#India – The Bloodstained Karmic Cycle #Peru #Guatemala


PTI
Target of reprisal The late Mahendra Karma, with guards
OPINION
The Bloodstained Karmic Cycle
To end the Maoist conflict, look to Peru and Guatemala
NANDINI SUNDAR in Outlook

Any keen observer of Chhattisgarh could have foreseen Saturday’s deadly Maoist attack at Jeeram Ghat in Bastar, though not perhaps its magnitude. Mahendra Karma’s death was long expected, though politicians like him who flirt with the dark side usually have enough security to keep them safe. With a string of killings of Maoist leaders under its belt, the security establishment thought the Maoists could be written off. However, like insurgents elsewhere, the Maoists scaled back only to strike hard.

Calls for more concerted military action ignore what has actually been happening. In fact, in recent months, the security forces have ratcheted up operations, densely carpeting Maoist strongholds with CRPF camps. On the 46 km stretch between Dornapal and Chintalnar, there are now seven camps, with the latest two, Burkapal and Minpa, having come up in the last fortnight. Overnight, large stretches of forest were cleared in Burkapal, for a helipad on one side and a CRPF camp on the other, and the question of forest clearances for this, or any other security installation, is never even seen as an issue. The biodiverse forests of Bastar—which are national treasures—have been one of the biggest casualties of this war, which rages across trees, roads, transformers, schools and the bodies of men, women and little children.

Sceptical villagers argue that rather than reducing hostilities, the presence of the camps will mean constant skirmishes between the forces and the Maoists, following which the forces will take it out on them. They report that security forces steal chickens from their homes when they are out in the fields; and indeed, with camps close by, even going out to defecate, cultivate or collect fuel wood becomes a hazard, especially for women. In Chintagufa, where several buses are parked to ferry security personnel back and forth, the forces have taken over the primary healthcare centre and the school. The Supreme Court’s orders on keeping off schools mean nothing to them.

We are on a slippery path if we dismiss any citizen, whether a Congress leader or a Gond child, as expendable. The very raison d’etre of a democracy is lost if it thinks that way.

Simplistic morality plays may be good for the trps, but will not address the real issues. The Maoist ambush came bar­ely a week after an equally terrible attack by the security forces, again during an area domination exercise, on the villagers of Edesmetta in Bijapur, who were celebrating Beeja Pandum, the seed sowing festival. Eight villagers, including four children, were killed, while severely injured villagers were given medical aid only a day later after local media coverage. The Beeja Pandum is one of the most important festivals of the adivasi calendar. The only glimpse that non-adivasis get is when they are stopped at roadside blocks placed by women and children, and they assume it is just for some easy money. But the ritual significance is that anyone crossing the village during Beeja Pandum must be fined for taking the seed away with them. The equivalent of what happened there would be the police opening fire on a garba dance during Navratri in Ahmedabad, saying the presence of so many people at one place was suspicious. Yet, there has been little national outrage around Edesmetta. For once, the government has promised compensation, but as one CRPF jawan said about the 2010 killing of 76 CRPF personnel, “Nothing can recompense the loss of a loved one.” The adivasis have loved ones too. Unlike the CRPF, they did not even sign up to fight. If what happened in Edesmetta can be dismissed as “collateral damage”, then why not apply the same logic to Saturday’s ambush, where Mahendra Karma was the main target? This is, after all, a war. But once we dismiss any citizen, whether a Congress pradesh president or a Gond child, as expendable, we are on a slippery path. In particular, a democracy that holds this stand loses its raison d’etre.

As in Tadmetla March 2011 (where security forces burnt 300 homes, raped and killed), Sarkeguda June 2012 (where they shot dead 17 villagers during their Beeja Pandum last year) and Edesmetta 2013, the Chhattisgarh government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the Jeeram Ghat ambush. But since the Congress knows well what this means, they have preferred to enlist the NIA. Given a list of 537 killings by Salwa Judum and security forces, the state government has ordered magisterial inquiries into eight cases since 2008, of which seven are still pending!

The Chhattisgarh police claims it need SPOs for intelligence gathering, refusing to disband them as the Supreme Court ordered. But what kind of intelligence are they getting if they claim Edesmetta was a Maoist gathering, and could not predict the Jeeram ambush? Instead, the fortification of SPOs with better guns and more money as the renamed ‘Armed Auxiliary Forces’ only increases alienation.

Even if they support massive human rights violations, politicians are not combatants. The same is true for unarmed villagers who may support the Maoists ideologically. An attack on party leaders engaged in electoral rallies must be strongly condemned, and the Maoist’s expanding hit list is truly reprehensible. However, it is only partially true to say that what happened is an attack on democracy. In a democracy, someone like Karma would have been jailed long ago. Even when confronted with evidence of his personal involvement in the Salwa Judum atrocities, quite apart from a CBI FIR for his role in a major tree-felling scam, the Congress chose to retain Karma in the party. And despite declaring Naxalism the country’s gravest security threat, never once has the prime minister felt the need to visit the area himself to find out why people support them, or console grieving adivasis.

