If they killed, why did they?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is yet to be established beyond doubts that the Maoists in Chhattisgarh have killed the Congress leaders on Saturday; but the Prime Minister has lost no time in condemning the Maoists for the killing. So also the rich media and the elite of the country. The survivors of the attack also allege that the attackers were the Maoists. And, the general public, thus, is in an environment of believing that the attackers were the Maoists.

Words are inadequate to condemn this violence. But we are yet to know why the Government of India run by Dr. Manmohan Singh of the Congress Party and the Provincial Government run by the BJP have not till now told the nation with definite evidence that it is the Maoists and none else that have killed Mahendra Karma and others and so severely injured V.C.Shukla and others in the Bastar ambush.

The Congress leaders were in a massive campaign against the BJP and their campaign was christened ‘Parivartana Yatra’, meaning ‘a march for change’. The BJP was/is to suffer if the Yatra succeeds. So, it is BJP that was/is to be affected by the Congress campaign, not the Maoists. And BJP is also not a non-violent party. It is known for violence for power and/or force against the political adversary.

So, instead of vomiting set jargons of prejudice against the Maoists, the Prime Minister should ensure that a fact finding investigation into who really caused the mayhem and murder is instituted immediately and completed within a stipulated time.

The fact that need not be investigated into is that a set of Congress campaigners for change in Provincial Government were attacked, injured and killed. What needs to be investigated into is that, who did it and why. If the BJP did it, motive is understandable. But, if the Maoists did it, the Government must tell us as to why they did it. Because, unless we reach the root cause, there shall be no remedy.

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Do Maoists Obstruct Development? No, say Participants in Kanak TV Debate

Do the Maoists obstruct development? Kanak TV raised this question on its open discussion board in the IDCOL Auditorium at Bhubaneswar on May 8.

The debate was coordinated by its founder, Sri Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

“No” was the answer by deduction, as those who denigrated the Maoists also confessed that lack of development is the root cause of Maoist evolvement.

The ‘Yes’ side comprised Orissa’s finance minister Prafulla Ghadai, Opposition Chief Whip in Orissa Assembly Prasad Harichandan and former Director General of Police in the State, Gopal Nanda.

The ‘No’ side comprised CPI leader Prof. Abani Baral, Human Rights Activist, Advocate Biswapriya Kanungo and wife of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, Smt. Mili Panda.

Smt. Panda, who is recently released from illegal incarceration, rejected the suggestion sic passim in the subject of the debate itself that development in undeveloped areas is being hindered by the Maoists. The Maoists are the active voices of the people that are victims of government apathy and negligence. Maoists oppose misappropriation of development funds and hijacking of lands and natural resources by private companies. They are emancipation activists who have been making immeasurable sacrifices to serve the cause of the wretchedly poor, said Smt. Panda. How can those, who for the rights of the voiceless majority, have left the comforts of their homes and company of their families and roam over dangerous terrains daring false encounters, cooked up prosecution and rich media’s negative publicity, go against development of the people?she asked. She presented many instances of how people perish in villages sans health care, education facilities, home to live in, food to eat and water to drink. Those, who measure democracy in the yardstick of constituencies captured, cannot measure how pathetically people live, as plans and funds meant for their development get looted in transit by politico-bureaucratic-capitalist nexus. Those that oppose this looting are being branded as Maoists, she said.

Biswapriya Kanungo pointed out that the government has banned six socio-political forums in 2006 branding them as Maoist outfits. Why are they not coming forward with details of benefits they have achieved by the ban? he asked. If the government fails to give a benevolent rule, people will certainly go against the government. If, instead of correcting the wrongs it commits, the government unleashes state terror on people for going against the government that fails to give a benevolent rule, people will retaliate. Such retaliation should not be termed as obstruction to development, he said.

Prof. Baral observed that if the money the government is spending on hounding out Maoists by the police, could have been spent on real development of the people, Maoist activities could have been fizzled out in areas like Malkangiri. People have lost their entity in the priority list of the government, which has become a prisoner of mania for mining based industries. It is wrong to assume that with spread of mining based industries poverty shall be eradicated. The areas from where these industries are acquiring their fodders are getting economically ruined day by day, he said.

Finance Minister Gadai, who, could never have gone against the government’s policy and hence could not have said anything but “yes” in answer to the question under discussion, said that the Maoists are opposing the industries though industries mean development. Value addition to raw materials should help the State fetch more funds which would facilitate more investment in development programs, which the Maoists do not understand, he said.

The former police chief was expected to say “yes” to the question under debate; because anything than “yes” could have virtually been the same as disapproval of his own action against the Maoists during his regime as DGP. So, he painted the Maoists as cancer for eradication of which surgery, medicine and care at the same time are required. Yet, he confessed that the government’s wrong economic policies are responsible for evolvement of Maoist movement, particularly in tribal areas where industries are eating away the forests and depriving the tribals of their living environment. With shrinkage of forest areas and spread of mining in hills, their natural sources of livelihood have been severely tampered with and, for sustenance, they are being forced to mortgage whatever little lands have they and in the debt traps laid by moneylenders, they are losing their lands and thus in ruins without any remedy, they are in utter frustration. Maoists are exploiting the situation, he said.

