Voice of Revolutionary Students

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Phil Ochs : what are you fighting for ?

Maoist India the Fight for economic Justice - Free Speech Radio


http://www.fsrn.org/audio/special-documentary-friday-december-25-2009/5949

In most places around India, Maoists are an underground hit and run force... but in Central India's Bastar forests, they're well-entrenched. Join us today for an encore presentation of "Maoist India, the search for economic justice."

2009 witnessed a series of attacks by Indian Maoists on state security forces. Now, India's central government is hitting back with a counterinsurgency operation known in the media as "Operation Green Hunt". The official anti-Maoist campaign includes the deployment of some 75 thousand police and paramilitary forces across a swath of territory known as "The Red Corridor." Human rights activists fear the operation will largely target the indigenous rural poor who live in mineral rich areas. In fact, it could resemble the scorched earth campaign used by the Sri Lankan military to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels. In 2006, FSRN's Vinod K. Jose traveled to the base areas of the Maoist rebels in Central India. Today, we bring you an encore presentation of the documentary, "Maoist India: The Search for Economic Justice."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rage Against the Machine against the X Factor Machine

Morello said that by buying 'Killing In The Name', fans are effectively voting against The X Factor and other reality TV programmes like it.

"The one thing about The X Factor show, much like our own American Idol, is if you're a viewer of the show you get to vote for one contestant or the other, but you don't really get to vote against the show itself until now," he told BBC 6Music.

He added that he felt the campaign – which currently has over 800,000 members on Facebook – was a "wonderful dose of anarchy" and "heart-warming".



Rage Against The Machine, performing Killing In The Name Of live from Los Angeles, as broadcast live on Radio 5Live on the morning of 17th December 2009. Includes video footage of the live perform...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Indian State Wants to Destroy the Maoist Development Model

Posted by Ka Frank on December 8, 2009 on Kasama

Forumpunjab Blog, December 5, 2009

What the State Wants to Destroy is the Alternate Development Model

An Appeal to Thinkers, Intellectuals, Artists and Writers

by Satnam and Buta Singh


The Indian state has amassed troops in central India on an unprecedented scale, to swoop down on the people. It is the latest of the wars launched by the Indian State against the people living in this country. The government says that it has to move against these areas as Maoists hold sway over it and it is not under the control of central or state authority.

In fact the natives of these jungles have been living there for thousands of years and have protected these forests as they ensure life to them and is their only source of livelihood for survival. These tribals are the most poor and wretched in our land. Popularly called adivasis, they are the oldest inhabitants of our country, still living in an ancient age. For thousands of years they have lived an archaic life.

In all these years, no one has been able to subjugate them. The British Empire tried to do this in 1910 but their marauding armies were repulsed and forced to beat a retreat. The resistance of the tribal people against the British forces was led by the great warrior Gundadhur. This is popularly known as the Bhoomkal Baghawat. Earlier, they had fought the British under the leadership of Birsa Munda in the famous Munda Rebellion in the nineteenth century.

Since then, no regime has dared to attack and attempt to subjugate them, whether they were the British or the post-British rulers sitting at Delhi. They have remained a free people all along, with their own culture, customs and a unique way of life.The central and state governments have been exploiting their forests and mineral and metal resources at an unbridled pace but have never done anything to provide them with basic requirements like drinking water, education, medical facilities etc. The loot of their resources has been enormous, to the tune of billions of rupees every year, with all the money going to the industrialists, bureaucrats, politicians, contractors and the police. All this was going on smoothly, till the the tribals awakened to their rampant exploitation and inhuman oppression and took to the path of resistance.

This resistance has been characteristic of their traditions and in accordance with their nature as an independent people. Their struggle is to put an end to this onslaught which has made their life, hell like. That is why they identified with the ideology of revolutionary Marxism which promises a world free of loot, exploitation and oppression. That is why they found common cause with the revolutionary Maoist rebels, who want to put a stop to every kind of exploitation and tyranny and build an egalitarian, humane society, free of any kind of discrimination.

Of course, as is well known by now, they are living on lands which are blessed with the richest minerals, metals and other natural resources like iron, coal, bauxite, manganese, corandum, gold, diamonds, uranium etc. The Indian state has never considered that tribals have a right to their land and jungles, and have constantly tried to usurp them in various ways. The State wants to further intensify this exploitation now, and has invited the foreign imperialist companies and Indian big industrial houses and their collaborations, to set up new projects on these lands.

The Indian government has signed Memorandums of Understanding to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees with the foreign and Indian industrial houses for this purpose. The contents of these MOU’s are secret and confidential and people have no access to them! The current offensive of the Indian state is to wrest back these areas from the control of these people and hand it over to these Companies. All this is being done in the name of development. But this development in fact is in no way the development of the material conditions of the life of the tribals and the people living around these areas. This is amply demonstrated in the earlier projects like Bailladilla, Balco, Bokaro, Bhilai, Jaduguda and numerous others.

Quite recently we have seen the people of Nandigram, Singur, Kashipur, Kalinga Nagar, Lalgarh, Pullavaram, Tehri and Narmada Project areas resisting the setting up of car factories, dams, huge mining pit centers, SEZ’s and other projects which have nothing to do with the development and well-being of the masses of ordinary toiling and poor in these areas or in the country elsewhere. It is meant to enrich the already handful of rich, who live a parasitic life, or to fill the coffers of foreign imperialist capitalists whose only religion is to loot, plunder and exploit. The people here have struggled and fought against the state for their rights over their lands and against the capitalist sharks on whose bidding the government acts.

The government has deployed lakhs of armed forces to destroy the resistance of the people, especially at places where it is strong and formidable and hampers the capitalists from acquiring resource rich lands. When government says it wants to take back the areas controlled by Maoists, in fact, it wants to smash the resistance of the people and snatch their lands to offer these to the mining giants, industrialists and super rich businessmen. Maoism is nothing but the rebellion of the people against injustice, notwithstanding whether the government calls them terrorists or whatever. Millions of people in these regions identify themselves with the cause of the Maoists and when millions become a movement for a just cause, they can’t be called terrorists.

The state admits that there are 223 districts out of a total of 600 where Maoists are active. This means that there are 223 districts where the people espouse this ideology and want an end to exploitation. That lakhs are support this resistance or are up in arms. That it has become a people’s movement. And what of the people in the remaining districts? Are there not workers, peasants, students, employees, petty shopkeepers and toiling masses who have no stake in this system, want a change for the better, and have the same dreams? If the 223 are up against injustice and the rest have the same aspirations then the state loses the right to use the invective of terrorism.

What the Indian state wants to destroy is not just the Maoists, but the aspirations of millions upon millions in this country, the dreams of every oppressed Indian.

It is using the media and all the propaganda machinery available, to denigrate and destroy this. To destroy the resistance of the down-trodden, their movement for change, which is the only thing that can bring them real happiness, in this wretched land of ours called Hindustan. This land, of the hungry. Of the exploited. Of the peasant who commits suicide. Of the youth facing a bleak future. Of the worker who is being laid off and kicked out of the factories. Of the employees of the organized sector who are losing all the rights gained over the years when their jobs are being contractualised. Of the government employees who have been booted out with a few crumbs in the name of VRS or Golden Handshake. Of the petty shop keepers and traders, whose enterprises are being gobbled up by the malls and the SEZs. This is the land crying for justice.

If Maoists are branded by the Prime Minister as the biggest internal threat to the country, then the rulers must think about what they have given to the people in the last 62 years of independence. Why have things come to such a pass? They have been ruling and organizing society and have utterly failed in the six long decades that they have been at the helm. The present state of affairs is their doing. Not that of the Maoists. Their development strategies have backfired and that can’t be blamed on the resisting people and the Maoists. The Maoists have come into the picture only recently, but what has the state been doing about the promises it made to the people at the time of independence? Where has the promise of a Tryst with Destiny vanished? The promise sworn by Jawaharlal Nehru from the ramparts of Lal Quila on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947? People are not to be blamed for that promise not being kept, nor are the Maoists.

So now, Operation Green Hunt is not being executed just because the government wants to wipe out the Maoists in an all out war, in the name of fighting terrorism. It is their attempt to annihilate the yearning of the people, their struggles, their resistance, their resolve for a better life, whether they are led by the Maoists or not. And when the tribal heartland refuses to cow down before such an attack, it deserves admiration.

The state intends to bring in the might of the Air Force against its own people. This is the result of the 60 years of misrule and the anti-people policies, they have been imposing. The people have never given them a mandate to carry out these policies. Over these years they have only opposed these policies through petitions, protests, strikes, sit-ins, struggles, resistance and also through hunger strikes and work to rule agitations. And god knows how many times the so-called people’s democratic state has fired on the protesters. How many times they have killed people. How many millions they have cane-charged and how many millions they have put into jails, not to speak of the thousands of custodial deaths and mass scale encounter killings. They never stopped the repression.

All these decades, rather than listen to the grievances of the people, this state, which swears by the non-violence of MK Gandhi, has been resorting to never-ending violence. Like a mafia. Yet, the resistance continued and revolts grew.

And now it has created the borders within, against its own countrymen.

The current attack on the poor in central India is nothing but an enhanced and more deadly version of the same state violence that has continued since 1947. It is meant to break the fight back of the people there, the fight of the poorest of the poor, of the tribal peasants, and workers working in the mines. It is meant to tell others everywhere in the country, not to stand up for their rights, not to oppose the policies of the state though they go against the interests of the people and the country.

