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.
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
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
Indian ruling class has shown the capitalist lunacy by barbarous ban on Lalgarh and C.P.I.(Maoist) .The ban imposed to the people for their raised voice of the real democracy, has unmasked the so called Indian democracy that the Indian bourgeois class and uncovered the brutal face hiding behind the mask. In other hand, the rebel of Lalgarh has succeeded to awaken the working people of the world, especially of the Indian subcontinent by tearing the clutter of entire capitalists. Flag of Lalgarh will alive forever.
The ban of the bourgeois over Lalgarh and C.P.I.(Maoist) proved one of the saying of peoples. "Poisonous snake is poisonous wherever from it." The bourgeois are the same from Europe, America, Asia or Africa wherever from they are. They are fake, oppressors, despotic and violent. They pervert people, loot and burden the hegemony. When people become conscious, resist and rebel, then they blazon illusive propaganda, burden fake blames, ban and oppress fiercely. Today Indian bourgeois class is showing this character of its own. Interesting thing is that the bourgeois class commits and is committing all of these activities in the name of 'Democracy'.
Ban and exploitation for rising voice for real democracy! What would be another thing that shameful in 21st century! Ban is issued over Lalgarh why? Because Lalgarh opposed the oppression, didn't bear despot, demanded their fundamental rights. Further more raised the voice of democracy of the people. Ban is issued over C.P.I.(Maoist) why? Because C.P.I. (Maoist) awakened, organized and raised for right Lalgarh. Means C.P.I. (Maoist) led to establish the people's democracy. Lalgarh tried to return back rights; C.P.I. (Maoist) opened the alternative of real democracy instead of so called democracy. The bourgeois were unable to compete in the battle of rights with Lalgarh. And Indian bourgeois were unable to compete with C.P.I.(Maoist) in the battle of democracy then they issued the ban over Lalgarh and C.P.I.(Maoist) to take revenge by force. It merely proved the decrepitude and unfitness of so called 60 years old Indian democracy.
Democracy is class relative, means democracy is also classified. It is impossible to be a common democracy for all class. Moreover, the bourgeois democracy is a useless democracy which gathers up very little (a handful) people. This keeps away the enormous part of the society making right less. The handfuls who are frightened and terrorized from people's vigilance, take heavenly pleasure in the bourgeois democracy. But the socialism is a democratic system which gathers up maximum class and peoples. Although it leads working people mainly but it can mobilize all except anti people tendencies in the role of transformation of the society. The competition and the struggle of the democracy are expressed in Lalgarh. There is a capitalist democracy on one side and people's democracy on the other side. One is for capitalist democracy and others are for people's democracy. Indian ruling class, anti people huge capitalist, feudal, landlord, usurious, revisionist compradors of Lalgarh and corrupted administrators are on the side of the present democracy. They are blaming of extremist, terrorist and exploiting the working people, intellectuals, revolutionary party and its cadres or attempting to burden the old democracy. On the other side, C.P.I.(Maoist) , workmen, peasants, intellectuals and working citizens of the whole world are on the side of people's democracy. They tempt to lead workmen, peasants, intellectuals instead of capitalist, feudalist, usurious and the people's democracy in place of old democracy. Workmen, peasants are resisting the exploitation and are rebelling for that. Capitalist, feudalist, landlords and revisionists, beside Indian army, have been defeated and workmen, peasants, intellectuals have won in the competition of Lalgarh. In other word the bourgeois democracy has lost and people's democracy has won the war. The ban over Lalgarh and C.P.I. (Maoist) of the bourgeois only proves its insanity not success in the clash of democracy.
Indian ruling class blamed of extremist and terrorist on Lalgarh and C.P.I. (Maoist) when it banned them. It would be farcical for them who knows only 'D' for democracy because the blamed workmen, peasants, intellectuals are the working class, constructors and majority peoples of India whereas the blamers are equipped with modern weapons, money holder feudalist and a handful in number. The crucial reactionary, exploiters and terrorist, in deed, are democratic and the honest, working population, democrat is the terrorist! It only ascertains farcical on itself. But it is reality being understood by us proletarian socialist is that the tendency perused by Indian bourgeois is not anything new but it is the tendency of heredity shown by its ancestors which the rulers of India are following. When the rapacious ruling class faces catastrophe or reaches near the defeat it takes out parch of terrorist and extremist from its box and starts avenge on working peoples. It attempts to make unsuccessful and disturb, in this way, each pioneer flow of civilization. Few years ago, its followers also had done like this in Nepal. But one should consider the ironically that marauder class failed totally in spite of thousands of attempts to stop the flow of civilization and stop the victory of working people, they collapsed own self instead. Indian ruling class will also, as it is barbarously aggressed over Lalgarh and C.P.I. (Maoist) today, be obligated to follow of their ancestral way in spite of thousand attempts and the victory will go to the working peoples of India and of whole world.
One of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist’s party hardliners, Mr. Chandra Prakash Gajurel alias Gaurav has deplored the repressive measures adopted by the Indian government towards the Indian Communist-Party Maoists.
“As we have fraternal relations on ideological grounds with the Maoists of India, we will never accept the repressive measures adopted by the Indian government towards our Indian comrade–in-arms”, Mr. Gajurel is quoted as saying by the Rajdhani Daily August 3, 2009.
“We strongly protest against this Indian government’s brutal act”, said Gajurel who is the Maoists’ Party secretary and chief of the International bureau.
This is the second time that the Nepal Maoists have expressed their concerns as regards the Indian Maoists.
The Indian government had declared the Indian Maoists as terrorists on June 22, 2009.
In the meanwhile, a report being made available from France claims that Gajurel’s daughter is currently under French custody for traveling across the country without legal documents in her possession.