Under the Constitution of India, chief minister Raman Singh and the Union home ministry, who are as responsible for the Salwa Judum as Karma, should also be held accountable. At least 644 villages were affected, over a thousand people killed, hundreds raped, and some 1,50,000 displaced. Small children were bashed to death or thrown into ponds; old people who could not run away were burnt alive. Yet there has been no prosecution or compensation, despite the Supreme Court’s repea­ted orders. Indeed, there is a danger that, with Karma gone, the uncomfortable questions regarding official culpability for Salwa Judum will be closed. The Constitution and democracy are not terms of expedie­ncy, as the Congress and BJP seem to think—they embody difficult moral principles which must guide our collective behavior.

To respond with even more force now would be a grave mistake, for insurgencies thrive on government excesses. The combing operations under way must take great care to see that ordinary villagers are not harassed. It is unlikely that anyone will countenance calls for peace talks now, as the war has become a prestige issue on both sides. But eventually, there is no alternative to negotiations. If a country like the US with its military might could get bogged down in Vietnam and Afghanistan, what makes us think we can succeed militarily? A far better model would be the Latin American countries, like Peru and Guatemala, with similar histories of guerrilla war and exploitation of indigenous people which resolved their conflicts through Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. If FARC and the Colombian government can come to an agreement on land reforms after 30 years, what prevents a democracy like India?


(The writer, a professor of sociology at Delhi University, was a co-petitioner in a case that resulted in the Supreme Court’s 2011 ban on the Salwa Judum.)

 

Empower tribals or it will get worse: Ex-DG, BSF


Commissioned in the Indian Police Service in 1965, EN Rammohan holds wide-ranging experience of fighting insurgency in Assam as well as Nagaland as the head of the Border Security Force (BSF) in a long career. In an interview with Tehelka Editor-at-Large Ajit Sahi, he suggests it would be counterproductive to escalate the war against the Maoists in Chhattisgarh as a reaction to the massacre by the rebels of 27 people, most of them leaders and workers of the Congress party, on 25 May 2013
Ajit Sahi

Ajit Sahi

May 29,2013e

EDITED EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW

Photo: NaveeshPhoto: Naveesh

The Maoists have claimed that they killed Congress leaders Mahendra Karma and Nand Kumar Patel in  on Saturday as a retaliation for the Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt. What do you have to say to that?

The answer must be given in the context of the non-application of the Fifth Schedule  of the Constitution. As per the Constitiution, the Scheduled Areas of the country are to be ruled by the Governor by appointing a Tribes Advisory Council which will decide what is done with the area and how it is to be administered.This Tribes Advisory Council has never been constituted by any governor. The chief minister has no role in the administration of the tribal areas and nor does the forest minister. The Tribes Advisory Council will decide whether the area must be given for mining or not. If you give the tribals this power, they will administer the area. If they want to extract minerals, they will have a liaison with the company and they will file an agreement and the company will take out the ore and the Panchayat will get the money.

What does this have to do with what the Maoists have done?

The advasi does not have this right. The chief minister of the state signs an agreement with the company and they evict tribals from the area. Is it not illegal and unlawful?

Are you saying that denial of rights to the land is fuelling the Maoist insurgency?

Obviously. The tribals are helpless. They have been evicted from hundreds of acres of land. The Maoists say that the government is illegal and unlawful. We will have to fight them.

Why has counterinsurgency been successful in the North-East but failed in Chhattisgarh?

the insurgency has not been successful in the North-East. First, we must ask why are civilians taking up the gun? it is because the government has been illegal and unlawful. If you remove the cause of insurgency, then it will disappear.

On 27 May, an additional 1,000 troops were sent and a combing operation was begun. How do you rate its chances of success?

There is no chance of any success because the leadership of the counter resistance forces is so poor. Besides, the main thing is that you are fighting on the wrong side. How are you going to help the adivasis when they see that the police are conducting operations? Do you know how many innocent people get killed in the process? How do you get the Maoists out of this game? That should be the objective.

Why dont you answer that question? How do we get Maoists out of this game?

Very simple. Enforce the Fifth Schedule. Let the adivasis administer the area themselves. The chief minister is illegally administering the area by signing a lease with the mining companies. Is that not illegal and unlawful?

Isnt the Chief Minister also a legally and democratically elected representative?

He may be democratically elected but he is doing an illegal thing. He has no power under the Act to administer the forests. The Fifth Schedule says it must be administered by the Governor of the state reporting to the President of India. Where does the Chief Minister come into this?

I want to ask you about Saturday’s massacre of 27 people. A lot has been said about how the route of the Congress convoy was changed at the last minute and the fact that not enough route clearance was done, that sanitisation wasnt done. What are these things sanitisation and route clearance?

