Lalgarh is invaded. Lalgarh is bloody. In the name of stopping Maoist activities, the combined forces acting on behalf of the Indian state have declared war on the people with such alacrity, and have established a nightmare of terrorism in village after village, that words fail us in our attempt to condemn them.
We believe that in the name of tackling the Maoists, the government is seeking to negate the legitimate demands of the Lalgarh movement, and at the same time to annihilate that movement and its leading organization, the Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (Polisi Sontras Birodhi Janaganer Committee). In this context, we want to remind the government that for the so-called “decline of the law and order situation” in Lalgarh, the state and the central governments are both responsible. The people of that region have been compelled to take the path of protest and resistance because of the long years of ill-treatment, exploitation as well as the recent spate of police tortures.
Had the least alacrity comparable to that which is being displayed to establish the “rule of Law” been shown in improving the quality of life of the people of Lalgarh, then there would have been no question of civil disobedience. The immense funds that are going today to discipline insubordinate masses, had they been spent in order to supply drinking water, water for irrigation, or to set up primary schools or health centres in the Lalgarh area, then people would not have been compelled to engage in a rebellion as they have done today, and the “cause” of unleashing the current ferocious military operation would not have arisen. If the billions of rupees that are wasted in order to provide security for ministers, bureaucrats and members of parliament had instead been spent in order to provide minimum comfort for the masses of common people, then the security of the bigwigs would not have been disturbed at all.
While the basic security needs of the people of India today call for food, clothing and housing for all, the Prime Minister of the country declares (and all the parliamentary parties lend their voices to the chorus) that the Maoists are the principal security threat. This lays bare their mentality, and the nature of will and sincerity behind their plans.
We demand the revocation of the ban on the CPI(Maoist) by the Union Government. We simultaneously demand that the state government must not apply the ban order. We also oppose the demand being made from certain quarters, including the Trinamool congress, that the concerned area should be declared a “Disturbed area”. We believe such authoritarian steps will restrict the scope of democracy and further complicate the situation, while easing the path of establishing the reign of the police over the broad masses.
Alongside this, we declare unhesitatingly that we can in no way approve of certain types of incidents being caused by the Maoists in the name of estasblishing the right of the people or waging the peoples’ emancipatory struggles – deeds such as the killing of individuals, passing “death penalties” through, or in the name of, peoples’ courts, causing landmine explosions, killing, beating up members and sympathizers of opponent political parties and threatening or terrorising their family members, obtaining bonds from them, and so on. In our opinion, such activities give rise to an anti-democratic political culture, thy trample underfoot human feelings, harm the possibility of widest mobilizations for the peoples’ legitimate struggles, lower reliance on the people’s own fighting power, and at the same time they hand over to the state power an excuse to repress the legitimate struggles of the people. All this has indeed happened this time.
With grave concern, we have noted that though the PCAPA has repeatedly announced that it is not a Maoist organization and that it does not acknowledge responsibility for the activities of the Maoists, still the PCAPA leadership has failed to fully dissociate itself from such activities. In a few cases, referring to the plea of “peoples’ anger”, they have protected such activities. While expressing our solidarity with the Lalgarh movement, we appeal to the PCAPA to reconsider this issue.
At the end, we demand from the government that it must move away from its strategy of repressing mass struggles and silencing the language of anger and resistance by the power of its guns. At the same time, we demand that the government must respect the anger and the spirit of protest of the people of the region, sit down to negotiate with all concerned forces including their representative organizations, and accept their legitimate demands.
We appeal to the people to join protests and resistance campaigns against the barbaric muscle-flexing by the state against the fighting people. Let us unite to demand:
r Immediately halt the military expedition to Lalgarh
r Stop repression and harassment in the villages on all the people, including women and children
r Accept the legitimate demands of the people of Lalgarh area
r Negotiate with the Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities
r Rescind the ban on the CPI (Maoist)
r Unconditionally release all those arrested on the charge of, or suspected of, being Maoists
r Make public the amount of public money squandered by the state in the Operation Lalgarh
2 July 2009
Protibadi Udyog, Mazdoor Mukti Committee, Radical Socialist, Sramajeevi Samiti, and Prosit Das, Jogin, Kaustav De, P.R. Ghosh