standard, December 25, 2004). Contrary to this fairy
tale, 98 per cent of the sample workers stated that they were ready to
work for 100 days in the year – the “upper limit” under the Act (Table


As things stand, the NREGA meets a fraction of this demand: only 13
per cent of the respondents had actually secured 100 days of NREGA
work in the preceding 12 months. There were, of course, wide inter-
State variations in this respect. While the proportion of sample
workers who had completed 100 days of work was particularly low in
Chhattisgarh (1 per cent), Bihar (2 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (3 per
cent) and Jharkhand (7 per cent), it was considerably higher in Madhya
Pradesh (17 per cent), and as high as 35 per cent in Rajasthan. This
is one aspect, among others, of Rajasthan’s impressive achievements in
this field; the contrast between Rajasthan and other States is a
recurring theme in this article.

At Nuruddinpur village in Khusrupur block of Patna district in Bihar,
NREGA workers build an embankment for flood control and rural

The survey does not tell us much about NREGA participation rates in
the rural population as a whole. Some information on this, on the
basis of official data, is provided in Table 3. A useful indicator
here is the “number of days of NREGA employment per rural
household” (second row). This varied among the sample States from
seven days in Bihar to 68 days in Rajasthan in 2007-08. The all-India
average was 16 days, though this may be an overestimate, bearing in
mind that there are substantial “leakages” in NREGA expenditure, which
are not captured in official data.

Given the unimpressive scale of works so far, the NREGA is bound to
have a limited impact. Nevertheless, it is useful to examine its
impact where work is available, as it ought to be everywhere under the
Act. The field survey throws some light on this since it focusses on a
sample of NREGA workers.

Awareness levels

In contrast with earlier employment schemes, the NREGA is a rights-
based programme. The rights of NREGA workers include employment on
demand, minimum wages, payment within 15 days, and basic worksite
facilities, among others. The best guarantee of the realisation of
these rights lies in organised demand on the part of well-informed
workers. For instance, if workers insist on being paid the minimum
wage, depriving them of it will be that much harder. For this to
happen, of course, workers have to be aware of their rights.

The survey shows, however, that awareness levels among NREGA workers
are still very low. Well into the third year of the NREGA, fewer than
half of the sample workers were aware of their entitlement to 100 days
of work over the year – the first paragraph of the Act (Table 4).
Similarly, barely half of them were aware of the minimum wage or of
their right to being paid within 15 days – with even lower awareness
levels in the more deprived districts, where the NREGA is needed most.

Low levels of awareness play a major part in the lack of public
pressure to make the NREGA work. For instance, while there is a
massive latent demand for work, very few workers in our sample had
ever made a formal application for work (Table 5). The main reason is
that they are not aware of the possibility of applying (not to speak
of the application procedure). Instead, they passively wait for work
to come their way.

As Table 4 illustrates, awareness levels are much higher in Rajasthan
than in the other States. This is both a root and an outcome of the
comparative success of the NREGA there. Rajasthan has a long tradition
of public mobilisation for employment and wages in the context of
drought relief. When the NREGA came into force, it was quickly
recognised as a crucial opportunity for the rural poor. Public
interest in the Act quickly translated into serious pressure on the
State government to act.

The government itself foresaw the political value of the NREGA and
took major initiatives, including mass awareness campaigns. In other
States, too, many awareness drives have been launched, but in actual
fact, government officials have often kept people in the dark to avoid
having to face their demands.

We found some evidence that awareness levels were higher in areas
where some sort of workers’ organisation had been built, as discussed
later. Even otherwise, awareness levels are definitely rising. For
instance, the proportion of workers who know the minimum wage – around
50 per cent – does not look so bad when we remember that before the
NREGA the very notion of a minimum wage was a mystery to most rural

Year after year, workers are likely to develop a better awareness of
their rights and their collective power. This is a key feature of the
battle for employment guarantee: time is on the side of the workers.
In contrast with the scepticism of many economic advisers, most of the
sample workers had a positive view of the NREGA. This was especially
the case where employment levels were relatively high.

For instance, more than two-thirds of all sample workers felt that the
NREGA was “very important” for them (Table 6); their proportion rose
to 80 per cent among households that had worked for at least 60 days
in the preceding 12 months. The proportion was also high among
disadvantaged groups: for example, it was 83 per cent among widows.

The potential value of the NREGA as a lifeline for the rural poor is
also evident from other survey responses. About half of the
respondents felt that the NREGA had “brought significant change in
their lives”, and 69 per cent said it had helped them avoid hunger.
There were also signs of the NREGA having “helped” in other ways, such
as avoiding migration (59 per cent), sending children to school (38
per cent), coping with illness (50 per cent), repaying debt (32 per
cent), and avoiding demeaning or hazardous work (35 per cent).

Almost all the respondents reported at least one of these positive
outcomes (on migration, see box, “Alternative to migration”).

Food and subsistence typically have the first call on NREGA earnings.
Many respondents explained how the NREGA had helped them banish hunger
or improve their frugal diet. Their earnings contribute to food
security in a variety of ways: not only incomes are higher, but cash
in hand helps them buy rations in bulk at cheaper rates or get credit
from the bania (trader).

The NREGA also seems to play a useful role as a “healthline” for rural
households. The majority (57 per cent) of the sample workers had used
a part of their wages to buy medicine or treat an illness in the
family. For instance, Babli Sopa, a tribal worker from Sirohi district
in Rajasthan, used her earnings to buy medicines for her husband, who
suffers from tuberculosis; the NREGA also helped her repay the loan
she had taken for his treatment. School books and uniforms also ranked
high among people’s uses of NREGA earnings.

Some of the respondents had been able to go beyond subsistence
expenditure and save or invest a part of their wages. For instance,
farmers in Rajasthan often mentioned that they had spent some of their
NREGA earnings on seeds, fertilizer or other agricultural inputs.
Sita, an 18-year-old girl in Sirohi district, used her wages to buy a
sewing machine.
Unique chance for women

In many areas, the NREGA offers a unique employment opportunity for
rural women, who rarely get a chance to earn their own income (as
opposed to working without wages at home). Only 30 per cent of the
sample women had earned any cash income other than their NREGA wages
in the preceding three months. And even those who did earn some cash
had been working for measly wages in most cases. What is more, in
NREGA work women earn the same as men. This impressed many of our
respondents, both men and women.

It is also worth noting that a large majority of women workers collect
their own wages (79 per cent; see Table 7), and also keep them (68 per
cent). Thus, women are not just sent to NREGA worksites to earn money
on behalf of male family members; they are individual workers in their
own right. For many women, however, participating in NREGA work is a
major challenge, for reasons ranging from hostile social norms to the
lack of child-care facilities (see box, “What works against women”).

The special value of the NREGA for women often came through in their
testimonies. Lungibai (Sirohi district) said she was working outside
the house for the first time; her husband allowed her to work because
employment was available within the village. Bejni Devi (Araria
district, Bihar) is also glad to have a chance to work on an NREGA
project. She earns Rs.75 a day, which is less than the minimum wage
(Rs.82 a day in Bihar) but much higher than what she earns as an
agricultural labourer – as little as Rs.15 a day. Bejni Devi had not
earned any income in the preceding three months. “Without the NREGA,”
she said, “I would have had to migrate with my four-month-old child.”

Widows and single women were especially appreciative of this
opportunity to earn close to their homes. Often, social norms do not
permit them to migrate and paid work is hard to find in the vicinity
of their homes except possibly for abysmal wages. Takdiri, a Muslim
widow who lives in Sitapur district (Uttar Pradesh), said the NREGA
had changed her life because it enabled her to earn Rs.100 a day at
her doorstep, whereas earlier she worked for Rs.35 a day, when she
found any work at all.

The interviews also revealed that for many rural women (especially for
single and widowed women), feeding the family was not just an economic
burden but also a source of enormous mental strain. In that respect,
too, the NREGA makes an important contribution to women’s well-being.
Work with dignity

Among the NREGA’s early achievements is a major reduction in the
exploitation of labour in public works. Just three years ago, in
similar enquiries, we found that labourers working on schemes such as
the National Food For Work Programme (NFFWP) were mercilessly
exploited. They worked hard, earned a pittance, and were not paid for
weeks or even months. In May 2005, we found that NFFWP workers
employed at Padrikala in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh had been
paid as little as Rs.2 to Rs.4 a day, along with 200 grams of rice.
One worker (Lal Bahadur) and his wife had earned Rs.48 for 19 days of

In this respect, the NREGA is bringing about radical change. For
instance, wages today are much closer to the minimum wage, and the
minimum wage itself has risen sharply. The average wage earned by
NREGA workers in our sample was around Rs.85 a day, compared with
about Rs.50 a day, on average, for local agricultural labour. And at
half of the sample worksites, all workers were paid the minimum wage
(Table 8) – this is a big step forward.


PROVISION OF SHADE for periods of rest is mandatory under the NREGA

The NREGA is also seen by many rural labourers as an opportunity for
dignified employment. The work conditions tend to be better than in
the private sector, for example, in terms of hours of work and
productivity norms. Only a small minority (10 per cent) of respondents
had any complaint of harassment at the worksite (Table 9).

The improvement of work conditions partly reflects the gradual exit of
private contractors (see box, “Banned but still there”). Three years
ago, contractors ran the show, and labourers – especially women – were
at their mercy. Often they had no idea whether, when and how much they
would be paid. Under the NREGA, contractors are banned and gram
panchayats are the main implementing agencies. The ban is not without
loopholes (28 per cent of the sample worksites were managed by
contractors), but it has certainly dislodged many contractors, with
more on the move. And in our sample, we found that contractor-free
worksites were less exploitative than contractor-run worksites. For
instance, the incidence of worksite harassment was much lower where
contractors were absent (Table 10).

These developments are of special relevance to women. Even the fact
that the NREGA is considered “government work” is associated, for many
of them, with a certain sort of dignity (especially in areas where
social norms prevent them from participating in the labour market).
Sometimes, the NREGA also enables labourers to give up undesirable
occupations: as noted earlier, about one-third of the respondents said
the NREGA had helped them avoid demeaning or hazardous work.
Playing with mud?

The productive value of NREGA works is something of a mystery. Through
sheer repetition, an impression has been created that they are mostly
useless. One influential commentator (or “opinion-maker”) recently
dismissed them as a futile attempt “to play with mud, to create a road
that goes from nowhere to nowhere, to dig ditches that will be washed
away in the next monsoon” (Hindustan Times, February 14, 2008). This
verdict, however, has not been substantiated.

The productive value of NREGA works was not a major focus of our
survey. Still, a large majority (83 per cent) of the respondents said
the NREGA had led to the creation of useful assets in the villages
(Table 11). Similarly, 70 per cent of the sample workers felt that the
work being done at the worksite was “very useful”, and another 22 per
cent felt that it was “quite useful”. Only 3 per cent considered it
“useless” – quite in contrast to the refrain in urban circles.

It may be argued that these responses are self-serving and therefore
suspect. However, they are corroborated by the assessments of field
investigators: at most of the sample worksites, the survey team felt
that the work being done was “very useful” (70 per cent) or “quite
useful” (22 per cent). Informal as they are, these observations debunk
the myth that NREGA works are useless. It is, in fact, possible that
economic returns on NREGA works compare quite favourably with those of
many industrial projects.

One of the best examples of productive NREGA works we encountered was
the construction of a kaccha road in Kope panchayat in Jharkhand’s
Latehar district, where the local people had creatively planned and
self-managed the entire project. The road led to a previously
inaccessible tribal hamlet.

“If someone falls ill, the existing path was not enough for people to
place him on a bicycle and take him to the hospital for medical care,”
said Bhukhan Singh.

The construction of the road was combined with the levelling of the
adjoining land, so that where there used to be wild bushes there are
paddyfields now. An inventive culvert had also been built (to avoid
disrupting the natural flow of water), using wood and other local
materials instead of the more expensive cement or bricks. The road was
concrete proof of local people’s ability to plan valuable NREGA works.

Having said this, the general quality of assets created under the
NREGA leaves much to be desired. For instance, kaccha structures were
often incomplete when the monsoon arrived; many check dams were left
without “dressing”, making them vulnerable to soil erosion; roads did
not have an adequate top layer; and the location of many of these
assets was often inappropriate. In one extreme case of poor planning
(in Gurdah gram panchayat in Sonebhadra district), we found that a
large pond had been dug on top of a hill, with little scope for water

The productive value of NREGA works could be enhanced further with
moderate doses of scientific or technical inputs. For instance, it is
possible to build relatively good roads through labour-intensive
techniques. But this requires technical inputs of a sort that has not
been encouraged in the traditional, contractor-based approach. It is
also important to activate the process of participatory planning
through gram panchayats and gram sabhas, which is mandatory under the
Act but rarely visible in the field.
Ghost of corruption

The survey clearly brings out that where work is available the NREGA
has had many positive effects on the quality of life in rural areas.
This does not mean that the NREGA is in the pink of health – far from
it. In all the sample districts, the provisions of the Act and the
guidelines were routinely violated, causing much frustration (if not
anger) among NREGA workers.

For instance, the scale of works was inadequate, delays in wage
payments were rife, and basic worksite facilities (water, shade, first-
aid and child care) were missing in most cases (Table 12). Behind
these failures were deep structural problems, including poor flow of
funds, staff shortage, flawed record-keeping, and the lack of a
grievance redress mechanism, to cite a few.

Just to illustrate the first issue, the haphazard flow of funds has
often caused havoc with people’s entitlements. In May 2008, there was
no NREGA work anywhere in Sonebhadra district (initially part of our
sample), forcing us to select another district for the survey. The
same problem occurred in Chainpur block of Palamau district: not only
had work come to a standstill, there were also huge arrears in wage
payments. The block development officer (BDO) did not expect to be
able to start any new works for another six months or so.

The positive impact of the NREGA has also been undermined by rampant
corruption (see box, “All not well with the wells”). The chief method
of embezzlement is fudging of muster rolls. For instance, in Khendra
Khurd, also in Palamau district, we found that 100 out of the 108
names listed in the muster rolls for one particular week were fake.
The wages of the fictitious workers had been siphoned off by corrupt
officials and middlemen. Had this money been used well, the scale of
employment in Khendra Khurd would have been much larger. This is an
extreme example, but fudging of muster rolls was observed to varying
extents in most of the sample districts (with the notable exception of

To address this problem, the Central government recently instructed
State governments to pay all NREGA wages through banks or post
offices. This is, in principle, a good idea. It is an example of the
“separation of payment agencies from implementation agencies”, one of
the key transparency safeguards. However, the transition to bank
payments is being made in an abrupt and careless manner, making
matters worse in some cases (see box, “Accounts of corruption”).

For instance, during a follow-up social audit in Deogarh district
(Jharkhand), we found that middlemen operated bank accounts in the
names of NREGA workers and used them to siphon off funds, apparently
in collusion with bank managers. The Central government seems to
regard bank payments as a “magic bullet” against corruption but the
bullet is in danger of ending up in its own foot.
Is transparency possible?

This is not to say that corruption is an immutable feature of NREGA
works. Some States (notably Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh) have made
considerable progress towards a transparent and accountable system.
And even in the more corrupt States, there is evidence of the
possibility of curbing corruption.

For instance, recent social audits initiated in Orissa by the National
Institute for Rural Development suggest that leakages in wage payments
declined from 66 per cent in 2006-07 to 33 per cent in 2007-08 in the
sample areas; the proportion of fake names in muster rolls (the most
“blatant” form of corruption) declined from 42 per cent to 7 per cent.
Further progress in this direction is possible.

The best weapon against corruption is strict enforcement of the
transparency safeguards. These include keeping muster rolls at the
worksite, regular maintenance of job cards, payment of wages in
public, separation of payment agencies from implementation agencies,
formation of vigilance committees, and social audits.

In Rajasthan, these safeguards were taken seriously; for instance,
muster rolls were generally available at the worksite and job cards
were well maintained (Table 13). And, in line with earlier social
audits in Rajasthan, we found little evidence of major fraud, at least
in the labour component of the NREGA. In other States, however,
transparency safeguards were grossly neglected. For instance, muster
rolls were rarely kept at the worksite and job cards were poorly
maintained (Table 14).

The main problem is that those who are supposed to implement these
safeguards (for example, the panchayat sevak and the BDO) are often
part of the nexus of corruption. To make matters worse, the Central
government takes the view that the transparency safeguards are
“advisory” only and violating them attracts no sanctions. For
instance, a panchayat sevak who fails to maintain job cards has
nothing to fear.

This situation calls for the creation of a mandatory grievance redress
mechanism so that complaints are heard and culprits punished. For
instance, rules should be framed to activate Section 25 of the NREGA,
which provides for penalties on those who fail to do their duty under
the Act. The Central government has been beating around this bush for
a long time, without getting anywhere. Is it an accident that there is
so much resistance to greater accountability?
Educate, organise...

“It is only after getting organised that we were able to make good use
of the NREGA. The [Jagrut Adivasi Dalit] Sangathan fought for this at
every step.” In these simple words, Dinesh sums up years of struggle
in Pati block of Badwani district in Madhya Pradesh under the banner
of the JADS. Initially focussed on land rights, the JADS started
organising NREGA workers as soon as the Act came into force. The
results are impressive.

Workers’ awareness of their rights is very high in Pati, so is their
confidence in their collective strength. They generally make joint
applications for work in writing, and many of them are able to secure
a full 100 days of NREGA work over the year (Table 15). In November
2006, the JADS won the first-ever payment of unemployment allowances
under the NREGA, to hundreds of men and women who had been denied work
(see box, “Pati experience”). It has also formed its own vigilance
committees to prevent corruption. The experience of the JADS
illustrates the power of organised action in enabling workers to
secure their entitlements under the Act. The NREGA, in turn,
facilitates this organisational work.

One of the field investigators observed: “The NREGA is useful for the
Sangathan as well because it has brought a sense of solidarity to all
its members.” Thus, the implementation of the NREGA and the
empowerment of rural labourers are complementary processes,
reinforcing each other.

This experience also gives a sense of the vast possibilities that lie
ahead if NREGA workers are able to organise themselves. Aside from
helping them get employment and wages, this would also facilitate
their active involvement in the entire NREGA process. For instance,
informed and empowered workers could give a new life to gram sabhas,
vigilance committees and social audits.

Workers’ organisations could also add new dimensions to the entire
programme, for instance, by linking employment guarantee with social
security schemes. Even demanding the provision of child-care
facilities at NREGA worksites could be a major action point, with the
potential to make a wider impact on workers’ perceptions of what is
due to them at the workplace. Last but not least, greater bargaining
power would help rural workers in other domains, including the
realisation of other social and economic rights (for example, the
right to food or the right to education).

In the course of our survey and related activities (such as social
audits), we came across other organisations that had done impressive
work with NREGA workers, such as the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
(MKSS) and the All India Agricultural Labourers’ Association (AIALA).
The reach of these organisations is still limited. Indeed, except in
Pati block, it is only on rare occasions that we met NREGA workers who
had been helped by a local organisation in any way to secure their
entitlements. The process of organisation-building has been much
slower so far than was anticipated three years ago. But this state of
affairs is not immutable.

While the NREGA has done quite well in both Pati block and in
Rajasthan, there is an instructive contrast between the two
approaches. In Pati, this achievement is based primarily on popular
mobilisation and organisational work. The government acted mainly in
response to people’s demands rather than on its own initiative. In
Rajasthan, on the other hand, the government actively tried to make
the NREGA work as soon as the Act came into force (see box, “Rajasthan
way ahead”).

This is not to say that Rajasthan’s achievements are unrelated to
popular mobilisation. The right-to-information movement, for one, has
strong roots in Rajasthan and made its mark on the NREGA at every
step. It also had an important influence on State priorities. But the
decisive factor, ultimately, was a strong political backing for the
NREGA at the top, across party lines.

It is worth reflecting on what would happen if every block in the
country had an active workers’ organisation (as in Pati) and every
State government had a strong commitment to the NREGA (as in
Rajasthan). This may seem like a pipe dream, but as noted earlier,
time is on the side of this process.

With the next Lok Sabha elections approaching, political parties are
vying to take credit for the NREGA and proclaim their commitment to
it; while some of this is just posturing, political support for the
NREGA is likely to consolidate over time. Similarly, the collective
strength of NREGA workers is likely to grow in the future – there are
signs of it already. If adequate energy is invested in this process,
the battle for employment guarantee may just be won.

(In collaboration with survey coordinators: Anish Vanaik, Ashish
Ranjan, Kamayani Swami, Kartika Bhatia, Karuna Muthiah, Nandini Nayak,
Navjyoti, Noor Zaheer, Siddhartha, Sunil Kumar, Zia Khan.)


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


NREGA survey 2008


A survey team at work in Surguja, Chhattisgarh.

NREGA Survey 2008 was conducted in May-June 2008. It covered 10
districts spread over six North Indian States (Bihar, Chhattisgarh,
Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh). The sample
districts were Araria and Kaimur (Bihar), Surguja (Chhattisgarh),
Koderma and Palamau (Jharkhand), Badwani and Sidhi (Madhya Pradesh),
Dungarpur and Sirohi (Rajasthan) and Sitapur (Uttar Pradesh).

In each district, 10 gram panchayats (five each in two different
blocks) were selected for investigation. In each of the 100 sample
gram panchayats, one active NREGA worksite was studied, and at each
sample worksite, 10 workers were selected randomly for interview.

The survey teams consisted mainly of university students working with
local volunteers. Each team spent two days in each sample gram
panchayat, living either with the labourers or in a public building
such as the local school.

The survey was initiated by the G.B. Pant Social Science Institute,
with joint support from Allahabad University and the National
Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS). Pilot
surveys were also conducted in association with the Centre for
Development Economics (Delhi School of Economics) and the Institute
for Human Development (Ranchi).

This article also draws on social audits and informal investigations
of the NREGA conducted in the sample States and elsewhere (including
Himachal Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu) before and after the survey.

Further details (including the survey instruments) are available at


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Flaws in the system

The NREGA is a piece of new-age legislation which invokes the
framework of legal rights to provide employment in rural areas. The
rights framework should, ideally, provide an antidote to government
irresponsibility in the form of accountability under the law.

In practice, however, this transition towards an accountable system
has not occurred – far from it. In our survey, we found that NREGA
workers had to put up with numerous infringements of their rights
without being able to do much about it: lack of work, delays in wage
payment, non-payment of minimum wages, absence of worksite facilities,
to cite a few. Most of these irregularities remain unaddressed, often
even unnoticed. The persistence of corruption is another aspect of
this lack of accountability.

Three related problems have contributed to this state of affairs:
confusion about the operational requirements of the Act; absence of
any grievance redress system; and lack of independent monitoring.

To start with, there is a troubling lack of clarity about the various
actors’ basic responsibilities under the NREGA. The Act directs each
State government to notify an “employment guarantee scheme” to give
effect to the work guarantee. The combination of a Central Act with
State-specific schemes (and generally, the complex Centre-State
relations behind the NREGA) calls for rigorous coordination between
Central and State governments. This is not happening; to illustrate,
the Union Ministry of Rural Development does not even have a copy of
each of the State schemes. The result is a confusing duality in the
source of norms.

Schedules I and II of the NREGA spell out mandatory features of the
schemes, for example, the minimum entitlements to be guaranteed.
However, most of the State schemes fall short of these norms and fail
to define an adequate operational framework to fulfil the work
guarantee. In many States, schemes have been notified as a mere
formality, and the programme is actually run through oral or written
instructions issued from time to time.

The Central government, for its part, has issued operational
guidelines on various functional matters such as selection of works,
worksite management, payment procedures and record keeping.

Unfortunately, the status of these guidelines is ambiguous. In
response to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) widely
publicised report of widespread non-compliance with the operational
guidelines, the Ministry of Rural Development clarified that these
guidelines were not binding. With operational guidelines reduced to a
“best practice” template, the NREGA is being implemented in a
dangerous vacuum.
Beating around the bush

One aspect of this vacuum is the absence of clear remedies against
infringements of the Act. Curiously, the NREGA talks the language of
rights but there is virtual silence on available remedies when rights
are violated. So far, the Central and State governments have failed to
put in place any system to respond to people’s complaints. Interesting
ideas have been floated, such as the appointment of ombudsmen or the
activation of lok adalats, but they are yet to see the light of day.

Transparency and accountability rules have been drafted and discussed
for months, without getting anywhere. According to the Ministry of
Rural Development, the Law Ministry now takes the view that the
Central government has no mandate to make such rules under the NREGA –
an illiterate reading of the Act. Meanwhile, transparency safeguards
(including job card maintenance, muster roll norms and social audits)
are languishing in the operational guidelines. Since the guidelines
are now treated as “advisory”, these safeguards have no teeth.

A third issue is the lack of independent monitoring of the NREGA,
whether in the States or at the Centre. The Central Employment
Guarantee Council (CEGC) was intended as an active, powerful,
independent monitoring body for the NREGA at the national level.
However, the council is virtually non-functional. The performance of
the State Employment Guarantee Councils is no better – in fact, it is
worse in most cases. These watchdogs, too, have no teeth – they are
not even barking.

Similarly, no independent survey has been conducted so far on a
national scale to evaluate the implementation of the Act. It is a
mystery why a government that spends about Rs.25,000 crore a year on
the NREGA is unable to spare a few crores for an independent
evaluation, to find out where the money is going and what the
programme is achieving.

The Central government bears a heavy responsibility for this state of
affairs. The NREGA is a national Act and about 90 per cent of the
funds for works come from the Centre. The Central government is duty-
bound under the Act to put in place mandatory operational norms to
protect labourers’ entitlements. Failing that, the new hopes that have
been kindled by the NREGA in rural India are likely to be dashed.

Jean Dreze and Siddhartha


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Alternative to migration

“For us, getting work in our village is a big thing. Since I don’t
have any land, I am completely dependent on casual labour.”

– Gondi, a 45-year-old woman (Surguja district, Chhattisgarh)

“Because works have started opening, the idea of leaving the village
doesn’t enter our mind.”

– Dilsay (Surguja district)

“Migrating for work is very expensive. Half of our earnings are spent
in commuting alone. When he used to go to the bazaar to work, he had
to face exploitation from his employer.”

– Sita Bai (Sirohi district, Rajasthan)

“Before the NREGA, we had to go far for work. There was no place to
stay, so we slept with our children on the footpath where dogs also
slept with us.”

– Dinesh, 20 years (Badwani district, Madhya Pradesh)

These testimonies sum up the importance of the NREGA in the lives of
many migrant labourers. It is a valued source of local employment, if
not – at times – the only source. In their minds, migration is
associated with hardship and they resort to it only when there is no

Such is the outlook, for instance, of Baleshwar Mahto, a resident of
Uttari Dehati in Bihar’s Araria district. Baleshwar goes to Punjab
every year in search of work to sustain his family. He had planned to
go there last June as well. However, he got NREGA employment in his
own village and so he decided to stay back. Baleshwar will definitely
go to Punjab next time – the trip has only been postponed.

Meanwhile, he enjoys this respite. The NREGA is a triple bonus for
him: apart from providing local employment, it enabled him to combine
this work with tending his own fields and spending more time with his

Baleshwar’s story illustrates the situation faced by many in Araria.
Large numbers of people there are forced to look for work in Punjab,
Delhi and Gujarat as employment is hard to find locally. What is
available is very poorly paid, with wages varying from Rs.40 to Rs.60
a day during the harvest season, even less (Rs.25 to Rs.50 a day)
otherwise. Baleshwar takes up such employment only when he is forced
to stay back in his village, for instance, owing to illness in the

In their survey responses, migrant workers often spoke about the
hardships associated with migration. In the cities, they live in
deplorable conditions, with no access to basic facilities such as
shelter, sanitation or even safe drinking water. In the case of men-
only migration, women and children face material and psychological
insecurity, and family relations often suffer.

The NREGA is a potential liberation from these hardships. Naresh
Hirshi Dev from Palamau (Jharkhand) put it succinctly: “To be with
your family and get work in the village is a real relief.”

Says Noor Zaheer, survey coordinator, about the condition of migrant
workers in Himachal Pradesh: “Migrant workers who came to Himachal for
fruit picking were paid a pittance [just a little more than what they
would have got at home], made to sleep in torn tents and given poor
meals.” This year, however, they had a choice. Says Noor Zaheer: “They
refused to work for less than Rs.200 a day. They also demanded
waterproof tents and decent meals. They said if they had to work for
Rs.100 a day, they need not have come all the way to Himachal Pradesh.
They could have earned it at their doorstep at the NREGA worksites.
The orchard owners had no option but to comply.”

More than half (57 per cent) of the sample workers stated that the
NREGA “helped them avoid migration”, and a similar proportion (also 57
per cent) felt that migration had decreased in their villages after
the NREGA was launched. As expected, these figures were even larger in
areas with high levels of NREGA employment or high rates of migration
before the inception of the programme. For instance, in Pati block
(Madhya Pradesh), a hub of out-migration where the NREGA has been
deployed in a big way, 92 per cent of the sample workers felt that
migration had gone down and 88 per cent said the NREGA had helped them
avoid migration.

The responses were similar in Dungarpur (Rajasthan), where some people
had even returned from Mumbai and places in Gujarat on hearing that
NREGA work was available in their villages.

Even in areas where the scale of NREGA work is much smaller, for
instance, Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh and Araria, there is some evidence
of an impact on migration. One possible explanation is that a few days
of assured employment in the lean season is enough to persuade some
workers to “stay back” for the entire period.

However, it is also possible that the promise of local employment is
luring workers to stay back and that if these hopes are dashed
migration will resume. Delays in wage payments could intensify this
potential “discouragement effect” and push people back into the web of
migration. If this setback is to be averted, NREGA employment must be
expanded and made more predictable.

Kartika Bhatia and Ashish Ranjan


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


What works against women


Women at work in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh.

KAMLA DAS, 25, belongs to a landless family in Salba gram panchayat in
Chhattisgarh’s Surguja district. Her husband does not earn anything,
so she is especially appreciative of the opportunity the NREGA has
given her to earn in her own village: “Now women can also earn, so the
family’s earnings increase. The NREGA is very important because women
get the same wage as men.”

The NREGA has enabled her to stop working for a local landlord, who
pays women less than men. She has used her earnings to buy rice to
feed her family, books and clothes for her children, and fertilizer
(they are sharecroppers), and also to celebrate Holi. However, she has
faced some harassment from the mate, who pressures the women to work
harder. She is also worried about her four-year-old child, who is
alone at home when she goes to work. She would like to bring her child
to the worksite but this depends on a child-care facility being made
available there.

The participation of women in the NREGA was below the stipulated
minimum of 33 per cent in the survey sample, and in many of the survey
areas, it was abysmally low. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were at the
bottom, with women accounting for only 5 and 13 per cent of the NREGA
workforce respectively; the situation was only marginally better in
Jharkhand (18 per cent) and Chhatttisgarh (25 per cent). The only
States where women were well represented were Madhya Pradesh (44 per
cent) and Rajasthan (71 per cent).

What prevents women from joining the NREGA in larger numbers in the
other States? We were often told by gram panchayat functionaries that
women were not interested in NREGA work. But when the field
investigators spoke to women directly, most of them expressed a keen
desire to work. The interviews revealed five important barriers to
their participation in the NREGA.

First, in many areas there are tenacious social norms against women
working outside the home. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, field
investigators met women who said they had not been able to register
and were told that this programme was “not for them”.

Women in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, reported that when there were more
applicants than could be accommodated at a worksite, they were turned
away to make way for men. Some of them also faced verbal sexual
harassment – they were teased, ridiculed or verbally abused by male
labourers and other villagers.

The second big hurdle is the lack of child-care facilities. The Act
requires that when there are more than five children under the age of
six at a worksite, a female worker should be spared to take care of
them. But field investigators did not find child-care facilities
anywhere (except at two or three worksites, that too possibly as
“window dressing”). The lack of these facilities can be crippling for
women, especially those with breastfeeding babies.

Third, the continued illegal presence of contractors at many worksites
affects the availability of work and its benefits for women. In some
places, the presence of contractors actively impacted women’s
participation in NREGA work. At some sites in Madhya Pradesh,
contractors offered work only to young, able-bodied men. At worksites
where contractors were involved, 35 per cent of women workers said
they had faced some harassment, as against only 8 per cent at
contractor-free worksites.

Fourth, in some States productivity norms are too exacting because the
“schedule of rates” is yet to be revised in line with NREGA norms. For
instance, in Jharkhand the standard task for a day’s work at the time
of the survey was digging 110 cubic feet (in soft soil), which is far
too much. Certain types of NREGA work limit the participation of
women. This applies, for instance, to the construction of wells on
private land; women are not employed after digging reaches a certain

Fifth, delayed payments also come in the way of participation of poor
women. Delays in wage payments make things particularly difficult for
single women, who cannot afford to wait as they are the sole earners
in the family. When the wages do not come on time, they are often
forced to return to previous, less-preferred forms of employment.

Women’s battle to be full participants in the NREGA goes beyond being
able to get their names on job cards and getting work. An important
part of the NREGA is participatory planning, where the list of NREGA
works is decided. Only a small proportion of women workers in the
survey sample had attended a gram sabha, and even fewer had spoken at
a gram sabha. Many do not go to gram sabhas because they do not feel
welcome or because they believe these meetings are not for women.

Much of this is changing, and participation of women in the NREGA is
certainly improving. But there are also new challenges.

One of them is the introduction of wage payments through banks. In
most places, only one bank account is opened per job card, and
generally the account is opened in the name of a male member of the
family. This means women will have to rely on men to withdraw their
wages. Ideally, there should be one account per registered NREGA
worker or at least joint bank accounts instead of men-only accounts.
Even better would be for every individual worker (man or woman) to
have his or her own job card, bank account, and entitlement to 100
days of work.

Reetika Khera and Nandini Nayak


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Banned but still there

CONTRACTORS are banned for work under the NREGA, but the survey found
that they were in fact involved at 27 per cent of the sample
worksites. The worst State in this respect was Jharkhand, where
contractors were found at more than half (57 per cent) the sample
worksites. A common excuse for this is the shortage of staff: gram
panchayats, the main implementing agencies for NREGA work, do not
exist in Jharkhand. In fact, it is the only State that has not held
elections to panchayati raj institutions since the 73rd and 74th
amendments to the Constitution.

The survey teams encountered contractors to varying extents in all the
States except Rajasthan. Often, they get a foot in the door on account
of delays in the flow of funds. When funds are delayed, contractors
step in to ensure timely payment to labourers and suppliers. In
return, they are given a free hand in forging muster rolls, job cards
and other NREGA documents.

Why is the involvement of contractors such a big issue? This question
has to be seen in the light of the unscrupulous character of most
contractors in rural India. They are there to make money, in a highly
competitive environment where cheating and exploitation is the way to
get ahead.

The semi-criminal, petty contractor, roaming around on a motorcycle,
wearing dark glasses and a scarf and chewing paan, is not a fictitious
Bollywood character – he is a familiar figure in most Indian villages.

On a more serious note, the survey findings amply confirm that private
contractors are best kept at bay. This is so for at least three

Corruption: Corruption levels tend to be higher where contractors are
involved. For instance, in a survey in Orissa in October 2007, we
found higher rates of embezzlement of wages at worksites managed by
contractors. Worksites with contractors were more likely to have
muster rolls with fake names. More than half (55 per cent) of the
wages did not reach the labourers concerned, whereas the figure was
low (25 per cent) for contractor-free worksites.

Exploitation: Contractors typically thrive by exploiting labourers –
making them work hard and paying them as little as possible. This
often goes hand in hand with harassment. For instance, 35 per cent of
the women working at contractor-managed worksites reported being
harassed. This figure is much lower (8 per cent) for contractor-free

At one worksite in Surguja district (Chhattisgarh), women were
verbally abused for working too slowly; the contractor made them work
for 10 hours a day and turned away those who came late.

At another worksite, also in Surguja, the survey team noted: “The
women who complained about these work conditions were verbally abused
by the contractor, who also threatened to replace them with workers
from other gram panchayats. Our team learned from a worker that these
workers from other gram panchayats were paid at the rate of Rs.50 a

Accountability: It is easier to keep gram panchayats or Line
Departments’ employees on their toes than to hold private contractors
accountable. In fact, in our experience, contractors are very
difficult to “catch” even when there is proof of their mischief.

For instance, at Masmohna in Jharkhand’s Koderma district, the survey
team found conclusive evidence that a private contractor had cheated
NREGA workers and embezzled their wages. This evidence was presented
at a massive public hearing attended by three members of the Central
Employment Guarantee Council (on June 18, 2008) and confirmed again in
a detailed follow-up by the Koderma Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO).

Yet, in the first information report (FIR) lodged against the
culprits, which is supposed to be based on this very inquiry, the
contractor’s name is missing. He apparently has the “protection” of
the local Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Many contractors enjoy the patronage of political leaders (and return
this favour by funding election campaigns). This nexus of corruption
and crime, which also involves corrupt bureaucrats, has been the bane
of public works programmes for many years.

The NREGA seeks to break this nexus and replace it with a transparent
and accountable system where panchayati raj institutions are in
charge. If this new system is to see the light of day, contractors
have to be kept at bay.

Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


All is not well with the wells

OCTOBER 2008: The fields of Mahua Tand in Jharkhand’s Deogarh district
are full of wheat. Farmers and field hands are busy irrigating their
lands. The rains have not been very helpful this year, and pumpsets
and wells are the saviours of crops. Our social audit team is
inspecting two NREGA projects in Mahua Tand, both involving the
construction of a well on private land – a common type of NREGA work
in Jharkhand.

The well constructed by Taufique Zarra reminds the team of the tragic
Tapas Soren episode. In the short video recording of his last words
(available at www.youtube.com), Tapas Soren testifies that a corrupt
government machinery had driven him to take his own life. He had tried
to construct a well on his own land under the NREGA but was unable to
cope with the frequent demands for bribes. A helpless and distraught
Tapas set himself ablaze at the Collector’s office in Hazaribagh to
highlight his plight and warn others about this trap. But Taufique,
unaware of Tapas’ fate, fell into the same trap.

Taufique hails from a below-poverty-line (BPL) family and his sole
source of income is the little agricultural land he owns. In the
absence of a reliable source of irrigation, he is often at the mercy
of unpredictable rain. Having heard that wells can be constructed on
the land of BPL families under the NREGA, Taufique applied. Soon
enough, he was informed that if he could pay Rs.2,500, a well would be
allotted to him, he said. The NREGA mandates that a shelf of works be
prepared in the gram sabha, but no such attempt was made in Mahaua

He said he paid the bribe and the well was sanctioned, and he became
both the beneficiary and abhikarta (manager) of the project. As an
abhikarta Taufique signed an agreement with the government and was in
charge of executing the work. He was to fill the muster rolls,
purchase materials and oversee the worksite. He also had to pay
workers’ wages and for materials as the work progressed, but funds
were often delayed and depended on his ability to pay the
“PC” (percentage, a term for illegal commissions) to government
functionaries. The PC had to be given in cash before the bill for his
payment was passed, he alleged. Taufique took a loan of Rs.20,000,
sold a buffalo and mortgaged his land to arrange for the PC and the
construction costs.

For Taufique, this well was a chance to escape poverty but today, he
says, he is struggling to make ends meet. Luckily, Taufique was not
driven to suicide. But the whole PC system did push him into a web of
indebtedness. Maybe for every Taufique who survives this gamble, there
is a Tapas Soren who may not.

Kamayani Swami


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Accounts of corruption

SINCE April-May 2008, the Central government has insisted that NREGA
wages be paid exclusively through savings accounts opened for workers
in nearby banks and post offices. A major public relations campaign
has tried to present this as a solution to corruption. So much so, the
progress of the NREGA is being measured in terms of the number of
accounts opened – an impressive 4.22 crore, according to a recent
statement by the Rural Development Minister’s office. This
extraordinary investment of energies must, however, be viewed with
caution. A recent social audit of the NREGA at Karon block in
Jharkhand’s Deogarh district showed that corruption persisted, at
times with the collusion of banks themselves.
Deogarh scam

Manchan Rajwar of Ranidih panchayat had no reason to suspect that his
NREGA account at the Deoghar-Jamtara Cooperative Bank had been
activated. Severely crippled, he had not worked at the site where his
name figured, nor signed any withdrawal slips. His passbook was blank.
However, an inspection of bank records (during a social audit in
October 2008) revealed that many transactions had been made over a
whole year. It turned out that middlemen were siphoning off NREGA
funds through his account in collusion with bank officials.

Similar tricks were played on many other workers in Ranidih, and also
in Ganjebari panchayat where they were paid through the post office at
Madankatta. The amounts moving through these accounts could add up to
as much as Rs.9,000 within 14 months for a single account.

Even where collusion is not as blatant as in Ranidih, making payments
through banks is fraught with vulnerabilities. First, little effort
has been made to integrate bank payments with other transparency
safeguards, such as payment of wages in public and regular updating of
job cards. In fact, there is a dangerous tendency to assume that these
safeguards are redundant when wages are paid through banks or post

In Dungarpur district in Rajasthan, the traditional safeguards worked,
and bank payments were – at least initially – a step back. Where bank
payments were in place, we found (in our May-June 2008 survey) that
job cards were not updated and that muster rolls were no longer read
out in public at the time of wage payments.

Second, bank payments have often increased delays in wage payments. In
Rajasthan, for instance, where wages used to be paid regularly,
teething problems with bank payments last summer caused delays of up
to 50 days. Such delays cannot be tided over by NREGA workers and must
be treated as a serious violation of the Act.

The combination of opaque procedures and delayed payments has created
new opportunities for middlemen. Many middlemen have privileged access
to panchayat- and block-level officials and are often the first to
know when wages have been credited. They then collect workers (both
real and fake) and escort them to the bank. There, a combination of
loans, coercion and (sometimes) monetary enticements is used to induce
workers to hand over the money they have withdrawn. At Karon block,
workers from Mahua Tand, Tekra and Ganjebari panchayats stated
publicly that this had happened. They had been paid in cash at the
rate of Rs.60-70 a day, while the stipulated minimum wage was Rs.
86.40. In some cases, middlemen collude with the panchayat sevak to
inflate muster rolls, steer the inflated payments through people’s
bank accounts and pocket the difference.
New complications

Bank payments have also resulted in new complications. For instance,
banking procedures have not been publicised at all. Most workers do
not know how to operate bank accounts. This, in turn, increases their
dependence on intermediaries.

Another serious irregularity in many places is the opening of accounts
solely in the name of the male head of the family. This makes it hard
for women to keep their own wages. Other problems include extractions
from workers to open accounts; people without accounts being turned
away from worksites; workers having to spend time and money to
withdraw their wages when banks are far away; and staff shortages in
banks and post offices.

So far, the introduction of payments through banks has been little
more than a stampede for opening accounts. Crucial guidelines and
safeguards have been ignored. Consequently, the aim of ending
corruption in wage payments has not been achieved. This can only
happen when bank payments are combined with other transparency
safeguards, as has happened to some extent (with post office payments)
in Andhra Pradesh. Otherwise, as is already happening, new
vulnerabilities will get entrenched.

On the bright side, this experience has demonstrated the Centre’s
ability to enforce critical guidelines. This power could be used to
put in place a more comprehensive structure of vigilance and

Anish Vanaik


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Pati experience


A public meeting of the Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan.

Once covered with lush teak forests, Pati block in Badwani district of
Madhya Pradesh now has a depressing lunar landscape of denuded hills,
where only subsistence agriculture is possible. Most rural households
there survive on wage labour and seasonal migration. The Jagrut
Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), an unregistered organisation with a
membership of 3,500 families, has worked there for many years on
issues concerning tribal land rights. Since the NREGA was launched in
2006, the JADS has struggled for workers’ entitlements under the Act:
employment on demand, minimum wages, timely wage payments, and
disbursal of unemployment allowance, among others. This organisational
work has achieved important results.

As far as the NREGA is concerned, Pati block is an oasis compared with
the other survey areas. Most sample workers were aware of their
entitlements under the Act and also how to claim them. For example,
more than 90 per cent of the sample workers in Pati had got employment
in response to written applications for work. In most of the other
sample districts, the work application process was not in place (fewer
than one-fifth of the sample workers had made written applications),
defeating the whole principle of demand-driven employment.

Similarly, rural workers in Pati are aware of – and strive for – their
entitlement to 100 days of employment over the year. Nearly half of
the sample workers there had worked for a full 100 days in the
preceding 12 months. Average NREGA employment per sample household
over the year was as high 85 days, much higher than in other survey

The most heartening aspect of the JADS’ work in Pati is the sense of
empowerment that is evident among its members. Malubhai is
apprehensive of the move to route NREGA wages through banks but
defends the JADS when he was asked why it allowed this to happen. “We
thought we’d try it out; if it doesn’t work, we’ll just protest and
make them revert to cash payments,” he said. This sort of confidence
is rare among NREGA labourers elsewhere.

An important episode in this empowerment process was the five-month
struggle by the JADS, from June to October 2006, for unemployment
allowance. The fruits of that struggle were easy to see during the
current survey.

In 2006, when the residents of Pati block were offered work without
applying, they insisted on applying. They made collective applications
for work and demanded receipts while submitting them. Many JADS
members went through the entire process of applying for job cards,
then for work, and finally for unemployment allowance (in cases where
work was not provided). On June 7, 2006, the unemployment allowance
became due to more than 2,000 labourers of Pati.

If work is not provided within 15 days of an application being made,
applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance. The cost is
borne by the State government, in contrast with employment costs,
which are borne mainly by the Central government. Thus, one role of
the unemployment allowance is to act as a “fine” on the State
government for failing to implement the guarantee. In this respect,
payment of the unemployment allowance plays a key role in the
realisation of the work guarantee.

Faced with this demand, the Madhya Pradesh government tried various
tactics to avoid paying the unemployment allowance. But the JADS did
not give up even in the face of threats of violence and false cases
against its members. Finally, in October 2006, unemployment allowance
was paid to 1,574 labourers of eight gram panchayats of Pati block.
This was the first instance of payment of such unemployment allowance
in the country.

This victory seems to have turned the channel of accountability on its
head. Often one finds that the panchayat secretary (also known as the
sevak) feels accountable only to block-level officials. In Pati, for
the first time it seemed that the panchayat sevak was actually a
“sevak” of the people.

On April 8, 2008, more than 1,000 workers in Ubdagarh village put in a
group application for work under the NREGA. They were demanding 30
days of work on cattle prevention trenches (CPT) in their village,
which the authorities concerned were able to initiate within 15 days.
When Virendra Patel, the panchayat sevak, spoke about this episode, he
seemed to feel that he did not have any alternative – if he had not
provided work, he would have had to arrange for unemployment

The successful implementation of the NREGA in Pati block goes beyond
the ability of its residents to claim their rights. It is also evident
in their active engagement with the programme in terms of planning,
implementation and monitoring.

Madhuri Krishnaswamy (who has been associated with the JADS from the
beginning) says: “The struggle for the enactment of the NREGA was
associated with a larger vision.”

Apart from offering a form of social security for the rural poor, the
NREGA was seen as a tool for the activation of gram sabhas, the
empowerment of women and the development of rural areas. In this
sense, the JADS has fully imbibed the spirit of the NREGA.

Reetika Khera


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Rajasthan way ahead


The well-maintained job card of a person who has worked for 100 days.

“Rozgar Guarantee, Zordar Guarantee” (employment guarantee, powerful
guarantee). For Lalubhai of Obri panchayat in Dungarpur district of
Rajasthan, this slogan sums up what the NREGA means to him and others
in his village. Our field survey, too, puts Rajasthan in a fairly good
light. Most sample workers there had spent at least 60 days on NREGA
worksites in the preceding 12 months, the main transparency safeguards
were in place, and the administration was working overtime to
implement the Act.

The seeds of these achievements go back a long way: public employment
programmes have a long history in Rajasthan. Basic systems are in
place and there is a wealth of administrative experience to draw upon.
A good illustration of this preparedness was the launch of the Act on
February 2, 2006.

In Dungarpur district, unprecedented enthusiasm among the people
marked the occasion. Loudspeakers blared out the main provisions of
the Act from cassettes provided by the government. Armed with their
ration cards (as an identity document), men and women queued up from
early morning to apply for job cards. Arrangements to issue job cards
on the spot were in place. Many already had a fair idea what the NREGA
was about. In Thana panchayat, when a group of villagers was asked
what was happening, they said they had been given the right to work.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the NREGA in Rajasthan is the
staggering scale of works. During the survey, it was not uncommon to
find entire hamlets empty until 2.30 p.m., when NREGA work ends
(during summer). In many gram panchayats, muster rolls for over 2,000
workers were issued every fortnight. In our sample, 36 per cent of
households had worked for a full 100 days in the preceding 12 months.
The scale and predictability of NREGA employment have brought
Rajasthan much closer to the goal of a “work guarantee” than any other
Participation of Women

In a State where the social norms militate against women having
independent incomes, it is heartening that the NREGA workforce
consists overwhelmingly of women: 71 per cent of the workers in our
Rajasthan sample were women. Only one-fifth of these women had earned
any cash income other than NREGA wages in the preceding 12 months. For
them, the NREGA is a new-found source of economic independence and
freedom. “I am the head of the household,” said Haski, a married
Adivasi woman from Sirohi.

Few States, if any, have taken transparency norms as seriously as
Rajasthan (see Table 13). Muster rolls are usually available at the
worksite and daily attendance is taken on them in front of the
workers. Further, wages are paid in a public space (as per
guidelines), and job cards are updated at the time of payment. These
and other safeguards have considerably narrowed the scope for
embezzlement, at least in the wage component of NREGA works (though
there have been reports of continued cheating in the material
component, such as inflated technical estimates).
Worksite management

Worksite management has been an important area of innovation in
Rajasthan. “Mates” (worksite supervisors), both men and women, have
been trained to maintain muster rolls, assign tasks to workers, record
their output, and ensure that worksite facilities are available. This
experiment is still at an early stage, but there are good prospects of
it leading to better worksite supervision, higher productivity, an
improved work environment, and an improvement of the transparency

Challenges do remain: for instance, Rajasthan has a very poor record
of payment of minimum wages on the NREGA. Nevertheless, this
experience is an impressive demonstration of the possibility of
implementing the Act. It also shows how skilful public mobilisation
can be brought to bear on State politics. Indeed, these achievements
also owe much to citizens’ organisations such as the Mazdoor Kisan
Shakti Sangathan. Aside from acting as watchdogs (for example, by
conducting social audits), these organisations have also been involved
in work such as training of mates. They are also charting out a
programme of unionising NREGA workers.

Reetika Khera and Anish Vanaik


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


A scene from the South

A social audit of the NREGA in Villupuram district in Tamil Nadu in
July 2007 and a field survey in Surguja district in Chhattisgarh in
June 2008, conducted as part of the six-States survey, brought out to
this writer the contrasts between Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.

In Chhattisgarh there were many lapses in implementation, including
the involvement of contractors, the fudging of muster rolls,
corruption in material usage, low scale of work, and delays in wage

Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, has taken measures to address these
problems. It has successfully kept out machines and contractors
through close monitoring and strict action against any breach of the
ban on both under the NREGA.

Another reason for Tamil Nadu’s success is the stipulation (under
Tamil Nadu’s “employment guarantee scheme”) that only works devoid of
any material component be taken up. (The Act allows up to 40 per cent
expenditure on material costs.) The material component tends to give
private contractors a foothold as they provide engineering expertise
the gram panchayats may not have. The possibility of doing away with
the material component arises partly from the fact that Tamil Nadu has
a vast network of canals and other traditional water-harvesting
structures. The repair and maintenance of these structures is a vast
source of useful, labour-intensive work.

If the Act requires that at least 50 per cent of the works be taken up
by gram panchayats, the Tamil Nadu scheme stresses that all NREGA
works be managed by gram panchayats. In Chhattisgarh, there is more
reliance on the line departments (for example, the Irrigation
Department or the Forest Department), which tend to be less
accountable than gram panchayats. Tamil Nadu also avoids delays in
wage payment by a well-rehearsed routine of payment on a fixed day
every week. In Chhattisgarh, by contrast, delays in wage payments
cause great hardship to workers, to the extent that some of them have
given up NREGA work. In one work implemented by the Forest Department
in Udaipur block, people had not been paid for almost a year.

Tamil Nadu has put in place a good monitoring system. For instance,
every worker is required to put his signature or thumb impression on
the muster roll every day (by way of marking attendance), making it
difficult to fudge muster rolls. The employment guarantee assistant
(“Makkal Nalla Panniyalar”) in each gram panchayat is expected to
phone the block office every day before 10 a.m. to report worksite
attendance figures. This information is immediately collated at the
district level and officials from different departments do random
checks the same day to verify these reports.

In Chhattisgarh, there was no regular monitoring of muster rolls or
worksite attendance. At many worksites, the official muster rolls were
not available. In Kedma panchayat of Udaipur block, our survey found
that more than half of all entries in one set of muster rolls of a
completed worksite were fake.

Most importantly, in Tamil Nadu a strong message has been sent from
the top that NREGA works are unlike other schemes and that corruption
will not be tolerated. This has been done by taking strict action
against panchayat presidents, employment guarantee assistants and
block development officers who have been found guilty of major fraud.
The seeds of such a change could be seen in Chhattisgarh: on the basis
of a social audit in Mareya panchayat (Udaipur block) in June 2008, a
complaint was lodged with the district authorities and strict action
was taken.

To be sure, Tamil Nadu has its own set of problems, including
politicisation and some corruption in NREGA works, conflicts over non-
payment of minimum wages, low worker productivity, lack of worksite
facilities, unmet demand for work and lack of community monitoring.
Nevertheless, Tamil Nadu has achieved some success in providing
employment on a large scale, paying wages on time and avoiding mass

Another special feature of the NREGA in Tamil Nadu is that an
overwhelming majority (about 80 per cent) of NREGA workers are women.
Most of them have no comparable work opportunities in the private

Indeed, Tamil Nadu’s strong tradition of active involvement in the
social sector is finding a new expression through the NREGA. There is
much to learn from this experience, just as Tamil Nadu itself has much
to learn from pioneering experiences elsewhere.

Karuna Muthiah


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Separate slice


Tamil Nadu “accepts in principle” a 3 per cent quota for a few sub-
sects within the existing 18 per cent reservation for the Scheduled


CPI(M) members led by the party’s State Secretary, N. Varadarajan, in
Dindigul on November 2, 2007, demanding a committee to look into
exclusive reservation for Arunthathiyars.

ON November 28, 2008, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi
announced that the State Cabinet had “accepted in principle” the
report of the one-man commission headed by M.S. Janardhanam, a retired
judge of the Madras High Court, recommending a separate 3 per cent
reservation for Arunthathiyar, Chakkiliyar and a few other sub-sects
within the existing quota (18 per cent) for the Scheduled Castes
(S.Cs). The announcement was made after an all-party meeting in

Janardhanam, who was invited to brief the Cabinet about the
commission’s recommendations, said the Arunthathiyar community and
others chosen for separate reservation were in the most backward state
of development. A Cabinet committee later decided the modalities to
implement the recommendations. The Chief Minister said the
recommendations would be implemented “immediately” as the basic
objective of his government was to uplift the oppressed.

Leaders of almost all political parties hailed the decision. All India
Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary J. Jayalalithaa, who
initially termed the decision on separate reservation “a political
fraud” on the grounds that the State government had no power to
“create” reservation within the reservation for the S.Cs., changed her
stance the next day and welcomed the proposal. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal
Katchi president Thol. Thirumavalavan, who welcomed the decision,
wanted the Chief Minister to convene a meeting of Dalit leaders to
discuss the “successful implementation” of the 3 per cent reservation
for Arunthathiyars.

N. Varadarajan, general secretary of the State Committee of the
Communist Party of India (Marxist), and R. Athiyamaan, the founder of
Adhi Thamizhar Peravai, an organisation of Arunthathiyars, which
spearheaded the struggle for separate reservation, demanded the early
implementation of the recommendations. Athiyamaan also wanted the
quota to be increased to 6 per cent corresponding to their share in
the State’s population.

Arunthathiyars, along with Chakkiliyars and a few other sub-castes,
belong to the lowest strata of the caste-based social hierarchy and
are the worst sufferers of untouchability. A significant section of
these people is still used for removing night soil and cleaning
underground sewers (see separate story). The traditional occupation of
Arunthathiyars is making leather goods. They have played a notable
role as makers and menders of kamalai, a leather bag used to draw
water from wells to irrigate dryland. A significant number of them
have been engaged in agriculture-related activities too.

The famines of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the State
forced them to migrate to towns and take up odd jobs as sweepers and
manual scavengers.

Arunthathiyars and Chakkiliyars have been included in the list of
S.Cs, who are entitled to 18 per cent reservation in education and
employment and reservation in political positions. Together, the two
communities account for about 15.5 lakh (13.1 per cent) of the Dalit
population (1.18 crore) in Tamil Nadu. Dalits account for 19 per cent
of the State’s total population (6.2 crore), according to Census 2001.

Among Dalits, the literacy rate of Arunthathiyars is 53.7 per cent and
that of Chakkiliyars is 50.9 per cent. The corresponding figures for
others are Paraiyars 65.9, Adi Dravidars 65.3 and Pallars 65. The
overall Dalit literacy rate is 63.2 per cent against the State’s 73.5
per cent. The dropout rates among Arunthathiyar and Chakkiliyar
children after the primary level are much higher than in Adi Dravidar,
Pallar and Paraiyar communities (see table).

One of the reasons attributed to the relative backwardness of
Arunthathiyars and Chakkiliyars in education is that they were late
starters. During the British period, sections of the Adi Dravidar,
Pallar and Paraiyar communities had the benefit of school education
thanks to Christian missionaries. According to a researcher,
missionaries did not show any interest in Arunthathiyars and
Chakkiliyars because caste Hindus thwarted the conversion of these
people as their services were indispensable to them.

Attempts to improve the lot of Arunthathiyars and Chakkiliyars were
made by community leaders such as L.C. Gurusami, who founded the
Arunthathiyar Mahasabha in 1920, and H.M. Jaganathan. They started
schools for Arunthathiyar children. However, these schools closed down
soon for want of government aid.

The Tamil Nadu Arunthathiyar Sangam, formed in 1958, organised the
people in the community to assert their rights. An organisation named
Youth Guidance Service, formed in 1984 by first-generation
beneficiaries of the statutory reservation system, was the first to
demand separate reservation for Arunthathiyars. The Adhi Thamizhar
Peravai has also been fighting for the cause of the Arunthathiyars for
over a decade now.

The struggle for “reservation within reservation” was intensified in
2007 with a rally organised by the CPI(M) in Chennai, in which over
30,000 Arunthathiyar people participated. The Adhi Thamizhar Peravai,
together with the CPI(M), later held many demonstrations and meetings
to press their demands for separate reservation.

The State government responded with the formation of a welfare board
for Arunthathiyars and convened an all-party meeting in Chennai on
March 12, 2008, to discuss the sub-quota demand. The consensus at the
meeting was in favour of granting the demand, and the government
appointed the Janardhanam Commission.
Issue of imbalance

The issue of imbalance among the different Dalit sub-sects and the
need to take corrective steps have been highlighted by an advisory
committee on the revision of lists of the S. Cs and the S.Ts as early
as 1965.

The committee, headed by B.N. Lokur, the then Secretary of the Union
Ministry of Law, observed: “It has been in evidence for some time now
that a lion’s share of the various benefits and concessions earmarked
for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is appropriated by the
numerically larger and politically well-organised communities. The
smaller and more backward communities [among the S.Cs] have tended to
get lost in the democratic process, though more deserving of special
aid….” He said “the time has come when the question of de-scheduling
of relatively advanced communities should receive serious and urgent
consideration” (“Caste card” by Jagdeep S. Chhokar, Frontline, August
15, 2008).