The centre of resistance is being encircled not just to break it, but also to destroy the new things which the people have created during the course of their struggles and which they have toiled hard to build. The government has started a vilification campaign against those who refuse to budge, who refuse to kowtow and who refuse to be further misled by the never ending empty promises of development and progress. They know that this development is not for them. For a government which has discarded the ideal of a welfare state can’t genuinely embark on a thing which it has abandoned at the behest of imperialist capital, the World Bank and the WTO.

People’s Development Committees in the Dandakaranya

The people under attack have built their own local government, the Jantana Sarkar, at various levels, taking their future into their own hands, for a real tryst with destiny.

Let us have a look in brief, at what the people have built through their Development Committees in the villages in Dandakaranya, and what the State wants to destroy. It will give us a glimpse of what the Maoists hold as a vision for the progress and development of our country – development which is indigenously and self reliantly built, one which is people oriented and is constructed in the course of the people’s democratic participation, and one which cares for this land and its resources. Such development which will free us from the stranglehold of imperialist capital and its dictates. A course of action which can only be executed by the truly patriotic.

*The biggest reform undertaken is that of land. They have distributed lakhs of acres of land among every peasant household. And no one is allowed to keep more land than one can till. Thus doing away with unnecessary hiring of labour in agriculture. Even the Patels who used to oppress people and fleece them through unpaid labour have been allowed to retain land they can manage with their family’s labour. No non-tribals are allowed to own land there.

* Women are also given property rights over land.

*They have developed agriculture from the primitive form of shifting every one or two years, to systematic settled farming. They were taught to sow, weed and harvest the crops. They cultivate both their own private lands as well as co-operative fields for community use. The development of agriculture is being done without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

*They have introduced a wide range of vegetables like carrot, radish, brinjal, bitter gourd, okra, tomato etc., which the tribals of remote areas had never seen or tasted.

* They have planted orchards of bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, guavas etc.

* They have built dams, ponds, and water channels for breeding fish and for the purpose of irrigation. All this has been done through collective labour and the produce is distributed free to every household.

* They have dug wells for safe drinking water. The industrial projects have destroyed underground water resources, and streams have been polluted to such an extent, that the fish and water life have died as also the vegetation around it. Many fruit trees have stopped flowering around these water resources.

* They have set up rice mills in a number of villages. These mills have freed women from the daily pounding of paddy for extracting grain. Many of these mills have been destroyed by Salwa Judum which was launched by the government, which talks so much about development in these areas.

* They have built a health care system which reaches every tribal peasant in every village. Each village has a Medicine Unit which has been trained to identify diseases and distribute medicines to the villagers. The health of the tribals rates only second in priority to the fight against exploitation and oppression.

* The women participate equally in these developmental activities. Special attention is paid to the issue of patriarchy and that is why they come forward equally to defend their rights and lands.

* They run schools. The schools built by the government are completely non-functional and are usually used by the police and paramilitary forces when they raid villages. That is one reason the people pull down these pucca structures which have become symbols of repression.

* They have published books and magazines in the Gondi language. As a result, it is for the first time that this language has found a place in the written world. Songs, articles and anecdotes written by the Gond people are published in the magazines brought out by the movement. These are the initial steps to develop this ancient language which has been neglected, just as the people have been. Though there is no existing script in Gondi, they use devnagri script.

* The remunerative prices for Tendu leaf collection and wages for the cutting of bamboo and timber is fixed by the Maoist movement taking into consideration the interests of the tribals.

* Trade in the movement area goes on without hindrance. The traders are not allowed to cheat the tribals in haat bazaars. The movement announces remunerative prices for the jungle produce and paddy which the traders agree to. The presence of guerrillas ensures fair trade practices. On the other hand, the traders feel happy that there is no danger of theft or robberies in the movement controlled areas and they can move about there, freely.

* They have their own justice system. People’s Courts are held to settle various disputes among the people, as well as with the oppressors.

* Theft, robbery, cheatings, murders for property and personal gains have vanished.

* Sexual harassment and rape by the forest department, the contractors and the police has become a thing of the past. Now the women walk freely in the jungle whether it is day or night.

* Democratic functioning has been introduced at the village level onwards. The Gram Rajya Committees (now called Revolutionary Peoples Committees) function at the head of various committees like Development Committees which look after agriculture, fish farming, education, village development, Medicine Units etc.

* The women and children have their own organizations in almost every village. The tribal peasants have their separate organization, with units in every village.

* Almost every village has units of People’s Militia which take up the responsibility of defense of the village.

* Cultural organizations thrive in these jungles as the tribals have great affinity for cultural activities. These organizations propagate through songs, dances, plays and other art forms, on all the issues whether local, national or international.

* The movement has been able to prevent starvation deaths in its areas.


Salwa Judum – the Privatization of State Violence
Salwa Judum was a terror campaign launched by the government, where the police recruited tribal youth at Rs.1500 per month as Special Police Officers (SPOs). The SPOs were given arms and let loose on the villagers in the movement areas. They burned, killed, raped and forced people to flee their homes, with the help of paramilitary forces and specially trained Naga Battalions standing guard.

Salwa Judum restricted and destroyed trade in these areas by closing down the haat bazaars and trying to demolish their economy to force the tribals into submission. From 2005-07, this went on for two years They destroyed standing and harvested crops, burned or poisoned the grain and other jungle produce kept by the tribals for exchange in the haat bazaars to procure other essentials of life. Even all this could not force the tribals to submit. Rather than surrender, they lived on bamboo seeds.

The bloody campaign of Salwa Judum killed hundreds of tribals, burned hundreds of villages, raped hundreds of women, forcing about 50,000 tribals to live in enclosures called relief camps, set up by the police, which the tribals ultimately fled. This campaign forced about 30,000 people to flee their villages for other provinces. Lakhs of people were forced to leave their homes and to roam in the interiors of the jungles. In fact the government tried to destroy their whole economy and sources of livelihood even threatening to poison open water sources in the forests.

But the resistance continued. It could not be broken.

And Now

Bitter with its failure to make the people yield to them, the government has now embarked upon Operation Green Hunt, a military campaign with nearly one lakh personnel. Under various pretexts, the Indian Air Force is weighing its wings to swoop down on the forests, in spite of promises to the contrary by the Prime Minister.

We have been told that Maoists are the biggest internal threat to the country. Who are these Maoists? They are just the people themselves who have taken to the path of resistance, to struggle against the various Indian governments, who one after the other, do not allow them a life of dignity or one of peace. The state is attacking its own people threatening to wipe them out, if they don’t vacate the lands they have lived on for centuries. And we know about the term collateral damage – the killing of the civilian population in a war. Salwa Judum killed the people without a declared war, now they intend to kill on a much huger scale. They want to break the back of resistance by killing people. They want to hand over the resource rich lands of the tribals to the greedy foreign capitalist lords. They want to destroy the alternate development what the people have created with their enormous toil and persistent struggles.

Let us think. Let us awake. Let us spread the word. Let us awaken the people everywhere else. Let us raise our voice against injustice. Let us tell the government that it must stop this war against its own people and instead listen to them, respect their aspirations and attend to their demands.

This is an unjust war which the government has declared on its own people. It must stop.

Here are the names who have so far consented to the paper and signed it:

