[Marxism] [SANHATI] India: A Sensible & Democratic Alternative to the Proposed Military Offensive

Politicus E. epoliticus at gmail.com
Wed Oct 28 20:24:49 MDT 2009


f.y.i.

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The government’s proposal for large-scale military offensive in
Central and parts of Eastern India has been opposed by democratic
minded people from across the world. Democratic sections of civil
society in India have called for an immediate halt to the government’s
military offensive. They have argued that the conflict be resolved
through negotiations between the government and the CPI(Maoist). In
response, the Home Minister has stated that in a “democracy”, such
negotiations can only be held if CPI(Maoist) “abjures violence”. This
is, to say the least, disingenuous. As these sorts of conflicts are by
definition “asymmetrical”, and since the military might of the Indian
state is incomparably superior, it is the responsibility of the
government to take the first steps to win over the confidence of the
adivasis and the rebels by calling off the military offensive. When
the government is sending in thousands of paramilitary troops,
encircling key areas and continuing military action on the rebels,
asking the rebels and the people to give up arms as a precondition for
negotiations, is certain to ensure that no negotiations take place.

Therefore, in order to gain the confidence of the common people that
the government is sincere in its intention to end the conflict through
negotiations, it needs to take at least the following concrete steps.

1. The military offensive must be immediately and unequivocally called
off and all military and paramilitary from the forested and
semi-forested areas of Central and Eastern India must be withdrawn.
Moreover, in order to create a genuine atmosphere of trust, all state
agencies should stop issuing threatening and hostile statements
against the CPI(Maoist) and stop harassing its activists and
sympathizers. The CPI(Maoist) should also, on its part, reciprocate by
suspending all armed activities and desist from issuing threatening
statements against anyone.

2. The Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act and Chhattisgarh Special
Public Security Act must be repealed. Also, specifically, the ban on
CPI(Maoist) by the government of India should be lifted and the
CPI(Maoist) and its frontal organisations, if any, should not be
banned by creating some new laws. Political prisoners jailed or in
custody for being involved with so-called left extremist activities
and hundreds of adivasis/non-adivasis imprisoned using fabricated
charges need to be freed unconditionally.

3. All Memoranda of Understanding (MoU-s) signed with different
corporations, for the extraction of natural resources from the vast
areas of East-Central India, must be revealed and immediately
canceled.

4. Salwa Judum and similar bodies must be disbanded. A tribunal be
appointed to investigate their atrocities carried out in connivance
with the police, para-military forces and government agencies.

5. Negotiations must not be used as a ruse to liquidate activists of
the CPI(Maoist) or any people’s movements. To ensure this, the Central
and concerned State Government should submit an undertaking to a
mediating body, composed of representatives chosen by the government
and the CPI(Maoist), that no encounter deaths, armed actions,
espionage activity would be carried out during the mutually agreed
upon ceasefire.

Most importantly, we reiterate that the crux of this conflict is the
neo-liberal model of development pursued by the Indian state, which
has been threatening the life and livelihoods of the common people.
The government’s declaration that developmental packages will follow
the victory over the rebels raises fear that it has plans ready to
roll in the kinds of “development” that suit the interests of
multinational and domestic big corporations once these regions, rich
with natural resources, have been cleansed of political dissent and
the entire population has been either killed or displaced and
pauperized as a result of the military offensive. If the government
does not have any such plans, it should immediately engage in dialogue
with people of the regions along with the suspension of military
operations.

6. Thus, a wide-ranging debate on the model of development for these
regions must be conducted without any delay. Given the stiff
opposition by the local population to the development model that is
being pushed down their throats by the government, there should not be
any attempt to implement any pre-determined “development package”.
Rather, there must be a serious initiative to comprehend and document
what measures constitute development in the eyes of the local
population and what are the ways to implement these measures such that
the people concerned are in primary control of this process. Any
developmental process and its modalities must be an outcome of such
discussions.

7. In view of the above scenario, the government should also
immediately repeal the SEZ Act 2005 and stop all the projects that
have so far been cleared. It should also address the concerns related
to laws of acquisition of land for corporate interests. Moreover, the
government must immediately cease all evictions and diversion of
forest land, under the guise of industrialisation, resource extraction
or conservation, and expeditiously settle rights to forest land and
forest produce.




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