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Why did not India march when Modi became the PM? – Mangesh Dahiwale


It is heartening to see people all over the United States of America marching in millionn as the “inauguration of resistance” movement to oppose “inauguration of Trump” as the president of the USA. Mr. Trump is a minority president. He lost in the popular vote counts and trailed by 3 millions behind his main contestant for the post. There is a major flaw in the election process in USA due to the history of federalism and subsequent expansion of USA after the constitution of America was enacted. The President of the USA is elected indirectly by the Electoral college and the outcome of election depends upon how the candidates in different states voted. The bigger states such as California thus have a very little say in electing the President of the USA. The states called “the battleground states” matter a lot. This is one of the biggest faults in the constitution of the states. Unlike Rajya Sabha (State’s Assembly) in India, the Senate gets 2 senators from each states irrespective of their population. This is also one of the contradictions to the true democracy. 

Coming to India, India is also having a minority Prime Minister by popular count of the votes. The ruling party in India only got over 30 percent of the popular votes in 2014 elections. However, due India’s first-past-the-post system, the true mandate is not reflected in the final count. India is not not having the proportionate system of representation which would have given the true representative democracy. Both the electoral systems of USA and India are faulty. The result is Both Modi and Trump are minority representatives. 

The outcomes and trajectories of the elections of both Modi and Trump can be compared. Both came to power by the same processs and same set of tactics. Let us look at them briefly. 

1. Cultural nationalism (Supremacy of one particular class “supreme” as the essence of nationalism)

Modi is known as his anti-Muslim stand. He presided over the genocide in Gujrat. The right wing ideology that he is born in and colored in is Brahmin nationalism, ironically called Hindu Nationalism. The Brahmin-Banias in India have historically benefitted because of the caste system. They can hardly get elected with the identity of Brahmins and Banias, hence they created identity called “Hindu”, and in order to solidify that identity, they needed “the other”, and that other is “the Islam”. So the recipe is clear, if you want to become “Hindu Hriday Samrat”, you have to hate Muslims. India is having over 20 percent of Muslims in its population composition. Similarly, though USA is not having a significant percent of Islamic population. The “bible belt” states in USA need to be lured in the name of Christianity, not by the revolutionary quest and fight of a low class carpenter, Jesus Christ, for human welfare, but by creating the medieval rhetoric of crusades, the fight between the Christians and Muslims. This is not to say that Muslims have not added to this. They did and they do. But, judging by the social justice movement and uprising in the Islamic world, there are undercurrents in Islamic countries that strive for human rights and social justice. 

The point that can be drawn from this very brief analysis is this: Modi and Trump trumpeted hate for Muslims. They need this to further their political cultural nationalism. 

2. Endangering the gender

RSS is a regressive organisation that preaches patriarchy and subjugation of women. RSS drew its inspiration from Nazis and Nazis drew their inspiration from India’s caste system and theory of pure race. Like Nazis, the RSS advocates hatred for the “impure race”. In their scheme of society, Jews, blacks, gypsies, women, and the list can be extended to all so called “No Aryan” races. have no subordinary space. RSS also believes in “Aryanism” in line with the Nazis. In fact, the linguist term “Arya” was given a racial spin by the a combined team of white racists and India’s Brahmins. Trump is a known sexist. RSS is sexist as well, and Modi was caught stalking an young lady. The women in USA came out with “Women’s march” to fight sexism of Trump. RSS is pushing for its own version of women’s place in the society which is completely against their rights. Barring a few occasions, the women’s movement in India never came out in large numbers to oppose RSS backed sexism. Swati Chaturvedi’s I am Troll is much a feeble voice against Hindu fundamentalist’s trolling the liberals. 

3. Hatred for Minorities

RSS is always opposed to the SC/ST and OBCs and often that hatred surfaces when they demand abolition of India’s progressive social policy to include everyone in governance.  The Klu Klax Klan (KKK) openly supported Trump. A new term is in currency now “Alt-Right” and KKK is alive and kicking. Indian ex-untouchables are lynched today as well. 

The comparison can go on, but we have to stop and ponder over why USA marched and India did not. 

