Maoists deny links with Binayak Sen


Raipur, June 13, 2013

Suvojit Bagchi, The Hindu 

Human rights activist Binayak Sen during a function in Hyderabad. File photo
The Hindu Human rights activist Binayak Sen during a function in Hyderabad. File photo

Rebels term Shubranshu Choudhury’s book a “pack of lies, half-truths and scattered information”

For the first time, Maoists have denied links with social activist and paediatrician Binayak Sen.

The statement on Tuesday night came in the form of a rare rebuttal of a recent book, Let’s Call Him Vasu by journalist Shubranshu Choudhury. While Mr. Choudhury preferred to “stand by” his book, Dr. Sen said it is a “good development” for him.

Read review of Let’s Call Him Vasu.

Mr. Choudhury has also named other eminent activists of Chhattisgarh, who ostensibly are associated with the Maoists, in his book which deals with the day-to-day life of the rebels in the central Indian forest and the impact of the armed movement on the lives of tribals.

The State wing of the CPI (Maoist), Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), called the book a “pack of lies, half-truths and scattered information.” The release said that “even the disseminated information is distorted… and true lies, especially, the episode on Dr. Binayak Sen and the so-called relationship between Jeet and Mukti [Guha Niogi] and our party.”

The party has also refuted the allegation that it has taken money from Essar Steel as claimed in the book.

Mr. Choudhury has quoted a courier, Anil, of a senior Maoist leader and claimed in his book that Dr. Sen, a respected doctor and social activist, who was arrested for his alleged links with the Maoists, was actually an intermediary between Sabyasachi Panda, erstwhile leader of the Maoists in Orissa, and Narayan Sanyal, a Polit Bureau member of the party.

While Anil told the author that Rs. 50,000 was “collected” by a tendu leaves financier of Bengal, Piyush Guha, to deliver it to Mr. Sanyal for his legal expenses, through Binayak Sen, it is not clear if the money actually passed through the hands of the beleaguered doctor.

“I asked him [Sabyasachi Panda] if he ever got the money back. Piyush had been arrested before he could deliver or return the money, he replied,” Mr. Choudhury wrote in his book. With the DKSZC’s denial of the “Binayak Sen episode,” the controversy involving the doctor and the Maoists took a new turn.

Dr. Sen told The Hindu that he believes Mr. Choudhury is a “promising, young journalist,” and added, “… I have been saying all along what he [Mr. Choudhury] has stated is not true. For me, it is a good development, what I have been saying has been finally confirmed by the other party involved in the alleged transaction.”

Jeet and Mukti Guha Niyogi, the son and daughter of legendary trade union leader Shankar Guha Niyogi, are also named in the book. Mr. Guha Niyogi could not be reached on the phone for his comments.

The rebels, however, have not threatened the senior journalist and the rebuttal is more of a discussion on the praxis of the Maoist movement in India.

DKSZC spokesperon Gudsa Usendi said Mr. Choudhury had not made any “serious attempt” to understand the Maoist movement. “He has claimed to have spent seven years with us but… he has not tried to understand the basic aspects of class war.” However, other than underscoring their objections regarding the claims made about the civilian activists, the release has not clarified why the Maoist leadership is critical about the book.

The allegation seems to be more on how Mr. Choudhury failed to understand the Maoist movement than a point-by-point rebuttal.

The spokesperson is more direct about Mr. Choudhury’s radio broadcasts, which, according to Mr. Usendi, are “baseless.” Media reports suggest that comrade Ramanna alias Ravula Srinivas replaced veteran leader comrade Khosa as DKSZC secretary recently.

According to the release, Mr. Choudhury claimed in a recent radio programme that “Maoists will [now] focus more on violence after a change in the leadership.” Mr. Usendi objected to this observation and said such “imaginary analyses” are “bunkum.”