Whenever there is insurgency in a forested area, particularly if there are some low hills and they are thickly forested and the road is passing through that, if any convoy of the Government or a political party is passing through that route, they should inform the Government that the route should be sanitised. There should be a road opening party to go on either side of the road to a depth of 1 km so that an ambush cannot be placed. They should occupy the area at least eight hours before the party is about to move and they should sit there. Secondly, an anti-sabotage party should go through with explosive detecting equipment and sanitise the road. Only after they give the clearance, the convoy should be allowed. I don’t think any of this had been done in this case.

But how can you sanitise a route that is as long as 70-100 km?

You cannot. But if you have a large enough force, then you can sanitise it. We have done it in the North-East. I’m not talking about some fairy-tale. I have done it. If it takes five days to cover 100 km, then take five days and sanitise it. If you are sitting there, then they can’t come and plant an IED.

The CRPF have faced a lot of fire from the Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Last year, the Maoists kidnapped the District Collector of Sukma, where the killings occurred on Saturday. Why are they so capable in that region?

Obviously, the forces have not been effective. The Sukma Collector went to that place with only two security guards. What a fool he is. He is a very important man and the collector of a district. He can’t go with just two men. He should have sent two-to-three companies ahead of him and cleared the area.

But he was trying an outreach among the tribal people.

Nonsense. You don’t have an outreach with two men as your guards. He will get kidnapped. The Maoists are using the adivasis to come to power. You are not treating them justly which is why they are going to the Maoists. The Maoists will promise them that when we get the power you will administer the area yourself. The adivasis are poor, illiterate people. What can they do but agree? The only way out is to implement the Fifth Schedule.

But in 65 years, the Fifth Schedule has never been implemented and it is not going to be implemented in a hurry.

It is the law of the land and if you are not implementing it, then you are illegal and unlawful. I’ll give you the answer why it is not implemented. Because, there are millions of dollars available to the Government under these areas and nobody wants to give that money to the adivasis.

Where do you see the situation headed now in the next two to six months?

It is going keep going on and on. Continuous fighting will take casualties. A lot of innocent tribals will be killed and the situation will keep on going from bad to worse.

 