USA is a diverse country. It is a country created by the people who migrated from all over the places. They effectively destroyed the many hundreds republics of “Native Americans”. America became the first democracy in the world after the American revolution  by fighting their colonial cousin. USA is diverse in the true sense of the word. There is no inherent unity in USA except the act of law and the constitution of the united states. They do not have the history of many thousand years before they became a nation state. India is a diverse country as well. It is as, or perhaps more, diverse as USA. But there is a unity in India. There is something that underpins everything in India. That which underpins everything in India is CASTE. The caste is the only common phenomena in India. India is diverse in terms of language, culture, religions, and regions, but anywhere you go, you find this monster. This is the reason India did not march. India can not march. 

When Martin Luther King marched on Washington, many Jews, Whites, and women marched with him. When India’s discriminated and disadvantaged march, they march alone. The recent women marches in the USA were represented in many counts by the African American women. Indian upper caste women marches will have a big problem with Mayavati, who is a symbol of revolt against the caste system and patriarchy. 

The American media is diverse. The Indian media is a monopoly of the Brahmins and Banias. There is no representation from the SCs, STs, OBCs, and minorities in Indian media. It is the section of American media that keeps on opposing what goes against the constitution of the USA. Indian media is not only silent, but promote frenzy hero worship. You can kill more than 100 people, you can give hardship to millions, you can do whatever, and walk away saying that it was nationalism and media will not write a single word of dissent. India therefore didnt see the march. 

India till today has not seen any march against caste system of people coming from all castes. India’s disadvantaged citizens have been fighting to establish democracy and rule of law with their minimum resources. Their battle is truly democratic and for social justice and for liberation of women. How many upper castes have ever sacrificed anything for breaking caste barriers? None. 

The only genuine love of the country will be the genuine hate for the caste. So long as people love their caste, they can not love their country. Therefore, Hindu nationalism is an act of treason against country. And despite of that treason, the traitors are walking freely as the greatest nationalists. The march is a must for the future of democracy. The march is led by India’s discriminated and that march must be joined by all from all over who loves humanity and human rights!!

Appeal for donations to meet the post production costs of documentary on Bhima Koregaon


Please get in touch with Somnath and help him to make this documentary on Bhima Koregaon!

Regards, Karthik

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: somnath waghamare <som.kamalkumar@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 2:49 PM
Subject: Appeal for donations to meet the post production costs of documentary on Bhima Koregaon
To: Karthik Navayan <navayan@gmail.com>

Jai Bhim friends!

I am Somnath Waghamare. Sociology Graduate & Media studies Post Graduate from Sangli, Maharashtra, India. From last few years I am working with Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. Right now as an apprentice with a Human Rights Organisation in Bangalore.   I am associated with Dalit progressive Ambedkarite social movement In Maharashtra and interested in making documentary films on Dalit issues. Last year I have a made a documentary film, titled – “I am not witch” on witch-hunting problem. It is a story of one old tribal women from Nandurbar, Maharashtra, who faced social boycott.

Now I am working on great history of Mahar Regimen, the so-called untouchables in ‘Bhima Koregaon Battle’ who fought and defeated crony Brahmanical rule of Peshwas.  The title of the  film is ‘ The Battle of Bhima Koregaon : An Unending Journey “  I completed  all pre -production film work – from 20th December 2016  to 5th January 2017   by visiting the celebration of this event in Bhima Koregaon, which was being attended by 20 lakhs people every years but not covered in any mainstream media. For the film, I have interviewed a Historian, a journalist, an activist, a students, youths, Mahar regiment Officers, women and artiest. Basically this film is story about history of Bhima Koregaon battle and peoples view on today’s Dalits social – political – cultural issues and why historians – Media ignore this positive Dalit history.

I have planned to dedicate this film to our brother Rohit Vemula and inaugurate this film on 14th April 2017, on the day of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar birth anniversary in NFAI – National Film Archive of India- Pune. Also planning to send this film to all Indian film festivals and abroad with help of relevant people in this sector. I and my film team working post- production of the film, and we are looking for monetary support. For the shooting, we have spent our own money. For post-production we are expecting support from community and likeminded people.

The tentative cost involved for the post production and inauguration
1 Editing 50000
2 Sound 10000
3 Music 10000
4 Animation 10000
5 English subtitles 10000
6 Inauguration- organising event 30000
  Total – one lakh twenty thousand only 120000

 

Regards,

Somnath Waghamare,

Email – som.kamalkumar@gmail.com

Phone Number – 07745886950

Bank Account details

Name of the account holder – Somnath Waghamare

Account No – 55147141640

State bank of Patiala, FTII Branch Pune.