The judiciary also had occasion to look into the impact of reservation
on the communities concerned and the steps to protect the weaker
sections. In November 2004, the Supreme Court quashed an Andhra
Pradesh Act that categorised the S.Cs into four groups for the purpose
of admission to educational institutions and for employment. The Act,
which came into being in 2000 replacing an ordinance, was based on the
report of a commission the Telugu Desam government led by N.
Chandrababu Naidu had appointed in response to a struggle by the
Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti.

The samiti’s demand was to fix a sub-quota for Madigas, who constitute
40.99 per cent (3,263,675) of the S.C. population in the State. The
demand was made on the grounds that Malas, whose share in the S.C.
population was only slightly higher than theirs, at 46.94 per cent
(3,737,609), had been cornering the benefits of reservation in larger

The commission agreed that there was a disparity and recommended
corrective steps. The government accepted the findings and the
Assembly passed the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes (Rationalisation
of Reservation) Act, 2000, to remove the disparity. The Act provided
for dividing the listed castes into four categories for reservation.

The law was challenged in the High Court and the Full Bench upheld the
legislation by four to one. When the issue came up before the Supreme
Court on appeal, a five-judge Constitution Bench held that micro-
classification of S.Cs into sub-groups and fixing different
percentages of reservation for them within the overall S.C. quota was
unconstitutional. The Bench said that reservation must be considered
from the social objective angle, having regard to the constitutional
scheme, and not as a political issue.

The court held that in the context of members of the S.Cs being the
most backward among the backward classes, it was not permissible for
the government to further classify them into sub-groups. The Bench,
headed by Justice N. Santosh Hegde, therefore, quashed the Act holding
that such micro-classification was in violation of the right to
equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. The
Constitution Bench ruled that such classification of members of
different classes of people on the basis of their respective castes
would be “in violation of the doctrine of reasonableness”.

It said: “Article 341 of the Constitution provides that exclusion of
even of a part or group of castes from the Presidential List can be
done only by Parliament. State legislatures are forbidden from doing
that.” The court further held that “a uniform yardstick must be
adopted for giving benefits to the members of [the] Scheduled Castes
for the purpose of the Constitution. The impugned legislation, being
contrary to the above constitutional scheme, cannot, therefore, be

The Supreme Court decision on the Andhra Act had far-reaching
consequences. The Punjab and Haryana High Court held as void the sub-
categorisation of S.Cs that was in operation in Punjab since 1975 and
in Haryana since 1995. The Andhra Pradesh Assembly and the Punjab
government then appealed to the Union government to enact a law to
facilitate recategorisation. Soon it was noticed that the problem was
not confined to these three States. There were complaints from more
States that reservation had led to disproportionate benefits to
certain sections of S.Cs at the cost of other sections. Accordingly,
the Union government appointed a commission headed by Justice Usha
Mehra to go into the issue.

The Usha Mehra Commission, in its report submitted to the Union
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in May 2008, reportedly
favoured the classification of the S.Cs into sub-groups with a view to
uplifting the status of the deprived lot among them and recommended
that the Constitution be amended suitably for the purpose. The
commission did not agree with the contention that the S.Cs as
envisaged in the Constitution constitute a homogeneous group. It said
that in terms of traditional occupation, caste practices and the
physical structure of the villages, these castes differed from each
other and as such there was apparently no homogeneity among them. The
commission also said that its studies had shown that under the
existing system there was no possibility of the benefits reaching
those at the bottom in due proportion.

The Usha Mehra Commission’s recommendation has received mixed reaction
from Dalit leaders. Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union Minister of Chemicals,
Fertilizers and Steel, said that sub-categorisation would damage Dalit
unity. He said there would not be any consensus on the proposal in the
ruling United Progressive Alliance or its major component, the

While leaders of the disadvantaged Dalit sub-sects across the country
have hailed the recommendation, others see it as a threat to Dalit
unity. C.P. Prabakara Rao, president of the Andhra Pradesh Mala
Mahanadu, said the commission’s recommendation suggesting sub-
categorisation of S.Cs would not stand legal scrutiny.

The Union Social Justice Ministry has sent the Usha Mehra Commission’s
report to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) for its
comments. The Tamil Nadu proposal also has come up before the NCSC for
clearance. NCSC Chairman Buta Singh has reportedly promised Union
Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu to place
the proposal, which had been approved by the State government “in
principle”, before the commission. (Under Article 338 (9) of the
Constitution, the governments at the Centre and in the States have to
consult the commission whenever they take policy decisions relating to
the S.Cs.)

Some sections among the Dalit activists and political parties,
however, are sceptical about the early implementation of the proposal.
Puthiya Thamizhagam president K. Krishnasamy said the proposal would
be in a legal tangle inasmuch as an Andhra Pradesh Act on the subject
has been quashed by the Supreme Court.

Dalit activist and member of the State Assembly D. Ravikumar pointed
out a technical problem. He said that in the absence of a caste-wise
census, the present reservation to Dalits was calculated on the basis
of Census 1971, whereas the 3 per cent reservation for Arunthathiyars
had been mooted on the basis of Census 2001. He wanted the government
to increase the reservation for the S.Cs. from 18 per cent to 19 per
cent on the basis of Census 2001 and also clear the backlog of
vacancies in government departments.

P. Sampath, State convener of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability
Eradication Front, hoped that the government would resolve the legal
tangles and implement the proposal soon. He said that until manual
scavenging and the deployment of Dalits for underground sewerage
cleaning were ended, the liberation of Arunthathiyars would be


Volume 26 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 03-16, 2009
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Clean-up order

in Chennai

The Madras High Court comes out strongly against manual cleaning of


A contract worker in a manhole in Chennai. Trade unions want the
authorities to ensure that workers enter manholes only after taking
precautionary measures and under effective supervision.

HUNDREDS of contract workers engaged by local bodies and water supply
and sewerage boards in major cities and towns to clean underground
sewers virtually walk into death traps. A large number of them die
instantaneously after inhaling noxious fumes in the sewers. Others die
a slow death from respiratory and neurological ailments. Human rights
organisations and trade unions have time and again criticised the
inhuman practice of employing people in hazardous jobs such as these.
Most people employed for the dehumanising work are Dalits.

The High Courts of Delhi and Gujarat have issued directions to stop
manual sewer cleaning. The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis
and the National Human Rights Commission have also come up against the
obnoxious system. Yet the practice continues unabated in different
parts of the country.

Issues relating to the safety and rights of sewer workers, mainly
belonging to the Arunthathiyar community, a Dalit sub-caste, came to
the fore in Tamil Nadu recently following an order by the Madras High
Court on November 20, 2008. Hearing a public interest petition, the
court ordered that the “entry of sanitary workers into the sewerage
system under the guise of removing the blocks should be prohibited,
except under exceptional circumstances”.

The court also directed the Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage
Board (CMWSSB) and the Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration and Water
Supply Department to initiate steps to prevent the entry of solid
waste into the sewage line, plug unauthorised sewerage connections,
launch a public awareness campaign against the throwing of solid waste
into sewers and ensure that the next of kin of a sanitary worker who
died while at work is given compensation according to the Workmen’s
Compensation Act.

No doubt, maintaining a 2,671-km sewerage network with 5.63 lakh
household connections, 78,861 manholes, 188 pumping stations and five
sewage treatment plants with a combined installed capacity of 486
million litres a day (MLD) in and around Chennai is a Herculean task
for the CMWSSB. But this cannot justify the employment of sanitary
workers to enter manholes, and that too without safety gear.

The public interest litigation (PIL) initiated through the petition on
September 26 by A. Narayanan of Chennai, convener of People Against
Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Merchandise (PAADAM), highlights the travails
of sewer workers. According to the Employment of Manual Scavengers and
Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, manual
scavenging is illegal. Making workers enter manholes and septic tanks
is also in violation of the fundamental rights under Article 14
(equality before law), Article 17 (abolition of untouchability),
Article 21 (right to life) and Article 23 (right against exploitation)
of the Constitution, the petitioner said.

Claiming that the government had earmarked Rs.50 crore for the
rehabilitation and training of liberated manual scavengers, the
petitioner said: “It is reliably learnt that since the abolition of
manual scavenging, many of these workers are used for cleaning of
manholes and septic tanks.”

“If making sanitary workers carry human faeces or handle them manually
whether voluntarily or through coercion, is illegal, then making
workers get into manholes and septic tanks is also illegal,” he
argued. He added that “when a poor Dalit dies inside a manhole while
carrying out cleaning operations in a public sewer line owing to the
apathy of civil society and the government…, the government
departments refuse to even provide compensation, citing ridiculous
rules and indulging in unethical labour practices.”

The High Court, in its interim order of October 13, made it clear that
no human being should be allowed to get into drainage/sewerage lines
to clear any block and “it is the responsibility of the authorities to
get it cleared by employing mechanical devices”. The court also
directed the government pleader to file a detailed affidavit
indicating the number of deaths and the number of cases in which
compensation had been paid.

In his affidavit filed on November 6, Sunil Paliwal, Managing Director
of the CMWSSB, submitted that improvements in Chennai’s 90-year-old
sewerage system could not be achieved overnight. He sought a time of
six months to procure safety gear for the workers who remove broken
manhole covers, reconstruct manholes, remove pump sets from wells in
pumping stations and integrate new sewers with the existing ones.

In addition to the 100 sewer-cleaning rods and 175 grab-bucket and 13
drag-bucket machines used to remove blocks in the main sewers, three
hydraulically operated desilting machines were in use for the removal
of silt from manholes. Steps are being taken to procure 47 more such
machines, he said. The CMWSSB has also identified 9,137 “problematic”
manholes, which were prone to silting.

Paliwal said the CMWSSB was committed to ensuring that no labourer was
allowed to enter the underground sewers for cleaning and that
mechanising of the process was on. He said 20 different types of
safety gear – safety belts, helmets, headlamps, gas monitors,
emergency medical oxygen resuscitator kits and chlorine masks – had
been purchased for Rs.2.84 crore. Training in the use of the equipment
would be imparted to the CMWSSB’s 494 sanitary workers and the 259
contract labourers, the affidavit said.

Paliwal said that the entry of sanitary workers into manholes was
stopped completely in the wake of the court’s final order on November
20. Even during the heavy north-east monsoon manual cleaning of
underground sewers was not allowed, he said, adding that an awareness
campaign had been initiated to dissuade the public from throwing solid
waste into sewers.

Sources in the CMWSSB listed more such initiatives. For instance, of
the 4,110 illegal sewer connections, 1,241 had been plugged, and in
the remaining cases, the Chennai Corporation’s health officers had
been asked to take action, they said. And of the 1,448 buildings that
had to put up diaphragm chambers to prevent solid waste from entering
the sewers, 1,090 had already done so.

All this may be good news to the people of Chennai, but manhole deaths
are a recurring phenomenon in other cities and towns as well. While
passing the final order, the High Court observed: “[W]e also wish to
express our anguish to note that the menace of allowing human beings
to clean manholes without mechanised device is going on in other
places of Tamil Nadu where the common drainage system is not
prevalent…. Submissions attempting to justify such action can never be


Drainage water gushing out from a manhole in Hyderabad.

Dubbing manual cleaning as barbaric and inhuman, K.R. Ganesan, general
secretary of the Tamil Nadu Rural Development and Municipal
Administration Employees’ Federation, said the State government’s
decision to implement the underground sewerage scheme (UGSS) in all
municipalities and district headquarters in the first phase should go
hand in hand with the mechanisation of sewer maintenance. The UGSS is
in place in Chennai, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli and Tirupur Corporations. It
is under progress in Tuticorin. The scheme has been partly completed
in Madurai and Coimbatore, while it has not yet been taken up in
Vellore, Salem and Erode.

Of the 148 municipalities, the UGSS has been completed in six: Karur,
Thanjavur, Alandur, Valasaravakkam, Mayiladuthurai and Inam Karur.
Works are on in 24 district headquarters at an estimated cost of Rs.
1,362 crore.

Trade unions say that modernisation of the desilting process can
prevent the death of sewer workers while doing their job. Until then,
they insist, the authorities concerned should ensure that the workers
enter manholes only after taking adequate precautionary measures and
under effective supervision.

“Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment” (Second Edition), published
by the Union Ministry of Urban Development in 1993, stipulates the
safety practices to be followed in the cleaning and maintenance of
underground sewers. Unfortunately, sewer-sector managers do not take
sufficient steps to provide training in this regard to workers,
resulting in recurring tragedies, they feel.

Although the authorities claim they do not have the exact data on the
casualties of sewer workers, the CMWSSB has submitted that between May
24, 2003, and October 17, 2008, a total of 17 sewer workers who
entered manholes died of asphyxiation. But trade union sources have a
higher figure. Ganesan said nearly 1,000 sewer workers had died while
cleaning manholes in the last two decades. Those who survive the
effect of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide and
methane succumb to respiratory and neurological ailments later. Many
have serious health problems. Consumption of by the workers alcohol to
stand the stench and filth also adversely affects their health.

Dr D. Parasuraman, retired professor of microbiology, Tamil Nadu
Medical Service, said underground sewer cleaners were prone to
diseases such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis-A as untreated sewage
contained biological agents including viruses and bacteria. E. coli
bacteria can cause gastrointestinal diseases, and the entry of the
Clostridium tetani bacterium through open wounds can cause tetanus.
Prolonged contact with sewer water also results in skin problems.

As regards the compensation for the kin of the 17 people who died
while cleaning manholes, the CMWSSB said that payment had been made in
all cases in which orders had been passed by the Deputy Commissioner
of Labour for settlement. But V. Kumar, president of the CMWSSB
Employees’ Union, said that in many cases the contractors failed to
pay compensation to the sanitary workers as per the Workmen’s
Compensation Act. The contractors were also allegedly not taking
accident insurance for sewer workers in many cases.

Being the principal employer, the CMWSSB should ensure that due
compensation was paid to the next of kin of the deceased, he said,
adding that Rs.5 lakh be fixed as relief to the affected families. The
compensation in some cases at present has been meagre, according to

Statutory benefits such as Provident Fund and Employees’ State
Insurance Scheme were also denied to the contract workers, Kumar said.
He demanded that the services of all contract sewer workers be
regularised as the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act was
applicable to all government departments and public sector
undertakings. “As of now, they are paid only Rs.110 a day for carrying
out the risky job,” he said.

He criticised the CMWSSB for scaling down the strength of the
workforce steadily from 11,000 in 1978 to 4,000 now. The contract
workers were not enrolled as members of the Scavenger Welfare Board
constituted by the State government, Ganesan said.

The court may have stirred the authorities into action for now, but
the stand that entry of workers into manholes cannot be avoided under
some circumstances indicates that Tamil Nadu has a long way to go
before it puts an end to this dehumanising practice.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-07 22:16:34 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

Aborigines arrived from India - scientists

From correspondents in London July 22, 2009 9:59AM

NEW clues about how the first Aborigines arrived in Australia have
been unveiled by Indian scientists.

Based on a series of genetic tests, they believe Aborigines travelled
from Africa to Australia via India.

Dr Raghavendra Rao and researchers from the Indian-government backed
Anthropological Survey of India project found unique genetic mutations
were shared between modern-day Indians and Aborigines, suggesting
Australia's indigenous people had once spent time on the sub-

The scientists carried out genetic tests on 966 individuals from 26 of
India's "relic populations'' and identified seven people from central
Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tribes who shared genetic traits only
found in Aborigines.

"We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes
we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines,'' Dr Rao said.

"This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated
to Australia via the so-called southern route.''

Scientists believe the first modern humans began spreading around the
world from Africa about 50,000 years ago.

However, little is known about which routes they took.

Some studies have suggested they used a single southern route
stretching from the Horn of Africa, across the Red Sea into Arabia and
southern Asia.

They were then believed to have moved along the coastlines of southern
Asia, south-east Asia and Indonesia before arriving in Australia about
45,000 years ago.

Dr Rao said the new research, published by online scientific journal
BMC Evolutionary Biology today, indicated there was now direct DNA
evidence about how modern humans spread from Africa 50,000 years ago.

"In this respect, populations in the Indian subcontinent harbour DNA
footprints of the earliest expansion out of Africa,'' he said.


Exotic tribes of ancient India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Exotic Tribes of Ancient India)

The classic Indian epics such as the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the
Puranas refer to many exotic tribes, describing them as superhuman or
subhuman. Narrations about these tribes are often mixed with mythology
and fiction. These tribes include Gandharvas, Yakshas, Kinnaras,
Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Nagas, Suparnas, Vanaras, Vidyadharas,
Valikilyas, Pisachas, Devas (within them Vasus, Rudras, Maruts,
Adityas) and Asuras (within them Danavas, Daityas and Kalakeyas.)

Mahabharata: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata
Ramayana: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayana
Puranas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas
Gandharvas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandharvas
Yakshas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakshas
Kinnaras: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinnara
Kimpurushas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirata_Kingdom
Rakshas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakshasas
Nagas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_(clan)
Suparnas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda
Vanaras: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanara
(Within them)
Dr Jai Maharaj: http://groups.google.co.in/group/soc.culture.indian.marathi/browse_thread/thread/a90deeba5e162e2b#
Vidyadharas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shilahara
(Within them)
Dr S Kalyanaraman:
Pisachas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pisacha
(Within them)
Ashok Chowgule:
Devas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deva_(Hinduism)
(Within them)
Dr Hedgevar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._K._B._Hedgewar
Maruts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudras
Adityas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adityas
Asuras: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asuras
(within them)
Danavas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danava
Daityas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bali_(Daitya)
Kalakeyas: No information available

Mythological beings or humans?

From a historical point of view, these exotic tribes simply may have
been tribes that did not interact frequently with mainstream culture
so that knowledge of them was very limited, which spurred the
invention of fables about them. One extreme and unlikely point of view
is that the exotic tribes were mythological beings or even aliens from
distant planets; this point of view usually assumes that the exotic
capabilities of such tribes, as described in classic literature, are
accurate and can be taken at face value.

Aliens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_life

The exotic capabilities included

the ability to appear and disappear at will
the ability to fly in air, with or without the use of an airborne
the knowledge of aircraft (vimana)
the ability to change shape at will (read Shapeshift)
the ability to read people's minds
the knowledge of other inhabited planets like the Earth
the ability to influence natural forces
In any case, these tribes had a profound influence on Hindu culture,
but remained separate from the culture, perhaps due to their
geographic isolation from the rest of the world. The tribes' bases
ranged from high mountains (such as the Yaksas and Rakshasas) to deep
forests (such as the Vanaras), or they were civilizations beyond the
mainstream Indian civilization (as with the Devas and Asuras) which
prevailed in the plains of Saraswati, Sindhu and Ganga.


Main article: Gandharva Kingdom

Gandharvas are described as fierce warriors who could challenge even
the great Kshatriya warriors. They were also skilled in art, music and
dance. Some Gandharva tribes were allied with the Devas and sometimes
with Yakshas. They inhabited the land to the north of Kailasa, close
to the Deva territories. The name Gandharva could have been derived
from the name Gandhara, since they might originally have inhabited the
inaccessible mountains of the Gandhara Kingdom. Later they might have
spread to the Saraswati river (seen by Balarama during his pilgrimage
over Saraswati). The Ramayana mentions a Gandharva kingdom named
Sailusha near the mouth of the river Ganga. Ghandarva shtan currently
became Pakistan and Afghanistan. The city of Kandahar in Afghanistan
is said to have been named after Gandhara.

Kailas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kailasa
Gandhar Kingdom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhara_Kingdom
Saraswati River: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarasvati_River


Main article: Yaksha Kingdom

The Yaksas were a tribe living in the area surrounding the Kailasa
range of the Himalayas. Their king, Vaisravana or Kuvera, was a
worshipper of Siva whose abode is thought to be Kailasa.

According to Ramayan Kubera established or rebuilt the kingdom of
Lanka (now know as Srilanka) and habitated with Yaksa people. Later on
Kuber's step brother Ravana (they had same father Vishrava) took over
Sri Lanka, upon their father's request Kuber moved to the region near
Kailasa mountain in Himalayas.

Lanka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanka
Ravana: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravana
Vishrava: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishrava


Main article: Kinnara Kingdom

The Kinnaras are a tribe often spoken of along with the Gandharvas and
Yakshas. The epic Mahabharata and the Puranas describe, regions north
to Himalayas as the abode of Kinnaras. Puranas mention about an Asura
with a horse head, who was known as Hayagrīva (which in Sanskrit means
the horse headed one; Haya = horse and grīva = head) This Asura was
killed by an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who took the similar form of
a horse headed human figure. In Egyptian sculptures also we see horse
headed figures or warriors employing an elongated face mask, which
resemble the head of a horse.

This region was also the abode of a tribe of people called Kambojas.
They were fierce warriors skilled in horse ride and horse warfare.
Some of them were robber tribes who invaded village settlements, by
raiding them using their skilled cavalry forces. The myth of Kinnaras
probably came from these ferocious warrior tribes, who terrorized the
Vedic settlements.

There is now a district named Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh which is
thought to be the domain of the Kinnara tribes. People of this
district call themselves as Kinnaurs.

Kambojas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kambojas


Main article: Kimpurusha Kingdom

Kimpurushas were described to be lion faced beings. They were often
mentioned along with the Kinnaras and the other exotic tribes. Some
Puranas consider Kinnaras and Kimpurushas as same while Mahabharata
contains passages where Kinnaras and Kimpurushas were considered as
two separate groups.


Rakshasas were described to have large bodies, probably due to their
continuous life in cold climates over snow-covered mountains.

There is a highly speculative hypothesis based on the genographic
project that many species of humans coexisted, all of them in a
culturally evolved state.[citation needed] Others have also expressed
similar views.[1] Rakshasas could be one of these species of humans
(like the Neanderthals of Europe and other places in Asia where
temperature was very low, like the Himalayan region) reduced to small
pockets like the high Himalayas and cool mountains of Srilanka, with
their social networks steadily shrinking.

Another view is that Rakshasas were normal humans who followed a
certain religious way (Vyam Raksham, Aggression and Protection of
spiritual life) as opposed to Yakshas (Vyam Yaksham, enjoyment and
pleasure ignore spiritual pursuits) and normal or middle path vedic
people or even nagas (snake worshippers). There were several other
such religious groups aka Dasas ("service and submission", Divodasa
and Sudas are called Aryan emperors and even heroes of Rigveda) whose
religious beliefs were different. Many times entire tribes or
localities were painted with names. As Vedic Hinduism slowly triumphed
over the other ways or paths and they got assimilated, aggressive
brahmins started naming underdeveloped or savage tribes with names of
their past opponents hence Rakshasas (who originally were all
brahmins) was a term misused as was Dasyu (the priests of dasas) which
came to mean savage.

Neanderthals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal
Dasas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasyu

Famous Rakshasas

Ravana was the most famous Rakshasa in Ancient India, who ruled from
the Trikuta mountains (Adam's Peak) of Lanka where the climatic
conditions were similar to Himalayas. He rose to the status of an
emperor who exerted his direct control from Srilanka up to the south
of Vindhya ranges in India, and indirectly the kingdoms beyond.
Ghatotkacha was a Rakshasa born of the Pandava Bhima and the Rakshasa
woman Hidimbi. Rakshasa Ghatotkacha's kingdom was in Himalaya between
Gangotri and Kailasa. The forefathers of Ravana also lived here along
with the Yakshas. The Yaksha king Vaisravana was the elder brother of
Rakshasa king Ravana. Ravana had many sons among Gandharva wives. The
two epics Mahabharata and Ramayana and many Puranas attest that
Rakshasas, Yakshas and Gandharvas were related and had inter-

Ravana: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravana
Trikuta Mountain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trikuta
Adam;s Peak: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_Peak
Ghatotkacha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghatotkacha
Bhima: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhima
Hidimbi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidimbi

The famous Rakshasa kingdoms in India were

Lanka Kingdom, ruled by Rakshasa emperor Ravana
Danda Kingdom ruled by Khara, Ravana's general
Rakhasa Ghatotkacha's kingdom in the Himalayas

Other kingdoms in the Himalayas


Main article: Naga Kingdom

Nagas were a group of people spread throughout India during the period
of the epic Mahabharata.The demi-god tribe called Suparnas (in which
Garuda belonged) were arch-rivals of the Nagas. However, the Nagas
near Kashmir seems to be the original abode of all of them. The name
of the place Anantnag might be related to this theory.

Naga Ananta (also known as Sesha and Adi-Sesha) was the first among
all the Nagas. He became an ascetic.
Ananta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananta_Shesha
The second Naga chief Vasuki had the kingdom near Kailasa (hence the
connection of Vasuki with lord Siva).
Vasuki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasuki
The third chief Takshaka, in Takshasila both not far from Anantnag.
Takshashila is named after Taksh, son of Bharat and nephew to Ram. His
brother Pushkar founded Pushkalvati modern Peshawar, they were not
nagas. Bharat defeated Gandharvas who had killed his uncle and his
sons established their rule over Gandharva kingdoms, Gandhara.
Takshaka lost his kingdom of Khandava and may have taken Gandhara for
Nagas post Mahabharata but finally lost it to Janamjeya.
Takshak: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takshaka
Takshashila: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxila
Anantanag: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anantnag
The kingdoms of other Nagas like Karkotaka and Airavata (near Iravati
River (Ravi, one among the five rivers of Punjab) were also not far
Karkotaka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karkotaka
The Kingdom of Aryaka was on Ganges. His greatgrandchildren included
Krishna and Pandavas.
Nagas had kingdoms in Nagaland and Andhra Pradesh. Arjuna's wife Ulupi
was from one of such Naga kingdom (in Gangetic Plain) Arjuna's another
wife Chitrangada who also was known to Ulupi was from Manipur
(location uncertain). There are now many Naga worshiping places in
South India, especially in Andhra Pradesh, coastal Karnataka and
Nagaland: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagaland
Andhra Pradesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andhra_Pradesh
Ulupi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulupi
Chitragada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitrangada
Manipur: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manipur

Naga race was almost exterminated by Janamejaya, the Kuru king in
Arjuna's line, who conducted the massacre of Nagas at Takshasila. This
massacre was stopped by Astika, a Brahmin whose mother was a Naga
(Vasuki's sister Jaratkaru).
Janamejaya: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janamejaya
Kuru: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuru


The Suparnas (also known as Garudas) were probably the Falcon
worshipping or falcon rearing Iranians who conquered the Naga
territories of north west India. They could also be the Dragon
worshiping Chinese people. They were arch-rivals of the Nagas. Garuda
was a famous Suparna. They had the ability to fly in air without using
an aircraft. Some literature tells that they had wings like that of
Angels. Some believe that they were birds like the hawk or eagle. Some
think that they were a race of intelligent Dragons in the family of
Dinosaurs, that became extinct during the dawn of human civilizations.

Yet another view is that Nagas and Garudas were the two rival factions
of the same tribe. Mahabharata also support this view since it
describes the two races originating from two mothers who were sisters.


Main article: Vanara Kingdom
Hawaii: No information available

Vanaras were a tribe who dwelled within dense forests. During the time
of Ramayana, the central part of Indian peninans was covered by a
dense forest by the name Dandaka Forest. Most of the Vanaras lived in
this dense forest. Kishkindha was their stronghold, that had sway
among the whole of the Vanara tribes spread all over the Indian
Subcontinent. It was situated in this forest, located now near the
Tungabhadra river in Karnataka state of India. Some literature
describes them as monkeys, some as apes.

See also

Kingdoms of Ancient India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdoms_of_Ancient_India
Naga (clan) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_(clan)


^ http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/03/14/neanderthal-africa.html
Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa
Mahabhagavata Purana of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa
Ramayana of Valmiki

Caveat Emptor: Only for educational purposes. Not good for propaganda.
Om Shanti

Warning: Wikipedia is not responsible for the added content in this
"Cut and Paste job"

2010-04-08 07:43:53 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth


Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow
Volume 5 : 3 Maarch 2005

Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.

Associate Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.

Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.


In India, many cultures and faiths, ways of life, dress and food
habits, traditions and rituals, are united. Different Indian religions
such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, a
variety of sects, and varying tribal religious beliefs are like petals
of one flower. This diversity extends over to the languages as well.
The four major language families - the Indo-Aryan, the Dravidian, the
Tibeto-Burman and the Austro-Asiatic - promote multi-lingual, multi-
cultural diversity and respect, all these co-exist in cultural

The Indian political, economic and socio-cultural contexts occur under
conditions of a multi-structural whole. Its economy centers around
agriculture wherein feudal, pre-capitalist and capitalist structures
co-exist. Its political system is the manifestation of the local
panchayat system with a combination of international political
systems. Its socio-cultural make-up is the combination of Great
Traditions with Little Traditions. Its Industry is a spectrum, ranging
from Information Technology to small-scale industries. Its legal
system ranges from the local panchayat system and tribal customary
laws to the district, state, high and supreme courts. Its people are
composite groups, a combination of caste and class, of 'jatis' and

In such a setting where collective sharing of cultures contradicts
collective rights and group identities, a discussion on cultures in
transition is bound to encounter complexities.


The aim of this paper is to focus on aspects of change within the
perspective of culture taking place among the tribal communities in
the Indian context. Implicit in the presentation is changing cultural
patterns resulting from the advancing tenets of globalization.

Culture in any society is dynamic, influenced by bi-directional
contact through language, education and religious practice. Language
encompasses a group's cultural practices, which are complex and
varying across social groups. Therefore, this paper will focus on
language related change occurring in units of activity in selected
tribal communities in India.


India's tribal population had for ages lived in isolation and had not
participated in main-stream socio-economic development. Even among the
tribal communities, inter-communication was restricted. In Nagaland,
for example, due to inter-village and inter-clan feuds, although the
tribes live in proximity, they are yet isolated from one another. The
feud is still carried over to the present time, where none of the
tribal languages is accepted for wider communication, even the lingua
franca - Nagamese lost out to English being accepted as the state
official language.


Culture is, assuredly, a perplexing phenomenon - ubiquitous in
presence, complex in detail, and as such overwhelming and
incomprehensible in its totality and in its intricacy. Any attempts to
grasp it all in analysis will, therefore, be frustrated from the
beginning to end. (Wuthnow et al, 1987, p.71)
Jenks (1993) discussing the concept of culture presents it as a four-
fold typology.

"1. Culture as a cerebral, or certainly a cognitive category: Culture
becomes intelligible as a general state of mind. It carries with it
the idea of perfection, a goal or an aspiration of individual human
achievement or emancipation. ...
2. Culture as a more embodied and collective category: Culture invokes
a state of intellectual and/or moral development in society.
3. Culture as a descriptive and concrete category: Culture viewed as
the collective body of arts and intellectual work within any one
4. Culture as a social category; culture regarded as the whole way of
life of a people: This is the pluralist and potentially democratic
sense of the concept that has come to be the zone of concern within
sociology and anthropology and latterly, within a more localized
sense, cultural studies." (Jenks, 1993, p 11-12)

Culture as defined in point 4 above is what is relevant in present-day
cultural practices. Culture is a collective way of life of a people.
As Pannikar 1991 points out,

the dichotomy that there is a difference between culture and nature is
not tenable in today's world. The very nature of man is a cultural
one. Man is a cultural animal. Therefore, the fundamental of cultural
activity is dynamic change. Social groups either live in geographic
and cultural isolation or because of population explosion, natural
calamities and the 'push-pull' factors between the rural and urban,
cross cultural flows between different cultural events in different
contexts are bound to happen.

The complexity of socio-cultural change in the Indian context is
enormous. Social groups are integrated in diverse socio-linguistic
setting in India.


Emeneau (1996) has identified several features of "tribalism" where
there is much more stress, as compared with the social units of
Hinduism, on kinship as the over-riding factor in the unit's
organization; reliance, in some cases on swidden ('slash-and-burn')
agricultural economy; lack of asceticism so prominent in Hinduism;
with a consequent fondness for the pleasures of the senses …. In food,
alcoholic drinks, sex, song or dance (i.e., at funerals, ritual
occasions, etc.). Further Hindu communities belong to 'jatis'
identifiable through their values.

The 'tribals' are outside the Sanskritic system of written codes of
Hinduism, and they are not 'jatis'. But jati and tribe are, however,
not in opposition to one another but are a cultural continuum, i.e.,
either a pure tribal, or a pure jati, under pressure from the
Sanskritic tradition takes on jati characteristics.

Based on areal factors, for example, tribes living in hilly isolated
areas are 'non-jatis'. "The Badagas who were a jati people when they
came to the Niligiris in the 15th century and then adopted tribal
characteristics are non-jatis. … There are the aboriginal tribes
"especially in Orissa who use cloth woven for them by Hindu weavers
from yarn they spin. When the Saora yarn is ready it is taken to a
Pano neighbour for weaving". (ibid)


As of 1991 Census, 8.8% of the total population of India is tribal.
93.80% are rural based and 6.20% are urbanized. Of the 623 tribal
communities, 123 (19.47%) are monolingual. Tribal bilingualsim is
rural whereas non-tribal bilingualism is urban. The shift to non-
tribal mother tongues has increased from 51% (1971) to 58% (1981).

Tribals in India originate from five language families, i.e.
Andamanese, Austro-Asiatic, Dravidian, and Tibeto-Burman. It is also
important to point out that those tribals who belong to different
language families live in distinct geographic settings. For example,
in South Orissa there are languages that originate from the Central
Dravidian family, Austro-Asiatic (Munda) family and the Indo-Aryan. In
the Jharkhand area, languages are from the Indo-Aryan, North Dravidian
and Austro-Asiatic.


Tribals in India live in the following five territories.

i.The Himalayan belt: (Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland,
Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, hills of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal
ii.Central India: Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh. 55%
of the total tribal population of India lives in this belt.
iii.Western India: Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Dadra and
Nagar Haveli.
iv.The Dravidian region: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil
v.Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.


The grammar of a language is essentially a culturally significant unit
of behavior. Within the cognitive world of a group, its terminological
system is encoded and decoded. When shift in language takes place,
reference to the standard symbolic system of the culture shifts.
Kinship terms, both address and reference, is an example, so also are
personal names (Frake, 1980).

If we consider words for birds, the Brazilian Indian tribe has no word
for 'parrot' but only 'kinds of parrots'. The concept 'to cross' /
dattu/ in Kannada has several contextual meanings in Jenu Kuruba,
i.e., 'to cross', 'to climb up', 'to climb down', 'jump', etc. Among
the several small tribes, the 'concepts' for 'color' and 'numerals'
are limited to their eco-system. Similarly, concepts for land,
animals, plants, soil, wind, weather, social relations and
supernaturals are different.


Language and ethnic identity are significant cultural parameters in
the life-style of its speakers. Mahapatra (1980), discussing ethnic
identity and language, shows that, in most cases, ethnicity is the
primary focus of group identity and that language and identity are co-
extensive, or one is derivative of the other.

There are tribal groups in India like the Malto speaking Paharia of
the Santal Parganas who are specifically defined as belonging to a
particular ethnic group. "The Paharia identifies himself as "en
malen", "I am the language speaking man", and rejects others as "ah
gohel", "he is a different language speaking outsider".

In other words, every individual is bound and attached by birth to kin
relationships, religion, language and social practices, as belonging
to a collectivity and is thus influenced by social norms and social


Extensive research conducted among these groups indicates that
"distinct and seemingly strange grammars of various tribal languages
are little windows through which we can see a distinct and different
mode of perceiving and conceiving the world … by these speech
communities" (Abbi, 1996). Influenced by contact situations these
groups have evolved ways and means to adopt and adapt to on-going

Tribal diversity seen as complex has resulted in processes of
convergence, with the major languages and vice-versa. Pilot-Raichoor's
1996 study of the verb stem of Badaga of the Niligiris, shows that
contrary to the theory of dominant language power, the language is
influenced by neighbouring tribal languages and not that of Kannada,
the dominant language.

Mohanty (1996) discusses aspects of contact and convergence of
phonological aspects, i.e., the loss of /o/ in Kui, Sora, and Oriya.

Israel (1996) shows morphological changes in the case of Kui with
Oriya as a result of language contact.

Annamalai (1996) discussing the linguistic diversity of India cites
the example of Jenu Kuruba, a dialect of Kannada, and Irula and Badaga
in the Niligiris and points out that in a dialect-language-continuum
it is difficult to distinguish boundaries between tribal and non-
tribal languages.

Singh (1996) shows how traditional occupations, such as, hunting and
gathering have been reduced by 44%. Terrace and settled cultivations
have increased thereby suggesting that they are settling down as

Khubchandani (1996) points out that tribes of the central belt of
India over-powered by the major regional languages use their mother
tongue only at home, whereas among the tribes from the Tibeto-Burman
languages from the north-east, due to political movements for
autonomous political power over the region, language shift is

As Frake (1980) points out, "any verbal response which conforms to the
phonology and grammar of a language is necessarily a culturally
significant unit of behaviour … which ultimately is applicable to the
'semantic' analysis of any culturally meaningful behaviour'.
Therefore, language shift necessarily entails culture change.


The causes could be complex. In multi-lingual, and pluri-cultural
societies in India, small linguistic groups show inferior complex
towards their language and culture. Some are unwilling to reveal the
name of their language. Haimendorf (1982) observes that in Orissa,
many prayers and magical formulae are also spoken in Oriya by the
Bonda tribe, as the Bondas think it proper that deities and spirits be
addressed in a 'superior language'. Khubchandani (1996) characterizes
the features of differential social pressures that cause groups to
maintain or shift their ancestral languages. They are:

1.Strong tendency to maintain tribal language identity.
2.Co-existence of tribal and non-tribal languages.
3.Overwhelming tendency to shift ancestral tribal mother tongue in
favour of non-tribal language.
4.Least resistance by tribal languages in favour of dominant

If we delve further into the reasons for such trends, we can posit
political and economic stimulants that reactivate identity assertion
among some tribes who have access to such forces. For example, in
reference to point 1 above, Khubchandani cites the tribal groups in
the north-east which are culturally and linguistically heterogeneous,
with members who are literate and vocal about their linguistic and
cultural rights, and yet they have achieved their demands. For point 4
above, the states in the south, UP, Gujarat, Daman and Diu are cited,
where tribal communities are illiterate, and their voice is still in
the wilderness and thus show a tendency to merge with the dominant

Therefore, the proposition that under compulsions of joining the
mainstream small cultures submit to pressures of assimilation needs to
be re-examined. It is access to the resources that are available that
seems to determine the course of assimilation. Some groups have access
to unlimited resources and others have access to only limited
resources. The illiterate and economically backward tribes have no
resources to assert their linguistic and cultural consciousness and
therefore are subdued to change.


The political situation in 1947 led to the partition of India. Sindhi
Hindus fled from the Sind. The Sindhi situation was very much unlike
the situation of people who fled from the West Punjab and East Bengal.
The latter had a geographic entity to return to and live in, and the
Sindhis were scattered across India. They spoke Sindhi at home but had
to adopt the local languages. This process has led to total geographic
and cultural displacement leading to language loss among the Sindhis.
As Daswani remarks,

Whereas the Bengali and Punjabi culture and language continue to
thrive uninterruptedly in Indian Bengal and Punjab, there is no
geographic Sind where the Sindhi language and culture can find succor
and sustenance. Consequently, a thousand year history of language
development and literary activity came to a virtual stop, since the
speakers of Sindhi were scattered all over India, perceived everywhere
as 'outsiders' as distinct from the sons of the soil. Many specific
Sindhi variants of the sub-Hindu culture have been taken over by local
Hindu variants (Daswani, 2000).
The present linguistic scenario is that Sindhis are illiterate in
Sindhi and their culture Hinduised.

The Parsis in India survive as a religious and cultural group but have
lost their region and language. The Tibetans who recently migrated
from the Tibetan linguistic area to non-Tibetan areas in India
practice a distinct religious and cultural identity. Trends in the
tribal languages and cultures present a similar situation when
compared to the non-tribal languages.


The level of literacy in the census reports of 1971 and 1991 is
compared in order to make generalizations of change occurring among
the tribal communities.

All India: The rate of literacy has decreased from 11.30% to 8.08%. It
could mean that those literate individuals and groups have changed
their socio-linguistic identity.

In order to bring in a common semblance in interpretation, the four
major trends that Khubchandani mentions has been taken for analysis

1. Tribal communities in the following states retain their ancestral
mother tongues. The rate of literacy is as follows:

1971 1991

Manipur 28.71 34.41
Meghalaya 26.45 85.53
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 17.85 9.54

The rate of literacy has tremendously increased in (a) and (b). But it
has lowered in (c). It has helped trigger re-assertion of their
identity. In Manipur, Aggarwal points out how the Meitei speakers are
fighting their cause to re-use the Meitei script in place of the
Bengali script. In Meghalaya, the schooling through the Khasi language
is possible at the University level.

II. A high percent of tribals return mother tongue in the following
states. The rate of literacy is as follows:

1971 1991
Nagaland 24.01 87.70
Mizoram - 94.75
Tripura 15.03 30.95
Arunachal 5.20 66.66
Assam 26.03 12.83
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 8.90 78.99

Except in Assam where the rate of literacy has lowered, which can be
attributed to tribal group unrest in the state, it has increased in
the rest of the states. These linguistic groups are against the
dominance of Assamese.

In Sikkim, Bihar and West Bengal between 25-40 percent claim a non-
tribal mother tongue. The rate of literacy is as follows:

1971 1991

Sikkim - 22.36
Bihar 11.64 7.66
West Bengal 8.92 5.60

In Sikkim it can be attributed to the reassertion of tribal identity.
In Bihar and West Bengal, the rate has decreased, which can mean that
they have adopted the state language.

III. States in the central belt and Himachal Pradesh, between 40-75%
claim a non-tribal mother tongue as socio-poltical forces subdue
retention of the ancestral language. The rate of literacy is as

1971 1991

Orissa 9.46 22.21
Madhya Pradesh 7.62 23.27
Maharashtra 11.74 9.27
Rajasthan 6.47 12.44
Himachal Pradesh 15.89 4.22

The scene clearly indicates trends in language shift.

IV. The groups in the south, west-coast and UP show least resistance
to shift to the dominant languages.

1971 1991

Andhra Pradesh 5.34 6.31
Tamil Nadu 9.02 1.03
Kerala 25.72 1.10
Uttar Pradesh 15.59 0.21

The scene in Kerala and Uttar Pradesh is significant and indicates
shift emerging.


The basic philosophy of technology is to influence cultural change.
The breakthrough that television medium has brought about is that it
relays Indian and non-Indian cultural philosophies as indicators of
globalization. To relay similar programs to reach the interior hilly
tracts of tribal communities in the name of development is to
consciously instill social discontent and inferiority of their
culture. It will act as model images to imitate which can lead to
identity crisis and change.

The television in India is a source to globalizing the major Indian
languages. Societal pressure for services through major languages may
have a homogenizing effect on the non-standard dialects and
sociolects. Urbanization and regional development has caused a stir in
the nature of language change.

Ishtiaq (1999) through spatial explanations, linguistic and social
descriptions, provides social, economic and political dimensions of
changing linguistic identities resulting in language shift among the
tribal population in India that is leading to assimilation into the
majority culture. The Korkus of the Khandwa Tehsil have made a
complete shift to Nimadi, a regional dialect of Hindi with no
intention to revive their traditional languages. "The people consider
themselves superior to those Korkus who have retained their
traditional linguistic identity and live in the Hersud Tehsil".

Researchers on the tribal languages indicate trends of shift from
their home language to the dominant language. While the process of
shift in language is occurring due to migration from the rural to the
urban, and language contact of the rural on the borders of the urban,
the role of television is expected to play a significant role in
sociolinguistic change.


The UNESCO has, over the years, argued that respect for the culture
and identity of people is an important element in any viable approach
to people centred development. We experience a rapidly changing world-
view caught in the throes of unmatched globalization where individual
group identity is emerging as a result of self-awareness and pride in
their culture, which is a source to empowerment. The cultural
rootedness of people in their respective societies, heritage and
living culture will promote economic development. Therefore, a smooth
transition from the local to the regional, national, and
international, carries with it ways to conserve and amplify
expressions of values and heritage (Dine 1999).

World bodies such as the United Nations and the UNESCO are keen that
all languages of the world are properly managed. And as follow-up of
this objective, World Languages Reports are being written to describe
linguistic diversity by studying its evolution, its current states,
explain problems that affect different regions of the world and find
solutions to linguistic communities in danger of extinction, keeping
in view the fact that conflicts that occur in the world are always
linked to questions of cultural and linguistic identity (Felix Marti,

The ratified Declarations of the Indigenous Peoples' Organisations
states that "the culture of Indigenous Peoples is part of mankind's
cultural patrimony and the customs and usages of the Indigenous
Peoples must be respected by nation states". But the problem in the
Indian context is that small and isolated ancestral languages and
cultures, whose number is less than 10,000 gets eliminated in official
assessments like the Census Reports. Or as Thoudam (2000) shows,

socio-economic conditions, educational backwardness and difficult
communication and transport facilities in the hilly tracts of Manipur
inhibit analyzing the languages of Manipur, let alone developing these
languages for use in education, administration, or mass communication.
His apprehension is that after a few decades some of these languages
might vanish. In case of a few languages, there is the crisis of
identity. For example, because of political reasons and fear of being
driven out, the speakers of Taraon in Manipur claim they speak
Tangkhul because they live in a Tangkhul dominated area. In other
words, languages with less number of speakers are bound to disappear.
Therefore, there are gross contradictions between objectives to be
achieved and methods of achieving.


Abbi, Anvita. 1996. Languages of Tribal and Indigenous Peoples of
India. The Ethnic space. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, New Delhi.

Daswani, C.J. 2000. Language Decay: Lessons from Indian Sindhi. Paper
presented at the International Conference on the Linguistic Heritage
of India and Asia.

Emeneau, M.B. 1996. Linguistics and Indian Tribal Languages. In Abbi

Felix Marti. 2000. World Languages Report. LINGUAPAX. Bilbao.

Frake, Charles. O. 1980. Language and Cultural Description. Stanford
University Press. California.

Furer-Haimendorf. C. V. 1977. Tribal Problems in India. Tribe, Caste
and Religion in India. In Romesh Thapar. Edited. Macmillan. New Delhi.

Ishtiaq, M. Language shifts among the scheduled tribes in India: A
geographical study. Motilal Banarasidass Publishers. Delhi.

Jenks, C. 1993. Culture. London: Routledge.

Mahapatra, B.P. 1980. Ethnicity, Identity and Language. Indian
Linguistics. 42. June.

Thoudam, P.C. 2000. Tibeto-Burman Languages of Northeast India -
Problems and Prospects (with reference to Manipur). Presented at the
International Conference on the Linguistic Heritage of India and Asia.
CIIL, Mysore.

Wuthnow, R. et al. 1987. Cultural Analysis. The work of Peter L..
Berger, Mary Douglas, Michel Foucault and Jurgen Habermas. London.
Routlege & Kegan Paul. Quoted in Lennart Svensson (ed.) Meeting
Rivers. Lund Studies in Education 5. Lund University Press.

Naming Process and A Call For Socio Political Reform | INDIAN RHETORIC
IN THE PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS, 1893 - Speeches of Vivekananda and

Jennifer M. Bayer, Ph.D.
Central Institute of Indian Languages
Mysore 570006, India bayer/***@ciil.stpmy.soft.net


Naming Process and A Call For Socio Political Reform
Rabia Malik


I just finished reading Nastartan Ahsan's latest Urdu novel, "LIFT"
and noticed a sudden shift in her storytelling. "Lift" is a reasonable
reading in Urdu fiction but when we put it up against the political
novels of other languages, the story seems to have gotten lost in
favor of Nastaran Ahsan's commentary on current political trend.

Modern day India is a nation brewing with sociopolitical issues that
threaten to broil over and acidify the nation with its ambitious
drive. Moreover, India is a nation with an electrically charged air of
change and modernization. Needless to say, the modernized India is not
the mirror image of a superpower such as America regardless of
prematurely succeeding at acquiring the technology and the intellect
to possess nuclear weapons making it the sixth nation to do so in the
entire world. India is on the throws of revolutionizing itself from
industrializing villages to taking bold steps to liberate itself from
the backward unenlightened traditions of the once rural India.
Nastaran Ahsan, the author of the contemporary novel Lift skillfully
uses the literary tool of characterization in order to take a snap
shot of the current environment of India.

A blemish on the Indian cultural and sociopolitical history has been
the caste system and its adverse treatment of the untouchables. An
otherwise apparent observation regarding the case of untouchables is
that it has been the root cause of the degraded and degenerating
Indian social order.

For a long period of time, the Indian mindset exerted its entire
energy at its disposal to construct a social order based on the
principles of purity and pollution, inferior and superior, included
and excluded, mental and menial labor, upper and lower castes. The
caste system restricted feeding, drinking, social intercourse imposed
civil religious disabilities, privileges of marriage and choice of
occupation to different sections. The hierarchy of caste fortified the
shackles of slavery and subordination.


Despite the sympathetic feelings that one may naturally acquire for
the cause of Dalits or the untouchables, the novel dares to portray a
Dalit character in the book as a source of treachery and deception in
stark contrast to his counterpart who (quiet arguably) is illuminated
as the epitome of human kindness and moral ethics.

Upon researching the cause or the current power clash, or the
consequences of the rise of Dalits to power, one finds a plethora of
research supporting the cause of the Dalits which successfully
illustrates them as the goodness at the core of all mankind. For
example, a text describes an arguably ruthless and corrupt politician
as a leader and spokesperson of the minorities, successfully depicting
her as a chivalrous saint in armor cutting defending the victims
against their suppressors.


Another text sheds light on the prejudice and hostility against the
Scheduled Caste claiming that it has not been diminished. Baghwan Das,
a director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights and an Advocaate at
the Supreme Court of India, claims that through articles and letters
published in international dailies, an impression is created that the
Schedule Caste employees are mentally and morally inferior.

This might implement a seed of doubt in the minds of Nastaran Ahsan's
readers that she too is a criminal in support of this hostile theory.
However it will prove to be a difficult task to insinuate Nastaran
Ahsan as the inciter of hatred against the Dalits, since Nastaran
Ahsan spends equal energy focusing on variety of other issues such the
search of woman identity through the character of Meeta, the
consequences of modernization in India, the political environment of
Indian colleges and universities, and the rift between Muslims and


After swimming through these stagnant waters of the debate, Nastaran
Ahsan uses Ajay Varma as a vehicle through which the reader is exposed
to the multi-facet aspects of India's society. Nastaran Ahsan
delineates how a Dalit character Nek Raam abuses the reservation
policy for Scheduled Castes that allows him to get promotion or
employment over possibly more qualified non-Dalit caste members.

Through Nek Raam, Nastaran Ahsan explores the nature of man that
entices him to exploit and abuse policies or situations to his own
advantage. Through Ajay Varma we are introduced to Nek Raam. With Ajay
Varma, the reader first falls in love with the sugar-coated surface of
Nek Raam and is eventually introduced to the hypocrite lying within.


Nastaran Ahsan uses the literary technique of naming her characters by
using simple words that gives insight to their personality. Similarly,
Nastaran Ahsan employs this device to first trick her readers and then
dramatize the plot. The name Nek Raam in Hindi means a person who is a
pious moral man possessing kindness. (Nek in Hindi means saintly or a
benefactor, Raam is a name of a Hindu God.) Naming people in such a
manner is very common in the Indian culture as well, and it serves as
a contradiction of the character that the reader comes to realize as a
manipulator. Nek Raam wins his readers and Ajay Varma through his
servitude and polite, heart winning behavior.

The seeds of suspicion are first implemented by Varma's pragmatic and
loving wife Seema who behaves coldly and abruptly towards him warning
her husband against "real" Nek Raam. Later on in the novel, the reader
comes to suspect Nek Raam for his involvement in the murder of a
university Registrar whose job he gets soon employs after the
Registrar's death.

Nek Raam is quite comfortable with using a lift (elevator) to climb up
the stairs as opposed to Ajay Varma, claiming that why one must toil
and work to achieve something when you can just as easily press a
button to attain the same goal. This appears to be his central
philosophy and his mantra since we steadily see him rise from a menial
worker to the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University, all
within a time span of a decade. Meanwhile there are other qualified
non-Dalits waiting for their promotion working within the university.


As India copes with the ups and downs of the Reservation Policy by
challenging the traditional caste system, it is also in the midst of
modernizing and industrializing its nation. Where once you had to
suffer a dusty ride of hours to get to your village, the auto-rickshaw
(small automobile) can take you to your destination within minutes.
There are shining new buildings and lighted stores (which cramp the
small streets of the village), selling sweets and variety of food,
trying desperately to attract the attention and interest of passerby
customers instead of just flies. However, poverty still reins the
land, even though the signs of the old-ways and traditions are

For instance, as Ajay Varma goes back to his home village, he notices
the hungry-eyed look and state of the people and ponders on the state
of mal-nutrition and poverty that racks the land of the "modernized"
India that's capable of achieving the status of nuclear power nation
despite the scenario that he sees before him.

Based on Manlow's pyramid, a man's primary necessity and concern is
food - feeding yourself for which you need money. Following that line
of thinking, as India mordernizes, the life that was once centered on
the farms and village rules is now shifted toward the city where one
can capitalize and profit from a variety of city's benefits including
education, health care, and, most importantly, employment.


The eradication of tradition is explicit in the choices of Ajay Varma,
for he chooses not to return after his studies to take up his
responsibilities as a farmer and a landlord. Likewise, his son is more
"modern" than himself. Ajay Varma likes walking in the open air and
reminiscing about the fresh air of his village; on the contrary, his
son prefers driving in a fast paced - air conditioned - car. The novel
ends with Ajay Varma meeting his only daughter-in-law clad in jeans
and a shirt, who didn't feel necessary to change into traditional
clothes upon meeting her in-laws for the first time.

Ajay Varma shifts to the city and spends his life going back home to
his village during vacations. That too comes to a gradual halt as his
parents pass away as an emblem of a death of a legacy and the
traditional India. His grand house in his village, a house that was
home to his ancestors who spent their lives living amongst the people
and, therefore part of his legacy, meets its final fate as well - to
be locked forever and eventually forgotten.


Despite the fact that everything is changing and India is being
modernized, the role and search of a woman-identity and her role is
still a challenge and a quest that the author explores through the
character of Meeta, a strong independent woman of the modern age.
Meeta is resolute and determined about pursuing her PhD degree and
completing her thesis, a classic dissident against the traditional
India which has dictated one and only role for a woman - the homemaker
- a child-bearer.

Unlike Seema who is portrayed as the perfect wife of Ajay Varma
perfectly content taking care of her in-laws, her son and the needs of
her husband, Meeta is uninterested in marriage and refuses to accede
to her role as decreed by society. This is obvious when Meeta refuses
to marry not only her lustful-arrogant suitor chosen by her parents,
but also Rajeesh who is a respectful, intelligent, dedicated
colleague. Her refusal and failure of being able to strike a
compromise with her fiancé regarding her education and possible future
employment terminates their engagement. Consequently, Meeta faces cold
and hurt faces of her parents and family instead of understanding and


Nastaran Ahsan continues to claim that a woman cannot succeed in the
society of India in its current treatment toward woman. This is
evident when Meeta leaves her home due to the fallout between her
parents and herself over the issue of marriage. She eventually leaves
her city for security measures, and ultimately the country to a
faraway land where she flourishes and has the opportunity to cultivate
and nourish her interests.

Nastaran Ahsan continues to explore other issues throughout her novel
to paint a clear image of the current day India. Always serving as
guidance and a voice of morality, the author speaks through the eyes
and writing of Ajay Varma, who allegorically tries to get his fellow
Indians to rise to the challenge of improving the state of their


Nastaran Ahsan is blunt in regard to the issues that she addresses.
She is very clear and doesn't employ too many literary devices except
the strong use of characterization. The author at times rampages about
moral and ethic issues addressed by Ajay Varma that at times tries to
be the ethical Bible of India. Nevertheless, the novel succeeds to
critically examine the current state of India that many may overlook.

Whether or not Nastaran Ahsan uses the novel as a pastoral to stand
and preach from, the meticulous attention paid to the sociopolitical
environment of India achieves the goal of informing its readers and
jarring them from their misconceptions and stupor of apathy.

The intent of this essay has not been to provide the final word, but
to suggest avenues of practical action and encourage further thinking.
Given the wide range of methods and mechanisms for pursuing social and
political change today, Indians have plenty of options to choose from,
the only challenge may be finding the most productive activities on
which to focus one's time and energy. But I leave that as an exercise
for the reader.


G. Balasubramanian, Ph.D.


The multilingual situation of India enables the speakers of one
language learn another language through contact or migration.
Migration results in the formation of linguistic minorities. The
peaceful and successful co-existence of linguistic minorities depends
upon their acculturation with the dominant culture and their
proficiency in that language. Learning the dominant language may be
influenced by many factors including the linguistic differences
between the dominant language and the language of the minority,
motivation, aptitude, and attitude of the learners. This paper focuses
on the attitudes of Tamil and Malayalam speakers living in Kerala and
Tamilnadu respectively toward each other's language.


The term second language needs some explanation. In India, English is
usually referred to as a 'second language'. This is only an academic
or curriculum-based reference. In this paper, the term 'second
language' is used to refer to the language one learns as an additional
language after one has acquired their mother tongue and this language
is used for day-to-day communication other than in family environment.
For example, for a Kannada speaker who acquires Kannada as his/her
mother tongue and migrates to Andhra Pradesh and picks up Telugu and
uses it for his/her day-to-day life, Telugu is his/her second


Of course, there are many problems in defining this concept because we
have to think whether he/she is a first generation migrant who already
acquired his/her mother tongue from a monolingual environment or a
second/third generation migrant who acquires the mother tongue and
second language simultaneously. This paper deals only with first
generation migrants. It is also to be kept in mind that an adult
learning a second language faces a different set of problems than a
child learning a second language.

The term 'acquisition' is used to refer to picking up a second
language through exposure, whereas the term 'learning' is used to
refer to the conscious study of second language (Ellis, 1986 : 6).
Since the present paper does not intend to study the process of
picking up a second language, no such distinction is maintained here.


It is also necessary to distinguish between the migration within the
language family and outside the language family. The situation, in
which a Marathi speaker moves to Gujarat where the language spoken
belongs to the same family of language, is different from the
situation in which a Marathi speaker moves to Andhra Pradesh where the
majority language is Telugu, which belongs to another family. Here the
learning difficulties of a cognate language learner are different and
relatively simple than learning a non-cognate language. This
difficulty or easiness is based on the proximity or otherwise of the
second language.


Lambert, et al. (1968) suggest that attitudes about language affect
second language learning. There are also studies (Wolf, 1964/1959) to
show evidences that the language attitude can have an effect on
whether or not language variety is intelligible. Before studying the
attitudes of speakers, it is important to understand how attitudes are
formed. According to Annamalai (1979:37), "the attitude of speakers is
determined by socio-cultural, political and historical factors which
are external to the language."


In the following paragraphs, an attempt is made to look at the socio-
cultural and historical aspects of Tamils and Malayalees from the
point of view of their respective languages.

Both the states of Tamilnadu and Kerala have settled minorities and
first generation minorities. The first generation migrants may not be
the permanent settlers. Government employees, businessmen, students,
etc., from Kerala are living in Tamilnadu. Businessmen, Government
employees and casual laborers from Tamilnadu are working in Kerala.
This kind of mutual migration in between these adjacent states in
South India is a common phenomenon. Such migrants may stay for a very
short period or even live in the territory of their choice for over 30
or 40 years.


It is possible to see some Tamil speakers who learn the Malayalam
language very quickly with good proficiency, while they live in
Kerala. It is also possible to see some Malayalam speakers who learn
the Tamil language very quickly with good proficiency. Likewise we
also come across Malayalam speakers living in Tamilnadu for years
together, who may not be able to handle Tamil properly. A similar
situation can be identified among the first generation migrant Tamil
speakers in Kerala. But it is generally felt that most of the speakers
of Malayalam when they migrate to the neighboring southern states
quickly learn the local language with considerable proficiency. When
the Malayalees move to Tamilnadu the speed in picking up the Tamil and
proficiency level is very high. On the other hand, in the similar
context, many Tamils manage with their Tamil particularly when they
migrate to the three neighboring states.


