Thursday, December 31, 2009

Punjab Farmers Slide Deeper Into Indebtedness
By Devinder Sharma 28 December, 2009 Devinder Sharma Blog
I am at present travelling in Punjab, considered to be the food bowl of the country. Behind the facade of rural prosperity is hidden the sordid saga of growing indebtedness. I have been highlighting the sorry state of farm affairs for quite sometime. But I guess agricultural scientists and policy makers are afraid to acknowledge the prevailing crisis because the needle of suspicion will only point towards them in return.
All these years, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) had asked farmers to increase productivity. The higher the productivity, the more the income from farming, we were repeatedly told. This was however not true. The more the productivity, more has been the outstanding debt. Unfortunately, no one had the courage to question the faulty promise being doled out by the PAU, year after year.
While the PAU scientists are rewarded with 6th Pay Commission arrears and increase in monthly salaries, the virile farmers of Punjab have come under huge debt. This is certainly not fair. It is high time, PAU is held responsible for the Punjab farm crisis and some sort of punishment must be spelled out.
Agricultural scientists have blood on their hands. They should not be allowed to go scott free.
Newspapers in Punjab have for the last few days been carrying reports based on a study released by Prof H S Shergill of the Institute for Development and Communication in Chandigarh. The study shows that farm debt has increased five fold in the past ten years. Isn't this a clear pointer to the faulty farming frame that Punjab is being forced to follow year after year? Why can't scientists look beyond the NPK model of farming, and try to restore soil health and rejuvenate the environment. Why can't scientists for once come to rescue of the Punjab farmers instead of indirectly helping the Chemical fertiliser and pesticide companies?
Rising farm debt in Punjab
FARMERS in India have been trapped in debt for ages. Farmers were said to be born under debt and they bequeathed only debt to next generations. Earlier these were money lenders who behaved like sharks, sucked the blood of peasantry, leaving them to nurse their wounds and lead a life of misery.
Relief came in dozes. Now after independence and thanks to Green Revolution that pushed into commercial mode the debt has continued to rise as never before. It is true that the entire indebtedness is not due to farming practices and needs, but major portion is due to that. At times the debt ridden farmer finds no other way bit to commit suicide. During the last one decade, over one lakh and fifty thousand farmers have taken this route which is both cowardly and brutal.
Average debt per farm household is Rs 1.39 lakh. 72 per cent of farm households are more heavily involved in debt. 17 per cent cannot pay back even the interest. 60 per cent of the debts trapped are small or marginal farmers.
Last decade Punjab has witnessed five times increase in the debt burden of the farmers. A study conducted by a well known economist professor Harjinder Singh Shergill of the institute of Development and Communication establishes that Punjab farmers who were in debt amounting to Rs 5,700 crore in 1997, now have a debt liability of over Rs 30,394 crore. This is the latest unofficial estimate based on field survey and other data. Now the per farm household debt has become almost three times over these 10 years - from Rs 52,000 per household in 1997 to Rs 1.39 lakh in 2008.
Further, per acre amount of debt has more than doubled over the same period from Rs 5,721 to Rs 13,062.
Nearly 72 per cent of farm households are more heavily involved in debt. Out of these around 17 per cent are in virtual ‘debt trap’ in the sense that they cannot pay even the annual interest on their loans from their current farm income. Shergill has said there was little chance of their repaying the accumulated debt from the current income. Professor Shergill has concluded that the outstanding debt component has increased at a faster rate (14.13 per cent per year) than total farm debt (8.81 per cent per year) over this period. The mortgage debt, however, has declined over this period and may completely disappear in the near future.
Interestingly, the debt of small and marginal farmers has grown at a slower rate (1.29 per cent per year) than the debt of medium and big farmers (2.71 per cent per year). Almost 60 per cent of these ‘debt trapped’ farm households are marginal and small farmers and most of these ‘debt trapped’ farm households (86 per cent) belong to the Malwa region.
When compared to income generated from the farms, the debt amount has increased from being 68 per cent in 1997 to 84 per cent in 2008. Then as a proportion of the value of machinery owned by Punjab farmers, the debt amount has gone up from being 15 per cent in 1997 to 53 per cent in 2008. Despite steep rise in farmland prices in the state, the amount of farm debt is now (2008) equal to 4 per cent of the total value of farmland of the state, compared to it being 3 per cent in 1997.
Almost 30 per cent of the farm households of the state borrowed some money for long-term, non-productive purposes during the agricultural year 2007-08. The average amount of these loans per borrowing farmer was Rs 1.25 lakh, and the per operated acre amount worked out to Rs 12,826.
Northern Malwa farmers borrowed the highest amount of non-productive loans for reasons such as house construction and repair (44.38 per cent of total amount), marriages and social ceremonies (41.41 per cent of total), and purchase of durable consumer goods (25.41 per cent of total). The main sources of these loans were: commission agents and money lenders (54.48 per cent of total amount) and commercial banks (28.96 per cent of total). The share of Cooperative Credit Institutions in non-productive long-term loans was rather small, being only 3.36 per cent. Interestingly, though not related to the study, but it may be added that the Punjab farmers received only 1.3 per cent of the national debt waiver in the form of relief announced by the union government in its last budget.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The national & international intellectuals write to Indian Prime Minister about ‘Operation Green Hunt’