Alleging that “false propaganda” is often spread against the underground party to negatively influence the people’s movement, the release said “… consciously or unintentionally Mr. Choudhury has become part of it [propaganda machinery].” Mr. Usendi has also denied that there is a “rift” among the senior leaders.

Refuting the allegations, Mr. Choudhury said he stood by his book.

“My book was written on the basis of research conducted within the Maoist dominated areas and after detailed interviews with many Maoists. I stand by what I have written,” he said.

 

ATTN DELHI -Protest Demonstration against Killing of Gangaram Koal, Tea Community Workers’ Leader in Assam by Congress Goons


JOIN PROTEST AGAINST

HEINOUS MURDER OF CPI(ML)’S TEA WORKERS’ LEADER GANGARAM KOAL

BY CONGRESS-BACKED GOONS AND TEA-GARDEN MAFIA

12 APRIL (FRIDAY)

11 AM, JANTAR MANTAR

AICCTU 

 

On 25 March, Comrade Gangaram Koal was hacked to death.

Congress-backed goons and the local Congress MLA have been named in the FIR – but are yet to be arrested. On 12 April, protests will be held in Assam as well as nationally, demanding immediate arrest of the accused. Do join the protest in Delhi, after which a memorandum will be submitted via the Resident Commissioner at Assam Bhawan to the Assam Governor.

Contact nos: 9968125770, 7838497013, 9560756628

 

On the night of 25th March, Comrade Gangaram Koal, General Secretary of Asom Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangh and member of Assam State Committee of CPI(ML), was brutally assassinated near his home at the Gutibari tea garden in Tinsukia districtComrade Gangaram was a militant and popular leader of the tea community in the Dibrugarh-Tinsukia region, and he had been at the forefront of protests against large-scale corruption in gram panchayat schemes and in the public distribution system.Undoubtedly, he was killed at the behest of the corrupt nexus of panchayat representatives, government officials, and politicians, in particular the Congress MLA from Chabua Raju Sahu whose interests were threatened by his relentless activism.   

Comrade Gangaram Koal’s home adjoins a tea estate in Gutibari in Tinsukia district. He had been returning home at around 8 pm on is motorbike when he was attacked by assailants with an iron rod and hacked to death with machetes. His body was discovered by a tea garden worker soon after.

Comrade Gangaram Koal had led a successful struggle last year to get the licence of a corrupt ration agent cancelled. The raton agent, known to be close to the MLA Raju Sahu, ran a ‘fair price’ shop in which 60% of the consumers proved to be bogus, and the remaining 40% genuine consumers had not got even a fraction of their due rations. Only recently, leaders of the ACMS (the tea garden union affiliated with INTUC) were heard publicly declaring that Comrade Gangaram, who challenged their role as agents of the Congress and the tea industry, should be killed.

The ACMS acts to keep the tea garden workers as a captive vote-bank, and any emerging popular and independent leader from this community is ruthlessly eliminated or terrorized by the tea garden mafia. In 2000, Daniel Topno, a popular student leader from the tea community who contested as an independent MLA candidate and got substantial votes, was killed. In Sonitpur, Lakhikant Kurmi and Narayan Pondel, tea garden activists, survived a life-threatening assault. Not long ago, a close comrade of Gangaram Koal, CPI(ML) activist Shubhrajyoti Bardhan, was attacked twice – once at the Deputy Commissioner’s office where he had gone to raise question of irregularities in PDS, and once more in a village.     

Comrade Gangaram had been the CPI(ML)’s candidate in the Lok Sabha polls from Dibrugarh in 2009, and had twice been CPI(ML)’s MLA candidate from Chabua in 2006 and 2011. His heinous political assassination has sparked off a massive state-wide protest in Assam. It should be noted that CPI(ML) activists have been assaulted just a few months back by goons when they went to the food and civil supplies department to register a complaint against irregularities in the PDS.