Chhattisgarh- Mahendra Karma and his cynical form of vigilantism #Maoists


For long, Karma often resembled a wolf that preyed on the tribals of southern Chhattisgarh, many from his own tribe
Sudeep Chakravarti , The Mint
First Published: Tue, May 28 2013. 12 00 AM IST
Karma and his ilk gradually distanced themselves from the blood-letting, though the stains never really washed. Photo: Manpreet Romana/AFP
Karma and his ilk gradually distanced themselves from the blood-letting, though the stains never really washed. Photo: Manpreet Romana/AFP
Mahendra Karma is dead. And I am here to write ill of him.
This may be construed as indelicate in the aftermath of the savage Maoist attack on 25 May in southern Chhattisgarh that left him and several others dead—unlike Karma, many innocent of human rights wrongdoing. But it certainly is not an act of hypocrisy. Karma wasn’t exactly a man of probity. For long, the Congress party’s point man in Bastar, sometimes called “Bastar Tiger”, Karma often resembled a wolf that preyed on the tribals of southern Chhattisgarh, many of them from his own tribe, with utter disregard for their livelihood and lives. While I abhor violence, including the revenge hit by Maoists that finally claimed Karma at 62, his death should not be used to whitewash his crimes against humanity.
Where Karma, the son of a clan chief, walked, chaos could follow. I am still chilled when I listen to the intercept of a police transmission reportedly between the superintendent of police (SP) of Bijapur in southern Chhattisgarh and his junior colleague planning an operation to deny Maoists support among dirt-poor, neglected locals in that forested, resource-rich region.
The recording, distributed by human rights activists and Maoist sympathizers—not always interchangeable—to several researchers and writers, is from 2005. It was a time when Salwa Judum—which, in the local Gondi dialect, translates as Purification Hunt—an extreme, cynical form of vigilantism led by Karma took wing. He did so in compact with Chhattisgarh state, in a rare case of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Raman Singh and the leader of opposition—Karma, then a Congress member of the legislative assembly—seeing eye to eye. In the mirrored, public-consumption vocabularies of the government and Karma, Salwa Judum emphatically remained a spin—Jan Jagaran: People’s Awakening.
As I wrote in my book Red Sun, this is how people were sometimes awakened:
(SP) All officers and forces should be well distributed. And be on high alert. If any journalists come to report on Naxalis—get them killed. Did you understand?
(Voice): Roger sir…
(SP) …the Jan Jagaran people are telling villagers very clearly, ‘You come with us… If you do not come (after being told for the) third time, we will burn your village.’
Salwa Judum vigilantes destroyed homes, and stores of grain and any other food they had; killed dozens of men, women and children; maimed and—or—raped several. Children were forced to watch the death and dismemberment of parents. Pregnant women were disembowelled. The death and torture of those suspected of allying with Maoist rebels was instant. This intimidation, blessed by posses of state police and Union government paramilitaries who have their own record of blood, lust and war crimes in the region, at one point herded in excess of 50,000 tribal folk into little more than concentration camps across Dantewada district—since last year further split to create the additional districts of Bijapur and Sukma.
To be fair to Karma, there was a method to his madness. Maoists had begun to infiltrate the Dantewada region as far back as the 1980s—it was then part of the vast Bastar district of the undivided Madhya Pradesh—to establish what would later enlarge into the rebel-influenced Dandakaranya zone. Landlords such as Karma, himself a child of a tribal landed family, increasingly began to see left-wing extremists, then spearheaded by the vanguard of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War, as a threat. The perception was mutual.
For the rebels, Karma and his ilk symbolized the class enemy—worse, a tribal who came from traditionally, socio-politically oppressed stock was the class enemy of fellow tribal folk. For Karma & Co., the stealthily and rapidly infiltrating rebels represented a threat in several ways. For one, at the barrel of the gun they could redistribute land to the landless. For another, they were a direct threat to the local practice of Malik Makbuja, the right of the Adivasi to cut trees on his own land that had been subverted to benefit middlemen and various vested interests.
The MP Protection of Scheduled Tribes (Interest in Trees) Act, 1956-57, was designed to protect the interest of the Adivasis. Trees felled by them on their own land could not be sold to non-tribals and required monitoring by the office of the collector; a complex system deposited sale proceeds into an account. Middlemen often stepped in to facilitate the process, in several cases cheating the locals. Meanwhile, vested interest in the timber business thrived. Even as traders were on the lookout for any land owned by non-tribals, landed tribals such as Karma cut into the action by buying and grabbing land from fellow tribals. The local bureaucracy and the forest department staff played handmaiden to all the deal-making, coercion and removal of timber from prime forest land.
I most recently read about it in a document prepared in the defence of barefoot doctor and human rights activist Binayak Sen, which had a preface by Supreme Court lawyer Nandita Haksar. It cited a Central Bureau of Investigation first information report (FIR) from 1998 that, after taking into account a writ petition filed by two non-governmental organizations and the Lokayukta, held there was prima facie evidence of criminal conspiracy by several government officials and landowners. Among them, Karma. They were, the FIR stated, “party of (sic) criminal conspiracy during 1992-96 to cause wrongful gain to the land owners in the matter of felling trees. It is alleged that the accused public servants bestowed undue favours to the said land owners and others and illegally accorded permission to fell a large number of valuable timber trees on the basis of forged and fabricated documents and in utter disregard” of laws to protect aboriginal rights. As the document on Malik Makbuja noted: “No further action has been taken against Mahendra Karma or any of the other accused”.
While that’s another, familiar story of politico-legal winking—Madhya Pradesh at the time was a Congress satrapy—Karma and the Maoists evolved their own grudge match over influence. By late 2004, the merger of the People’s War faction with the Maoist Communist Centre (India) formed the rebel behemoth of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The extreme left-wing grip over Chhattisgarh appeared to be unassailable. Local rebel leaders and cadres, in their ideological enthusiasm and their bid for a power grab, were dictating nearly every aspect of tribal life—deciding when people could go to the market and, in some cases, even marriages.
The heavy-handedness that an ideological drive backed by weapons inevitably brings became an affliction, and resentment against the Maoists began to grow in several areas. Not just against members of the dalam, or armed cadre, but arguably more so against members of the sangham, the rebel militias and the recruitment, information and logistics networks. In a few villages, scuffles broke out between pro- and anti-Maoist groups. In one case in June 2005, Maoists even attacked villagers from nearby areas in Kotrapal who had gathered to decide against cooperating with Maoists. Two villagers died, several were beaten up; some were kidnapped. One major incident lit a reverse spark, as it were.
Karma, never short of bluster or chutzpah, latched on to this with blinding speed, and nurtured it with resentment, rumour and rigour. “Something had to be done,” K.R. Pisda, the former collector of Dantewada, told me as he elaborated on this when I interviewed him for Red Sun. “There were rumours that the Naxals were entering villages to loot, beat and kill. Anger began to spread… We established camps and organized food… Then we asked around, checked, and discovered there was no looting or intimidation as rumours had it.” In four or five days, people began to return home.
“Then Mahendra Karma arrived there,” Pisda told me. “He toured the area, talked to people, held meetings with important people, with elders.” Karma held frequent meetings in that area through that July, accompanied by a senior police officer, whipping up anti-Maoist sentiment till poorly attended meetings became mass gatherings. “Then in the middle of all this, we appointed special police officers, created village defence committees,” he said. Pisda dead-panned this admission of creating a force, frequently including adolescents, armed and paid a salary—at the time Rs.1,500 a month—from state funds, which really answered only to leaders such as Karma and several brutal sub-bosses, as they went about their business of being a rogue force. “Naxals started to attack these people—that continues,” he said.
Indeed, that continues till today. And so too the Judum, as it came to be known. The rogue force was formally disbanded by the government of Chhattisgarh after a severe censure by the Supreme Court in 2008 when it termed Salwa Judum illegal in its premise of the state arming civilians to kill—other civilians. But the Judum continued in the garb of the Koya commandos. After widespread legal and human rights outrage, the state modified its recruitment laws to take in several Judum cadres. In one form or another, the Judum writ still runs in southern Chhattisgarh.
Karma and his ilk—one that now quite transparently includes aiding corporate interests in the region—gradually distanced themselves from the blood-letting, though the stains never really washed. Talk has it that his influence within the Congress had lessened somewhat, though he was hopeful of a resurgence in a political drive aimed at weakening the hold of the BJP in southern Chhattisgarh—perhaps even claiming the seat in the legislature he lost in 2008.
I had some queries of him. The last time I tried to talk to him during a cocktail reception at the improbably named Babylon hotel in Raipur—a universe away from his village home in Farsapal, a short drive from Dantewada town—he had brushed my questions aside as being redolent of a “Naxali”, and soon left in a swish of heavily protected sport utility vehicles. Too bad.
The endgame in the battle against Maoist rebels is still to begin in earnest, but it will likely come sooner than later, precipitated by the 25 May incident. Meanwhile, the competitive hell that they and Karma & Co. created in Chhattisgarh festers. For now, Maoists remain here in force, intermittently fighting security forces. And Karma was hardly the last of his kind.
Sudeep Chakravarti is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country and Highway 39: Journeys through a Fractured Land. He writes a column each Friday in Mint, which focuses on conflict situations in South Asia that directly affect business.

