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  • 1. POLITICS FROM FREEDOM TO FASCISM……… G antal Raju, 30, his father Gantal Kanhaiya, his wife and his 20 -year old si- has announced Operation Green Hunt, purport- edly against the "Maoist" rebels functioning in ster Sreedevi were at home at Lingagiri Chattisgarh, Jharkand, Orissa and in the vast village on 29th December 2006 “ when a jungles of Dandakaranya, along the borders of group of CRPF and SPOs entered their vil- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pr- lage from jungle early in the morning. An adesh. elderly person from the village was going Who are the Maoists? They are members of towards the jungle when he noticed some the banned Communist party of India (Maoist) armed CRPF and SPOs approaching the – CPI (Maoist) – one of the several descendants village ”. When they opened fire, he ran of the Communist Party of India (Marxist - Len- back towards his village and started telling inist), which led the 1969 Naxalite uprising and villagers about the approaching security fo- was subsequently liquidated by the Indian gover- rces. As he was narrating what he saw to s- nment. The Maoists believe that the innate, str- ome of his neighbours, “these armed CRPF uctural inequality of Indian society can only be and SPOs started entering houses and dra- redressed by the violent overthrow of the Indian gging people out. They began beating up state. In its earlier avatars as the Maoist Comm- me mercilessly. When my father tried to unist Centre (MCC) in Jharkhand and Bihar, and object to that, they dragged him and start- the People's War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pra- ed hitting him as well. When he still resist- desh, the Maoists had tremendous popular sup- ed and tried to argue that they were innoc- port. ( When the ban on them was briefly lifted ent villagers and not Naxalites, the men in in 2004, 1.5 million people attended their rally uniform stabbed him right in front of his in Warangal.) house. The barabaric act did not stop there. Army headquarters and air bases are being They beat up my mother and broke her constructed inside the dense jungles. Army men thigh bones. They then dragged my sister are being trained in anti-guerilla warfare. Over by hair towards a pond in the nearby jungle 1 lakh army personnel, such as CRPF, Cobra, C- where they raped her and finally killed her. 60, Grey Hounds, Indo - Tibet Border Force, Her body was found by us four days later. Anti-Naxal Striking force, etc., are being statio- The CRPF and SPOs also robbed the family ned in these areas. The government has also of all their belongings.” According to Gant- planned to set up a brigade headquarters in Bila- al Raju, they were left with few rags they spur ( which will displace nine villages ) and an they were putting on at that time.were put- air base in Rajnandgaon ( which will displace ting on at that time. Lingagiri is a village in seven). American satellites and Indian chopper the state of Chhattisgarh, one of the most are used to spy these jungles. Indian army offi- backward states in the country which celebrated cials are guiding the war, and the central govern- its sixty first republic day in the near past. In ke- ment has allocated Rs.7,300 crores to the fund eping with this line of thought, the government this war against its own people, the real, ancient 3
  • 2. POLITICS inhabitants of the country. Earlier, the Chattisgarh government had fo- rmed Salwa Judum, "people's militiary" with the same objective. The Salwa Judum torched 700 villages and drove out 3 lakh adivasis from their homes. Almost 50,000 adivasis were driven out of their villages and are still languishing in road- side camps. Now, with the Operation Green Hu- nt, more adivasis are being driven out of the forests. Viswaranjan, the DGP of Chattisgarh, has openly declared that the bloody war waged by th- has started its job. They have sold out all the hil- e Sri Lankan army against the Sri Lankan Tamils ls, waterways and forests of Dandakaranya with- will be the guiding light of this war. out the knowledge of the adivasis, the rightful What is the secret behind Operation inhabitants of this area! Green Hunt? Its obvious from the words of the The Orissa government has handed over Prime minister himself when he revealed his gov- the 40-km long Niyamgiri hills to Vedanta (the ernment's real concern on 18 June, 2009, in the Holding company of Sterlite), a British Multina- parliament: "If left-wing extremism continues to tional the Indian billionaire who lives in London flourish in parts which have natural resources of in a mansion that once belonged to the Shah of minerals, the climate for investment would cer- Iran. The present market value of