ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Talks Only With Broader Sections

In the light of the recent demands raised by sections of the intelligentsia urging the government to heed the CPI(Maoist) “offer of talks”, we insist that “civil society” should rather put pressure on the government to initiate talks with representatives of all struggling popular and adivasi organisations. The CPI(Maoist) cannot be treated as the sole spokesperson of all the people in the forest and mineral belt, convenient though this may be for the State and for that party. Does the government believe that violent insurgents are the only deserving interlocutors?

There is a common pattern to the emergence of Maoist violence in many areas. First a non-violent mass organisation like the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) in West Bengal or Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) in Orissa arises in response to marginalisation, displacement or violence against tribals by the police and paramilitaries. Then the Maoists step in, attempting to take over the movement and giving it a violent turn. The state responds with even more violence, which is directed not only against the Maoists but also against unaffiliated adivasis. At this point, some adivasis join the Maoists in self-defence, their leaders like Chhatradhar Mahato, Lalmohan Tudu, Singanna are either arrested or gunned down in fake encounters and large numbers of unaffi liated adivasis are branded Maoists or Maoist sympathisers and arrested, killed or terrorised by the state. Clearly, Maoist violence in these cases obtains legitimacy because of the unbridled use of force by security forces and violations of the fundamental rights of the local people. On the other hand, the unilateral and doctrinal use of the language of warfare by one armed group obscures the political agency of the ordinary people who have had no say in this declaration. It also tramples on the human rights of the often desperately poor people who are obliged to seek a livelihood in organisations of the state. Furthermore, it is not clear that the CPI(Maoist) actually shares the rejection of this kind of “development” by the people of the area, or whether it only wants to wrest control of this process from the Indian state.

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