There should be some reasons for the contradictory behaviors of these
two linguistic groups with regard to learning a cognate language. The
first one could be the linguistic character of the languages
concerned. It is evident that Tamil and Malayalam are very closely
related. However Malayalam has many archaic features (Shanmugam,
1985:12). Phonologically Malayalam has got a unique position. The
observation by R. E. Asher and T. C. Kumari (1997:405) is noteworthy
in this context.

Perhaps more than any other Dravidian language, Malayalam has been
heavily influenced by Sanskrit. One effect of this influence has been
a considerably increased number of distinctive segments … compared
with the set found in Dravidian words. For some speakers, all the
phonological contrasts in the larger set are retained. For others,
these contrasts have been reduced in varying degrees.


If we accept this observation as a correct one, we can say that
Malayalam phonology is inclusive of Tamil phonology with exceptions
like the medial -ai- and final -ai becoming a; nd becomes nn etc.
Grammatically, according to L. V. Ramaswamy Ayyar(1993/19366 : 178),
the features of Malayalam morphology are directly related to or
immediately derivable from a stage of speech corresponding to what may
now be described as Early Middle Tamil. The changes from Middle Tamil
to Modern Tamil are to be accounted.

At one level Malayalam retains the Dravidian phonological and
grammatical features. Through the borrowed lexical items from Sanskrit
it expands its phonology by incorporating the sounds like aspirated
plosives and fricatives. Lexically, no quantitative analysis is
available for us on the number of Sanskrit words used in the spoken
Tamil or in spoken Malayalam. The general impression is that Malayalam
has more number of Sanskrit words in the ordinary spoken language
also. With regard to the written Malayalam particularly technical
terms, K. M. Prabhakara Varier (1979:4) categorically concludes, "In
modern Malayalam it would be extremely difficult to coin a scientific
term purely based on native roots".


To put the above discussion together, the 'dual identity' of Dravidian
(phonological and grammatical) and Sanskrit (Lexical) created a
peculiar place for Malayalam among the Dravidian languages. The pattu
tradition of Malayalam followed the Middle Tamil literary tradition.
Even after Malayalam became an independent language before 14th
century, Tamil continued to be a cultural and literary force.
Keralites had the constant exposure of Tamil through the passes like
Palghat and Chenkottai. Up to the early period of twentieth century,
Tamil musical dramas enacted in Tamil were very popular in Kerala. K.
M. Prabhakara Varier (1982:71) accepts that the influence of Tamil on
Malayalam literature might be due to some sociological and political
reasons. One can conclude that the influence may be due to the
continuing "dependence" of Malayalam on Tamil literary tradition in
addition to the Sanskrit tradition before developing its own literary

The "retention" of Middle Tamil linguistic features and "dependence"
of literary tradition might have developed in the collective
consciousness of Malayalam speakers a "love and affection" for Tamil


On the other hand, Tamil is phonologically, grammatically and
lexically (to a greater extent) Dravidian. Tamil is the only major
Indian language which has the least Sanskrit phonological or
grammatical influence. Because of this resistance, the pride for Tamil
among Tamil speakers is very high. The popular belief that Tamil is
ancient and mother to all the Dravidian language (as found in the
invocation song on the Goddess Tamil by Manonmaniam Sundaram Pillai)
also contributes to the pride of the Tamil speakers. Due to historical
reasons and modern academic training that highly values the mother
tongue, the ordinary Tamil speakers with some educational background
assume a "superior position" for Tamil.

The data for this article was collected from 60 informants (30 for
Tamil and 30 for Malayalam) in Annamalai Nagar, Trichy (both in
Tamilnadu) and Calicut (in Kerala) during 2004-05 with the help of a
schedule consisting of 72 questions. The informants are only first
generation migrants varying from two years to twenty five years of
stay in the other state. The informants include both males and
females, above the age of 15 and their education was SSLC or above.


The results of the percentage analysis clearly show a difference
between Tamil and Malayalam speakers with regard to their second
language learning attitude.

An Yearning to Go Back to Their Land

100% of the informants want to go back to their respective native
states. All these informants, both Malayalam and Tamil speakers,
reported that their language (their speech) is not "spoiled" or
"corrupted" by learning another language. It means that learning a
second language by a first generation migrant will not cost the
linguistic identity of the speaker.

Tamil and Malayalam Speakers' Claims - Pulling in Opposite Directions

100% of Malayalam informants ranging from 2 years of stay in Tamilnadu
claim to know Tamil to speak. 60% claimed that they could read Tamil.
20% claimed that they know how to write Tamil. On the other hand, in
the similar category, 60% of Tamils claim to know to speak Malayalam
and 30% claim that they can read, and nobody claims to have known to
write Malayalam. Their 'claim' and 'proficiency' may vary from one
individual to another. A direct proficiency test was not conducted.
But to a question whether the mother tongue speakers identify you when
you speak their language, 70% Malayalam speakers accepted that they
were identified as native Malayalam speakers by the native speakers of
Tamil. At the same time, 100% of Tamil speakers are of the opinion
that they are identified as Tamil speakers by the native speakers of
Malayalam the moment they started speaking Malayalam. This shows that
the Malayalam speakers either try to reach the near native accent, or
the Tamils are not conscious of the non-native accent.

Expectations of Proficiency

Two questions deal with the appreciation of the native speaker and
their expectation of proficiency from the second language learner. Out
of thirty informants, except one, all others say that their Tamil is
appreciated by the native speakers. At the same time, only 22% Tamils
say that the Malayalam speakers appreciate their Malayalam. This
question is supplemented with another question whether the native
speakers expect you to speak their language better. 80% of the
Malayalees feel that it is not so. 70% Tamil speakers say it is true
that the native speakers of Malayalam expect better expression in
Malayalam from them.


This kind of varied behavior between these linguistic groups needs
further clarification. This contrast in attitudes shows that Tamils
have 'tolerance' to the non-native accents, whereas the Malayalees
expect a better performance from second language users of Malayalam.

An ordinary speaker of Malayalam who does not have any linguistic
training is aware that their language is rich in various sounds. When
they come into contact with Tamil speakers they easily understand that
the contrastive pairs of nasal sounds, dental, palatal and velar
nasals, the contrastive pairs of trills. namely, hard and soft r
sounds, and the contrastive pairs of alveolar, retroflex and grooved
palatal laterals, the aspirated plosives and the fricative sounds are
the difficult areas for any Tamil speakers. Since they are aware of
the rich phonological system of their language, they expect the
speakers, especially Tamils to commit mistakes. They assume a
'superior position' with regard to their ability to pronounce various
sounds. This may by the reason why Malayalees are "intolerant" to the
imperfect and non-native accent use of their language by a second
language learner.

The Tamil speakers who happened to have contact with Malayalam also
understand the difficulty in learning Malayalam sounds. The Sanskrit
sounds are stumbling blocks to many Tamil speakers. For a Tamilian
whoever tries to speak Tamil in whichever way is welcome. The reason
for this kind of attitude is to be explained. The language loyalty and
pride of the Tamils may indirectly help to develop such positive
attitude. Moreover, one can interpret that the many different regional
and social variations (including Srilankan and Malaysian Tamil) allow
Tamil speakers to accept variations even with non-native accent.

70% of the Malayalam informants claimed that they knew at least some
Tamil prior to their migration to Tamilnadu. Many said that they could
understand and converse a little bit through watching Tamil Cinema. It
is a fact that Tamil movies are widely seen in Kerala, second only to
Malayalam movies. Similarly Tamil songs are very popular among
Malayalees. Two informants said that they had traveled in Tamilnadu
and picked up the language.


In language learning, the initial inhibition to use the target
language may be a great hindrance. The Malayalam speakers overcome
this through this kind of self-estimation that they know the language.
At the same time no Tamil speaker claimed to have known Malayalam
before coming to Kerala. The self-assertion of Malayalam speakers also
acts adversely as far as a Tamil migrant speaker is concerned.

To a related and opposite question, 100% Malayalees say that the
native speakers of Tamil do not know Malayalam. But 75% Tamil speakers
claim that they could even manage in Kerala with Tamil, since many
Malayalees speak Tamil.

A waiter in a hotel or a seller in a petty shop in Kerala speaks Tamil
to a Tamil speaker and the Tamils think that they can manage without
Malayalam. This attitude of Malayalam speakers does not allow Tamil
speakers to develop a need for learning Malayalam.


The explanation for such an attitude may be obtained with the help of
another question. This question was put to compare the difficulty in
learning either of the languages by a non-cognate language speaker.
Invariably all the informants, both Malayalam and Tamil native
speakers, expressed that Malayalam could be the difficult language to
learn. It is understandable that a Tamil speaker designates Malayalam
a difficult language. But many Malayalam speakers also ascertained
that Malayalam sounds are very difficult to acquire and it is the most
difficult language to speak.

Here also the attitude of Malayalees with regard to the learning
difficulty of their own language gives them the strength that they
already learned a very difficulty language with all possible sounds.
So they can pick up any language.


To sum up the brief report, the attitudinal differences between Tamils
and Malayalees with regard to their own mother tongue and the second
language seem to be the main reason for the variation in the quickness
and readiness in learning the other language among the Malayalam
native speakers.


Annamalai, E. 1979. 'Movement for Linguistic Purism: The case of
Tamil' in Annamalai, E.(ed.) Language Movements in India. Mysore :

Asher, R. E. and Kumari, T. C. 1997. Malayalam. London: Routledge.

Ramasamy Ayyar, L.V. 1983 (1936). The Evolution of Malayalam
Morphology, Thrissur: Kerala Sahitya Akademi.

Ellis, Rod. 1986. Understanding Second Language Acquisition, Oxford:
Oxford University Press.

Lambert, W. et al. 1968. 'A study of the roles, attitudes and
motivation in second language learning' in Fishman Joshua (ed.) 1968.
Readings in the Sociology of Language, The Hague: Mouton.

Prabhakara Varier, K. M. 1979. Studies in Malayalam Grammar. Madras:
University of Madras.

1982. purvakeralabhasha, Madras: University of Madras.

Shanmugam, S. V. 1992. malaiyaLa mozhiyin mutalilakkanam (in Tamil)
Chennai: Manivasakar Publications.

Wolf, Hans. 1964 (1959). 'Intelligibility and inter-ethnic attitudes.'
In Hymes, D. 1964. Language in Culture and Society, New York : Harper
and Row.


Nandhini Oza's Concern for the Tribal Welfare in
"The Dam Shall Not Be Built"

T. Jayasudha, M.A., Ph. D.
L. Divya, M.A. (Candidate)

Modernist Projects

Nandhini Oza is a social worker and an NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan)
activist. In "The Dam Shall Not Be Built" from Wither Justice: Stories
of Women in Prison, she deals with the displacement of tribal
societies by the intervention of modernist projects like the Sardar
Sarovar Project. As Mahasweta Devi remarks:

After independence there was steady 'disintegration of tribal agrarian
order in India under a steady influx of non-tribal people - land
hungry peasants and unscrupulous traders - accelerated by the local
administration acting in collusion with the British administration.
The tribals reacted to these developments in the form of a series of
uprisings in an attempt to throw out the intruders from their
homeland. The process of aimed resistance and revitalization movements
aimed at reconstructing tribal society continued sporadically. (Spivak
The Sardar Sarovar

The Sardar Sarovar Project aimed at constructing a dam across the
river Narmada. Nearly 245 villages in three states - Madhya Pradesh,
Maharastra and Gujarat were to drown in the waters in the proposed dam
area and were forced to move from their villages. As only 19 villages
were to be affected by the proposed dam, the government of Gujarat did
not expect any serious outcry or opposition. The government of Gujarat
considered it a prestigious project. But the oustees of the other two
states formed a mass movement to oppose the project with the slogan:

No one shall move, the dam shall not be built. (Oza 165)
About 4500 families were forced to move out of their homeland as the
State pressurized them to do so. Nandhini surveyed the villages with
her fellow NBA colleagues and was able to see only broken earthen
pots, mud hearths, wrecked roof tiles, … scattered pieces of damaged
household goods. … Their semi-broken homes accentuated the feeling of
being in ghost villages. (Oza 149)

Government Apathy

The indifference of the government about the displacement of the
tribals is brought out by Roy in her The Greater Common good: It
thinks nothing of destroying the sacred hills, and groves, the places
of worship, the ancient homes of the gods and demons of the Adivasi.
(Roy 114)
The Story

The protagonist, Revabai, is an Adivasi woman who lived in the village
called Jamli in Gujarat. Revabai and her husband, Dedliya refused to
move out like the other tribal families. The government did not
succeed in evacuating the Dedliya's from Jamli.

The firm resolve of the Dedliyas inspired thirty families which were
cheated at the relocation site returned to Jamli. In Jamli people
lived "in harmony with the nature around" them "even
intruders" (Spivak xxii) "unmindful of the rampage in the region" (Oza
152). Nandhini visited the Dedliya's and did not find them aggressive.
Dedliya narrated the consequences that lead to the imprisonment of
Revabai. Nandhini had met Revabai in the jail when she was imprisoned
for her participation in the NBA agitation against the Sardar Sarovar


Orissa Tribal Community

Linguistically the tribes of India are broadly classified into four
categories, namely

(i) Indo-Aryan Speakers
(ii) Dravidian Speakers
(iii) Tibeto-Burmese speakers, and
(iv) Austric speakers.

There are four hundred tribal languages, which means that most of the
tribes have their own languages. However, in a majority of cases,
these languages are unwritten ones. In Orissa the speakers of the
Tibeto-Burmese language family are absent, and therefore Orissan
tribes belong to other three language families. The Indo-Aryan
language family in Orissa, includes, Dhelki-Oriya, Matia, Halaba,
Jharia, Saunti, Laria and Oriya (spoken by Bathudi and the
acculturated sections of Bhuiyan, Juang, Kandha, Savara, Raj Gond

The Austric language family includes eighteen tribal languages namely,
Birjia, Parenga, Kisan, Bhumij, Koda, Mahili Bhumij, Mirdha-Kharia,
Ollar Gadaba, Juang, bondo, Didayee, Karmali, Kharia, Munda, Ho,
Mundari and Savarna. And within the Dravidian language family there
are nine languages in Orissa, namely: Pengo, Gondi, Kisan, Konda,
Koya, Parji, Kui, Juvi and Kurukh or Oraon.

There was a general misconception that tribal communities did not
possess languages but dialects. But with the extensive study of tribal
languages Linguists have come to the conclusion that tribal, do
possess languages. Tribal languages contain the same features which
other languages possess, such as (i) duality of structure (phonemic
and morphemic) (ii) productivity capability (creativity and novelty)
(iii) arbitrariness (no correlation between linguistic morphs and
their meanings) (iv) interchangeability (vocal and auditory functions
are simultaneous) (v) specialization (codes and code-switching
capability. (vi) displacement (abstractness of speech) (vii)
prevarication (ability to misrepresent reality) and (viii) cultural
transmission (learning and inculcation). Besides, tribal languages
have all the four subsystems, such as (a) phonomorphemic (b) syntactic
(c) semantic and (d) symbolic which other languages have.

The major difference between tribal and non-tribal languages is that
the former are unwritten ones. Nd therefore have no literay
traditions, but only oral traditions when one examines the entire
range of folklore of a tribe, he finds that the oral tradition of that
tribe is no less rich. Some of the major tribes have been trying to
develop literary traditions of their own , for example, Santhals of
Orissa have developed a script called Olchiki, for their language.
Their cultural organization has been priting and publishing primary
level text books, Santhals songs, myths,riddles, proverbs, anecdotes
and dramas in this script. And in addition, the cultural organization
has been printing newsletters and calendars of Santhal annual cycle

The tribes of Orissa though belong to three linguistic divisions, yet
they have lots of socio-cultural similarities amongthem. These
communities signify homogeneity of their cultures and together they
characterize the notion or concept of triblism.

Tribal societies share certain common characteristics and by these
they are distinguished from complex or advance societies. in India
tribal societies had apparently been outside the main historical
current . Hence tribal societies manifested such cultural features
which signified a simple socio – cultural parameter.

Habitat: A major portion of the tribal habitat is hilly forested .
Tribal village are generally found in areas away from the alluvial
plains close to rivers . Most villages are uniethnic in composition ,
and smaller in size . Village are often not planned at all.

Economy : Tribal economy is characterized as subsistence oriented .The
subsistence economy is based mainly on collecting , hunting and
fishing (e.g., the Birhor, Hill Kharia ) or a combination of hunting
ad collecting with shifting cultivation (e.g., the Juang, Hill Bhuiyan
Lanjia Saora, Kandha etc) Even the so-called plough-using agricultural
tribes do often , whereever scope is available, supplement their
economy with hunting and collecting. Subsistence economy is
characterized by simple technology, simple division of labor, small
scale units of production and no investment of capital. The social
unit of production and no investment of capotal. The social unit of
production, distribution and consumption is limited to the family and
lineage. Subsistence economy is imposed y cirecumstances which are
beyond the Control of human beings, poverty of the physical
environment , ignorance of efficient technique of exploiting natural
resources and lack of capital for investment. It also implies
existence of barter and lack of trade.

Considering the general features of their (i) eco-system (ii)
traditional economy (iii) supernatural beliefs and practices, and (iv)
recent “impacts of modernization” the tribes of Orissa can be
classified into six types, such as (a) Hunting, collecting and
gathering type (b) Cattle-herder ype (c) Simple artisan type (d) Hill
and shifiting cultivation type (e)Settled agriculture type and (f)
Industrial urban worker type.

Each type has a distinct style of which could be best understood in
the paradigm of nature, man and spirit complex that is, on the basis
of relationship with nature, fellow men and the supernatural.

1. Tribes of the first type, namely, Kharia, Mankidia, Mankirdia and
Birhor, live in the tiny temporary depend on forest resources for
their livelihood by practicing hunting, gathering and collecting. They
live in tiny temporary hunts made out of the materials found in the
forest. Under constraints of their economic pursuit they live in
isolated small bands or groups. With their primitive technology,
limited skill and unflinching traditional and ritual practices. Their
entire style of life revolves round forest. Their world view is fully
in consonance with the forest resources is vary significant. Socio-
politically they have remained inarticulate and therefore have
remained in a relatively more primitive stage, and neglected too.

2. The Koya, which belongs to the Dravidian linguistic group, is the
lone pastoral and cattle-breeder tribal community in Orissa. This
tribe which inhabits the Malkangiri, district has been facing crisis
for lack of pasture. Rehabilitation of Bangladesh refugees in the
Koystraditional habitat has created certain socio-economic problems
for the latter.

3. In Orissa, Mahali and Kol-Lohara practisc crafts.like basketry and
black-smithy respectively .The Loharas with their traditional skill
and primitive tools manufacture iron and wooden tools for other
neighboring tribes and thereby eke out their existence . Similarly the
Mahalis earn their living by making baskets for other communities.
Both the tribes are now confronted with the problem of scarcity of raw
materials. And further they are not able to complete with others,
especially in the tribal market where goods of others communities come
for sale. Because of their primitive technology.

4. The tribes that practice hill and shifting cultivation are many. In
northern Orissa, the juang and bhuiyan and in southern Orissa the
kandha, saora, koya, parenga, Didayi, Dharua and Bondo practice
shifting cultivation. They supplement their economy by food-gathering
and hunting as production.

In shifting cultivating the practitioners follow a pattern of cycle of
activities which are as follows : (i) Selection of a patch of hill
slope or forest land and distribution or allotment of the same to
intended practitioner ,(ii) Worshipping of concerned deities and
making of sacrificing (iii) Cutting of trees , bushes ferns etc.
existing on the land before summer month (iv) piling up of logs ,
bushes and ferns on the land (v) Burning of the withered logs, ferns
and shrubs etc..to ashes on a suitableday (vi) cleaning of the patch
of land before the onset of monsoon and spreading of the ashes evenly
on the land after a shower or two(vii) Hoeing and showing of seeds
with regular commencement of monsoon rains(viii) Crude bunding and
weeding activities follow after sprouting of seeds(ix) Watching and
protecting the crops (x) Harvesting and collectingcrops (xi) Threshing
and storing and storing of crons,grains etc. and (xii) Merry –
making .in these operations all the member of the family are involved
in some way or the other. Work is distributed among the family member
according to the ability of individual Member.

However, the head of the family assumes all the responsibilities in
the practice and operation of shifting cultivation.The adult males,
between 18 and 50 years of age undertake the strenuous work of cutting
free ,ploughing and hoeing ,and watching of the crops at night where
as cutting the bushes and shrubs, cleaning of seeds for sowing and
weeding are done by women.

Shifting cultivation is not only an economic pursuit of some tribal
communities ,but it account for their total way of life, Their social
structure, economy,political organization and religion are all
accountable to the practice of shifting cultivation.

However , shifting cultivation has certain demerits. Whenever shifting
cultivation is carried out on a steep slope it invariably invites the
agents age is of erosion and degradation. By deforestation soil loses
its water retention capcity. The sub-soil gets washed away and the
rocks and boulders are gradually exposed. Slowly and steadily the
shifting cultivation process causes the streams down the hill to dry
up. It also brings down heavy silts into the river basins, plains and
valley .The extensive deforestation effects rainfall.It affects the
life of animals and forest resources, and it also leads tonomadic
habits among the practioners.

In the past, land in the tribal areas had not been surveyed and
settled . Therefore,the tribals freely practiced shifting cultivation
in their respective habitats assuming that land, forest, water and
other natural resources belonged to them .There were two traditional
systems of land tenure prevalent among the tribes of Orissa , Among
the tribes of northern Orissa land the other resources were communally
owned and thus the annual distribution of plots on the hill slopes for
shifting cultivation was being done in a corporate manner,But among
the tribes of southern Orissa all such lands and other natural
resources were under the control of the village (tribal) head man ,who
on approach used to allot plots for use to individuals. And since the
evolution of Indian Forest Policy in 1952 and completion of survey and
settlement of land in tribal areas the traditional tribal land tenure
system has dwindled.The tribals therefore ,now have limited land
forest resources for the practice of Shifting cultivation and for
carrying on hunting ,collecting and gathering activities.

The pernicious,yet unavoidable ,practice of shifting cultivation
continues unchecked , and all attempts made to wean away the tribals
from shifting cultivation have so far failed. The colonization scheme
of the State Govt. has failed in Practice.

In certain hilly areas terraces are constructed along the slopes. It
is believed to be a step towards settled agriculture. Terrace
cultivation is practiced by the Saora , Kandha and Gadaba. The
terraces are built on the slopes of hill with water streams. In
terrace cultivation the available hill slopes are fully used, and the
available water of hill streams are tapped for cultivation throughout
the year as the water flows from one terrace to another in downward
motion .The terrace walls are riveted and packed with stones and
boulders, which cannot be washed out easily. In terraces paddy is
mainly grown and the per acre yield is quite high. The quantity of
terrace land under the possession of a family is not much.

5. Several Large tribes, such as, Santhal, Munda , Ho, Bhumij,Oraon,
Gond, Kandha, Mirdha, Savera, etc, are settled agriculturists though
they supplement their economy with hunting ,gathering and
collecting .Tribal agriculture in Orissa is characterized by
unproductive and uneconomic holdings, land alienation indebtedness,
lack if irrigation facilities in the undulating terrains, lack of easy
r soft credit facilities in the undulating terrains, lack of easy or
soft credit facilities as well as use of traditional skill and
primitive implemens. In general, they raise ony one crop during the
monsoon, and therefore have to supplement their economy by other types
of subsidiary economic activities.

Tribal communities practicising settled agriculture also suffer from
further problems, viz., (1) want of record of right for land under
occupation (2) land alientation (3) problems of indebtedness (4) lack
of power for irrigation (5) absence of adequate roads and transport
(6) seasonal migration to other places for wage earning and (7) lack
of education and adequate scope for modernization.

6. sizable agglomeration of tribal population of orissa has moved to
mining, industrial and urba areas for earning a secured living through
wage- labor. During the past three decades the process of industrial
urbanization in the tribal belt of Orissa has been accelerated through
the operation of mines and establishment of industries. Mostly persons
from advanced tribal communities , such as Santhal, Munda Ho, Oraon,
Kisan ,Gond etc. have taken to this economic pursuit in order to
relieve pressure from their limited land and other resources.

In some instances industrialization and minig operations have led to
uprooting of tribal villages, and the displaced became industrial
nomads. They lost their traditional occupation,agricultural
land,houses and other immovable assets. They becameunemployed and
faced unfair competition with others in the labor market. The
aspiration gradually escalated, although they invariably failed to
achieve what they aspired for .Thus the net result was frustration
occasionally their disappointment has been reflected in unrest and
agitation. They Jharkhand movement also capitalizes on these issues.

While it is neither possible nor desirable to halt the process of
industrialization,the authorities must contemplate built –in
safeguards for all those who are affected by it.

In a discussion on tribal economy it is essential to dilate briefly on
the concept of “Primitivism”,
Because tribal communities in general are branded as primitive. The
concept of ‘Primitive’has been subjected to increasing criticism by
anthropologists. The term is considered as a cliché and a derogatory
one it is contempyuous and obfuscating. The term represents an
ortholinar view point and a less advanced technological stage. Tribal
societies, labeled as primitive ,are almost in a state of
equilibrium .The change though is ubiquitous, its pace is slow in
tribal societies , because of geo-historical reasons , Branding the
tribal communities as ‘primitive ‘ in an egregious error, because the
more we understand the tribal communities , the better we understand
the ourselves. The term ‘primitive’ denotes a particular configuration
of certain phenomena, that is(i) small scale homogeneous kin –based

With simple division of labor (ii) social and political Organization
go hand in hand (iii) relative isolation with a specific geographical
location(iv) egalitarian society ,lack of significant competition and
the normative order rests on cooperation(v) techno-economic level is
low with the lack of formal education and capitalistic orientation(vi)
personality is endowed with an over powering sense of realism and
pragmatism.(vii) religious beliefs and performances directly
contribute to a strong sense of personal security, and (viii)
monolingualism contributing to socio –cultural isolationism.
Therefore, what one notices here is that the largest significant
reference group is the ‘tribe’ or a segment of it, the sub-tribe’ this
is, a single, endogamous ethnic group occupying a more or less
contiguous territory. in some cases, e.g., Santhal, Munda and Ho
describe themselves as ‘Hor’ meaning ‘man,’ which others are ‘Diku’ or

The tribes are segmented into exogamous (partilineal in Orissa)
totemic (excepting the Saoras) clans. Frequently with territorial
cohesion and strong corporate identity. Clans are segmented into
lineages with known genealogical ties which function as effective
corporate social units.

The overall kinship system of the tibes may be labeled as ‘tempered
classificatory.’ In terminology the emphasis lies on the unolineal
priniciple,generation and age,Descent and inheritance are patrilineal
and authority is patripotestal among all tribal communities of Orissa,
On the basis of kinship organization Orissan tribes can be divided
into two categories. The kinship system of the tribes of the Dravidian
language family is’bifurcate mergine’ type’ whereas the tribes of the
other two language families is bifurcate collateral type.

As regards the acquisition of brides for marriage the most widely
prevalent practice among the triribes of Orissa is through ‘capture’
although other practices such as, elopement,purchase service and
negotiation are also there .With the passage of time negotiated type
of marriage which is considered prestigious,is beingpreferred more and
more. Payment of bride- price is an inseparable part of tribal
marriage ,but has changed to the system of dowry among the educated
sections. In the past tribal marriages used to be performed in the
house of the groom,but In recent times well to do and educated tribal
families have changed the marriage booth to the bride’s parental
home.After marriage the bride goes to the houses of her –in-laws.
Therefore, family among all the tribal communities of Orissa is
patrilocal. Among some of the Dravidian tribal communities of Orissa
the custom of ‘prescriptive’and ‘preferential ‘ marriage are here,
that is marriage with mother’s brother’s daughter or fathers’s
brother’s daughter.

Excepting the Kandha this custom is in operation mong other Dravidian
tribes of Orissa.

Among the tribes there is very little specialization of social roles.
With the exception of role differentiation in terms of Kinship and sex
and some specialization in crafts, the only other role specializations
are head-man, Priest, Shahman and the Haruspex.

There is very little rigid stratificationin society.The tendency
towards stratification is gaining momentum among several settled
agricultural tribes under the impact of modernization.The tribes of
Orissa are at different levels of socio-economic development.

The religion of the Orisssa tribes is an admixture of animism,,
animatism, nature worship, fetishism, shamanism, anthropomorphism and
ancestor worship. Religious beliefs and practices aim at ensuring
personal security and happiness as well as community well-being and
group solidarity. Their religious performances include life-crises
rites, cyclic community rites, ancestor and totemic rites and
observance of taboos. Besides these, the tribals also resort to
various types of occult practices. In order to tide over either a
personal or a group crisis the tribals begin with occult practices,
and if it dies not yield any result the next recourse is supplication
of the supernatural force.


Indian Literature in Tribal Languages: Mizo Songs and Folk Tales

by Laltluangliana Khiangte
Paperback (Edition: 2004)

Sahitya Akademi
ISBN 8126013648

Size: 8.3" X 5.3
Pages: 186

Our Price: $10.50


Indian literature is marked by its immense variety of styles and forms
and the rich interchange of language traditions that form its complex
fabric. The distinction between the classical or elite and the oral or
folk styles of composition has not been as sharp in India as
elsewhere, though of course such a distinction is bound to arise
wherever writing Is used as a means of literary communication.
Similarly, literary traditions in India have not evolved exclusively
along the lines of development of one and the only standardized
variety of any of our languages. Rather they have developed through an
active interchange between regional varieties and standard forms. As
such, no acquaintance with literature in any Indian language will be
adequate in absence of an acquaintance with literary compositions in
related dialects. Again, the linguistic complexity of our social
situation is such that it is often impossible to decide whether a
certain speech style forms the dialect of a given literary language or
if it is an entirely independent but related language itself. Most of
the speech varieties forming the basis of the culture of tribal
communities in India are of this nature. Of course, the exceptions to
this general observation too are large in number; and there indeed are
many languages spoken by tribals that are clearly independent

The dialects and languages spoken by tribals in India are very large
in number. The literary compositions in most of them have survived in
oral form, though some tribal languages have taken to writing as a
means of recording literary compositions. The value of these oral
literary works can by no means be undermined. Conventionally, they
have been perceived as mere anthropological curiosity, or at best a
source for oral history. They have rarely been translated into English
or an Indian language as a representation or tribal imagination.

However, no systematic attempt to document and publish literary works
in tribal languages- as literature per se - has been made in the past,
the need for which can be hardly over emphasized. In order to meet
this need, Sahitya Akademi has literature in tribal languages. It is
proposed to bring out these publication in two streams: in one stream,
short anthologies will be published giving the original works together
with their translation in a related language, in most cases the main
languages of the particular state; and in the second stream, a series
of volumes will be published containing the original works, their
Roman transliteration as well as their translation in English/Hindi
and in a state language. The present volume of Mizo literature
compiled by Lalthuangliana Khiangte belongs to the first series in the
same series, other volumes containing Kunkana-Dangi, Warli, Bhilli,
Dehwali and Garhwali literature have been published.

These volumes are not intended to be seen as exhaustive compilations
but only as representative sampling of literature in the respective
language. It is hoped that the general readers in the respective
languages, and the students of literature, history anthropology and
tribal culture will find them of sufficient interest.

The dialects and languages spoken by tribals in India are very large
In number. The literary compositions in most of them have survived in
oral form though some tribal languages have taken to writing as a
means of recording literary composition. Conventionally, they have
been perceived as mere anthropological curiosity, or at best a source
for oral history. They have rarely been translated into English or an
Indian language as a representation of tribal imagination. In order to
meet the long felt need for bringing out a systematic series of
India's tribal literature, Sahitya Akademi has established a Project
of Indian Literature in Tribal languages and Oral Traditions. The
editor of the Mizo Literature volume, Dr. Laltluangliana Khiangte is a
well known Mizo poet and scholar.


Foreword iii

Introduction v

Folk Songs and Contemporary Poems 1-76
Folk Songs 3
Early Compositions 9
Devotional Songs 11
Nature Poems 34
Love Songs and Contemporary Poems 48
Folk Tales 77-170
Chhura : Undisputed hero of Mizo Folk Tales 79
Memorable Accounts of Men Folk 104
Tales of Women Protagonists 123
Tales of Love and Compassion 147
Animal Tales 165

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...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-10 00:16:24 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

All Adivasis will get land: Minister
A Correspondent

MUNNAR: Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities
A.K. Balan said here that all Adivasis in the State would be allotted
land and houses.

Speaking at a ‘Pattaya mela,' organised on Friday, the Minister said a
plan of action would be drawn up jointly by the Revenue, Forest and
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe departments to ensure basic
facilities for tribal people. The right of the tribal people over
forest land had cleared the bottleneck in development of tribal areas
and basic facilities would be made available to them, he said. The
Supreme Court order in this regard had rightly endorsed the steps
initiated by the State government, the Minister said. However, due to
red-tapism, the welfare measures initiated by the government had
slowed down. The projects initiated for the welfare of the poor would
be completed within a year, he said.


Volume 18 - Issue 09, Apr. 28 - May 11, 2001
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

Trouble over Man

The Madhya Pradesh government's resolve to go ahead with the
construction of the Man project without implementing the land-for-land
rehabilitation policy agitates the Adivasis who would be affected by
the project.

in Dhar

THIS monsoon, another tragedy is waiting to occur. And the place once
again is the Narmada Valley. The dam in question this time is on the
Man river and is one of the 30 big dams that form a part of the
gigantic scheme devised by the Narmada Valley Development Authority to
harness the waters of the Narmada and its tributaries.

As has happened in the case of other projects here, the issue revolves
around rehabilitation. Some 993 Adivasi families (about 5,000 persons)
belonging to 17 villages in Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh will be
affected when the monsoon breaks this year and submerges their lands.
Generations of these Adivasis, mostly Bhils and Bhilalas, have
inhabited these plains cultivating corn, wheat, cotton and pulses on
the fertile black soil irrigated by the perennial Man.


Adivasis sit in dharna at the Man dam site under the banner of the
Narmada Bachao Andolan demanding total rehabilitation ahead of the
monsoon of those displaced by the project and a halt to the
construction activity.

On March 21, hundreds of Adivasis stormed and occupied the dam site
demanding total rehabilitation prior to the monsoon of the families
affected by the dam and a halt to the construction activity. About 250
protesters were arrested and lodged in the Dhar jail. Later 33 persons
were released and the rest, who included women with babies in their
arms, remained behind bars. Fifty children who participated in the
dharna were taken to jail along with the adults but were released
immediately. On the seventh day of the protest, all but two women,
Chittaroopa Palit and Urmila Patidar, were detained. Palit is a field
worker of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and Patidar is an NBA
volunteer. Incidentally, Patidar is one of the persons affected by the
now-stalled Maheshwar dam project. The NBA activists were charged with
committing atrocities on the Adivasis. In order to detain the
protesters, warrants relating to old cases were submitted to the Jail
Superintendent. The jail official received warrants against Palit for
six cases in Dhar and for five cases from the Mandleshwar Court.
Warrants were also served by the Khargone Court, directing that she be
produced before it. Palit and Patidar were detained for 13 days.

Palit says: "The case against me and 13 others under the SC/ST Act
states that we abused Adivasi policewomen as we beat them up, saying
Randi, phir aa gayi. Tum logo se kya hoga, Bhildi? (There is nothing
you can do to stop us, Bhildi). Bhildi is a contemptuous way of
referring to Adivasis. Of course it is not clear why someone
participating in a movement for Adivasi rights should use the word
Bhil pejoratively."

IT is evident that the NBA had made a determined effort to resolve the
Man issue through dialogue and that it resorted to the agitation only
after these failed. A brief timeline proves this. On January 24, the
affected families staged a demonstration in front of the Dhar district
headquarters demanding that the construction be stopped and that a
land-for-land policy be implemented. On January 30, the government
acquiesced to the demand to halt work. However, construction work re-
started on February 9. On February 20, Deputy Chief Minister Subhash
Yadav chaired a meeting at which the affected people raised questions
about the incomplete rehabilitation. This was the first meeting of the
Punarvas Ayojan Samiti, a committee for rehabilitation, appointed by
the government to look into alternatives for the proposed projects and
study the rehabilitation process. From the protesters' point of view
the meeting was a failure since they were not allowed to present the
entire issue. The meeting adjourned halfway through.

THE struggle against the Man project started four years ago. The
construction of the dam began in November 2000 despite the fact that
no move had been made to rehabilitate the affected families. One key
aspect of the rehabilitation policy is that any person losing more
than 25 per cent of his or her landholding is entitled to irrigated
agricultural land in the rehabilitation process. As is true in the
case of other Narmada Valley dams, the majority of the displaced
persons will be Adivasis. Initially the authorities presumed that the
general lack of land deeds and other papers of ownership among them
would make land acquisition easy. However, Schedule V of the
Constitution safeguards Adivasi rights. A Supreme Court ruling that
prevents the transfer of land from an Adivasi to a non-Adivasi for any
purpose lends further strength to the constitutional provision.

The rehabilitation policy states that cash compensation can be given
only to those affected persons who apply for it. And if the applicant
is an Adivasi then the Collector must issue a certificate stating that
the payment of cash compensation, rather than the allotment of
alternative land, will not be detrimental to the future of the

In 1990 and 1991, some Adivasis affected by the Man project accepted
small amounts of cash compensation. They now say that they were
coerced into accepting these by government officials who told them
that if they did not accept the money at that point they would get
nothing. Their claim is borne out by the fact that there is no record
of applications made by Adivasis nor of any certificate issued by the


The Man dam is one of 30 large dams planned by the Narmada Valley
Development Authority. About 250 protesters were arrested when they
reached the dam site on March 21.

Chittaroopa Palit says: "The choice of cash against land has to be
voluntary in the case of any of the oustees, especially in the case of
Adivasis since they are not integrated into the monetary economy and
there are several covenants against the purchase or acquisition of
tribal lands for cash. The Collector is meant to investigate first and
then verify whether acceptance of cash would lead to the pauperisation
of the family. In the case of Man there was no application, nor was
there any investigation by the administration. They were just forced
to take cash - that too a pittance - nearly a decade ago, without
being informed of their rights."

The Man project, with a proposed height of 53 metres, received
environmental clearance in 1994. A precondition for the clearance was
that the affected Adivasis must be resettled on non-forest
agricultural land - a policy statement that was reinforced by the
State government's own policy that stipulated a land-for-land
resettlement. Yet cash compensation transactions did take place. As a
result of these violations, the appraisal committee of the Central
Environment Ministry blacklisted the project in 1984. In 1997, when
eviction notices were handed to the Adivasis, they rallied together
under the banner of the NBA.

After three years of pressure, the State government agreed to convene
a committee for rehabilitation. A government order clearly bars all
construction activity that might endanger any affected person whose
rehabilitation was yet to be completed. Work resumed on the spillway
of the dam in October 2000, potentially endangering the lives of over
500 Adivasis during the coming monsoon. Work was stopped following a
public protest, but it resumed after 10 days under police protection.

The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal, which was appointed by the Union
of India in 1969 to arbitrate differences among the three States of
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat on the sharing of the Narmada
waters, has made precise provisions in its award stating a land-for-
land principle in matters of land compensation. The award also
stipulates that there should be community resettlement to facilitate
easier resettlement of families. The rehabilitation package provides
for house plots (in some cases, with construction costs) and
cultivable irrigated or irrigable land. The Madhya Pradesh government
based its 1989 rehabilitation policy on this, but Palit says those
affected by the Man project "have not been given the mandatory house
plots nor the basic village infrastructure under the Madhya Pradesh
policy. When the reservoir fills up this year, the people will have
nowhere to go."

Project officials say they have prepared an emergency plan. To
compensate for the permanent submergence of the lands and homes of
over 500 people the NVDA has proposed temporary camps to provide
shelter, food and medical assistance. Half of the minimum wages for
the initial monsoon months have also been promised, but as Palit asks,
"what happens after that?"

To date only 22 Adivasis have been given lands, which according to the
NBA is either encroached or uncultivable land. Ironically, the
rationale of the Man dam is itself questionable. The project's
promoters say that it will vastly increase the scope for irrigation.
But a 1998 Task Force investigation revealed that 54 per cent of the
command area was already irrigated and the remaining land was
unsuitable for irrigation. It was also found that the existing
irrigation facilities were not being maximised.

A project official conceded: "If the dam construction proceeds as per
plan, the crest level of 286.10 metres will be achieved by the monsoon
of 2001. At this height, at the maximum water flow of 10 cumecs along
with the backwater effect, 993 families will be affected. Of this, 283
families have vacated and 710 are yet to vacate the submergence

Regardless of these facts, NVDA officials are adamant about continuing
the work. They argue that the grant of NABARD (National Bank for
Agriculture and Rural Development) credit for the project requires
that the dam be constructed by June 2001.

The controversy about the Man project is the first major one to erupt
in the Narmada Valley after the Supreme Court judgment on the Sardar
Sarovar dam. Bolstered by the judgment, Madhya Pradesh is forging
ahead with the construction work, largely ignoring all directives on
rehabilitation. The Man events indicate that the State government will
take up similar projects in the coming months.

Summing up her experience with regard to the project so far, Palit
says: "After the Supreme Court judgment, they (the government) think
it is a free-for-all. On January 28 they called a meeting of the
committee on the Veda and Goi projects, which were meant to be
alternatives to these large dams. I am also a member of this
committee, which was set up under the orders of the State government
issued in May 1999. We had staged a 21-day fast in Bhopal. The
committee was set up in late 2000, and at the first meeting, held in
January, we were told in no uncertain terms that there was no question
of alternatives and that the government would go ahead with the large
dams. Then came the meeting of the committee on the Man-Jobat projects
where they basically said that everything had been done and that they
would construct the dam to its full height."


Saffronisation, Adivasis and the politics of south Gujarat
Dionne Bunsha

Bharuch, Gujarat

Danubhai Vasava is one of the lucky few in Kadvali village of Bharuch,
south Gujarat. He will be able to vote during this election. Many
others will not be there on polling day. More than half of Kadvali's
residents have locked up their homes and have migrated to the cities
for work. They will be back in the monsoon to work on their farms.

"When the crop is harvested, people sell it and spend all the money.
Then, they have to leave for the cities in search of work," says
Danubhai. Subsistence is the overriding concern in this hilly Adivasi
region. But politics here does little to address these issues. The
little social development that exists here was initiated by Christian
missionaries. But their work has diminished of late.

Over the last 15 years, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been trying to
get the largely Christian Adivasi population here to embrace

"The VHP says it is doing religious work. But if you go for any of
their big meetings, you will realise that they are political rallies.
Politicians are present. In their religious sammelans, they spread
hatred about Christians and Muslims. Even their social work is one-
sided," said Raisinh Vasava from nearby Umerkhadi.

Raisinh has run through the entire gamut of religious outfits — from
the missionaries to the VHP. He left the VHP a few years ago to join
an Adivasi rights organisation. Explaining the VHP's modus operandi,
he says: "They recruit the more educated people in the village and try
to get a hold of the community through them. They break the unity in a

"Initially, the missionaries did a lot of work here. They built
schools and community centres. But later, they became like
politicians," says Kuvarji Vasava, whose son Mansinh runs a VHP creche
here. "The Ayodhya campaign started at a time when we were disgusted
with the missionaries. So, many of us were drawn to Hinduism." The Ram
temple campaign awakened a `Hindu' identity among people who had never
even known what an aarti was. That was when the BJP/VHP struck roots
in the Adivasi areas.

Most Adivasi areas were Congress strongholds. But over the years, the
BJP managed to establish a hold. In the last Lok Sabha elections, the
BJP won all the four reserved Scheduled Tribe seats. "People were
united during the Congress rule. But they didn't do much. That really
angered people," says Danubhai. Even now, the Congress presence is
minimal, compared to the Sangh Parivar's active network.

In the 1980s, the Congress had gained popularity using the KHAM
(Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim) formula. Its policies were
geared towards the downtrodden. However, over the years, the BJP has
cut into the Congress vote bank, not only in Adivasi areas but also
among the OBCs and Dalits.

"Yes, the BJP has got Dalit support. But it is mainly in urban areas.
That is because the impact is largely confined to the cities.
Moreover, the BJP has many wings of the Sangh Parivar working for it.
The Congress is not as organised," says Praveen Rashtrapal, a Congress
MP from Patan, a constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes. Of the
two reserved SC seats, the BJP won one last time.

Even in the cities, some Dalits have seen through the BJP's plan.
"Because of the riots, we voted for the BJP. But we won't make the
same mistake again. They fooled us. They were the ones who started the
riots. But they made us believe that they would save us. They have
done nothing. This time, we won't vote for them," says Mehru Vaghela,
a resident of Gomtipur, Ahmedabad's mill area. A large chunk of Dalit
mill workers live here. Most mills shut down. Many unemployed are just
hanging around the streets.

Mehru used to work in the Ramkrishna Mill earning Rs. 75 daily. The
mill closed in 1986. For many years, he was without work. Now he works
in a spinning factory for Rs. 50 a day.

"See how we have fallen. I don't have money to shave. In every house
here, people are unemployed. Their wives have become ragpickers. They
scrape together only one meal," he says.

But many youth have not yet seen through the BJP's game plan. "The BJP
has protected Hindus. The Congress supported Muslims," says Kanu
Macwana, a local BJP supporter. However, the older generation are
still traditional Congress loyalists.

Unlike in other States, Dalits in Gujarat haven't been able to
mobilise an alternative political force. Mainly because they
constitute only 7 per cent of the population, unlike in States such as
Maharashtra where they are 27 per cent.

"Poorer sections tend to move from one party to another because they
try to get the benefits of power. That is maybe why some of them
support the BJP. However, you can't generalise on a Dalit vote or
Adivasi vote," says Ramesh Parmar, a Dalit activist.

It is because political parties have deflected attention from
development that many voters may not turn up to vote. Not in disgust.
But simply because many villages such as Kadvali are empty. Migrants
cannot afford to vote.


Buck stops with me: PC
April 10th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: 7%, Dantewada, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Maoists, P. Chidambaram,
Union home minister

New Delhi, April 9: Under increasing fire after the Maoists massacred
76 CRPF jawans at Dantewada earlier this week, the Union home
minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, offered to resign in an effort to salvage
his position in the government and the party.

Within hours of Mr Chidambaram made public his offer to resign, the
Prime Minister’s Office made it known that Dr Manmohan Singh had
rejected it.

Mr Chidambaram’s decision to make his resignation offer known a day
before the Prime Minister’s departure on a week-long foreign trip
could be significant in the expectation of securing Dr Singh’s full
backing ahead of the Parliament session when the massacre is likely to
come up. Mr Chidambaram, who had told the West Bengal Chief Minister,
Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, in Lalgarh last Sunday that the “buck
stopped with the CM” in the context of political violence in that
state, was forced to admit on Friday that the “buck stops at my desk.”

Chronicle had asked Mr Chidambaram on Friday in the Op-Ed article Talk
less, do more, Mr Chidambaram, “who does that buck (the Dantewada
massacre stop with.”

Later in the day, the home minister, speaking at the CRPF’s Valour Day
function, said: “I have been asked directly or indirectly where the
buck stops for what happened in Dantewada. I have no hesitation saying
the buck stops at my desk. I accept full responsibility for what
happened in Dantewada”.

The home minister has been landing the government and the party in a
series of controversies, including the December 9 announcement on
Telangana — “the process for the formation of Telangana has been
initiated — that set off a firestorm in Andhra Pradesh.

This is not the first time that Mr Chidambaram has offered to step
down from a high position — he had resigned from the Cabinet in 1992
accepting moral responsibility for having invested in Fairgrowth, a
company allegedly involved in the securities scam, and then prime
minister P.V. Narasimha Rao accepted his resignation.

Questions are now being asked in political circles on what prompted
the home minister to take this step: was it to silence critics in the
party or to project an image of indispensability?

Guessing games are also on in the Congress on possible successors in
case the PM had been inclined to accept the resignation.


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Time to fix Naxal problem, not quit
April 10th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: Chhittisgarh, Dantewaa, Maoists, massacre of CRPF Jawans, P.

Union home minister P. Chidambaram did the decent thing by offering to
resign in the wake of the massacre of CRPF jawans by Maoists in
Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district earlier this week, the worst
instance in the country’s history of the mowing down of jawans of a
paramilitary force. The force is under the direct charge of the home
minister and Mr Chidambaram took constructive responsibility for the
tragedy. In recent years it has been seen that ministers — both at the
Centre and in the states — not only do not acknowledge their moral
responsibility when things go wrong, but stoutly resist calls for
their resignation and shamelessly advance arguments to explain why
they are God’s gift to government.

Unmindful of the likely political consequences, the Union home
minister has done well to distance himself from this unconscionable
tradition, although it can be argued that his offer to resign could
have come right after the CRPF men were slaughtered. That may have
been a notch more appropriate. That is what Lal Bahadur Shastri had
done after a train accident when he held charge of the railways.
Madhavrao Scindia too quit the P.V. Narasimha Rao government owning
responsibility after a aircrash. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister has
responded adequately and with the right sense of balance in rejecting
Mr Chidambaram’s resignation.

The point has been made and it is time to get on. The BJP, the main
Opposition party, has also asked the home minister not to resign at
this juncture as the gesture can be interpreted by Maoists as a
victory. It is clear enough on hindsight that Mr Chidambaram’s policy
toward the Naxalites wasn’t finetuned enough, although he has taken a
number of steps that needed to be taken. He has also with verve made
the appropriate political points about dealing with Naxalism which
seeks to mask itself as a pro-poor ideology. For all the impression of
aloofness (some say arrogance) that he gives off, the home minister is
energetic, articulate, innovative and transparent. These are strong
and desirable qualities in a senior minister who is also a member of
important committees of the Cabinet.

Mr Chidambaram did much to inculcate confidence in the country in the
wake of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai the minute he took charge from his
predecessor Shivraj Patil, whose approach was bureaucratic, dilatory
and ineffective. Along with jihadist terrorism, Naxalism has emerged
as a challenge to the template of a democratic India. Approximately
three divisions of the security forces — chiefly CRPF and state police
— are engaged in dealing with the Naxalites alone. This is a
significant investment. The home minister will henceforth need to
ensure that this battle is conducted thoughtfully and efficiently. The
forces sent in to deal with the armed Naxalites have to be trained and
equipped in the context of the terrain of deployment. At the moment,
they appear quite unfit to be posted in the Naxalite areas deep inside
forests, although the same men may prove top class in other settings.
Dantewada showed that CRPF’s intelligence resources and sense of
tactics are inadequate.


PC offers to quit, PM says noApril 9th, 2010


Tags: Dantewada massacre, maoist attack, Maoists, Naxals, P.
Chidambaram, PC

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Friday that he has written to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepting full responsibility for the
massacre of 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh, the worst Maoist
attack since the insurgency started four decades ago.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "fully backs" Home Minister P.
Chidambaram and had rejected his offer of resignation following the
Maoist massacre of 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh, government
sources said.

"PM has declined to accept the home minister's offer for resignation.
The PM fully backs his senior cabinet colleague," said a top official.

The home minister had written to the prime minister and Congress
president Sonia Gandhi accepting blame for Tuesday's attack that led
to the killing of 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and
a Chhattisgarh policeman in a Bastar forest, the worst Maoist assault
since the insurgency began more than four decades ago, an official
privy to the letter added.

"I accept full responsibility for what happened in Dantewada," said
Chidambaram, adding that he has no hesitation to accept that the buck
stops at his desk.

"I have been asked directly or indirectly where the buck stops after
the attack. The buck stops at my desk," Chidambaram said at a CRPF
function here.

Chidambaram said he had given this in writing to the prime minister,
immediately after his return from Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, a day
after the massacre.

"Let me not elaborate," the home minister said, three days after the
attack in the forests of Dantewada district that killed 75 troopers of
the Central Reserve Police Force and one Chhattisgarh policeman.

The families of the slain personnel would be given full compensation
before the end of this month, Chidambaram said.

He also offered a job for a family member of each of the slain

2 Comment (s)

Submitted by Venkat Gandhi on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 1:44pm.

I see, then what was the lecture you gave the CM other day ! Was it a
political statement.
Stop politics and do your job or get back to finance that suits you.
You did not get the Mumbai attack culprits brought to justice (at
least the US did something!) You messed up Talangana solution by going
back on your own word. Which one of your statements that the public
has to believe.

Submitted by Farooq Khan on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 1:01pm.

Now the bucks run past my desk.


1 slain CRPF jawan was from Kurnool
April 8th, 2010

DC Correspondent Tags: CRPF jawans, Dantewada, maoist attack,
native places Hyderabad/ Lucknow/ New Delhi, April 7: The bodies of
the CRPF jawans killed in the massive Maoist attack in Dantewada were
being flown to their native places on Wednesday.

One of the victims of the massacre was from Kurnool district in Andhra
Pradesh, said the CRPF ADIG (admin) of the state, Mr P. Prasad. The
body will be arriving on Thursday.

An Indian Air Force transport aircraft, carrying the bodies, landed at
Delhi’s Palam air station at 5.15 pm. Although there was no immediate
confirmation of the number of bodies brought in the aircraft, sources
said it could be 25.

At least 75 CRPF soldiers and a Chhattisgarh policeman were massacred
by the Maoists in the dense forests of Dantewada on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, bodies of 12 CRPF jawans were taken to Lucknow by a special

The slain jawans were given the ceremonial guard of honour after which
the bodies were sent to their respective destinations.

According to the UP DGP, Mr Karamveer Singh, of the 76 jawans killed
in the Naxal attack, 42 belonged to Uttar Pradesh.

Police sources added that bodies of jawans hailing from western UP
would be transported to their homes directly from Delhi.

Senior police and administrative officials were present at the airport
when the bodies arrived. The SP leader, Mr Akhilesh Yadav, was also
present on the occasion.

The UP Governor, Mr B.L. Joshi, and the Chief Minister, Ms Mayawati,
have expressed deep grief over the killings.

Representatives of the Governor and the Chief Minister placed wreaths
on the bodies of the slain jawans and offered their condolences to the
bereaved families.


UAVs to be deployed in anti-naxal fight
April 8th, 2010


Tags: Chintalnar, CRPF, Dantewada, Maoists, UAVs, Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles New Delhi,

April 8: (PTI) Government plans to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
(UAVs) in the fight against Naxals for reconnaissance and their trials
will take place next week.

Sources said the services of UAVs are urgently required as the forces
engaged in anti-naxal operations needed real-time information to
achieve more success.

The UAVs, imported from abroad, have the capacity to fly 5,000 feet
above the ground and can instantly provide information to the ground
force for immediate action.

The sources said the government may also request the Indian Air Force,
if required, to provide a few more helicopters for rescue, relief and

Four helicopters of BSF are currently deployed for the task in Naxal-
affected areas.

Sources said the government also plans to split the mandate of CRPF
into two parts--one exclusively for counter-insurgency operations and
another for law and order duties--for their better utilisation.

Sources said the initial reports coming from Dantewada indicated that
there was basic violation of Standard Operating Procedure, which
resulted to such a high casualty.

Security agencies are now formulating new strategy to counter the
Maoists menace, particularly in Chhattisgarh following the incident.

Government is also stressing on more rigorous training of paramilitary
forces on jungle-warfare before being deployed.

"We are availing the training facilities of Army and may send more and
more paramilitary forces to such institutes for better training," an
official said.

Sources said a time-bound inquiry has been ordered to find out the
lapses in the Tuesday incident in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh
where 76 security personnel were killed by the Maoists.

The one-man inquiry committe will be headed by a retired DGP level
officer, whose name will be announced soon.

3 Comment (s)

Submitted by vik on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 12:59am.

How idiotic are Indian defence personnel. If they want to deploy
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) why are they telling the press? It
should be a secret mission to take out the communist stooges. That is
the reason any strategic plan in India will never work.

Submitted by William Shatner on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 12:35am.

What are Indian surveillance satellites doing? Track them via
satellites and use helicopter gunships to massacre them all. Simple
and sureshot.

Submitted by Prashant Saxena on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 9:33pm.

Government should take strong action against the Maoists. It should
not be a hazy decision but a properly planned and executed one. I
wonder why does DC or any other paper publish such news regarding
government plans. All the government plans against such attacks should
be confidential and should not be leaked by media.


If Centre wants, Naxals can be crushed: Jawans
April 8th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: Chidambaram, combating naxals, CRPF, Naxal attack

April 8: The mangled remains of a bullet-proof CRPF vehicle lie
scattered on a dirt track not far from the thickly forested spot where
a team of security personnel belonging to the 62nd Battalion of the
CRPF was ambushed by Naxalites on Tuesday.

Seventy-six valiant CRPF men, including the driver of the armoured
vehicle that was blown up by a land mine, were killed in the Maoist
guerrilla attack near the paramilitary force’s Chintalnar camp.

When this correspondent visited the spot (178 km from Jagdalpur) where
the CRPF team was ambushed, there was an eerie silence in the nearby
Sodiadma, a tribal from Burkapal village, which is less than four km
from this spot, said he had heard the blasts and gunshots on Tuesday
morning but did not venture out to check what had happened. Other
villagers appeared too afraid to speak. They gave a clear signal that
they were being watched and would be in trouble if they talked to an

At the CRPF camp, all attempts to meet the commanding officer were in
vain. The jawans posted at the entrance said they had standing
instructions from him to keep all media out. The jawans refused to
speak initially, but when requested repeatedly, they were unanimous in
pointing out that the Naxalites can be “crushed” if the government has
the will.

On being asked to elaborate, they said in unison that from the SPG to
providing helicopters, everything was done when the terrorists had
attacked hotels in Mumbai, but when it came to combating Naxalites,
they only send a bullet-proof vehicle for an area threatened by

Reports over the last two days have quoted officers as saying the
jawans had not followed standard operating procedures for jungle
warfare, but CRPF jawans spoken to at the camp reveal that they had
not been imparted any jungle warfare training before being posted to
the Naxalite-affected area. The security personnel who had died were
new to the area and had received only the normal CRPF training, they
The CRPF jawans said they were extremely annoyed by a section of the
media that had gone to the extent of projecting that the “martyrs” had
been washing clothes and bathing in the jungle when they were ambushed
and killed. They were also critical of the CRPF director-general since
he took two days to reach Chintalnar in a helicopter along with other
senior officers.

On Thursday, CRPF DG, Mr V. Shrivastava, CRPG special DG, Mr Vijay
Raman, and Chhattisgarh DGP, Mr Vishwa Ranjan, were planning an
operation against the Naxalites at the Police Officers’ Mess here.


Naxals try to sneak into AP
April 9th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: Chhattisgarh, Combing operations, CRPF, Naxal attack

April 8: At least eight Naxals were believed to have been killed while
ambushing the CRPF combing party at Chintalnar, in Chhattisgarh’s
Dantewada district, on Tuesday, the police said here on Thursday.

“We have credible information that the fleeing Maoists who had
participated in the ambush are now trying to sneak into Andhra Pradesh
and Orissa in separate groups,” a police officer said.


Jungle warfare rules? Jawans say not trainedApril 9th, 2010

DC Correspondent Tags: chattisgarh, CRPF vehicle, landmine blast,
Naxal attack April 8: The mangled remains of a bullet-proof CRPF
vehicle lie scattered on a dirt track not far from the thickly
forested spot where a team of security personnel belonging to the 62nd
Battalion of the CRPF was ambushed by Naxalites on Tuesday.

Seventy-six valiant CRPF men, including the driver of the armoured
vehicle that was blown up by a land mine, were killed in the Maoist
guerrilla attack near the paramilitary force’s camp.

When this correspondent visited the spot (178 km from Jagdalpur) where
the CRPF team was ambushed, there was an eerie silence in the nearby
villages. Sodiadma, a tribal from Burkapal village, less than four km
from this spot, said he heard the blasts and gunshots but did not
venture out to check what had happened. Other villagers appeared too
afraid to speak.

