PUCL Bulletin, April 200

PWG and Andhra govt' urged to cease armed action or violent activities

(The Committee of Concerned Citizens published an open letter on January 15, 2002 addressed to the Andhra Pradesh State Government and the Peoples War Group urging both of them to cease "armed action or violent activities" for sometimes and to start talks. The PWG showed its willingness provided the government stopped encounters at combing operations. We are reproducing below the correspondence and statements to and from the CCC, the PWG, and the State Government, as published by the CCC -Gen.Secretary)

Open Letter to Peoples War and to the Government:
The Committee of Concerned Citizens has been striving for the last four years towards peace particularly in the Telangana and to bring the basic problems of the people on the political agenda.

As a part of this effort the Committee has been repeatedly emphasizing that there should be a dialogue between Peoples War and the Government, and both the parties have the responsibility to create an atmosphere conducive to a dialogue. Even though there have been positive responses, there is no basic change in the overall situation. In the last session of the Legislative Assembly, different political parties called for the commencement of the dialogue and the Government announced that the decision would be taken after the convening of an All - party meeting. These developments gave rise to expectations and the Committee hoped for a positive outcome. The efforts of the Committee however received a set back due to the unfortunate incidents at Warangal and tragic killing of Ragya Naik. The Committee fears if this situation continues in this manner there is a danger that the life of the common people will become extremely unbearable. The Committee desires that both the sides shall respond positively to the proposal for dialogue before the situation further worsens. As a responsible Government concerned with the welfare of the people, the Government should take initiative for commencement of the dialogue. Likewise, the Committee call upon the Peoples War to come forward for the dialogue in the larger interest of the people. The Committee hopes that both the sides would do everything possible to create a conducive climate for the dialogue.

The Committee makes the following suggestions for the emergence of a favourable climate for the dialogue:
Suggestions to the State:

  • Government should stop encounters
  • Government should stop combing operations.
  • Government should stop all forms of harassment.
  • Any action by Government dealing with the life and liberty of people should be strictly in accordance with law.
  • Cases against villages should be reviewed and pending review long adjournments may be sought.
  • All non-violent, peaceful and democratic activities should be permitted, irrespective of political ideology.

Suggestions to Peoples War:

  • All killings must be stopped including police personnel, alleged informs and political activities.
  • Attacks on Police Stations should be stopped. Destruction of government and public property should also be stopped.
  • Use of land mines, claymore mines and other explosives should be stopped.
  • Extortions should be stopped.

  • These should be no interference with any democratic activities of any political parties of groups.

  • Nothing should be done which would give an impression that development, administrative and other welfare activities are being obstructed.

The Committee appeals both the sides to agree and strictly observe these suggested measures from second week of February for a period of at least three months, and initiate the dialogue. Such a course of action would create mutual trust and inspire confidence among the people in the process of dialogue.

The Committee of Concerned Citizens appeals to the members of the public, political parties and all democratic forces to help create the necessary climate for this dialogue. -- S.R. Sankaran IAS (Retd.), Convener, Committee of Concerned Citizens, 15 January 2002

PW: We are prepared for unconditional talks provided there is conducive atmosphere
To: The Convener, Committee of Concerned Citizens,
We have seen your open letter to both the government and our Party, published in the newspapers a couple of days ago. In fact we were about to communicate to you that we are earnestly prepared for talks and it is the duty of the government to create a congenial atmosphere. That your open letter comes out at such a situation is highly welcome.

It is already more than two weeks since the debate on talks in the state Assembly even after the killing of Ragya Naik, and the chief minister's assurance on all party meeting within a week. Even after the most brutal and widely condemned fake encounter in Warangal, wood cutter Madhukar and our comrade Ilanna were killed in Adilabad and Nizamabad districts respectively. In all the North Telangana and South Telangana districts in general and Warangal and Mahabubnagar in particular, as well as in Guntur and Kurnool districts, the police are giving out his lists day in and day out.