IFSC: STBP0000571

B.Karthik Navayan,

https://karthiknavayan.wordpress.com/

The BSP and democracy! – Mangesh Dahiwale


The great Indian caste system marginalises not only the human beings, but also the institutions created by them. This marginalses creeps creepily into media as well. The media marginalises with three simple tactics: a complete silence over their existence, negative publicity drive, and co-opting their leaders and agenda.Most of the times, these three tactics are mixed in different proportions The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is therefore always marginalised. This marginalisation is not new for the BSP, which was the third largest national party till last general elections. The BSP with its core agenda can evolve as the largest national party. Its potential is threat to the established web of crony capitalists, RSS-minded Brahmins, and petty politicians. This is the reason the core agenda of the BSP is never discussed in any national debate. The core agenda of the BSP is establishment of true democracy in India. Now, let us be clear that the word “democracy” is one of the words that has no fixed meaning and hence one way of approaching it would be describing what it is not. It is not caste-based social order. It is not the hegemony a few Bania-capitalists. It is not the subjugation of women. It is not Gunda-raj of the powerful landholders. It is not usurping the money of the people without their consent. It is not the dictatorship of one man lionised by media. It is not trolling of liberals and open minded people. The author of India democracy, Babasaheb Ambedkar, described democracy in many ways and in his scheme of democracy, it is the reclamation of human personality. It is an attitude of respect and reverence for the fellow human beings. It is the Government by discussion and persuasion.

The BSP was founded on the bedrock of BAMCEF which envisioned a rainbow alliance of Backward Castes (The Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Other Backward Castes) and Converted minorities (the converted Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims). They account for India’s 85 to 93 percent of population. The census does not give complete picture of the composition and NSSO data differs from the census data. Let us settle for the conservative figure of 85 percent. It is also true that the rainbow alliance is not only the end but the means to make India a true democracy. The alliance is the path and the destination. This is BSP’s core ideology. Of course, this rainbow alliance does not exist in reality due to regional variations, language, political affiliations, and most importantly, the caste fissures within them. But the overriding arc of ideology, the dream, and the possibility of it is beginning of true democracy and end of Brahminism, which is ugly dictatorship of a few.

Coming back to the current scenario, the national media has already written off BSP as the main contender of power in the mother of all elections, that is, UP elections. The ruling party is out to gag the BSP. If the outcome of the so called notebandi is evaluated, it appears that it was primarily aimed as destroying the BSP of its resources. The BSP is the only party which is not funded by businesses in India. The core agenda and ideology of the BSP is dangerous. It does not matter if the BSP wins the elections, although it has become a dire necessity to save democracy from the RSS backed BJP, whose only agenda is to impose Brahminical nationalism onto India’s majority of the people. It is done subtly by religious symbolism and exploiting the graded hatred inbuilt in India’s social order. But judging by the contemporary events; the rise of independent voice among India’s Muslims, the million marches of the dominant OBC castes throughout India (Patels/Patidars in Gujarat, Kammas in Andhra, Marathas in Maharashtra to cite some of them), the national consolidation of the Dalit movements, intellectual and ideological challenge put forward by the Ambedkarites, the rise and rise of status of Babasaheb Ambedkar itself, and social media usage by socially committed citizens; it is important for ruling classes (Brahmins and Banias) to override the core ideology of the BSP, destroy its core agenda by rhetoric of development, and weaken its organisation by co-option. However, the wheel is set in motion and the BSP has evolved into a catch-all party (to borrow a phrase from Christophe Jaffrelot) from the Dalit Party. The media paints it as a Dalit party, as if Dalits can not lead the rainbow alliance.

The media never painted the BJP as the Brahmin-Bania Party and congress as the declining Brahmin-Bania party. The BSP is far from the Dalit party now. The composition of the tickets distributed by the BSP in the UP elections bears this ideology. The media writes it off saying it is the caste politics, but it is truly democratic politics. The BSP gave equal representation to the OBCs, the Muslims, the SCs, and played her democratic cards boldly. By declaring her candidates much before any other political parties, the BSP, in fact, set the rules of the game in the UP elections. The diversity forced by the BSP in UP has a potential to ensure diversity in the other political parties. If anyone has understood the game of democracy in India and how to realise it, they are undoubtedly the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar. A triply discriminated (caste, gender, and class) Indian citizen, Behen Mayavati, is rewriting the rules of the game is the silver lining in India’s dark political cloud. The electoral victory is secondary, the primary thing is to usher the era of diverse representation and shared power by all: this is the only way to destroy minorities control over majority and establish true democracy.