Appeal to raise voice in support of Democratic rights.

• For the information of pro-people, democratic, justice-loving & revolutionary intellectual circles of Punjab, we are publishing & circulating a letter written to the Prime Minister of India by nationally & internationally renowned intellectuals & justice-loving people opposing Operation Green Hunt.

• We call upon all of you to rise to the occasion, come forward to express your concern in a befitting manner on this serious attack on the democratic rights of the people, and play your due role in strengthening the protest movement at this critical moment.

Kanwaljit Khanna Amolak Singh

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister,
Government of India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi,
India-110 011.
We are deeply concerned by the Indian government’s plans for launching an unprecedented military offensive by army and paramilitary forces in the adivasi (indigeneous people)-populated regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal states. The stated objective of the offensive is to “liberate” these areas from the influence of Maoist rebels. Such a military campaign will endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people living in those areas, resulting in massive displacement, destitution and human rights violation of ordinary citizens. To hunt down the poorest of Indian citizens in the name of trying to curb the shadow of an insurgency is both counter-productive and vicious. The ongoing campaigns by paramilitary forces, buttressed by anti-rebel militias, organised and funded by government agencies, have already created a civil war like situation in some parts of Chattisgarh and West Bengal, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced. The proposed armed offensive will not only aggravate the poverty, hunger, humiliation and insecurity of the adivasi people, but also spread it over a larger region.
Grinding poverty and abysmal living conditions that has been the lot of India’s adivasi population has been complemented by increasing state violence since the neoliberal turn in the policy framework of the Indian state in the early 1990s. Whatever little access the poor had to forests, land, rivers, common pastures, village tanks and other common property resources has come under increasing attack by the Indian state in the guise of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and other “development” projects related to mining, industrial development, Information Technology parks, etc. The geographical terrain, where the government’s military offensive is planned to be carried out, is very rich in natural resources like minerals, forest wealth and water, and has been the target of large scale appropriation by several corporations. The desperate resistance of the local indigenous people against their displacement and dispossession has in many cases prevented the government-backed corporations from making inroads into these areas. We fear that the government’s offensive is also an attempt to crush such popular resistances in order to facilitate the entry and operation of these corporations and to pave the way for unbridled exploitation of the natural resources and the people of these regions. It is the widening levels of disparity and the continuing problems of social deprivation and structural violence, and the state repression on the non-violent resistance of the poor and marginalized against their dispossession, which gives rise to social anger and unrest and takes the form of political violence by the poor. Instead of addressing the source of the problem, the Indian state has decided to launch a military offensive to deal with this problem: kill the poor and not the poverty, seems to be the implicit slogan of the Indian government.
We feel that it would deliver a crippling blow to Indian democracy if the government tries to subjugate its own people militarily without addressing their grievances. Even as the short-term military success of such a venture is very doubtful, enormous misery for the common people is not in doubt, as has been witnessed in the case of numerous insurgent movements in the world. We urge the Indian government to immediately withdraw the armed forces and stop all plans for carrying out such military operations that has the potential for triggering a civil war which will inflict widespread misery on the poorest and most vulnerable section of the Indian population and clear the way for the plundering of their resources by corporations. We call upon all democratic-minded people to join us in this appeal.