1. Gursharan Singh, Dramatist-Activist, Punjab
2. Prof. Bawa Singh, Guru Sar Sudhar College, Sudhar, Ludhiana
3. Jaswant Kailvi, Ghazalgo, Writer, Ferozepur
4. Baru Satwarg, Novelist-Activist, Rampuraphul, Bathinda
5. Dr. Baldev Singh, Deptt. of Economics, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Delhi
6. Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Veteran Journalist (Presently Media Consultant with Punjabi University, Patiala)
7. Samual John, Director Peoples’ Theatre, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur
8. Jatinder Mauhar, Film Director, Mohali
9. Megh Raj Mitter (Shiromani Lekhak), Barnala, Punjab
10. Dr. Mohan Tyagi, B.N. Khalsa Senior Sec. School, Patiala
11. Master Des Raj Chhajli, Lok Kala Manch Chhajli, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur
12. Jagdish Papra, Writer, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur
13. Narinder Nath Sharma, Advocate, Patiala
14. Dr. Tejwant Mann, Literary Critic, Sangrur
15. Prof, Harbhajan Singh, Writer, USA
16. Yadwinder Kurfew, TV Journalist, Delhi
17. Harbans Heon, Writer, Banga, Nawanshahr
18. Ajmer Sidhu, Writer, Nawanshahr
19. Gurmit Juj, Poet, Singer, Krantikari Sabhayachar Kendar, Punjab
20. Balbir Chohla, Activist-Journalist, Taran Taran
21. Prof. Bhupinder Singh (retd), Sociology, Punjabi University, Patiala
22. Satnam, Writer-Freelance Journalist, Patiala
23. Buta Singh, Publisher, Baba Bujha Singh Prakashan, Banga, Nawanshahr
24. Jasdeep, Software Engineer, Delhi
25. Harpreet Rathore, TV Journalist, Delhi
26. Veer Singh, Research Scholar, JNU
27. Narbhinder, Activist-Writer, Sirsa
28. Karam Barsat, Columnist, Sangrur
29. Sukirat, Journalist-Writer, Jalandhar
30. Makhan Singh Namol, Advocate, Sangrur
31. Davinderpal, TV Journalist, Delhi
32. Partap Virk, TV Journalist, Delhi
33. Dr. Bhim Inder Singh, Lecturer, Punjabi University, Patiala
34. Jasvir Deep, Journalist and Social Activist, Nawanshahr
35. Paramjit Dehal, Poet & Literary Activist, Nawanshehar
36. Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Democratic Rights Activist, Ludhiana
37. Dr. Gurjant Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala.
38. Iqbal Kaur Udaasi, Progressive Singer-Activist, Barnala
39. Balvir Parwana, Editor Sunday Magazine, Nawa Zamana, Jalandhar
40. Jugraj Dhaula, Poet-Singer, Barnala
41. Dr. Ajit Pal, Writer-Activist, Bathinda
42. Rajinder Rahi, Writer, Barnala
43. Bhupinder Waraich, State President, Democratic Teachers’ Front, Punjab
44. Didar Shetra, Poet, Nawanshahr
45. Baldev Balli, Poet, Nawanshahr
46. Jagsir Jeeda, Lyricist-Singer, Giderbaha, Bathinda
47. Hakem Singh Noor, Poet-Activist, Barnala
48. Charanjeet Singh Teja, Freelance Journalist, Amritsar
49. Attarjit, Short Story Writer, Bathinda
50. Rajeev Lohatbaddi, Advocate, Patiala
51. Harvinder Deewana, Chetna Kala Kender, Barnala
52. Balwinder Kotbhara, Writer-Journalist, Bathinda
53. B.R.P. Bhaskar, Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram
54. S.S. Azaad, Writer, Mansa
55. Sadhu Binning, Writer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
56. Hiren Gandhi
57. Vijay Bombeli, Feature writer, Hoshiarpur
58. Paramjeet Singh Khatra, Advocate, Nawan Shehar
59. Daljeet Singh, Advocate, Nawan Shehar
60. Baldev Singh, Advocate, District Courts Patiala
61. Paramjit Kahma, Doaba Sahit Ate Sabhiachar Sabha, Jejon (Hoshiarpur)
62. Dr. Ramesh Bali, Nawanshehar, Activist
63. Puneet Sehgal, programme executive, DoorDarshan, Jalandhar
64. Harkesh Chaudhry & Other Artists, Lok Kala Manch, Mandi MulanPur, (Ldh)
65. Prof. Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Dramatist, Mansa
66. Dr. Maninder Kang, Writer, Jalandhar
67. Charanjit Bhullar, Journalist, Bathinda

Satnam (No.22), and Buta Singh (No.23) are the coauthors of this appeal

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

India: interview with Ganapathi leader of Communist Party of India Maoist


This interview is originally published on India’s weekly Open Magazine
Thanks to WPRM Britain for bring this interview to our attention

At first sight, Mupalla Laxman Rao, who is about to turn 60, looks like a school teacher. In fact, he was one in the early 1970s in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. In 2009, however, the bespectacled, soft-spoken figure is India’s Most Wanted Man. He runs one of the world’s largest Left insurgencies—a man known in Home Ministry dossiers as Ganapathi; a man whose writ runs large through 15 states. The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) is a science graduate and holds a B Ed degree as well. He still conducts classes, but now they are on guerrilla warfare for other senior Maoists. He replaced the founder of the People’s War Group, Kondapalli Seetharaamiah, as the party’s general-secretary in 1991. Ganapathi is known to change his location frequently, and intelligence reports say he has been spotted in cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kochi. After months of attempts, Ganapathi agreed to give his first-ever interview. Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, he spoke to RAHUL PANDITA on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements.

Q: Lalgarh has been described as the New Naxalbari by the CPI (Maoist). How has it become so significant for you?

A: The Lalgarh mass uprising has, no doubt, raised new hopes among the oppressed people and the entire revolutionary camp in West Bengal. It has great positive impact not only on the people of West Bengal but also on the people all over the country. It has emerged as a new model of mass movement in the country. We had seen similar types of movements earlier in Manipur, directed against Army atrocities and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in Kashmir, in Dandakaranya and to some extent in Orissa, after the Kalinganagar massacre perpetrated by the Naveen Patnaik government.

Then there have been mass movements in Singur and Nandigram but there the role of a section of the ruling classes is also significant. These movements were utilised by the ruling class parties for their own electoral interests. But Lalgarh is a more widespread and more sustained mass political movement that has spurned the leadership of all the parliamentary political parties, thereby rendering them completely irrelevant. The people of Lalgarh had even boycotted the recent Lok Sabha polls, thereby unequivocally demonstrating their anger and frustration with all the reactionary ruling class parties. Lalgarh also has some distinctive features such as a high degree of participation of women, a genuinely democratic character and a wider mobilisation of Adivasis. No wonder, it has become a rallying point for the revolutionary-democratic forces in West Bengal.

Q: If it is a people’s movement, how did Maoists get involved in Lalgarh?

A: As far as our party’s role is concerned, we have been working in Paschim Midnapur, Bankura and Purulia, in what is popularly known as Jangalmahal since the 1980s. We fought against the local feudal forces, against the exploitation and oppression by the forest officials, contractors, unscrupulous usurers and the goondaism of both the CPM and Trinamool Congress. The ruling CPM, in particular, has become the chief exploiter and oppressor of the Adivasis of the region, and it has unleashed its notorious vigilant√© gangs called Harmad Vahini on whoever questions its authority. With the State authority in its hands, and with the aid of the police, it is playing a role worse than that of the cruel landlords in other regions of the country.

Given this background, anyone who dares to fight against oppression and exploitation by the CPM can win the respect and confidence of the people. Since our party has been fighting uncompromisingly against the atrocities of the CPM goons, it naturally gained the confidence and respect of the people of the region.

The police atrocities in the wake of the landmine blast on 2 November [in 2008, from which West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had a narrow escape] acted as the trigger that brought the pent-up anger of the masses into the open. This assumed the form of a long-drawn mass movement, and our party played the role of a catalyst.

Q: But not so long ago, the CPM was your friend. You even took arms and ammunition from it to fight the Trinamool Congress. This has been confirmed by a Politburo member of CPI (Maoist) in certain interviews. And now you are fighting the CPM with the help of the Trinamool. How did a friend turn into a foe and vice-versa?

A: This is only partially true. We came to know earlier that some ammunition was taken by our local cadre from the CPM unit in the area. There was, however, no understanding with the leadership of the CPM in this regard. Our approach was to unite all sections of the oppressed masses at the lower levels against the goondaism and oppression of Trinamool goons in the area at that time. And since a section of the oppressed masses were in the fold of the CPM at that time, we fought together with them against Trinamool. Still, taking into consideration the overall situation in West Bengal, it was not a wise step to take arms and ammunition from the CPM even at the local level when the contradiction was basically between two sections of the reactionary ruling classes.

Our central committee discussed this, criticised the comrade responsible for taking such a decision, and directed the concerned comrades to stop this immediately. As regards taking ammunition from the Trinamool Congress, I remember that we had actually purchased it not directly from the Trinamool but from someone who had links with the Trinamool. There will never be any conditions or agreements with those selling us arms. That has been our understanding all along. As regards the said interview by our Politburo member, we will verify what he had actually said.

Q: What are your tactics now in Lalgarh after the massive offensive by the Central and state forces?

A: First of all, I wish to make it crystal clear that our party will spearhead and stand firmly by the side of the people of Lalgarh and entire Jangalmahal, and draw up tactics in accordance with the people’s interests and mandate. We shall spread the struggle against the State everywhere and strive to win over the broad masses to the side of the people’s cause. We shall fight the State offensive by mobilising the masses more militantly against the police, Harmad Vahini and CPM goons. The course of the development of the movement, of course, will depend on the level of consciousness and preparedness of the people of the region. The party will take this into consideration while formulating its tactics. The initiative of the masses will be released fully.

Q: The Government has termed Lalgarh a ‘laboratory’ for anti-Naxal operations. Has your party also learnt any lessons from Lalgarh?

A: Yes, our party too has a lot to learn from the masses of Lalgarh. Their upsurge was beyond our expectations. In fact, it was the common people, with the assistance of advanced elements influenced by revolutionary politics, who played a crucial role in the formulation of tactics. They formed their own organisation, put forth their charter of demands, worked out various novel forms of struggle, and stood steadfast in the struggle despite the brutal attacks by the police and the social-fascist Harmad gangs. The Lalgarh movement has the support of revolutionary and democratic forces not only in West Bengal but in the entire country. We are appealing to all revolutionary and democratic forces in the country to unite to fight back the fascist offensive by the Buddhadeb government in West Bengal and the UPA Government at the Centre. By building the broadest fighting front, and by adopting appropriate tactics of combining the militant mass political movement with armed resistance of the people and our PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerilla Army), we will defeat the massive offensive by the Central-state forces. I cannot say more than this at the present juncture.

Q: The Centre has declared an all-out war against Maoists by branding the CPI (Maoist) a terrorist organisation and imposing an all-India ban on the party. How has it affected your party?

A : Our party has already been banned in several states of India. By imposing the ban throughout the country, the Government now wants to curb all our open activities in West Bengal and a few other states where legal opportunities exist to some extent. The Government wants to use this draconian UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act] to harass whoever dares to raise a voice against fake encounters, rapes and other police atrocities on the people residing in Maoist-dominated regions. Anyone questioning the State’s brutalities will now be branded a terrorist.