The four noble truths


*The Four Noble Truths*
Saying, “Good, friend,” the Bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Shariputra’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
“When, friends, a noble disciple understands suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering, in that way he is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
“And what is suffering, what is the origin of suffering, what is the cessation of suffering, what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering?
 Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; not to obtain what one wants is suffering; in short, the five aggregates affected by clinging are suffering. This is called suffering.
“And what is the origin of suffering? It is craving, which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for being and craving for non-being. This is called the origin of suffering.
“And what is the cessation of suffering? It is the remainder-less fading away and ceasing, the giving up, relinquishing, letting go, and rejecting of that same craving. This is called the cessation of suffering.

“And what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view…right concentration. This is called the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

“When a noble disciple has thus understood suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering…he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”

Panchasheel only  the way ahead -Ajit Kumar Nandagawali


Pachsheel – The only way ahead
As we sift through the pages of the newspaper early morning while sipping the tea, or browse the internet or read news/messages on social media on the way to the office, certain content bother us more than anything else. The day doesn’t seem to be starting on the right note. What you read with eyes is detested by the mind. VOILENCE AND THREATS. THEFT AND CORRUPTION. ADULTERY AND RAPES. LIES AND DECIET. DRUNK DRIVING AND ACCIDENTS. TRAMPLING OF HUMAN RIGHTS. SUPERSTITIONS AND SORCERY. When on your way back home, you read similar stories with different people and locations. This time mind is not rattled, it is settled with the fact: this is how it is. By the time you reach home, your spouse has a different plan for you. After good night’s meal, you fall asleep to a dream.

We are all human beings and we are affected by the sight, by the touch, by the sound, by the smell, by the taste, by the thoughts. We are all human beings prone to errors, mistakes, felonies: unpleasant conduct taking over the pleasant conduct.

The point is how we can contribute positively towards the welfare of the mankind. And I am most certain – rather I am stubborn about this – that the Pachsheel is a first step towards it.

I take the precept not to engage in violence and threats to life, but practice loving kindness and respect everybody’s right to exist. Keeping oneself in others’ shoes may help solve the problem. Also, I am very sure that eating habits don’t make us violent or non-violent. For I have seen the strictest non-vegetarians behaving like the severest savages. The violence is in the mind and not in the food. But that should not be the reason to sacrifice innocent animals for merry making.

I take the precept not to engage in corruption or unethical possession of others’ belongings, but instead practice charity. Remember you bought a latest foreign brand expensive watch, and next morning you find it stolen. Very sad! Similarly we should not claim our right on the things not belonging to ourselves. Rather we can donate as much as we can. Bringing smile on others’ face invariably brings smile on one’s face.
I take precept not to engage in sexual misconduct, but will respect others’ physical dignity and exhibit bodily restraint. In todays modern, fast-changing, hot and happening times of social media, and internet on anything, anytime and anywhere, the momentary blithe is chosen over the lasting happiness. As people spend more time in workplace, on mobile, and remain away from each other, they tend to develop close affinity towards those with whom they spend more time. Rather new generation believes: jo paas hai woh khaas hai, kyonki Jo khaas hai woh kisi aur ke pass hai J. We must keep away this monster called attraction towards many. It is difficult to control the heart but slowly can be subdued.
I take precept not to engage in lies, but speak the words that are true and harmless. Well, things are easier said than done. We lie, manipulate, misinform, misstate, misreport. We do all these either to earn benefit or stop loss. The Lord Buddha once told Rahula not to lie even as a joke, long before the western world could think of making the lie a sin. The question: Is absolute honesty possible today? For example, you are going out on a date, and someone from your family asks where are you going? What do you say? If you are a son, probably it wouldn’t matter much. What if you are a daughter? This I leave it to you: whether being absolutely honest will help or harm.
I take precept not to take drugs or intoxicant, but engage in acceptable social behavior. Drugs and Drinks destroy families and incur financial losses. Drinking doesn’t take away your sorrows as is traditionally believed. But it does take away your happiness most assuredly.
As we become more and more desirous of less and less desirable, happiness becomes less and suffering follows more. Now what if you have broken one or more of the above. Except for murders, serious sexual offences, frauds, conspiracies, and denial of liberty, equality and fraternity, for which law will takes its own course—as you sow, so shall you reap—, otherwise no problem. As I said before, it is ok to err. We need to think where we went wrong, retrospect, apologize, and move on. Don’t dwell too much into guilty conscious. It destroys.
No matter how much philosophical depth you achieve in life, no matter how many degrees you earn, no matter how knowledgeable or influential you become, no matter how rich you become, if you haven’t tried leaving the good life, you haven’t really lived. You do meditation, practice mindfulness, do yoga, perform rites and rituals, drink Ganges water, do worship, go to pilgrimage, be in solitude or solitary confinement, the whole point is to be aware, to be awake, to be alert so as to avoid unpleasant behavior. It indeed does matter how you mind the mind because you cannot mind the mind without minding the mind mindfully. And mind it!
Alas! In the morning, you are woken up to the reality out of your dream by the crooning of the song “nashe si chad gayi” by your child as s/he prepares to get ready to the school. Same reality. Different day. This is how it is: Suffering is the first noble truth. Don’t worry, there are three more!
Headless implementation and mindless execution of demonetization will hardly help achieve corruption-less society and cashless economy. Because the problem lies in the mind, not in the money. When the mind is corrupt, everything else is corrupt. What we need is the reform of the mind. And I think the BuddhaDhamma (it closely resembles with the practices of Indus Civilization) is the probable answer.