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The peasants’ organizations in Punjab have been in the forefront in the struggle against the anti-people new economic policies of globalization, liberalization & privatization. They have fought not only for remunerative prices for agricultural produce, its procurement by state agencies, writing off farm loans, and against arrests of farmers due to non-payment of farm loans advanced by Cooperative Societies, attachments & sales of their lands at the instances of Commission Agents & money lenders etc, but have also led glorious struggles against setting up of SEZs in the state, forcible acquisition of agricultural land for setting up giant industrial complexes, power projects, multi-lane roads etc. and against unbundling and ultimate privatization of the PSEB. Faced with stiff resistance from the farmers’ organization, Punjab Govt was forced to abandon or curtail many projects. Irritated at this, the Akali-BJP Govt in Punjab launched a massive offensive against the organizations of the farmers. A large number of leaders and activists of these organizations were implicated in false criminal cases. On 8.9.09, when Bharti Kissan Union Ekta (Ugrahan) held a massive demonstration at Chandigarh to oppose unbundling of the State Electricity Board, 4 FIRs were registered against all of its State Office-bearers. The leaders of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union & Lok Morcha Punjab were also implicated in these cases. Hundreds of farmers were injured in the brutal lathi-charge by the police. Their vehicles were badly damaged. As a result of the police brutalities, four persons lost their lives. The sacrifices of these farmers did not go in vain. Akali-BJP Govt was forced to postpone the unbundling/ corporatisation of the PSEB, till mid-December.
Now as the day of reckoning is reaching near, and the farmers’ organizations have started mobilizing the people against the privatization of the PSEB, the Akali-BJP Govt has launched another attack. On 17.11.09, President of BKU (Krantikari), Sh Surjit Singh Phul was arrested from the court premises when he had gone there to attend a hearing. The police would have kept him in illegal confinement & subjected to torture, but the democratic-minded advocates and farmer activists approached the Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate and apprised him of the illegal act of the police. The SDJM Phul, immediately called the SHO of the concerned police station. Fearing exposure, the police registered a case under Section 10, 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Mr. Surjit Singh branding him as a member of CPI Maoist, planning to illegally overthrow the Govt through armed struggle, and shown arrested him in this case. Next day the police obtained his custody for 8 days by producing him before the Magistrate at his residence after court hours, and he was immediately sent to the infamous Joint Investigation Center, Amritsar, which is Punjab’s Guantonamo.
On 26.11.09, Mr. Surjit Singh was to be produced before the SDJM Phul for further remand. The police with a view to hoodwink his lawyers, made elaborate security arrangements at Phul Courts. Riot-police commandoes, in full battle gear were deployed not only in and around the court-premises, but also on all entrances of the town, and at important road-junctions leading to this town throughout the district. But it was merely a drama. In fact the police filed an application before the District & Sessions Judge Bathinda, expressing false and baseless apprehensions that people at Phul might take away Mr. Surjit Singh forcibly from the police, and obtained permission to produce him before the CJM at Bathinda. The real intention was to deprive Mr. Surjit Singh of any legal aid and exposure of the third degree methods adopted by the police. The police succeeded in obtaining his remand in its custody for another 8 days till 3.12.09.
As soon as this information reached his lawyers, who were camping at Phul Town, they immediately moved the court to obtain permission to meet Surjit Singh in police custody and for his interrogation only in the presence of his lawyers. The court allowed the lawyers to meet him on 26.11.09 & 27.11.09, and informed the police about this order. But the police did not care about the Court’s order and sent him to Joint Interrogation Center, Amritsar again without informing the Court. When the lawyers tried to contact the Investigating Officer to fix the venue of the meeting, he switched off his mobile phone.
On 27.11.09, the lawyers filed another application before the CJM Bathinda, seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the police officials, and fixing new time & date for meeting with Surjit Singh. Acting on this application, the court granted permission to the lawyers, to meet Mr Surjit Singh during his detention at Joint Interrogation Center Amritsar, everyday from 5 to 6 PM from 30.11.09 onwards.
Although the game-plan of the police has been foiled for the present, but its attack can be repulsed only by mobilizing masses against these anti-people, undemocratic, & repressive measures.
By: N.K.JEET Advocate