All attempts to meet the commanding officer were in vain. The jawans
posted at the entrance said they had standing instructions from him to
keep all media out. They refused to speak initially, but when
requested repeatedly, were unanimous in pointing out that Naxalites
can be “crushed” if the government has the will.


After the slaughter, an eerie silence April 9th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: chattisgarh, CRPF vehicle, landmine blast, Naxal attack

April 8: The mangled remains of a bullet-proof CRPF vehicle lie
scattered on a dirt track not far from the thickly forested spot where
a team of security personnel belonging to the 62nd Battalion of the
CRPF was ambushed by Naxalites on Tuesday.

Seventy-six valiant CRPF men, including the driver of the armoured
vehicle that was blown up by a land mine, were killed in the Maoist
guerrilla attack near the paramilitary force’s Chintalnar camp.

When this correspondent visited the spot (178 km from Jagdalpur) where
the CRPF team was ambushed, there was an eerie silence in the nearby
villages. Sodiadma, a tribal from Burkapal village, which is less than
four km from this spot, said he had heard the blasts and gunshots on
Tuesday morning but did not venture out to check what had happened.
Other villagers appeared too afraid to speak. They gave a clear signal
that they were being watched and would be in trouble if they talked to
an outsider.

At the CRPF camp, all attempts to meet the commanding officer were in
vain. The jawans posted at the entrance said they had standing
instructions from him to keep all media out.

The jawans refused to speak initially, but when requested repeatedly,
they were unanimous in pointing out that the Naxalites can be
“crushed” if the government has the will. On being asked to elaborate,
they said in unison that from the NSG to providing helicopters,
everything was done when the terrorists had attacked hotels in Mumbai,
but when it came to combating Naxalites, they only send a bullet-proof
vehicle for an area threatened by landmines.

Reports over the last two days have quoted officers as saying the
jawans had not followed standard operating procedures for jungle
warfare, but CRPF jawans spoken to at the camp reveal that they had
not been imparted any jungle warfare training before being posted to
the Naxalite-affected area. The security personnel who had died were
new to the area and had received only the normal CRPF training, they

The CRPF jawans said they were extremely annoyed by a section of the
media that had gone to the extent of projecting that the “martyrs” had
been washing clothes and bathing in the jungle when they were ambushed
and killed.


PC hints at use of air fire on Maoists
April 8th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: 7%, Chhattisgarh, grief, Jagdalpur, killed, Maoists, P.
Chidambaram, pay homage, policemen, special ceremony Raipur/Jagdalpur/
Ahmedabad/New Delhi,

April 7: Policemen stood in grief and anger at a special ceremony held
on Wednesday at Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, to pay homage to the 76 CRPF
men killed by Maoists even as the Union home minister, Mr P.
Chidambaram, told reporters there that the government may have to
reconsider its policy of not using the Air Force in the fight against

[Naxals fired at a CRPF camp in Dantewada district late on Wednesday
night, defying stepped-up security after Tuesday’s bloodiest-ever
attack against the security forces, PTI reports. The Naxals fired four
rounds at the CRPF camp in Palampalli village and security personnel
promptly retaliated, the Chhattisgarh DGP, Mr Viswa Ranjan, said.]

In New Delhi, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said all options,
like using air power in the fight against Maoists, are “reviewed” from
time to time. “I think the policy has to be reviewed practically from
time to time, learning from experience. We are too close to the event
to take a view that the existing policy needs to be modified,” he

In Gandhinagar, the IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, said he
was not in favour of the use of air power in anti-Naxal operations but
added that the IAF would be ready to join operations against the
Naxals if a decision is taken.

6 Comment (s)

Submitted by Deccan Charger on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 1:42am.

Using air power may come with collateral damage, in the form of
innocents also getting killed along with the naxals. Okay, how about
getting rid of the militants hiding now in the forests in J&K, in the
latest stand-off? Reports are that the army will have to be careful
going in the forest area chasing those militants. Isn't it approrpiate
to use air power now, and vapourise those militants for good?

Submitted by Friend of INdia on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 2:48pm.

This is a good chance for RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and MNS to send their
cadres to fight the Maoists.

Submitted by RK2 on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 2:39pm.

Mr. Chidambaram, continue to talk nonsense. This is real time not,
elections and stupid talk that your guys (politicians) dwell on. Go
back to your office put the aircon ON and sleep. Leave it the forces
to do their job with a free hand and don't show your face. Take take
G.K. Pillay with you as well. Meanwhile the cops will do what's
necessary. Maybe the armed forces who are extremely doubtful of their
capabilities can deliver anything, desperate police, CRPF with no
intelligence back up were sitting like ducks, How come Isro who claim
big and tall, could not see thousands of militants cornering the poor
jawans, 1000 vs 80! What kind of stupidity is this? You want to play
saint in this dirty world, Want to prove that we are secular and
purest form of humans in this world meanwhile everyone esle kicks us
mercilessly, Or you want to make Indians into bonded slaves like the
past? Please do not disgrace India and Indians.

Submitted by Rajiv Kesireddy on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 2:31pm.

It's very sad to hear that the government is thinkIng of using Air
Force and military against our own citizens (ie naxals). The
government of India should treat this issue as a socio-economic
problem but not as an war on our own countrymen. They need to try
their best and arrange peace talks and give them incentives to start a
new life ahead. They are extremists not terrorists. Most of the naxals
cadre are the adivasis and illiterate people who joined the armed
struggle by losing faith in our system. Maoists are to leave the armed
struggle and stop the death innocent deaths of civilians and police
personnell. If they want to acheive their ideology of a socialist
society where the adivasis and Dalits have their land rights they can
start an political outfit and compete in elections. If they come out
of hiding they can gain people's faith and win.

Submitted by RK2 on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 3:09pm.

Rajiv, what would you do when you have a finger infected with septic
or gangarain slowly eating away healthy tissues and blood vessels!
What would one do?

Amputation. Take out the bad cells no matter how to ensure the rest of
the body is healthy. Think like a 21st century citizen of India. Your
dream that Maoists will leave their struggle is nonsense, they will
come with another set of agenda if they get what they want. This is
continuous effort by them to change the whole of our nation into a
communist nation! So wake up and start thinking correct. You want a
free world or live communist way. Choice is yours.

Submitted by Rajgopal H.G. on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 1:57pm.

Any sort of terrorism or fundamentalism should be dealt without any
mercy. There is no need to make any public statement.


North-T naxals attacked CRPF
April 8th, 2010

DC Correspondent

Tags: 7%, Chhattisgarh, CRPF jawans, Dandakaranya, Dantewada, massive
attack, North Telangana Adilabad/ Hyderabad,

April 7: The Naxal cadres from North Telangana, who migrated to
Dandakaranya as they usually do in summer, allegedly took part in the
massive attack on the CRPF jawans in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on
Tuesday in which 76 security men were killed.

According to sources, the Maoist cadres from Adilabad, Karimnagar,
Warangal and Khammam were under the leadership of Katakam Sudarshan,
Venugopal, Ganesh and others who belong to these North Telangana

Ramanna, alias Ravula Srinivas, suspected of playing a key role in the
attack, is a native of Bekkal in Maddur mandal of Warangal district.

He is Dandakaranya special zonal committee member and state military
commission member and also secretary of the South Bastar region.

“Ramanna may have played a key role in the actual action on the ground
as he is state military commission member. But the crucial role in
planning and strategy would lie with Sudarshan, Tirupati and Kosa.
Even Mallojual Venugopal alias Sonu is there. There are 15 members in
the special zonal committee,” said an official.

O. Buria Satwaji alias Sudhakar alias Kiran of Sarangapur in Adilabad
district is also a member of the Danakaranya special zonal committee
and state military commission in-charge.

Migrating to Dandakarayna from North Telangana is routine in summer
when the trees shed their leaves and the thick forest cover thins out,
making it difficult for the Naxals to hide. Water too is scarce.

The district police are on high alert and security has been tightened
at police stations in Bejjur, Kautala, Sirpur (T), Bheemini,
Vemanpalli and Neelvai in Kotapalli. Combing operations are on in
bordering areas and at the crossing of the Pranahita and Godavari

The Andhra Pradesh police want to prevent the Maoists from sneaking
into the district across the Pranahitha even though this district does
not share a border directly with Chhattisgarh.

2 Comment (s)

Submitted by KIng KCR on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 10:13pm.

Give telangana and KCR will make everyone in T-region a Moaist. Then
there won't be any problem in T region.

Submitted by Subrata Kumar Roy on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 3:30pm.

Indians being technologically advanced have no state-of-the art
electronic gadgets to detect land mines etc. It is shameful when the
technology is so advanced but we are far away from this. Further,
deployment of Army and Air Force is the only option. Lesseons should
be taken from Sri Lankan Army who crushed the LTTE terrorists who were
far superior in tactics than the so called Naxalites of India. Israel
is another country who are technologically advanced in modern
guerrilla warfare. Sending in CRPF or police force will result only in
more deaths since they are lagging in the guerrilla warfare.

The Air Force should start carpet bombing indiscreminately and the
Army should move in with tanks since the tanks cannot be blown up by
landmines. The forest is not as big as it could not be covered by the
Army. Every pocket should be sealed and supply from outside should be
strictly forbidden to enter into the area. There may be loss of
civilian lives and animals. Advance warning should be given to the
villagers to come out of the forest and take shelter in government
controlled relief camps where strong vigil should be maintained about
their antecedents. There should not be media broadcast about any
operation. The spreading of information of operation would only allow
the enemy to get prepared for any eventuality. There should be
surprise attack to the enemy and should be completed within few hours
just like in real war.

There should be indiscriminate firing and no so called Human Rights
activists allowed. All naxalite affected areas in every part of India
should be simultaneously attached with same precision and the same
time so that enemy will not get chance to flee from one State to the
other. There should not be any arrest. On the spot they should be
killed by firing. No sympathy from the electronic and print media
should be allowed and they be kept away from the spots, not to have
any interview also of any of the victims. If our Army and Air Force is
ruthless and determined in its action, naxalites can be crushed within
24 hours. There should not be any poklitical interference in army
activities and no poloitical movements be allowed on the issue.No
debate be allowed in the electronic and print media.

Naxalite sympathisers from the so called intellectual field who are
helping the enemy in this war should be sternly dealt with whosoever
he/she may be, Minister or MP or writer or columnist they should be
told in unlear terms that sympathy with the naxalites would be treated
as enemy of India.


BJP backs Centre on Naxal combatApril 6th, 2010

IANS Tags: attack on CRPF personnel, Maoists, Naxals, UPA regime
Describing the gruesome attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh as a
"war against India", BJP on Tuesday said it was completely with the
government in the fight against naxals and would support all measures
the UPA regime took to combat the menace.

"We stand by the government. We stand by all the forces working
against naxalism. This is not a political issue. The nation is first.
The country is first," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

He expressed concern that 250 districts were naxal-affected, out of
which 90-95 were completely in the grip of the Left-wing extremists.

"The government should take all steps to end naxalism. It should use
all the force to fight this battle to the finish. BJP believes this
fight should be to the finish and will support all steps taken by the
government," Rudy said, adding it was "not a small incident".

"This is a war against India. It is not a small incident. This is a
war-like situation," Rudy said about the attack that killed 73 CRPF
and security personnel.

The Rajya Sabha MP insisted that this was not the time to debate and
discuss but to act.

"There is no scope for debate or discussion on the subject anymore.
There are a lots many people indulging in debate and discussion on the
subject. That can be handled later," Rudy said.

He asserted that "the base should be hit hard" as far as naxalism is
concerned and said "There is anger in the country over this incident."

However, while pledging support to the government, Rudy did not spare
Home Minister P Chidambaram for his recent statements on naxalism.

"We can discuss in Parliament later the statements of the Home
Minister on Operation Green Hunt and the issue of discussing naxalism
with the state governments. The Home Minister wants to use fancy
English terms in the fight against naxalism. We can discuss them also
in Parliament," Rudy said.

He stressed that despite all this BJP was with the government in
"whichever way they want to fight this battle".

"We are fighting a war on the international border and there is a war
within as well. The country is threatened. This is a major issue which
we should all fight collectively," Rudy said.


Red rage casts doubts on small states creation
April 8th, 2010

DC Correspondent Tags: activities, AP, Maharashtra, Maoists, naxal
menace, state power

New Delhi, April 7: The demand for smaller states, especially in
Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra may receive a setback due to the rise
in Naxal menace. This is because Maoists have found smaller states a
fertile ground for their activities against the state power.

Andhra Pradesh could contain the Naxal activities because of a strong
leadership (late chief minister YSR), but creation of Telangana state
would help such forces whose primary objective is to weaken the state
power, feared a senior MP of a national political party.

In Maharashtra, pro-Vidarbha state leaders have no objection to the
Maoists joining the agitation for bifurcation of the state. Their
association would compel the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre
to create a new state, they opined.

Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are the two new states created by the BJP-
led NDA when it was in power at the Centre a few years back. But they
have become the soft target of Naxals. Political instability and
inability to handle such elements by the parties in power is helping
the Maoists, they said.

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa
are comparatively better than Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in handling
the Naxal problems, conceded a Congress activist.

While the main Opposition BJP has been favouring “small states, strong
Centre” line, the BSP is for trifurcation of Uttar Pradesh with
creating Bundelkhand, Poorvanchal and Harit Pradesh states and the
demand for Gorkhaland, Bodoland are very much on the agenda of
regional parties and smaller groups.

While the Congress has never been consistent on the issue of smaller
states, some times it backs the demand of a Telangana state and at the
same time it favours setting up a second State Reorganisation

The Congress and the BJP are working together for a Vidarbha state in
Maharashtra while in Uttar Pradesh the BSP and the Rashtriya Lok Dal
are in favour of its trifurcation.

2 Comment (s)

Submitted by venkat111 on Fri, 09/04/2010 - 9:51pm.

Good to know that some politicians have common sense. We need more for
betterment of India.

Submitted by Ziauddin Shafi on Thu, 08/04/2010 - 11:23am.

Political parties simply go by their electoral interests. Maoists are
just a bogey to be raised wherever and whenever the Centre needs to
deny formation of a state. When the Congress feels that creation of
Telangana would help it maintain its stranglehold on both the new
state as well as Andhra, therby strengthening its number of MPs in the
Lok Sabha, Telangana would be created. Otherwise, no.


Naxal-hit states must follow AP
April 8th, 2010

DC Correspondent Tags: Dantewada, Maoists, massacre of 76 CRPF,
Operation Green Hunt Hyderabad, April 7: The much-touted Operation
Green Hunt against the Maoists has turned out to be more hype than
substance. The stark proof was the massacre of 76 CRPF men in
Dantewada on Tuesday.

After the combined Centre-state operation began in 2010, 136 security
personnel have been killed as against 74 Maoists. Moreover, the
Maoists killed over 90 civilians during the same period. There is no
doubt that the state has suffered more than the extremists.

In the wake of the continuing setbacks, many experts feel the need to
revise the strategy to combat the Maoists especially in the worst
affected areas of Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

They also feel that the much-talked about AP formula of tackling the
Maoists should be imbibed, though it is not a short cut method as it
evolved over 20 years. The state went through similar phases of heavy
losses for security forces till it was able to devise an effective

“After the setting up of the special intelligence branch, an exclusive
anti-Maoist unit, and Greyhounds, the elite anti-Naxal combat force,
the scenario has changed drastically in the state,” said a senior
intelligence official.

He added that AP never depended on the CRPF or Central forces and used
them only for subsidiary works.

“The Naxal-affected states should not only set up specialised forces
but should also give special training to the regular police,” said the

However, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar are
lagging behind in all fronts on this issue. As of now, they are
depending too much either on central paramilitary forces or militia
groups such as Salwa Judum.

The Dantewada massacre also made it evident that there was utter lack
of coordination between Central and state police forces. The Balimela
incident where around 36 AP Greyhounds sleuths drowned in Orissa also
brought this aspect to sharp relief.

Experts say that the AP procedure of briefing before anti-Naxal
operation and debriefing after the operation is very important.

"During debriefing, security personnel share all their experiences and
every detail including that on topography is noted down and this
wealth of data is used again to brief the forces when thy go to the
same place again,” said the intelligence official.

The former DGP, Mr P. Ramulu, added that security forces should keep
it in mind that Maoists were not identifiable enemies. “They mingle
with local people, eat their food, wear their dress, speak their
language,” he said.

He added that cops should carefully study Che Guevera’s books on
guerrilla warfare “He says when the enemy is attacking you retreat,
when he is resting you harass and when enemy is retreating you
attack,” said the former DGP. “This is exactly what happened in
Dantewada massacre.”

The Standard Operating Procedures are also not followed in the most
operations in other states. Though SOP says no vehicle shall be used
in combing operations, this rule is rarely followed.

“A surprise element should always be maintained,” said a senior police
officer. “The combing police parties should change the timings and
routes very frequently.”

The Centre has sanctioned 37 India Reserve battalions and ten
battalions of specialised force CoBRA (commando battalions for
resolute action) for anti-Maoist operations. In all, around 40
battalions of Central paramilitary forces are currently deployed on
long-term basis for assisting the police forces in the affected

Mr Ramulu also pointed out that Maoists could not be defeated merely
by deploying huge number of forces.

“Alienation of tribals from mainstream life is the biggest problem,”
he said. “The first step is to see that they get the benefits of
government schemes. Maoists have won their hearts. The interface
between government machinery and tribals inhabiting Dandakaranya has
to be improved hundredfold.”

An official involved in anti Naxal operations in the state said that
all operations should be based on intelligence. “We should talk less
and act more,” he said.


Quick, hard strikes must follow data from UAVs .New Delhi , April 9:

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the battle against the
Naxalites, which the government had proposed after the recent
Dantewada attack, isn’t likely to prove successful unless it is
accompanied with force multipliers like helicopter-borne attack teams
and proper logistical backup.

Security sources stated that it is not the first time that UAVs are
being deployed against Maoist extremists. UAVs were first deployed in
Chhattisgarh in 2007 after a spate of extremist attacks in the region.

However, the deployment of UAVs proved unsuccessful the first time
round as the real-time surveillance data retrieved from the UAVs
wasn’t used effectively, which means the receipt of real-time
intelligence was not followed by prompt, surgical attacks on Maoist

Sources in the security agencies stated that the UAVs used by India
were unlike the Predator drones (currently in use in Afghanistan and
Pakistan by US forces) that first identify the foe through visual or
thermal surveillance and then shoot them, either by directing an
aircraft or missile, or fire a missile themselves. “The Searcher MK-II
UAV used in Maoist operations by the Indian agencies gets aerial shots
of their camps and gives a general idea of their location. Once the
recce has been completed, they are withdrawn from operations,” the
sources added.

This essentially means that the images sent by these UAVs have to be
acted upon quickly because the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (the
fighting wing of the CPI-Maoist) is a highly mobile force. “Unless we
keep quick reaction teams of highly trained anti-Maoist forces at
strategic locations on alert for immediate attack through the aerial
route, the deployment of these UAVs will not help,” the sources said.

In 2007, using UAV surveillance data, the government was able to
establish that the CPI-Maoists were operating at least four camps to
train PLGA cadres in the Dandakaranya forests (the forest tract in
India’s central-southern region covering parts of Andhra Pradesh,
Orissa, the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra).
However, sources stated that the lack of clarity on the deployment of
helicopters for attacks on Maoists proved costly as the CPI-Maoist
continued to hold sway in the self-proclaimed liberated zone
comprising the Dandakaranya forests.

Nitin Mahajan


Tears for the brave .

. Rehana Khan, widow of Shaurya Chakra recipient Sergeant Mustafa Ali
(posthumous), breaks down as the citation is read out for his role in
counter-insurgency operations in Naxal-infested Chhattisgarh during an
investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday.

PHOTO: Sondeep Shankar

Areal menace

.April.09 : Mao Tse Tung called them “useful idiots”, sympathisers
and supporters of leftist causes who, with their powerful voices and
influence in society at large could sway public opinion in favour of
revolutionaries and guerrillas.

Members of the intelligentsia — whether idiotically or otherwise —
have historically been sympathetic to underdog causes. During India’s
fight for freedom, Congress leaders could count on the support of very
well connected people in the British intellectual establishment who
opposed the imperial government. Whether it was the Chinese communists
fighting the KMT or the African National Congress opposing the
apartheid government or going further back, the Bolsheviks who were
trying to wage revolution against the czar, there was always a small
but influential bunch of intellectuals who spoke in favour of the
fighters. Not all of them were necessarily naive, which is what Mao’s
phrase implies, but the fact is that often these supporters were
blinded by the romanticism of the struggle and chose to ignore the
less salubrious parts of the revolutionary forces.

We in India are witnessing this phenomenon with the Maoists. Such
groups, which have declared war on the Indian state, are being
romantically painted as poor impoverished fighters, living in the
jungle and subsisting on almost nothing while corporate fat cats, rich
kulaks, venal politicians and corrupt bureaucrats are raping the
countryside for much needed minerals and commodities. It is a
compelling picture and there might be some grain of truth in it too,
but where it goes wrong in its portrayal of the Maoists as a bunch of
benign social workers fighting for the rights of the oppressed. There
is no dearth of people, loosely described as the urban liberal elite,
who harbour a soft corner for Maoists. Some of them may have also
flirted with Naxalism in the 1970s and others may still be part of the
various ultra-left movements. Undoubtedly the best known of them all
is Arundhati Roy, who has been speaking up in their favour, making
grandiose statements like “they have the right to bear arms” and has
written a long-winded essay in Outlook about her trip to meet some
Maoists who are, she finds, “cheerful” and “beautiful”.

The piece is one long rant during which all the usual villains — big
business, the police, politicians, babus — are blamed for wanting to
spoil the pristine and centuries old lifestyle of tribals by bringing
them into the mainstream. Left to herself, these tribals would be best
left as museum pieces for the world to come and see (better still not
to come and not to see) rather than be disturbed in any way.
Development and modernisation are, in her book, a sure fire way of
destruction of traditional lifestyles and all this for vulgar, greedy
capitalism. Edward Said had once called this the Western idea of the
“noble savage” who leads a purer life which has remained untouched for
centuries. It is an anti-modernist and anti-progress worldview reeking
of sentimentalism and a very patronising attitude.
Roy says the tribals are fighting back because the outside world is
bent upon invading these quiet hamlets and uses force to grab and loot
minerals held by inhabitants who have lived there for centuries. “If I
was a person who is being dispossessed, whose wife has been raped, who
is being pushed off their land and who is being faced with this
‘police force’, I would say that I am justified in taking up arms. If
that is the only way I have to defend myself,” she had said in an
interview to Karan Thapar last year.

Alas, it’s not so simple. No amount of pretty, precious prose can hide
the fact that most Maoist groups are now as exploitative as the forces
they claim to fight, and perhaps as brutal too. The various attacks on
government forces — in the latest one 1,000 people armed with guns and
land mines surrounded less than 100 CRPF soldiers — are not by some
weak, rag-tag army of irregulars. These are highly trained and heavily
armed soldiers. They couldn’t have raised the money to buy
sophisticated arms from petty donations from poor villagers. They buy
or get these arms from external forces. Extortion and other illegal
forms of fund-raising have been documented. Even if they had been a
bunch of high-minded revolutionaries at one time, wanting to fight for
the human rights of poor villagers, they have now turned into
murderers with a vested interest in keeping their “businesses”
running. Covering it up with some pretentious ideological gobbledygook
will not wash.
It’s high time the so-called intellectuals, wanting to buttress their
own fame, realise this. Unlike other revolutionary movements of the
past, this one is fighting a democratic government. Democracy allows
you to express a point of view against the state, but mindless
violence cannot be justified whatever the cause. There is little doubt
that it is the state’s repeated failures of governance that have
brought us to this pass and that needs to be criticised, but turning a
blind eye to the murderous ways of Maoists is foolish and
hypocritical. The embedded intellectuals who choose to ignore what the
Maoists have become are not merely naive, they are dangerous too
because they give a veneer of respectability to these vicious

The author is a senior journalist

Sidharth Bhatia



Unified command must fight Naxals Skip to content.Unified command must
fight Naxals .

.April.07 : Visiting the Naxal zone of Lalgarh in West Bengal on
Sunday, Union home minister P. Chidambaram told journalists that while
the performance of the governments of West Bengal, Orissa and
Jharkhand did not match the requirement in combating armed Maoists who
had set themselves the task of taking on the forces of the State, the
situation in Chhatisgarh and Maharashtra was better.

The stunning attack in Chhatisgarh’s Dantewada district on the
security forces on Tuesday — the deadliest ever — shows how wrong the
home minister was. As he goes about assessing just what went wrong in
the Mukram forests where 74 CRPF personnel and a head constable of the
Chhatisgarh police were butchered by the Maoists, Mr Chidambaram might
do well to evaluate the overall national strategy against the ultra-
left extremists. This should include a study of the numbers of
security personnel of all description pressed into anti-Maoist
operations, the quality of their training for the specific task of
anti-guerrilla warfare in forested terrain, the equipment available to
them, and the quality of intelligence at their disposal. The time may
have come to design a special force to counter the Maoist armed
insurgency on the lines of the Rashtriya Rifles that was set up to
deal with terrorist violence in Kashmir.

The government has designated the Naxal insurgency as the country’s
most serious internal security problem. Anyone can see that armed
Maoists coordinate their actions across state boundaries and respond
to a single command authority. This justifies the creation of a single
national command and communication structure to deal with this menace.
Naxalism ought not to be seen as a law and order problem alone. It is
supra-state and has to be dealt with as such. With appropriate
discussion with all affected parties, the Union government is called
upon to bring suitable legislation so that the creation of a new force
does not get mired in state-versus-Centre bickering. The Prime
Minister, to begin with, called an emergency meeting of the National
Security Council on Tuesday with the three service chiefs in
attendance. This is necessary routine. But it is time an overall
political view was taken. Those who emphasise the root cause thesis in
dealing with Naxalism need to understand that at this stage there is
no getting away from subduing these elements militarily even as the
State goes about the business of delivering development essentials to
the needy in the country’s poorest areas. It is not a question of one
or the other.
The government has done well to reject the idea of the use of air
power in the anti-Naxalite operations. Such a course would be fraught
with risks of collateral damage (civilian deaths) as Nato’s
indiscriminate use of firepower from the sky has demonstrated so
graphically in the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. That
would mean losing the sympathy of local people, in whose midst the
Naxalites operate. A guerrilla war against insurgents who take shelter
behind deemed ideology cannot succeed in the absence of help from the
residents of a given area. Among the deficiencies on the government
side that resulted in the Dantewada tragedy is the abysmal failure of
intelligence. A Naxal force almost a thousand strong was involved in
trapping a company of the CRPF. That is a very large number of men in
the context of forest warfare, and the state government’s intelligence
apparatus appears to have had not a clue. “Operation Green Hunt”
simply cannot be permitted to proceed on such a basis. It is important
to plug the vacuum in intelligence, a crucial component of anti-
insurgency. This and other vitally needed measures are unthinkable
without creating a unified national command structure to deal with the
violence by Maoists, who have come to use some the latest means of
destruction, not unlike the Taliban and Al Qaeda.


India Rights group demands withdrawal of forces Skip to
content.Rights group demands withdrawal of forces .
Friday, 09 April 2010 20:21

.NEW DELHI , April 9: After the most heinous Naxal attack in
Dantewada, which stunned the civil society, a human rights group, the
Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) on Friday organised a seminar on
“Land Acquisition; Resource Grab and Operation Green Hunt” which
stressed on the fact that the Centre should immediately coordinate
with the Chhattisgarh government and withdraw the forces deployed
there to arrest the Maoists.

Social activist and member of the IPT, Himanshu Kumar said, “It is sad
that in this country whoever tries to fight for justice, who talks
about the poor, the government labels all of them as Naxal supporters.
The government try to silence them and attack them as well. In a
democratic set up, the tribals should be protected. But how? On the
pretext of killing the Maoists, the force there is killing the
innocent tribals. The government should withdraw the force from
Gandhian activist Mr Kumar also spoke about the advisory, legal and
rehabilitation support provided by the ‘Vanvasi Chetna Ashram’ to the
poor tribals in the Dantewada area and the consequent attempts made by
the state to squash the same by terrorising the villagers. Echoing in
a similar voice, another human rights activist and member of the
People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Harish Dhawan said that
the terror unleashed by the salwa judum and the subsequent alleged
atrocities meted out to the tribals by the police officials, who are
supposed to be the custodian of these poor people, have increased
manifold. In the name of killing the Maoists, the Central government
is killing innocent tribals.

Goldy M. George, rights activist in Chhattisgarh, revealed that
corporates, on the pretext of providing basic amenities to these
tribals, were allegedly grabbing their land and pointed out that a
number of secret MoUs were being signed, without public consultation.



‘Naxals planning urban area hits’ .

Friday, 09 April 2010 20:21

.Raipur , April 9: Maoists are planning to launch a major offensive in
some urban areas of Chhattisgarh apparently to disengage the security
forces, who are currently scouring for the rebels involved in the
April 16 Chintalnar massacre, in the forests of Bastar region, police
sources quoting intelligence reports said here on Friday.

“The jawans’ killers, who were trying to escape to Andhra Pradesh,
appear to be trapped in the forest stretches of Kistaram-Gollapli-
Konta in Chhattisgarh after the neighbouring state sealed its border.
The Red strategists are desperate to rescue them. Hence they are
planning to strike in some distant urban areas in a big way to force
pull out of the security forces from the Bastar jungles to fight them
there,” a senior police officer handling the intelligence matters told
this newspaper.
“It is merely a diversionary tactic by the militants to free the
trapped Maoists,” he said.
As many as 17 battalions of the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) and
one battalion of the Chhattisgarh Armed Forces have been deployed in
five districts in the Bastar region to intensify the combing
operation, police sources said.
Senior officers of the state police, including director-general of
police Vishwa Ranjan, deputy inspector-general of police, Dantewada,
S.R. Kaluri and superintendent of police, Dantewada district, Ambarish
Mishra along with senior officials of the CRPF have been camping in
Bastar for the past three days to oversee the combing operation.
The state government has, meanwhile, sounded high alert in all the 18
districts of the state. Security has been stepped up in vital and
important establishments such as the state secretariat, Assembly,
official residences of chief minister Raman Singh and his ministerial
colleagues in Raipur and industries in other parts of the state.

In another development, the CPI(Maoists) on Friday admitted that eight
of their cadres lost their lives during the Chintalnar operation.

Rabindra Nath Choudhury


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-10 09:25:42 UTC
Monday, February 8, 2010
Uncivilized Practices of the Civil Society

By Gladson Dungdung first published in Jharkand Mirror. It provides a
very crucial insight into the view of society towards adivasis in

The term ‘Civil Society’ is mostly used for voluntary organizations,
non-governmental organizations and non-profit institutions. These are
also called as civil society organizations. Interestingly, most of
these organizations are always busy in criticizing the state (which is
of course not wrong as the state is a failure), but they themselves
behave like the state when it comes to the issues of Adivasis, Dalits
and Women of D-section (deprived sections), even though they have also
failed in delivering justice to marginalized peoples. Most of these
organizations are led by elites even after 62 years of Indian
independence. They enjoy corporate rate salaries, luxurious
accommodations and air travel in the name of Adivasis, Dalits and
women of D-section. The misappropriation of funds in the name of
marginalized groups remains uncounted, despite that they are masters
in lecturing on the issues of responsibility, transparency and

There are very interesting kinds of so-called civil society
organizations – 1) based in the small cities or villages and getting
less funds, 2) headquartered in Delhi and other big cities and bagging
huge funds, and 3) NGO federations called people’s organizations.
Perhaps, the secretary, director and chief functionaries of these
organizations are never replaced against their will, though they talk
much about democracy. These civil society organizations also bring the
mass organizations, social movements and displacement movements into
their clutches and cash these in dollars, euros and pounds. Don’t be
surprised if some organizations based in Delhi show you a beautiful
power point presentation about the Adivasi movements against
displacement in Jharkhand, Orissa or Chhatishgarh.

There are also the holy cows called ‘funding agencies’ (national and
international), who love to be called civil society organizations,
whose prime job is to collect the money, enjoy most of it and give the
rest to other organizations. Ironically, these organizations fund
those NGOs headed by non-Adivasis for the revival of Adivasi
tradition, culture and ethos, but at the same time they avoid joining
hands with Adivasi-headed organizations for the same purposes. The sad
part is, the Adivasis are still unqualified for the funding
organizations; therefore, a few Adivasis can be seen in the lowest
strata of these organizations, despite their professional qualities,
commitment and dedication. There are also some organizations who
advocate for the Adivasi Chief Minister for the state of Jharkhand,
but when it comes to the matter of their organizations, they cannot
bear to see an Adivasi in the driving seat. They also advocate for
promotion and protection of Adivasi languages, but their doors are
always closed for the non-English speaking, marginalized people.

These organizations tirelessly use the connotation ‘empowering the
marginalized’, ‘voice to the voiceless’ and ‘women empowerment,’ but
when it comes to the question of leadership, they just escape in one
way or the other. Why did the civil society organizations fail in
bringing up the Adivasi leadership was the most important question
repeatedly asked in the National Consultation on Adivasis of India
organized by the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) in Delhi
on December 15-16, 2009. A noted Gandhian and founder of the Ekta
Parishad, P.V. Rajgopal, accepts in denial mode that the civil society
organizations have failed in bringing up the Adivasi leadership but he
also advocates for a united fight by saying, “The issue like
displacement is not just limited to the Adivasis but it is also
hitting the farmers, vendors and fishermen.” But does it mean that the
question of Adivasis get less priority?

Ironically, the non-Adivasi leaders of the civil society organizations
not only respond diplomatically but also justify their leadership of
the Adivasis. While responding to the questions of Adivasis
leadership, a prominent social activist from Jharkhand, Sanjay Bosu
Mullick, says, “Since the Adivasis do not know about the exploitative
system and structure of our (non-adivasis) society, therefore we are
fighting with our people on behalf of them.” One can only appreciate
this diplomatic response and thank the God who has given wits, wisdom
and knowledge only to the non-Adivasis for not only understanding
their society but also the Adivasis, and shame on those Adivasis (like
me) who do not even possess the wisdom to understand their own

The reality is that the Adivasis are racially discriminated, exploited
economically and denied their rights in the civil society
organizations. Similarly, the Dalits are treated like untouchables,
uneducated and inhuman, and the women of D-section are not only
exploited socially, economically and mentally but they are also
exploited sexually by the Big-bosses of the civil society
organizations. The irony is, our participation is for them is to
listen to our sorrows patiently through their tongues in a conference
hall, give our consent to their words and always make sure that they
are our messiahs. How would you explain it when your wisdom,
commitment, dedication, capacity and efficiency do not matter for them
but your race, caste, class, colour and relationship possesses
multiple values for them instead?

When the Adivasis enter into these organizations, especially in the
funding ones, their years of work experience are counted as one or two
years (so that they can be kept in the lowest strata), they are
compared with their counterpart (always a non-adivasi is used as a
parameter for them) for further promotion and their ten achievements
are not enough to beat the couple of achievements of a non-Adivasi.
When one raises these issues in the organizations, they would
manipulate, manufacture consent with their colleagues and dilute the
whole debate to ensure that the Adivasis lose the game. Finally, if
the Adivasis leave these organizations, they would frame them as
opportunists, non-committed to the Adivasi cause and counted as one
more enemy of the Adivasis.

One can question that why are the marginalized people of these
organizations keeping quiet in these circumstances? The instant answer
is, a wage labourer bears all kinds of discrimination, exploitation
and torture only because he/she knows that the day a question is
raised, he/she would be thrown out of the job. Similar theory is
applied to the marginalized people, who are ensuring their daily bread
from these civil society organizations. How can one dare to question
the big-boss, when he/she is just struggling for survival? Can you
imagine how the marginalized people are being exploited, denied and
discriminated against in those organizations, who tirelessly talk
about participation, empowerment, rights, equality and justice?

The fact of the matter is the perception, attitude and behaviour of
the elite heads of civil society organizations towards Adivasis,
Dalits and women of D-section are no different from the common people
of the so-called civilized society. They talk much about
participation, empowerment, rights, equality and justice merely to
ensure themselves a luxurious life, bag awards and become a role model
in the name of Adivasis, Dalits and Women of D-section; therefore,
they also play the game of words just like the politicians do. Can
anyone remind me about how many Adivasis, Dalits and women of D-
section were awarded (megasese) for their extraordinary work and
became a role model for all Indians?

Interestingly, the vision of these organizations is more or less the
same – formation of an equitable and just society, but the pertinent
question is how the utopian vision can be achieved through
discriminatory, inequitable and unjust practices? In fact, the elite
heads of the civil society organizations should stop their uncivilized
practices, which they are carrying out for decades. It is the right
time to let the marginalized people play their own game, become
umpires and take over as the match referee. And the elites should only
become the fourth umpires rather than playing match for the
marginalized people. Then only their talks about the empowerment,
equality and justice can be fulfilled.

Before civil society organizations organize the next consultation,
convention or conference on Adivasi, Dalit or Women’s Rights, all
marginalized people should stand up and say strongly that enough is
enough, let the Adivasis, Dalits and women of D-section speak for
themselves. The time has come to tell them (non-Adivasis heads) that
we are grateful to you for advocating on behalf of us for the last six
decades, but no more manipulation please. We are tired of hearing
about our grievances through your holy tongues; therefore, we want the
world to listen to our grievances through our mouths. We want to speak
for ourselves and we are capable enough to save our culture. But the
question that may remain unanswered is, will you, the Messiahs of the
Adivasis, Dalits and women listen us?

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from the
Adivasi (Indigenous) Community of Jharkhand. He can be reached at

Posted by MAND at 2/08/2010 12:32:00 PM 0 comments Links to this
Labels: Adivasi, Civil Society


Goa, Goa, Gone

Mining is Goa’s second-largest industry after tourism. 8% of this
state’s land is already under mining, mostly for iron ore. Now, mining
activity is intensifying across the state. So is the opposition of
citizens to this unregulated industry. This Infochange documentary
explores the impact of mining on Goa’s environment – one of the
world’s 12 biodiversity hotspots -- and livelihoods

Watch Video

Directed by: Kurush Canteenwala
Duration: 22 mins


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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Mining promotes Poverty in Goa
By Sebastian Rodrigues

Approaching the theme

Natural economies were very common as the penetration of capital was
limited. This is in spite of Goa being Portuguese colony till 1961.
Geological survey began in Goa in early 20th century and first mining
lease was granted in 1929 by the Colonial Portuguese regime. The
actual mining activities began in 1940s and the first consignment of
iron ore exported to Japan in 1948 to begin the economic recovery of
that war-torn country. It was entirely manual mining then till the
decade of 1970s when the mining sector in Goa began to be mechanized.
With manual mining it was not possible to dig deep into ground for
iron ore, manganese and bauxite and disrupt ground water flow.
Mechanized mining made this possible in effectively in 1980s. Mining
has never been nationalized in Goa and it remained entirely a private
sector even in the rest of the country mining sector was nationalized.

Natural economies prior to entry of mining refer to direct dependence
of people for livelihood on nature. The contacts were more direct
without any kind of mediation. Their labour was the only mediation. It
is labour that was required for the cultivation of paddy and harvest
bumper crops. It was labour that was required in order to get their
daily quota of fish. It was labour that was required in order to
cultivate various types of vegetable in the and available with
abundant supply water from natural sources. It was labour that was
required for the people in mining belt to carry on their slash and
burn agriculture –shifting agriculture - on top of hills. It was
labour that was needed in order to collect various kinds of ripe
fruits on the variety of trees in the forest. It was labour that was
required in order to go in search of edible roots for their staple
food. It was labour that was invested into going into the forest and
collecting various forest products and then to transform them into
various products for daily use such as brooms, mats, medicines etc.
The large number of people in Goa’s mining belt are tribals for whom
the barter economy – including exchange of labour for labour was a
most respected norm in the functioning of their life and economy that
was harmoniously integrated with ecology.

Feudal economies that emerged in Goa during Portuguese colonial regime
chiefly due to the focus on written record keeping procedures adopted
by the colonial state. The people – tribal as well as others for whom
written record keeping by the State was alien concept did not
understand the state insistence of piece of paper a indication of land
ownership. A class of people that helped to sustain the colonial power
of Portuguese in Goa were able to understand this and colonial power
bestowed the legal ownerships of land titles on these category of
people. These people were tiny minority in collusion with Portuguese
colonial State at best can be described as the class of people that
practiced usury. These class of people came to be known as Landlords
in feudal sense.

The mass of people in mining had community sense of land ownerships.
Their land control was bestowed in communities. These community land
ownership patterns were disrupted by the colonial State and never
repaired by post-colonial state in Goa. Few remaining community land
ownership institutions were taken over on landlord class and they were
given new name called communidades. The people who traditionally
enjoyed rights over these lands were excluded from the land titles.
This effectively paved way for the legal establishment of control over
community lands that later on would be parceled out for mining
companies. Section of community land belonged to the community
temples. These temples too were brought under legal control of the
upper caste landlord class through Mazania law in Post liberation Goa.
These set of State driven class controlled legal architecture put firm
foundation for the effective legal uprooting of the people from their
lands even though in large parts of Goa they continued to enjoy actual
possession of the land.

Mining leases granted during the Portuguese colonial regimes fits into
this complex legal context of alienating people from their lands.
Mining leases numbering around 791 and covering over 67,700 hectares
of land in 10 out of total 11 talukas of Goa. Indian government did
not embark upon any radical overturn of the Colonial architecture
prevalent in the State of Goa. In fact it re-enforced it through
various laws in post Liberation Goa; one of the chief ways being, it
legally legitimized the mining leases.

Process of impoverishment thus has been triggered off with the above
legal manipulations. Legally thus the entire people of Goa except the
landlord class remained under constant uncertainty, not knowing as to
when the actual disenfranchisement of actual possession would take
place. Legal the law is now against the people in mining belt. Mining
leases enjoyed supra power and legitimacy especially from the State
agencies such as the Police, Executive, governments and Judiciary.
Legal alienation cleared the path for greater and horror field
alienation – ecological alienation. Goa State from its very inception
in 1961 remained under firm control of the mining companies. Its first
two chief ministers were mine owners themselves for two decades.

When the mining begins

Mining is one type of activity wherein the end of entire
decentralization in governance becomes imperative. The nature of
mining is militaristic. It does not tolerate any dissent. It needs all
pervasive power over land, minerals under the land, and power of
public opinion. It needs to find its ways to aggressively extract the
minerals and ship it out towards Japan, China, Europe, US and other
countries too. Social engineering is embarked upon in very powerful
manner through iron control over the State, media, intellectuals and
public organizations. Dissent is put down with powerful impetus. The
benefit it derives from these de-humanizing tendencies are that it is
able to service the demands in the Global Political Economy for
minerals. Locally it is able to create handful of economic elites and
strengthen them further through economies of scale. This is a most
certain way towards creating inequality and repressive disharmony
leading towards poverty of mass of the people at the source
destination of the mineral extraction. In fact this has been the exact
way as to how things have unfolded in Goa.

Protests against the starting of mining have been put down with Police
force. Sometimes it has been done through lure of money and alcohol.
The farmers are lured into the benefits of accepting compensation for
the loss of their land. If they do not agree then they are implicated
in some false criminal cases are forced on to compromise table.
Whichever is the way of ‘sorting’ out the protestors the outcome is
common the person, families, and communities are violently forced to
cut their links with soil and land.

They cease to be cultivators. Poverty downs on to their lives and
consequences are unpredictable. There are number of villages wherein
this has been the reality in Goa. Pissurlem village in North Goa’s
Sattari taluka is a classic village to study the mining aggression and
poverty of people. This village has been most flourishing village in
agriculture. It was blessed with abundant greenery, forest cover,
natural water springs, paddy fields and of course the hard working
people. The village has been topmost producers of paddy in the entire
taluka of Sattari. All this changed dramatically. Not only coming of
miming has forced the people of mining to stop paddy cultivation, it
has also displaced the village twice and third displacement in
Dhatwada region is on cards. There are nearly seven mines functioning
in the area of various mining companies such as Sesa Goa – owned by
British Corporate Vedanta, Fomentos, Salgaocar, Chowgules etc. The
mountains have been razed down totally. These were once dense western
ghats forest areas. The silt from the mining areas has washed away
into the paddy fields and rendered the redundant. Protests of
villagers to remove the mining silt have been put off totally both by
the mining companies as well by the State. The natural springs that
were supplying water to the paddy fields have dried up as the mining
pits have gone deep underground and ground water remained terribly
disrupted. This has deprived the villagers of steady supply of food
for their living. It has also deprived them of steady supply of water
to take bath, cooking and drinking. The village is entirely dependent
upon the mining companies to meet their daily needs for water. Mining
companies has commissioned tankers to supply daily water into the
plastic water tanks placed outside the houses of the people. There is
direct deprivation of cultivation of paddy thereby creating situation
of food security. There is also creation of dependence on mining
companies for water. So far only air in the village is not supplied by
mining companies. But here too, lager number of lung diseases reported
at the local government health centre at Valpoi such as Tuberculosis
are from Pissurlem. The co-relation is not difficult to arrive at.
Polluted air with dust particles from mining activity including
transportation of ore in trucks causes air pollution.

But can one take this as indicators of poverty? Poverty is relative
concept. If one has to judge it from the point of view of access to
water and land then it is poverty for sure. But hold on. Here is
description of my last visit to Pissurlem few months ago. One striking
feature is a visible presence of cars in front of number of houses in
Pissurlem. Another feature is prevalence of mining trucks in front of
houses. Investigations reveal that large number of people in Pissurlem
have opted to buy trucks and get into mining transportation trade due
to close down of agriculture option. Some families have earned money
to buy cars afford a life in comfort. How one does judges this? Mining
companies are also supplying with monthly doles to families in
Pissurlem as a trade off for silence of the Villagers. So people have
got into the habit of accepting the monthly doles and become
insensitive to the collective ruin of the habitat and life support
systems. New mining leases in the meanwhile continue to get activated.
Few years ago this village has suffered massive floods due to mining
activities. Mining silt that got deposited in inside the people’s
houses was over one meter thick.

The village of Sirgao in Bicholim stands out in this context. The
number of people in the village that are challenging the three
operating mines in their village – Dempos that is taken over by
British corporate Vedanta, Chowgules, and Bandekars. They filed public
interest litigation in Goa bench of Bombay High Court in June 2008.
The court directed Nagpur based National Environment Engineering
Institute (NEERI) to conduct scientific study. NEERI submitted its
study in March 2009 confirming that mining activity has caused
depletion of ground water in the village causing drying up of village
wells and springs. It also confirmed that large amount of deposition
of mining silt has taken place in the agricultural fields of the
village and paddy cultivation has not been possible. NEERI submitted
the plan to rejuvenate the water sources and remove mining silt from
paddy fields at the cost of approximately 1.8 lakhs per hectare. The
total amount that mining companies would have to pay to NEERI to
restore Sirgao’s agriculture and recharge groundwater is Rs. 660.25
lakhs. What is the story of Sirgao that is proved scientifically is
the story of every village under mining in Goa. Water and Food
security of Goa is deeply threatened.

Colamb is another village in South Goa’s Sanguem taluka that is
currently battling mining industry. The number of mining leases are 23
that are covering large area of Colamb village. The village has total
areas of 1929 hectares and mining leases covers 1510 hectares of land.
The mining leases cover places of habitat, forest, natural water
bodies, paddy fields and everything else on the surface of the
village. Already in the past 10 years couple of mines that are
operating in the village has destroyed considerable amount of
agriculture. Alcoholism has increased many folds in the mining belt
with increased problems of alienation amongst both the locals as well
as migrants. Destruction of agriculture and forest and everything else
becomes a priority for the mining companies to carry on advancing into
the newer territories. Large variety of vegetables that people –
mostly tribals cultivated has vanished as the cultivation spaces has
been occupied by mining companies. The local river named Kushavati –
tributori of Zuari river - began to dry three years ago in the month
of May. This year State government has constructed check dams on
Kushavati river. But this is not the solution. Stagnant water do not
support any fish that used to be available in the river for the local
people to eat. Now there is no fish. The huge trees on the banks of
Kushavati rivers are affected with stagnant water and as a result
trees – according to local people’s wisdom – are dying. So it is
double problem of mining as well as the problem of river being
artificially flooded. Both of these are dangerous downslides as far as
standard of people in the locality are concerned.

The above are only few glimpses of the deeply deteriorating situation
due to mining industry in Goa. Only handful of people are financially
benefiting from the trade. The people in the Goa’s mining belt are
directly affected negatively. The industry is making people poorer by
the day. Financially due to trucks banks are benefiting, while the
people are loosing their land, water, agriculture, rivers and forest.
They are loosing this forever. Goa is loosing this forever. Mining
actively causes poverty in Goa. Its consequences are going to be
unpredictable and severe for the entire society.

Mining in Goa: testimonies

Dinanath Gaonkar, Sirgao

Mining has been going on in our village for over 45 years. When I was
young all these mining pits today were dense forest. In the forest we
used to go around and pick our wild fruits, medicines and even we had
our play ground on a small patch. All this has changed now. Mining
companies – three of them has come about in our village of Sirgao and
carried on mining excavation work. This has resulted in large scale
changes of our village. Few people got employment into the mines. And
large number of villagers was involved in cultivation of agriculture.
The changes that unfolded over the period of time has shocked us and
pushed the entire village into the state of ecological refugees. Our
forest is completely disappeared – chopped down by mining companies.
Our play ground id not traceable at all. In their place there are huge
mining pits.

The mining in the mountains has led to the washing of Ore into the low
lying paddy fields and over the last few years our agriculture has
come to the grinding halt. Our paddy fields has lost fertility and are
silted with run offs from the mining companies. What are we to eat?
Where are we to cultivate? How are we to live?

Presently we live like worms in our village. Not only our paddy fields
are silted but also our village springs and wells have gone dry
because of mining. The ore extraction inside the pits has gone so low
that the mining companies are continuously involved in pumping out of
ground water with high powered water pumps. The underground flow has
changed its course towards the mining pits. This has left all the
village springs and wells dry.

Some people in the village has benefited as they operate mining
trucks. But the long term interest of our village is terribly
compromised and gradually it is becoming unbearable to stay in the
village. Our ancestors came and settled here chiefly because there was
plenty of water available here. But all that has changed now. Water in
the village is becoming scarce day by day. Our village has changed
from once prosperous towards poverty due to open cast iron ore mining.

Our future generations can no longer hope to live in this village if
the mining goes on the way it going currently. When our villagers
objected for the transportation of Ore from the land legally owned by
us police came and arrested my fellow villagers. How are we to survive
this onslaught? Our demand it to create Sirgao village free from

Motesh Antao, Colomba

I am from Colomba village in Sanguem taluka. My family directly
affected due to open cast iron mining activities carried on at the
neighboring mine. Our agriculture is getting ruined as the siltation
and water shortages have resulted in reduced production of rice. This
is a case with many farmers in Colomba. Our traditional water ways has
been chocked with silt that got washed with rains and got accumulated
inside the water ways. This has also affected our daily schedules of
life in Peace and harmony.

Mining is being carried on inside forest areas. We are involved in
protesting against the mining industry in our village because it is
deriving towards poverty. I as well as my fellow villagers are facing
constant threats from the mining companies as well from the State
Police force. I have been arrested due to my protests against mining
nearly 8 times during past two years. My brothers as well as my
parents too have been arrested and number of criminal cases are filed.
Now I have to make regular trips to the Court of law in Quepem and

Police officers on two occasions beat me up at the Police station
after calling me to the police station to collect information that I
had asked under Right to Information Act involving details of assets
of Police officers and their involvement in mining transportation.

There are all together 23 mining leases in my village of Colomba. Out
of which four are in operation currently. Another 4 are going for
Public hearing next month in March 2010. Our entire village is full
greenery in the form of Forest and Paddy fields. The places where
mines have started however are no longer green. The extraction of ore
has changed colour. Health of our villagers is deteriorating. Mining
has generated tensions and few people are getting affected with hearth
attacks that were unheard of till few years ago.

Our roads have become very dangerous to walk and drive on. There are
large number of truck carrying mining ore ply regularly creating
dangerous situation of the roads. Accidents are regular phenomena and
every now and then there are victims of accidents and some even

How do I make my living in this situation? How does my fellow
villagers to make living when mining is doing away with our soil, our
paddy fields, our water sources, our forest and our dignity? How are
we to survive? I feel we can live peacefully and prosperously in the
village only when mining is stopped completely.

Sharmila Naik, Advalpal

My village of Advalpal is depended upon agriculture. It is also the
village with forest and hills. It is located in Bicholim taluka. In
our village there used to be mining in manual form nearly 40 years
ago. The there was accident on the mine and few people had died. Then
mines were stopped. However four years ago mines started again. This
time it was mechanized mining. Few companies came to our village,
offered money to the villagers and mines got started. However after
one year we realized how dangerous this mining was we started opposing
the mines. The mines has created very dangerous situation for my
village of Advalpal. Mines disrupted traditional water flow in the
village and our crop got flooded at the time of harvest. The mine
buried existing water lakes with mining silt. Further mining even dug
our crematorium space where our village used to cremate the dead of
our village.

Now the situation is bad as the traditional water bodies are dried up
due to mining. Natural springs of our village used to supply water to
drink for our villagers. Women folks also used gather together for the
washing of clothes at the springs. All this is now gone with drying up
of springs.

In June last year due to mining our village got flooded. Mining silt
was deposited into the houses of the people. It was very traumatic
moment for my family and villagers. Few houses got badly hit by the

Mining has also destroyed cashew crops and there are very few spaces
left for us to carry on with our cashew cultivation. We used to get
bumper crops every year but for the past few years not only the yield
has deteriorated but also the places where cashew trees existed has
been used for mining purposes. The large lake space that was used for
the purpose of bathing of cattle has been buried deliberately by the
mining company. Our cattle has no place to take bath now and mining
has led to disruption of agriculture of our village.

The lease boundary of the mining company extends to the middle of the
village main road. There are three mining leases that are in operation
here. One mining lease is currently stopped due to High Court order to
remove the silt that mining company has deposited in the village.
Mining company has not adhered to the High Court Order so far for the
past 4 months.

Now my family is forced to move out of Advalpal as there are no
sources of living left in the village. Number of other families too
facing similar situations. Where are we to look for our survival in
the context of mining?

In May 2008 there was a major revolt in our village against mining. We
marched on the mine site and stopped the work by force. Then we got
together and protested outside the office of Deputy Collector,
Bicholim for one week. Number of police cases are filed against us.
Nearly 70 people have to attend the court hearings regularly at
Bicholim Court. Mining companies got police protection and carried on
their operations.

Few people of our village who own trucks benefit from the mining
industry. The rest of us get no benefit at all. In fact our village is
losing terribly and I feel mining has to stop once and for all.

Posted by MAND at 2/18/2010 11:54:00 PM 0 comments Links to this
Labels: Advalpal, Colamb, Mining, Poverty, Research, Sirgao
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Goa Police as the State Agency of Repression in Goa’s mining belt:
By Sebastian Rodrigues


Of late there has been intense resistance to open cast iron ore,
bauxite and manganese mines in Goa. Often branded as ‘backbone of
Goa’s economy’ mining industry has been at the receiving end of public
criticism for transforming itself as ‘rogue industry’ causing enormous
harm to the ecology, agriculture, water sources, as well as traffic
congestion, air pollution, sound pollution, and large scale sicknesses
caused due to air pollution, water pollution and entry of migrant

While the village groups in different parts of the State of Goa have
expressed problems caused due to the mining industry in legitimate
manners; within the ambit of the Constitution of India, State-
Corporate nexus have responded to these concerns with repression. Goa
Police has been its most preferred agency of repression over the past
few years. This papers documents and analyzes the behavior of Goa
Police in Goa’s mining belt from 2007 to 2009 – the period that has
witnessed heightened resistance.

Amongst the methods of intimidation followed by Goa Police includes
visits by secret police known as CID (Criminal Investigation
Department) to the houses of villagers, calling up at odd hours in the
night, verbal threats, physical violence while in custody, non-
interference while protestors are attacked by mining truck owners,
humiliation tactics by putting slate around the neck and
photographing, filing of false cases, filing of charge sheets further
the proceedings in judicial courts, threatening to ban entry into the
mining villages by imposing Tadi Par, confiscating the buses used for
traveling for protest marches, confiscating and tearing down of
posters with slogans against mining companies, monitoring movements of
villagers protesting mining industry, tapping of telephones of people
opposed to mining industry, indulging in physical violence in the form
of Lathi Charge against the villagers protesting mining industry,
filing of criminal cases against the lawyers defending villagers
opposing mining industry, refusing or ignoring complaints filed by
villagers against officials of mining companies, and investigating the
opponents of mining industry as ‘Naxalites’.

The paper problemitizes the role of state funded Police force and
questions the partial and partisan role played Goa Police that is
unbecoming of public servants and suggests ways to change behavior
pattern of Goa Police as protector of ‘public’ interest and not the
interest of the mining companies.

I. Introduction

Open cast mining industry dealing with Iron Ore, Manganese and Bauxite
has its prevalence in Goa since 1948 when 100 tonnes of Iron Ore was
exported to Japan for the first time, from the times under Portuguese
Colonial rule. The industry is basically dig and sell economy located
in around 68,000 hectares of land fragmented into 791 mining leases
granted during Portuguese colonial regime. Open cast mining of this
major industry is principally for export purpose to various countries
of the World with Japan being the prominent destination since 1948. In
fact Goa’s Ore played major role in resurgence of Japan after being
reduced to ashes during the World War II that culminated in dropping
of Atom bombs by Americans on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in August 1945. However China overtook Japan as a leading
destination of Goa’s mineral exports during past few years. In fact
during 2008-2009 Goan exports of ore to China constituted 86%
(32,763,721 tonnes) while next to follow is Japan with 9% (3,557,775
tonnes). Europe (Italy, Netherlands and Rumania) got 2% of Goa’s iron
ore exports (680,513 tonnes), South Korea got 1% of Exports (545,228
tonnes), Pakistan got 1% of exports (258,029 tonnes), and Middle East
(Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai and Saudi Arabia) got 1% (231,457 tonnes).
African nation Kenya got fraction of it too - 38,500 tonnes.

According to the selected statistics (Amended upto March 31, 2009) on
Goan Mineral Ore Exports Compiled by Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’
Association Goa’s exports particularly of Iron Ore has been increasing
at rapid pace. During 2005-2006 it was 25,537,924 tonnes, In 2006-2007
it rose to 30,893,953 tonnes. In 2007-2008 it increased to 33,434,429
tonnes. In 2008-2009 exports jumped to 38,075,223 tonnes out of which
32,629,521 tonnes is to China alone.

Mining companies involved in Goan Iron Ore exports during 2008-2009
includes miners, transporters and real estate companies. The list is
as follows: Sesa Goa Limited, V.S. Dempo & Company Pvt. Ltd.,
Sociedade de Fomento Indl. P. Ltd., Prime Mineral Exports Pvt. Ltd.,
Fomento (Karnataka) Mining Co. P. Ltd., V.M. Salgaoncar & Bro. Pvt.
Ltd., V.M. Salgaoncar Sales International, Chowgule & Company Pvt.
Limited, Chowgule & Co. (Salt) Pvt. Ltd., Chowgule & Co. Pvt. Ltd.
(Mandovi Pellets), Salgaoncar Mining Industries P. Ltd., Timblo
Private Limited, Timblo Enterprises, Damodar Mangalji & Co. Ltd.,
Bandekar Brothers, V.G. Mehta Exports, Vassaantram Mehta & Co. Pvt.
Ltd., Venture Resource Holdings., Venture Real Estate, PEC Limited,
Karishma Exports, Karishma Goa Mineral Trading, Rajaram Bandekar (s)
Mines P. Ltd., Rajaram N.S. Bandekar & Co. P. Ltd., Narayan Bandekar &
Sons Pvt. Ltd., On & Offshore Hitech Engineers P. Ltd., Trimuthi
Exports, D.B. Bandodkar & Sons Pvt. Ltd., Shree Bhavani Minerals,
Minescape Minerals Pvt. Ltd., Prasanna V. Ghotge, Star PVG Exports,
Sri Krishna Enterprises, Gangadhar Narsingdas Agrawal, Fulchand
Exports, Baggadia Brothers, Shree Mallikarjun Shipping, Alphine
International, MSPL Limited, Ramakanta V. S. Velingkar, Ramakanta
Velingkar Minerals, Magnum Minerals Pvt. Ltd., Rika Global Impex Ltd.,
Muktar Pvt. Ltd., Canara Overseas Limited, Shantadurga Transport Co.
P. Ltd., and Adani Enterprises Limited. All these companies has
exported Goan Iron Ore to China without any exception. These are the
beneficiaries of the Goa’s dig and sell economy to which this trade is
the backbone of their economies fetching unimaginable financial
rewards without being in any affecting with global depression.