On the other hand, we have been expressing our preparedness for talks in the recent times, particularly since May 2000, and putting our specific proposals before you and people at large. It is long since the government left the initiative in the half-way after starting a dialogue with your committee and editors.
Much blood was flown under the bridge in the meanwhile. State violence grew to unprecedented levels, compared to the last 33 years, in the entire state in general and Telangana in particular. The state violence is putting the military regimes in Latin America to shame.

We, therefore, request you to not resort using expressions like "both the parties" to put the fascist government and revolutionary parties and the movement in the same bracket.

In the context, we are putting forth the following proposals on behalf our Party.
1. The government should stop all raids, arrests and encounter killings and create favourable atmosphere for talks.
2. All combing operations in villages and forest areas should be stopped forthwith. Harassing people and activists of mass organisations alleging they have relations, torturing in police stations and asking them to come to police stations without any court orders, keeping some of them hostage in the process to kill them in fake encounters should be stopped immediately.

We once again state that we are prepared for talks if the government does not indulge in raids for at least two to three months. There are no other conditions except stopping encounter killings and attacks on people for undertaking talks.
The Chief Minister, Home Minister, and Director General of police have at times asked with whom to talk to and where and who is responsible. Our suggestion is that it would be better to talk to the leadership of our Party directly. If the government is willing to accept this proposal, the delegation would be invited anywhere in the North Telangana or Andhra-Orissa Border or AP State Committee areas. If the government wants to talk through mediators, we will send our Charter of Demands. We will send our further proposals based on the consequent developments and response from the government. Our preference is to have a direct dialogue with the leadership of the Party. However, we would like to bring to your notice that it would be the responsibility of the government to create such a conducive atmosphere. - Prakash, On behalf of Central Committee; (Ramakrishna), On behalf of AP State Committee - January 16, 2002

Committee of Concerned Citizens:

Press statement on PW Reply to Open Letter of Committee, 20 January 2002:
The Committee of Concerned Citizens is glad to receive a communication from Peoples War responding immediately to our Open Letter. We also welcome the Home Minister's statement that the Government will consider the proposal for talks. Now that the Peoples War has come out with readiness for talk unconditionally, the Committee expects the Government to come out the modalities and proceed with the talks.

The Committee would also request Peoples War to announce categorically that they will not employ any violence during the stipulated period as already suggested in our Open Letter to create a conducive atmosphere for talks.

The Committee of Concerned Citizens once again appeals to the members of the Public, political parties and all democratic forces to help the process for this dialogue in the larger interests of the people. -- S.R. Sankaran IAS (Retd.)) Convener, Committee of Concerned Citizens

The New Indian Express Hyderabad:
Friday January 25, 2002
PWG offers ceasefire from February 2nd week - Express News Service
Hyderabad January 24: In another step towards a possible peaceful solution to the Naxalite problem, outlawed Peoples War Group (PWG) today offered to observe ceasefire from February second week if the State Government came forward for discussions.

In a statement PWG AP State Committee secretary Ramakrishna was critical of Director General of police HJ Dora's observation that the offer of talks by the Naxalites should be viewed strategically and it should not be taken on the face value alone.

"On the one hand the government is posing as a democrat and on the other spelling out its stand on the discussions through Dora. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu who announced that the State government was prepared for discussions on April 3 last year demanded a nationwide ban on the PWG at the Chief Ministers Conference in Delhi the very next day" Ramakrishna pointed out.

While admitting that there were some lapses on the part of the party, the PWG top leadership apologized for killing Congress MLA, D Ragya Naik. He cautioned some Dalit leaders against making reckless statements against PWG stating that such actions would only help the Government in curbing the people's movement further.

Committee of Concerned Citizens
Press statement on talks between Government and Peoples War:
26 January 2002

The Committee of Concerned Citizens is happy to note the response of the CPI-(ML)-PW that they will be committed to cessation of armed activities from the second week of February, as suggested in out Open Letter, if the Government responds positively for talks.

Now that the PW has come out categorically on this issue, the Committee requests the Government to come out immediately with their clear and positive response by stopping encounters and combing operations, as already suggested in our Open Letter, to create a conducive atmosphere for the commencement of talks. -- S.R. Sankaran IAS (Retd.), Convener, Committee of Concerned Citizens

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