2009 - Maoists on Talks

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Published in Economic and Political Weekly October, 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram have been putting forth the most absurd propos-al for talks with the Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)] provided the latter abjured violence. While amassing thousands of paramilitary forces and carrying out brutal attacks against unarmed adivasi people and the Maoist revolutionaries, they are talking of violence by Maoists. It is state terror, saffron terror, and state sponsored terror that have become the greatest threat to peace and security in our country. The Congress led United Progressive Alliance government has to its credit the massacre of over 2,000 people and Maoist revolutionaries in the past five years. And yet, the government says it is implementing the “rule of law” and asks the Maoists to lay down arms and sit for talks.

Asking Maoists to lay down arms as a precondition for talks shows the utter ignorance regarding the historical and socio- economic factors that had given rise to the Maoist movement. The Central Committee (CC), CPI (Maoist), makes it crystal clear that laying down arms means a betrayal of the people’s interests. We have taken up arms for the defense of people’s rights and for achieving their liberation from all types of exploitation and oppression. As long as these exist, people will continue to be armed.

However, an agreement could be reached by both sides on a ceasefire if the government gives up its irrational stand that the Maoists should abjure violence. They should be introspective and decide whether they are prepared to abjure state terror and unbridled violence on the people. If at all they are serious about talks then they should first create a conducive atmosphere by earnestly implementing at least what is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution by which they swear.

They should stop illegal abductions of Maoists and people suspected to be supporting Maoists. They should put an immediate halt to torture and murder of unarmed people, instruct their so-called security forces to desist from raping women in Maoist-dominated areas, abandon their policy of destroying the property of the people and burning adivasi villages. They should withdraw the police and paramilitary camps from school buildings, Panchayat community buildings and from the interior areas so as to instill a sense of security among the people. They should disband the state-sponsored armed vigilante gangs like Salwa Judum, Sendra, Gram Suraksha Samiti, Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, Shanti Sena, Harmad Bahini, and other gangs.

An impartial judicial commission of enquiry should be formed to go into the inhuman atrocities by the police, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), other central forces and the vigilante gangs on Maoists and the people at large and based on the investigations the culprits should be punished as per the law. All those arrested for being Maoists or on suspicion of aiding the Maoists, including people in particular who do not have any connection with our organization, should be released unconditionally. They should repeal all draconian laws and Acts such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), etc. They should dis-band the government-organized concentration camps in the name of rehabilitation of the adivasis displaced from their villages, pay adequate compensation to over two lakh adivasis who were forcibly displaced by the Salwa Judum gangs and the CRPF-police combine. All those who have become victims of state and state-sponsored terror, i e, those who were murdered, maimed, raped and pushed into a state of mental trauma, should be given adequate compensation.

As for socio-economic issues, the mining and other so-called development projects that lead to displacement of the tribals and destruction of their way of life should be immediately disbanded. All the memoranda of understanding (MOU) signed with the imperialist multinational corporations (MNCs) like Vedanta and the big business houses like the Tatas, Mittals, Essar, Jindal, etc., should be scrapped. The much trumpeted policy of special economic zones should be immediately scrapped along with the colonial policy of land acquisition.

The lands snatched from the tribals by un-scrupulous landlords, non-adivasis, and by the government should be restored to their rightful owners. If these are fulfilled, then one can think of talks to discuss the deeper issues that are blocking the real development of our country.

The CC, CPI (Maoist) unequivocally asserts that the government’s proposal for peace talks is only a propaganda ploy. After the Cabinet Committee on Security had given the final approval for the massive offensive against the Maoists, they are talking of peace. We appeal to all democratic and peace-loving forces to oppose the war preparations against the oppressed, down-trodden people of our country.