The real terrorists and biggest threats to the country’s security are none other than Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, Buddhadeb, other ruling class leaders and feudal forces who terrorise the people on a daily basis.

The UPA Government had declared, as soon as it assumed power for the second time, that it would crush the Maoist ‘menace’ and began pouring in huge funds to the states for this purpose. The immediate reason behind this move is the pressure exerted by the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and the imperialists, particularly US imperialists, who want to plunder the resources of our country without any hindrance. These sharks aspire to swallow the rich abundant mineral and forest wealth in the vast contiguous region stretching from Jangalmahal to north Andhra. This region is the wealthiest as well as the most underdeveloped part of our country. These sharks want to loot the wealth and drive the Adivasi people of the region to further impoverishment.

Another major reason for the current offensive by the ruling classes is the fear of the rapid growth of the Maoist movement and its increasing influence over a significant proportion of the Indian population. The Janatana Sarkars in Dandakaranya and the revolutionary people’s committees in Jharkhand, Orissa and parts of some other states have become new models of genuine people’s democracy and development. The rulers want to crush these new models of development and genuine democracy, as these are emerging as the real alternative before the people of the country at large.

Q: The Home Ministry has made preparations for launching a long-term battle against Maoists. A huge force will be soon trying to wrest away areas from your control. How do you plan to confront this offensive?
A: Successive governments in various states and the Centre have been hatching schemes over the years. But they could not achieve any significant success through their cruel offensive in spite of murdering hundreds of our leaders and cadres. Our party and our movement continued to consolidate and expand to new regions. From two or three states, the movement has now spread to over 15 states, giving jitters to the ruling classes. Particularly after the merger of the erstwhile MCCI and People’s War in September 2004 [the merger between these groups led to the formation of the CPI (Maoist)], the UPA Government has unleashed the most cruel all-round offensive against the Maoist movement. Yet our party continued to grow despite suffering some severe losses. In the past three years, in particular, our PLGA has achieved several significant victories.

We have been confronting the continuous offensive of the enemy with the support and active involvement of the masses. We shall confront the new offensive of the enemy by stepping up such heroic resistance and preparing the entire party, PLGA, the various revolutionary parties and organisations and the entire people. Although the enemy may achieve a few successes in the initial phase, we shall certainly overcome and defeat the Government offensive with the active mobilisation of the vast masses and the support of all the revolutionary and democratic forces in the country. No fascist regime or military dictator in history could succeed in suppressing forever the just and democratic struggles of the people through brute force, but were, on the contrary, swept away by the high tide of people’s resistance. People, who are the makers of history, will rise up like a tornado under our party’s leadership to wipe out the reactionary blood-sucking vampires ruling our country.

Q : Why do you think the CPI (Maoist) suffered a serious setback in Andhra Pradesh?

A : It was due to several mistakes on our part that we suffered a serious setback in most of Andhra Pradesh by 2006. At the same time, we should also look at the setback from another angle. In any protracted people’s war, there will be advances and retreats. If we look at the situation in Andhra Pradesh from this perspective, you will understand that what we did there is a kind of retreat. Confronted with a superior force, we chose to temporarily retreat our forces from some regions of Andhra Pradesh, extend and develop our bases in the surrounding regions and then hit back at the enemy.

Now even though we received a setback, it should be borne in mind that this setback is a temporary one. The objective conditions in which our revolution began in Andhra Pradesh have not undergone any basic change. This very fact continues to serve as the basis for the growth and intensification of our movement. Moreover, we now have a more consolidated mass base, a relatively better-trained people’s guerrilla army and an all-India party with deep roots among the basic classes who comprise the backbone of our revolution. This is the reason why the reactionary rulers are unable to suppress our revolutionary war, which is now raging in several states in the country.

We had taken appropriate lessons from the setback suffered by our party in Andhra Pradesh and, based on these lessons, drew up tactics in other states. Hence we are able to fight back the cruel all-round offensive of the enemy effectively, inflict significant losses on the enemy, preserve our subjective forces, consolidate our party, develop a people’s liberation guerrilla army, establish embryonic forms of new democratic people’s governments in some pockets, and take the people’s war to a higher stage. Hence we have an advantageous situation, overall, for reviving the movement in Andhra Pradesh. Our revolution advances wave-like and periods of ebb yield place to periods of high tide.

Q: What are the reasons for the setback suffered by the LTTE in Sri Lanka?

A: There is no doubt that the movement for a separate sovereign Tamil Eelam has suffered a severe setback with the defeat and considerable decimation of the LTTE. The Tamil people and the national liberation forces are now leaderless. However, the Tamil people at large continue to cherish nationalist aspirations for a separate Tamil homeland. The conditions that gave rise to the movement for Tamil Eelam, in the first place, prevail to this day. The Sinhala-chauvinist Sri Lankan ruling classes can never change their policy of discrimination against the Tamil nation, its culture, language, etcetera. The jingoistic rallies and celebrations organised by the government and Sinhala chauvinist parties all over Sri Lanka in the wake of Prabhakaran’s death and the defeat of the LTTE show the national hatred for Tamils nurtured by Sinhala organisations and the extent to which the minds of ordinary Sinhalese are poisoned with such chauvinist frenzy.

The conspiracy of the Sinhala ruling classes in occupying Tamil territories is similar to that of the Zionist rulers of Israel. The land-starved Sinhala people will now be settled in Tamil areas. The entire demography of the region is going to change. The ground remains fertile for the resurgence of the Tamil liberation struggle.

Even if it takes time, the war for a separate Tamil Eelam is certain to revive, taking lessons from the defeat of the LTTE. By adopting a proletarian outlook and ideology, adopting new tactics and building the broadest united front of all nationalist and democratic forces, it is possible to achieve the liberation of the oppressed Tamil nation [in Sri Lanka]. Maoist forces have to grow strong enough to provide leadership and give a correct direction and anti-imperialist orientation to this struggle to achieve a sovereign People’s Democratic Republic of Tamil Eelam. This alone can achieve the genuine liberation of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka.

Q: Is it true that you received military training from the LTTE initially?

A: No. It is not a fact. We had clarified this several times in the past.

Q: But, one of your senior commanders has told me that some senior cadre of the erstwhile PWG did receive arms training and other support from the LTTE.

A: Let me reiterate, there is no relation at all between our party and the LTTE. We tried several times to establish relations with the LTTE but its leadership was reluctant to have a relationship with Maoists in India. Hence, there is no question of the LTTE giving training to us. In spite of it, we continued our support to the struggle for Tamil Eelam. However, a few persons who had separated from the LTTE came into our contact and we took their help in receiving initial training in the last quarter of the 1980s.

Q: Does your party have links with Lashkar-e-Toiba or other Islamic militant groups having links with Pakistan?

A: No. Not at all. This is only mischievous, calculated propaganda by the police officials, bureaucrats and leaders of the reactionary political parties to defame us and thereby justify their cruel offensive against the Maoist movement. By propagating the lie that our party has links with groups linked to Pakistan’s ISI, the reactionary rulers of our country want to prove that we too are terrorists and gain legitimacy for their brutal terror campaign against Maoists and the people in the areas of armed agrarian struggle. Trying to prove the involvement of a foreign hand in every just and democratic struggle, branding those fighting for the liberation of the oppressed as traitors to the country, is part of the psychological-war of the reactionary rulers.

Q: What is your party’s stand regarding Islamist jihadist movements?

A: Islamic jihadist movements of today are a product of imperialist—particularly US imperialist—aggression, intervention, bullying, exploitation and suppression of the oil-rich Islamic and Arab countries of West Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, etcetera, and the persecution of the entire Muslim religious community. As part of their designs for global hegemony, the imperialists, particularly US imperialists, have encouraged and endorsed every war of brazen aggression and brutal attacks by their surrogate state of Israel.

Our party unequivocally opposes every attack on Arab and Muslim countries and the Muslim community at large in the name of ‘war on global terror’. In fact, Muslim religious fundamentalism is encouraged and fostered by imperialists as long as it serves their interests—such as in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, and Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan.

Q: But what about attacks perpetrated by the so-called ‘Jihadis’ on innocent people like it happened on 26/11?
A: See, Islamic jihadist movements have two aspects: one is their anti-imperialist aspect, and the other their reactionary aspect in social and cultural matters. Our party supports the struggle of Muslim countries and people against imperialism, while criticising and struggling against the reactionary ideology and social outlook of Muslim fundamentalism. It is only Maoist leadership that can provide correct anti-imperialist orientation and achieve class unity among Muslims as well as people of other religious persuasions. The influence of Muslim fundamentalist ideology and leadership will diminish as communist revolutionaries and other democratic-secular forces increase their ideological influence over the Muslim masses. As communist revolutionaries, we always strive to reduce the influence of the obscurantist reactionary ideology and outlook of the mullahs and maulvis on the Muslim masses, while uniting with all those fighting against the common enemy of the world people—that is, imperialism and particularly American imperialism.

Q : How do you look at the changes in US policy after Barack Obama took over from George Bush?