The Opposition Chief Whip, belongs as he to the Congress, which has a Prime Minister to whom Maoists are left viruses, was supposed to say “yes, the Maoists are obstructing development.” And he said this. But, he also said, since 1960, the Maoists have been gaining ground because of the unending financial straits the majority of people are thrown into. Unbearable poverty on the one side vis-a-vis accumulation of plenty in few hands in the other side has given birth to Maoists movement, which can be controlled if priority of administration is addressed in right earnest to people’s development, said Sri Harichandan.

So, by deduction, the ‘yes’ side also said that the Maoists are not the obstruction to development, when all of the debaters except the finance minister were sure that the government’s wrong economic policies and lackadaisical approach to development has caused Maoist evolvement.

Tribals Reject Bail Offer, Demand Withdrawal of False Prosecution

Abductors, allegedly Maoists, may release Jhinna Hikaka, the hostage MLA of ruling party, if persons as per their list that include Chasi Mulia Adibasi Sangha (CMAS) members are released from jails. Government of Orissa agrees to help them if they apply for bail.

But, thousands of tribals congrigated at Kaberibadi of Bandhugaon block, on April 16, have rejected the government suggestion.

Police cases against tribals are false and fabricated and hence be withdrawn, they say. Bail does not bring the end of prosecution. So, the CMAS will not want any tribal to apply for bail, they have declared.

Media Ethics Contravened: Prasanta Patnaik Castigates Police and Press over Public Humiliation of Alleged Female Maoists on Their Surrender

If really any female Maoist surrenders before the police, neither the police nor the press has any right to socially humiliate her in spicy projection of how she was sexually exploited by any male comrade in assumed hide outs, says eminent journalist Prasanta Patnaik, reminding them of media ethics in no uncertain terms.

Writing in Bhubaneswar’s language daily Suryaprava, Patnaik has condemned the way, time and again, some young women are being put before the TV cameras and obliging journalists by the police to divulge that they were Maoists whom their male comrades have raped at gun points.

Whether or not such surrenders are stage managed is not investigated into by the media.

But sadly, the press persons, covering the press conference held by the police, forget that the laws of this land and time honored ethics of journalism do not vouch for justifiability in projecting the face of sex victims in public, at stake being the social honor of women.

Were the police claim really true, the jungles where Maoists dwell must have often witnessed attack on male Maoists by the abused females as weapons are also under their possession and they are trained in using them. That no such instance has ever surfaced and police has never registered any case under any allegation for such offenses, is enough to make one wonder, if placing of such females by the police before the press is not willfully designed to malign the Maoists, Patnaik has noted.

He has called upon the Police and the Press not to put in future the females before the cameras to divulge how sexually they were assaulted, if at all any such act has ever happened, at least to honor women dignity, irrespective of they being or not being Maoists.

The Prime Minister Should Also Say

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh has described the Maoist uprising as ‘the biggest internal threat ever faced by India’. When we appreciate his genuine concern for the country, we also feel that he should make it clear as to which one could be considered a lesser threat.

I was unable to attend to my work since the last posting here as my doctor was not able to quickly tackle the physical torture that I was forced into after taking a medicine under prescription. Was the medicine spurious? My doctor could not say ‘no’ for sure; but tried to help me with its antidote and I took so much time to get rid of the debacle.

I suspect that the medicine administered on me was spurious; because Orissa is under flood of spurious medicines and the racket is so invincible that despite a fake medicine factory busted at Kantabanji in Bolangir district in 2007, the culprits are not yet punished.

Is the spurious medicine racket a lesser threat?

The reports of Comptroller and Auditor General of India are full of how public exchequer is misappropriated. Loot of public exchequer should be treated as crime against the Country. But no such looter has ever been prosecuted for such crime. This is simply because these looters have their godfathers in politicians in power.

Do these looters constitute a lesser threat?

Black-market operators, profiteers, share-swindlers and contractors have formed the new rich class of India by hijacking the benefits available to people under welfare schemes. Rajiv Gandhi, whose protégé the incumbent PM is, had to admit that 85 percent of welfare funds never reach the poor beneficiaries.

Do these hijackers of welfare schemes pose lesser threat?

We Indians get currency notes worth Rs.500 or 1000 from the Bank counters or ATMs. But when we present the same currency notes in another counter of the same Bank or any other Bank or any shop or commercial point in exchange of any article purchased or any service availed, we get forced into the unbearable ignominy of being suspected of presenting fake notes!

Do the fellows that have ruined the credibility of Indian Currency constitute lesser threat?

Consumer items, specifically cereals and vegetables produced in the country’s soil are available in plenty. It never happens that a consumer goes to the market but comes back empty-handed as the goods are not available. Goods are available; but most of the consumers fail to purchase them as financially they are too weak to defray the cost. When markets are full of commodities, there is no justification in rise of price. But price-rise ruins the people because fellows in power support the profiteers.

Do the servers and supporters of the political econoy that has given birth to the environment of price rise form lesser threat?

The spirit of Indian freedom is killed when the country is subjected to foreign industrial interest.

Singh should say if the killers of the spirit of Indian independence should be treated as better than the Maoists.

Killing of man in the name of political economy is bad. But killing the purpose and the spirit of Indian independence is the worst.