No to state terrorism!
With great anger, Communist Ghadar Party condemns the dastardly action of the Chhatisgarh government in trying to foist false murder cases on Professor Nandini Sundar of Delhi University, Professor Archana Prasad of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and more than a dozen other human rights activists. These activists have been targeted because they have over the years consistently exposed and opposed the heinous crimes committed by the Indian state on the people of Dantewada district in Chatttisgarh in the name of fighting Naxalites. This blatant attempt by the state to intimidate and blackmail its critics has outraged all people of conscience in our country.
The adivasi and other village people in Dantewada and nearby areas have been at the receiving end of unspeakable atrocities committed by the police, armed forces and state-organised goondas. The persecution of Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad and other activists is only the latest in a series of attempts by the police and state government in Chhatisgarh to try and silence the voices of all those who have been fighting to defend the lives and liberties of the people.
These efforts at harassment and intimidation, which have been carried out in defiance of all democratic norms, will not succeed. The people will not allow those criminals masquerading as policemen, officials and ‘auxiliary armed forces’ in Chhatisgarh a free hand to carry on with their reign of terror.
It is well known that particularly since the launch of the program of globalization through privatization and liberalization, capitalist monopolies both Indian and foreign have launched a no-holds barred war to take over and plunder the rich mineral and natural resources of our country. The states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand are known for their rich mineral resources. How to deprive the adivasis of these states of their lands has been a central preoccupation of the monopolies. The governments at the Centre and in the states, whether of the Congress or the BJP or other such parties, have been carrying out the bidding of the monopolies. However, the people have been consistently opposing these efforts to deprive them of their traditional lands and rights, which would render them even more destitute than they are now.
The response of the state, which has been infuriated at this roadblock to its plans, has been to heap the most barbaric forms of torture and abuse on the population at large in Dantewada and other regions. They have kidnapped and killed thousands of people, raped countless women, and burnt down whole villages. They have sought to clamp down a wall of silence on their atrocities and to prevent knowledge of it from reaching people elsewhere. All this has been sought to be justified as necessary weapons in a ‘war against Naxalite extremism’. However, they have not been able to put an end to the resistance of the local people.
In 2005, the state hit upon a new scheme to disguise its assault on the adivasi people. They set up and armed a force which they called ‘Salwa Judum’, which they presented as a ‘volunteer’ group of adivasis to combat ‘Naxalites’. This fascist force terrorized villagers into participating in their rallies and other shows of strength. Those who did not cooperate were brutalized, and their huts and villages burnt down. Supposedly to prevent them from having anything to do with Naxalites, people of entire villages were uprooted and herded into internment camps, and were not allowed to go back to their fields and livestock. 644 villages, or fully half of the entire district of Dantewada, were caught up in this offensive.
Local activists, as well as democratic individuals and groups across the country, have fought a long and hard battle to expose these crimes against our own people committed by the Indian state. As part of this struggle, Prof. Nandini Sundar filed a court case in 2009 challenging these abuses. The Supreme Court upheld her case and in 2011 ordered the disbandment of the Salwa Judum, the so-called ‘Koya commandos’ and any other such group “that in any manner or form seek to take law into private hands, act unconstitutionally or otherwise violate the human rights of any person.”
That the formation of the Salwa Judum was not merely an act of the Chhatisgarh government, but of the Indian state, has been confirmed by development of events since the disbanding of Salwa Judum. With great arrogance, the government of Chhatisgarh and its police force have each time defied any attempts to curb their abuses, with the full backing of the Central government. The UPA government launched Operation Greenhunt raising the scale of the war against the people by using the regular armed forces. Not only has no one been punished for the atrocities committed against the people, but the Indian state has continued to wage war against the people, sometimes merely changing the name of the campaign. Now they are reviving what they call ‘Salwa Judum-II’. It is clear that the Indian state, acting on behalf of the monopolies, will leave no stone unturned to smash the resistance of the people.
In May of this year, Prof Sundar, Prof Prasad and others who have spent their lives researching and writing about the conditions of the people in the Bastar region, conducted a fact-finding study in the region and made their findings public. This has further infuriated the government. In October, there took place the unprecedented act of the supposedly disciplined and uniformed policemen in Chhatisgarh publicly setting fire to effigies of Prof Sundar, Prof Prasad and others. Just a couple of weeks later, the government followed this up by filing FIRs against them for the murder of a villager Shamnath Baghel on November 4! The government was shamefully exposed when the widow of Baghel, who was supposed to have named them, publicly denied on television that she had ever accused any of them of murdering her husband. The massive public criticism of these efforts of the Chhattisgarh government and police has resulted in the Supreme Court temporarily restraining the Chhatisgarh government from proceeding in the case against them.
The criminal intimidation of these respected human rights activists by the government shows that the ruling class and its political representatives and functionaries will stop at nothing to put down the resistance of the people to their nefarious aims. What is at stake for the ruling class is their ability to carry out without hindrance their agenda of completely taking over the lands and resources of the people and stepping up their exploitation of the people.
The Communist Ghadar Party hails the courageous work of the rights activists in exposing the savage state terrorism against the people in Chhatisgarh. The Communist Ghadar Party calls the working class and toiling people, all fighters for human rights, to step up the struggle against state terrorism, in defence of human rights. This is the only fitting reply to the escalated attacks by the Indian state on rights activists.