A: Firstly, one would be living in a fool’s paradise if one imagines that there is going to be any qualitative change in American policy—whether internal or external—after Barack Obama took over from George Bush. In fact, the policies on national security and foreign affairs pursued by Obama over the past eight months have shown the essential continuity with those of his predecessor. The ideological and political justification for these regressive policies at home and aggressive policies abroad is the same trash put forth by the Bush administration—the so-called ‘global war on terror’, based on outright lies and slander. Worse still, the policies have become even more aggressive under Obama with his planned expansion of the US-led war of aggression in Afghanistan into the territory of Pakistan. The hands of this new killer-in-chief of the pack of imperialist wolves are already stained with the blood of hundreds of women and children who are cruelly murdered in relentless missile attacks from Predator drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And, within the US itself, bail-outs for the tiny corporate elite and attacks on democratic and human rights of US citizens continue without any change.

The oppressed people and nations of the world are now confronting an even more formidable and dangerous enemy in the form of an African-American president of the most powerful military machine and world gendarme. The world people should unite to wage a more relentless, more militant and more consistent struggle against the American marauders led by Barack Obama and pledge to defeat them to usher in a world of peace, stability and genuine democracy.

Q: How do you look at the current developments in Nepal?
A: As soon as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)] came to power in alliance with the comprador-feudal parties through the parliamentary route in Nepal, we had pointed out the grave danger of imperialist and Indian expansionist intervention in Nepal and how they would leave no stone unturned to overthrow the government led by CPN(M). As long as Prachanda did not defy the directives of the Indian Government, it was allowed to continue, but when it began to go against Indian hegemony, it was immediately pulled down. CPN-UML withdrew support to the Prachanda-led government upon the advice of American imperialists and Indian expansionists. We disagreed with the line of peaceful transition pursued by the UCPN(M) in the name of tactics. We decided to send an open letter to the UCPN(M). It was released in July 2009.

We made our party’s stand clear in the letter. We pointed out that the UCPN(M) chose to reform the existing State through an elected constituent assembly and a bourgeois democratic republic instead of adhering to the Marxist-Leninist understanding on the imperative to smash the old State and establish a proletarian State. This would have been the first step towards the goal of achieving socialism through the radical transformation of society and all oppressive class relations. It is indeed a great tragedy that the UCPN(M) has chosen to abandon the path of protracted people’s war and pursue a parliamentary path in spite of having de facto power in most of the countryside.

It is heartening to hear that a section of the leadership of the UCPN(M) has begun to struggle against the revisionist positions taken by Comrade Prachanda and others. Given the great revolutionary traditions of the UCPN(M), we hope that the inner-party struggle will repudiate the right opportunist line pursued by its leadership, give up revisionist stands and practices, and apply minds creatively to the concrete conditions of Nepal.

Q: Of late, the party has suffered serious losses of party leadership at the central and state level. Besides, it is widely believed that some of the senior-most Maoist leaders, including you, have become quite old and suffer from serious illnesses, which is also cited as one of the reasons for the surrenders. What is the effect of the losses and surrenders on the movement? How are you dealing with problems arising out of old age and illnesses?

A: (Smiles…) This type of propaganda is being carried out continuously, particularly by the Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) of Andhra Pradesh. It is a part of the psychological war waged by intelligence officials and top police brass aimed at confusing and demoralising supporters of the Maoist movement. It is a fact that some of the party leaders at the central and state level could be described as senior citizens according to criteria used by the government, that is, those who have crossed the threshold of 60 years. You can start calling me too a senior citizen in a few months (smiles). But old age and ill-health have never been a serious problem in our party until now. You can see the ‘senior citizens’ in our party working for 16-18 hours a day and covering long distances on foot. As for surrenders, it is a big lie to say that old age and ill-health have been a reason for some of the surrenders.

When Lanka Papi Reddy, a former member of our central committee, surrendered in the beginning of last year, the media propagated that more surrenders of our party leaders will follow due to ill-health. The fact is that Papi Reddy surrendered due to his loss of political conviction and his petty-bourgeois false prestige and ego. Hence he was not prepared to face the party after he was demoted by the central committee for his anarchic behaviour with a woman comrade.

Some senior leaders of our party, like comrades Sushil Roy and Narayan Sanyal, had become a nightmare for the ruling classes even when they were in their mid 60s. Hence they were arrested, tortured and imprisoned despite their old age and ill-health. The Government is doing everything possible to prevent them from getting bail. Even if someone in our party is old, he/she continues to serve the revolution by doing whatever work possible. For instance, Comrade Niranjan Bose, who died recently at the age of 92, had been carrying out revolutionary propaganda until his martyrdom. The social fascist rulers were so scared of this nonagenarian Maoist revolutionary that they had even arrested him four years back. Such is the spirit of Maoist revolutionaries—and power of the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism which they hold high. When there are serious illnesses, or physical and mental limitations to perform normal work, such comrades are given suitable work.

Q: But what about the arrests and elimination of some of your senior leadership? How do you intend to fill up such losses?

A: Well, it is a fact that we lost some senior leaders at the state and central level in the past four or five years. Some leaders were secretly arrested and murdered in the most cowardly manner. Many other and state leaders were arrested and placed behind bars in the recent past in Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Haryana and other states. The loss of leadership will have a grave impact on the party and Indian revolution as a whole. We are reviewing the reasons for the losses regularly and devising ways and means to prevent further losses. By adopting strictly secret methods of functioning and foolproof underground mechanisms, by enhancing our mass base, vigilance and local intelligence, smashing enemy intelligence networks and studying their plans and tactics, we hope to check further losses. At the same time, we are training and developing new revolutionary leadership at all levels to fill up the losses.

Q: How do you sum up the present stage of war between your forces and those of the Indian State?

A: Our war is in the stage of strategic defence. In some regions, we have an upper hand, while in others the enemy has the upper hand. Overall, our forces have been quite successful in carrying out a series of tactical counter-offensive operations against the enemy in our guerrilla zones in the past few years.

It is true that our party has suffered some serious leadership losses, but we are able to inflict serious losses on the enemy too. In fact, in the past three years, the enemy forces suffered more casualties than we did. The enemy has been trying all means at their disposal to weaken, disrupt and crush our party and movement. They have tried covert agents and informers, poured in huge amounts of money to buy off weak elements in the revolutionary camp, and announced a series of rehabilitation packages and other material incentives to lure away people from the revolutionary camp. Thousands of crores (1 crore = 10millions)of rupees have been sanctioned for police modernisation, training and for raising additional commando forces; for increasing Central forces; for training Central and state forces in counter-insurgency warfare; and for building roads, communication networks and other infrastructure for the rapid movement of their troops in our guerrilla zones. The Indian State has set up armed vigilante groups and provided total support to the indescribable atrocities committed by these armed gangs on the people. Psychological warfare against Maoists was taken to unheard of levels.

Nevertheless, we continued to make greater advances, consolidated the party and the revolutionary people’s committees at various levels, strengthened the PLGA qualitatively and quantitatively, smashed the enemy’s intelligence network in several areas, effectively countered the dirty psychological-war waged by the enemy, and foiled the enemy’s all-out attempts to disrupt and smash our movement. The successes we had achieved in several tactical counter-offensive operations carried out across the country in recent days, the militant mass movements in several states, particularly against displacement and other burning issues of the people, initiatives taken by our revolutionary people’s governments in various spheres—all these have had a great impact on the people, while demoralising enemy forces. There are reports of desertions and disobedience of orders by the jawans posted in Maoist-dominated areas. Quite a few have refused to undertake training in jungle warfare or take postings in our areas, and had to face suspension. This trend will grow with the further advance of our people’s war. Overall, our party’s influence has grown stronger and it has now come to be recognised as the only genuine alternative before the people.

Q: How long will this stage of strategic defence last, with the Centre ready to go for the jugular?

A: The present stage of strategic defence will last for some more time. It is difficult to predict how long it will take to pass this stage and go to the stage of strategic equilibrium or strategic stalemate. It depends on the transformation of our guerrilla zones into base areas, creation of more guerrilla zones and red resistance areas across the country, the development of our PLGA. With the ever-intensifying crisis in all spheres due to the anti-people policies of pro-imperialist, pro-feudal governments, the growing frustration and anger of the masses resulting from the most rapacious policies of loot and plunder pursued by the reactionary ruling classes, we are confident that the vast masses of the country will join the ranks of revolutionaries and take the Indian revolution to the next stage.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fighting to change reality


Fighting to change reality
Posted by Indian Vanguard on October 5, 2009

The media hype around Kobad Ghandy, the top Naxalite arrested in Delhi, revolves around one factor alone: his affluent background and the anomaly that someone like him could be a leader of the CPI(Maoist), a party dubbed by the government as the biggest terrorist threat to the country. But the apparent contradiction makes perfect sense to those who know Kobad well and the many who were influenced by him. Indeed, at the time Kobad Ghandy was attracting youngsters to Marxism, ie, the early ’70s, it was not at all uncommon to find people from his background in Left circles. The Vietnam War was on, the Paris student revolt a source of inspiration, the Bangladesh war had been fought and won, Charu Mazumdar, the founder of the Naxalite movement, had just died in custody.Famine had struck Gujarat, where the students’ Navnirman Andolan had dethroned the corrupt Congress government of Chimanbhai Patel. In Bihar, Jaiprakash Narayan’s anti-corruption movement had attracted hundreds of educated youth, many of them from middle-class ‘upper-caste’ families, who decided to drop their caste names. This was also when the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was formed by Shibu Soren and A K Roy — rebels fighting to transform the lives of the poorest Adivasis.