 

Statement Condemning the Maoist Politics of Murder in Chhattisgarh


Statement Condemning the Maoist Politics of Murder in Chhattisgarh!

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the horrific massacre of leaders
and workers of the Congress Party and the security forces accompanying
them, carried out by the CPI(Maoist) in Chhattisgarh on Saturday. We
also wish to express our deepest condolences to the families of all
those killed in the convoy of Congressmen returning from an election
rally at Sukma in Bastar district.

The killing of senior state Congress leaders and their cadre is
particularly barbaric and reprehensible as they had, in the course of
the Maoist ambush, become captives or had surrendered voluntarily.
This is tantamount to cold-blooded murder of prisoners in custody, an
act that goes against all norms even in a state of civil or
international war. The targeting of a political party in this fashion
by the Maoists is also highly disturbing.

The latest Maoist action will only invite even more state repression
in the area that might as well swell the numbers of CPI(Maoists). If
that is the case then this politics is as evil as that it claims to be
fighting against and should be shunned by all those who stand for
democratic norms in political struggles for peace with justice.

We call upon the state and central governments to exercise great
restraint in their response to the Maoist atrocity.  It is high time
the spiral of violence in the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh be stopped
as it has already claimed innumerable lives.

Abha Dev Habib, Associate Professor, Miranda House, DU

Apoorvanand, Professor, Delhi University

Anivar Arvind, IT Engineer, Bangalore

Arshad Ajmal, Social activist, Patna

Dilip Simeon, Academic, New Delhi

Jagadish, Trade Unionist , Bangalore

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human Rights Activist, Mumbai

Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, Rajasthan

Satya Sivaraman, Journalist, New Delhi

Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD, Delhi

Vinod Raina , Educationist, Delhi

Also Endorsed by .

Arati Choksi, PUCL, Karnataka, Bangalor

Reetika Khera, Associate Professor, IIT Delhi

Dr Sunil Kaul, Public Health Activist,

Dheeraj, Coordinator, The Right to Food Campaign

Biraj Patnaik, Social Scientist with the Right to Food Campaign

Trideep, Advocate, Delhi High Court and Supreme Court,

Sachin Kumar Jain, Journalist and Writer with Vikas Samwaad

Radha Holla, Public Health Activist, Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India

Gurjeet Singh, Right to Food Activist, Ranchi, Jharkhand

Father Jothi, SJ, Social Activist, West Bengal

Prem Krishan Sharma, President, PUCL, Rajasthan, Jaipur

Radha Kant Saxena, VP pUCL, Rajasthan, Jaipur

DL Tripathi, VP, PUCL Rajasthan, Ajmer

Anant Bhatnagar, Organising Secretary, PUCL Rajasthan, Ajmer

Sawai Singh, Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh, Jaipur

Endorsed, also by

Harsh Mander, Director Centre for Equity Studies

RAjinder Sachar, EX Chief Justice Delhi and Sikkim High Court

Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM convenor

Aruna Roy,Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Lal Singh, Bhanwar Meghwanshi,
Narayan Singh

