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Maoist response to intellectuals’ appeal for peace

A 'reasonable' letter from the extremists on their acts earns public appreciation

The Maoist response to intellectuals’ appeal for peace in Bastar jungles:

The government must create an atmosphere conducive for peace

Jan adalats are justified, its system is superior to the courts

Police only happen to be targets in the wake of violence against people

Innocents have died in cases of mistaken identity, we aren’t against people-friendly development projects

"Whether to live a life of slavery and indignity and die of hunger by remaining docile or (through) peaceful protests...or take up arms to completely eradicate the grounds that give birth to all kinds of oppression in order to live as free human beings...."Mupalla Laxmana Rao, popularly known as Ganapathi, general secretary, CPI (Maoist)

It's seldom that the Maoists feel the necessity to communicate with the outside world, so when they do, it's an occasion.

The letter regrets undue violence against civilians, even seeks tips to avert such errors.
Proving—even if they don't want to admit it—the pen can at times be mightier than the sword.Recently, the Independent Citizens' Initiative or the ICI—a group of six eminent persons including journalist B.G. Verghese, historian Ramachandra

Guha, former secretary to the government of India E.A.S. Sarma and sociologist Nandini Sundar—appealed to them to give up armed warfare and negotiate with the government.

A detailed response by the Maoists operating from the jungles of Bastar proved far more than a indictment of the establishment.

It lent a chance for all to take a closer look at the lives of the poor, and reasons for the violence.The letter should be essential reading for political leaders and government officials who think special economic zones and big dam projects hold the future.

Those who have, for long, neglected remote and difficult areas of the country. The term Naxal is often coupled with the word 'menace' but, of late, the Maoists have been winning unexpected sympathisers.

Not just the likes of writer-activist Arundhati Roy who, while protesting against SEZs in West Bengal, said, "Such policies would ultimately force the marginalised to take up arms.

"Lately, even a former BSF director general, Prakash Singh, was moved to say, "I have no doubt that many of them are highly motivated, fighting for a cause. They are far better than the criminals who have managed to infiltrate assemblies and Parliament and even become ministers.

" Former prime minister V.P. Singh, referring to the SEZ model, said he wanted to become a Maoist "if this is the model of development".The tenor of the Maoists' letter, penned on behalf of them by Ganapathi, is civilised—even urbane. It's also sharply argued, doesn't shy away taking on any of the eight points the ICI raised.

It's been formulated following a discussion in the CPI (Maoist) politburo. As poet, journalist and far-left ideologue Varavara Rao told Outlook, "When we get a letter—like this one from the ICI—the politburo deliberates on it.

Then one person would draft a reply."The current correspondence arose in the context of the state of a near-civil war in Dantewada, a tribal district of Chhattisgarh, where the government-sponsored Salwa Judum movement has resulted—since mid-2004—in pushing the tribals into a piquant choice: either you are with us or you are against us, either you are with the Salwa Judum or with the Maoists. In short, tribals have been forced to fight against tribals.As for the ICI—which last year released a detailed report on the violence generated by Salwa Judum—wrote in its letter to the Maoists:

"We believe that the defence of the rights of the adivasis can be ensured more effectively through political, non-violent and open means, rather than through armed struggle....
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posted by Bimal 27.1.07,


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