Bauxite in th- tainly be affected." ese hills alone is $2.27 trillion (more than twice The dense jungles and hills of Danda- India's GDP). That was at 2004 prices. At toda- karanya are repositories (storehouse) of rare mi- y's prices it would be about ,$4 trillion. Of this, neral wealth. It is home to 28 important minerals officially the government gets a royalty of less such as high-quality iron ore, gold, copper, dia- than 7%. Quite often, if the mining company is monds, bauxite, lime stone, coal, granite, silica, a known and recognised one, the chances are and quartz. Besides these minerals, the area is that, even though the ore is still in the moun- rich in forest produce and water resources. Mao- tain, it will have already been traded on the ists pose the biggest hurdle to the greed of the futures market. That's just the story of the b- MNCs and Indian compradors, whose sole objec- auxite in Orissa. Expand the $4 trillion to in- tive is to plunder resources. clude the value of the millions of tonnes of Fire at whom? How will the security high quality iron ore in Chhattisgarh and Jha- forces be able to distinguish a Maoist from an rkhand and the 28 other precious mineral r- ordinary person who is running terrified through esources, including uranium, limestone, do- the jungle? What kind of war is Operation Gre- lomite, coal, tin, granite, marble, copper, di- en Hunt going to be? Will we ever know? Not amond, gold, quartz, corundum, beryl, alexan- much news comes out of the forests. The state drite, silica, fluorite and garnet. Add to that 4
  • 3. POLITICS pledged these resources to compradors such as Birla, Essar, Jindal and Mittal and MNCs such as Tata, Essar and Jindal. The present value of iron Vedanta, POSCO, Holcim, and Rio tinto are the ore in the world market is 210 dollars (Rs.10, greedy vultures circling the forests of Dandakara- 000) per tonne, and these capitalists, in their ben- nya for the bloody spoils. The adivasis vehement- evolence ( kindness ), have generously agreed to ly (angrily) fight against displacement and agains- pay Rs.27 per tonne! Hundreds of such MOUs t each corporate giant that tries to swallow their ( more than 90 in Jharkhand alone ), which are lands and livelihood. Vedanta has completed bui- outrageously anti-adivasis, anti-people and pro- lding its Aluminium factory, but is still unable to capitalist, have been signed. touch the Bauxite hills. The Tata iron factory in Even adivasi villages have not been spa- Gopalpur has come to a grinding halt due to red; they have been sold out to the comprador a mass resistance. Jindal is unable step into Jhar- capitalists without the knowledge of the people. kand to set up mines and extract the gold and d- In Jharkhand alone, which is actually a small state, iamonds. This resistance is not because of the 1,10,000 acres of lands have been transferred to offensive of the Maoist armed squads, but beca- the corporate giants. More than 10 lakh adivasis use of rising people struggles against aggressive will be evicted from here in the coming days. Sta- recolonization. te doesn't seem to matter at all that the fifth sche- The people who have taken to arms believe dule of the constitution provides protection to they have the right to defend their homes and adivasi people and disallows the alienation of t- their land. They believe that they deserve justice. heir land. Comprador capitalists such as Tata They are fighting only for survival. If the tribals 5
  • 4. POLITICS have taken up arms, they have done so bec- one's offering them a choice, unless it's to com- ause a government which has given them mit suicide, like some of the farmers caught in a nothing but violence and neglect now wan- spiral of debt have done. People have a right to ts to snatch away the last thing they have – defend themselves against state violence. In fact, their land. Clearly, they do not believe the the armed struggle that has broken out in the government when it says it only wants to heartland is not the first, but the very last option "develop" their region. Clearly, they do not of a desperate people pushed to the very brink believe that the roads as wide and flat as ai- of existence. The jungles belong to the adivasis rcraft runways that are being built through by right. However, they are being stripped off their forests in Dantewada by the National this right. Not only adivasis, but the rights won Mineral Development Corporation are be- through various struggles by the vast masses of ing built for them to walk their children to the country are being crushed. The adivasis in school on. They believe that if they do not Orissa are being evicted to ensure the ‘invest- fight for their land, they will be annihilated. ment climate’ for the South Korean