Assassination attempt in Andhra Pradesh
letter to the Chief Minister
People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Office of the National President, K.G. Kannabiran
300, East Marredpally, Secunderabad 500 023.
Ph.: 040-27730632; cell: 98483 - 03739: E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Chandrababu Naidu,
Government of Andhra Pradesh,
Dear Mr. Chandrababu,
When I heard the news of the attempted assassination and your miraculous
escape I thought I should call on you and talk to you about not only the
attempted assassination but also the other dimensions related to the attempt.
I fully believe that the attempt should be condemned unconditionally.
However, as a human rights person, I also feel that mere condemnation
may appear ritualistic and may not really address the issues involved.
When the State President and I issued a statement we pointed out that
there has been a phenomenal increase in CPI(ML)-PW violence, private violence,
and state violence and this issue of violence has to be responded to and
addressed in a manner without any bias, prejudice or preconceived notions.
The attempt should be to review our ideas of governance and the initial
step we suggested was to see that the retributive violence does not become
a substitute for organised investigation and apprehension of the culprits.
It is unfortunate that what I expected happened when my daughter Dr. Kalpana
Kannabiran was threatened by an anonymous telephone caller that her two
daughters would be kidnapped either from the school or home. I have never
made a fuss about threats to my life which were quite a few times in the
When the present threats were received my reaction was to visualize the
threats received by other parents and grandparents as also the apprehensions
of parents of those who have been taken into custody on the basis of unsubstantiated
beliefs on the part of the custodians of law and the vigilante groups
sponsored and set up by them.
One of the most important fallouts of the reign of violence which prevails
in the state is that democratically elected representatives, be they MPs,
MLA’s or local self government bodies are unable to move about in
their constituencies in a manner as to fulfil their obligations. While
the fear of being targeted for attack stalks the minds of MPs, MLA’s
and others, the brutal and uncritical response of the state enforcing
agencies apprehending people on mere suspicion is resulting in the abrogation
of the freedoms of the people and thereby stalling all democratic debate
and processes on the issue which lies at the core of the attempted assassination.
The situation is made more murky by police authorized vigilante groups
made up of a few surrendered naxalites directed to carry out threats to
life and liberty of targeted people who are perceived as anti-government.
This spiral of violence cannot be ended by beefing security for government
officials and politicians as the recent attempt on you itself demonstrates.
Nor is there any sense in providing security for citizens who are targeted
by the state and vigilante groups maintained by them.
In the prevailing political environment suffused with violence and fear,
the only sane response is to cut the umbilical cord of violence by putting
a ban on all human rights violations, including encounters and retaliatory
murders by state forces directly or by the vigilante groups. As a first
step, please disband all the vigilante groups in the state, receiving
support of the police by whatever name called.
In this context, I would like to assure you that just as in past times
we had called upon the CPI(ML)-PW to abstain from abductions and violence,
we will continue our effort to bring pressure on them to eschew violence
and review their political strategies.
While we are happy that you and your colleagues miraculously survived
the attempted assassination we are not blind to the overarching insecurity
that stalks the state due to the activities of the CPI(ML)-PW and the
State. This insecurity itself thrives on the social deprivation that is
the lot of a majority of the population of the state. We sincerely feel
that unless this social deprivation is attended to on a war footing, the
disaffection engendered by it may continue to fester fuelling never ending
spirals of violence.
We as members of civil society, can only place suggestions for you and
your colleagues in the government to reflect on and chalk out a course
of action. While you and your government have initiated many poverty alleviation
programmes which may have had some impact, it seems as though they have
not had sufficient impact on the real lives of the people. In this context
we would like to point out what Prof. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate
“Poverty is not just deprivation in income/consumption/expenditure
but deprivation in human capabilities such as knowledge, longevity and
living standards with emphasis on self-reporting, self-esteem, participation
and empowerment; the ultimate end of development is not merely economic
efficiency or maximization of GDP per capita but human development and
`development as freedom’ and the expansion of valuable capabilities
and the realization of freedoms and human rights”.
(Adapted from Economic Theory, Freedom and Human Rights: The Work of Amartya
Sen, ODI Briefing Paper, Nov.2001).
We would like to stress that realization of freedoms and human rights
are not possible when poverty issues are addressed merely in terms of
`alleviation programmes’. They have to be recognised as rights that
people are entitled to. Acknowledgment and enforcement of these rights
will alone reduce adherence to violence. We would request you to re-examine
and reassess the economic programmes launched by the government in this
I would like to emphasise that I have all along been saying that if effective
measures are taken to address social deprivation on the lines Prof. Amartya
Sen has indicated above, not only will the social basis for disaffection
and violence be reduced but it will also increase democratic space for
debate and discussion of issues that confront people.
As part of an attempt of concerned citizens to reduce violence and increase
democratic space for dialogue and resolution of differences, Concerned
Citizens Committee initiated steps which led to a climate of face-to-face
debate between the CPI(ML)-PW and the government. It is of utmost importance
that the stalled talks are resumed. Other political parties have also
similarly suggested the same.
Mr. Chandrababu, the situation now is different from previous occasions
in that in the present incident, you have been personally injured. To
ignore the attempt on your life and still opt for talks is difficult and
challenging at the same time. While we appreciate your insistence that
the CPI(ML)-PW lay down arms as a precursor for talks, we would like to
appeal to you not to press this as a precondition. We cannot ignore the
fact that the CPI(ML) movement in the state has a continuous history of
over 35 years which has to be borne in mind when laying down the pre-condition
that they should lay down arms. We are confident that once the talks proceed
these issues will automatically get resolved.
Reduction of this endemic violence and restoration of democratic process
calls for a high order of statesmanship. We believe that you are capable
of rising to this historic challenge.
I am sending this message in advance by email so that when we meet personally
we may be able to discuss issues in a more focused manner.