Sesa Goa limited – owned by British corporate Vedanta that is listed
on London stock exchange and funded by large number of banks and
shareholders world over - has topped the list of exporters with total
of 10,345,020 tonnes of export of Iron Ore. Out this 8,977,723 tonnes
exported to China, 631,186 tonnes exported to Japan, 212,378 tonnes to
South Korea, 265,704 to Europe, and 258,029 tonnes to Pakistan. The
company – V.S. Dempo & Company Pvt. Ltd – that Vedanta purchased in
June 2009 with all its mining interests in Goa exported total of
4,347,543 tonnes of iron ore to China (3,882,550 tonnes) and Japan
(464,993 tonnes). Vedanta’s target of exports for 2009-2010 is
whopping 50,000,000 tonnes from its mines in Goa alone. This is larger
than last year’s (2008-2009) combined total of all the mining
companies export from Goa of 38,075,223 tonnes of iron ore. For
Vedanta Goa is a Sunshine State! With this known target of one mining
company alone destruction of Goa’s ecology and People’s livelihood is

Audoot Timblo who filed defamation suit of Rs.500 crore against the
author of this paper – Sebastian Rodrigues - at Calcutta High Court in
December 2008 citing that his writings at GAKUVED blog www.mandgoa.blogspot.com
has caused loss of business and existence of Fomento group is in
danger if his writings continues has three mining companies in his
kitty. The first one is Sociedade de Fomento Indl P. ltd that exported
2,348,970 tonnes to China (3,882,550 tonnes), Japan (453,005 tonnes)
and Europe (339,330 tonnes). The second one is Prime Mineral Exports
Pvt. Ltd. That exported 1,644,432 tonnes of Iron Ore to China. The
third one is Fomento (Karnataka) Mining Co. P. Ltd that sent 119,964
of Goan ore to China. This way there are 50 agencies that are engaged
in export of Goa’s Iron Ore. Their names are already cited above.

In order to sustain this exports tirade Goa’s hinterlands has been at
the brutal receiving ends. Its Forest and agriculture in large number
of villages where open cast mining activity is undertaken has been a
huge casualty thereby causing crisis of food security for humans and
animals alike. Goa’s ground water flow has been drastically changed
due to deep mining pits in number of locations thereby leaving village
wells, natural lakes, springs, ponds and rivulets dry. Water
dependency has developed in the Goa’s mining belt. Number of people
has become victims of dangerous Public Health Crisis in the Goa’s
mining belt that is yet to be thoroughly investigated. Large number of
people of Pissurlem and Keri – in Sattari are suffering from number
lung diseases including tuberculosis. While People in and around
Rivona in Sanguem suffer from Chicken Gunia almost in epidemic form
few months ago in September – October 2009.

Number of voices has cropped up recently highlighting that all is not
well with open cast mining industry in Goa and in fact it is rapidly
destroying not only the backbone of the local people’s economy i.e.
agriculture, but also causing irreversible ecological changes with
long term unforeseen consequences. Due to inherent rush of the China
boom and lure of foreign currency mining companies are in competition
with each other to transform Goa into a desert – all of them working
at breath neck speed. This is duly facilitated by mechanized nature of
the mining industry with latest sophisticated machinery waging a war
against nature and humanity in Goa. Communities has been lured into
alcoholism and cleverly fragmented into factions causing frequent
strife so that the will of the mining industry prevails.

In spite of all this however there are some village people in Goa
including its tribal people has demonstrated stiff and organized
resistance to this marauding open cast mining industry. At State level
Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dangar Federation (GAKUVED) has lend its voice
to the struggle against Goa’s mining plunder since 2007. Number of
other organizations such as Nature Environment Society and
Transformations (NEST), Goa Foundation, Ganv Ghor Rakhon Manch (GGRM)
and Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA) has also collaborated with village people
resisting mining in various villages of Goa in various ways and
varying intensities. Goa Federation of Mines Affected People has
evolved as a network of mining affected people in Goa since August

II. Documenting Police Repression

The response of the State to these protests has been to deploy State
police – Goa Police – to carry on series of repressive measures
against those people involved in the active resistance against the
mining industry. Number of people arrested and criminally charged.
Police force is deployed to protect the mining industry and to
demoralize the resisting people in various manner. Below is a list of
Police interventions and strategic non-interventions to achieve this
objective. The below documentation is based on regular spot recorded
entries at www.mandgoa.blogspot.com – blog of Mand – An Adivasi-rights
Resource Centre, an Initiative of Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar
Federation (GAKUVED) - after being reported by the villagers and
sometimes newspapers.

November 20, 2007
Colomba, Sanguem
A group of 8 Policemen came in plain clothes at 6 pm and began
threatening the villagers. They were searching Agnelo D'Souza, one of
the villagers in forefront of protest against mining threatening to
gobble up Colamb village. He had protested overwhelmingly during
November 18 2007 gram Sabha of the Rivona village panchayat and sought
resolution seeking to ban further mining activity in Colamb.

January 21, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police Inspector Mhamel of Quepem Police station over the phone
threatened Rama Velip that if the villagers continue to march on the
Fomento mines then he will arrest all the villagers.

January 23, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Goa Police protection provided to Fomento mine in Colomba, Sanguem.

February 08, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
ASI P.V. Desai attached to Quepem police station kicked one of the
Colomba villagers – Agnelo Dias. The police jeep which was following
the truck one of the police by name ASI P.V.Dessai got down from the
jeep caught hold the top portion of shirt of the youth shirt pulled
him and then assaulted him with shoes one his private parts and then
pulled him into the police jeep.

February 09, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
40 Police personnel deputed to protect Fomento mine in Colamb.

February 11, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem

Police Protection to Fomento Mine
March 11, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem

Police protection to Fomento Mine.
March 25, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem

24 villagers including women arrested while blocking transportation of
Iron Ore from Fomento Mine. Police beat up villagers and snatched
earrings of one woman. 16 male constables and 6 lady constables
engaged to arrest 16 Women and 5 men. Women were picked up by male
constables – manhandled with some women complaining missing of their
gold ornaments on their bodies during the scuffle with the police on
the mining site.

April 12, 2008
Margao, Salcete
South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik threatened Colomba villagers of
deploying police force to protect Fomentos to transport Ore from the
company’s Colomba mine. Collector issued this warning when a group of
Colomba villagers called on him at his Margao office.

April 22, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem
Fomento Manager Atul Makode Manager of Hiralal and Khodidas mine
Colomba has on 22/4/2008 filed a false and distorted complaint before
the Quepem police against 18 villagers of Colomba villagers. The
complaint has been filed under section 143(punishment for forming an
unlawful assembly) , 147( punishment for rioting) , 447(Punishment for
criminal trespass) , 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) , 506(2)
(punishment for criminal intimidation) , 425 (Mischief ) ,
427( Mischief) , read with section 149 (Liable for prosecution of
common object). All the sections applied are of Indian Penal Code,
1860 – another colonial law, this time by British applied upheld the
mining trade in Goa started during Portuguese colonial rule. There can
be no greater evidence that Goa is de facto living in Colonial regime
of State in India. The villagers have revolted not just against mining
by against Colonial system in operation benefiting few elites in Goa,
India and abroad. The 18 villagers against whom the complaint has been
filed includes 1.Premdas Velip, 2.Alcina Dias, 3. Agnelo D’Souza, 4.
Caetan Barreto, 5. Egyps D’Souza, 6. Tilu Dias, 7. Vincent Dias, 8.
Palmira Dias, 9. Dumena D’Souza,10. Bhagrati Velip, 11. Shanta Velip,
12. Kalawati Velip, 13. Chandrakant Gaonkar, 14. Vithabai Velip, 15.
Concy Antao, 16. Kalidas Naik, 17. Surya Gaonkar, 18.Gavnekar

May 21, 2008
Nuem, Khola, Canacona
Dempo Mine: contractor Gangesh Molu Dessai, landed at the site with
around 40 police personal from Cuncolim, Margao, Maina Curtorim and
Colva. IRB who were headed by Cuncolim P.I. Sidhant Shirodkar and
Colva P.I. Edwin Colaco. The Canacona Execuitive Magistrate Shri
Valvoikar made his presence over there. The police started clearing
the obstruction which was there on the way leading to the mine. The
police were stationed at the site till 4.00 pm face to face with
protesting people.

May 19, 2008
Advalpal, Bicholim
Criminal cases registered against 70 villagers at the behest of
Fomento mining company. Fomento mining company had filed police cases
against following 12 Advalpal villagers Shyamsunder Naik, Sharmila
Naik, Kishore Naik, Kashinath Gad, Vijay Pundloskar, Ganesh Naik, Babi
Gaonkar, Suresh Gad, Shrikant Gaonkar, Manguesh Gad, Amar Shetye and
Pradip Gaonkar. The cases were registered under following sections of
the Indian Penal Code (IPC): 143, 144, 147, 148, 323, 427, 341, 506
and 149.

Out of these 4 people were arrested namely, Shyamsunder Naik, Sharmila
Naik, Kishore Naik and Kashinath Gad. Fomentos are operating Litho
Ferro mining lease in Advalpal

May 20, 2008
Advalpal, Bicholim
Police Protection provided to Fomento mine.

May 21, 2008
Advalpal, Bicholim
Sheetal Thanekar, Surekha Santosh Gaonkar and 17 year old Sandesh
Vithal Gaonkar was beaten by Sesa Goa goons at around 3.00 pm. Police
case registered. Police are yet to make any arrests so far.

June 04, 2008
Porvorim, Bardez
Advalpal villagers stopped on their way to Panjim to celebrate World
Environment Day and demonstration in front of Sesa Ghor. Their bus
taken away to Panjim Police station from Porvorim under the pretext
that Police had a secret information that the protestors are going to
block the Mandovi bridge and paralyze the traffic! Police force in
riot gears were deployed to guard the protestors after they got off
the bus in Porvorim. This police followed the protestors to Panjim
when they got back their bus and staged demonstration in from of Sesa
Ghor – the headquarters of Sesa Goa mining company owned by British
Corporate - Vedanta.

June 05, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Heavy police security in police arrangement as villagers celebrated
World Environment Day

June 19, 2008
Goa Legislative Assembly, Porvorim

Leader of the opposition Manohar Parrikar at ad-hoc committee named
the author of this paper – Sebastian Rodrigues – as naxalite operating
with his team from Jharkhand in Colomba, Quepem. Top officer of Goa
Police present at the meeting agreed with Mr. Parrikar’s assertion.
Goa Police however came out with official statement denying presence
of Naxalites in the State of Goa.

June 24, 2008
Quepem Police Sation, Quepem

Quepem Police Inspector Santosh S. Dessai took a written statement
from Colomba’s Rama Velip on naxalite issue. Extracts: “…I say that I
know one Sebastiao Rodrigues r/o Siolim Mapusa since last 05 years
from the year 2003. The said Sebastiao Rodrigues use to visit our home
at Colomba alongwith br. Philip of Don Bosco, Sulcorna and Venkatesh
Prabhudessai of Colomba – Kevona. The said Sebastiao use to move along
with brother Philip Neri D’Souza.

I say that whenever there was a meeting in our village regarding
mining issue and other environmental or land issue he use to visit our
village. Most of the time said Venkatesh Prabhudessai and also Br.
Philip use to attend the said meeting of “GAKUVED” and use to take
photographs and was doing videography also. Mostly he use to do work
on the internet…”

October 11, 2008
Maina, Quepem
Eight protestors were beaten up by goons of the mining industry in the
presence of police personnel headed by PI Santos S. Dessai and
protestors arrested and sent to jail. 85 year old Dora de Souza too
was arrested while she with a group of protestors chained herself on
the road carrying iron ore away from the mine. She along with other 3
women were sent to Aguada Jail. Zilla Parishad member Subhas
Phaldessai led the attack on protestors at Dinar Tarcar Mine. PI
Santos Desai remained passive observer during this time. Priest
Mathias D’Cunha sdb, Filmmaker Kurush Canteenwalah and Sebastian
Rodrigues too was beaten up and taken into police custody. Quepem
Police team led by PI Santos S. Dessai remained mere spectator as the
mining goons were beating up the protestors

October 15, 2008
Maina, Quepem.
Police protection to Fomento mine T.C. 06/1949.

November 13, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police night patrolling in the village with three police Jeeps began.
Police night patrolling continued for three weeks.

November 12, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
86 protestors on Fomento mine T.C.No. 06/1946 were arrested and later
released on bail. Fr. Mathias D’Cunha sdb from Sulcorna was abused and
by some unruly elements defending Fomentos. He has lodged police
complaint. Police took no action. PI Santos S. Dessai was present on
the site. At the police station placards of Colomba villagers were
confiscated and torn apart under the oral instructions from PI Santos
S. Dessai. Police also destroyed people’s food while effecting
arrests. Goa Armed Police van and two jeeps full of Police personnel
were put in action in defense of the Fomentos. One lady constable
bearing badge number 6769 assaulted Colamb female protestor Dument
D’Souza just before the arrests in the afternoon in presence of
mamlatdar. Similarly Fomento security staff and truck drivers beat up
two protestors Shamsunder Naik, Durgadas Gaonkar and Gajanand Raikar
causing minor injuries to them. Former editor of Goamtak times Sujoy
Gupta who joined Fomento mining company as its vice president directed
the security staff to identify the targets for violence from the
mining company’s office on Hiralal Khodidas mine at Colomba on this

November 17, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa
7 villagers from Colomba, Sanguem protesting against mining invasion
of their village were arrested in fabricated criminal case filed by
Fomento mining company supporter Surya Naik. PI Santos S. Dessai began
arrests by taking Egyps D’Souza into Police custody while he was
moving around in Tilamol market. 8 arrested were later released on
bail. The villagers are Motesh Antao, Egyps D'Souza, Dument D'Souza,
Shanto Velip, Rama Velip, Telu Dias and Xavier Fernandes. They were
punished with day long forced stay at Quepem Police station on the
next day - November 18, 2008.

Novemeber 19, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa
Warning of Tadi Par – Exile by Police – informally sent to Egyps
D’Souza by PI Santos S. Dessai. Egyps would be debarred from entering
South Goa jurisdiction, including his home in Quepem taluka once Tadi
Par in invoked on him.

November 22, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police team visited village with intention to arrest young Tedoz Antao
based on the complaint filed against him by Fomento security

November 27, 2008
Ambaulim, Quepem
Police in riot gear clashed on streets when Ambaulim villagers who
blocked Iron Ore transport of Dinar Tarcar and Fomentos due to over
loading and dust pollution.

November 29, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police Protection provided to Fomento Manager en route to Quepem
Police Station to file complaint against villagers after they forced
stopped the mining transportation.

December 01, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police protection provided to Fomentos to transport Iron Ore at
Hiralal Khodidas mine

(T.C. No. 06/1949).
December 04, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem
Colomba villagers warned of Tadi Par. Served 4 days deadline by PI
Santosh Desai to end agitation against Fomento mining company and
accept sustainable mining. According to PI Santos S. Dessai if Colomba
villagers don’t listen then their agitation will be crushed with heavy
police force. Entire Police force from Goa will be mobilized to
unleash terror on Colamb villagers. Rama Velip, Salvador Dias, Telu
Dias, Xavier Fernandes, Purso Gaoncar, Arjun Velip, Chandrakant
Gaonkar and Surya Gaonkar witnessed PI Santosh Dessai telling them all
this in presence of two Fomento mining company officials.

December 13, 2008
Sanvordem, Sanguem

Stranger male moving around with photograph of youth from Colamb –
Tedoz Antao – approached Milagrine Antao and Dument D’souza while on
marketing visit to Sanvordem town. He told them that Quepem PI Santos
S. Dessai has commissioned him to catch the person on photograph and
hand over to him at Quepem Police Station. According to him this youth
protesting mining company’s onslaught on his village is involved in
Dacoities. Such a insidious defamatory propaganda! This questioning of
Colamb women in Sanvordem market by stranger on behalf of Quepem
Police was one more instance of desperate attempts by Goa Police-
Fomento nexus to spread terror and fear amongst common people
resisting mining industry by outsourcing its functions to private

December 17, 2008
Ambaulim, Quepem

Police violence – lathi charge – on peaceful demonstrators against
mining trucks creating air pollution and traffic hazards as all the
written petitions were not respected and acted upon by Digambar Kamat
government.. 7 villagers arrested (William Luis, Satulin Luis, Fatima
Fernandes, Franky Rebello, Glen Rebello, Diego Fernandes besides Anton
Jose Fernandes who was arrested from his home after the lathi charge.)
Police assault on lawyer John Fernandes and attempt to murder criminal
case under section 307 of Indian Penal Code filed against Advocate
Fernandes. Police Inspector Santosh S. Dessai alleged in local marathi
daily - Tarun Bharat issue of December 18, 2008 that Adv. John
attempted to murder policemen - ASI Arvind Nagekar - while lathi
charging the protestors against transportation of Iron Ore from the
road in their village causing enormous dust pollution and traffic
congestions. Wife of Advocate John Fernandes, Paulina Fernandes too
was criminally charged on this day for rioting and unlawful assembly.
Seven school children beaten by police violence, Franky Rebello was
hit on head by Police. Amongst other injured includes smt. Lourencina
Rebello (65), Andrew Fernandes, William Fernandes, John Fernandes,
Smt. Remij Fernandes (50) Francisco Fernandes, Monica Fernandes, Pobre
Fernandes and Soccor Fernandes. Quepem PI Santos S. Dessai and Deputy
collector Venancio Furtado denied lathi charge though it took place in
their presence; in fact administered by both of them – in reply under
RTI. This proved that Deputy collector present did not order the lathi
charge. South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik justified it in interview to
Times of India of December 19, 2008 and Goa Police authority headed by
Justice Eurico Silva defended this lathi charge in his judgment. The
legality of this lathi charge is clearly a suspect.

January 06, 2009
Colamb, Sanguem

Police protection provided to Fomento mine in Colamb. It continued on
January 07, 2009.

January 15, 2009
Ambaulim, Quepem

Police launched search operation for two days – January 14 to January
15, 2009 to arrest Pobre Fernandes, an active person in resistance to
mining industry.

January 20, 2009
Cavrem, Quepem

Five tribal youth resisting mining company were arrested by Police at
Quepem Police Station. Their names are Satyendra Gaonkar, Ashish
Gaonkar, Sandesh Gaonkar, Ramesh Gaonkar, and Deepak Gaonkar. They
were arrested after mines manager Kulkarni at Nevgi mine - operated by
Dinar Tarcar - filed complaint against them on January 18, 2009.

33. February 01, 2009

Ambaulim, Quepem

Villager Franky Rebello’s house was visited by Quepem Police Constable
Mohan Dessai in the night and Franky’s wife and aged parents were
threatened with rendering Franky unemployed. Franky was not at home.
Mohan Desai was drunk when on his visit.

34. February 03, 2009

Colomba, Sanguem

Goa Police attached to Quepem Police station served the notice to
Tedoz Antao to

surrender before Quepem Police station within 17 hours in response to

case filed against him by Fomentos.

35. February 13, 2009

Colamb, Sanguem

Police visited the residence of Motes Antao, youth resisting mining
invasion of his

village of Colomba in Sanguem at 1.33 pm with intention to scare him

36. March 20, 2009

Colamb, Sanguem

Motes Antao was whisked away by Police at 10.00 am from his truck in
Quepem and arrested over the charge of assault on Government Servant
based on the complaint filed by one Ganesh Velip on 29/1/2009 over the
incident taken place on 9/1/2009 the Quepem police booked Motes under
section 353,504 and 506 r/w. 34 of IPC for giving abusive words to a
court bailiff. Motes is one of the active voices of mining terrorism
in Goa and has been frequently targeted by the mining industry. This
time he was slapped on his face three times by policemen at Quepem
police station. First time he was slapped by a policeman in plain
clothes at Quepem Police Station and second and third time he was
slapped on face while being taken for medical examination at
government health centre in Curchorem. PI Devendra Gad was heading the
Police Station this time. In the bail application moved by said Motes
claimed that on the day of the alleged incident he was not yet all
present at the residence. He claimed that he has been falsely booked
at the instance of Fomento Mining Company whose summons the Court
bailiff had gone to serve to the villagers of Colomba. Goa Police
Complaint Authority headed by Justice Eurico Silva ruled in favour of
police this time too. Earlier it had done the same in case of Lathi
charge on villagers of Ambaulim, Quepem.

March 20, 2009
Colamb, Sanguem

On this same day brother of Motes Antao, Tedoz Antao too was arrested
– picked up by police while he was waiting for public transport bus at
Tilamol junction. He was criminally charged for restraining one
Yeshwant Salunke, security guard of Hiralal Khodidas mine (operated by
Fomentos in Colamb) on 13/9/2008 and was booked under section 341,
323, 427, 506(ii) r/w. 34 of IPC.

March 24-25, 2009
Cawrem, Quepem

There was alteration on March 24, 2009 in Cawrem village between two
anti - mining activists Alcine Dias and Egyps D'Souza on the one hand
and Rivona Panchayat member of Panchayat Ram Gaoncar who once upon a
time in 2003 was opponent mining operated by Radha Timblo belonging to
Badruddin Mavany mining lease but then surrendered himself and his
land to Timblos pressure tactics.

When the two men Alcine and Egyps went to the Police station to
register the complaint against Ram Gaoncar, Timblo mining company
Manager and another contractor of the Fomento mining company in Colamb
swung into action and pressurized the police to register the case
against Egyps D'Souza. A case was registered for assault and breach of
Public Peace against Egyps. Egyps was detained at the police station
for the full one night.

39. March 25, 2009

Quepem Police Station, Quepem

Rama Velip on visit to meet arrested Egyps D’souza at the Quepem
Police Station on March 25, 2009 afternoon he was arrested and forced
to accept bail and move out of the police station in one old case
pertaining to blockade of the mining transport near Fomento mine in

40. April 01, 2009

Colomba, Sanguem

Motesh Antao threatened by Quepem Police Inspector Devendra Gad of
booking under National Security Act (NSA) to continue harassment in
furtherance of numerous false cases filed by Fomento mining company
against him. PI Devendra Gad promised to use his police powers to
harass Motesh Antao to the last. Motesh was called to the police
station by serving call letter when he was awarded with this warning.

41. May 10, 2009

Sirgao, Bicholim

Suresh Babani Gaonkar and Dhruvanjay V. Harmalkar were arrested by
Bicholim Police Sub Inspector Terence Vaz and head constable Pradeep
Kubal for protesting against Chowgule mining company plying its mining
trucks through their property. They were picked by from Sirgao village
in North Goa at around 11.30 am without serving any call letters. The
arrests came 4 days after the famous Sirgao Zatra festival – in which
Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat participated – in the village with
scarce water due the giant mining companies sucking their water
sources dry.

Once taken into police custody they were put into police lock up. They
were not served any meals and were starved till they were bailed out
at around 5 pm on the same day.

42. May 20, 2009

Advalpal, Bicholim

Two villagers from Advalpal, Bicholim – Shamsunder Naik and Vijay
Pandluskar are arrested at Bicholim Police Station for protesting
against Sesa Goa mines on May 10, 2009 under section 151 of Indian
Penal Code – Disturbance of Public Peace! They were released from
Bicholim Police Lock up at night at 9.00 pm.

43. July 18, 2009

Colomba, Sanguem

For two weeks Rama Velip of Colamb village in Sanguem Taluka was
harassed by Goa's Secret Police - CID (Criminal Intelligence
Department). Secret police has been visiting the house of Rama Velip
and seeking to know about future plans of anti-mining movement. There
are phone calls made at Rama Velip's residence at very odd hours in
the night and asking him to report to Quepem Police Station.

Rama Velip is heading Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Fedearation
(GAKUVED) unit under the jurisdiction of Rivona Panchayat and in the
middle of resistance movement against mining in Sanguem and Quepem
Talukas of South Goa.

CID officer who is involved in harassing Rama Velip is one Premanand
Phaldessai attached to Quepem Police Station. He hails from Sanvordem
and according to the sources his family members are involved in
business of transportation of Iron Ore through ownership of trucks.
Harassment stopped only after the officer was reported on internet.

44. September 25, 2009

Colomba, Sanguem

Colamb villager Motes Antao arrested at Quepem Police Station in the
morning at 9.15 am. He was called to the police station to collect
information he had sought involving detailed information of three
police officials – PI Santos S. Dessai, PSI Prakash Desai and HC
Arvind Nagekar- under Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI). Motes was
threatened at the police station for filing application under RTI on
August 14, 2009. Motes Antao was arrested on complaint of November 28,
2008 filed by one Shri C.S.Patil Asst. Personal Manager of Hiralal
Khodidas Mine – operated by Fomento mining company in Motes’ village
of Colomba in Sanguem under sections 143, 341 and 506 read with 149 of
Indian Penal Code (IPC). What is tragic in this whole episode still
unfolding is that the citizen is called at the police station to
collect information sought under RTI and then threatened and arrest
effected on previous cases.

45. October 12, 2009

Usgao, Ponda

157 people protesting against Sesa Goa mines in Condli arrested and
released on bond. They had blocked transportation of ore for one week
prior to their arrests.

In addition to this there are also incidents of Telephone tapping of
the people resisting mining industry in Goa. It is not sure however as
to who was doing tapping of the phones. On October 10, 2008 telephone
calls from the mobile phone belonging to Sebastian Rodrigues made to
the landline phone of Rama Velip in were being tapped. Someone, a male
adult voice speaking Hindi received call made to Rama Velip. Similarly
when Rama Velip called Sebastian Rodrigues from his landline a male
adult voice speaking in Hindi received the call.

On Second occasion on Sunday, August 02, 2009 someone call came in on
landline of Sebastian Rodrigues in Siolim saying that the person is
calling from telephone exchange and trying to find out if the landline
is working alright. Telephone exchange does not attend to telephone
repair work on Sunday nor anyone had lodged any complaint pertaining
to defect in telephone functioning.

III. Ramifications

The existence of Police State is evident from the above documentation.
The democracy and its spaces are shrinking with Police Raj manifesting
itself in an unprecedented manner. The tribal people and other
silenced voices have been turning to voice out their grievances. They
are however offered hostile reception with Police terror. The modus
operandi of the State-Mining companies’ nexus in Goa is to file as
many police cases as possible on those protesting mining industry and
then convert these cases into arrests, and arrests into Court cases.
There are several Court cases ongoing across the State of Goa –
particularly against the people in Colomba, in Sanguem, Maina in
Quepem and Advalpal in Bicholim. The insidious logic being, that
Police cases and Court cases will demoralize the ongoing movement
against mining industry in Goa.

People of Goa particularly its hitherto silent majority has began to
speak out. It has began to expressed its dissent. This dissent is
found to be intolerable by the mining elites dominated State of Goa.
The response has been to inflict repression with Goa Police as its
favored agency.

Situation has come to head on in this manner as the Indian State has
developed intolerance to the democratic spaces especially when they
are used by conscious poor radical people to express dissent. To agree
to the voices from below would amount to the violation of pacts
amongst the elites that have decided things even before the conduct of
the necessary democratic consultations. There are up teem number of
examples in Goa wherein People opposed mining projects under the
mandatory Public Hearings taken place with overwhelming opposition
from the those present. In some cases the opposition has been 100%.
Yet all the mining companies has been awarded with environment
clearance by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). In
this way Goa has been turned into colony of India for the purpose of
mineral exploitation. Ruling elites in Goa have decided to join the
party to the detriment of toiling people of Goa. That’s why Goa’s
elites silently collaborating with mining companies. They have no
vision other than making some quick riches at the cost of Goa’s
ecology and People’s livelihood and Water.

IV. Need for change in Goa Police mindset

Goa Police must undergo fundamental change in the outlook from being
defenders of Goa’s mining industry - that is waging war with People of
Goa – to being defenders of the People of Goa waging struggle against
Goa’s mining plunder. There must be awareness programs conducted for
every police officer on how mining industry is destroying Goa and why
Goa Police must join the toiling farmers and residents hand – in hand
in this; do or die struggle. Behaving as agency of repression on
behalf of the mining industry – as has been the case during 2007-2009
- will only lead to demoralization of Police force as public attention
and media sensitivity is very acute. Goa Police must refuse to arrest
and administer violence on people; instead it must play helpful role
towards movement against Goa’s mining industry in the interest of the
Goa’s generations yet to be born by acting swiftly on complaints
against mining companies. This would mean defending ‘Public’ interest
in genuine sense and not the ‘Private’ interest of handful of mining
companies engaged in ruining Goa forever. Goa police must join the
ranks of people protesting mining industry incursions. People’s revolt
against mining industry is essentially a revolt against Indian
Colonialism that is manifesting itself in mining belt in collusion
with Global exploitative forces. Time is ripe now for Goa Police to
bring about historic turn around in their hitherto role as front
defense of plunder of Goa through mining.

Note: This paper is prepared to be presented at the State level
Seminar on “Human Rights and Environment – A Focus on Goa” at the
Department of Political Science, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa on
International Human Rights Day December 10, 2009.


Goan Mineral Ore Exports: Selected Statistics (Amended upto March 31,
2009), Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association, Panaji. 2009.

Posted by MAND at 12/10/2009 01:47:00 PM 0 comments Links to this
Labels: Advalpal, Colamb, GAKUVED, Maina, MAND, Mining, police,
Quepem, Sanguem, Sirgao


Posted by MAND at 9/18/2009 04:03:00 PM 0 comments Links to this
Labels: agriculture, Bandekars, Bicholim, Chowgules, Dempos, Mining,
Sirgao, Vedanta

Pictures of June 6, 2009 floods from mining sites in Goa

Sateri Temple in Valshi, Bicholim: water from nearby Vedanta (Dempo)
mines at Bordem, Bicholim overflowing up to the temple plinth.

Below picture shows mining silt enters into compound wall of People
residing near Vedanta (Dempos) mines in Mulgao, Bicholim.

Picture below shows mining rejection from Vedanta (Sesa Goa) mine lays
scattered around in Advalpal village in Bicholim Taluka.

Picture below shows mining silt on the floor inside the village temple
in Valshi, Bicholim. This silt is from Vedanta (Dempo mine at Bordem,

Mining silt entered entered inside the People's houses in Poira,
Bicholim. This Silt is from Chowgule mining company.

Compound walls, drainage disrupted during last floods in mining belt
of Goa. This picture is from Advalpal where in Sesa Goa, Salgaoncars,
Fomentos, Lithoferro mining companies are in operation.

(Pictures by Vishant Vaze)

Posted by MAND at 9/18/2009 02:47:00 PM 0 comments Links to this
Labels: Advalpal, Bicholim, Bordem, Chowgules, Dempos, Floods,
fomentos, Mining, Mulgao, Sesa Goa, Vedanta


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-11 12:08:24 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Koli community is an ethnic group found throughout India. Kolis
are found in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and rest of India.
In Maharashtra they are found in the coastal regions of Maharashtra.
They are also one of the original inhabitants of Greater Mumbai, which
comprises the seven islands of Bombay [1]. In Gujarat, the Koli
community is mainly located in the southern portion of the state,
particularly around the cities of Surat, Navsari and Valsad. Most are
farmers or fishers, as in Mumbai and Maharashtra.


In Maharashtra the Kolis almost exclusively speak Marathi language,
though some Koli communities speak a variant dialect of Marathi. The
Kolis of Mumbai are dispersed all over the city, especially along the
western coast of the city. The Kolis of Vasai are Hindu and Christian,
though both belong to the Marathi ethnic group. The community has
several subcastes , the prominent ones are Koli kolis, Mangela Kolis,
Vaity kolis, Christian Kolis, Mahadeo kolis, Suryawanshi kolis.


In 1901 the number of Kolis in all India was returned as nearly 3.75
million, but this total includes a distinct weaving caste of Kolis or
Kori in northern India.


Weaving caste of Kolis or Koris in Northern India located in Rajasthan
( Mahawar koli ) ,UP , MP.Now few of them has kept Verma or Gupta as
their surname.

Weaving caste of Kolis or Koris in Northern India located in Rajasthan
( Mahawar koli ) ,UP , MP.Now few of them has kept Verma or Gupta as
their surname.

The estimate of Koli population in Gujarat is based on 1931
enumeration which is the last time caste based enumeration was taken
in India.

The estimate of Koli population in Gujarat is based on 1931
enumeration which is the last time caste based enumeration was taken
in India.


Kolis from around Mumbai worship the goddess Ekveera situated at the
Karla caves, Malavli, Lonavla. This goddess is worshipped the most on
Chaitra Purnima (15th day of first month in the Hindu calendar).

Koli goddess ,Ekveera Devi

Maharshi Valmik

Kolis from around Maharashtra worship the writer of Ramayana, Maharshi



When Bombay was a dumbbell-shaped combination of 7 islands tapering,
at the centre, to a narrow shining strand beyond which could be seen
the finest and largest natural harbour in Asia. Kolbhat, Palva Bunder,
Dongri, Mazagaon, Naigaum and Worli were among the islands the Kolis
gave their names to. Kolbhat was distorted to Colaba; Palva Bunder
became Apollo Bunder. The temple to Mumbadevi in Dongri gave rise to
the name of the city. One of the smaller islands near Colaba,
variously called Old Man's Island and Old Woman's Island, was a
distortion of the Arab name Al-Omani, given for the same fishers who
ranged as far away as the Gulf of Oman.

The development of the modern city slowly marginalised these people of
the sea. They were removed from Dongri already in 1770 by the East
India Company. This historical process of elimination eventually
pushed them to the strand near Cuffe Parade, from where they plied
their ancient trade of deep water fishing. The Backbay reclamation of
the 60's would have further marginalised them had they not approached
the courts to stay the reclamation. Now their settlements are
protected by law. The places where the koli communities places called
Koliwada. You will find these koliwadas from mumbai city to its
suburbs. There is also a railway station called Koliwada on the
central railway horbour line route whose name was replaced with Guru
Tegh Bahadur Nagar .


In Marathi, Koli means the originally heterogeneous marginal tribe-
castes that took late in history to agriculture and were often press-
ganged for porterage in army service. The same word also means spider
and fisher, presumably because both make and use a net to catch prey.

Koli folk dance & songs

The koli community has its own distinct identity and lively dances.
The dance incorporates elements that this community is most familiar
with - sea and fishing. The dance is performed by both men and women
divided into two groups, where fishers stand in two rows holding oars
in their hands. The dancers move in unison, portraying the movement of
the rowing of a boat. Fisherwomen are in the opposite rows with their
arms linked and advancing towards men folk. The separate formation
then break up and they dance together with movements symbolizing the
waves, the breakers and rowing from cliff to cliff and casting of nets
to catch the fish.

There are many koli songs which are famous all over India. Some known
once are as follows. Aga Pori Sambhaal Dariyala Tufaan Ayalay Bhari;
Gorya wer Basali ; Me Hai Koli ; Chikna Chikna ; Dang Ding ; Lal lal
pagote ; Chandnan Chandnya ; Dirki la bombil; Maza Kombra ; Me
Dolker ; Haldin Bharlay ; Dol Doltai ; Nach go Nach ; Galyat
Sakali ; Paru go Paru ; Lai Lai Liakarni ; Gomu Tuze Dadan Go; Vadal
Wara ; Valav re Nakva ;

Koli Festivals

Narali punaw: This is “The day” for kolis. As per traditions kolis
know that after this day the wind strength and direction changes in
favor of fishing. This is the day when kolis celebrate the kick off of
new business season. This is the day when they pray to god sea and
make puja of their boats and begins their fishing season. There are
songs for this occession as..san aaila go narali punvecha...

Shimga - Shimaga means holi in koli accent haa-wa-li. Holi and Koli
goes long way. It is one of the most important Festival for Kolis.
There are many koli songs for this occession

See also

Koli Christians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koli_Christians
Koli samaj
Mahor samaj
Akhil Bhartiya Koli samaj
Mahawar koli samaj


^ 7 islands of Bombay
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica,
Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

External links

Kolis of Mumbai http://www.indiaprofile.com/lifestyle/kolis.htm
Koli Samaj of Gujarat
Koli Samaj/Koli Parivar http://www.koliparivar.com/
Koli Dance http://www.maharashtratourism.net/culture-lifestyle/dances/koli-dance.html
Koli Songs
Hit Koli Songs
More Koli Songs http://www.loksangeet.com/marathimusic/categories.php?cat_id=1
Koli geete in marathi http://indianmp3.in/?option=com_content&task=view&id=1195&Itemid=177
Loading Image...
Hotels in Mumbai
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolis"


Kolis - A Fishy People

The Kolis-fisherfolk-of Mumbai are a distinct community. In Their
dress, their language, their food and their lifestyle they are easily
distinguishable. Especially the economically independent Koli women
who are aggressive to the point of being quarrelsome.

Blocking the exit of the ladies compartment in the local train,
dressed traditionally in their bright patterned sarees, noisily
exchanging greetings, are the fisherwomen who squat on the floor of
the train with their huge baskets of the fish. Working women hold
their neatly pleated, flowing sarees well above their ankles as they
gingerly tip-toe around them to avoid any close encounter with the
fishy kind. If you hold your nose close to the offensive smell, the
fisherwomen range in annoyance and God help you if you dare to object
to the presence of her stinking fish in the commuters compartment.
She’ll not merely threaten to douche you with fish water but I have
been witness to a wrathful fisherwoman fling a fish rather accurately
at a very well dressed young woman reducing her to tears!

Kolis, as the fisherfolk are known in Mumbai, are known to be easily
excitable. Even an ordinary conversation between them often leads to a
noisy quarrel in which abuses are easily exchanged. An exaggeration it
may be but the statement is not inaccurate, that ‘a Koli sentence
never begins without a vulgar epithet.’ Rather pleased with her
aggressive image is the kolin and in the regional Marathi language
kolin has become a synonym for an ‘abusive quarrelsome woman’. The
kolis speak a local variation of Konkani which is a dialect of

The Kolin’s entire position in society, her freedom of speech and
action it a result of her economic power and independence arising from
her kurga (her daily earnings). Dealing, as she has to, with all sorts
of customers at the bazaar or during her door to door sales, she
learns to quickly shed all coyness and freely interact with the men.
She provides tremendous economic stability to the family and hence
will not tolerate a bullying or wayward husband. Her financial
position makes her more than welcome with her parents.

In return for her economic power she pays rather heavily by way of
hard work. Her day begins at the break of dawn. After cooking for the
family she takes off to the wharf to buy her fish and returns home
only after the heavy load on her head is sold. At home, innumerous
chores like mending fishing nets, fish baskets and drying to fish
await her attention.

The Kolis are divided into two main occupational classes: the Dolkars
and states. The Dolkars do the actual fishing while the latter
purchase the haul wholesale. They usually set forth in boats to meet
the returning Dolkars and buy the fish. Their popular folk song Dolkar
dariyacha Raja (Dolkar, the king of the sea) underlines his supremacy.

The name Dolkar is derived from dol or dhola the large funnel shaped
net. The smaller nets are known as jal. Every Koli house comprises an
oti (verandah) which is reserved for weaving and repairing nets.
Though house patterns differ, every house has a chool (kitchen),
vathan (room) and a devghar (the worship room). Even in the poorest of
families, living in one room tenements one corner of the house is
reserved for the God. Deeply religious, even the Christian converts,
follow their original Hindu beliefs as well. The annual pilgrimage to
the shrine of Ekvira, at the Karla caves in Pune district in
undertaken by both the Hindus and the Christian Kolis. The chief Hindu
religious festivals are ‘Gauru Shimga’ and ‘Narial Poornima’. No. Koli
whatever his faith, will recommence fishing after the rainy season
without offering a coconut to the sea on Narial Poornima day.

The Hindu Kolis worship Mahadev, Hanuman and Khandoba and the
Christian Kolis worship these and images of Christ and Virgin Mary. A
few worship ancestors (Vir) and are known in the community as Virkar
in opposition to the Devkars who worship only God. The oldest members
of the family both male and female are also worshipped.

Songs from an important part of the Kolis culture. Almost every
ceremony of restival has its special song without which the ceremony
does not commence. At the beginning of every such song a stanza is
devoted to the deities. The deities are invoked andinvited to the

‘Gondan’ (tattooing) to is given religious significance as it is
considered a mark of recognition by God. They believe that after death
at the gates of heaven a woman is asked Godhun aali ki choruni? (Do
you bear the mark of God or are you sneaking in?).

The name Mumbai is derived from the goddess, ‘Mumba’, the patron deity
of the pre-Christian Kolis, the earliest inhabitants of the island. In
the present day the shrine of Mumbadevi, situated at the south-west
corner of the Mumbadevi tank in the very heart of the city is accorded
more reverence than perhaps any other shrine.

Various records reveal that Kolis have been found in Mumbai from early
times. Dr. Gerson da Cunha in the book ‘Origin of Mumbai’ describes
old Mumbai as ‘the desolate islet of the Mumbai Koli fishermen. The
Kolis are reported to have occupied the land in A.D. 1138.

Mumbai-Heptanesia as it was once known, comprised seven separate and
amorphous isles namely Kolaba, Old Woman’s Island, Mumbai, Mazagaon,
Sion, Worli and Mahim (all of which have now been joined by bridges
and reclamations). Records of the earlier settlements of Mumbai speak
of Koli villages in all the seven islands. Though they are completely
dwarfed by the highrise, congested apartments, Koli villages exist all
along the sea coast of Mumbai even today. Mazagaon, it is believed,
owes its name to fish, Machchagaun meaning fish-village, Kolaba means
the Koli estate.

In the matter of dress too, Kolis possess an individuality. Standing
out distinctly, even in the sea of humanity that is Mumbai, is the
koli who has not given up his or her traditional attire. The dress of
a Koli woman consists of two or three garments namely a lugat(sari), a
choli (blouse) and a parkhi (a shoulder scarf). The Christian Kolis
don’t use a parkhi and wear a typical red-checked saree with a tiny
border and use the palla of the saree to cover their shoulders. Lugat
is really the lower garment, nine yards in length in bright floral
designs. It is worn in a peculiar way so that when draped at the waist
it reaches just below the knees and is drawn up tightly between the

The men generally wear a surkha (a loin cloth). It is a square piece
of cloth, thrown diagonally in front on a string tied round the waist.
The lower end of the cloth is tightly drawn through the legs and
knotted at the back so as to cover the divided of the buttocks. A
waist-coat and close fitting cap complete the attire. When not at sea
the modern Koli wears a pair of pants and shirts.

Fond o jewellery, even their men wear armlets, bangles and earnings.
The women don’t believe in bank accounts and invest almost all their
savings in gold. They wear traditional chunky typically Koli jewellery
like the earnings patterned like the Pisces symbol (fish swimming in
opposite directions) worn by almost all of them.

Otherwise the Kolis live a very simple life. The ordinary Koli meal
consists of curry (ambat), rice, and fried fish. When at sea the men
eat dried fish and rice gruel. They make a lot of sweet dishes at the
Koli women are extremely fond of them. You only wish it would give
them a sweet-tongue!


About Koli Samaj:

The Koli Samaj(society) is about 20 % of the general population of
Gujarat state and 24 %
among Hindu population of Gujarat numbering around 13 millions. The
number is based on
census taken in 1931 which is the last time caste based enumeration
was taken in India.
According to sociolists (e.g. Lancy Lobo, Achyut Yagnik) percentage of
Koli population has
remained same. The Koli Samaj is spread throughout Indian
subcontinent. Click here to see
the map depecting concentration of Koli people.

This website is an attempt to gather information on Koli caste of
Gujarat state, India and
present it to Koli community to inform them of their past and present,
and promote art,
culture, higher education vis-a-vis better future.


Fast Fact:

The Following is the regional distribution of Koli names. Many
younger and some older Kolis are
not aware of their regional names and would simply call themselves
Kolis. Some of these names
suggest the locality they reside in and some suggest occupation while
some are high sounding
names some Koli resorted to.

South Gujarat:

Koli Patel or Talpada, Matia, Gulam, Mansarovaria

Thakarda, Patelia, Ghedia, Valankiya, Chuvalia, Talpada, Khant, Pagi,
North Gujarat:

Thakarda or Thakor, Chuvalia, Idaria
Central Gujarat:

Pardeshi, Talpada, Bariya, Bhalia, Khant, Kotwal, Pagi, Patanwadia,
Chuvalia, Debaria, Patelia,
Thakor, Rathwa


This is an external link to a short film titled "Gujarat: Caste and
The first half of the movie is about Adivasis while the later half
talks about situation of Kolis
in Gujarat.







...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-12 05:44:34 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

A Massacre Prompts New Debate Over India's War With Maoist Rebels
By Sumon K. Chakrabarti / Dantewada Sunday, Apr. 11, 2010

A paramilitary soldier injured by Maoist rebels is hoisted into an
ambulance in Jagdalpur, India.
TV9 / AP

The undulating hills and thick vegetation of Dandakaranya forest —
nearly 50,000 square kilometers of jungle straddling parts of central
Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and the southern state of
Andhra Pradesh — has for decades been a forsaken, off-the-map region
frequented only by corporate India looking to make a killing from the
iron ore reserves of the land. Indeed, for close to 10 years now, the
area has remained off limits for the Indian government and its
agencies, including the police and the military. It is one of the few
pockets of India that has not been topographically surveyed. No good
maps exist of the region. The only "government" the tribal people of
these forests are acquainted with is provided by a fearsome band of
insurgents: "Janatana Sarkar," the people's government run by the
guerrillas of the Communist Party of India-Maoists (CPI-Maoists), for
whom most of the forest is a de facto military headquarters.

(See how India is stepping up its fight against the Maoists.)

But just weeks ago, New Delhi decided to challenge the rebels who
carry Mao Zedong's name and who are waging the bloodiest insurgency
India has ever seen. The government announced that 50,000 paramilitary
troops would be part of Operation Greenhunt, with tough-talking Home
Minister of India, Palaniappan Chidambaram, promising to "wipe off the
Maoist movement in the next two-three years." As part of this
campaign, police and para-military forces last week engaged in a four-
day "area domination" exercise near the village of Datewada in the
Dandakaranya forest. But the Maoists were not about to let this
incursion into their territory pass with impunity.

The 80 members of the government's Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
were taking a break on April 6 at around 6 a.m. after traveling all
night, when they were ambushed by what some officials estimate to be
400 Maoists positioned on a neighboring hilltop. The Maoists executed
their attack with fierce precision, giving the soldiers no chance to
react. They blew up an anti-landmine vehicle and then began firing
indiscriminately. The shocked and exhausted soldiers, who had not been
able to follow standard procedures like checking the road for
landmines ahead of time, were massacred within minutes. The guerrillas
— both men and women — then took away AK-47 and Insas rifles, the
mortars, magazines of ammunition and bullet-proof jackets from their
victims. Of the 80 Indian troops on exercise, 76 were killed.

While admitting that it lost eight fighters in the three-hour long
attack, the Maoist spokesman justified the massacre in a three-page
faxed statement, saying: "The CRPF battalion deployed in [in
Chattisgarh] were killing innocent people, burning villages, raping
women and displacing... people. We also wanted to take revenge of
killing of our top leaders..."

(See how India's schools have been caught in the cross-fire in the
fight against the Maoists.)

It has been the most significant government setback in the undeclared
war between the two Indias. The Maoists thrive in the 'other' India —
the India which is impoverished, left behind as one-fifth of the
country's populace has begun to thrive, while the other 800 million
suffer with growing resentment from chronic poverty, live without
electricity, roads, hospitals, proper sanitation or clean water — the
classic breeding ground for left-wing extremist violence. As Mao
himself prescribed in 1927, "It's necessary to bring about a brief
reign of terror in every rural area... To right a wrong it is
necessary to exceed the proper limit." Naxalism, as Indian Maoism is
also called — after a village named Naxalbari at the movement's
origins — has rapidly outstripped the insurgencies in Jammu & Kashmir
and North-East India. Maoists have a presence in at least 16 of
India's 28 states, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described
Naxalism as the "biggest internal security challenge" that faces the

India today is groping for answers on how to respond to the Maoist
attack. Chidambaram's strategy had appeared to be working. Many top
Maoist leaders, including Politburo members, had been arrested; the
Maoists had indeed offered to negotiate. Their chief military officer,
Kishanji — nom de guerre of Mallojula Koteswara Rao — even gave out
his cellphone number to Chidambaram to facilitate talks. "But actually
they were retreating so that they can regroup. This is how the Maoists
always operate. But still we have not learnt anything," says K. P. S.
Gill, formerly one of India's top police officers, who had advised the
Chattisgarh government in a previous anti-Maoist operation.

Privately, many senior leaders in the ruling Congress party had
complained to their party president Sonia Gandhi that Home Minister
Chidambaram had used unnecessarily provocative language when talking
about the Maoists. But Prime Minister Singh refused to accept
Chidambaram's offer to resign after the massacre. With the central
government still debating how to deal with the Maoists, there is
confusion on the ground about how to tackle the insurgency. K.P.S.
Gill says it's now time to rethink the entire strategy and criticizes
Chidambaram for giving the go ahead to a "flawed operation."

(See pictures of India's turning points.)

Those in India who perceive Chidambaram to be a "warmonger" argue that
growing social disparities thrown up by India's economic growth have
been a major factor behind the rebels' expansion. They say the
government needs to provide a more equitable distribution of its
growing wealth. "Let's not forget the killing of more than a hundred
tribal villagers by the security forces since June 2009 ... It's time
the nation starts to work towards ceasefire and cessation of
hostilities so as to help initiate dialogue with the Maoists, and to
address the real issues affecting the people like forced corporate or
state acquisition of land, displacement, tribal rights and the lack of
governance," says Dr. Ranabir Samaddar, Director of Calcutta Research

Meanwhile, India's Armed Forces are not anxious to join the fight. The
new Indian army chief General V. K. Singh has blamed the lack of
training and tactics in jungle warfare as well as command and control
for the loss of the 76 troopers. He ruled out any role of the military
— that is, the security forces of India's federal government — in the
ongoing operation. "The Naxalite problem is a law and order problem,
which is a state subject. It stems from certain issues on the ground,
be it of governance, be it of administration, be it of socio-economic
factors. And since it is not a secessionist movement, I think our
polity is astute and wise enough to know the implications of using the
Army against their own people." The chief of the Indian Air Force, Air
Marshal P V Naik also expressed his unwillingness to use the Air Force
and its unmanned drones in ongoing anti-Maoist operations. "Unless we
are 120% sure that the Naxals are the country's enemies, it will not
be fair to use the Air Force within our borders."

The Director General of Police of Chattisgarh Vishwa Ranjan admits
that "the [paramilitary] forces need to be trained specifically for
this, which unfortunately we don't do. It's time all of us sit up and
act," he says. Still, he insists he is "prepared to take casualties."
He told TIME: "We are in a war. And no war is won without people


India Steps Up Its Fight Against Naxalites
By Jessica Bachman / Kanker Friday, Nov. 20, 2009

Indian officers patrol a forest around their base on the edge of rebel-
controlled territory in Chhattisgarh in October 2009

Keith Bedford / The New York Times / Redux

Late-night digging along the back roads of Bastar, a dense jungle
region in India's northern state of Chhattisgarh, can only mean one
thing if there's nothing to show for it the next day: Maoist rebel
activity. So when a group of villagers in the state's Kanker district,
the gateway to Bastar, were kept awake for nights on end last month by
repeated chinking from metal striking rock on a nearby road, they knew
something was up.

They were right. The Maoists, commonly known in India as Naxalites,
had dug a tunnel five feet under the surface of a paved back road that
was used by security forces from the nearby Counter-Terrorism and
Jungle Warfare College. The insurgents' tunnel's exit points, on the
side of the road, were well concealed with alternating layers of
sandbags and dirt. But before the Naxalites got around to booby-
trapping the underground tunnel with improvised explosives cobbled
together from scavenged pieces of iron and heisted explosive materials
from state-owned mines, it had been filled in. The villagers had
tipped off commandos from the college.

Naxalite rebels, whose leaders claim to follow Maoist doctrine on
armed people's struggle, have been waging a guerilla war against the
Indian government since their first uprising in the West Bengal
village of Naxalbari in 1967. For over three decades a phlegmatic
response from central and state security organs did little to prevent
the then isolated Naxal insurgency from foraying into underdeveloped
forest and jungle regions in central and eastern India where it gained
support of impoverished tribal groups and villagers. By 2001, some
Naxalites had gained sway over 51 districts, and with the state
response mechanism to their movements still weak, that number
quadrupled in less than a decade. Naxals now operate in 223 districts,
spread out over one-third of India along a vertical belt commonly
referred to as the Red Corridor.

In the 34 regions that the government considers to be the worst
affected by Maoist activity, the rebel movement has taken on a
particularly bloody dimension, with Naxalites orchestrating police
massacres, bombings, bank and mine robberies, informant murders and
kidnappings on a routine basis. By Nov. 2, "left-wing extremism" —
Delhi's euphemism for Naxal terrorism — was responsible for 834
civilian, security-force and Naxal deaths throughout 10 states this
year, according to data collected by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

As in previous years, Chhattisgarh took the biggest hit, sustaining
237 casualties. While last month's brazen attempt in the state to
attack India's only anti-Naxal police training camp reveals how low
the insurgents' perception is of the state's ability to fight them, it
also, says the college's director, gives the institution further
insight into how to fight this battle. "I've always told our men that
they can't win the war against the Naxals without gaining the trust of
the villagers and forest dwellers," says Brigadier Basant Ponwar, who
served in the army for 35 years as a counterinsurgency specialist
before going to Chhattisgarh in 2005 to set up the college. "Now we
see that even right in our own backyard the villagers are our eyes and

Tucked away on 300 acres of hilly jungle terrain, just north of a
notorious Naxal stronghold, the college is strategically positioned to
drill police forces in a strategy that until recently was reserved for
training select army special forces: fight a guerilla like a guerilla.
"Police are trained for carrying out normal law-and-order duties.
They're not prepared for jungle combat or jungle living, but that's
precisely what they must know to take on Naxals," explains the state's
director general of police, Vishwa Ranjan. For decades the state had
dismissed the Naxal movement's creeping ascendancy over its southern
districts and did little to buttress the strength of its security
force. This year, the state's sanctioned police force stands at
46,000, more than double the number of officers on the ground in 2005,
and all new recruits are being put through the college course in
addition to basic training.

The college has already taught 11,500 police personnel from eight
states how to raid Naxal hideouts, conduct search-and-destroy
operations at gun-manufacturing camps, clear roads of improvised
explosives using sniffer dogs, set up roadside checkpoints and set up
covert outposts in enemy territory. During the 45-day course,
commandos-in-training get up at dawn for early morning conditioning,
including three-mile runs up steep, rocky knobs plus strength
training, yoga and meditation. (Ponwar insists that all officers who
still have a paunch by the end of the course are failed.) To dispel
officers' fear of the jungle, the forces are taught how to catch (and
eat) snakes, distinguish edible plants from poisonous ones and make
camouflaged lean-tos out of sticks and leaves.

The college has been a bright spot in India's fight against the bloody
insurgency. But Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the New Delhi–
based Institute of Conflict Management, says that the high level of
corruption and inefficiency in the state security apparatus cancels
out whatever inroads the school has made. "Only a fraction of those
that go through the college's training are later used for what they
are being trained for, so the effort is often for naught," Sahni
laments, comparing the police commandos to students trained in
neurosurgery who go on to become store clerks. Only half of the
college's graduates from Chhattisgarh are deployed in areas with
substantial Maoist activity and, according to Sahni, police corruption
and grasping politicians are to blame. "It's a well-known fact that if
a police officer doesn't want to be deployed to dangerous district, he
bribes his way out," he says. "Many of the warfare college's commandos
are also scooped up by VIP ministers and politicians who want to be
surrounded by impressive security details."

Meanwhile, national efforts to bring this decades-long insurgency to a
swift end are also intensifying. India's new hard-line Home Minister,
P. Chidambaram, is not convinced that states, if left to their own
devices, will be able to reassert state authority over Naxal-dominated
territories anytime soon. That's why this month, tens of thousands of
paramilitary and border security forces were withdrawn from other
regions and deployed in rebel districts in northern and central India.
"Our newest strategy is to win complete control over small areas under
Maoist influence, hold them, and not withdraw forces until development
in the area is well under way," says director general of police Vishwa
Ranjan. "We will repeat this pattern in other areas, a few at a time,
until the enemy has nowhere to go. "

Still, considering it's taken four decades to get to this point, the
process is bound to be a gradual one. In recent years, the state's
action plan was to establish a minimum police presence in all Naxal
regions, and little attention was paid to increasing the size of the
ranks or improving the meager force's fighting abilities. But without
strength in numbers or combat skills, the police have been unable to
curb the spread of Maoist violence and defend the state's isolated
police outposts. At the Indian Economic Summit in New Delhi on Nov.
10, Chidambaram said all heavily affected states would completely
reassert control over their Naxal-dominated areas within two or three
years. Director general of police Ranjan thinks four years is a more
realistic time frame. "We're not taking any more shortcuts," Ranjan
says. "This is going to be a long, drawn-out battle."


India's Secret War
By Simon Robinson/Southern Chhattisgarh Thursday, May. 29, 2008

Armed and Dangerous

Maoist Naxalite rebels go through training exercises in the woods of
Chhattisgarh, a central Indian state at the heart of the insurgency

Photograph for TIME by Adam Ferguson

The news came crackling over the radio, the voice fading in and out as
the sound waves bounced through the wooded hills and valleys of
central India to the camp where the militants — and a TIME
photographer and myself — lay down to sleep. Earlier that day in May,
a raiding gang of some 300 Maoist insurgents had attacked a plant
belonging to Indian steel giant Essar, the radio news program
declared. More than 50 trucks and pieces of heavy machinery had been
destroyed. The commander of the unit in the camp that night, Deva, a
boyish-looking man of just 24 or 25 (he wasn't quite sure), allowed a
smile to spread across his face for a moment. His comrades-in-arms
against the government of India and the companies that drive its
booming economy had struck again. That, he said, should answer my
question about whether the Maoist insurgents went easy on some mining
companies in the area so as to force them to pay protection money and
bribes instead. "If the public wants to teach a lesson to Essar, then
we'll teach them a lesson," said Deva.

You've heard of rich India and poor India, a land of high-tech workers
and slum dwellers alike. This is a story about a third India that
exists at the nexus of the two, which feeds off the excesses of the
country's new wealth and preys on its most vulnerable. It is the story
of the Naxalites, a Maoist insurgency that has grown from the margins
four decades ago to become, in the words of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, "the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by
our country." It is a tale of ideology and mafia-like thuggery, a
conflict born in a vacuum of government inaction, and fueled by
official mismanagement and corruption. And it is the story of the
millions caught in between.