Saturday, August 8, 2009

United States bombings of other countries

We are reproducing here a chapter from the book "Rogue State: A Guide to the
World's Only Superpower", by William Blum for the information of our readers.
It is a scandal in contemporary international law, don't forget, that while "wanton destruction of towns, cities and villages" is a war crime of long standing, the bombing of cities from airplanes goes not only unpunished but virtually un-accused. Air bombardment is state terrorism, the terrorism of the rich. It has burned up and blasted apart more innocents in the past six decades than have all the anti-state terrorists who ever lived. Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality. In the United States we would not consider for the presidency a man who had once thrown a bomb into a crowded restaurant, but we are happy to elect a man who once dropped bombs from airplanes that destroyed not only restaurants but the buildings that contained them and the neighborhoods that surrounded them. I went to Iraq after the Gulf war and saw for myself what the bombs did; "wanton destruction" is just the term for it.
C. Douglas Lummis, political scientist {1}

The above was written in 1994, before the wanton destruction generated by the bombing of Yugoslavia, another in a long list of countries the United States has bombarded since the end of World War II, which is presented below.

There appears to be something about launching bombs or missiles from afar onto cities and people that appeals to American military and political leaders. In part it has to do with a conscious desire to not risk American lives in ground combat. And in part, perhaps not entirely conscious, it has to do with not wishing to look upon the gory remains of the victims, allowing American GIs and TV viewers at home to cling to their warm fuzzy feelings about themselves, their government, and their marvelous "family values".

Washington officials are careful to distinguish between the explosives the US drops from the sky and "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD), which only the officially-designated enemies (ODE) are depraved enough to use. The US government speaks sternly of WMD, defining them as nuclear, chemical and biological in nature, and "indiscriminate" (meaning their use can't be limited to military objectives), as opposed to the likes of American "precision" cruise missiles. This is indeed a shaky semantic leg to stand on, given the well-known extremely extensive damage to non-military targets, including numerous residences, schools and hospitals, even from American "smart" bombs, in almost all of the bombings listed below.

Moreover, Washington does not apply the term "weapons of mass destruction" to other weapons the US has regularly used, such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs, which can be, and often are, highly indiscriminate.

WMD are sometimes further defined as those whose effects linger in the environment, causing subsequent harm to people. This would certainly apply to cluster bombs, and depleted uranium weapons, the latter remaining dangerously radioactive after exploding. It would apply less to "conventional" bombs, but even with those there are unexploded bombs lying around, and the danger of damaged buildings later collapsing. But more importantly, it seems highly self-serving and specious, not to mention exceptionally difficult, to try to paint a human face on a Tomahawk Cruise missile whose payload of a thousand pounds of TNT crashes into the center of a densely-populated city, often with depleted uranium in its warhead.