By the way, never let others’ impressions of you affect you in any ways. If you let that happen, you are not living your own life but living the life others want you to live.

Wishing good life to All,                                                                                                                                                              Ajitkumar Nandagawali

The Buddha said!


The Buddha said, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering,” which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. In his first sermon at Deer Park, he taught the Four Noble Truths of the existence of suffering, the cause of suffering, that the cause if suffering can end, and the path to the end of suffering. This doctrine, expounded by the Buddha in his major discourses and expanded upon in expositions by his closest disciples, underlies the basic Buddhist teachings that have evolved since his time.
THUS HAVE I heard. The Blessed One was once living in the Deer Park at Isipatana (the Resort of Seers) near Baranasi (Benares). There he addressed the group of five Bhikkhus [monks]: “Bhikkhus, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. What are the two? There is devotion to the indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, common, the way of Ordinary people, unworthy and unprofitable; and there is devotion to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy and unprofitable. “Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata [“Thus-Perfected One”] has realized the Middle Path: It gives vision, it gives knowledge, and it leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment, to Nibbana [Sanskrit: Nirvana]. And what is that Middle Path . . . ? It is simply the Noble Eightfold Path, namely, right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. This is the Middle Path realized by the Tathagata, which gives vision, which gives knowledge, and which leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

“The Noble Truth of suffering (Dukkha) is this: Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the unpleasant is suffering; dissociation from the pleasant is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering – in brief, the five aggregates of attachment are suffering. “The Noble Truth of the origin of suffering is this: It is this thirst (craving) which produces re-existence and re-becoming, bound up with passionate greed. It finds fresh delight now here and now there, namely, thirst for sense-pleasures; thirst for existence and becoming; and thirst for non-existence (self-annihilation).

“The Noble Truth of the Cessation of suffering is this: It is the complete cessation of that very thirst, giving it up, renouncing it, emancipating oneself from it, detaching oneself from it.” The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of suffering is this: It is simply the Noble Eightfold Path, namely right view; right thought; right speech; right action; right livelihood; right effort; right mindfulness; right concentration. “

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) Demands police to be booked under murder case


Press Release

5-11-2016

Visakhapatnam

  The Human Rights Forum (HRF) and the Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sanghatan (GASS) demand that Greyhounds police personnel responsible for the killing of 27 Maoists and at least four civilians on the early morning of October 24, 2016 in the forest abutting Ramaguda village of Andrapalli panchayat in the “cut-off” area of Malkangiri district in Odisha be booked under relevant penal sections of the law including 302 IPC (murder) and the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) and prosecuted. The criminal investigation in the case must be handed over to either the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a Court monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT).This SIT must consist of officers with impeccable credentials and untainted by earlier “encounter” killings.