A Turn to the Left India is no stranger to violent rebellion, as the
decades-long struggle in Kashmir attests. But the separatist conflict
there and low-level insurgencies in the country's remote northeast
grind on at the periphery, driven by groups agitating to break away.
The Maoists, like their ideological brothers in Nepal who recently
took power through elections, are different. They want to overthrow
the government in New Delhi and install a new one, and they have taken
their fight to the geographic heart of the country, to the scrubby
woodland and remote, poor villages that blanket a huge chunk of
central India. The would-be revolutionaries trace their roots back to
1967, when a group of activists split away from India's mainstream
Communist Party and initiated a peasant uprising in the West Bengal
village of Naxalbari. The Naxalite movement grew quickly and attracted
landless laborers and student intellectuals, but a government
crackdown in the 1970s broke the group into myriad feuding factions.
By the 1990s, as India began to liberalize its economy and economic
growth took off, violent revolution seemed more quaint relic than

No longer. The Naxalite resurgence began in 2004 when the two biggest
splinters of the original movement — one Marxist and one Maoist — set
aside their differences and joined to form the Communist Party of
India (Maoist). The combined force — which Indian government security
officials and independent analysts now estimate at between 10,000 and
20,000 armed fighters plus at least 50,000 active supporters — has
quickly consolidated power across great swathes of India's poorest
regions. The central government, which lists the Naxalites as a banned
terrorist group, says that 11 of India's 28 states are now affected in
one way or another by the insurgency. Nongovernment organizations put
the number of affected states even higher. The rebels tax local
villagers, extort payments from businesses, abduct and kill "class
enemies" such as government officials and police officers, and stop
aid getting through to people caught in the cross fire.

The militia's strikes have grown more daring. In March last year, some
400 Naxalites surrounded a police camp in southern Chhattisgarh, lit
the camp up using powerful lights and generators and lobbed grenades
and petrol bombs for more than three hours, killing 55 people. Last
December, in the same area, a single Maoist overpowered a jail guard
and set free 294 inmates, including 15 senior Naxalite fighters. In
February this year, more than 100 insurgents laid siege to three
police stations, a police outpost, a police training school and a
government armory in the state of Orissa, killing 13 policemen and a
bystander and hauling off hundreds of rifles, semiautomatics, light
machine guns, pistols and ammunition. Not a single Maoist was killed.
Include government security forces, civilians and the Naxalites
themselves, and the conflict killed 837 people in 2007, enough to make
it deadlier than the Kashmir conflict for the first time ever. "It's
absolutely a growing threat," says Ajai Sahni, executive director of
the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi and a keen observer
of the re-emergence of the Naxalites. "You can't escape that fact."

Ripe for Revolution A recent — and extremely rare — trip into a
Naxalite zone in the state of Chhattisgarh shows just how much control
the Maoists have in India's neglected heartland. After weeks of
negotiating, I received word from a senior commander there that cadres
from the area would escort a photographer and me into the field to
meet a rebel unit. After an early morning, two-hour motorbike ride
along dirt roads south of the town of Dantewada, across rivers where
women beat their clothes against rocks and through villages full of
thatched and terracotta-roofed huts, scrawny chickens and children
with distended bellies (a classic sign of malnutrition), we set off by
foot deep into the forested hills.

The people there don't just live on the edge of Indian society — they
live beyond it, in a void that successive governments in New Delhi
have neglected for decades. In this part of the country, far removed
from the famed call centers of modern India, there are no roads, no
power, no running water, no telephones and no officials to answer
pleas for help.

The inhabitants of these villages are known as Adivasis, or "original
dwellers." Most Indians call them tribals, a category that doesn't
even register in India's complicated caste pecking order but stands
outside it. The British colonial rulers treated Adivasis as
encroachers on the very land they had occupied for generations, a
legal absurdity that India's current government has only recently
corrected. Adivasis are entitled to reserved places in universities
and government jobs but they remain among India's poorest and most
marginalized. In village after village on our journey, the only
visible sign of a government presence was an occasional well with
metal hand pump.

Born in the hills he now fights from, Deva — he gave just one name —
is an Adavasi like most of the insurgency's foot soldiers. Naxalite
commanders have historically come from the movement's educated ranks
and often speak English. Deva speaks only Gondi, a local tongue. If he
has a second language it is the strange, religious-like discipline of
Maoism. Our conversations were punctuated with long silences as he
turned questions over in his head before answering them, often with a
slogan or a long monologue that sounded torn from the small collection
of books and newspapers that his unit read and reread and then teach
to local villagers. He began learning Maoism at eight, he said. Two of
his five siblings are also Maoist fighters. They had a good childhood,
helping their father farm rice and hunt in the forests. There was no
school in his village and so he and his siblings attended classes
given by rebel soldiers who had moved into the area. What they taught
made perfect sense to him. "For thousands of years we have been here
but we don't have rights and the government does nothing for us: no
health, no education, no services. They don't come here," Deva said.
"At the same time they don't respect us. They say they can give out
rights to this land to mining companies and they have the power to do
that. We say, No."

There's no denying the insurgency has prospered in areas of official
neglect. In a paper he presented to Parliament two years ago, Home
Minister Shivraj Patil said that "Naxalites operate in [a] vacuum
created by [an] absence of administrative and political institutions."
The Naxalites, Patil said, "take advantage of the disenchantment
prevalent among the exploited segments of the population" to "offer an
alternative system of governance which promises emancipation ...
through the barrel of a gun."

Domestic Violence That textbook description of how an insurgency works
was on show in the village we visited — a small collection of huts
Deva and his unit of 130 men and women use as an occasional base as
they constantly shift around the hills. There, as elsewhere, the
Naxalites run a parallel administration, complete with tax collectors,
a school and very basic health facilities. Late in the afternoon,
seven women militants dressed in tunics and red sashes danced and sang
for gathered villagers, preaching the benefits of Maoism, railing
against exploitative mining companies and chanting about the evils of
New Delhi. Dozens of young kids listened intently. In a mock training
drill put on for the visiting reporters, the same kids watched
uniformed insurgents practice creeping through thick jungle and assume
various attack positions. "Our prime mission is to awake the public
and then revolution will happen automatically," a squad commander
named Bhima told me.

But Maoism's methods are no gentle wake-up call. India's Naxalites
have taken to heart Mao Zedong's maxim that "the seizure of power by
armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task
and the highest form of revolution," killing and abducting enemies and
using coercion and force to win support among the very same villagers
they claim to be liberating. To protest state "exploitation," the
Maoists regularly order farmers in their regions to stop growing food
or to raise the sale prices for certain items. Farmers who defy such
bans have been summarily executed, say human-rights groups such as the
Chhattisgarh-based Forum for Fact-Finding Documentation and Advocacy.

Naxalites also regularly terrorize village folk and warn them not to
move to government-controlled areas. On our trip into the hinterland
it was impossible to ask villagers whether they were happy with the
Maoist presence or not. But a few days earlier, in a camp for people
displaced by the conflict about 20 miles away, Miriyam Joga, 41, could
barely contain his rage. A relatively successful farmer, Joga had
owned a few dozen goats and 27 oxen in the southern Chhattisgarh
village of Punpalli until a Naxalite raid three years ago. "They said
if I leave my village then they will cut me like this," he said,
tilting his head back and drawing his finger across his throat. "But I
was feeling that they might murder me anyway so I left. They took my
animals and now I have nothing."

The Battle to Fight Back To boost the numbers and quality of new
recruits and to rearm and retrain existing police officers, New Delhi
has massively increased funding over the past few years. But much of
this money — 45% last year — goes unspent and coordination between
state police and the better-equipped and better-trained paramilitary
units sent by the central government to help in the worst-hit areas is
weak. "Often, our forces are not even called out [by the state
police]," complains A. P. Maheshwari, inspector general of operations
for the Central Reserve Police Force in New Delhi. (India's Home
Minister agreed to be interviewed for this story but repeatedly
canceled appointments with TIME.)

The central government has begun training state police in jungle
warfare at a new college in Chhattisgarh. More than 6,500 police
officers have learned better shooting skills, how to move in thick
forest, how to survive on bush food and how to take on enemy fighters
in hand-to-hand combat. But the flamboyant head of the college,
Brigadier B.K. Ponwar says that no matter how much police officers
improve their skills, the key remains winning the support of the
masses. "Look at Iraq," he says. "I tell my students that their most
important objective is to win people's hearts."

That would be easier if not for the emergence in Chhattisgarh three
years ago of a civil militia known as Salwa Judum, which means either
"peace mission" or "collective hunt" depending on who's doing the
translating. The movement's backers say it developed spontaneously
when local villagers grew tired of the Naxalites' brutal mafia-like
tactics. Chhattisgarh police then appointed thousands of young men,
some of them still teenagers, as "special police officers," supplied
them with weapons and pushed them to fight the Maoists. Human-rights
groups say the special police officers use many of the same tactics as
the Naxalites, including extrajudicial killings. The Salwa Judum
movement has also forced at least 60,000 people out of their villages
(to prevent the Naxalites from recruiting them) and into temporary
camps: sad, cramped settlements that are quickly taking on the air of

The Salwa Judum movement has worsened the situation, draining the
countryside of potential informants and convincing thousands of people
that the Indian state really is as bad as the Naxalites say it is. A
central government committee has recommended closing the camps and
disarming the special police officers, whom India's Supreme Court
recently termed illegal. Salwa Judum supporters say the criticism is
proof of how widespread sympathy for the Naxalites is. "Should we stop
fighting terrorism?" asks Chhattisgarh opposition leader Mahendra
Karma, a member of the Congress Party and a strong backer of the
militia. "Even [Mahatma] Gandhi had his dissenters, and Salwa Judum,
which is a peaceful movement, is facing attacks by those motivated by
political ideology."

Government security officials and independent observers say the
Naxalites have begun to reorganize along more formal military lines.
The rebels still use bows and arrows, knives and ancient rifles, but
have begun to stock up on machine guns, land mines and mortars, and
are building increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs. Based on
documents seized in the past year, Indian intelligence agencies
estimate that Naxalite Inc. now has an annual budget of $250 million,
much of which comes from extorting road contractors and mining
companies, and from taxing hundreds of thousands of poor villagers.
That money, analysts say, is funding the Maoists' efforts to improve
their reach into — and ability to strike — urban areas.

Class war is still an unlikely dream, however. Yes, Maoist rebels
recently won power in neighboring Nepal. But the Indian state is more
powerful and sophisticated than Nepal's defeated monarchy. (The rise
of Nepal's Maoists has actually split opinion among their Indian
brothers: some believe that the Nepalese group sold out by
participating in elections, while others argue it is a legitimate
tactical move toward revolution.) And in India's rowdy democracy, the
entire political spectrum from far right to the mainstream Communist
Party of India have called for the Maoists to be destroyed.

Until that happens, the Maoists will continue to bleed India. "We want
every person in India to have equal rights and the Maoist flag flying
in New Delhi," Deva told me in his camp, a small group of cadres
gathered around him, nodding as he spoke. How long will that take? I
asked. A few of his men giggled. "We cannot say," Deva replied. "But
in our life we will do whatever is possible." It is a sentiment that
captures both the enormity of the Maoists' aims and the huge challenge
New Delhi faces in the years ahead.


Fearing CRPF backlash, villagers abandon homes for forests
Aman Sethi

Security forces killed my brother, says villager
— Photo: Aman Sethi

GHOST VILLAGE:Mukram village in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, wears a
deserted look on Sunday. Its residents, fearing police retribution for
the massacre of 76 CRPF men by Maoists on April 6, have fled to the

Mukram: All the houses in this village in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, are
locked. Cows, chickens and the odd pig roam the empty pathways in
search of water and shade. Since the April 6 massacre of 76 CRPF
personnel by Maoists in an open field about two kilometres away, the
villagers have moved into the forests. They return only for a few
hours a day to tend to their animals and the Mahua trees.

“Everyone is terrified that the police will take revenge by attacking
the village,” said a villager who came out of the forest to check on
his house, “They have already killed one person.”

A small village of about 50 houses, Mukram is of great significance in
the context of the April 6 Maoist attack. CRPF soldiers and villagers
confirmed that the patrol party of 82 men ate dinner here on the night
of April 5, a few hours before it was attacked.

CRPF soldiers interviewed by The Hindu are convinced that the
villagers tipped the Maoists off about the location of the force. “If
they hadn't stopped at that village, this would never have happened,”
said a soldier who was part of a reinforcement party sent from

A Maoist statement soon after the attack praised Rukhmati, a Maoist
section commander from Mukram, who was killed in the attack. However,
villagers insisted they had nothing to do with Tuesday's ambush. “We
knew nothing of the attack or of Rukhmati,” said a villager.

“A large group of policemen from Chintalnar camp came to our village
the day after the incident,” said Kunjam Mangadu. “We all ran into the
forests. But when we returned, we couldn't find my elder brother,
Kunjam Suklu.”

Villagers said their search for him ended the second day with the
discovery of his corpse in a field just adjacent to the massacre spot.
They cremated his body on Saturday.

The Chhattisgarh police and CRPF denied these allegations. “No such
incident has occurred,” said a senior CRPF officer based in Bastar.
“It is possible the villagers are pointing to the body of a Maoist
killed in Tuesday's encounter.”

However, villagers said Suklu's body bore no bullet marks. Kunjam
Mangadu said his brother was beaten to death. “He had been beaten so
badly that the skin was peeling off his arms.”

“We have received no information regarding the incident,” said Amresh
Mishra, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada. “No one has approached us
with any complaints.”

According to villagers and soldiers interviewed in Mukram and
Chintalnar, adivasi villages in a 10-kilometre radius of the
Chintalnar CRPF camp too have been abandoned.

On Saturday, Chintalnar village bore a deserted look as well.
“Chintalnar has the biggest bazaar in the area,” said a resident.
“Usually thousands of adivasis from more than 10 villages come for the
bazaar. Today is market day but no adivasi has come. Not one.”


Probe into massacre begins

RAIPUR/JAGDALPUR: A one-man commission of inquiry to probe the April 6
massacre of 76 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh by Maoists has begun its
investigation, even as a manhunt is on to nab those who planned the

E.N. Rammohan, former BSF chief, has started collecting information
such as the command structure and hierarchy, the decision on the
operation and the quality of training given to the CRPF men. He would
also probe whether they followed the Standard Operating Procedures,
informed sources said adding the Commission would submit a report on
April 24.

The CRPF on Sunday deployed commandos of the Special Armed Force in
the Naxal-infested forests of Dantewada. — PTI


Maoist death squads executed dozens around Lalgarh
Praveen Swami

Killing campaign focused on eliminating CPI(M) activists and other
political opponents

JHARGRAM: Little pieces of glass still lie embedded in dry earth next
to the cot where Abhijit Mahato fell.

On the morning he was executed as an enemy of the people, Mahato had
been drinking a cup of tea at the end of an eight-hour night shift
guarding trucks parked along the Kharagpur-Ranchi highway — the job
that paid for the college classes he would have made his way to an
hour later.

But then, six men arrived on motorcycles at the truck-stop, carrying
automatic rifles. They announced to bystanders that Abhijit Mahato and
his friends, Anil Mahato and Niladhar Mahato, were members of the
Communist Party of India (Marxist). The punishment for this crime, the
men announced, was death.

The June 17 murder of Abhijit Mahato and his friends didn’t make it to
the national press — or draw the attention of the growing numbers of
human rights activists, who have arrived in West Medinipur district to
investigate the ongoing confrontation between the West Bengal
government and Communist Party of India (Maoist) operatives in
Lalgarh. But the killings — and dozens like it — are key to
understanding the still-unfolding crisis.

District police records show that 111 West Medinipur residents have
been killed by Maoist death squads since 2002. Most of the killings
were concentrated in the twin blocks of Binpur and adjoining Salboni —
the heartland of the Lalgarh violence.

Seventy four of the dead were targeted because they were cadre or
supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Twenty-three of
the victims were police personnel; five were adivasis community
elders; one belonged to the Congress; another was a former Maoist who
had left the movement in disgust. Seventeen CPI(M) workers have been
executed by Maoists since November alone.

It is instructive to compare the murders in West Medinipur with those
in India’s most violent State — Jammu and Kashmir. In the years from
2003, Jammu and Kashmir Police records show, 71 political activists
from all political parties have been killed by jihadists. More lives
have been lost in attacks by Maoist death squads by one single party
in one single district of West Bengal.

The data also shows the contest has been uneven: not one Maoist
operative has been shot dead in West Medinipur until police moved into
Lalgarh last week, either by the state or their political opponents.

Most of those killed by the Maoist death squads come from the ranks of
the rural poor; many of them from the same adivasi communities whose
name the Maoists have invoked to legitimise terrorism in Lalgarh.

The only son of his widowed mother, and one of five children, Abhijit
Mahato was the first member of his extended family to succeed in
gaining admission to a college degree. In photographs his mother,
Savita Mahato, recently had taken at a local studio, to be shown to
the families of prospective brides, Mahato can be seen posing against
a movie set-like backdrop.

“I cannot understand”, Savita Mahato says, “what kinds of people would
kill a boy who did them not the slightest harm”.

Many others have died in similar circumstances. Karamchand Singh, a
noted chhau-dance performer, was executed in front of his primary
school students at Binpur last year. His crime was to have campaigned
for the CPI(M) despite Maoist warnings to dissociate himself from the
party. Pelaram Tudu, a locally renowned football player who supported
the CPI(M), was shot dead in another death-squad attack. So, too, was
Kartik Hansda, a folk artist.

Honiran Murmu, a doctor working in the Laboni area, was killed along
with staff nurse Bharati Majhi and driver Bapsi in October, after an
improvised explosive device went off under their car. No explanation
was offered by Maoists for the attack, why the vehicle was targeted,
but Laboni residents say the attack was intended to punish Mr. Misir
for renting out vehicles to the police.

In May, Maoists executed Haripada Mahato as he was bathing in a pond
outside his home in the village of Bhumi Dhansola. A former activist
with the Maoist-affiliated Kisan Mazdoor Samiti, Haripada Mahato had
left the movement in disgust a decade ago. He had since then worked as
a night watchman and polio-immunisation campaign volunteer at the
Medinipur Medical College.

“The Maoists said he was an informer for the police”, says Haripada
Mahato’s wife, Padmavati Mahato, “and we swore he wasn’t. But who can
win an argument with a gun?”

Related stories:

West Bengal cannot say ‘no’ to ban on Maoists: Buddhadeb
Centre bans CPI (Maoist)
Misguided outfits should be fought politically, says Left Front
Ban on Maoists will not serve any purpose: Karat
Lalgarh: it’s wait and watch
Mamata distances herself from PSBJC
Ready for dialogue if government agrees to some of our demands:
Letters to the Editor on Lalgarh crisis
Consider people’s safety: Mahato
“Charge against Trinamool proved”
No link with Maoists: Trinamool
Help resolve Lalgarh crisis-Editorial
Trouble in Lalgarh - in pics
Problem at Lalgarh spreading: official
“PSBJC will accept democratic forces’ support”

Corrections and Clarifications

In a report "Maoist death squads executed dozens around Lalgarh" (June
25, 2009), two sentences were incomplete in some early editions. In
the fifth paragraph the sentence "Most of the killings were
concentrated in the twin blocks of Binpur and adjoining Salboni - the
precise areas where the Maoist-backed Committee Against Police
Atrocities", should have been "Most of the killings were concentrated
in the twin blocks of Binpur and adjoining Salboni - the heartland of
the Lalgrah violence."

In the 12th paragraph, the sentence "Pelaram Tudu, a locally-renowned
football player who supported the, was shot dead in another death-
squad attack", should have been "Pelaram Tudu, a locally-renowned
football player who supported the CPI(M), was shot dead in another
death-squad attack."

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, Jun 25, 2009


Maoist posters appear in Kandhamal
Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Bombing by unknown miscreants and posters by alleged
Maoists against the Sangh activists has intensified tension in
G.Udaygiri area of Kandhamal district.

A poster in the name of banned CPI (Maoist) party threatening people
supporting the organisations of the Sangh Parivar appeared on a wall
of the G.Udaygiri hospital. This poster was written in Oriya. Police
has seized the poster and investigation was on to find out whether it
was the handiwork of Maoists or it was mischief of some miscreants.

According to senior police officials they are serious about this
threat poster as it has come up before the Christmas.

During past two years Christmas time has been tense due to communal
tension. Police officials suspect it may be an attempt by alleged
Maoists or some miscreants to disrupt the peace that has returned back
to the district.

This poster is being taken seriously as on Thursday evening some
unknown person had hurled bombs at the shop of one Nageswar Prusty.
Protesting against the bandh call and police inaction to nab the
culprit behind the bomb blast, the traders of G.Udaygiri had observed
a bandh on Saturday.

The poster by alleged Maoists had appeared after the bandh call.

It is alleged that some traders of the area are supporters of
organisations of Sangh Parivar.

So, the police is trying to increase security in the area to avoid
escalation of tension over allegations and counter allegations which
may take communal turn before the Christmas.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009


Maoist posters appear in Kandhamal
Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Bombing by unknown miscreants and posters by alleged
Maoists against the Sangh activists has intensified tension in
G.Udaygiri area of Kandhamal district.

A poster in the name of banned CPI (Maoist) party threatening people
supporting the organisations of the Sangh Parivar appeared on a wall
of the G.Udaygiri hospital. This poster was written in Oriya. Police
has seized the poster and investigation was on to find out whether it
was the handiwork of Maoists or it was mischief of some miscreants.

According to senior police officials they are serious about this
threat poster as it has come up before the Christmas.

During past two years Christmas time has been tense due to communal
tension. Police officials suspect it may be an attempt by alleged
Maoists or some miscreants to disrupt the peace that has returned back
to the district.

This poster is being taken seriously as on Thursday evening some
unknown person had hurled bombs at the shop of one Nageswar Prusty.
Protesting against the bandh call and police inaction to nab the
culprit behind the bomb blast, the traders of G.Udaygiri had observed
a bandh on Saturday.

The poster by alleged Maoists had appeared after the bandh call.

It is alleged that some traders of the area are supporters of
organisations of Sangh Parivar.

So, the police is trying to increase security in the area to avoid
escalation of tension over allegations and counter allegations which
may take communal turn before the Christmas.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009


Maoists blow up culvert in Orissa
Sib Kumar Das

Posters opposing ‘Operation Green Hunt' put up

Maoists block road near Jogi-Palur

Landmines used to damage culvert

BERHAMPUR: Maoists on Saturday blew up a culvert on an important road
and put up posters opposing ‘Operation Green Hunt' in the Narayanpatna
block of Koraput district in Orissa.

They also put up posters near Roxy of the K.Balanga block of
Sundergarh district.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Southwestern range) Sanjiv Panda
said the Maoists used landmines to damage a culvert on the crucial
Narayanpatna-Laxmipur road near the Karki ghat. They also cut down
trees to block the road near Jogi-Palur.

At some places, the road was dug up and optical fibre cables were
damaged disrupting telephone communication in most areas of the
Narayanpatna block.

Mr. Panda said no one was injured as the blast took place early in the
morning. Additional forces were sent to the area.

Following threat of landmines, the security forces were moving with

The posters opposed ‘Operation Green Hunt' against the Maoists planned
at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, in Malkangiri and Koraput districts of
Orissa and in parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Security had been tightened in the Narayanpatna block.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 11, 2010


Binayak Sen condemns Dantewada massacre
Raktima Bose

“Dialogue is the need of the hour rather than intensifying security

Kolkata: Condemning the massacre of 76 security personnel by Maoists
at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on April 6, eminent human rights activist
Binayak Sen said on Saturday that holding a dialogue between the
rebels and the government was the need of the hour rather than
intensifying security operations.

Dr. Sen was in prison in Raipur for two years for alleged Maoist links
but freed on bail in May last year, following widespread protests both
in India and abroad.

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from Vellore, where he is
undergoing medical treatment, Dr. Sen said he supported neither the
government's nor the Maoists' violence against each other since both
led to large-scale displacement of people, social inequity and

In a statement, he said: “We condemn and deplore the processes of
violence and militarisation that have resulted in the tragic death of
76 police personnel in Dantewada on April 6, as well as the deaths of
so many people on both sides of the ongoing conflict between the
Maoists and the state forces. We also deplore the attendant tragic
deaths of so many ordinary citizens whose deaths have gone unrecorded
and largely unmourned. We cannot and do not valorise recourse to
planned military strategy as a way to bring about social and political
change either by the state or by those opposing it. At the same time
we do mark the reality of structural violence and its role in
perpetuating the criminally high levels of inequity we see all around
us. We join ours to the many voices appealing for the cessation of
violence and the initiation of political dialogue to bring about peace
with justice and equity.”

Dr. Sen, a physician, said the very fact that 3.5 lakh people have
been displaced from 700 villages of Dantewada district alone was
indicative of the situation across Chhattisgarh.

Pointing to the malnutrition figures provided by the National
Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, which says 33 per cent of the population,
including 50 per cent of scheduled tribes and 60 per cent of scheduled
castes, suffer from chronic under-nutrition, Dr. Sen wondered what
prevented the administration from addressing this situation in regions
not affected by Maoist presence.

Referring to a long-term study undertaken by a small non-governmental
organisation, Jan Swarth Sahyog, which functions from the Ganiyari
village in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district, he said the people in the
region suffer from chronic malnutrition and malnutrition-related
diseases like malaria and pulmonary tuberculosis during the period of
August to November each year.

“There is no Maoist in this area. So the government argument that
Maoist violence is responsible for the terrible level of under-
development, poverty and inequity does not hold here…if body mass
index is monitored on a monthly basis, there is a dip of BMI when rice
harvest from the previous year runs out…The starvation leads to low
immunity of the body and so malaria sets in. Also 95 per cent of the
pulmonary tuberculosis cases have been found with BMI less than 18.5,”
Dr. Sen said.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 11, 2010


Nitish questions strategy against Naxals
K. Balchand

NEW DELHI: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday took a dig at
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's offer to resign in the wake of
the Dantewada massacre of CRPF personnel, and disapproved of his
strategy in countering naxalism.

During his interaction with the media at the Indian Women's Press
Corps, Mr. Kumar frowned at Mr. Chidambaram's action underscoring that
there was no need for such theatricals at such a critical juncture.
“Where is the need for it when all know that the Prime Minister will
reject it? Is there any need to talk so much?”

He lashed out at the Home Minister and Home Secretary G.K. Pillai for
the kind of language they used to hit out at those who digressed from
their opinion. “What language is this? How can you approve of Mr.
Chidambaram's language against West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee? The Home Secretary says Bihar is not cooperating in the
fight against Naxalism.”

Mr. Kumar charged that both of them did not seem to be applying their
minds before saying anything. “They are making statements without
thinking of the issues. The Home Secretary would do better to leave
such issues to his political bosses. My status prohibits me, and will
it be proper to set my Home Secretary against the Union Home Secretary
to negate his folly?”

Basic problems

On the Centre's strategy to counter Naxal violence, Mr. Kumar
counselled that brashness barely yielded any gain. The Naxalite
problem could not be tackled through police operations. “You can have
limited success. There might be failures too. But this is no solution
to the basic problems.”

The Chief Minister said action was necessary if the law and order
situation so demanded and underscored that such actions were taken
even in Bihar. “But, where is the need to raise your tone or tenor.”

Development process

Mr. Kumar said it was equally important to unroll the development
process. That means development with justice and not just setting big
factories and projects which had no meaning to them.

The delivery system had to be toned up and corruption uprooted so that
the poor got their due.

“We are against violence and don't approve that it be countered
through violence. And it is not possible to counter this challenge
merely through the State's police force.”

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 11, 2010


Naxalites melt away into forest & villages Skip to content.Naxalites
melt away into forest & villages .

.Raipur, April 11: Even five days after the massacre of 76 security
personnel in south Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, the police and
paramilitary forces on Sunday continued to draw a blank, appearing far
from any position of advantage vis-à-vis their ongoing inter-state
joint operation to track down the Naxalites involved in the ambush.
A senior Chhattisgarh police officer engaged in this intense operation
told this correspondent on Sunday that after their primary lead that
the Naxalites had divided themselves into three groups and were
heading in three directions, it had been gathered through their
network of informers in the villages that the Naxalites had split into
even smaller groups. When asked about their weapons and ammunition,
the officer said that the Naxals usually hide them at the houses of
their trained cadres in the villages and that it is very difficult to
detect them. Once the Naxalites leave their formations, they pass off
as any villager by the roadside or in a busy village “haat (community
Chhattisgarh additional director-general of police (anti-Naxalite
operations) Ramniwas reiterated on Sunday evening that they had
information that two “companies” of Naxalites (about 200 trained men)
had crossed over to Malkangiri in Orissa, but so far the search
operation in that territory has drawn a blank.
While the joint operation against the Naxalites continues in Bastar
region of Chhattisgarh and the adjoining states of Orissa and Andhra
Pradesh, and in the midst of the charge that the CRPF men had not been
given jungle warfare training before being posted in the Naxalite-
affected area, a committed body of men — 750 of them — are undergoing
gruelling jungle warfare training to combat Naxals at the Counter-
Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College (CJWC) near Kanker, on the Raipur-
Jagdalpur highway. The jawans being trained here are undeterred by the
massacre of the 76 CRPF men. When this correspondent talked to these
men, one of them said: “We are here on a mission and shall not deviate
from our goal.”
State police spokesman R.K. Vij said that besides those being inducted
into anti-Naxal operations from the Chhattisgarh armed police and
paramilitary forces, policemen from Jharkhand and Maharashtra have
also been trained at the CJWC.

Lalit Shastri


Naxal probe panel to visit spot this week .
Monday, 12 April 2010 03:40

.New Delhi, April 11: A one-man inquiry committee appointed to probe
the recent Naxals attack in Dantewada in Chattisgarh, which killed 76
CRPF personnel, is expected to visit the spot this week.
Former chief of Border Security Force E.N. Rammohan has already
started collecting relevant information, like the command structure,
hierarchy and the decision concerning the operation and quality of
training imparted to the Central security forces which were attacked
by the Naxalites. Besides, Mr Rammohan visited Central Reserve Police
Force headquarters here and met director-general of the the force,
Vikram Srivastava, on Saturday. Sources said that the probe committee
has sought call detail records of the mobile telephones used by the
deceased and injured personnel of CRPF during the encounter on April
During his visit to the spot — Tarmetla, Dantewada district, and state
headquarters, Raipur — Rammohan will also interact with CRPF
officials, the local police and civil officials and injured jawans.
The inquiry committee will submit its report on April 24.
Sources further said Mr Rammohan will also gather evidence from family
members and others, who had spoken to some of the CRPF men during the
ambush. The 69-year-old, 1965 batch Assam-Meghalaya cadre IPS officer,
will also examine the response of the state police and the CRPF during
the ambush and post-ambush period, relief and rescue operations.
In his report, which will be submitted to the home ministry, he will
also suggest measures to mitigate lapses, if any, so that such
incidents do not occur in the future.

Age Correspondent


India Naxal attack: State role under scanner

Monday, 12 April 2010 03:39

.New Delhi, April. 11: The role of the Chhattisgarh government has
also come under the scanner after the worst-ever Naxal attack in
Dantewada last week that left 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
men dead.
Sources in the Central security agencies revealed that specific
intelligence inputs about the possible Naxal attack in the region was
given to the state government in the month of March. However, a
section of top ranking officials of the state police did not share the
inputs with other senior police officials, sources said
Talking to this newspaper, a high ranking official of the Central
security agency said, “It becomes the duty of the top brass of the
police officials of the state to share intelligence inputs, provided
by the centre, with the officers, including para-military forces,
engaged in the nati-Naxal operations.”
Why not available inputs were discussed with senior officials holding
crucial posts in the state police, this must be probed, sources said,
adding that action must be taken against the erring officials.
“Who engaged the Central security forces in the area domination
exercise without even a single senior official of the state police?
Why not the operational map of the area was provided to the commanding
officer of the Central forces? These are certain questions which need
to be probed,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the CRPF has instructed its all battalions engaged in the
anti-Naxal operations in different states in the country to remain
extra alert and adhere to the standard operation procedure (SOP)
during force movements.
A senior official of the CRPF said, “With the Naxals warning of more
Dantewada type of attacks, our forces deployed in the Naxal-affected
states will have to remain on high alert. State police have also been
instructed to remain on high alert.”
The Dantewada massacre has brought to the fore the urgent need for a
nuanced approach among major political parties over tackling the
Maoist problem even though mainstream parties have favoured a tough
The two main national parties have officially advocated a hardline
stand against the Naxals but voices have arisen from within for
addressing the basic issue of economic and social deprivation.

Age Correspondent



...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-14 05:48:02 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

Volume 27 - Issue 08 :: Apr. 10-23, 2010
from the publishers of THE HINDU


End of a revolution

Kanu Sanyal, a founder of naxalism, was a revolutionary who devoted
his life for the cause of the peasant masses of West Bengal.

Kanu Sanyal in an agricultural field at Hatighisa village near
Naxalbari on September 13, 2005.

Kanu Sanyal, the man who created the term naxalism and gave this
extremist form of communism a permanent place in Indian history, took
his own life on March 23 by hanging himself at his residence in
Hatighisa village near Naxalbari – from where his peasant revolution
originated. If Charu Majumdar is considered the ideologue of the naxal
movement, Kanu Sanyal was its organiser and iron fist.

He was a revolutionary to the core and had unimpeachable integrity. He
spent all his life among the peasants for whose cause he had taken up
arms, and considered their sorrows and problems as his own. Such was
his legend that even those who differed radically with his politics
did not hesitate to express their sorrow over his death.

Biman Bose, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India
(Marxist), said: “His simple, unostentatious lifestyle can be a role
model for everyone.” His colleague Sitaram Yechury said: “Kanu
Sanyal’s death is very unfortunate. Of late, particularly after
Nandigram and Lalgarh, he has been saying that the line adopted by
Maoists does not conform to the revolutionary understanding that the
naxalite movement had at the time when it started.” Yechury also
pointed out that Sanyal had been supporting all major agitations and
programmes organised by the CPI(M)-led Left Front in Bengal against
imperialism and other issues.

There are some doubts about the year of Kanu Sanyal’s birth; according
to some, it was 1928, while most others believe it was 1932. Sanyal
was born in the Kurseong subdivision of Darjeeling district in North
Bengal. He was the second-youngest of the seven children of Annada
Govinda Sanyal, a clerk in the local court. After completing his
matriculation from the Kurseong ME School (later renamed the
Pushparani Roy Memorial High School), he enrolled in the Jalpaiguri
College in the science stream, which he did not complete.
Subsequently, he took up a job as a clerk in the Kalimpong court; he
was later transferred to the Siliguri court.

In 1949, Sanyal was briefly jailed for waving a black flag at Bidhan
Chandra Roy, the Congress Chief Minister of West Bengal, as a mark of
protest against the banning of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in
1948. It was while in prison that he got acquainted with Charu
Majumdar, who was a member of the CPI district secretariat. In 1952,
Sanyal became a whole-timer of the CPI, and when the party split in
1964, he, along with Charu Majumdar, sided with the breakaway faction,
the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Soon after the CPI(M)’s formation, a section of leaders wanted the
party to add armed revolution to its agenda following the example of
China. The party leadership did not entirely dismiss the possibility
of an armed uprising, and so there remained within it a space for the
more radical members. Prominent among them were Charu Majumdar and
Kanu Sanyal.

In 1965, Charu Majumdar came out with his famous ‘Eight Documents’,
which essentially exhorted the party to fight against revisionism
within itself, follow the example of Mao Zedong’s China and take up
armed struggle against the state, and underlined that action, rather
than politics, was the need of the day. The two factions of the party
continued to co-exist, albeit a little uneasily, under the same banner
for a while. Their differences became irreconcilable when the first
CPI(M)-led United Front government was formed in 1967.

At that time, Kanu Sanyal, a member of the CPI(M)’s Darjeeling
district committee, was the most important grass-roots organiser of
tea estate workers and peasants. According to him, the situation then
was ripe for an uprising, thanks to the tireless work of the party
workers in the region. Meanwhile, some of the more militant cadre in
the party had, on Charu Majumdar’s directive, already started seizing
arms and acquiring land forcibly on behalf of the peasants from the
big landholders.

Naxalbari uprising

The spark that led to the Naxalbari uprising came towards the fag end
of April 1967. Bhigul Kissan, a landless farmer who worked on the land
of Iswar Tirkey, a powerful landlord, was ousted from his land. He
then appealed to the Krishak Sabha, whose most prominent leader was
Kanu Sanyal, to intervene on his behalf. The peasants laid siege to
Iswar Tirkey’s land, and Tirkey, who was a member of the Bangla
Congress, a major constituent of the ruling coalition, used his
political influence to ensure the police take action against the
agitating peasants.

What followed was a series of police raids that culminated in the
police-peasant standoff at Boromaniram Jot in Naxalbari on May 24, in
which Sonam Wangdo, a police officer, was killed by the peasants’
arrows. The next day, the police opened fire at a Krishak Sabha
meeting in Prasad Jot in Naxalbari, and 11 people were killed,
including seven women and two infants.

The peasant uprising, with Sanyal at the helm, then spread like
wildfire in the region. On June 27, 1967, the Naxalbari Krishak
Sangram Sahayak Committee was set up. Giving a huge fillip to the
movement was an editorial on July 5 in People’s Daily, the mouthpiece
of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which read:
“A peal of spring thunder has crashed over the land of India.
Revolutionary peasants in the Darjeeling area have risen in rebellion.
Under the leadership of a revolutionary group of the Indian Communist
Party, a red area of rural revolutionary armed struggle has been
established in India. This is a development of tremendous significance
for the Indian people’s revolutionary struggle.”

Despite the heavy police clampdown, the movement had already captured
international attention and was already being seen as a source of
inspiration for peasant struggles in other parts of the country. In
November that year, the All India Coordination Committee of Communist
Revolutionaries (CPI-M) was formed; the CPI(M) was later dropped after
the group broke away from the party.

In the monsoon of 1968, Kanu Sanyal led a team of five revolutionaries
to a trip to China where they received a warm welcome. It is believed
that in their two-and-a-half month stay in China they even took
military training.

Formation of CPI(M-L)

At an extended meeting held from April 19 to 22 in 1969, the AICCR
decided to form a new party called the Communist Party of India
(Marxist-Leninist). Charu Majumdar hailed the event as the beginning
of a “war of annihilation”.

On May 1, Kanu Sanyal announced the establishment of the new party at
a gathering on the Sahid Minar grounds in Kolkata. In March the
following year, the CPI(M-L) State committee was established, and in
May, the first party congress took place in which Charu Majumdar’s
line of khatam – annihilation of class enemies – was endorsed
unanimously. Meanwhile, police crackdown on the party became more
severe and ideological differences began to crop up within the top
leadership. Kanu Sanyal, however, remained firmly behind Charu
Majumdar’s policies.

China’s rejection

Following the congress of the CPI(M-L) in May, one of its leaders
Souren Bose had gone to China with the party documents. This time,
however, the Communist Party of China was strongly critical of the
CPI(M-L)’s activities, and rejected the latter’s claim that “China’s
Chairman is our Chairman”.

“They said this had nothing to do with Mao, and the line that we had
chosen was one of the main reasons for our debacle,” an old naxalite
leader told Frontline. None of the facts relating to this episode has
ever been published, and its veracity is not absolute either; but
according to the general prison lore of the period between 1971 and
1972, Souren Bose, upon his return to India, discussed China’s
criticism with Charu Majumdar, and hoped the latter would present the
facts before the party. Although some of the leaders may have been
privy to this information, by and large most members of the party were
not aware of it.

Sanyal did not know of it either as he was in prison. Souren Bose
discussed the issue with him after Charu Majumdar’s death, when they
were imprisoned together in the Srikakulam conspiracy case in Andhra
Pradesh. “Many of Charu Majumdar’s followers will, however, deny that
this ever took place. They will argue that if it did indeed take
place, then why did Charu Majumdar not talk about it,” the old naxal
leader said.

Shift in ideology

In Charu Majumdar’s view, the naxalbari movement and the Terai
upheaval were a part of the process of overthrowing the prevalent
social order and seizing state power. In other words, Charu Majumdar
reasoned, the movement was not an anti-feudal struggle for land but an
armed struggle against the state itself.

Kanu Sanyal fully endorsed this view in his “Terai Report (1968)”, and
on no occasion did he publicly disagree with Majumdar over this issue.
He did, however, come out with a paper in 1973 from prison called
“More about Naxalbari”, in which his reservations against many of
Majumdar’s views came to light.

In it, Sanyal argued that the naxalbari movement was an agrarian
uprising that would finally culminate in an armed movement. He even
suggested that Majumdar’s interpretation that the movement was one
against the state was wrong and that it was one of the reasons for the
debacle that the party was facing then. It was not that Kanu Sanyal
was against the idea of armed struggle against the state; he just did
not consider the naxalbari movement to be that.

Sanyal also rejected Charu Majumdar’s advocacy of individual
assassination, which, according to Ashim Chatterjee, former CPI(M-L)
Central Committee member and top naxal leader of the 1970s, was
“anarchism of the Bakuninist kind”. (Mikhail Bakunin was a Russian
revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism.)

Sanyal was also very critical of the activities of present-day
Maoists, and denounced on more than one occasion their “wanton killing
of innocent villagers”. Although he supported the Gorkhaland movement,
he did not accept the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s demand to include the
Terai and parts of the Doars in the state it sought to create.

After jail

In 1977, after the Left Front assumed power in West Bengal, Chief
Minister Jyoti Basu took the initiative to have Sanyal, who was
serving a sentence for his involvement in the Srikakulam case,
released from prison. Even when he was in prison, Sanyal was getting
increasingly critical of the CPI(M-L) and its activities; and after
his release, he openly denounced his party, even questioning the need
for its existence in the first place. This further isolated him from
his own movement and from the political milieu with which he could not
relate to.

“We may have been against certain policies of the party but when Kanu-
da rejected the reason for the formation of the party and its glorious
history, we just could not accept that,” Amar Bhattacharjee, writer
and former naxal leader of the 1970s and 1980s, told Frontline.

Kanu Sanyal tied up with Ashim Chatterjee and Asit Sinha to form the
Organisation of Communist Committee of Revolutionaries. Later in 1984,
he formed the Organisation Committee of India (Marxist-Leninist).
Then, finally in the early 1990s, he set up another organisation –
called the CPI(M-L) ironically; a name he had rejected a decade
earlier – but subsequently moved away from it in around 2000. After
that, he was not known to be in any organisation but continued to work
at the grass-roots level mainly with the tea workers.

Personal life

His was a unique life of Spartan simplicity. He lived among the simple
peasants of Naxalbari. He resided in a mud hut in Hatighisa village,
which did not even have a toilet, and he used to go to a nearby river
to bathe. “There have been times when his house was brought down by
herds of elephants roaming the area, but then he would build it up
again,” an old friend of Kanu Sanyal’s told Frontline.

Dr Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri, a senior naxal leader of the 1970s,
remembers seeing Sanyal in a public transport bus in Kolkata in the
mid-1980s. “It was a very crowded bus, with hardly any space to stand.
I recognised him immediately and offered him my seat. But he politely
declined and continued to stand,” he said.

Right until the end of his life, Kanu Sanyal remained a rebel and a
fighter. In 2006, while travelling in the unreserved compartment of a
Kolkata-bound train, dacoits boarded the compartment and robbed
passengers of their belongings. While everybody else gave in without a
fight, the septuagenarian revolutionary put up a resistance and
received stab injuries. Age and illness could not rob him of his

In some ways, his career seemed to be one of failure – a revolutionary
who lost faith in the process of the revolution that he himself had
engineered, an activist who could not find a permanent platform to
operate from, and finally a man committing suicide, which even those
who were most closely associated with him could not explain.

But, as Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri said, his life was not a failure in the
wider perspective of history. He said: “If you ask me if Kanu Sanyal’s
and our movements, naxalbari and the Terai uprising, were all in vain,
I would say no for two reasons. First, take the case of the big
landlords in West Bengal: they did not fight the onslaught of the
CPI(M) and the reason for that is the naxals. It was better for the
landlords to accept the terms of the CPI(M) than face us. Our movement
played a huge role in ridding this State of landlordism.

“Our second contribution is we proved that the idea of an armed
agrarian revolution as the way of liberation of the people is not just
an idea from a foreign land, but a practicable one that was applicable
in this State itself. Naxalbari proved precisely that.”


me 27 - Issue 08 :: Apr. 10-23, 2010
from the publishers of THE HINDU


Money sharks
in Pallipalayam

Private moneylenders seem to have a run of Tamil Nadu and do not
hesitate to kill those who question their ways.


C. Veluchamy of the CPI(M), who was murdered allegedly by henchmen of
usurers at Pallipalayam in Namakkal district.

The murder of a young activist of the Communist Party of India
(Marxist), who took on local usurers and their henchmen at
Pallipalayam in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu on March 10, exposed
the ruthlessness and deviousness of the age-old illegal system of
moneylending. The murder took place within an hour of the victim
lodging his second complaint with the police about a threat to his

The incident also brought to the fore the related issues of mass
deprivation, flawed micro-credit policies, appalling living conditions
of the powerloom workers and the unholy alliance forged by rapacious
usurers with sections of the political class and the police.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, conceding the demand of the State unit
of the CPI(M), has directed the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation
Department (CB-CID) to probe the case.

According to CPI(M) sources, C. Veluchamy, secretary of the
Pallipalayam branch of the party, took up the case of sexual assault,
about seven months ago, of a young woman – daughter of a female
powerloom worker – who was unable to pay for two months the weekly
interest on a loan taken from a moneylender. The sources alleged that
the usurer summoned the woman to his place when her mother was away
from home and got one of his henchmen to sexually abuse her. The
incident, the sources said, was videographed and uploaded on the
Internet and circulated on mobile phones.

On the basis of a representation from the victim’s mother in February,
Veluchamy took up the issue with the police and sought action against
the culprits. Following the filing of a case, the usurer, R.
Sivakumar, and some of his associates were arrested. Shortly after
their release on bail, they issued threats to Veluchamy, who then
lodged a complaint with the Pallipalayam police on February 25.

Accusing the police of not taking prompt action on the complaint,
State CPI(M) secretary G. Ramakrishnan said in a letter to the Chief
Minister on March 14 that the tragedy could have been averted if the
police had taken preventive measures and sought the transfer of the
case to the CB-CID.

The party’s activists held protest demonstrations throughout the State
on March 15 demanding action against the perpetrators of the crime and
urging the government to take steps to end usury. The town itself
observed a hartal on that day.

A. Rangasamy, secretary of the Namakkal district unit of the CPI(M),
and Asokan, Pallipalayam block committee secretary of the party, said
that until two decades ago, powerloom workers had been subjected to
corporal punishment even for minor lapses. Sometimes such humiliation
ended in fatalities. Though the intensity of such brutalities had come
down owing to the intervention of trade unions, even today most of the
labour laws and statutory benefits such as provident fund, employees’
state insurance, medical allowance and specified working hours were
yet to be implemented by powerloom owners, they said.

According to them, as of now there are around 25,000 looms in
Pallipalayam employing 50,000 workers directly or indirectly. Each
worker in direct employment has to manage two or three looms for 12
hours in a shift. In the powerloom sector, where the piece rate system
is in vogue, workers have to work all seven days to earn, on an
average, Rs.1,000 in a week. Sometimes the whole family is involved in
different tasks. Hefty amounts ranging from Rs.25,000 to Rs.1,00,000
borrowed from the employer at the time of taking up the job, often
push the worker into perpetual bondage and the usury trap.

With agricultural workers switching over to other trades as rain-fed
agriculture offered fewer working days, powerloom owners have a steady
supply of workers.

In such a situation, they do not find it necessary to take care of the
interests of the workers. The local people want the government to come
out with a relief package, including a moratorium on workers’ debt,
the implementation of statutory social security measures for them, and
the execution of irrigation schemes.

Incidentally, Pallipalayam, on the banks of the Cauvery river, hit the
headlines in the 1990s in the wake of a kidney racket. Poorly paid
workers, in an attempt to get out of the quagmire of debt, sold their
kidneys for amounts ranging from Rs.30,000 to Rs.45,000.

The onslaught of usury is not confined to Pallipalayam. Its tentacles
have spread all over Tamil Nadu, affecting different sections of
society, including manual workers, hawkers and small and medium
traders. Fearing reprisal from usurers, most of the victims do not
prefer police complaints. In the face of threats to their lives,
several of them have committed suicide or moved to far-off places.

Ramakrishnan urged the government to tone up the institutional micro-
finance system to end usury. The CPI(M) would intensify the struggle
against usury, he said, and called for steps to implement the laws
against usury in letter and spirit.


The body of Veluchamy being taken in a procession in Pallipalayam

Functionaries of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human
rights organisations claimed that most of those who were in this
illegal business belonged to dominant castes, particularly in the
southern and western districts, and that they enjoyed a lot of
political patronage. The kattapanchayat (kangaroo court) and usury
were inseparable like Siamese twins, they said.

Madurai is said to be the usury capital of the State. According to S.
George Virumandi, secretary of the Usury Atrocity Prevention Movement,
usurers form syndicates to carry out their operation with clear
jurisdiction, using unaccounted money held by politically influential
people. Moneylenders would get the signatures of borrowers on plain
stamp paper and blank promissory notes and keep the certificates of
registration of vehicles and documents of immovable property belonging
to them.

George Virumandi said a good number of moneylenders at Sellur,
Karimedu, Kamarajarpuram and S.S. Colony in Madurai town and
Vadipatti, Usilampatti and Tirumangalam in the district had the
capacity to disburse loans of Rs.1 crore and more. They financed film
production. Some of them even had clients in Andhra Pradesh and
Karnataka. He said Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act
should be amended in such a way that the burden of proof was on the
usurer. Highlighting the human rights violations by usurers, Henri
Tiphagne, executive director of People’s Watch, said the strategies
adopted by them to collect arrears included abduction of poor and
powerless ‘defaulters’ or their womenfolk and their detention in
secluded farmhouses where they are beaten up. They enjoy political
patronage and have diversified their activities, setting their sights
on disputed property and sick industries.

K.R. Ganesan, general secretary of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Rural
Development and Local Administration Employees, said around 95 per
cent of regular sanitary workers of the local bodies were the worst
affected as they had surrendered their bank passbooks to moneylenders
against loans taken.

Leaders of bank employees’ federations felt that adopting a pro-people
banking policy would help end the illegal lending system. C.H.
Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees
Association, said: “Of late, there is a trend in the banking sector
that works contrary to the aims and objectives of bank

He said that in the 40 years after nationalisation, public sector
banks (PSBs) had gone to villages with as many as 40,000 rural
branches and made credit available to agriculture and other priority
sectors. “However, given the enormous needs of the rural economy,
there is a great need for expansion of the PSBs to achieve total
financial inclusion.” He pointed out that the reports of the Arjun Sen
Gupta Committee and the Tendulkar Committee had revealed the magnitude
of the appalling conditions of people living below the poverty line.

“Today, more than 54 per cent of the population does not have even a
bank account and 88 per cent does not have access to banking credit.
This has resulted in the common people in rural areas going to
usurious moneylenders to meet their financial requirements,” he said.
The consequences of this were being seen in the increasing number of
farmers committing suicide in various States. Referring to the Reserve
Bank of India (RBI) reports, he said that at a time when there was a
greater need for an enlarged dose of bank credit for vital sectors
such as agriculture and small and medium industries and for employment
generation activities and poverty reduction programmes, money flowing
into rural and agricultural sectors through the banking channels had
taken a nosedive in the past 15 years and private moneylending and
credit had increased manifold.

“The remedy for this lies in reforming the banking credit policies
aimed at making rural and agricultural credit available at cheaper
rates of interest, simplifying the procedure for extending loans and
evolving an easy mechanism for recovery. We have good examples, like
credit to self-help groups, where the recovery rate is almost 97 per
cent,” he said.

He criticised the liberalisation of licensing, as announced in the
Union Budget for 2010-2011, for private banks and non-banking finance
companies to open branches in rural areas.

Alleging that the RBI was forcing the banks to appoint private
business correspondents and private banking facilities to reach out to
people who were not covered by banking services, he said the move
would only lead to powerful corporate houses gaining control over the
rural economy, which was now in the hands of the local oligarchy.

K. Krishnan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Bank
Employees Federation of India (BEFI), expressed anguish at the
weakening of the cooperative movement, which first took root in the
country in 1901. Though after Independence it was strengthened to
protect people from the menace of usury, it had gradually gone into
the hands of forces inimical to its aims and objectives. The derailed
cooperative movement now served the interests of rich peasants,
aggravating mass deprivation and farmers’ suicide.

Institutional credit for agricultural and other priority sectors
through cooperative banks, the PSBs and the regional rural banks
(RRBs) was a formidable challenge to usurious moneylenders, he said.
However, such credit had come down from 64 per cent in the pre-1991
situation to 34 per cent in the wake of globalisation and
neoliberalisation, he pointed out.

The RRBs had also started moving to areas close to cities and towns,
owing to the profit-orientation imposed on them, leaving farmers and
other toiling masses in the lurch, he said. A recent study conducted
by BEFI members in three villages – Perunazhi and Ponthanguzhi in
Ramanathapuram district and Gopalapuram in Virudhunagar district, each
with a population of around 6,000 – showed that usury still prevailed
there. It had also been found that around 100 persons, including local
contractors, panchayat functionaries, politicians and illicit arrack
distillers, formed a syndicate and carried on the illegal system of

Krishnan insisted that the PSBs, the RRBs and cooperative banks should
come forward to provide soft loans at concessional rates of interest
to agriculturists and the rural poor. The National Bank for
Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) also should make an
allocation for this purpose from its huge resources earmarked for
rural infrastructure development, he said.

Despite the inadequacies in the running of self-help groups, the
concept should be encouraged, he said, and added that, above all,
political will was needed to end usury.



...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-15 18:34:42 UTC
India Ink:Sid Harth

BJP for united fight against Maoists, slams Congress


Dantewada a wake up call, need resolve to fight Naxals: PC

Home Minister P Chidambaram today said the Dantewada massacre was a
"wake up call" for the country and asked for a collective resolve to
defeat the Maoists, whose aim was to seize political power.

States have primary role in fighting Maoists: Chidambaram

Resignation not due to fear of Maoists: Chidambaram

BJP for united fight against Maoists, slams Congress

'Call all-party meet on Naxalism, talk to Maoists'

Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, April 15, 2010
First Published: 11:30 IST(15/4/2010)
Last Updated: 15:57 IST(15/4/2010)

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday called for "a
united fight to defeat Maoists" but accused the Congress of forging an
alliance with the Leftist guerrillas for electoral gains - an
allegation that triggered ugly scenes and disruptions in the Lok

BJP and Congress MPs were caught in an ugly row over the April 6
Dantewada massacre by Maoist rebels, prompting repeated adjournments
of the house.

Members of the Lok Sabha, which resumed the budget session after a
month-long break Thursday, reassembled at 2 p.m. following Speaker
Meira Kumar's assurance that an objectionable part in BJP leader
Yashwant Sinha's speech accusing the Congress of allying with Maoists
would be removed.

Sinha, a former finance minister, had initiated the debate on how to
tackle Maoist terrorism and assured the government of the BJP's full
support in the war against Left extremism.

But he went on to lambast the government for the way it had tackled
the problem, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as the
greatest threat to India's internal security.

Sinha said the Congress used Maoists for political gains in some
states and sent a "wrong signal" that the government was "ready to
compromise on terrorism".

"You forged an alliance with Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh for electoral
benefits," he thundered.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal reacted sharply and
said the BJP leader had forgotten the relationship his party has with
Maoists in Chhattisgarh.

"He doesn't know what relationship his party has with Maoists. He has
forgotten that," Bansal said, this time triggering protests from BJP

"On one hand he is expressing BJP's support and on the other he is
levelling allegations," Bansal said.

Sinha had also earlier "condemned with contempt" the remarks by
Congress leader Digvijay Singh accusing the BJP of having a nexus with
the guerrillas in Chhattisgarh.

As the noise grew louder amid the allegations and counter-allegations,
Meira Kumar asked Sinha not to "level allegations which you are not
able to substantiate".

She said the house was discussing "something very serious". "This is a
tragedy which has saddened all of us. This is not the debate where
allegations should be levelled? All parties should put their heads
together and see how we can eliminate such incidents," Meira Kumar
said about the brutal killing of 76 security men in Chhattisgarh.

After two adjournments, the debate over the Dantewada mayhem was
resumed at 2 p.m. This time, Sinha appeared more circumspect and asked
the government to be clear on its strategy against the rebels.

"If we don't clarify our strategy, we would be defeated? Sometimes
they exchange phone numbers and sometimes there is tough posturing,"
he said sarcastically, referring to Home Minister P. Chidambaram and
Maoist leader Kishenji exchanging phone numbers in the media.

"Sinha said the operation against Maoists was undertaken without
ground preparations. State governments were not taken into confidence.
If we were prepared better, Dantewada would have never occurred," he
said, likening the massacre with the 1962 Ind-China war.

"They sent soldiers without shoes and socks to fight Chinese. And the
Dantewade incident is like that only. Indian forces were sent to
Dantewade without preparations," he said.

Expand ⇗Guest
Abhay Kumar 24 minutes ago

What about Lalu Yadav and types who used naxalites for booth capturing
over the years? Now he said in the parliament that use gandhian
philosophy of non-violence with the naxalites. Shame on him.
Its Lalu Prasad who let them become stronger. Naxals killed thousands
of upper caste farmers in Bihar on the name of social justice. Ans
left-romantics used to clapp. Now nation has to fae the real music of
the. Now whole nation is their enemy. Maoists are power-hungry
ambitious men who could not gain other means to achieve it.

shishirchandra 25 minutes ago

i am surprised that mr. pawan ku bansal and digvijaya have leveled
allegation against bjp that it has friendship with naxals in
chhatisgarh. both they are absolutely wrong. idealogically and
politically they are enemies and if you the know the situation of
chhatisgarh, you will never level any charge of this kind against bjp.
but a major section of congress is enjoying support of naxals in
chhatisgarh and they had good relation in andhra. who can denied it?
the above both congressi leaders are just making politics. may be mr
manmohan sing and pc have no connections with naxals but there are a
large no. of congressman who enjoyed in assemblies and parliament with
the add of naxals.

Mukesh 39 minutes ago

It is very clear that our Home Minister, a creadible political leader
of India. Needs is that to support him crossing the political line by
all political parties.I want to give message to those oppurtunistics
politician do not make water pollute if u r really an Indian.

V.Narayanaswamy 4 hours ago

P.Chidambaram (PC) resigned on Dantewada issue accepting moral
responsibility but the PM didn't accept it. PC should have been firm
in his resolve. It would have added to his stature. We are yet to see
a Minister resigning owning responsibility. Now he is shifting the
responsibility to the states. Very unprofessional step. In fact he
should be pondering over the reasons for the massacre of CRPF

RAHUL GANDHI 6 hours ago

1 person liked this.

I am a christian and I will convert whole India to christianity......
10 lakh foolish hindus are getting convered to christians every
year....my momz doin great job....hurray

proud to be hindu 4 hours ago in reply to RAHUL GANDHI

10 lakh foolish hindus are getting convered to christians every
year.... great and you are one of them and and u have used correct
name rahul gandhi also got conveted from hindu to italian.

proud to be hindu 4 hours ago in reply to RAHUL GANDHI

2 people liked this.

its good that u become christian as due to people like u only country
is spoiled being a christians u should leave india also as india is a
hindu majority country.if all our freedom fighter would have converted
to christians and enjoyed life then india would have not got the
freedom .did u conver christians before or after india 1947 due to
people like u india is suffering who run away from difficulty.and for
your kind information according to suvey most of those who got
converted to christians mainly took money and thye did so.

shekhu 5 hours ago in reply to RAHUL GANDHI

2 people liked this.

One more moron !!

aditya 7 hours ago

6 people liked this.

