Report of the Committee of Concerned Citizens, AP.
State repression and the Naxalite Movement
(The PUCL Bulletin published the first report of the Committee of Concerned Citizens in its December 1998 to August 1999 issues. The Committee of Concerned Citizens comprises S. R. Sankaran, K.G. Kannabiran, G. Haragopal, D. Narasimha Reddy, B. Chandrasekhara Rao, Putturi Venkateswara Rao, K. Jayasankar, B. Janardhana Rao, T. Papi Reddy, Bojja Tarakam, P. Janardhana Reddy, Ms. R Akhileswari, M. Kodandarama Reddy, S. Jeevan Kumar, and M. Ananta Krishna. The Committee is an attempt to reflect the voice of a large democratic section of the society which he is tired of being side lined in the game with peoples lives being played between the state and the 'Revolutionary parties'. The group has started a process of open dialogue with the CPI-ML-PW and the State government. The PUCL Bulletin is publishing now excerpts from the second report covering the period April 1998 to March 2000. - General secretary.)
(From PUCL Bulletin, June 2000)
"Encounter" killings in Andhra Pradesh condemned
in Andhra Pradesh
Table of Contents
letter to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
2 June, 1999
with the Cabinet Sub-Committee
2 Jan., 2000
letter to the CPI (ML) People's War
1 June, 1999
reply from the CPI (ML) People's War
26 June, 1999
letter to the CPI (ML) People's War
16 June 1999
response from the CPI (ML) People's War
17 July 1999
It is almost three years since the Committee of Concerned Citizens commenced its endeavors. Looking back, the work of the Committee during the period may be broadly visualized as having taken place in three phases. The first phase from April 1997 to December 1997 comprised touring of several districts in Telangana and meeting people in the villages. The observations of the Committee based on these visits and discussions were presented to the public as well as the Government and the Naxalite groups through the first report of the Committee released in a Press Conference in June 1997 and the second report of the Committee released in a Press Conference in June 197 and the second report of the Committee released similarly in December 1997. As the response of the Government and the Naxalites was somewhat encouraging and there was a general optimism in the public about the Committee's efforts, the second phase of the work of the Committee commenced in January 1998 with a detailed discussion with the representatives of the CPI (ML) Peoples War towards the end of January. Later, the Committee met the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on April 10, 1998 and had detailed discussions, when some of his Cabinet colleagues and the top officials of the Government including the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police were present. During these two meetings, the Committee communicated its concerns to both the CPI (ML) Peoples War and the Government and was able to elicit the CPI (ML) Peoples War and the Government and was able to elicit certain specific assurances from them. The Committee's work thereafter entered the third phase. Having initiated a direct dialogue with the Naxalites and the Government, the Committee considered that there was an atmosphere for a more open and comprehensive debate on substantive issues. The Committee also felt that it was necessary to share with wider sections of the people all that transpired at the closed door discussions with the Government as well as the Naxalites. A publication in the form of a documentation of the efforts of the Committee was brought out in English and Telugu titled "In Search of Democratic Space/Moodo Gontu Kosam" to facilitate a wider debate.
The Committee is of the view that this third phase of the Committee's work is also drawing to a conclusion. In the course of its effort, the Committee has unequivocally condemned the lawlessness on the part of the Government, especially the regular and unabated extrajudicial murders commonly known as encounter killings. The Committee has also unhesitatingly condemned the arbitrary and mindless violence of the Naxalites and their policy of extermination of individuals and destruction of public property. The Committee has stated and reiterated its position clearly on the core issues. The State must abide by the Rule of Law and shall in no case transgress the law, which alone gives it the moral and legal legitimacy and sanction to hold the reins of power. Rule of Law is not just a weapon in the hands of the State but also a restraint on its behaviour.
On the other side, the Naxalites must adhere to higher human values and human concern through their theory and practice and this alone can provide legitimacy and justification in the eyes of the people for any revolutionary or transformatory movement.