A terrorist is someone who has a bomb
but doesn't have an air force

The bombing list
Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-1961
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Iran 1987
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
Kuwait 1991
Somalia 1993
Bosnia 1994, 1995
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999
Yemen 2002
Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular basis)
Iraq 2003-present
Afghanistan 2001-present
Pakistan 2007-present


Iran, April 2003 -- hit by US missiles during bombing of Iraq, killing at least one person {2}

Pakistan, 2002-03 -- bombed by US planes several times as part of combat against the Taliban and other opponents of the US occupation of Afghanistan {3}

China, 1999 -- its heavily bombed embassy in Belgrade is legally Chinese territory, and it appears rather certain that the bombing was no accident (see chapter 25)

France, 1986 -- After the French government refused the use of its air space to US warplanes headed for a bombing raid on Libya, the planes were forced to take another, longer route; when they reached Libya they bombed so close to the French embassy that the building was damaged and all communication links knocked out.{4}

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 13, 1985 -- A bomb dropped by a police helicopter burned down an entire block, some 60 homes destroyed, 11 dead, including several small children. The police, the mayor's office, and the FBI were all involved in this effort to evict a black organization called MOVE from the house they lived in.

Them other guys are really shocking

"We should expect conflicts in which adversaries, because of cultural affinities different from our own, will resort to forms and levels of violence shocking to our sensibilities."
Department of Defense, 1999 {5}

The Targets

It's become a commonplace to accuse the United States of choosing as its bombing targets only people of color, those of the Third World, or Muslims. But it must be remembered that one of the most sustained and ferocious American bombing campaigns was carried out against the people of the former Yugoslavia -- white, European, Christians. The United States is an equal-opportunity bomber. The only qualifications for a country to become a target are: (1) It poses a sufficient obstacle to the desires of the American Empire; (2) It is virtually defenseless against aerial attack.

The survivors

A study by the American Medical Association: "Psychiatric disorders among survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing":

Nearly half the bombing survivors studied had an active postdisaster psychiatric disorder, and full criteria for PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] were met by one third of the survivors. PTSD symptoms were nearly universal, especially symptoms of intrusive reexperience and hyperarousal.{6}

Martin Kelly, publisher of a nonviolence website:

We never see the smoke and the fire, we never smell the blood, we never see the terror in the eyes of the children, whose nightmares will now feature screaming missiles from unseen terrorists, known only as Americans.

1. The Nation, September 26, 1994, p.304
2. RFE/RL Newsline, April 9, 2003 (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a "private" international communications service in Europe and Asia funded by the US government.)
3. Washington Post, January 1, 2003, Australian Broadcasting Company, January 1, 2003, Agence France Presse, September 19, 2003
4. Associated Press, "France Confirms It Denied U.S. Jets Air Space, Says Embassy Damaged", April 15, 1986
5. U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, "New World Coming" (Phase I Report), September 15, 1999, p.3
6. Journal of the American Medical Association, August 25, 1999, p.761

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Punjab SEZ Bill Exposes Anti-people character of Akali-BJP combine and the Congress

Lok Morcha Punjab has strongly opposed the Punjab Special Economic Zones Bill -2009 passed by Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in its last session, which allows a developer to set up & operate 100 percent export oriented units without paying any tax. It will open the flood gates for the exploitation of the natural resources, manpower & state exchequer of Punjab by imperialist foreign companies and their Indian partners. Being anti-people and anti-national, this enactment should not be brought on the statute book. Passing of the Punjab Special Economic Zones Bill -2009 by the state legislature, without thoroughly discussing its provisions proves that the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) as well as the Congress, are equally zealous in serving foreign and Indian big capitalists (Malik Bhagoes), and care the least for the poor farmers, agricultural laborers and industrial workers (Bhai Laloes) of Punjab.
While on one hand Punjab Govt pleads to have no money to spend on education, health services, water supply, power and infrastructure etc., it is bestowing huge benefits on the imperialist and big capitalists. It exposes the anti-people & pro-imperialist character of Akali-BJP combine. The Act provides for total exemption from payment of any tax, duty, fees, cess or any other levy. Diesel and Petrol would be available to the units in SEZs at about half the market price due to various tax exemptions. Similarly cement, bricks, iron & steel shall also be made available to them at about 30 to 40 percent cheaper rates. Presently, registration fee on agricultural & urban land is levied at the rate of 10 & 14 percent respectively of its value, whereas the SEZ developer will not pay even a single Paisa, as all the units in SEZ shall be exempted from stamp duty, registration fee and social security Cess on the purchase of land.
This Act also provides for giving public utility status to industrial units located in SEZs. It means, these units shall be exempted from the operation of various labour laws relating to working hours, minimum wages, retrenchments, lock-outs, gratuity, accident compensation, maternity & other social security benefits, right to form trade unions etc. It will result in extreme exploitation of laborers employed there. In effect, the SEZs established under the Act shall supply subsidized goods to foreign markets at the cost of the people of Punjab. If similar tax benefits are extended to the industrialists, transporters and farmers of Punjab, to cater to the local market, the prices of most goods & services will become 50 percent cheaper.
The benefits being showered upon the foreign and big Indian capitalists by Punjab Govt, through this Act, are in addition to nearly Rs.7,03,147 Crore tax benefits already given to them by the Central Govt in the last two financial years.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Peoples Manifesto