It was Gandhi who agreed with the british that Bhagt Singh, Rajguru
and Sukhdev should be hanged when whole India was praying for these
martyrs........in 1930 India was all set to gain freedom from british
on its own but it was Gandhi who threw water on the flame of
freedom....and India was dragged 17 years behind and had to wait
untill 1947 to beg for freedom.....but Gandhi's conspiracy didn't end
here...he gifted two countries to the traitor muslims....the 10 lakh
HINDUS and SIKHS were killed during the partition by the beloved
muslims of Gandhi.......and Gandhi didnt uttered a single word to stop
these killings......then Gandhi conspired against Sardar Vallabh Bhai
Patel and snubbed him from pm post.....then CONGRESS conspired against
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and declared him dead....but he was alive
and was forced to live an oustracized life......5 lakh HINDUS killed
in 1962 war against CHINA.......

more than 3000 innocent SIKHS were killed during 84 riots and the
victims are still pleading for justice....20 lakh HINDUS were forced
to leave kashmir by the CONGRESS+MUSLIMS collaboration......the same
CONGRESS is now controlling every anti-Indian activity.....be it
supporting shahrukh in his pakistan-love and police being transfered
into cinema halls so that more no. of Indians can get killed in Pune
bomb blast.....
snubbing Amitabh from commonwealth games and every event under
congress control as if Amitabh is a refugee in his own country....
awarding saif ali khan with Padmshree for a mysterious achivement
which he hasnt achieved yet...
Azharuddin the infamous traitor and match fixer getting ticket from
CONGRESS and then winnig form a muslim area.......and foolish Indian
Hindus supporting congress inthe name of pseudo-secularism.....
supporting Raj thakre in his voilence against the North Indians.....
supporting the naxalites for cheap votes...... 76 SOLDIERS killed by
the naxalites and CONGRESS saying " Army wont be used against the
Dismantelling the freindly relations with Russia and Israel.......
Dearranging the Indian education system to decrease the no. of
scientists,doctors and engineers produced just to please
slashing the defence budget and giving our nuclear program in the
hands of USA...so as to weaken India from deep within......
17 Indians getting death sentence in Dubai and CONGRESS is busy making
sania's wedding a success.....
openly supporting the terrorists of Batla House encounter......
insulting India before the world by the pakistan in Sharm-el-
150 brilliant students killed in Austrailia and CONGRESS says "we are
analysing the situation closely"....

more than 200 killed in 26/11 and CONGRESS said "sabhi vikalp khule
hain" ....actually congress was refering towards the option to
surrender before pakistan....and Manmohan is still begging the
pakistan to act against LeT....while Gilani ordres him to show more

India is being run by a italian women Edvige Antonia Albina Maino
(sonia gandhi's original name) a roman catholic who after death of
Rajiv Gandhi converted his hindu children to christians.....she will
always be loyal towards Italy not India where she has spend 45 years
of her life....
sonia gandhi introduced QUATTROCHI to Rajiv to have a better share in
Bofors deal...and then facilitated QUATTROCHI"S easy escape when
CONGRESS came to power....sonia has provided reservations in govt jobs
for the muslims in every CONGRESS ruled state......INFLATION reaching
new hights, poor Indians are dying due to poverty and CONGRESS is busy
facilitating its black marketeers and smugllers.....

......sonia gandhi is running her govt with the help of the murderers
of Rajiv Gandhi....what a bussiness deal....
Congress should break the alliance with dmk and mdmk...the murderers
of Rajiv Gandhi.....only a italian can do a thing like that..... sonia
gandhi is a vamp she forced Meneka Gandhi out of her home when Sanjay
Gandhi was killed in a conspiracy.....a Indian woman with a newborn in
her lap...roaming on road because Sonia Gandhi has forced her to leave
her home.....it was BJP who gave her shelter..

India is the largest democracy in the world and CONGRESS ruling for
over 60 years and BJP getting a mere 5years in which BJP did extremely
well....the best five years of INDIA since freedom.....why is Gujrat
ahead from rest of India...becuse Gujratis have identified the enemies
of India i.e.CONGRESS+MUSLIMS and then voted for BJP.....because
economic development is directly proportional to PATRIOTISM......India
is reeling under powerty under CONGRESS rule....since 2004 when
Congress came to power every year 10 lakh HINDUS are being converted
to christians......IS Sonia Gandhi a politician or a christian

AFZAL GURU was given death sentence by the hon'ble SUPREME
COURT....but he is still protected by CONGRESS....IS THIS A PARTY FOR


Are HINDUS so inefficient that they cant even rebuild a temple for
their beloved GOD at a place where SHREE RAM took birth...and a large
temple was present there for thousands of years before it was damaged
and a islamic mosque was built there by a islamic invader called
baabar......in 1992 when the mosque was demolished the HINDUS
recovered the respected statue of their beloved GOD...RAM....and RAM
JANMBHUMI is worshipped by crores of devoted HINDUS without any

A huge Church is present at jeruselam......a huge mosque is present at
mecca.......then why shouldnt a RAM TEMPLE be present at AYODHYA the
birth place of LORD RAM......we hindus suffered a lot of injustice at
the hands of CONGRESS and MUSLIMS......why should same be done to our

BJP has taken a step forward in this field and we will be grateful for
our entire life to BJP for raising voice against the injustice being
done to our BELOVED GOD.....


V.Narayanaswamy 4 hours ago in reply to aditya

Are you writing an article or writing Mahabharata. Kindly be brief and
to the point. Then only it is read. Please don't get me wrong.

support bjp 4 hours ago in reply to aditya

2 people liked this.

great job aditya this congress can only cheat the country and do
everything to gain power .

Partha 6 hours ago in reply to aditya

2 people liked this.

HI Aditya You have rocked man each and every word you have mentioned
is burning true.

shekhu 6 hours ago in reply to aditya

1 person liked this.

Spam !!!

Ganesh Iyer 7 hours ago

People sitting in Parliament and State Assemblies are more dangerous
than Maoists.
Im convinced that Naxalism cannot thrive without tacit political
Various political parties and Governments have been doing it over many
Ther has to be an uprising by people to throw out democracy and bring
a person like Adolf Hitler.
Hail Hitler!

A.M.FAZIL 8 hours ago

1 person liked this.


rohit 8 hours ago

1 person liked this.

Rajeev is a blooody baaastard congressman......go and lickk the
pussssy of sonia gandhi.....why arnt congress army against
naxalites..... congress was busy providing protection to cinema halls
when pune bomb blast occured

Rajeev 8 hours ago

1 person liked this.

Dudes I don't think there is any need to give some reply to this self
proclaimed hindu leader Aditya. He has created some doc file by
assembling some facts and keep on pasting this at each article whether
it suits or not. But I only remind him we hindus knows our strength
and we do not need such little arrogant hindu to protect hinduism. And
for Mr. Rahul I have only one Question how many elections did he
voted?. At least answer this honestly. I don't think he even know the
true meaning of his name. You all guys are only creating difficulty
for us to save this country. Apart from fighting Naxalites and
Islamist terrorist we have to spend our power to fight you Lunatics
who are maligning the name of hindu(Actually I am not sure you are
hindu from ideas or by birth).

Ramchi 8 hours ago

2 people liked this.

Media will be busy to come out with a sting operation to corner BJP
with some silly tricks!!! Sardesai, Sen, Dutt, Butt et al will have
heartburn now since traitors are having tough time in the parliament

Tanuja Mahajan 9 hours ago

1 person liked this.

after tharror hushup episode govt has lost credibilty on all issues.

rahul 10 hours ago

5 people liked this.

I agree with Aditya 100%. It is a matter of time that India will be a
country where the Muslims will outnumber Hindus. This is based on the
fact how India is creating reservation systems based on Caste and

Time will come when Hindus will be caught napping and there will be no
body to help them. India is the only country where there is Hinduism
but the way Muslims are producing children, Hindus will be driven away
from their own country.

Someone has to take a stand. To call India a democratic country is a
shame becuase the leaders are corrupt and selling India away. Can you
imagine there is no leader in BJP party, the 2nd largest party who can
become PM. Look at Congress party, they all are 'Hijras'. If they were
not why would an Italian be running the Congress party. Just think.
India is doomed

Waj J 9 hours ago in reply to rahul

We were ruled by Hijras for 6 years by a PM who was not fit enoughn to
get married. Italian has sacrificed her husband. Let one BJP leader
stands up tell whom they scarifiecd. Shame on you. India is on its way
to glory but for people like you.

anilkohli 8 hours ago in reply to Waj J

3 people liked this.

Do you understand the meaning of the word sacrifice?

Take a hike man. Get your fact right just do not post fiction. What
sacrifice are you talking? Sacrifice is only by our brave soldiers,
who are getting killed everyday because this government and congress
party for the past 63years ahs been adopting wrong policies.

Are you so blind that you cannot even see the mess this country is
today? People ask for education they get reservations and quotas in
return. Can you name a single Congress MP who has served with the
army, Navy or Airforce, or anyone from the congress whose children are
serving with defence services.

Do not talk about sacrifice and Congress they have never met and will
not meet ever.

anil 8 hours ago in reply to Waj J

3 people liked this.

Waj J is a baastard congress man.....remember the attrocities done by
sonia on menaka gandhi

rajeshsharma 10 hours ago

My dear Aditya,

This is a platform where you have to give your views of the above
mentioned subject where 76 security personnel were masscre in the
forest in chattisgarh. but sorry to see that you are putting all
blames on Gandhi family Congress.the past is past you talk some thing
sense as per you all evel or bad things are happening due to Gandhi
Family or Congress,people of India are not fool after 1948 the
congress is continusly winning the election that is because congress
has won the confidence of people,
And you Aditya see the NDA/BJP has no points to discusess some time
they talk about Shashi Tharoor and some time they talk about Gandhi
Family or Congress.

Remember BJP/NDA is equally responsible for masscre in Chattisgarh
because perior to Congress BJP was governing the Chattisgarh State
with high Profile Dacite CM Madhu Khode,

Piyush 9 hours ago in reply to rajeshsharma

CG Cm is Dr. Raman Singh for last 7 years & not Madhu Koda. get ur
facts right before typing ur views.

Expand ⇗Verified
rajeshsharma 9 hours ago in reply to Piyush

but the facts of all this type of crime are madhu khode type people
responsible not gandhi or cogress

ishwar 7 hours ago in reply to rajeshsharma

Madhu Koda's govt in Jharkhand was supported by Congress.
Sorry to destry your moment of glory on the net.

anil 10 hours ago

3 people liked this.

Dear Aditya,

As your name sounds - you higlighted everything with RAYS of SUN.

Yes - We Hindus are basically Middle class and selfish mentality - as
long individual is benefitted - he/she will not realise the common
issue. But when he/she affected - they will cry to whole world. Thats
the basic problem - which was fully exploited by IDIOTIC CONGRESS
PARTY from 1947 by various so called leaders.

First we should be united against the all theanti hindu activities

Second - we should raise our voice against all the MEDIA channels &
print media for their baised journalism. If you see when Church &
Mosques are attacked all the JUNK of Journalist Jokers will cover and
attack BJP for everything. It looks like all media channel & anchors
are highly paid for this.

Third - spread the news about congress mentality to every person we
meet. Atleast some time later 50% will realise thru their experience
or by looking at what is happening in India.

Forth - It is high time - at any cost Mr. Narendra Modi should become
Prime Minister of INDIA to erase the
congress party - which will intrun help the nation to grow.

Fifth - There should not be anybody with surname of GANDHI in politics
and no party called congress.

Sixth - There are certain people based on their view - they are
rejecting BJP also. This is called Hypocritic nature. Neither you come
to the politics - nor you allow the party to come to the power to do
what you are expecting - but you are ready to crowling and crying with
shameless party - which does nothing for country.

aditya 11 hours ago

3 people liked this.

It was Gandhi who agreed with the british that Bhagt Singh, Rajguru
and Sukhdev should be hanged when whole India was praying for these
martyrs........in 1930 India was all set to gain freedom from british
on its own but it was Gandhi who threw water on the flame of
freedom....and India was dragged 17 years behind and had to wait
untill 1947 to beg for freedom.....but Gandhi's conspiracy didn't end
here...he gifted two countries to the traitor muslims....the 10 lakh
HINDUS and SIKHS were killed during the partition by the beloved
muslims of Gandhi.......and Gandhi didnt uttered a single word to stop
these killings......then Gandhi conspired against Sardar Vallabh Bhai
Patel and snubbed him from pm post.....then CONGRESS conspired against
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and declared him dead....but he was alive
and was forced to live an oustracized life......5 lakh HINDUS killed
in 1962 war against CHINA.......

more than 3000 innocent SIKHS were killed during 84 riots and the
victims are still pleading for justice....20 lakh HINDUS were forced
to leave kashmir by the CONGRESS+MUSLIMS collaboration......the same
CONGRESS is now controlling every anti-Indian activity.....be it
supporting shahrukh in his pakistan-love and police being transfered
into cinema halls so that more no. of Indians can get killed in Pune
bomb blast.....
snubbing Amitabh from commonwealth games and every event under
congress control as if Amitabh is a refugee in his own country....
awarding saif ali khan with Padmshree for a mysterious achivement
which he hasnt achieved yet...
Azharuddin the infamous traitor and match fixer getting ticket from
CONGRESS and then winnig form a muslim area.......and foolish Indian
Hindus supporting congress inthe name of pseudo-secularism.....
supporting Raj thakre in his voilence against the North Indians.....
supporting the naxalites for cheap votes...... 76 SOLDIERS killed by
the naxalites and CONGRESS saying " Army wont be used against the
Dismantelling the freindly relations with Russia and Israel.......
Dearranging the Indian education system to decrease the no. of
scientists,doctors and engineers produced just to please
slashing the defence budget and giving our nuclear program in the
hands of USA...so as to weaken India from deep within......
17 Indians getting death sentence in Dubai and CONGRESS is busy making
sania's wedding a success.....
openly supporting the terrorists of Batla House encounter......
insulting India before the world by the pakistan in Sharm-el-
150 brilliant students killed in Austrailia and CONGRESS says "we are
analysing the situation closely"....

more than 200 killed in 26/11 and CONGRESS said "sabhi vikalp khule
hain" ....actually congress was refering towards the option to
surrender before pakistan....and Manmohan is still begging the
pakistan to act against LeT....while Gilani ordres him to show more

India is being run by a italian women Edvige Antonia Albina Maino
(sonia gandhi's original name) a roman catholic who after death of
Rajiv Gandhi converted his hindu children to christians.....she will
always be loyal towards Italy not India where she has spend 45 years
of her life....
sonia gandhi introduced QUATTROCHI to Rajiv to have a better share in
Bofors deal...and then facilitated QUATTROCHI"S easy escape when
CONGRESS came to power....sonia has provided reservations in govt jobs
for the muslims in every CONGRESS ruled state......INFLATION reaching
new hights, poor Indians are dying due to poverty and CONGRESS is busy
facilitating its black marketeers and smugllers.....

......sonia gandhi is running her govt with the help of the murderers
of Rajiv Gandhi....what a bussiness deal....
Congress should break the alliance with dmk and mdmk...the murderers
of Rajiv Gandhi.....only a italian can do a thing like that..... sonia
gandhi is a vamp she forced Meneka Gandhi out of her home when Sanjay
Gandhi was killed in a conspiracy.....a Indian woman with a newborn in
her lap...roaming on road because Sonia Gandhi has forced her to leave
her home.....it was BJP who gave her shelter..

India is the largest democracy in the world and CONGRESS ruling for
over 60 years and BJP getting a mere 5years in which BJP did extremely
well....the best five years of INDIA since freedom.....why is Gujrat
ahead from rest of India...becuse Gujratis have identified the enemies
of India i.e.CONGRESS+MUSLIMS and then voted for BJP.....because
economic development is directly proportional to PATRIOTISM......India
is reeling under powerty under CONGRESS rule....since 2004 when
Congress came to power every year 10 lakh HINDUS are being converted
to christians......IS Sonia Gandhi a politician or a christian

AFZAL GURU was given death sentence by the hon'ble SUPREME
COURT....but he is still protected by CONGRESS....IS THIS A PARTY FOR


Are HINDUS so inefficient that they cant even rebuild a temple for
their beloved GOD at a place where SHREE RAM took birth...and a large
temple was present there for thousands of years before it was damaged
and a islamic mosque was built there by a islamic invader called
baabar......in 1992 when the mosque was demolished the HINDUS
recovered the respected statue of their beloved GOD...RAM....and RAM
JANMBHUMI is worshipped by crores of devoted HINDUS without any

A huge Church is present at jeruselam......a huge mosque is present at
mecca.......then why shouldnt a RAM TEMPLE be present at AYODHYA the
birth place of LORD RAM......we hindus suffered a lot of injustice at
the hands of CONGRESS and MUSLIMS......why should same be done to our

BJP has taken a step forward in this field and we will be grateful for
our entire life to BJP for raising voice against the injustice being
done to our BELOVED GOD.....


rahul 10 hours ago in reply to aditya

I agree with Aditya 100%. It is a matter of time that India will be a
country where the Muslims will outnumber Hindus. This is based on the
fact how India is creating reservation systems based on Caste and

Time will come when Hindus will be caught napping and there will be no
body to help them. India is the only country where there is Hinduism
but the way Muslims are producing children, Hindus will be driven away
from their own country.

Someone has to take a stand. To call India a democratic country is a
shame becuase the leaders are corrupt and selling India away. Can you
imagine there is no leader in BJP party, the 2nd largest party who can
become PM. Look at Congress party, they all are 'Hijras'. If they were
not why would an Italian be running the Congress party. Just think.
India is doomed

Ashish 10 hours ago in reply to aditya

Hi Aditya

I do appreciate the facts that you have given ..not that i am pro
Congress and anti BJP but the fact that BJP used Babri Masjid as its
political agenda to get to the power and then took a backseat from its
main political agenda during its reign only shows that all parties are
oppurtunistic and power hungry.

Whatever happened is a past now and if we look at the present, then
definitely the young politicians like Rahul, Jyotiraditya, Sachin are
more promising than compared to the old stalwarts ...and its time we
should give oppurtunity to the young blood to revamp our corrupt

Vande Mataram !!

Ajay 8 hours ago in reply to Ashish

1 person liked this.

This so called young blood, you mentioned, they have been in the power
for more than 6 years now. Do you recall any one of their greate work?
Please enlight us. Also these young blood have come because they had
their father in the government. A person who can not get into the
profession on his own (they got into pwer because of their fathers)
what can you expect from them for the country?


PM turns down PC offer to quit
Home Minister P. Chidambaram had accepted “full responsibility” for
the Maoist killing of 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh’s
Dantewada district last Tuesday and offered to resign soon after, but
PM Manmohan Singh turned him down, sources revealed on Friday. HT

Full coverage | http://www.hindustantimes.com/special-news-report/theenemywithin.aspx

Pics: Dantewada attack http://www.hindustantimes.com/photos-news/photo-story-news/Dantewadamassacre/Article4.aspx

Maoist revenge, Bollywood style
BJP backs Chidambaram, asks him not to retreat
We will not let the blood of our men go waste: CRPF
Thipri Thirupati, 46, is believed to be the mastermind
No decision yet on use of air power in anti-naxal ops: PM
Troops did undergo training: Ministry
Government sets up probe in the worst-ever Maoist strike
'CRPF could have missed ambush point in Dantewada': official
Bodies of CRPF jawans cremated with full honours
'Buck stops at my desk' for Dantewada massacre: PC
Hire army veterans: General


Staring at the void
Sitaram Yechury,
April 12, 2010

First Published: 22:56 IST(12/4/2010)
Last Updated: 23:04 IST(12/4/2010)

To tackle Maoism, we need to change our neo-liberal policies and
invest in the tribal areas. Most important, we need to develop a
strong political will, writes Sitaram Yechury.

The outrageous massacre at Dantewada has shocked the nation. Since the
2009 general elections, Maoist violence has claimed 993 lives, of
which 340 are security personnel. The question of restoring peace and
enforcing the writ of civil administration in areas of Maoist violence
remains non-negotiable. While law and order needs to be restored,
political patronage given for petty electoral or other considerations
must be also stopped. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself has stated
that Maoist violence poses “the gravest threat to India’s internal
security”. Yet, there are members in his Cabinet who continue to use
Maoist violence as a means to further their electoral prospects in
West Bengal. Dantewada has chillingly demonstrated that such
political patronage is disastrous for the country.

Such violence cannot be tackled by seeking to apportion blame or
scoring political points. Home minister’s P. Chidambaram’s pursuit of
‘where the buck stops’ will only add grist to the Maoist mill.
Likewise barbs against the CPI(M) in seeking to equate anarchism with
revolutionary activities in the name of Left extremism does not
strengthen this effort. Since the last general elections, more than
200 CPI(M) cadres have been victims of Maoist violence in West Bengal

The Marxists remain in the forefront of the political struggle against
Maoism. It needs to be underlined that anarchism is the very
antithesis of Marxism and mindless militancy negates and often
regresses the fundamental tenets of revolutionary activity.

Let’s recapitulate the historical roots of the emergence of Left
extremism. After a prolonged ideological debate within the Indian
communist movement, the CPI(M) was formed in 1964. Immediately, the
mass anger against the policies of the then ruling governments saw the
establishment of a united front government in the state in 1967. This
further unleashed popular struggles on the question of land reforms.
The peasants movement organised in Naxalbari was elevated as a
struggle and it aimed at capturing State power by certain sections who
went on to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in May

Based on an erroneous understanding that the Indian ruling classes
were a “comprador bourgeoisie” (agents of imperialism) and, hence, did
not possess a social force or a mass following domestically, it was,
therefore, thought that it was only a matter of time that they would
be overthrown. There was, hence, no necessity to mobilise the people
and organise a mass revolutionary party. The people, it was presumed,
were ready for a revolution. The need of the hour was to arm the
people and, hence, emerged the slogan “People’s War”. This slogan was
accompanied by its twin of “annihilation” of class enemies.

Within a period of five years, however, the naxalite movement split
into innumerable small groups, a process of disintegration that went
on for a few decades. While one group — the CPI(ML) — chose to abandon
this understanding to return to mainstream democratic politics by
contesting elections, two others — the People’s War Group (PWG) in
Andhra Pradesh and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in areas of
Jharkhand and Bihar — continued with their anarchic violent activity.
These two, who were at ideological loggerheads once, came together on
September 21, 2004, to form the new party — the CPI(Maoist). Since
then there has been a major upsurge of anarchic violence that has
claimed many innocent lives.

Apart from such reprehensible violent activity, there is a serious
ideological problem as well. While expressly appropriating “Maoism”,
they seek to replicate the pre-revolutionary Chinese experience in
modern India. By doing so, they negate Mao himself who, once, said a
party which cannot analyse the situation evolving in its own country
and emulates experiences of another country without analysis is a

In fact, the Chinese Communist Party never uses the word Maoism. They
consistently use the term ‘Mao Zedong Thought’ which, they define, as
“the integration of the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with
the concrete practise of the Chinese Revolution”.

Social transformation in India, thus, can only be on the basis of the
concrete analysis of the conditions that exist in India. It can
neither replicate the Russian or the Chinese or for that matter any
other experience in the world.

The CPI(M), in concrete Indian conditions, works for transcending the
existing system of capitalism and the establishment of a people’s
democracy. This, it seeks, by developing a powerful mass revolutionary
movement, combining parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggles of
the working people. While it seeks this transformation through
peaceful means, it is also conscious of the fact that never in history
have the ruling classes voluntarily relinquished their power. The
violent means that they may adopt to defy the people’s will shall,
therefore, be also met.

Further, the conditions that provide a fertile ground for the Maoists
to operate must be seriously addressed. In all areas where the
Maoists are now active, the neo-liberal policies have led to
indiscriminate privatisation of mining of rich mineral resources. This
has led to economic miseries for the tribal population there. Unless
such policies are reversed and the issues of improving the livelihood
of these hapless tribals are addressed, Maoist violence cannot be
stopped. The time has come to rise above scoring political points and
unite in a multi-pronged approach to combat such mindless militancy.
This must include the required law and order measures, strong
political will and necessary programmes to eliminate backwardness in
these areas.

Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP

The views expressed by the author are personal

Surendra 6 hours ago

look who is talking.they always talk in same vein be it yechury or
mamta who said there are no maoists in w.b.

Dr S Deman BSc MA MPhil PhD 1 day ago

Sitaram Yechuri's analysis is superfluous. If the CPI(M) record was so
clean then why the people have rejected them in West Bengal and Kerala
and their own cadre and leaders turned against them. It is worth
noting that despite claim of successful rule in WB since Budhdeb
Bhattchraya became the Chief Minister there has been anti people
actions in Nandigarm and Singuir under Corporate Marxist Rule
(acquiring land for Capitalist) which helped in tremendous growth of
Maoists in West Bengal and gave credibility in rest of the India.

As to Sitaram's distinction between 'Maoism' and 'Mao Zedong
Thoughts', is merely a semantic. Thoughts and ism are inseparable (See
Mao's Portrait of Stalin in Socialist Register, Edited by Miliband) .
He for got to mention that Mao rejected Stalin's unsolicited advice
based on Marxist-Leninist principles against a peasant revolution
through a delegation led by MN Roy (who latter became a radical
humanist- anti communist thought). He failed to state how their
analysis of India conditions is qualitatively different from CPI
analysis of 1967. CPI(M) supported a Congress led UPA government like
CPI did in 1970s for four and a half year without any meaningful
economic program and then ended its shot-gun wedding with Congress.
UPA growth strategy resulted double digit inflation (in fact,
stagflation) in widening gap between two India: Rich and Poor. People
could see no difference between CPI and CPM as to nature of the state
except rhetoric of people’s democratic revolution without any real
preparation for it. Rather CPM appears to be collaborator with the
oppressive 'monopoly capitalist state' as they characterize it, in
suppressing genuine mass upsurge against the state directed terrorism
perpetuated by the 'so-called' left.

What Mr Yechuri said is well and good but the fact remain that the
CPI(M) has in part contributed in giving some credibility to Congress
Led UPA and has shown short sightedness over a period of four and a
half year in realising the true class character of the Congress Party.
He attempted to advance the idea of third front as last ditch battle
but nuclear civil deal could no become an issue in elections. Still
Yechuri and Co continues to fail to keep an arm distance from the
Congress and NDA and it appears flirtation with Congress has started
once again. Hopefully, Yechuri + Karat would maintain the equidistance
approach regardless of the outcome and would provide a viable

If the Economic crisis under the UPA led to decline in growth and
reduction in per capital consumption who is to be blamed. It was the
CPI(M) who supported Congress led UPA Govt over four years and must
share the blame for the disaster. However, Pseudo Marxists failed to
explain why bad economic performance did not reflect in the election
results. Does economics matter? Rather the people showed their anger
against the Left parties who lost touch of the reality on the ground
and continue to do so by blaming Maoists and Trimoonal Congress. In
fact entire time of the cadre is wasted in perpetuating myth of
bourgeois democracy in which they do not have faith at the first

Sitaram also talks about ‘masses’ and ‘people’ numerous times in his
article but what is his mass base? He has never run nay election for
MLA or MP (except he was President of JNU Student body of about 500
students) and his bio data on CPIM website does not persuade any fair-
minded person to accept a qualification for Politburo membership and a
charitable membership of Rajya Sabhha.

surendramohan 1 day ago

bah, look who is talking

surendramohan 1 day ago

while i m midst of reading your article the ads appear.i throw up my
hands in despair.surendra mohan

Naren 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

Nice try Yechury,
But we are not about to forget the use of force by the CPM in
Singur.And what of the politicisation of the Bengal police which has
destroyed the morale of the Troops as well as the people?
Yours is a Totalitarian party,and the Jyoti Basu Misrule is witness to
this fact. .

Bhaskar 2 days ago

Democracy has ability to imporve or update itself. In the World ,
democracy is best tool has of our experience. Few changes needed from
Indian Democracy.

All the Best for change.

rajesh 2 days ago

so how many more years left party needs to change this paradigm , 30
years is not enough???
somesh 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

Mr. Yechuri, If you are so correct, kindly inform why Bengal ruled by
your party is suffering the most.

aditya 2 days ago

5 people liked this.

It was Gandhi who agreed with the british that Bhagt Singh, Rajguru
and Sukhdev should be hanged when whole India was praying for these
martyrs........in 1930 India was all set to gain freedom from british
on its own but it was Gandhi who threw water on the flame of
freedom....and India was dragged 17 years behind and had to wait
untill 1947 to beg for freedom.....but Gandhi's conspiracy didn't end
here...he gifted two countries to the traitor muslims....then Gandhi
conspired against Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and snubbed him from pm
post.....then CONGRESS conspired against Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
and declared him dead....but he was alive and was forced to live an
oustracized life......more than 3000 innocent SIKHS were killed during
84 riots and the victims are still pleading for justice......the same
CONGRESS is now controlling every anti-Indian activity.....be it
supporting shahrukh in his pakistan-love and police being transfered
into cinema halls so that more no. of Indians can get killed in Pune
bomb blast.....

snubbing Amitabh from commonwealth games and every event under
congress control as if Amitabh is a refugee in his own country....
awarding saif ali khan with Padmshree for a mysterious achivement
which he hasnt achieved yet...
Azharuddin the infamous traitor and match fixer getting ticket from
CONGRESS and then winnig form a muslim area.......and foolish Indian
Hindus supporting congress inthe name of pseudo-secularism.....
supporting Raj thakre in his voilence against the North Indians.....
supporting the naxalites for cheap votes...... 76 SOLDIERS killed by
the naxalites and CONGRESS saying " Army wont be used against the
Dismantelling the freindly relations with Russia and Israel.......
Dearranging the Indian education system to decrease the no. of
scientists,doctors and engineers produced just to please
slashing the defence budget and giving our nuclear program in the
hands of USA...so as to weaken India from deep within......
17 Indians getting death sentence in Dubai and CONGRESS is busy making
sania's wedding a success.....
openly supporting the terrorists of Batla House encounter......
insulting India before the world by the pakistan in Sharm-el-
150 brilliant students killed in Austrailia and CONGRESS says "we are
analysing the situation closely"....

more than 200 killed in 26/11 and CONGRESS said "sabhi vikalp khule
hain" ....actually congress was refering towards the option to
surrender before pakistan....and Manmohan is still begging the
pakistan to act against LeT....while Gilani ordres him to show more

India is being run by a italian women Edvige Antonia Albina Maino
(sonia gandhi's original name) a roman catholic who after death of
Rajiv Gandhi converted his hindu children to christians.....she will
always be loyal towards Italy not India where she has spend 45 years
of her life....
sonia gandhi introduced QUATTROCHI to Rajiv to have a better share in
Bofors deal...and then facilitated QUATTROCHI"S easy escape when
CONGRESS came to power....sonia has provided reservations for the
muslims in every CONGRESS ruled state......
India is the largest democracy in the world and CONGRESS ruling for
over 60 years and BJP getting a mere 5years in which BJP did extremely
well....the best five years of INDIA since freedom.....why is Gujrat
ahead from rest of India...becuse Gujratis have identified the enemies
of India i.e.CONGRESS+MUSLIMS and then voted for BJP.....because
economic development is directly proportional to PATRIOTISM......India
is reeling under powerty under CONGRESS rule....


back2life 2 days ago in reply to aditya

R. Saikia 2 days ago

1. Ask a retired teacher, how much money he need to the government
officials to get his pension done.
2. Ask a student , how much he has paid to the board to get his
migration certificate.
3. Ask a villager, how much he paid extra to get a electricity
4. Go to a police station to put a complain and let me know how much
you need to pay to them.

Give me the answers and I will tell you next.

Naxalits are Indian citizen. They are neglected and left alone. Have
you ever visited the places they are staying? How many schools and
colleges are there ? If any money is given for the development how
much % of the money is utilized? How many of them are getting drinking

Naren 2 days ago in reply to R. Saikia

The Tribals are Indian Citizens with genuine grievances.
There is a tangible difference between the two.

deepak 2 days ago

The article is true as all stakeholder interests must be looked at.
The tribals have legitimate claims and have been misled in their
exression of the same. That entire region lacks political will to
transform its people
Look at recent events and only large corporations seem to be geting
their way, the tribals? we can see their helpless state. In such
conditions people can be persuaded to do almost anything. They are
citizens of India and we must have a definite tribal empowerment
policy with specific rights to their land ownership, education and
upliftment. What good is 300BN in reserves when we cannot even manage
our own people

Ronin 2 days ago

Mr Yechury is distancing himself from the Maoists and labelling them
anarchists. Sobeit. We may not agree with Mr Yechury's philosophy and
politics and views on which system of governance should apply etc, but
so long as we both believe in our parliamentary democratic system and
operate through that to further our idealogies, we agree to disagree
and to co-exist. But the Anarchists who call themselves Maoists are
beyond the pale. Mr Yechury agree that they are beyond the pale. They
have only two choices before them, to give up armed struggle and come
into the mainstream, or continue armed struggle and be vanquished by
the might of the Indian state. Just because the Indian state is giving
them a long leash and acting with utmost restraint, doesn't mean that
the outcome will be any different. Let better sense prevail and let
the Anarchist Maoists come overground and become Parliamentary
Maoists. Request Ms Arundhati Roy and other sympathetic intellectuals
to please carry the message to the Dandakaranya Forest.
jan 2 days ago

2 people liked this.

mindless militancy? is that not what your own party practices in
bengal and kerala? why are those two states industrially destroyed?
can you please fix the places under your control before you think you
have the intellectual ability to advise the rest of us. we are all not
stupid like your brainwashed mafia cadres who spew the same slogans as

Amit Purohit 2 days ago

2 people liked this.

Look the thief is calling police.This thug yechury is born stupid,
idiot and country fcuker.Maoism is his political weapon.Where the
naxalites of 1970's have gone.They made the government and and are
ruling in WB.Maoists have to go the LTTE way.CRUSHED and along with
their political, moral, financial, social and media patrons.

hyper_w 2 days ago in reply to Amit Purohit

The manner of the crushing of the LTTE is such a bad example. The
chiefs of Indian armed forces are showing welcome restraint.

What has been a product of official apathy,political negligence and
private greed along with misplaced ideologues cannot be wished away
with bullets. As they say, there are no silver bullets.

Anup Sharma 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

Shut up Yechury.You always talk and write RUBBISH.

ashish 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

If srilanka can cut the roots of LTTE completely so why can't
India.some basics measures could be taken,firstly government have to
give proper attention to tribal areas and try to mass educate people
over there,applying that, feeling of being maosist will not inculcate
in their mind.Government have to prove that they are not partial with
the tribal people.Unfortunately we can see all these backward places
like Dantewada and some parts of Bihar,Jharkhand seem to get in worsen
condition in means of development day by day.Main problem in
development is the conflict between state and central
government.Central states that we are giving adequate package to state
and state cries not enough amount is being given.All these conflicts
prove to be a measure hurdle in front coming of tribal areas.A rigid
and serious will of govt is needed in overcoming these situation.so to
fight with this internal security make the people's belief in
government and its system.And then carry on like srilanka.we will get
rid of this problem

Sid 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

Oh yeah, CPI (M) remains in the forefront of foght against Maoists!
Who do you think you are convincing? May be Mamta Banerjee! This
article is beyond even the limits of cynicism! Every one knows that
Maoists (then Naxals) were born due to UTTER bad governance by
Congress & CPI (M) rules in W.B. This is also well known that Maosits
are "B" team of CPI (M). What have you (Mr. Yachury) DONE for tribals
- from all your student days to till date - now enjoying all the perks
& previlege of M.P - we have the right to Know!
Bob 2 days ago

Good write up, Mr. Yechuri. Once upon a time India was the epicenter
of philosophical arguments whether in the Vedanta or Buddhist Sutras.
Learned Vedantins used to conduct discourses that excelled in
epistemology and abstract principles.

Marxists by their very training conduct a highly intellectualized
discourse, except when they degenerate in vitriolic. Sadly, in India,
the political thought is founded on innuendo and rank obscurantism. It
happens from both the ruling Congress party and the opposition BJP. If
only, Mr Yechuri can engage in an intellectual discourse on the
developmental models of Mr. Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minster,
in stead of treating an elected representative like as an unfit person
for a discourse, Mr.Yechuri would serve the democratic processes very
well indeed. The Indians have a lot to learn on the conduct of
democracy and the conduct of discourse in a democracy.
Mr. Yechuri is forgetting that Poland and Czechoslovakia achieved
their freedom through democratic processes and without annihilating
class enemies, namely, the communists. Annihilation of class enemies
is not just the doctrine of the Maoists in India. Lenin himself
articulated the annihilation of Class Enemies in the Manifesto of The
Communist Party. The only argument is on the timing of such
annihilation. Unfortunately, the CPI(M) of which Mr.Yechuri is a
Politburo member seems to forget that the Telengana People's Armed
Struggle was indeed launched by the very same forces that advocate
revisionist ideas today. Every writing on the Telengana Armed Struggle
exposes the intellectually unsound basis of Marxism in India, of which
to this day Mr. Yechuri is a part and parcel. Nevertheless, it
important that Mr. Yechuri has chosen to write at least some notes
that make up an intellectual argument devoid of innuendo, though the
arguments have inaccuracies.

Hopefully, the other parties in India can engage in a similar
intellectual discourse that does a great justice to the Indian
democracy. It is unfortunate that, day in and day out, the Indian TV
anchors dish out hatred between religious communities, intolerance of
caste elements, disgraceful denunciations of brahmins and brahminical
thought processes. If only the Marxist can lead to a political
discourse founded on firm reasoning principles, Indian democracy has a
hope. Indian marxists should not shun political thoughts however
repugnant they are, but argue out the degrading genre of thought. That
way, the Marxists may one day find reason to believe that 21st century
capitalism is no where closer to the capitalism of the Industrial
revolution and that the current capitalism is rooted in social
principles of fairness to the hardworking person and delivering that
fairness through democratic and nonviolent means.

Chandrayee 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

We have had enough of blogs /editorial written ,discussions, blame
games etc on each other for past one week. Cannot we dispose off it’s
lackadaisical attitude ,work collectively and build up a consensus to
end this national menace.

krishanr 2 days ago

I do agree with the article but we should not tolerate these
"revolutioneris" being puppets of Pakistan-China.
and especially China because China is the main enemy of India and
Pakistan is it's puppet.

And why Mao , can not they find inspiration from our beloved Netaji
Subhash Chander Bose ?

varmaji 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

You and your so called "cadres" make me sick. So easy to talk about
the ruling classes from your bungalow in the mddle of New Delhi,
isin't it ? You and both the other "chulhe ke pitthoo";s Brinda and
Prakash Karat..

Opportunists to the core - I'm surprised you're not out there trying
to sell "pro-rated" jeevan bima policies to the widows of the CRPF
jawans - you and your ilk deserve to be shot and dragged through the
city as an abject example of disgusting human beings.

Kaustubh 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

You are not a communist Mr.Yechury You are an Opportunist

Kaustubh 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

And like the perfect salesman you chose this moment to sell your party
to people.Could you stoop any lower?

CPI = Chinese Party of India 2 days ago

2 people liked this.

"The CPI(M)....... is also conscious of the fact that never in history
have the ruling classes voluntarily relinquished their power. The
violent means that they may adopt to defy the people’s will shall,
therefore, be also met"

You are not conscious of anything......least of all the stupendous
irony in your statements in the light of the propagandist flunkey role
that you have played for the ruling class in Waste Bengal.

Go to Nandigram , and ask the women who were gangraped by the barbaric
Cadres of the Ruling Class , if they want to retaliate in kind to the
violent means adopted by the members of the Ruling Class.
Up against the wall !
Expand ⇗Guest
prashant saxena 2 days ago

Also, Sitaramji, why don't YOU take the murdered CRPF soldiers
belongings to their widows? Maybe your view of armed struggle will be
different in the house of a soldiers widow than it is in your free air
conditioned bungalow in New Delhi.

Expand ⇗Guest
prashant saxena 2 days ago

1 person liked this.

Mr Yechuri,

I would love to see you defend this statement:

"it is also conscious of the fact that never in history have the
ruling classes voluntarily relinquished their power. The violent means
that they may adopt to defy the people’s will shall, therefore, be
also met."

In a live TV program with the widows of our CRPF jawans as the

It is time to accept that the fantasies of armed struggle that you and
your jholewalla cronies have fed the poor in order to occupy bungalows
in New Delhi have brought our country to this and resulted in the
murder of our patriotic soldiers.


PC lacks backing from govt, party on combating Naxals: BJP

Tags : Naxals, BJP, Congress, P Chidambaram, Arun Jaitley, Maoists,

Posted: Thursday , Apr 15, 2010 at 1141 hrs

New Delhi:

The opposition BJP on Wednesday attacked the government saying while
it was extending its support in the fight against Naxals, the
"divided" treasury benches and Congress had been pulling down Home
Minister P Chidamabaram.

Lambasting the government in the Rajya Sabha on the response to the
Maoist attack in Dantewada which claimed 76 lives, Leader of
Opposition Arun Jaitley said Chidamabaram's task has been made
difficult by senior Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh.

"We do not need a divided government", Jaitley said adding, "What we
don't need is a government which tries to pull down its Home

Singh, AICC General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, had in a
newspaper article questioned Chidambaram's handling of the Maoist
menace as a mere law and order problem and accused him of
"intellectual arrogance".

Amid protests from the Congress, Jaitley also said that there were
people in the treasury benches who are "half-Maoists". He was
referring to the statement of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who had
said there were "no Maoists in Lalgarh" and blamed CPI(M) for violence
in the area.

In the Lok Sabha, senior party leader Yashwant Sinha said "The
Opposition is with the government in this fight against Naxals. Is the
Congress and the UPA with the government in this fight," he asked.

Sinha said Singh's edit-page article just a day before the Parliament
session has "challenged the entire policy of the government on Maoist

"He (Singh) is talking about collective responsibility and when a
senior leader, an office-bearer of AICC, makes such a challenge, he
not only challenges the Home Minister but the entire government," he

Quoting Singh's article, Jaitley also said if a 'satyagraha' (non-
violent movement) can resolve the Maoist issue, "we would join the
author (Singh)".

He referred to remarks of former minister Mani Shankar Aiyyar on Naxal
issue and said Mamata Banerjee should be called to the House to
explain her statement on Lalgarh.

"There seems to be a paradoxical situation (at the Centre) where the
Home Minister is willing to fight but conflicting responses are
coming...Is this the way Maoists are to be fought?

"We agree with the Home Minister..We could have demanded his
resignation after the Dantewada incident but we didn't. The Maoists
have to be eradicated. The entire opposition is with the government,"
he said.

The Leader of Opposition said that the Home Minister is responsible
for the security of the country and by offering to resign, he should
not behave like a martyr. "...Generals do not leave in the middle of
the battle...This is a battle India cannot afford to loose," he said.

Jaitley said Maoists have to be fought at all levels.

"If you (Home Minister) follow the advice of your three colleagues who
have turned counter-insurgent consultants in the last few days, they
(Maoists) will soon surround the cities," he said.

The Opposition leader also attacked the "half-Maoists" and the human
right activists whom he described as the overground face of the
underground Naxalites.

He said the "half-Maoists" rationalise the Naxal cause and weaken the
resolve to fight them while the human right activists defend them on
TV channels and in the media.

In Lok Sabha, Sinha also targeted "pseudo-liberals" asking if they
feel for human rights then why have they not spoken about the slain
CRPF men.

"I request them to keep their comments with themselves. The country
does not want them," he said.

Making a number of suggestions for fighting Maoists and avoiding
incidents like Dantewada, he said there should be large-scale
modernisation of the police force and they should be provided with
whatever facilities they need.

"People should not feel alienated. People's cooperation is the most
important," he added.

By: PRAKSH SHARMA | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 18:43:22 PM

I just wonder that BJP is even blamed at this juncture. on 26/11
nothing has been done and now for this massacre again BJP to blame.
Yes BJP is giving a constructive suggestion that Unite together and
fight this problem. Do you need them to run the home ministry for
Congress? My friend, the Italian lady is selling this country and we
are sleeping. She is not concerned about India. Did u read the news
that USA is giving money to India to fight terrorism and how much- 4.5
Million dollars. May be equal to the fee for one IPL player. The
message from USA to India- we look at u no better than Pakistan. BJP
to be blamed for this? Wonderful thinking. When Tharoor is doing
wrong, blame Narendra Modi. Send Incometax officials. What Mamta is
saying? Is BJP responsible for this?

By: sridhar iyer | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 17:20:18 PM

We are all proud that India is a successful democracy. Of late we are
going down in tackling any issue however seriious it may be. The
Politicians do not want to be objective in their approach. It is sad
that we dont have a single politician who can be labelled a Statesman.
The issue of tackling naxalism is of paramount importance and it must
be appreciated that the Home Minister has taken up his job in this
aspect seriously. The onlything is that he could have avoided
criticising the WB govt from Lalgarh. But for that he is doing a fine
job. One does not thing how Digvijay and Mani Shankar are criticising
the HM. HaD Mr. Singh done his bit when he was the chief minister of
undivided M.P. he would qualify to comment on HM. Have we ever heard
Mani Shankar Iyer praising any one other than those from Gandhi clan.
He is such a crook who ran after every party including Mamata during
the elections when he was not given a ticket at the time when Moopanar
formed TMC. HM is right!!!!!

tackling Naxals
By: Seena | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 12:59:09 PM

A terrorist is a terrorist by any other name.They have no
nationality.Its high time that we accept this and use maximum force
coupled with developmental reforms to nip this monster. We must learn
from the happenings in Srilanka, or we may end up in the same soup.
Its futile to expect that these people after tasting ths blood will
come to talking table unless forced.The past has shown this. The
argument that they are OUR OUN brothers and Indian Nationals is
futile, the ground reality is that they had no such feeling when they
ambushed the police party.What about the Human rights, Nationality and
brotherhood of ths people who got killed in cold blood? Its high time
we start calling spade a spade and stand up to face the problem
forgetting selfish politics. Last but not least all afforts must be
accompneied by development, and education for people, so that nobody
joins them.

BJP on Dantewada massacre
By: EssEss | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 12:27:43 PM

I am not admirer of the Congress or UPA. BJP would do well to provide
constructive ideas on how the Govt. should tackle the Naxal menace.
After all, the menace impacts everyone and if the BJP expects to play
the role of an effective opposition and a party waiting-in-the-wings,
it should stop rhetoric and engage the Govt with strong proposals on
how the menace can be tackled. It is the duty of the BJP to its voters
to perform effectively rather than destructively. BJP can seize this
moment, where the Govt is on the mat on several issues, to show that
it is not the usual run-of-the-mill Opposition party that is just hell
bent on creating problems and stoppages and play street-politics in
the Parliament. Is it too much to ask of the BJP ?


India tests UAV for anti-Naxal operations
Tags : chhattisgarh, dantewada, bastar

Posted: Thursday , Apr 15, 2010 at 1632 hrs
Kanker (Chhattisgarh):

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, used by US forces to track down Taliban
militants, successfully flew over the dense forests of Bastar in the
first trial run for anti-naxal operations.

The trials, which assumed urgency after the Dantewada massacre in
which 76 security personnel were killed by Maoists, were aimed at
generating real-time intelligence information to help ground forces in
any offensive. The first trial involved an American UAV.

The decision to have UAV flights was taken by the Union Home Ministry
after the April six attack and their field trials were ordered

An UAV of US’ Honeywell, whose pilotless planes are reportedly used
successfully by allied forces in the hunt for targets in war-hit
Afghanistan and Iraq, flew during the night trial.

The compact UAV, weighing nearly 10 kgs, was put through the rugged
terrains of the hills overlooking Kanker after its take off from
Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College here.

The trials which commenced yesterday and continued till the wee hours
of this morning was witnessed by officials not only from Chattisgarh
and the Union Home Ministry, but also by police officials of Madhya
Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Cruising over the hills, the UAV was checked for providing thermal
images of any movement on the ground, detection of Improvised
Explosive Devices(IED) and ammunition dumps.

The UAV known as T-MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) is a compact machine
manufactured by ‘Honeywell’. The company, during its briefing for
officials, claimed that its deployment and stowing operations can be
accomplished in less than five minutes.

This UAV was slected first for field trials as it has been claimed
that it has been useful to the US forces in tracking down Taliban
militants in high mountain passes and dense Waziristan area of

The UAVs are urgently required as the forces engaged in anti-naxal
operations need real-time information to achieve greater success.

It can go up to a height of 10,000 feet, fly at a speed of 70 kms per
hour and can provide 240 minutes of sensor imagery to the ground
station. The night-long trials also saw its use in detecting people in
pitch dark and dense forests.

In certain cases of mine detection, the UAV could not pick up signals
properly and only showed some disturbance on the surface.

A UAV of Defence Research and Development Organisation, which has
claimed to have a similar product, may be tried soon. However, its UAV
trials two years back had not got the desired results.

With intelligence gathering still a problem in Naxal areas, the UAVs
are expected to help in gathering advanced reconnaissance and
situational awareness functions would be critical in protection of
security personnel.


Congress slammed in Parl over Dantewada issue

Tags : Dantewada, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha

Posted: Thursday , Apr 15, 2010 at 1136 hrs
New Delhi:

The Dantewada massacre issue led to stormy scenes in both houses.

Forces: Pay And PensionUnholy NexusNext Don Quixote!Advani for Ram
Temple The massacre of 76 security personnel in a Naxal attack in
Dantewada in Chhattisgarh triggered uproar in Parliament on Thursday
leading to adjournment of both Houses till noon. The Rajya Sabha was
later adjourned till 2 pm.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha witnessed stormy scenes soon after
they re-assembled for the second part of the Budget Session with
members from the Opposition, including BJP, Left, SP and BSP raising
the issue.

Several opposition members had given notices for suspension of
Question Hour and demanded immediate discussion on the issue.

Seeking to pacify the members, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K
Bansal said that Home Minister P Chidambaram would make a statement in
the Lok Sabha at 1 pm and the government was ready for discussion

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan made an
identical statement in the Rajya Sabha telling the members that they
could seek clarifications and have a discussion after Chidambaram's

The Opposition members were not satisfied and wanted the matter to be
taken up immediately, suspending the Question Hour. This was not
agreeable to the government. In the din, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned
the House till noon.

In Rajya Sabha, Chavan requested the members to allow the Question
Hour to proceed. As members were unrelenting, Chairman Hamid Ansari
adjourned the proceedings till noon.

Earlier, the Speaker made obituary reference to Polish President Lech
Kaczynski, who was killed in an air crash in Russia recently as also
three former members – Shivsharan Verma, P Rajarethinam and Sunderwati
Nawal Prabhakar.

The House condemned the dastardly attack by the Maoists on CRPF
personnel at Dantewada on April 6 and on security personnel in Koraput
in Orissa on April 4.

Comments (1) |

Pied piper revisited!
By: CK Raju Thrissur | 15-Apr-2010

For a true interpretation of these howlings, one has to explore into
the financial security being enjoyed by the leaders articulating their
views as well as the caste status within their religion. One then
would readily find correlation between these variables and the demands
made. A second revelation is the barbaric nature of the cries for more
violence and bloodshed from the premier institution of democracy. Is
it a true reflection of a civilised society? Can such barbarism be
culmination of civilisation itself? Aren't we still in medieval age
where mainsteam people went all out against tribals branding the war
arrangement as one between gods and devils? How far have civilisation
changed our perception on human lives itself? Are we still proud to
remain as a barbaric elites? Here a smart PC has played a nonexistent
threat on parliament and invoked the sleeping barbarians. What a
terrible shame to see political leaders playing to PC, the pied piper,
to near perfection !


No Maoists in West Bengal, claims Mamata

Tags : Trinamool Congress. Mamata Banerjee, Operation Green Hunt,
Maoists, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

Posted: Thursday , Apr 15, 2010 at 1201 hrs

Mamata Banerjee demanded arrest of West Bengal CM alleging that he had
misused his powers under the Constitution.Valentine
Gift'sDiscussionBlogsModis - By ijj

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has said there are no Maoists
in West Bengal.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Banerjee claimed
there are about 200 camps of the Communist Party India (Marxist),
which have unleashed violence across the state. Criticising the so-
called Operation Green Hunt of the government, Banerjee said the
operation is being carried out to suppress or kill rural folk in the

"The operation is being carried out in the name of a joint operation.
There are no Maoists in this region. There are 200 camps of the CPI-M
operating in the area. Why would the CPI-M be involved in a government
operation? Government operation is administrative operation. I have
doubts about the operation itself," she said.

She demanded the arrest of West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee alleging that he had misused his powers under the
Constitution. "Why should not any action be taken against him because
of his politics of individual killings and mass murder? I feel it is
my social responsibility to say so," she added.

''Operation Green Hunt'' is a joint exercise conducted by the central
paramilitary and State police force to track down and flush out
Maoists from their camps in forest regions.

It was initially conducted in West Bengal and later extended in
Jharkhand. The districts covered in Jharkhand are West Singbhum, East
Singbhum, Ranchi, Latehar, Chatra, Hazaribagh and Bokaro.


Naxalite menacae
By: Sreedhar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 18:25:27 PM

In its first term UPA allowed Communists to behave as they like
(remember Nandigram)- in Andhra Naxalites augmented their men and
material and in other states also the Govt was underplaying the
attacks. Also remember how Communists were allowed to take over Nepal.
The only interest for Congress upto 2009 was to be in power with the
help of the left parties. So the Congress did not want to displease
left parties. Now Congress will not displease Ms Mamata and allow her
to speak whatever she wants because they want power at Centre as well
as WB in next elections. As long as Congress' lust for power is not
satisffied the country will be like this only.

By: citizen | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 17:32:47 PM

Is this woman on drugs? Seems she is out of touch with what is going
on and the attacks by the maosit criminals and murders of the
innocent..She is in fact helping these criminals in order for her to
get reelected..Sick woman out of touch will the reality..She is making
these 'hot air statements' with no substance. In fact,she is
encouraging the maoists and providing financial support.She should be
kicked out of her job and never hold another political
appointment.Time to go.Mr.Krishna,now suggested it is the
responsibility of the state govt. to ensure safety from terror
elements? Hell no. What is his job??Another example of useless
politicians..The recent massace of the 75 or more Jawans is just one
example for his to quit his job,or get fired by the Prime minster (he
too has no clue).A country of illeterate politicians (remember out of
the 100 or more Rajya sabha 'CROREPATHY' few got 8TH GRADE
EDUCATION..HOW you expect any contribution from these "crorepathies".??
Mamata`s statement
By: Chandramohanarao | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 17:12:30 PM Reply |
When there was criticism about Naxalites in Åndhra Pradesh, the then
chief Minister NT Ramarao issued quixotic statement that he was the
first communist (read naxalite) in the state. Mamata Didi too might be
wishing to follow the inimitable regional leader of the past. Now, it
is for naxalite leaders in West Bengal to clarify whether they are in
fact operating from Bengal or not. The irritable railway minister
should clarify whether TMC cadres were behind the stoppage of trains,
removal of fish plates and damage to railway property during Maoist
Bandh calls. Or should one think that Buddhadev`s Bengal is different
from Didi`s Bengal? Hope, the Prime Minister takes cognizance of such
irresponsible statements from Ministers.

No maoists only brainless politicians
By: B. Venkateswara Rao | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 16:42:02 PM

Ms. Banarjee has gone mad probably. One cann't stoop to such low
levels for political gains. If she wants, let her start all trains in
India from Kolkata, rename all trains to Bangaali names, Allow all
Bangalees travel free, we don't mind. Let her not loose mental balance
for country's sake

an would be CM.
By: prantar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 16:34:44 PM

when such a comment made by hon'ble misnister and would-be-C.M. let us
think that whom we like to see and get our state be governed. is this
granted in the sake of change?

This is partly true
By: Avi | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 16:33:18 PM

Dear all, Before criticising Ms Banerjee, please check some of the
facts. She may be wrong i n her statement but this is also a fact that
the number of people attributed as "maoists" in Bengal is far low than
the actual number of hardcore naxalites. These people are poor farmers
who earns Rs 100 per month (it is not a typo, go check the villages of
bengal). This may sound amazing to the people of other states but
please google the term "per capita income of indian states" and you
will find where bengal is today. Pleae compare with pre 1970 data. It
will take some research time but it will serve the purpose. Its
unfortunate that we enjoy the 1500 cr IPL deal for a single team but
don't pay attention to people who are marginalised with Rs 150
earnings per month.

By: yogesh | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 16:31:24 PM

Didi as she is popularly known is showing her colors again. I am
reminded of her actions or inaction and statements during her tenure
in NDA government. She is not at all interested in solving Bengal
problem, only thing she is interested in getting CM chair. However
history has shown those who chair the state with support of ultras,
pay a heavy price. Anyone remember khalistan movement initially
supported by Congress in Punjab. It's pity that PM like Dr. Manmohan
Singh, has to deal with dubious charterer like her, who don't theme
self know what they want from themselves, from government or other
around them.She is behaving more like Hitler, whereas anything said by
her is true and anything by others pile of lie. I am not supporter of
CPM in WB, however this is not the way to win the WB. Not at the cost
of country.

Mamata is worried
By: Jyotirmoy Ghosh | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 16:09:18 PM

Mamata Banerjee is being increasingly worried as the joint operation
against the Maoists, on whom she is very much dependent to win the
2011 assembly election in West Bengal, is progressing well. The way
operation is going on, there will be really no Maoists in West Bengal
before the 2011 assembly election in West Bengal.

terrib;e politics
By: raju | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 15:47:39 PM

Now we know why we cannot fight the maoists. Playing politics on
issues of national importance has been the hallmark of indian politics
and that is why indians are never treated with respect the world over.
Unfortunately the upa has to tolerate such nonsence because without
her support the govt will not last. Even Sri Lanka has someone who
took leadership to wipe out Ltte & Pak took on the Pak taliban while
our so called spineless and gutless leaders are busy on passing on the
buck. We are probably the worst ever democracy in the world. Our own
politicians are our enemies. Very few of them have pride and
patriotism. why should we remain like this and how long?

Mamata's madness
By: A Sarkar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 15:23:49 PM

When maoists unleashed so much violence, killing people in hoardes
(like dantewade; such comments from a central minister like mamata is
unwarranted. she either has lost her mental balance or trying to make
common people fool and looking for political mileage. Stupid Lady.

No Maoists in West Bengal?
By: Prashant-Vadodara | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 15:23:10 PM
If what Mamta Banerjee says is true, does she mean to say that those
killing innocent people are members of Trinumool Congress and not
Maoists or organisations with terrorist outfits. The Home Minister of
India should take her statement seriously and ask CBI or any such
agency to further probe the violent acts so as to trace them to proper
political patronage.

irate Mamata
By: ramesh | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:57:00 PM

We are sick of this crazy political cartoon.It is sad that we allow
such irate persons to enter our parliament and the Congress must be
regretting to include her in the cabinet.

Mamata is wrong
By: M.K.B.Nambiar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:54:21 PM

Ms Mamata banerji saying that there is no maoists in Bengal is not
going to fool anyone.In an interview to the HIndu maoists spkesperson
Azad disclosed yesterday ttheir presence in Bengal any why they killed
the abducted police officer brutally.Mamata may be helping the maoists
to support her at the ensuing elections but facts are facts and
everybody knows it

For the country's sake
By: Apaaraa | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:51:34 PM

For the country's sake Ms. Banerjee please don't resort to these low
grade tactics. West Bengal has shown that it wants change. But for
heaven's sake do not fall into the trap of these Maoists, who just
want to overthrow our country. For the intelligentsia that guides you
I say that for over 30 years you supported the CPM blindly and now
don't make the mistake of supporting these Maoist traitors. They do
not help the poor, they do not help Indians. Look around the world
history, look at Pol Pot, Che Guevera, Mao Zedong, Stalin, and
Communist blocks of eastern europe. None absolutely none worked for
the people. They were crooked communist dictators who enjoyed the lust
of power, just as the current CPM is doing in Bengal. My earnest
request to you Ms. Banerjee and to the so called Intelligentsia, don't
support the Maoists, let the govt. of India finish this menace for
once and for all.