Shail Mayaram, Senior Fellow,CSDS. , Ps change wars to the singular if you can

Anjali Bhardwaj, NCPRI National Convenor

Vidya bhushan Rawat, Social Activist

Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign

Saito Basumatry, People’s ForumAssam

Sejal Dhand, Anna Adhikar Suraksha Manch

 

Chhatisgarh PUCL condemns the abduction and killings of Congress men in Bastar


CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN

(PEOPLES UNON FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)

___________________________________________________________________________

Chhatisgarh PUCL condemns the abduction and killings of Congress Party men in Darbha Ghati in Bastar area of the State

Calls for urgent intervention by democratic forces

to end the spiral of violence in the Region

Raipur,

25th May, 2013

The Chhattisgarh PUCL strongly condemns the attack by suspected Maoists on the convoy of Congress Party leaders in the course of their election campaign in the forested Darbha Ghati in Sukma area in which, according to news reports till the present time, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and Uday Mudaliar have been killed and the President of the Congress Party Nand Lal Patel is suspected to have been abducted. More than 20 people have been reportedly killed with several seriously injured and the numbers of missing, injured and fatalities are on the increase.

The PUCL has always had a principled stand opposed to violence and the politics of killings and abduction. The spiraling violence in the Bastar region in which the present killings and abduction have occurred, and only a week ago on 17th May, 8 villagers including 3 children and a jawan were killed in an operation of security forces in Village Edesmeta, district Bijapur. For the first time, the police actually admitted that those who were attacked were innocent and instituted an enquiry. This situation requires the urgent intervention of all democratic forces in the country as also expressed in the recent strong and anguished letter issued by the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri K Chandra Deo to the Governors regarding the situation in the Scheduled Areas.

Sudha Bharadwaj

General Secretary

(Chhattisgarh PUCL)

 

Chhattisgarh: Complaint against MLA for allegedly revealing rape survivor’s identity #Vaw #Justice


CHHATTISGARH, Posted on Jan 15, 2013 at 02:54pm IST

Raipur: Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party government, the Opposition Congress on Tuesday alleged that a ruling party MLA had disclosed the identity of a rape survivor of Raipur, Chhattisgarh and demanded registration of FIR against him. “BJP MLA Nand Kumar Sahu has disclosed the identity of the minor girl who was allegedly raped one month ago in the Urla area,” Shaliesh Nitin Trivedi Congress spokesperson said.

“The law as it currently stands is not in favour of revealing the identity of the rape victim and the MLA has acted in a very insensitive manner,” he added. Sahu had recently met the survivor to provide her assistance and later revealed her name and photograph which was totally irresponsible, Trivedi said adding that taking the matter seriously, a case should be registered against the MLA.

Additional Superintendent of Police Lal Umed Singh said Congress party workers have given them a complaint letter against Sahu in this regard and they have begun an investigation into it. No senior BJP leader was immediately available to comment on the issue.

 

Vedanta PIL: Centre asked to respond to plea for probe into funding forparties from UK group


vedanafinal11

MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 11/01/2013 03:06 PM |   

The ministry of home affairs and Election Commission of India have been asked by the Delhi High Court on Thursday to respond to a plea for a court-monitored probe by an SIT or the CBI into the funds allegedly received by the Congress and BJP from UK-based Vedanta Resources and some Indian public sector undertakings

The two-member Delhi High Court bench comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indermeet Kaur asked the home ministry and Election Commission of India (ECI) to file their replies in the matter relating to funds, allegedly received by the Congress and BJP from UK-based Vedanta and some domestic PSUs, within two weeks. The next date of the hearing in the matter is set for 4 February 2013. The court further said that it will not call upon the political parties, Congress and BJP, to respond until after hearing the responses of the Home Ministry and ECI.
The PIL was filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of IndiaMoneylife has been following the matter closely since it emerged last August. We have reported how the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Group, which does not give political donations, either in the UK of European Union without board approval, has admitted to paying around $8.3 million to political parties since 2003-04.
It has also emerged that both BJP and Indian National Congress (INC) have themselves declared, in their annual contribution reports submitted to the ECI, that they have received funding from the Vedanta Group, which is listed on London Stock Exchange under the name Vedanta Resources PLC.
Which political parties benefitted from Vedanta’s donations? Read the analysis, by Sucheta Dalal.
EAS Sarma, in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, had also pointed out that as per information compiled by ADR from 2007 to 2009, both BJP and Congress received donations from other companies as well. Nippon Investment and Finance Pvt Ltd, one of the promoters of Videocon Industries, donated Rs1 crore while a Honda group unit gave Rs15 lakh to the BJP as donation. Congress also received Rs2 lakh from State Trading Corporation of India and MMTC, both government undertakings.
The grounds for the PIL are, therefore, as follows:
a) INC and the BJP have violated Section 29B of the Representation of People’s Act 1951, which categorically prohibits them to take donations from government companies and from any foreign source
b) The donation of huge sums of money made by the Vedanta Group (being a foreign company) to major political parties like INC and BJP is in clear violation of the FCR Act of 1976 and the FCR Act of 2010.
c) The donation of huge sums of money by the public sector undertakings (who are also State within Article 12 of the Constitution) to the political parties is in violation of Section 293A of the Companies Act.
The petition also states that UK-based Vedanta Resources and its subsidiary companies in India, such as Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Malco “have donated several crores of rupees to major political parties like the Congress and the BJP”.
The plea was listed for 10 January 2013 after justice VK Jain recused himself, without assigning any reason, from hearing the matter which was listed 9 January 2013 before the bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan.
You may also like to read Moneylife’s coverage on: Which companies are funding political parties and how legal is it