In Maharashtra, then witnessing a terrible famine, the Dalit Panthers had burst on the scene, shaking the Marathi literary world, and with it, conventional attitudes towards Dalits even in politics. Experimental theatre was flowering; Vijay Tendulkar was shocking viewers with his path-breaking plays. Adil Jussawala’s New Writing In India held up a mirror to the ferment going on all over the country. Then came the Great Railway Strike led by George Fernandes, and Emergency, followed by the Janata Party government. Human rights became a household term, and in Mumbai, Kobad, along with Bohra reformist Asghar Ali Engineer, Krishnaraj, editor of the Economic and Political Weekly, and wife Anuradha, set up the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights. Vijay Tendulkar later became its president. The cream of Mumbai’s intellectuals spoke in its programmes; Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri signed its petitions.Young people were at the centre of this ferment; so was the media. Investigative journalists were uncovering not just scams, but also the medieval exploitation in villages. This was also the theme of many new wave films that had captured the imagination of the young.

This was the backdrop against which Kobad and other Marxist intellectuals in Mumbai began attracting young people, who felt they needed to do something apart from leading privileged lives. Many of them joined the Progressive Youth Movement (PROYOM); its magazine Lalkaar, had on its editorial board, names such as poet Adil Jussawala and Oxford University Press head Navroz Mody.Kobad was an ideologue, well-read in the classics of Marxism. Along with professors J P Dixit and Oza of St Xavier’s College, he brought out a magazine called People’s Power which could be digested only by Marxist scholars. But despite his intellectual capabilities, his love for reading and writing, Kobad is no ‘intellectual’. He is the very antithesis of the stereotype. Always ready for a laugh, sometimes comical in a low-brow kind of way; genuinely interested in knowing you as a person, and unassuming to a fault. He embodies Mao’s ‘comrade’, the antithesis of the ‘intellectual’ who looks down on the unlettered masses.

In the study circles he conducted, Kobad would speak repeatedly of the need to ‘serve the people’.For him, that was no empty phrase. That was the reason he inspired so many. Some of those who attended the study circles often felt lost, unable to understand the economics that lay at the heart of Marxist theory. But they didn’t give up for a variety of reasons, all of which had to do with the kind of person Kobad is. At the end of the session, you could shake your head in defeat, and he would neither pass judgment, nor force you to persist. But persist you did, because you knew if you wanted to change things, in whatever little way, these were the people you could do it with.Many of them were very well-off, but neither ashamed of their wealth, nor revelling in it. Most of their time was spent doing what they believed in — changing the lives of those at the very bottom.

They weren’t social workers who visited slums while servants looked after their homes. From sweeping to washing up, these wealthy 20-somethings did it all themselves.Not everyone of course, could — or even wanted to — live like this. ‘Toughening up’ for the revolution (that it would come about seemed a certainty) took up a lot of time then — the long hikes up the hills outside Mumbai; the study camps in spartan surroundings, where we had to sleep on a mat, and wash up after eating. But Kobad knew few of us would take the plunge that he and his wife Anuradha Shanbag had already decided on. Yet, they created the space for us to do what we enjoyed the most, be it in PROYOM or CPDR. For them, revolution wasn’t only class war, in which few wanted to participate, sacrificing our comfortable lives, facing police bullets. If you wanted to change the unequal system, you could make your two-bit contribution wherever you worked, and Kobad would make it seem important.

Those formative years left most of us with some basic premises that have stayed with us: the state was exploitative; the police oppressive; elections rarely changed the lives of the majority of people for whom democracy meant little — these, have been substantiated again and again. Anuradha and Kobad were committed to changing that reality. Anuradha was a brilliant academic, but equally passionate about theatre and films, a trained dancer. She could as easily talk to George Fernandes as to theatre director Satyadev Dubey or Dalit writer Namdeo Dhasal. Both also loved children; Kobad specially would clown around with them. They gave up Mumbai to work with contract workers and miners, live among the Dalits, set up women’s organisations, go to jail, and finally work in Bastar, learning the tribals’ language, eating their food. Kobad had always had amoebic dysentery; Anu developed systemic sclerosis.

When the Naxalite movement began, also led by youngsters who left privileged homes, the newspapers portrayed them as mindless anarchists. This view was challenged by the mainstream media in the ’70s and ’80s; now, the wheel has come full circle. Today, the continuous, systematic deprivation faced by the tribals with whom the Ghandys worked, doesn’t make news. What makes headlines is the violent resistance to such deprivation by the Maoists, news mostly fed to the media by the police, who are one side of this conflict. Then along comes a Kobad Ghandy. To a media obsessed with politicians, terrorism and celebrities, he is a freak.About the author:Jyoti Punwani is a Mumbai-based journalist and political commentator. Express

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Free Kobad Ghandy Now !


COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-25

25/09/09

PRESS Note

(Circulated to the media persons at a press conference held at Press Club, New Delhi)

The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) after its Mulaakat with senior Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy in the Tihar jail would want to bring a few important facts, which are of vital significance for his life, before the democratic citizens of this country. Moreover, after the meeting of the lawyer Mr. Rajesh Tyagi on 24 /09/09 with Kobad Ghandy, the details of his arrest and mistreatment have come to light. Some of the important facts are as follows:

Hiding the exact date of arrest

Kobad Ghandy was arrested on the 17/09/09 at the Bhikaji Cama Place around 4 pm by the Intelligence Bureau. About 5-6 people who pulled up in a white sumo car pounced on him at the bus terminal near Bhikaji Cama where he was waiting for about 5-7 minutes. All the claims of the police that he was arrested on the 21/09/09 are patently false. He was kept under illegal detention for four days and interrogated torturing him for three days and three nights.

Kobad Ghandy was under medical treatment

Kobad Ghandy had visited the Sitaram Bhartia Hospital for a kidney problem. He had taken medical advice from the urologist there. Since 12/09/09 he has been going there for various tests till the date of his abduction by the intelligence officials. On 17/09/09 he had received the PSA report which showed the high possibility of prostrate cancer. He was advised to take a tablet for 14 days and return for further PSA tests and a possible biopsy. The time he was abducted by the intelligence agencies and kept under illegal detention he was having Veltam tablet as advised by the doctor.

Deteriorating health conditions

Chest pain and dizziness: Kobad Ghandy, while under illegal detention and then in the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) on 21/09/09 had persistently brought to the notice of the officials and the magistrate about his failing health. He was having severe chest pain and almost fainted while on the way to the CMM on 21/09/09. On that day under direction from the CMM who heard him in the court, Mr. Kobad Ghandy was taken to the Bara Hindu Rao Hospital where his BP and ECG were checked and later he was put on oxygen for about an hour. He was then shifted to a ward with 25 gun totting security personnel hovering around. He was having the life saving drug sorbitrate for acute chest pain and dizziness from 20/09/09. After being shifted to the Tihar jail he was not provided with this vital life saving drug.

He has been also taking medicines for high blood pressure for the last 10 years. He is having arthritic trouble (knee pain) and spondylytis.

Severe Diarrhoea /dysentery: He has been undergoing medical attention for years for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He has been taking Digiplex, Neksium 40. Due to the severity of the problem, he has to have special food and safe/boiled water. Normally prescribed diet as the one provided in hospitals is to be provided to him, which is in practice for the inmates having severe health problems of Tihar prison. But all his pleas for such facilities have fallen on deaf ears in the prison. This is a matter of grave concern.

As has already been mentioned he has been taking Veltam tablets for prostrate cancer.

Callous attitude of the Jail doctor: When he took up the case of his ailing health with the prison officials he was referred to the jail doctor who casually called him to the OPD the following day. Kobad Ghandy had taken up the issue of overcrowding in the cell several times with the prison officials especially the Superintendent. In a cell where only one person can be kept, there were four. But the attitude of the Superintendent was that “why even 6 can stay in the cell”. Due to overcrowding on 23/09/09 night he had complained of severe breathing problems and demanded medical attention. The prison staff came twice but did nothing.

While under medical attention in Bara Hindu Rao Hospital the doctor on his discharge for production before the CMM court referred him to the Cardiac department of GB Pant Hospital or AIIMS.

The CRPP strongly condemn the callous, insensitive treatment being meted out to Kobad Ghandy, a political prisoner whose life is in danger due to his failing health. The jail officials and the authorities cannot play with his life for his political convictions as it is complete violation of law and all norms of guarantee to dignity and life for a political prisoner or for that matter any detainee as has been assured by the Constitution not to say the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights to which India is also a signatory.

Kobad Ghandy is yet to get proper medical attention as he was taken to the GB Pant Hospital on 24/09/09. The GB Pant doctors have called him back again on 30/09/09 for further tests. Kobad Ghandy has asked the GB pant doctor to take his Sitaram Bharati records pertaining to prostrate cancer also.

No FIR furnished till date


Kobad Ghandy has not yet been given the FIR on him. He was not even provided a lawyer. In protest he had refused medicines and food while in the Bara Hindu Rao hospital. Only then the officials relented a bit. But he could only get access to a lawyer after the police made official his arrest on 21/09/09 and produced him before the duty magistrate. Later his judicial custody was confirmed and only then he could get access to a lawyer. And it took the CRPP and the lawyer to tell him about the charges on him! The police has systematically evaded all possibilities of the detainee to take recourse to legal remedies from any possibilities of being falsely implicated.

