Halt the capitalist land grab and demand secure livelihood for all!
by Comrade Lal Singh, General Secretary, Communist Ghadar Party of India
Recent weeks have seen a significant escalation of state repression and persecution of various political personalities and thousands of people, all in the name of fighting naxalism. Not a day passes without the Prime Minister or Home Minister or some other authority declaring that they will stamp out naxalism at any cost. Thousands of additional central paramilitary forces are being deployed. The Army and the Air Force are being geared up for a major ‘anti-naxal’ onslaught under preparation, covering several mineral rich states. The Air Force has been given license to unleash its firepower on civilian targets, and it is suspected that even ‘drone attacks’ are being contemplated.
The loud propaganda about the threat posed by naxalism is aimed at covering up the real issue at the heart of the conflict. This is the issue of people’s rights over their land and natural resources, which are being violated in the interests of capitalist super-profits.
Peasants, tribal, hill and forest communities are protesting against the Government seizing their land and handing it over to big capitalists, Indian and international. Various communist parties, including Maoists and Marxist-Leninists, are supporting the just struggle of the people in defence of their rights, against the capitalist land grab which is being facilitated by the central and state governments.
The draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the current avatar of the hated TADA, is being used to brand all those who are fighting against the capitalist land grab as being dangerous criminals, as suspected Maoists and naxals. The arrest and incarceration of Chhatradhar Mahato and the much publicized arrest of Kobad Ghandy, a leading member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), are but a tip of the iceberg.
Large numbers of communists belonging to different parties are being picked up and thrown into jail. Human rights activists and progressive intellectuals who speak out against state repression are being arrested and threatened.
The central government is carrying out a massive propaganda campaign to terrorise progressive and democratic persons into silence. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been repeatedly running disgusting full page advertisements in the newspapers displaying gory pictures of dead bodies and pronouncing that these were the victims of Maoists. “Does anyone have sympathy for these people?” the ad asks the reader. The message is that those who talk of the rights of the victims of state repression are sympathizing with the wrong side. It is a threatening message, saying Beware, if you express sympathy for those being hounded then you are deemed guilty by association!
In the case of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities in Lalgarh, West Bengal, the state police chief has warned that they have discovered his links with “prominent intellectuals” in Kolkata and will take action against them too. This is clearly an attempt to intimidate and pre-empt any protests against his arrest.
Without a shred of evidence of their complicity in any crime, people are being persecuted on the grounds that they support those who are resisting the capitalist land grab and demanding security of livelihood. This injustice is being supported by the parties in state power – including the Congress, BJP and CPI(M). It is being opposed by the vast majority of communists, democrats and people’s organizations among workers, peasants, women and youth.
According to the Raj Dharma, or science of statecraft, that was preached and practiced in the Indian subcontinent for several centuries before the colonial conquest, it is the duty of the Raja, or the State, to ensure prosperity and protection for all members of society. The people have the Right to depose, even behead, a Raja who fails to fulfill this duty but instead oppresses the people.
Today, those who demand security of livelihood are deemed to pose a threat to national security and prosperity of India. Those who seize other people’s land in order to reap maximum private profit are considered to be precious guests – investors who must be wooed. Those who protest this injustice are being thrown into jail and charged with having upset the order. Anyone who raises his or her voice against such injustice is also deemed guilty by association.
Who created the problem in the first place? The problem has been caused by the seizure of land by the State for handing over to this or that group of big capitalists. The various movements of people to resist the seizure of their land are a reaction to the capitalist land grab. However, the people who resist are being portrayed as the trouble makers who have upset law and order, while those who are seizing land are portrayed as acting in the national interest. Thus, the truth is being turned upside down.
The times are demanding united action on the part of all political parties and forces interested in safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of the toiling masses. Let us unite to defeat the fascist campaign of the Manmohan Singh government to crush the people’s resistance in the name of wiping out naxalism!