 

Minor Rape case filed against Andaman Congress Counsellor #Vaw


Port Blair, 10 January: A Congress party councillor in the Anadaman and Nicobar Islands has been accused of raping a minor girl, media reports said on Thursday.

According to initial reports, the girl was raped in a hotel.

Police sources said the Congress leader Mahendra Prasad would be arrested soon since a case has been registered against him.

SP South Andaman Mandeep Singh Randhawa toldBengal Newz that police are preparing to arrest Prasad.

More details were awaited.

 

Egypt: The Next India or the Next Pakistan?


By , NYT
Published: December 15, 2012 

I WANT to discuss Egypt today, but first a small news item that you may have missed.

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

Go to Columnist Page »
Three weeks ago, the prime minister of India appointed Syed Asif Ibrahim as the new director of India’s Intelligence Bureau, its domestic intelligence-gathering agency. Ibrahim is a Muslim. India is a predominantly Hindu country, but it is also the world’s third-largest Muslim nation. India’s greatest security threat today comes from violent Muslim extremists. For India to appoint a Muslim to be the chief of the country’s intelligence service is a big, big deal. But it’s also part of an evolution of empowering minorities. India’s prime minister and its army chief of staff today are both Sikhs, and India’s foreign minister and chief justice of the Supreme Court are both Muslims. It would be like Egypt appointing a Coptic Christian to be its army chief of staff.

“Preposterous,” you say.

Well, yes, that’s true today. But if it is still true in a decade or two, then we’ll know that democracy in Egypt failed. We will know that Egypt went the route of Pakistan and not India. That is, rather than becoming a democratic country where its citizens could realize their full potential, instead it became a Muslim country where the military and the Muslim Brotherhood fed off each other so both could remain in power indefinitely and “the people” were again spectators. Whether Egypt turns out more like Pakistan or India will impact the future of democracy in the whole Arab world.

Sure, India still has its governance problems and its Muslims still face discrimination. Nevertheless, “democracy matters,” argues Tufail Ahmad, the Indian Muslim who directsthe South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, because “it is democracy in India that has, over six decades, gradually broken down primordial barriers — such as caste, tribe and religion — and in doing so opened the way for all different sectors of Indian society to rise through their own merits, which is exactly what Ibrahim did.”

And it is six decades of tyranny in Egypt that has left it a deeply divided country, where large segments do not know or trust one another, and where conspiracy theories abound. All of Egypt today needs to go on a weekend retreat with a facilitator and reflect on one question: How did India, another former British colony, get to be the way it is (Hindu culture aside)?

The first answer is time. India has had decades of operating democracy, and, before independence, struggling for democracy. Egypt has had less than two years. Egypt’s political terrain was frozen and monopolized for decades — the same decades that political leaders from Mahatma Gandhi to Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh “were building an exceptionally diverse, cacophonous, but impressively flexible and accommodating system,” notes the Stanford University democracy expert Larry Diamond, the author of “The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World.”

Also, the dominant political party in India when it overthrew its colonial overlord “was probably the most multiethnic, inclusive and democratically minded political party to fight for independence in any 20th-century colony — the Indian National Congress,” said Diamond. While the dominant party when Egypt overthrew Hosni Mubarak’s tyranny, the Muslim Brotherhood, “was a religiously exclusivist party with deeply authoritarian roots that had only recently been evolving toward something more open and pluralistic.”

Moreover, adds Diamond, compare the philosophies and political heirs of Mahatma Gandhi and Sayyid Qutb, the guiding light of the Muslim Brotherhood. “Nehru was not a saint, but he sought to preserve a spirit of tolerance and consensus, and to respect the rules,” notes Diamond. He also prized education. By contrast, added Diamond, “the hard-line Muslim Brotherhood leaders, who have been in the driver’s seat since Egypt started moving toward elections, have driven away the moderates from within their party, seized emergency powers, beaten their rivals in the streets, and now are seeking to ram a constitution that lacks consensus down the throats of a large segment of Egyptian society that feels excluded and aggrieved.”