A four-member HRF and GASS team on November 4 visited the place of firing by Greyhounds personnel. We spoke with adivasis in the area including residents of Gusumapadar and Ramaguda, a small village which is located quite close to the place of killings. Contrary to the assertion by senior police officials in both Andhra Pradesh and Orissa that the deaths were due to cross-fire, we believe they were the result of unilateral one-sided firing by the Greyhounds. That the Maoists opened fire first and the Greyhounds were forced to retaliate resulting in the deaths is pure fiction. It is our firm belief that the Maoists were taken totally by surprise and the fatalities, 31 in all at present count, were the result of a murderous attack by the Greyhounds.

The Maoists had set up camp a day before in a fairly dense forest area at the southern tip of the Jantri reserve forest. At about half a km from Ramaguda, the camp was located next to a stream and the hillock raises to the east and north. To the west is open ground and next to it are the placid waters of the Balimela reservoir. At the break of dawn on October 24, the Greyhounds, who were positioned at a height to the east and north in a semi-circle, opened fire killing 24 at the camp site itself. The others camp inmates ran in the opposite direction crossing the stream and going towards Ramaguda and beyond where the thick growth stretches into the Kondakamberu reserve forest.

What is pertinent is that the Greyhounds who were well-armed could have arrested the Maoists but they did no such thing. They not only outnumbered the latter, but were clearly in an advantageous position on higher ground. What is more, they had the element of surprise. But as has been their practice all these many decades, the Greyhounds began firing with the express intention to liquidate those present in the camp.

The day after, the police announced that four more Maoists were killed in yet another encounter in the area. We believe this to be untrue. What likely happened is that they found the bodies of four persons who were injured in the firing of the previous day. The police once again proclaimed that two more Maoists had died in another encounter on October 27. This is yet another falsehood. Local residents told us that after the Greyhounds left the area on October 9, the Maoists came a few days later and discovered yet another body near a rivulet. This was of a young man, a civilian who was resident of Bachilipadar, also in Andrapalli panchayat. Word was sent to his village and after his parents arrived, Ramaguda villagers helped them cremate the body near the reservoir. The toll at the moment is a total of 31 persons killed.

Senior police officials pointed out to the death of a Greyhounds commando and a bullet injury to the leg of another to buttress their claim that the Maoists had opened fire first and the police fired in self-defence. However, the Andhra Pradesh DGP has stated that the death of the commando was because he had drowned in a deep pond. It is also possible that the injury to the other commando could have been caused by a bullet fired by one of his colleagues.

In the matter of alleged encounters, the police, particularly the Greyhounds, have nothing to commend themselves. This is a commando force that was raised with the sole intention of shooting down Maoists as if they are wild game. Time and again they have attacked gatherings and killed people, including many civilians. We recall the recent killing of two adivasi farmers — Ganga Madkami (40) and Ganga Podiami (33) – by the Greyhounds on the afternoon of February 21, 2016 in the Puttakota forest area of Koyyuru mandal in Visakhapatnam district of AP. On that occasion the police peddled the fiction that the two, who hailed from Balakati and Tumsapalli villages of Korukonda block of Malkangiri district, as being members of the Galikonda area committee of the Maoists! One can go on citing many such examples.

At present, there is a pall of fear that is starkingly evident in the area with residents very afraid to speak out. What is very worrying is that the whereabouts of 14 adivasis from villages located across three panchayats –Andrapalli, Panasaput and Jodamba — are not known. According to information we could gather, 9 of them are from the village of Dhakerpadar, two from Bachilipadar and two more from Khajuriguda. Their relatives fear they are either in police custody or are lying dead somewhere in the forest after having been hit in the October 24 raid. What is noteworthy is all of them are civilians and not armed Maoist cadre. Many of them may have been in the camp because the Maoists were involved in recruiting people as militia members from several villages. In fact, two Maoists had come to Ramaguda on the night of October 23 asking that four youth come to the camp the next day for a meeting.

We urge Central and State governments to desist from viewing the Maoist movement as a mere outbreak of criminality but as a political movement and to deal with it politically. It must be acknowledged that this movement, though it does employ violence to further its goals, is one that has deep roots in material deprivation, social oppression and lack of freedom. The police do have the role to meet this violence by the Maoists but only in a manner that abides by the law and is respectful of the rights of people. It cannot resort to staged encounter killings and torture, among other illegalities.

Government must stop its ongoing policy to try to decimate the Maoists militarily. Serious efforts must be made by both the Government and the Maoists to initiate steps that would lead up to an unconditional dialogue.

VS Krishna                                                                                    S Jeevan Kumar

(HRF general secretary, AP&TS)                                      (HRF president, AP&TS)