The Tarun Gogoi Government of Assam initially ordered a CID enquiry and was adamant against ordering a CBI enquiry as demanded by the powerful mass movement that emerged to demand justice for Gangaram Koal. On March 29th, Assam observed a successful 12-hour Bandh at the call of the CPI(ML), demanding a CBI enquiry into the assassination. Subsequently, the Government has had to concede the demand for a CBI enquiry. However, it is important for the CBI enquiry to be time-bound. Justice delayed is often justice denied, and we can recall that the CBI enquiry into Daniel Topno’s murder is yet to submit its report even after 13 years.

Assassination has been a notorious stock-in-trade for the mafia of industrialists and politicians threatened by trade union movements. Trade Union leaders such as Shankar Guha Niyogi and Darasram Sahu in Chhattisgarh, Datta Samant in Mumbai, Gurudas Chatterjee and Jagdev Sharma in Jharkhand are some of the popular workers’ leaders who were martyred at the behest of the powerful vested interests. Comrade Gangaram’s courageous struggle will be continued by his comrades – because murder never can and never will silence workers’ struggles for their rights and their dreams of an egalitarian world.    

Joint Statement on Travesty of Justice in BATHANITOLA JUDGEMENT


We are deeply distressed and shocked at the judgment of Patna High Court (Bihar) on 16th April 2012 acquitting the upper caste/feudal murderers of the ghastly Bhatanitola Massacre in 1996. This is not only a severe miscarriage of justice but a massacre of the very notion of justice. Thus it is akin to the judicial massacre of the poor dalits and muslims of Bathanitola. This Patna High Court judgment not only makes a mockery of the lofty slogans of the Indian ruling classes like dignity , democracy, human rights, justice right to life and dignity but also shamelessly exposes the class/caste biasness of various organs of the Indian State including the judiciary. The upper caste landlord, contractor, mafia, bureaucracy, police, and political executive nexus is quite evident.

 

On 11th April 1996 Ranveer Sena, the private army of the upper caste landlords cold bloodily murdered 21 people poor dalits and muslims in Bathanitola in Bhojpur distict, Bihar. 3 toddlers (one of them only 3 months old), 6 children, 11 women were cruelly butchered by the Ranvir Sena .

 

This barbaric massacre was done in broad daylights in the presence of a large contingent of police; this clearly indicates the nexus between police and upper caste landlords in Bihar. The day after this ghastly massacre Kisun Choudhary registered a FIR in Sahar Police Station against 33 people involved in the massacre. In 2010 the Ara Sessions Court  has convicted 23 people for this massacre sentencing three to death and 20 to life imprisonment. But the Patna High Court has overturned the conviction and acquitted all the accused.

 

The fact that, 16 years after this massacre not a single person stands convicted for the brutal and barbaric slaughter of innocents, raises disturbing questions about whether the oppressed and the poor victims of massacres can expect justice in our courts.

 

It is relevant that the massacre was preceded by a series of attacks and a campaign of open terror against the people of Bhathani Tola by the Ranveer Sena, which enjoyed the support of several powerful politicians and parties. In spite of repeated intimations and appeals to the district police and administration no preventive action was taken. When the blood bath played out for hours and the mob of perpetrators used swords and guns to butcher people and set fire to homes, the police remained a mute and passive spectator. This complicity of the police and administration within the perpetrators continued after the massacre, leading to the weakening of the case against the accused, as noted by the Patna High Court. Shamefully, the three police eye witnesses to the massacre deposed in court as witness for the defense.

 

The verdict of the Patna High Court, acquitting the butchers of Bathanitola has shaken our faith in the judiciary and blatantly exposed its class/caste prejudice in this case.

 

In the past, respected judges of various courts have given similar verdicts of the cases of large scale massacres. In the decades of 1980s and 1990s many dreaded private armies of the upper castes, such as Brhmarshi Sena, Satyendra Sena, Savarna Libration front, Sunlight Sena, and Ranveer Sena had committed dozens of massacres. The victims of these massacres were the poor dalits and some of the most backward sections of the society. For example, the Ranveer Sena alone killed 116 people (with a large fraction of them being women and children) in 3 massacres of Laksmanpur Bathe (1997) Shankar Bigha (1999) and Miya Pur (2000).