Torture under illegal confinement


Kobad Ghandy, after being abducted by 5-6 intelligence officials, was kept in illegal confinement for 3 days and 3 nights in a house in the outskirts of Delhi and was continuously questioned. They did not allow him to sleep. On 21/09/09 night they tied his hands and legs to a table and asked him to sleep! This is nothing but torture and all those responsible for such inhuman torture should be held responsible. Not allowing a detainee to sleep continuously for hours and days tantamount to physical and mental torture that is universally condemned by all civil and democratic rights bodies and the UN. This is a matter of grave concern particularly because of his failing health. The CRPP feels that these acts are deliberately being done to shorten his life.

Attempts by the police to take him under police remand

In these circumstances all democratic forces and civil rights organisations should raise their voice against the continuing attempts of the police to get him under police remand. They are systematically maintaining that as soon as his health condition improves he will be taken for further questioning. But from the details provided it is amply evident that the health problems of Kobad Ghandy need to be given more attention and ample time for treatment. He should not be handed over to the police.

Attempts to transfer him to other states

There are also reports in the press that the Jharkhand and other State police are preparing to move court to shift him to other states. There is also talk that they are preparing to put him under narco analysis tests. Already several medical experts and international bodies have unequivocally condemned narco-analysis as another form of inhuman torture which damages health of the person under subjection fatally. Given the seriousness of Kobad Ghandy’s failing health we strongly feel that such inhuman torture would only put his life in danger. And all efforts of other states to take him away can only endanger his life as he has still the possibility of getting medical care in Delhi. The efforts to shift him to Jharkhand and other states are to jeopardise any such attempt for proper medical care as well as protection from all forms of torture. CRPP strongly demand that all such efforts should immediately stop and his medical treatment on prostrate cancer should start henceforth.

The CRPP appeals to the media and through the media, to all people with a democratic conscience to join hands to stop these devious designs of the state to silence the life of a political prisoner who has given his flesh and blood for the cause of the poor and the oppressed. We cannot let such people to be silenced forever! The CRPP does neither endorse nor criticise the ideology or line of action Kobad Ghandy stands for. But it strongly feels that Kobad Ghandy does have the right, like all others, to hold and express his political conviction and methods of struggle.



The CRPP demands:

1.Provide immediate medical care to Kobad Ghandy for all his health problems including cardiac and prostrate cancer.
2.Allow him provision for prescribed diet as provided in the hospitals and either safe/boiled water.

3.Stop all attempts to transfer him to other states under false charges which will endanger his life.
4.Allow a team of specialist doctors to take immediate stock and continuous monitoring of his health.
5.Stop all attempts to put him under the illegal narco-analysis which would endanger his life.

6.Shift him to a cell which is not over crowded.

7.Provide him with materials to read and write.

8.Provide him the status of Political Prisoner.

Amit Bhattacharyya

Secretary General

S A R Geelani

Vice- President

Rona Wilson

Secretary, Public Relations

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Extracts of Interviews with Comrade Bimal, Politburo Member of the Communist Party Of India (Maoist

Taken from Newspapers

(May and June 2009)

Hindustan Times: What is the future of the so-called Indian revolution you are spearheading?

Bimal: We have a considerable mass base in eight or nine states. Moreover, the capitalist economy is going through a crisis all over the world, and sooner or later, India will suffer the same fate as the West. So, the conditions are quite ripe for a revolution.

HT: You had earlier supported Islamic militancy. Do you still do so after the Mumbai attacks?

Bimal: We do not support the way they attacked the Victoria station (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or CST), where most of the victims were Muslims. At the same time, we feel the Islamic upsurge should not be opposed as it is basically anti-US and anti-imperialist in nature. We therefore want it to grow.

HT: How is your party faring in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra ?

Bimal: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa will be the new storm centers in Indian politics. We have our strongest base in Chhattisgarh – particularly in Old Bastar, which stretches across five districts – and it's totally in our control now. Our militia in the state is more than one-lakh strong.

We have the wherewithal to put up teams of 400-500 fighters, encircle hundreds of police and para-military troops, and wipe out them. We have also taken up development projects. Then, we are gaining strength in other states you mentioned.

HT: Your party suffered a major setback in Andhra Pradesh. What are you doing about it?

Bimal: It's true that we faced a major setback in Andhra Pradesh (when the police drove the Naxalites out of their former strongholds across the state). But we will definitely recover because most of our leadership is alive and safe in our Dandakaranya camps. Our mass base, built up over 30 years, is still intact. But in a war, there will always be ups and downs.

(Excerpts from interview given to a correspondent of the Hindustan Times,

published in the June 10, 2009 edition of that paper.)

Mint: The administration alleges that you ambush people and run away – that you don't have the courage to fight them…

Bimal: Absolute rubbish – they know we don't run away, but say so because neither they can ignore us nor can they fight us. Even on 2 November, when Bhuddhababu' s ( West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) convoy was attacked, I was within a kilometer of where the blast took place. Huge forces were deployed, the area was combed, but I did not run away. All our comrades in (West) Bengal are sons and daughters of the soil. Where will they run away? …. We are not scared of appearing before the people. Lakhs of villagers and tribals know what I look like since I interact with them regularly. …

Mint: How do you forge ties with the locals?

Bimal: We play very diverse roles, which the people don't get to know. Because they have lost faith in the administration, villagers approach us with their day-to-day problems. We organize camps in villages so they can voice the grievances. We deal with the villagers with lot of compassion and kindness, which is why they love and protect us. We also work for women's liberation. There are many women who are tortured by their (parents) in-law, husbands or parents. But they cannot protest because they dependent on them. We fight for the liberation of such women. Women are very important for our movement. Many oppressed women have joined us in our struggle across the country.

They have led from the front in many a battle that we have fought. However, in terms of the strength, our women cadre in (West) Bengal is slightly weaker compared with other areas such as Jharkhand, Dandakaranya and Andhra Pradesh. Whereas elsewhere the ratio of men to women is 50:50 and even 60:40 in favor of women, in Bengal , the ratio is around 70:30 (in favor of men). Besides our guerilla operations, we also lead strong mass movements in many parts of West Bengal such as Lalgarh and Nandigram. A lot of women are participating in such movements, though they may not be members of the party. Exposure to such movements leads to political maturity. We need mature organizers for the party and would look to recruit women who have actively participated in these movements.

Mint: How do you recruit people for your movement?

Bimal: We don't recruit from villages on our own. We have a party controlled mechanism under which we receive proposals from the locals. After obtaining the consent of the parents of applicants, we forward the proposals to one of our committees. It vets them and takes a final call on whether or not to recruit, based on the person's antecedents, class and disposition towards others in his or her village. The responsibility of the group that I lead is to train the new recruits. Many of them are initially intimidated by the difficult life we live, but most of them eventually learn to cope with it.

(Mint, May 29, 2009.)

Mint: How long can you hold out? The state is mobilizing more forces…

Bimal: Let them send another 500 companies (of police). We are ready. This protracted war is not going to end soon. And we have prepared for it with full understanding of the strength of our opponents. We have enough resources… but more importantly, we have the support of the locals, and the whole area is surrounded by them. Tell Buddhababu, his forces should fight us – the guerillas – and not the tribals.

Mint: So you agree that you are using the tribals as human shields…

Bimal: We have never used the tribals as human shields. They are with us voluntarily…and some of them are even leading our forces. Come to Lalgarh, and you wouldn't take long to understand that they support us, and the support is entirely voluntary.

Mint: A lot of civilians might die in the crossfire. Wouldn't you be morally responsible for those killed?

Bimal: In a war, there are no civilians – there are people either on your side or against you.

Mint: And moral responsibility?

Bimal: The Centre and the state should be held responsible for the bloodshed. We have repeatedly appealed to them to withdraw the forces and initiate a dialogue, but they ignored (the appeal). So, let them face the consequences. But yes, I will be hurt if the locals died in this war.

Mint: If the state government eventually agreed to your proposal for a dialogue, would you come?

Bimal: If the government agrees to discussions or debate, the people of Lalgarh will take part. The government will have to sit with the civilians and their representatives to understand what they want.

Mint: You have been saying that Mamata Banerjee (union rail minister and leader of the Trinamool Congress, West Bengal 's main opposition party) should pressure the government to withdraw central forces from Lalgarh. Are you expecting her to bail you out? Has your party joined forces with the Trinamool?

Bimal: Let me tell you that the Trnamool Congress was never with us. We were in Singur and in Nandigram on our own and we had gone there to help the locals. We fight for the people, and our only partners are people who face oppression. The Maoists consider oppressors as their worst enemy, and the tribals of Lalgarh have been facing oppression by the CPM (the Communist Party of India-Marxist) and the state administration for decades.

(Mint, 22 June, 2009.)

Bimal to Hindustan Times; June 18th: By defying the public mandate, they have initiated the war. Now no one should blame us for the bloodshed…. The Germans made more advances in Russia than the State and Central Government made in Lalgarh. Let everybody be patient and see how the people of Lalgarh fight the battle. The State was supposed to pay heed to the local's grievances and solve them but they chose the way of policing. They will have to pay for acting against the people's decision.


[From: People's Truth, #7, August 2009.]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Prachanda in London - Public Meeting 10th August


Picture Woolwich Town Hall

Dear all,

Namaskar ! As you might already be informed that Ex-Prime Minister and Chairman of Unified Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) Comrade Prachanda will arrive on 8 August in London and will departure on 12 August for Belarus. Nepali Samaj, UK is going to organise a public meeting in support of United Nepalese Front, Europe in his presence.