Mamta Ji, please support Govt.
By: Nikhil | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:50:17 PM

Dear Mamta Ji, you are a respected personality. You should tell
privately to the Govt and PC whatever you want to tell, not in to the
public. It will malign your stature. Take Care next time. To wipe out
Naxals is the need of an hour, and this work should be done at the

Fool's Paradise
By: A | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:45:50 PM

Madam Mamata seems to b living in Fool's paradise. Her politics is
always opportunistic bt then when is politics not opportunistic. But
she alike with some of our politicians across the length and breadth
of our country hv stooped to such low levels that their only motto is
if any good is happening (project, investment or industrialisation),
if i(or my party) hvn't proposed it or cant take credit for the same
than it is ANTI NATIONAL & ANTI POPULIST. These third rate politicians
make look China's Governance a lot better- at least the Chinese can
take the decisions without worrying about SEATS, GOVT. TENURE, PARTY
COALITIONS. Wonder Mr. W.Churchill if would hv been alive would have
had to change his famous quote on Democracy.

mamatas comment
By: manoj singh | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:37:41 PM

Hopeless hopeless,shame shame we lost 76 precious life & this
politicians still are not one board to fight the enemy rather passing
on the buck & what else you expect from this.hopeless

By: Ravi, Vadodara | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:37:07 PM

Mrs. Mamta Benerjee needs psychic treatment. She speaks what ever she
dem fit irrespective of her statur and country's interest. She has
good compenion in Digi Raja of M P.

Mamta's claim
By: hsingh | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:28:30 PM

Mamta's blatant lie. Who killed 76 CRPF men. Ask the bereaved families
of those men who lost their lives. What would be the fate of their
kith and kin. The politician only talk and the outcome of their talk/
action is zero.The politicians are making a mess of this country. Only
God can save the country. Politicians are hungry of power and money
nothing else.

Mamata bannerjee should shut up
By: Vishwanath Rao | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:21:40 PM

Mamata Bannerjee needs to do nothing but wait till next year. She will
definitely win the elections as the CPI(M) is out of favour with
everyone. Their cadre will not be able to even rig the elections.
Given this scenario, siding with the Maoists is stupid. As a central
minister, Mamata should refrain from commenting upon issues that are
clearly beyond her understanding.

Fake emotions of Mamta for west bengal
By: shubhraneel | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:05:39 PM

Comments of our railway minister is a example of biased
politics....she just want to become the chief minister of west
bengal....she has no interest in the development of west
bengal.....her comments are really very painful for the people of west
bengal and India who are suffering from naxalism and
fractionalism.....Mamta banerjee is a stigma of Indian politics....

Chidambaram's buck should stop at mamata's table :)
By: kumar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:00:56 PM

Chidambaram's buck should stop at mamata's table :)
Chidambaram's buck
By: kumar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 13:58:21 PM

when rome( India) is burning (due to Maoists menace) nero ( Mamata
banarjee) is fiddling (saying that there are no Maoists).
Mamta should be arrested
By: Chandrakant Marathe | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 13:45:53 PM

Mamta Banergy should be immediately arrested and her party black
listed since her comments supporting naxals are anti national and pose
a danger to the nation. UPA should This will not happen since congress
party cannot sacrifice power even if India is in danger.

bigger problem than maoists
By: raghav uchil | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 13:43:33 PM

I think the biggest problem govt is facing is not that of maoist
threat but our own Mamta Benerjee who seems to have lost her mental
equilbrium.. In persuit of voters and supporters, she had the audacity
to declare that there is no maoists in west bengal which is tatally
false. West bengal has always been the breeding ground for the
naxalites and maoists who are only inteested in creating meyhem and
destruction of govt and public property. However one must understand
that these kind of idealogy has got no place in the modern world and
only solution is thru negotiation across the table and amicable
understanding and settlement.

By: kamal padhi | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 13:33:56 PM

sack mamata from cabinet.then she will stop her voice.nonsense
politicians of india.

By: Aniyan | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 12:59:11 PM


Congress should own this dirty politics.
By: Swanand Bodas | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:31:28 PM

Very well Said. As an example, 6-8 years back there were blasts in
churches in Karnataka, congress alleged role of Hindus in that. That
created wrong image of Hindus all across the world. Congress asked Mr.
Vajpayee to resign. Then the SM Krishna govt in Karnataka found out
that some Muslim group in Kerala was responsible for this. Congress is
indulged in spoling the image of Hindu community and alleging them
without any evidence just to keep their vote bank intact.

Mamata comment
By: mohan | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 12:51:00 PM

Mrs.Mamata Gandhi lost her mental balance.Then who attach rajdhani
expresee recetly. Then who kidnapped that police officer. Then who is
killing to whom.This is simple nonsence and rediculaous. Then this is
matter of great concern this so called lady having nexus with Moas
along with communist Bas......d.God save this nation, those are
palying holy with the innocent blodd of Indian.Bande Mataram

By: Urvashi Thakkar | Thursday , 15 Apr '10 14:58:17 PM

Mr.Mohan you should first correct that she is Mamta Banerjee and not
Gandhi.She is dreaming by acknowledging that there is no Maoists in
Bengal.Her tale is that of Pakistan which remained in the state of
denial about the terror groups till they came back haunting.God give
her wisdom.





...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-16 14:45:45 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

Indian govt criticised over anti-Maoist strategy
By Pratap Chakravarty (AFP) – 22 hours ago

NEW DELHI — India's government came under attack from the opposition
on Thursday over its tactics to tackle Maoist insurgents who killed 76
policemen in an attack earlier this month that shook the country.

The parliament reconvened after a recess and immediately set aside all
other business to debate the growing attacks by the left-wing rebels.

The April 6 carnage in the Dantewada forests of the central state of
Chhattisgarh was the bloodiest single blow by the Maoists in their
decades-long struggle against India's regional and central

The insurgency, which started as a peasant uprising in 1967, has been
identified by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the number one threat
to domestic security.

"No one in India is safe after Dantewada and we will not be secure as
long as we do not have control of the insurgency," said Yashwant
Sinha, formerly finance minister in a previous government led by the
right-wing BJP.

As the heated debate was underway, police in northern India reported
they had defused a bomb found in the toilet of a train near an area
affected by the Maoist insurgency, raising fears of new attacks.

A police spokesman said the crude bomb was found late Wednesday on an
express train heading to New Delhi.

"It was noticed by a woman passenger" whose quick informing of police
"prevented a big disaster," a senior police official in Uttar Pradesh
state, Brij Lal, told AFP.

India's government is under fire from leftist allies who favour softer
tactics and attention to underlying problems fuelling the rebellion
and right-wing opponents who favour a hard-line military solution.

The BJP's Sinha nevertheless offered the support of his Hindu
nationalist party to the government in its fight against the Maoists,
who are active in 20 of India's 29 states.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram has become the focal point for criticism
due to his advocacy of the use of force against the Maoists, in a huge
police and paramilitary operation that began last year: Operation
Green Hunt.

This approach has been questioned by some within the ruling Congress,
including party general secretary Digvijay Singh. In a newspaper
article he slammed Chidambaram for treating the uprising merely as a
"law and order problem".

"I have differed with his strategy that does not take into account
people living in the affected areas who ultimately matter," he said.

The opposition said the comments indicated fissures in the government.

"The nation and the opposition want to fight the Maoists but there are
conflicting voices coming from the government," said BJP leader Arun

Chidambaram has vowed to hit back at the Maoists but has ruled out the
use of the military.

"We must hold our nerve and we must stay calm," Chidambaram said,
adding federal forces were "facing restrictions" in counter-insurgency
operations because of the presence of tribal civilians in rebel

The rebels draw huge support from the tribal people, who have faced
decades of neglect and marginalisation, a Congress MP from
Chhattisgarh, Charan Das Mahant, told parliament.

"Also, bullets will be answered with bullets," he said in a warning to
the Maoists, believed to be around 20,000 in number in India.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

The April 6 carnage in the Dantewada forests of the Chhattisgarh was
the bloodiest single blow by the Maoists


News » April 15, 2010 » India

UPA lacks will to fight Naxals, says Yashwant Sinha Thursday, April
15, 2010,12:40 [IST]

New Delhi, Apr 15 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader
and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Thursday said the
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was divided and lacking will to
fight the Maoists menace.

Participating in the debate on Dantewada incident in the Lok Sbha,
Yashwant Sinha claimed that opposition parties had come out in support
of Chidambaram, but some leaders in the Congress were challenging his
policies against the Maoists.

"We stood up with Home Minister, with the Government in the fight
against Naxalism. Is Congress with the Government, is the UPA with the
Government?" Sinha questioned.

"In an article a Congress General Secretary in a newspaper, has
challenged his (Chidambaram's) policy on the Maoist menace. The
supreme question is when we need to stand together, the ruling
coalition stands severely divided," he added.

Sinha also blamed the Centre for the Dantewada massacre.

"I believe it (anti-Maoist operation) was started without proper
preparation. The State Governments were not involved. Actual
operations need to be planned by police officers on the ground," he

"Had the Chief Minister been involved, the Dantewada incident would
not have happened," Sinha added.

He also targeted Chidambaram for his statement that the buck stop with

"I believe it (anti-Maoist operation) was started without proper
preparation. The state governments were not involved. Actual
operations need to be planned by police officers on the ground. Had
the Chief Minister been involved, the Dantewada incident would not
have happened," Sinha said.

Sinha also alleged that the Congess had compromised with the Maoists
in Andhra Pradesh for political gains.

"UPA 1 sent out a message that it was ready to compromise with
terrorists. They reached a compromise with Maoists in Andhra to
achieve political gains," he alleged.

Sinha's statement led to strong protests from the treasury benches.

Speaker Meira Kumar reprimanded Sinha from making allegations that he
could not substantiate. (ANI)



...and I am Sid Harth
2010-04-18 14:37:17 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

As Rammohan begins probe, Naxals fire at security guards

RAIPUR: Naxals dressed in a CRPF uniform fired at the security guards
of the former BSF Director-General, E.N. Rammohan, who started his
probe into the April 6 massacre of 76 personnel by Maoists in
Dantewada district.

“As they were securing the area, there was a gunfight with Maoists at
a distance from a spot which Mr. Rammohan was supposed to visit,
Superintendent of Police Amresh Mishra told PTI.

Official sources said the Naxals first fired a few random shots at the
personnel posted for the security of Mr. Rammohan at Chintalnar. No
one was injured. — PTI


Maoists tracked CRPF men for three days before ambush

Aman Sethi

JAGARGUNDA: Around 300 Maoists tracked CRPF personnel for three days
in the Tarmetla jungles before the April 6 ambush, in which 75 CRPF
men and eight Maoists were killed, according to Ramanna, secretary of
the South Bastar regional committee of the CPI(Maoist) and architect
of the attack.

In a rare interview, conducted in the Jagargunda forests in
Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, Ramanna alias Ravula Srinivas gave
a detailed account of the planning and execution of the attack. If
true, his version offers an insight into Maoists' intelligence and
military capabilities.

“Our lookouts spotted trucks carrying tents, cement and food supplies
on April 3. On the same day, we also spotted about 15 CRPF soldiers
moving between the Chintalnar and Chintagupha camps, but we didn't
have enough numbers to mount an ambush,” he said.

The Maoists withdrew to the forests and lay in wait for the patrol
party. It spent three days roaming the jungles surrounding the CRPF
camp in Chintalnar before withdrawing to the villages near the main
road for dinner. “They would stop for a few hours to eat and rest
before going back into the jungle,” Ramanna said.

On the night of April 4, the Maoists set up an ambush deep in the
forests, but the force managed to avoid it. Instead, as reported
previously by TheHindu, the force carried out a search operation near
Tumnar (also known as Thokul) near Tarmetla.

“By April 5, we realised that the force was mainly patrolling the
areas near the main Chintalnar-Dornapal road and decided to ambush the
road instead,” said Ramanna. At 3 a.m. on April 5, the Maoists
received information that the force was near Mukram.

At 5 a.m. on April 6, three Maoist companies (about 300 fighters)
surveyed the main road and decided to attack from a hillock two km
from Mukram. At 5:30 a.m., the CRPF personnel left Mukram and reached
the site of the attack by 5:50 a.m.

“The CRPF spotted our fighters near the main road and opened fire,”
Ramanna said, contradicting reports that the patrol party was attacked
first. “We opened fire from a Light Machine Gun (LMG) set up at the
base of the hillock and started suppressive fire from the top of the

Under the cover of LMG fire, two groups of Maoists to the left of the
CRPF moved on to the main road, forcing the CRPF jawans to move into a
wide field adjacent to the road, while another company — hidden in the
vegetation at the far end of the field — flanked the CRPF from the

Caught between three distinct groups of fighters from the road on
their right, the field on their left and the hillock straight ahead,
the CRPF personnel perished in a hail of gunfire.


We took 40 minutes to set up the ambush, says Maoist mastermind

Aman Sethi

300 cadres involved; they relied on one LMG, rifles and hand

JAGARGUNDA: Reports that Maoists used 1,000 fighters and three light
machine guns and booby-trapped all trees on April 6 were exaggerated,
according to Ramanna, secretary of the south Bastar regional committee
of the CPI (Maoist) and architect of the attack, in which 75 CRPF
personnel and a head constable of the Chhattisgarh police and eight
rebels were killed in Dantewada district.

“They saw us before we saw them,” he said. “They opened fire on our
fighters while we were still setting up the ambush.”

In an interview to The Hindu in the forests of Dantewada district,
Ramanna alias Ravula Srinivas claimed that the reports of firepower
used in the attack were exaggerated.

Accounts gleaned from the intelligence, the Central Reserve Police
Force, the Chhattisgarh police and the soldiers who took part in the
rescue operations have focussed on the large number of Maoists
involved in the attack, and the critical role played by improvised
explosive devices planted across the field where the ambush occurred.

The role played by IEDs is significant, indicating the level of
planning behind the ambush. A well-mined site indicates that the
ambushing party (in this case the Maoists) had ample time to plan its
attack. A rifle-ambush, on the other hand, suggests a fluid
battlefield scenario.

‘Only one IED blast'

According to Ramanna, the Maoists took a little over 40 minutes to set
up the ambush and relied mainly on one LMG and a combination of
AK-47s, INSAS rifles and hand grenades to inflict heavy casualties.
“The only IED blast was the one that took out the bullet-proof vehicle
on the main road,” he said. “Media reports keep referring to 3 LMGs
and booby traps in the trees, but we used one LMG and didn't have the
time to plant IEDs.”

“We used only three companies with a total of 300 fighters,” said
Ramanna. “A majority were on the site of the ambush, while two groups
were posted about one km from the CRPF camps at Chintalnar and
Chintagupha to ambush any reinforcements.”

If true, Ramanna's account suggests that the Maoists succeeded in
their attack largely because of superior intelligence and superior
numbers, as they had kept track of the movements of the CRPF patrol
for three days before the April 6 attack.

Six IEDs recovered

According to reports in local newspapers, the CRPF recovered six IEDs
in the following days, suggesting that the CRPF chanced upon the
Maoists as they were preparing the ambush.

“About two-thirds of the 76 personnel died of bullet injuries,” said a
source in the Chhattisgarh police, who has access to the post mortem
report. The others died in blasts caused by either grenades or high
explosives. “Only one person was killed by an IED.”


I'll continue to lead the fight against Naxals: Chidambaram

K. Balchand

NEW DELHI: Home Minister P. Chidambaram clarified in the Lok Sabha on
Thursday that he had earlier tendered his resignation owning moral
responsibility for the “horrible” Dantewada tragedy and not because he
had lost his nerve or will power. He reassured the House that he would
continue providing leadership in fighting the Naxal menace.

Replying to a six-hour long debate on the Dantewada massacre of CRPF
personnel, Mr. Chidambaram almost broke down, and in a choked voice
said: “I didn't lose my nerve. I didn't lose my will power. I don't
fear the Naxalites,” and continued “it was a horrible tragedy and I
regarded it my moral responsibility to tender my resignation, so I
tendered my resignation.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Chidambaram made a statement on the issue in
the Rajya Sabha.

Mr. Chidambaram said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson
Sonia Gandhi had rejected his resignation and “reposed confidence in
me. I'll continue providing leadership in fighting the Naxalites.”

The Minister said his effort was to evolve a policy built on consensus
and carry on the work of governance. “We must understand the nature of
the challenge we face,” he said, reading out two documents of the CPI
(Maoist) — put out before and after the Lok Sabha elections — in which
they “described this hallowed Parliament as a pigsty and called us

Quoting the document, he said that the intention of the CPI (Maoist)
was to convert the People's Liberation Guerilla Army into the People's
Liberation Army. “Let us have no illusion that they aim at seizure of
political power.”

Underlining his resolve to meet the Naxal menace, Mr. Chidambaram
said: “If Dantewada is not a wake-up call, nothing will be. Whatever
the failures, we must make a determined, resolute and fearless effort
to combat the problem. We will overcome [it] and our idea of freedom
and liberty shall prevail.”

Stressing the two-pronged strategy outlined by the AICC in 2006, Mr.
Chidambaram said his government would with “more compassion and
dedication bring development to the people.”


Huge backlog in SC/ST recruitments in State

Girish Menon

1,160 vacancies to be filled as on January 31; largest number of
vacancies in Health Department

The figure may be even more after March 31

The backlog is despite special recruitment drives

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government is grappling with a huge
backlog in the appointment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe
candidates to various vacancies in the government. The total number of
vacancies to be filled from among these communities is 1,160 as on
January 31 this year. The number is likely to be even bigger after the
introduction of uniform retirement age.

The government has been making appointments to the reserved posts
through special recruitment drives for the Scheduled Castes and the
Schedule Tribes. In addition, a special recruitment drive exclusively
for the Scheduled Tribes is also currently on. Every month, the
department concerned evaluates the progress reports submitted by 82
government departments and takes appropriate corrective action.

Progress report

According to official figures available with the General
Administration Department, the number of vacancies remaining to be
filled through special recruitment from among the Scheduled Castes and
the Scheduled Tribes was 548, including 110 gazetted posts, 253 non-
gazetted posts, and 185 last grade posts. The total number of
vacancies to be filled through special recruitment from among the
Scheduled Tribes exclusively was 612, including 155 gazetted, 332 non-
gazetted and 125 last grade posts.

According to the General Administration Department's progress report,
the departments of Agriculture, Fisheries, Homoeopathy, Higher
Secondary Education, Industrial Training, Public Instruction, Tourism
and Treasuries had failed to submit status reports on time about
Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe vacancies.

The largest number of vacancies for the Scheduled Castes and the
Scheduled Tribes was reported from the Health Department at 172
(mostly last grade posts), followed by the Higher Secondary Education
Department and the Agriculture Department at 91 and 65 respectively.
In the case of the HSE Department, 55 gazetted and 36 non-gazetted
posts were lying vacant. Among the vacancies reserved exclusively for
the Scheduled Tribes, the Health Department accounted for 111
vacancies, all of which came under the last grade category. This was
followed by the Department of Public Instruction, under which 101 of
the 103 vacancies came under the non-gazetted category.


The usual practice is to compile these vacancies and report them to
the Public Service Commission for special recruitment. Official
figures show that there has not been much progress in recruitment to
these vacancies for some time now. Official sources said the backlog
would grow unless the State government paid more attention to the


Opposition members force repeated adjournments on Dantewada attack

Gargi Parsai and J. Balaji

Congress, BJP members clash in Lok Sabha over Yashwant Sinha's


FURORE OVER MASSACRE: A TV grab shows the Opposition members
disrupting the proceedings in the Lok Sabha on Thursday over the
attack on jawans in Dantewada by Maoists.

NEW DELHI: The killing of 76 security personnel by Maoists in
Dantewada on April 6 generated a lot of heat in both Houses of
Parliament when they met for the second part of the budget session on

Several Opposition members, who had given notice for suspension of
question hour, demanded an immediate debate.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress members clashed with BJP members in the Lok
Sabha over the remarks made by Yashwant Sinha (BJP) that the UPA-I
compromised with all types of terrorism and had shaken hands with some
elements for political gains in some States, including Andhra Pradesh.
Congress benches demanded an apology from Mr. Sinha. UPA Chairperson
Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee were present
in the House.

Earlier, Mulayam Singh (SP) and other Opposition members vociferously
sought a statement from Home Minister P. Chidambaram on the issue,
immediately after the House paid homage to various personalities,
including the police personnel killed by Maoists. Speaker Meira Kumar
was forced to adjourn the House till 12 noon.

Later when the House met, Mr. Sinha continued to attack the Congress.
The treasury benches were unrelenting in their demand for an apology
and forced two more adjournments, one till 1 p.m. and the other till 2

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told Mr. Sinha that
it was the BJP governments in some States that had links with the

As the din continued, the Speaker said: “The House is discussing a
very serious matter. This is not the time for allegations but [the
time] for all parties to put their heads together and discuss how best
we can eliminate such elements.” She advised Mr. Sinha not to level
allegations that he could not substantiate.

Earlier, Mr. Sinha embarrassed Mr. Chidambaram by quoting what
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said in a newspaper article.
It spoke of the Minister's “intellectual arrogance” and said he
treated the naxal issue as “purely a law and order problem.”

Mr. Sinha did not spare the Trinamool Congress either. In an apparent
reference to that party, he said the UPA itself was not united.
“Ruling coalition stands severely divided. There are elements in this
coalition which are challenging the policy of the government.”


To buttress his argument on the UPA government's handling of the
Maoist issue, Mr. Sinha reeled off statistics. He said 4,246 people,
including security personnel, were killed in Maoist violence between
2004 and 2009 — 2,524 in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand alone.

This was higher than the number of people killed in the India-Pakistan
war between 1947 and 1949. Again, in the war with Pakistan in 1965, as
many as 3,000 lives were lost. In the Kargil war, 522 people were
killed. During the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operations in Sri
Lanka in the late 1980s, a total of 1,700 jawans/officers were killed.

“Somebody has to take responsibility for it [the Maoist menace],” he
said. “The buck stops with this Parliament. We have to unite and fight
this war.”


In the Rajya Sabha too, members from the BJP, the Left, the SP and the
BSP were on their feet demanding suspension of question hour and
immediate discussion on the issue. When they refused to listen to
requests from Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj
Chavan, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the proceedings.

When the House reassembled at noon, BJP members expressed
disappointment that the government had shown “no concern” for the
jawans killed in the attack.

BJP's M. Venkaiah Naidu suggested that the House pay homage to the
security personnel killed. He was supported by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-
M). This was accepted and the members observed a two-minute silence.

After the laying of papers, the BJP wanted an immediate discussion.
The government said Mr. Chidambaram would make a statement at 2 p.m.
and it was ready for a discussion. This did not satisfy the
Opposition. Sensing the mood, Deputy Chairman K. Rehman Khan adjourned
the Rajya Sabha till 2 p.m.


West Bengal to give free land to poor farmers

Indrani Dutta

Kolkata:The West Bengal government has decided to distribute land,
free of cost, to poor farmers and landless agricultural labourers by
buying land from willing landowners, offering them a price which may
be higher than the market value. More than two lakh families are
likely to be benefited by this step, which is expected to add an
important dimension to the sphere of land reforms.

Finance Minister Asim Kumar Dasgupta told The Hinduthat the Land and
Land Reforms Department will initiate necessary legal and
administrative steps and the matter is likely to be placed before the
Legislative Assembly when it commences its session in the third week
of June.

Land acquisition

He said the acquisition of homestead land (up to a stipulated limit)
for distribution among the rural poor who may be occupying that land
as homestead, but without any ownership rights, has been a significant
component of land reforms.

In order to distribute more land to landless poor farmers, the
existing scheme of purchase of land from willing farmers at 10 per
cent higher price than the market price, it is proposed to make the
scheme more attractive by offering a price which may be up to 25 per
cent higher.

In 1980, the State government had covered landless agricultural
labourers, rural artisans and fishermen, implementing relevant
sections of the Acquisition of Homestead Land Act, 1975.

According to the extant provisions of the Act, those who were in
possession of homestead land as on June 26, 1975, were covered. The
State government has now decided to implement this Act again for the
same category of rural population with reference to December 31, 2009,
as the date of possession of homestead land and ownership rights on
such homestead land up to five cottas (about 3,500 sq.ft.) would be
vested on them. This has already been announced by Mr. Dasgupta in his
2010-11 budget statement.

He said the total agricultural land distributed in the State up to
February 28, 2010, is 11.3 lakh acres. Over 30 lakh farmers, of which
55 per cent belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, have
benefited from this measure.

“In the alternative policy, redistributive land reform remains the
fundamental basis of increasing employment oriented production.”


Tackling insurgency

It is astonishing to find rights activists like Arundhati Roy
sympathising with the Maoists' cause. India has many poor people. The
poorest of the poor are certainly not licensed to kill or indulge in

The government is ready for talks with Maoists, but they cannot be
held at gunpoint. The Maoists are no doubt our own people but they
have turned cancerous. The government should find ways to clean up the
dangerous killer disease, in all ways possible.

Suguna Saravanan,


The Dantewada massacre has shocked the nation. On whether the blowing
up of schools by the Maoists was justified on the pretext that the
security forces could use them as camps, Ms Roy has said whenever a
guerrilla warfare is on, schools are used as barracks adding that the
Maoists welcomed the teachers. Where are the teachers supposed to
teach when there are no schools? Now that the Maoists have waged an
undeclared war against the state, the government is also fully
justified in taking all measures to eliminate the naxal menace.

A. Gajanana,


Many argue that the Maoist insurgency has more to do with
socioeconomic factors. From the attacks perpetrated by them, it is
evident that their planning is better than that of the security
forces. They seem to have a wider intelligence network.

One thing that has been proved beyond doubt is that the political
leadership and the bureaucracy are corrupt. They are not interested in
implementing development schemes. When usual methods do not yield the
desired result, there is nothing wrong in trying out newer methods.
Why not make the Maoists responsible for implementing the development
schemes? It can be done in one region on a trial basis.

M.S. Shankar,


The Maoist offer of talks (April 14) should be viewed as a positive
step. The loss of lives — of security forces, civilians or Maoists —
is most unfortunate and must be stopped. Let us not forget that the
Maoists are from the oppressed sections. They are the custodians of
natural assets which the corporates want to harness for their profits.
The term ‘development' assumes a different meaning in their context.

A military offensive against the naxals will involve huge costs,
including human lives. The government should engage them positively in
the interest of the tribals and development.

Sunil Yadav,

New Delhi


‘War against the poorest'

Raktima Bose

Arundhati Roy

KOLKATA: Accusing the Centre of waging war against the “poorest
people,” under the pretext of fighting Maoists in the mining belt,
with the purpose of creating a “good investment climate,” author and
social rights activist Arundhati Roy on Wednesday said creation of an
atmosphere conductive to negotiations between the government and left-
wing extremists was the only way out of the ongoing violence in the
red corridor of India.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms. Roy said: “Let the State
governments make public the terms of the hundreds of memorandums of
understanding signed with corporate houses, rehabilitate the thousands
of people displaced by the violence perpetrated by the security forces
and the Salwa Judum [state-backed vigilantes in Chhattisgarh] and also
restore a sense of confidence among the tribal population about their
positive intentions. That is the only way out.”

Reacting angrily to questions why she did not condemn Maoists for the
April 6 massacre of 76 CRPF jawans in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, she
said the “condemnation industry is a hollow and cynical industry where
people do not care about the people killed.”

Claiming that most people were living under an “undeclared emergency,”
Ms. Roy said: “I feel that every single death, whether that of a
police or Maoist or an Adivasi, is a terrible tragedy. The system of
violence imposed on us in the structural process is increasingly
becoming a war between the rich and the poor. I condemn the system of
militarisation of people that sets the poor against the poor.”

Though she admitted that several Maoist crimes could not be justified
and deprivation did not validate violence, Ms. Roy said ‘violence of
resistance' could not be condemned when hundreds of Central forces
cordon off tribal villages — killing and raping people with impunity.

Saying she did not have the skills for mediating between the Centre
and the rebels, Ms. Roy added that her message to the Maoists was they
should not dominate the cause of the tribal population for motives of
their own in the future.

That 99.9 per cent of the Maoists were tribal people was “a
coincidence of political aims,” she said.

The practice of both the tribal population and Maoist ideologues using
each other had its roots in their loss of faith in institutional

Asked whether the blowing up of schools by the Maoists, on the pretext
that the security forces could use them as camps, could be justified,
Ms. Roy said: “Wherever there is a guerrilla warfare going on, schools
are used as barracks. Those schools were not functioning anyway as
teachers did not attend. The Maoists, however, welcome the teachers.”



...and I am Sid Harth
2010-05-15 12:46:17 UTC
India Ink: Sid Harth

Sonia nuances approach

Sonia and Chidambaram
New Delhi, May 14: Sonia Gandhi has said “the root causes of Naxalism”
should be addressed along with decisive and forceful responses to
“acts of terror”, articulating the need for a holistic approach at a
time the Congress is debating the sagacity of the “action-first” line
associated with home minister P. Chidambaram.

“Our country is facing an enormous challenge from the Naxalites. While
we must address acts of terror decisively and forcefully, we have to
address the root causes of Naxalism. The rise of Naxalism is a
reflection of the need for our development initiatives to reach the
grassroots, especially in our most backward tribal districts,” the
Congress president said in a letter to party workers in the latest
issue of its organ, the Sandesh.

The critics of the line tied to Chidambaram lapped up her letter,
claiming they were asking for such an articulation in place of “the
wipe-them-out” rhetoric. The reference to the “root causes” does
reflect an opinion within the Congress that favours a nuanced

However, by using phrases such as “acts of terror” and words like
“decisively” and “forcefully”, Sonia has sought to ensure that her
opinion is not construed as a show of no-confidence in Chidambaram’s
approach which has the full backing of influential voices in the

The “wipe-them-out” line was taken by the party itself; the official
spokesperson made that demand in the wake of the Dantewada massacre in
which 75 CRPF jawans were killed.

Although the tough posturing was hailed by the BJP and the CPM,
dissenting voices emerged from within the Congress.

The debate mirrors the differences between what came to be known as
the “wets and dries” when Margaret Thatcher was in power in Britain.
If the Iron Lady had to contend with “wets” — those in her Tory
government who opposed her line and supported policies like increased
public spending — the Congress has its own share of “liberals”.

Leaders like Digvijay Singh, Ajit Jogi, K. Keshava Rao and Mani
Shankar Aiyar have openly expressed their concerns on the stress on
police action.

While Digvijay talked of Chidambaram’s “rigidity” and “intellectual
arrogance”, Keshava Rao said the problem was of “perception” as the
battle could not be fought without winning over the tribal population.

Two schools of thought exist on what prompted these lieutenants to
speak out. One believes that they would not have spoken out without
the tacit approval of the party leadership that may have wanted to
test the waters. The other feels that these leaders were trying to
curry favour with the leadership, hoping to appeal to Sonia’s well-
known inclination for inclusiveness.

Sonia has now somewhat revealed her mind; she has supported tough
action but sought to alter the discourse to send out a message that
the government is responsive, not hostile.

This is the fine distinction, some Congress leaders said, the home
ministry could not project even as the security establishment agreed
on the need for development.

Sonia had wholeheartedly supported Chidambaram when he was giving his
reply in the Lok Sabha, indicating that she did not intend to weaken
the government’s resolve.

The slightly different tenor and content of her communication with the
party workers cannot be taken as a condemnation of the government’s
administrative actions.

Sources admitted there were misgivings about the home ministry’s
packaging of the approach but said there was no fundamental difference
or contradiction between the party and the government.

Chidambaram, too, had said that the government had not lost sight of
the socio-economic aspect but asserted that development was not
possible without clearing the areas held by the Naxalites.

Replying to the debate in Parliament, he had said: “Don’t think the
adversary will let you do development. They target infrastructure,
they target schools and communication towers.”


Solution to Naxalism

Rahul Gandhi blamed poor governance in remote areas for the spread of
the Naxalite movement, but remained quiet on who was to be blamed.

“The movement has grown in the pockets where the government failed to
reach to the people,” Rahul said in Raipur on Friday.

He, however, skipped the question when asked who was to be held
responsible as the Congress ruled the country for long.

Rather, he criticised the BJP government in Chhattisgarh for not
taking “effective” measures to tackle the Maoist problem.

“Andhra Pradesh government records say that it has effectively
implemented central schemes that helped beneficiaries in remote
areas,” Gandhi said, adding that other state governments should
replicate this model to wipe out Maoists. (PTI picture)


Naxalism is not war: prof

Hazaribagh, April 25: Former professor of Aligarh Muslim University Dr
Ali Mohammad today rejected the Naxalite menace as a war on the state
and stressed that only development at the grassroots level could
tackle this problem.

Ali, the former head of the postgraduate department of geography in
Aligarh who is here to attend a seminar on food security at Vinoba
Bhave University tomorrow, said that extreme poverty, exploitation of
the poor and lack of development had given birth to extremism.

“Jharkhand is a mineral-rich state but it is unfortunate that near
about 2 lakh girls from here have migrated to bigger cities in search
for jobs. Jharkhand contributes about 40 per cent minerals to the
country but lack of vision and political determination has earned it
the tag of the most backward state. It is still waiting for
development,” said Ali.

Citing the example of Punjab, he said that the state had received a
huge blow after formation of Pakistan as a majority of fertile land
went to the neighbouring country.

“But its fate changed after inauguration of Bhakra Nangal Dam. Now,
the rest of India depends on Punjab for wheat. And if Punjab can rise
to great heights without the support of any natural resources, then
why can’t Jharkhand, which has mineral in abundance?” he said.

Ali further said that 98 per cent people of the country were drinking
contaminated water. This figure is alarming, as impure water increases
risks of diseases. “Even malnutrition is a big curse. It is not
possible to cure such diseases with the help of medicines alone.
Proper diet and pure water offer the only solution,” he added.

“Development cannot take place unless these issues are addressed. The
government should pay more attention to these problems,” Ali said.


Eyes wide shut on Naxalism
- Cong, BJP manifestos play safe on red fear

Ranchi, Nov. 21: Home minister P. Chidambaram has called Jharkhand the
epicentre of Maoist terror. But political parties fighting Assembly
elections, have chosen to bypass the issue of Naxalism, arguably the
gravest concern facing the nation today.

Both the BJP and the Congress, principal rivals in this election, have
devoted little space to the problem in their manifestos. While the
BJP, hitherto known for its tough stand against terror, has no answer
to the challenge posed by Maoists, the Congress’s views are a brief
summary of its stated position.

Even former chief minister Babulal Marandi, a personal victim of
Maoist terror when he lost his son, Anup, in a rebel attack at
Chilkhadi village in Giridih on October 27, 2007, has chosen to deal
with the issue diplomatically, talking only of development in the
manifesto of his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha that’s fighting the elections
as an ally of the Congress.

No one has mentioned Operation Green Hunt, a proposed central
offensive against rebels to be conducted in co-ordination with state
police, a strategy articulated by none other than Chidambaram.

In its 16-page manifesto, the Congress uses a little more than 100
words to describe its plan of ushering in rural development — to
ensure the fruits of progress reached the interiors — but makes no
mention of the central offensive.

In a manifesto of 44 pages, the BJP has dismissed the Naxalite issue
in 38 words, saying it will initiate a constructive approach to
finding a solution to the problem of extremism, but not spelling out
what that “initiative” could be. It has spoken of a “social solution”
along with “administrative measures” to try and free the state from

The JVM doesn’t mention Naxalism, but in a 28-word paragraph on
“peace” has said that insecurity among people could be removed only
through development. “We will weed out the reasons for the
insecurity,” the manifesto promised.

The JMM, an advocate of “meaningful discussion with the rebels”, has
given tickets to half a dozen “reformed” Maoists. Naturally, it’s
stand on Maoist terror is nothing but muted.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad has maintained that Naxalism was on the rise due
to unemployment and price rise. He has also ridiculed the proposed
offensive against Maoists.

“Arey majak hai ka bomb marna? Bomb marna hai to Chin (China) ko kyon
nahi mar rahe ho (Is this idea to bomb (rebel hideouts) a joke or
what? If you have to bomb, why not China)?” he said at public meeting
at Khalari, a Naxalite-hit region under Ranchi district.

Lalu Prasad, however, made no effort to hide where his sympathies lay.
He did not campaign on Friday, in view of the Maoist-sponsored
Jharkhand bandh in protest against the Assembly elections and the
proposed Central offensive.

BJP’s Arjun Munda, a former chief minister, tried his best to provide
a credible explanation. “It’s a national issue and a Central law is
required to root out the problem,” he said, adding that a detailed
policy would be framed after the party came back to power.

Those in the fray, however, said they could not be expected to run a
poster war against Maoists like the police during polls. “Aggressive
posturing against Naxalites will have a negative impact. The
administration cannot provide us security,” said a Congress nominee in


Maoists terrorists: China comrade

Ai Ping. (Prem Singh)

New Delhi, Nov. 21: A senior Chinese communist party official has
equated Maoists with terrorists, going far beyond the sterile labels
usually used by Beijing.

“Maoism is nothing but terrorism. The Maoists should never expect any
financial, political or military support from China,’’ Ai Ping of the
Communist Party of China (CPC) told The Telegraph today.

“We in China never use the term Maoism in our political parlance.
Marxism is our source and Mao just adapted it to the Chinese
situation. Mao himself has never approved of the term ‘Maoism’,’’ said
Ai, who is the director-general of the CPC’s Bureau 1 that advises
Beijing on its South and East Asia policies.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the “International Meeting of the
Communist and Workers Party” in New Delhi.

Reminded that the CPC had described the Naxalbari uprising as a peal
of spring thunder that had crashed over India, Ping said: “That was 40
or more years ago.”

CPC mouthpiece People’s Daily had said in 1967 that the Naxalites had
“done the absolutely correct thing” by adopting Mao’s revolutionary
line. An editorial in the newspaper had said “a single spark can start
a prairie fire” and that “a great storm of revolutionary armed
struggle will eventually sweep across the length and breadth of

But, as Ai said, “China has changed a lot’’ since those days. “Our
focus has changed from class struggle to economic development. We
strongly believe that the market plays an important role in
redistribution (of wealth),” he said.

Is the CPC aware of the confrontation between the mainstream Marxist
parties in India and the Maoists?

“We have been told that 70 comrades have been killed by the Maoists so
far. It is not the right thing to do,’’ Ai said.

But what about the Maoist claim that they are fighting in the cause of
the most deprived? “They might be, but they are behaving just like
terrorists,” Ai said.

China has rarely used such blunt words to describe the Maoists. In
Nepal, when the Maoists were a guerrilla force, Beijing had confined
itself to labelling the then rebels “anti-state forces misusing Mao’s

Asked about the allegation that Beijing was supplying arms to the
Maoists, he said it was nothing but a “gross misunderstanding”.

Message to Marxists

Ai had a piece of advice for the mainstream Indian Left, too: “The US
has a huge market and a very strong financial sector which we cannot
afford to neglect. We must learn to deal with the US. The US does have
hegemonic tendencies, but we don’t need to keep calling it imperialist

Ai said it was wrong to underestimate the importance of the market.

“We must take reforms and opening-up as the driving force to promote
all-round economic, political, cultural and social development. It is
imperative to push forward economic and political reform to motivate
the entire population for greater enthusiasm, initiative and
creativity to realise social equity and justice and fill the country
with vitality,’’ he said.

But he insisted it was wrong to say that China had deviated from the
socialist path. “We are not pursuing capitalism. The CPC has always
upheld Marxism as our fundamental guiding ideology. But we have
adapted the basic tenets of Marxism to Chinese realities of the times
to build a new road to socialism.”

On the border spat over Arunachal Pradesh, Ai said top-level leaders
of both countries should try to solve the issue at the earliest.

Differentiating between India and China, he said modern India was a
product of colonial rule while modern China came into existence
through a revolution. “The new China does not accept unequal treaties
signed by previous rulers. So both countries should start afresh. We
must re-negotiate,” he said.


Marxism no answer to Naxalism
- ‘Police doing their best against Maoists, BJP can’t criticise me for
doing my job’

Ranchi, Oct. 12: Governor K. Sankaranarayanan refuses to blame
Jharkhand police for their inability to curb Maoist violence in a
state that is groping for a fitting response to the guerrillas’ murder
of a special branch police inspector, but acknowledges the need to
reassess its priorities towards development.

Jharkhand isn’t the only state where Naxalism is present, said the
governor who is heading the administration of the state that is under
extended President’s rule. “It is an acute problem,” he admits to The
Telegraph in the course of an interview, and goes on to elaborate the
different nature of problems in other states where he has served as

“Arunachal had its own problems, Assam has the Bodo issue and the Ulfa.
… Orissa and Bihar have Maoists,” he explains and then comes up with
the clincher. “After a long period of Marxist rule, Naxalism is rising
again in Bengal. So, Marxist rule is not the answer for all this.”

And as is if grasping the full import of his statement,
Sankaranarayanan adds: “Any rule is not the answer.”

The state police, he claims, are a good force that is doing its best.
Refusing to be drawn into a controversy over popular perceptions that
enough hadn’t been done to rescue inspector Francis Indwar, his
defence of the law and order machinery is, at best, routine.

“The police have their limitations. Under the circumstances they are
doing their best. It is very easy to kidnap a person.”

His long-term answer to extremism was what the Centre and the Prime
Minister have been harping on. “Development, development,
development,” the governor declares, having fast-tracked the
compensation package for inspector Indwar’s widow Sunita, granted a
job as a high school teacher based on her MA degree and a cheque of
over Rs 50 lakh.

“Jharkhand deserves a stable government with a national outlook. A
government that can co-ordinate effectively with the Centre.” That’s
the prescription from a governor, who is facing considerable flak from
the Opposition BJP, that sees a Congress pre-election design in every
project he implements, every grant he sanctions and every subsidy he
announces for the people of a state that is reeling from the double
impact of price rise and drought.

“When I landed here, I had an agenda in mind. I wanted to focus on the
people, especially the downtrodden.” And so, the governor set his
sights on small, yet significant, goals like streamlining PDS, old age
pensions, land records.

“For the first time in Jharkhand, sugar is being distributed regularly
through PDS,” a genuine success whatever the BJP may say as he managed
to undo a historic anomaly wherein the state did not pick up
sanctioned stocks for want of storage and distribution capabilities.

He has also set up fair price shops, distributed free rice for the
poor during the festival month of Id and Dussehra, sanctioned jobs for
qualified youth belonging to primitive tribes among others. Most of
these measures were rotting in file notings, which Sankaranarayanan
claims he has only implemented.

To drive home the message, he is now holding vikas melas in districts
— he has already visited Hazaribagh, Naxalite-hit Palamau — to
distribute everything from bicycles to students to forest pattas (or
land allotment papers) with PDS licences and loans thrown in for good

“Women told me they did not have enough to start PDS shops. So I
sanctioned Rs 10,000 seed money and arranged for bank loans. I also
started suvidha stores (fair price shops) to prevent hoarding during
the time of price rise.”

By and large, these measures have been welcomed. After all, who
wouldn’t say yes to decisions to speed up old pensions, diesel subsidy
for farmers and a hike for parateachers.

The BJP isn’t though. The party has a point when it castigates the
Centre for not holding elections in Jharkhand along with Maharashtra
and dubs its excuse of citing the forthcoming National Games as an
eyewash. It may well have a case when it questions the Centre’s wisdom
of keeping the state Assembly in suspended animation, but to pile on
to the governor for doing what is essentially his job, may not go down
too well with the people, especially when the state is waiting for

“How can they criticise me for doing my job. I know politics better
than these people and if I wanted to be in politics I would go back to
my state of Kerala,” countered Sankaranarayanan who proved his
troubleshooting skills as UDF convener for 16 years.

May that’s why the governor has steered clear of contentious issues.
Mining leases and mega investors threatening to pullout don’t worry
him as he feels he doesn’t have a mandate to adjudicate and decide on
industry vs land debates that are stalling most of the 50-odd MoUs
signed when the state had propped up unstable coalitions.

“MoUs are not decisions. They are only understandings. I don’t think
it’s a loss for the state if investors move out,” he declares while
referring to ArcelorMittal chief L.N. Mittal’s recent pullout threat.
“The only solution lies in meaningful discussion held in a positive

Sankaranarayanan’s ongoing stint has at least brought in a sense of a
clean-up, with the wheels of the administration beginning to turn
again. At least the seat of the administration, Project Building, a
legacy of a PSU now on the verge of a turnaround (Heavy Engineering
Corporation), is busy for the right reasons.


Menace in Maharashtra

Naxals are trying to mobilise support among the dalits of Maharashtra.
Velly Thevar on the way the police are combating them

In Vidarbha, the district of Maharashtra made famous by scores of
farmer suicides, a new story is being scripted. Naxals seem to be
mobilising support among the dalits there. And the police are doing
all they can to scuttle their efforts.

The CPI-Maoists in Maharashtra are headed by Milind Teltumbde, who is
the acting state secretary of the party. Milind, whose brother Anand
Teltumbde is married to dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar’s sister, is
quietly working among the dalits of Vidarbha and even of Mumbai.

For instance, last year intelligence agencies were surprised by the
large number of Naxalites who participated in the 10th anniversary of
the Ramabai colony police firing in northeast Mumbai in which 11
dalits had lost their lives.

Indeed, for the Naxalites in Maharashtra, wooing the dalits — in rural
and urban areas — has become a part of their master plan. Not just
that. Documents seized by the police recently point to the fact that
the Naxals want to infiltrate and sabotage key industries like
transport, communications, rail, power, oil, defence production, etc,
as well. These documents also suggest that they see the dalits as
“natural proletariats.”

On September 29, 2006, four dalit members of the Bhotmange family in
Khairlanji village of Maharashtra’s Bhandara district were brutally
killed by fellow villagers in a case of caste prejudice. After the
incident, all the dalit leaders of Maharashtra’s various splinter
groups and factions — Maisaheb Ambedkar, Ramdas Athavale, Prakash
Ambedkar, R.S. Gavai, Jogendra Kavade, and others — jostled to tap the
dalit anger. At one meeting Jogendra Kavade from Nagpur threatened to
form suicide squads like the LTTE. But eventually, none of the leaders
agreed to work together from a single platform. Yet there is every
indication that the dalits, especially the younger members of the
community, are veering towards an ideology that the police believe is
close to Maoism.

Says additional director general of police Pankaj Gupta, who heads the
anti-Naxal operation in Nagpur, “The Naxals feel that the dalits are
willing to cross the boundaries of the law and they see militancy in
them. In fact, the Naxals are cleverly using front organisations to
espouse their cause among the dalits. These organisations actually
paint Ambedkar as a revolutionary.”

Some 38 non governmental organisations working in Vidarbha have now
been banned by the state government as they were found to be front
organisations for the Naxals. Over a dozen of these organisations were
working among dalit students. They brought out a magazine called
College Katta which was used as a propaganda tool to lure youngsters
into Naxalism.

But if you ask dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, who heads the Bharipa
Bahujan Mahasangh, about this new sympathy for the Naxals, he is quick
to deny it. “The police want to brand the dalits as Naxals. This is
the agenda of the religious forces, especially the Hindu religious
organisations. I don’t think the dalits fit with the Maoists because
Maoists don’t recognise caste. Their fight is over economic
disparities whereas dalits are looking for relief from caste
atrocities. So the twain don’t meet.”

But the Maharashtra police are not buying this. They have documents to
prove that Naxals have made sufficient inroads among dalit students.
To fight the Naxal menace, the police here have adopted a two-pronged
approach. On the one hand, they are using state-of-the-art technology
to track Naxals; on the other, they are also using initiatives to
encourage dalits to ban the Naxals from their villages.

Called Gaonbandi, the scheme came into being in 2003 when the
government promised to pay Rs 3 lakh to villages that barred entry to
Naxals. Though the scheme has hit the usual bureaucratic roadblock
with a poor record of disbursement of funds, the idea of villagers
coming together to pass a resolution in writing, to keep the Naxals at
bay, has hit off well in Gadchirolli in eastern Maharashtra. As many
as 416 villages out of the 1500 settlements in Gadchirolli have
adopted the resolution.

In fact, Maharashtra has always had a good record of fighting Naxals.
In 1991 when IPS officer Hemant Karkare was posted as the
superintendent of police in Chandrapur, he rewrote the rules for
tackling Naxals. At the time, some villages in Gadchirolli district
were said to be “liberated” — a term used by Naxals when a village is
under their control.

Karkare found that the they had managed to make forays into
Gadchirolli by taking up the cause of tribals. The tribals, he
realised, respected power, and the Naxals wielded power. Since the
Naxals were blowing up roads, he spoke to the village elders and told
them that such methods would only impede progress and deny their sick
children access to health care. He also recruited several tribal boys
in the local police force — boys who could otherwise have been won
over by the Naxals.

By 1993 when Karkare left Chandrapur, there were just two dalams
(armed Naxal squads) from over a dozen dalams that were operating
there earlier.

Today, 15 years on, the Maharashtra police are using similar tactics
to win the villagers to their side. Says Pankaj Gupta, “We tell the
dalits not to forget what Pol Pot did to the Buddhists in Camobodia.
We tell them that to convert Cambodia into a farmer’s country, 1.4
million people were killed.”

Says Rajesh Pradhan, superintendent of police, Gadchirolli,
“Gadchirolli is no longer in their control. But still there is mass
mobilisation going on from their side.”

Still, in the areas Naxals are in strength they brutally punish any
one who dares to go over to the “other side”. Last year they killed a
21-year-old boy, Bandu Narvate, who came from his village seeking a
job with the police. The moment the Naxals got wind of his attempt,
they dragged him out of the house and killed him and thrashed his six-
month pregnant wife, reveals Pradhan.

“Then there was this young couple who had spent a couple of years in a
Naxal dalam. They wanted to surrender. But one day before they were to
meet us, the boy was brutally hacked to death and they took the girl
away,” adds Pradhan.

Pradhan says that psychological operations are part of policing in
Gadchirolli. “We are trying to project the human face of the
administration by holding Jan Jagran Melavas where we create public
awareness about government schemes. We also hold community marriages.
All this is done at least four to five times a month.”

But will all these initiatives be enough to fight the Naxal menace?
Only time, as they say, will tell.


‘Maoists are practising terrorism’
V. Kumara Swamy visits Naxalbari in north Bengal and finds that
yesterday’s Naxals are dismissive of today’s Maoists in Lalgarh and
its neighbouring areas

FOUR COMRADES: Statues of Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Naxal leader
Charu Majumdar at Bangaijote on the outskirts of Naxalbari. (Below)
Kanu Sanyal

As one follows the broken road along the river Manjha to the small
hamlet of Sebdellah, the only signs of civilisation are the
electricity poles jutting out of lush green fields and an odd
motorised vehicle.

It is hard to imagine that this serene hamlet in the Naxalbari area of
Darjeeling district in north Bengal once reverberated with cries of
revolution and liberation. Today, when the government is having a hard
time combating the Naxal rampage in Lalgarh and its adjoining areas,
Sebdellah continues to be quiet. It may have spawned the Naxal
movement in the late 1960s, but now it has few sympathisers here.

Kanu Sanyal, the man who led many of those “mass struggles,” continues
to live in Sebdellah. Frail and ailing, the 79-year old leader now
spends most of his time lying on the floor of his one-room house. The
huge black and white framed pictures of Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin and
Mao Tse-tung on his walls seem to be his only company.

The Naxalbari movement was launched by Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal and
Jangal Santhal in the summer of 1967. The revolutionaries led the
peasants and occupied large tracts of land of the jotedars (landlords)
and distributed them among the sharecroppers and the landless. Scores
of landlords gave up their lands and fled the area in fear. Those who
resisted or even asked questions were simply eliminated.

But 42 years down the line, what has been the impact of the movement
on Naxalbari and the villages around it? Sanyal replies, “Nothing has
changed. Only the oppressors have,” he says. The oppressors could be
anybody, says Sanyal — the government, landlords, industrialists.
Progress, development and modernisation are empty words for Sanyal.
“Progress means being free from exploitation. I don’t see that in
Naxalbari, or for that matter, anywhere in the country,” he says.

Sanyal is dismissive of the Maoists in Lalgarh and other parts of the
country. “What they are practising is terrorism. Nobody knows their
ideology, and more importantly, there is no mass participation,” he

Other old timers in the area are equally contemptuous of the Lalgarh
Maoists. “If we had to hold a protest march or raid a landlord, one
whistle was enough. The whole village would get together. Can the
Maoists of today do the same? They themselves live in jungles. How can
they think of a revolution,” asks P.P. Sharma, 67, a former Naxal

The fact is that Naxalbari and its surrounding villages are no longer
fixated on land and revolution, although basic issues like roads,
electricity and drinking water still remain major concerns. “Nothing
much has changed since those days except for some new roads and an
increase in population, which is because of the huge influx of
Bangladeshis in the area,” says Gulabuddin Ansari, a 50 year-old grain
crusher in Hathgisiya village. As a youngster Ansari had actively
participated in the Naxal movement.

If change has come to one place, it is the Naxalbari block
headquarters itself. It is a small but bustling place with a 20-bed
hospital, a telephone exchange, noisy markets and shops selling the
latest models of television sets and mobile phones.

“Naxalism is just a word for us. I only understand the importance of
this place when people in Calcutta and elsewhere raise their eyebrows
when I say that I am from Naxalbari. For them, it is as if Naxalism
still exists here. The reality is that we have moved on,” says Pradip
Prasad, who runs an NGO working in the field of AIDS and drugs.

With the Nepal border just a few kilometers away, smuggling is the
most profitable business for many of the locals. “I can earn anywhere
between Rs 300-400 a day just by peddling goods between Panitanki and
Naxalbari,” says Mangal Burman, 25. Panitanki is bang on Nepal border.

The police too admit that Naxalism is hardly an issue here anymore.
“Our main problems are smugglers and drug traffickers,” says an
official at the local police station.

The most important pilgrimage for Naxalites in the area is Bangaijote
on the outskirts of Naxalbari. A memorial has been erected here to
honour nine protestors, including five women and two children who were
gunned down by the police on May 25, 1967. Named ‘Tienanmen Square,’
with ‘of India’ squeezed in almost as an afterthought, the memorial is
built in the same shape as the Monument to the People’s Heroes in
Beijing. The place also has the busts of Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung
and Charu Mazumdar.

But Sharma points out that most of the locals are ignorant of the
significance of the memorial. “Ninety nine percent of the people in
Naxalbari do not even know that these places exists,” he says.

The talking point here is not Naxalites or their latter day avatars —
the Maoists. Politics interests people the most and the panchayat
elections that are to be held today happens to be the hottest topic of

But if there is one thing that Naxalbari and the villages around are
united in, it is in their respect for ‘Kanubabu’ as Sanyal is
popularly called. “Kanubabu did what politicians rarely do. He stuck
to his ideals,” says Gulabuddin Ansari.

“I always wanted to live among the people and that’s what I am doing.
I don’t see it as a sacrifice or anything like that,” says Sanyal when
asked about the reverence with which people treat him even today.

Sanyal is really the last vestige of Naxalbari’s Naxal heritage. The
rest has been consigned to history.


- Naxalism faces serious hurdles that can be used against it

Analysts have documented in some detail the constraints facing the
government: the countryside is vast; the forests help protect the
militants; the adivasi population in particular supports them; the hit-
and-run tactics of the Maoists keep the security forces off balance;
the increasing unification of the various factions makes the movement
formidable and not easy to divide and conquer; its access to money and
guns is growing as is its political hold over sections of the
population; and the government’s forces are poorly trained and
equipped, and lacking in leadership.

Confronted by this diagnosis of the Naxalite problem, the government
and various security commentators have sounded the alarm. Naxalism
does indeed appear to be the biggest internal security challenge that
India has ever faced. Against this, however, we must consider the
difficulties and constraints faced by the Maoists, in particular the
military challenges.

To understand those challenges, we need to remember the broad outlines
of people’s war. It depends on a unified movement and creative
leadership, committed and intellectually sophisticated cadres, a
supply of arms, ammunition and money and, of course, the growing
support of the population. In addition, however, people’s war depends
on controlling enclaves of territory, breaking out from these enclaves
to wider areas, and, more specifically, encircling the cities, which
eventually fall to the besieging forces. People’s war does not, in the
beginning, take the security forces head-on in battle. It gradually
gathers strength to dominate the countryside and starve the cities
into submission.

There are several problems facing the Naxalites in achieving this. Let
us understand the challenges they face by way of some comparison with
China in 1949, when the revolution finally beat the Nationalist forces
led by Chiang Kai Shek.

First of all, India today has a much larger urban population than
China did, in terms of absolute numbers and in percentage terms. In
1949, China’s cities had a population of about 70 million. This
represented 11-12 per cent of the total population. Now India presents
a different picture. Its urban population in the 2001 census, a decade
ago, was over 280 million, which represented roughly 28 per cent of
the population. Ten years later, the figures are higher. India in 2009
has 100 cities with populations of over 400,000 people, and 42 cities
have more than one million people. The 11 biggest cities have about
100 million souls. This urban structure is massively dispersed in
India — and the bigger, more influential cities are not in the areas
of Naxalite strength. To lay siege to these cities will stretch Maoist
forces at the best of times hugely, even if they do not attack all
cities simultaneously. China’s big cities of the day were small in
comparison. Shanghai had a population of five million, which would put
it in ninth place in India today, and Beijing had about four million.

The second problem is that the insurgents are relatively safe and
secure and can operate with comparative ease in the core areas which
are heavily forested and feature deep ravines and rocky, hard-to-
access terrain. As long as the Naxalites stay within these mostly
adivasi areas in central India and Andhra Pradesh, they are limited in
their reach and influence. However, the Naxalites have a rather
challenging problem on their hands if and when they choose to emerge
from these remote strongholds and, in particular, when they come out
into the plains. When they do emerge, they will encounter armed
police, paramilitary forces, and perhaps even army units who will
enjoy all the advantages. The Indian army in particular will chew them
up. The army has fought counter-insurgency in much more difficult
terrain as have paramilitary forces. They will operate very
effectively in relatively open battle situations. Having said this,
the government cannot afford to be complacent. If it waits for the
Naxalites to emerge from the remote and forest areas, it will give the
militant leadership time to recruit, to train, to unite the factions,
to spread the political message, and to refine tactics and strategy.
New Delhi must, therefore, continue to disrupt the Naxalites and to
force them to stay on the move.

Thirdly, Maoist people’s war is no longer the novelty it was in the
1930s and 1940s. It was a novelty in part because it was improvised
and invented along the way, as the civil war in China spread and went
through various cycles of victory and defeat for the Communist Party.
Since then, Maoists and various military academy strategists have laid
bare the nature of people’s war. It has been studied by every
professional military of any consequence all over the world, including
the Indian army. The tactics and strategy as well as the political
education of cadres and of the population are well known. That does
not mean it is easy to combat; but it does mean that the broad
approach to dealing with it is quite well understood.

If one adds these three constraints together, the military task in
front of the Naxalites appears fairly massive. The Indian government,
in addition, has political and economic resources that it can deploy
to improve conditions in the countryside so that the support base —
material, human and psychological — for the insurgents is reduced. The
pronouncements of the prime minister, the home minister and the
Planning Commission indicate that they are conscious of this. There is
a tremendous amount of administrative change that needs attention as
well — including police reform.

In spite of everything that has been argued here on the odds against a
successful people’s war strategy, there is one card that the movement
can play to change the game. If it is able to hollow out the cities
from within and foment urban disaffection and violence even as
rebellion in the countryside deepens, then one of the biggest hurdles
to a Maoist victory will have been rattled if not toppled. The
government must pay attention to conditions in the cities as well, and
to the possibility of organized armed groups waiting to strike at a
moment of crisis.

The Naxalite militancy has certainly grown, and it reflects the
disaffection primarily of adivasis in the central belt of India. While
there are formidable obstacles in the way of a successful people’s
war, the government should use this strategic lull to understand the
sources of the simmering anger and violence. New Delhi need not panic,
but it cannot afford to ignore the plight of millions of unhappy
Indians. Policing Naxalism is not the government’s strongest card. Its
strongest cards are development, justice and empowerment.

The author teaches at Oxford University


...and I am Sid Harth