 

The nexus between upper caste landlords, police and the judiciary is evident not only in the recent acquittal of the butchers of Bathanitola but also the acquittal of dreaded upper caste gangsters in the past. Ranveer Sena’s head Bramheshwar Singh had personally led over a dozen such massacres in Bhojpur, Jahanbad, Gaya and Aurangabad districts. He even admitted to his role to the police and the media. Even then he was released from prison in July 2010. Similarly, the head of the Savarna Liberation Front Ramadhar Singh alias Diamond, was also acquitted by the court. It should be noted that Savarna Liberation Front was directly responsible for brutal killings in Sawan Bigha (Jahanabad) and Main–Barsimha (Gaya). At present, most of the leaders of these criminal gangs have either been acquitted or granted very nominal punishment by the courts.

 

With immense anxiety and concern we underline the oppressive class/caste nature of the Indian state and its various organs like police, bureaucracy, and judiciary. Right to life, dignity and equality have proved to be a joke since the day one these rights were proclaimed by the constitution.

For decade we have been watching with horror the anti poor, dalit, women, minority judgments of various courts in India. Some glaring  example are like the Tamil Nadu High Court verdict in the Kilve mani massacre of 1969, which had found it astonishing and difficult to believe that rich men, owning vast extents of land, one of whom even possessed a car, could be guilty of burning alive 42 dalits. In the Bhawnri Devi case the learned judges of Rajasthan had said how upper caste men  can rape a lower caste women like Bhawnri Devi. The Durg Sessions Court had convicted Paltan Mallah and the owner of Simplex group for the murder of Shankar Guha Niyogi but the Jabalpur High Court let them scott off. The class and caste character of the Indian Judiciary is crystal clear.  On one hand while the perpetrators of Bhathanitola massacred are acquitted, on other hand the Indian State has witnessed brutal repression on the struggle poor like the Adivasi, dalits, minorities, women and oppressed nationalities. To sell of the natural resources to the national and international big business the Indian state has brutally launched Operation Green Hunt against the poorest of the poor who are struggling to save their land, forest, water, mines, dignity and livelihood.

We are watching with horror thousands of encounter deaths, torture, custodial rapes from Kashmir to North East and from Jangal Mahal to the forests of Odisha, Chhhatisgarh and Jharkhand. What happened to Soni Sori in police custody is a chilling reminder of this reality.

We condemn the blatant class and caste prejudice of the Bathanitola judgment and appeal to all the sensitive sections of the society to raise their voice against it.

STUDENTS   FOR   RESISTENCE-  DELHI

INDIAN SOCIAL ACTION FORUM- (INSAF)

Chittaranjan Singh-               National organising secretary PUCL

Arjun Prasad Singh-             PDFI

Ajit Jha-                              Samajwadi  Jan Parishad

Kiran Shaheen-                    Media Action Group, Delhi

Vijay Pratap-                       Socialist Front / Lok Rajnitik Manch

Kamayani Bali Mahabal-      Lawyer, Activist Mumbai

Nayan Jyoti-                       Krantikari Naujawan Sabha

Sourav Banerjee-                Bigul Mazdoor Dasta

Sunil Kumar-                      Pragatishil Mazdoor union, Delhi

P.K. Sundaram-                  Research Scholar JNU

Mohamed Usman-              Research Scholar JNU

Anand Krisna Raj-              Research Scholar JNU

Rashid Ali                          Independent Film Maker, Delhi

Shah Alam-                        Independent Film  Maker, Delhi

Shahnaz Malek-                 Armaan Mahila Sanghathan, Ahmedabad

Asit Das-                           Writer Activist, Delhi

 

 

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