company, That is why they have taken up arms. POSCO. And, to ensure the same ‘investment Some people say, "These are theprice climate,’ workers in Chennai are being thrown paid for progress." Some even say, "Look at out of their jobs for the crime of building a uni- any developed country – Europe, the US, on in the South Korean company, Hyundai. All Australia – they all have a 'past'." Indeed rights, from minimum wage to job security, are they do. So why shouldn't "we"? They go being stripped off from the working class to en- on saying that the mining industry will rat- sure the ‘investment climate’ for the MNCs. G- chet up the rate of GDP growth dramat- overnment schools and colleges are left uncared ically and provide employment to the peo- for to facilitate the ‘investment climate’ for pr- ple it displaces. This does not take into acc- ivate education sharks. Similarly, the oxygen of ount the catastrophic costs of environmen- the government hospitals is plugged off to ens- tal damage. But even on its own narrow ure the ‘investment climate’ for private hospital terms, it is simply untrue. Most of the mo- chains. ney goes into the bank accounts of the min- India has to become a police state. The govern- ing corporations. Less than 10% comes to ment has to militarise. To justify that militarisa- the public exchequer(treasury). A very tiny tion, it needs an enemy. The Maoists are that e- percentage of the displaced people get jobs, nemy. The deliberate exaggeration of the Ma- and those who do, earn slave-wages to do oist "threat" helps the state justify militarization. humiliating, backbreaking work. At last we What are we to make of the fact that he was a Indians will end up bolstering other count- non-executive director of Vedanta What are we ries' economies with our ecology. to make of the fact that the Union home minist- When people are being brutalised, er, P Chidambaram, the chief of Operation Gre- what "better" thing is there for them to do en Hunt, has, in his career as a corporate lawyer, than to fight back? It's not as though any represented several mining corporations? 6
  • 5. POLITICS What are we to make of the fact that he fare Training School in Bastar was set up just was a non-executive director of Vedanta – a around then? position from which he resigned the day he What are we to make of the fact that just became finance minister in 2004? What are around the time the prime minister began to call we to make of the fact that, when he be- the Maoists the "single largest internal security came finance minister, one of the first clea- threat" ( which was a signal that the government rances he gave for FDI was to Twinstar Ho- was getting ready to go after them ), the share ldings, a Mauritius-based company, to buy prices of many of the mining companies in the shares in Sterlite, a part of the Vedanta gro- region skyrocketed? up? How could a government that professed What are we to make of the fact that, its inability to resettle even a fraction of the 50 when activists from Orissa filed a case aga- million people who had been displaced by "dev- inst Vedanta in the supreme court, citing its elopment" projects was suddenly able to iden- violations of government guidelines and p- tify 1,40,000 hectares of prime and to give to ointing out that the Norwegian Pension Fu- industrialists for more than 300 Special Econo- nd had withdrawn its investment from the mic Zones? company alleging gross environmental da- mage and human rights violations commit- What is the provenance of the billions ted by the company, Justice Kapadia sug- of dollars (several times more than India's GDP) gested that Vedanta be substituted with Ste- secretly stashed away by Indian citizens in Swiss rlite, a sister company of the same group? bank accounts? Where did the $2bn spent on He then blithely announced in an open cou- the last general elections come from? rt that he, too, had shares in Sterlite. He ga- ve forest clearance to Sterlite to go ahead Real choice really lies between ‘enri- with the mining, despite the fact that the s- ching the rich at the cost of tribals’ or ‘enriching upreme court's own expert committee had the tribals by ignoring the rich. explicitly said that permission should be d- enied andthat mining would ruin the fores- ts, water sources, environment and the liv- es and livelihoods of the thousands of triba- ls living there. Justice Kapadia gave this cle- arance without rebutting the report of the supreme court's own committee. What are we to make of the fact that the Salwa Judu- m, the brutal ground-clearing operation di- sguised as a "spontaneous" people's militia in Dantewada, was formally inaugurated in 2005, just days after the MoU with the Tatas was signed? And that the Jungle War- 7