Two revolutionary organizations of Punjab, namely LOK MORCHA & INQLABI KENDER have issued a joint manifesto, which is qualitatively different from the ones issued by the political parties struggling to enter the Indian Parliament.


These two organizations are neither themselves in the election fray, nor supporting any political party. But even then they have decided to compaign vigorously amongst the masses for their revolutionary alternative ‘Change the State, Change the Society’, in contrast to the mainline political parties’ slogan of getting votes for their candidates.

The clarion call of the joint manifesto released today is, ‘Peoples salvation lies not in merely changing the Govts. Change the State, Change the Society’

The 16-page manifesto notes that the Indian Constitution, under which the elections to the Parliament & State Legislatures are held, is merely a device to perpetuate and continue the exploitative and oppressive rule of big sharks. The people of India are in fact being subjected to danda-raj, under the garb of parliamentary democracy.


A multi-dimensional analysis of present electoral system clearly reveals that the ruling groups use it to get the stamp of approvals from the people every five years for their exploitative and oppressive regime, by putting a veil of democracy over it. These two organizations will work to free the people from this illusion of democracy and to fulfill the ideals of Shaheed Bhagat Singh by mobilizing the people around his ideal of effecting fundamental revolutionary changes in the society.

Citing concrete examples from the history of Indian liberation movement and the policies pursued by Indian rules since 1947, the manifesto concludes that the different ruling political groupings have identical anti-people policies and visions in the sphere of foreign policy, industry, agriculture, education, health, technology, culture, communalism, regionalism etc. They generate heat & noise against each other during the eletrol campaigns to camoflauge their real fight for getting bigger share in power and pelf. Faces of the rules change, but their character remains the same.

Lok Morcha & Inqualabi Kender Punjab have not limited them selves to merely making a negative criticism of the Indian democracy and the present electoral system. They have put forward concrete alternative set of policies to be put in operation in the domestic and international spheres, and have claimed that the alternative set of policies will cause a revolutionary transformation in the lives of the people and free them of most of the ills & problems.


Elucidating the alternative set of policies both these organizations advocated that:

1. The exploitation and expropriation by foreign imperialists, big capitalists, and big landlords should be put to an end. All their capital and assets be confiscated and used for the development of our country.

2. People-centered restructuring of the economy should be done.

3. Fundamental transformation in land relations be affected through revolutionary land reforms.

4. All the institutional and non-institutional debts of farm & non-farm labourers, peasants, and marginal farmers be waved off.

5. Self-sustaining national industry, free from foreign imperialist domination, and based on labour-intensive technology should be developed. Industrial policy should be framed keeping in view national needs.

The manifest asserted that the alternative policies and revolutionary steps advocated by them will usher in a new people-centered and people-dominated political set-up, by putting an end to the present rotten and degenrated institutions of political power such as parliament, State Legislatures, judicial system, beauruecracy, state-machinery etc.