Then there is the military. Unlike in Pakistan, India’s postindependence leaders separated the military from politics. Unfortunately, in Egypt after the 1952 coup, Gamel Abdel Nasser brought the military into politics and all of his successors, right up to Mubarak, kept it there and were sustained by both the military and its intelligence services. Once Mubarak fell, and the new Brotherhood leaders pushed the army back to its barracks, Egypt’s generals clearly felt that they had to cut a deal to protect the huge web of economic interests they had built. “Their deep complicity in the old order led them to be compromised by the new order,” said Diamond. “Now they are not able to act as a restraining influence.”

Yes, democracy matters. But the ruling Muslim Brotherhood needs to understand that democracy is so much more than just winning an election. It is nurturing a culture of inclusion, and of peaceful dialogue, where respect for leaders is earned by surprising opponents with compromises rather than dictates. The Nobel Prize-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen has long argued that it was India’s civilizational history of dialogue and argumentation that disposed it well to the formal institutions of democracy. More than anything, Egypt now needs to develop that kind of culture of dialogue, of peaceful and respectful arguing — it was totally suppressed under Mubarak —  rather than rock-throwing, boycotting, conspiracy-mongering and waiting for America to denounce one side or the other, which has characterized too much of the postrevolutionary political scene. Elections without that culture are like a computer without software. It just doesn’t work.

 

Stand by your man- Bhatt vs Modi mirror of Gender relations


Stand by your man

Monobina Gupta , TNN
03 December 2012, 11:12 PM IST

You may expect Shweta Bhatt, the valiant wife of the police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, to break into ‘Stand by your man’, a popular 60s’ country song. The homemaker wife has rushed in where political stalwarts fear to tread. Resonating with the spirit of those cloyingly sweet and jarring lyrics, Shweta’s act of bravery is meant to aid her husband Sanjiv and his fight against Narendra Modi. The verdict of the forthcoming uneven electoral face-off is virtually a foregone conclusion. But hold that thought. You could instead choose a different strain of music, for instance, Harry Belafonte’s ‘Man smart/women are smarter’ and ask: Who is the smarter one in this case? Shweta Bhatt or the Indian National Congress?

A political greenhorn, leveraged by a dispirited Congress, Shweta is about to take on the ‘roaring Gujarati lion’ in his seemingly impregnable den. If that doesn’t qualify as reckless political bravery, nothing does. But reckless valiance is not always a bad thing to experiment with. Especially in dire situations like this one – when you simply have nothing to lose. What you need perhaps is to make a symbol out of your defeat, to send out a hollow message of courage or honour in the face of yet another imminent calamity. That could be the Congress’s desperate game plan. But in this bizarre Modi vs Bhatt episode, that’s not the only idea at play. A devoted wife suddenly taking the political center stage, with husband by her side, who ends up speaking much too often on her behalf, also reinforces the traditional idea of Indian womanhood.

As Shweta herself has said, victory is not the essence of her contest. In other words, the politics of this high-pitched election has already been pushed aside. At the centre of all the buzz is the unexpectedness of a housewife, deciding to brave the dirty political world, if only for the sake of her embattled husband. Remember Lalu Prasad, who at the height of the fodder scam found succour from his politically novice wife Rabri Devi? Forced to give up his chief ministership, Lalu anointed Rabri as his successor, sidelining party heavyweights. Till then confined to the house and the kitchen, Rabri was pushed to the nerve centre of politics, not just of Bihar, her state, but also the Delhi darbar.

In this case, much is to be said of the conduct, or the lack of it, of the ruling Congress, Gujarat’s main opposition party. Languishing on the sidelines of Gujarat’s stormy political theatre, the Congress has systematically allowed its adversary to walk all over it. The party’s continued listlessness is inexplicable, to put it mildly. One would have expected the Congress to work itself into shape, especially in the aftermath of the 2002 riots and build for itself an identity that Modi would find tough to reckon with. Not just that, even on the chief minister’s much publicised development model, much was to be said as well as exposed. But the Congress played truant. Most of the stark revelations pointing to the gaping holes in Modi’s development project came from academics and stray journalists. Not the opposition party. The Congress continued to hibernate till it chanced upon a face-saver in Shweta Bhatt.

Interestingly, the Modi vs Bhatt case raises questions about not just party politics, but also gender politics. The BJP has grabbed this opportunity to point fingers at Sanjiv Bhatt and decry his charges against Modi. But just for a moment put politics aside, and Shweta could easily become the BJP’s brand ambassador promoting the image of the ideal Indian woman. As a party, which hardly ever misses an occasion to celebrate the sati-savitri cult, the

BJP should be proud of Shweta’s contribution to fortifying this patriarchal idealism. But that’s not the only contradiction. Shweta’s unexpected electoral foray must surely be a dampener for Modi and his professed masculine politics, his macho aggression, his inability to apologise. Imagine all that being wasted on a political neophyte like Shweta Bhatt.

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