He will give a speech and afterwards there will be an interaction with public on various burning political issues which Nepal has witnessed for. So, on the behalf of Nepal Samaj, UK, I am very much pleased to invite all of you to attend this public meeting.

I hope that you will make a time to join in this programme. I am sorry for any inconvenience it may cause to you due to this short notice.

Please note down it in details for programme which will follow as:

Programme: A speech given by comrade Prachanda followed by interaction with public. (Public meeting)

Venue: Woolwich Town Hall, London
Date : 10 August (Monday), 2009
Time: 1:PM ( Sharp)


If you need any further information regarding this programme, please feel free to contact me in your convenience. Thanks.

With best wishes,

Rana K. C.
Coordinator

Nepali Samaj UK
Central Conference Preparation Committee
Nepali Samaj, UK
Contact NO. 07878744494

Please re-post or link to publicise this meetimg as it was called at short notice

Yazhou Zhoukan interviews Heyrat Niyaz , a Uyghur journalist

In its August 2 issue, the Hong Kong newsweekly Yazhou Zhoukan interviews Heyrat Niyaz , a Uyghur journalist, blogger and AIDS activist. In the interview, which another blogger has translated below, Heyrat tells of how he tried to warn officials that "blood would flow" in Urumchi on July 5 and gives his thoughts about the background to the ethnic rioting.
* * *
YZ: When did you feel that something could occur on July 5?


HN: After the incident in Shaoguan, Guangdong, I felt that something big would happen, that blood would flow. Before the Shaoguan incident, there were already seeds of a disturbance in Xinjiang. After the Shaoguan incident, I wrote a series of three blog posts analyzing the impact of the incident and, the more analysis I did, the more certain I felt about my prediction.


YZ: Do you believe the July 5 incident was organized and premeditated?


HN: Looking at it from today, it was certainly organized. As for premeditated, between June 26 and July 5, there was already plenty of time for that. But the most crucial thing was that the government did not take prompt measures to prevent deterioration of the situation. On July 4, I was continually listening to Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America. On that day, World Uyghur Congress President Rebiya [Kadeer] and others were truly a bit out of the ordinary on that day, with nearly all of the leaders going on the air to speak.


Around 8 p.m., I called a friend of mine in the government and said, "Something is going to happen tomorrow. You should take some measures." I gave him the URL of Rebiya's speech so that they could listen for themselves. They said they would report to their superiors.The next morning, I called again. At around 10 a.m., I went with a friend to see a high official in the regional government. I told him that as an ordinary person of conscience, I have an obligation to remind you that blood will certainly flow today. You should immediately take steps and mobilize emergency preparations. Then, I made three recommendations: First, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Chairman Nur Bekri must make a public speech before 12 noon. Second, notify Han merchants in predominantly ethnic neighborhoods to close shop early and go home. Third, mobilize as many troops as you can, cordon off ethnic neighborhoods and block and patrol crucial intersections. After the close of business, impose martial law.


At the time, the official said he would make a phone call to seek instructions. In the end, not a single one of these recommendations was taken. In fact, I was not even the first person to warn
the relevant government agencies on July 4. Just after 6 p.m. on July 4 another person had provided a warning.


YZ: You said that prior to the Shaoguan incident there were already seeds of a disturbance in Xinjiang. What do you mean by that?


HN: There are two direct reasons that led to something like what happened on July 5. First is the promotion of bilingual education, and the second is the government's arrangements to send Uyghurs away to work. These two policies were strongly opposed by many Uyghur cadres, but anyone who dared to say "no" was immediately punished.The first to bear the brunt of the bilingual education policy were teachers who had previously taught in ethnic languages. Tens of thousands of teachers faced being laid off because their Chinese was not up to standard, and this led to unstable popular feelings among grassroots educators.


As for sending Uyghurs away to work, in the eyes of [Uyghur] nationalists you can joke all you like, but don't joke about our women. Almost all of the workers initially organized to be sent out to work were 17- and 18-year-old girls. At the time, some elders said, "Sixty percent of these girls will wind up as prostitutes; the other forty percent will marry Han Chinese." This led to enormous disgust [among people]. In carrying out this policy, the government first failed to carry out proper education work and, second, failed to realize that such a small thing could have such major repercussions.


YZ: Before the promotion of these two policies, how were ethnic relations in Xinjiang?


HN: In the 1950s, even though Mao Zedong criticized "great Han chauvinism" in Xinjiang, contemporary ethnic policies in Xinjiang never led to a rupture. Ethnic relations in Xinjiang really became more tense over the past 20 years or so. After taking office, Party Secretary Wang Lequan adopted a high-handed posture that would not allow for any ethnic sentiment among minority populations. For example, if a ethnic cadre were to express the slightest complaint during a meeting, he would definitely not be promoted and might even be sacked. [Wang] overemphasized and exacerbated the anti-separatist issue. In fact, border provinces in any country that have cultural, linguistic, or ethnic ties with foreign countries are bound to have such tendencies. The current anti-separatist struggle in Xinjiang is not simply something [being carried out] by law enforcement agencies but has become something [carried out] in the whole society.


YZ: Have these tense ethnic relations led to increased thoughts of independence among Uyghurs?


HN: My father took part in the "Revolution of the Three Districts" [in which ethnic partisans revolted against Chinese rule in 1944 and established the second East Turkestan Republic] as a soldier. Logically, he should be a classic example of someone with thoughts of independence, but as far as I know not even someone like him is pro-independence—much less so someone like me.In fact, looking historically, the Uyghur people transformed early on from a desert-based [nomadic] people to an agricultural society and developed an extremely exquisite civilization. The nature of this people has become such that we don't spread or seek conflict. Even during its strongest point, this society was never expansionary. When the Khitan came, Uyghurs quickly surrendered. When the Mongols came, the Uyghurs basically surrendered without a fight. Historically speaking, Uyghurs don't like to fight and have no foundation for independence.


YZ: How do you view the issue of "East Turkestan"?


HN: This phrase "East Turkestan" is something invented by Europeans and not something that Uyghurs themselves came up with. However, it has been built up by the Turks and forcibly thrust upon us. We Uyghurs have no concept of "East Turkestan." From historic times to the presnt, Uyghurs have called Xinjiang "Land of the Uyghurs." No one has ever called it "Land of the Turks," much less "Eastern Land of the Turks."


YZ: If this is so, why do so many pro-independence types in Xinjiang make a fundamental claim for "East Turkestan"?


HN: At the time of the Silk Road, Uyghurs had opportunities to travel about in neighboring countries and their thinking was more open. Later, when maritime navigation became dominant, Uyghurs found themselves isolated and closed-off. In such a backwards circumstance, it's easy to think that "monks from outside can really chant the scripture" [i.e., outsiders have the answers]. It's just as when China first opened up, all sorts of ideas flowed in, both good and bad, and it wasn't clear which were good and which were bad. Moreover, over the past several decades local Uyghur elites suffered under the repression of the Communist Party's leftist policies and there were no opportunities to develop thought. The moment a few people shout "East Turkestan," many among our people have no idea what to think.


YZ: How do local Uyghur intellectuals view Rebiya [Kadeer]?


HN: They're not interested. Rebiya basically has no ideas.


YZ: For outside forces to be able to organize the July 5 incident, doesn't it mean that they have considerable influence inside China?


HN: Yes, definitely. I believe that the July 5 incident was organized by "Hizb-ut-Tahrir al-Islami" [ILP, Islamic Liberation Party], an illegal religious organization that has spread extremely quickly in southern Xinjiang. I've studied this group, which was founded by an Afghan. When the Afghan died, a Pakistani doctor among his followers carried out a reorganization and recruitment drive. Whether in China, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, the ILP is an underground movement. In 1997, when the ILP had just begun to appear in Xinjiang, there were probably only several hundred members. According to statistics made public last year by the relevant agencies, the organization may now have close to 10,000 members in Xinjiang.


On July 5, I was on Xinhua South Road watching as rioters smashed and looted. More than 100 people gathered and dispersed in an extremely organized manner, all of them wearing athletic shoes. Based on their accents, most were from the area around Kashgar and Hotan, but I did not see any of them carrying knives. I suspect they were from the ILP because of their slogans. The rioters were shouting "Han get out!" [and] "Kill the Han!" Other than these [slogans], there was also "We want to establish an Islamic country and strictly implement Islamic law." One of the main goals of the ILP is to restore the combined political and religious authority of the Islamic state and strictly implement Islamic law; it is a fundamentalist branch.This organization is extremely disciplined and its composition rather unusual. It attracts young men around the age of 20, mostly from rural areas. In fact, this organization is extremely backwards, so that even among Uyghurs without any basic social underpinning, those with even a bit of education don't have any interest [in the ILP]. The influence of groups like this that have infiltrated from abroad is ultimately quite small, because they bring nothing to the table. A serious attack from the organs of state power could totally wipe them out. There's no need for anti-terrorism measures throughout society in Xinjiang.


YZ: What do you think is the main problem for Xinjiang at the moment?


HN: I don't think the main problem for Xinjiang is ethnic separatism. The key problem for Xinjiang is still economic development. Actually, so-called ethnic conflict is really conflict over interests. Last year during the "two meetings," I watched video of President Hu Jintao's meeting with the Xinjiang delegation many times. President Hu said that Xinjiang should emphasize development and only at the end did he say anything about stability. Subsequently, I decided to write a series of articles clarifying my views on this.

Thanks to Mike of Serve the People Blog for drawing our attention to this article