The manifesto claimed that the peopels’ new revolutionary state shall be truly democratic, and secular. They called upon the people to strengthen their class unity and fraternity and to develop their struggles into a political offensive against the exploitative and oppressive regime.

These organizations have vowed to take up a mass compaign to every nook and corner to popularize their manifesto through mass meetings, rallies, seminars, flag-marches, etc.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Punjab Protest Against Lalgarh Atrocities

A' Committee Against Repression On Lalgarh People' has been formed in Punjab today. It consists of three members, who are well-known leaders of democratic-revolutionary organisations, namely- Kanwaljit Khanna (Inqulabi Kender, Punjab), Balwant Makhu (Lok Sangram Manch) and Amolak Singh (Lok Morcha Punjab). The Committee in its first meeting held has decided to hold a protest demonstration at Moga on 10.7.09. Lok Morcha Punjab endorsing this call has called upon all its members and sympathisers to participate in the protest demonstration in full strength to show their solidarity with the struggling people of Lalgarh.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The tribal of Lalgarh are fighting a glorious struggle to protect their lands, forests, natural resources, culture, lives, liberty & honor. After the land-mine blast on the caravan of West Bengal C.M. Budhdeb Bhattacharya and the then Union Steel & Mines Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, in November 2008, the West Bengal police launched a massive combing operation in the Lalgarh area, conducting mid-night raids; beating up, assaulting and dishonoring women & children, illegally detaining & torturing them in police camps. The tribal refused to take it lying down and took to the path of struggle against these repressive measures by organizing themselves in Committees for Resisting Police Repression, in numerous villages. The held massive Dharnas and protest sieges before the police-camps and decided to socially boycott those police officials who perpetuated cruelties upon them. There was absolutely nothing “Maoist” in their 11-point charter of demands, which included public apology by policemen responsible for torturing & humiliating the people; an end to mid-night police raids; release of innocent persons detained without trial since 1998 on the suspicion of being ‘Maoists’; removal of all police camps from various schools, hospitals & other public buildings in the area; & compensation to the victims of police brutalities, etc.
Although the authorities conceded these demands and promised to initiate action to implement these, but this announcement was a clever ploy to buy time. Shortly afterwards, the police raids restarted with increased vigor; police repression on the innocent people intensified & the police camps were re-established. Two leaders of the Committee for Resisting Police Repression, namely Nirmal Sardar & Hemadri Mahato were brutally murdered. CPI (M) goons are enacting a different type of ‘Salwa Judam’, openly firing upon struggling tribal, killing & maiming many people.

Now a full scale offensive with a contingent of more than 5000 armed personnel is underway. Indian state is trying to overawe & crush simple tribal folks, by massive deployment of its security forces, armed with ultra-modern & sophisticated weapons, under the garb of flushing out the ‘Maoists’.

The Santhal tribal of Lalgarh have been deprived of the basic necessities of life, since decades. There is no electricity, irrigation facilities, motorable roads etc. Facilities for education, health care, safe drinking water etc are scarce. For the last more than 5 years, the few existing school, hospital & other public buildings have been occupied by the security forces. Funds provided under various ‘development schemes’ such as NREGA, Indira Awas Yojna etc are cornered by Marxist-controlled Panchayats to benefit their own cadres. The Public Distribution System is being used for illegal enrichment of Depot Holders, who are members or sympathizers of CPI (M) & corrupt officials. Now in the name of establishing Special Economic Zones, a wave of dispossession of tribal from their lands & forests has started to facilitate their exploitation by MNCs & their Indian agents. The CPI (M) which has remained entrenched in the Writers Building for more than three days on the strength of tribal votes has done nothing to ameliorate their lot. Rather it has worsened further due to anti-people neo-liberal policies being pursued by the West Bengal & Central Govts.

With the present armed offensive & extreme violent repression, the State may lull the movement temporarily. But the democratic revolutionary aspirations of Lalgarh people can not be crushed. The movement will rebound with great vigor and increased strength, winning support & solidarity from the struggling people throughout India.

Dated: 26.6.09

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