The Committee has consistently pursued this frame work and look at a variety of problems arising in the state in this light. The Committee considers that it is necessary to reemphasize the need for basic changes in the ground situation. The first among these undoubtedly is the continued lawlessness on the part of the Government. The Committee has to regretfully point out that despite the Chief Minister's assurances to the Committee of Concerned Citizens that there would be no fake encounters in the State, the policy of extermination of individuals is being relentlessly and unabashedly pursued In utter disregard of low. Any one reading the stereotyped reports of encounters in daily newspapers cannot fail to discern that there is something very sinister about these regular reports which have become part of the common lore of Telangana. The fact remains that the police which is the law enforcing agency of the State indulges in killing, plain and simple, even if it is euphemistically described as an encounter. There is little doubt that most of the encounters are no other than custodial and targeted killings. During the last decade, more than 1500 persons were killed in police encounters. An all time record of 275 was reached in 1998, the highest number in the decade. During the year 1999, more than 229 persons have been killed in the encounters, precisely because it relates to extinguishing of human life and right to life by the Government itself - a Government which is expected to protect life and liberty under the Constitution - and for which no recompense is possible. Such killings have become part of the administrative practice of the State, consciously pursued and encouraged.
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To turn to the other side, the thrust of the Naxalite movement is also more on a military objectives and attacks on police on suspected police informers or political leaders rather on the mobilization of people for social transformation. In several instances, sheer physical forces has come to replace the democratic methods spreading the movement. There have also been a large number of cases of threats and intimidation of people. The People's War Groups has been indulging a large number of targeted and brutal killings, striking at will, killing police men, public representatives, and other people, exploding of landmines, destruction of public property and other forms of arbitrary violence. The number of persons who dies at the hands of Naxalites in the decade of nineties was also more than 1500. The number who died in Naxalite hands in the year 1998 was around 2000 and about 155 in 1999. There is little sanctity attached to human lives on the part of the Naxalite parties. Often, in the public mind, the reckless violence and killings by Naxalites has tended to create an uninformed social justification for the public murders and cruelties.
The Naxalite parties also known to indulge in extortion rampantly in Telangana region. Several cases of extortion by all kinds of anti social elements in the name of the party have also come to notice.
The Committee considers that revolutionary change is a qualitative alteration of the existing social relations and creating new human beings who are superior in material and moral terms. It is the responsibility of any revolutionary emancipatory movement to preserve all that is humane in the existing society. There can be no revolutionary movement which does not believe in democracy and any liberating movement should feel bound by well known democratic and human rights norms. The Committee would strongly reiterate the need on the part of the revolutionary groups to uphold human rights and to promote conditions in which people can live without constant fear of death and destruction at their hands.
The social turmoil which is being witnessed has to be traced to the patters of the socioeconomic relations, the deep disorders in body politic and the structural violence but into the societal system such as inequality, exploitation and lack of freedom and democratic space. These root causes include land, human dignity, wages, employment, repression and harassment, particularly encounters as well as absence of a redressal mechanism for grievances. The Committee considers that inequitable land relations is central to any debate on the emergence of violence in rural areas is Andhra Pradesh and attempts to mitigate the degree of violence are unlikely to yield results unless the land question is fully addressed. Along with the land issue, the issue of human dignity and life struggle have to be addressed. In fact, the Chief Minister promised to take action on the land distribution which is one of the central issues. It was stated specifically that the Government would consider regularisation of the lands occupied by the poor people in the villages; but no action has been taken on this so far.
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A reference is also needed to the institutions set up to protect human rights. Amidst great expectations, the National Human Rights Commission was set up in 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Act. The State Government has not so far set up a State Human Rights Commission - though the Act provides for it and many other States have set up such Commissions. The Committee has approached the National Human Rights Commission with representations on every serious incident and has also called on the Chairman more than once. The committee notes with regret that in none of the cases taken up by the Committee with the Commission, there has been any tangible action. The extra judicial executions have not come down after the National Human Rights Commission was set up and ironically, the number of encounters in the State reached the decadal maximum in the year 1998. The Committee cannot conceal its deep disappointment at the fact that the national institution set up to protect human rights has been ineffective in delivering justice or remedying injustice in relation to encounters in Andhra Pradesh.
The acquisition of heavy weaponry by State and similar efforts at militararisation on the part of the Naxalites, the tremendous repression especially encounters let loose by the State and the acts of violence by Naxalites including killings and the blowing up of property have severely stifled the democratic expression of peoples aspirations and aggravated violence in the society, sidetracking the question of social transformation constricting the role of the people and emergence of democratic movements on issues concerning the people.
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The Committee considers that the policy of individual annihilation followed by the CPI(ML)-PW is as flawed as the policy pursued by the Government which has come to believe that the policy pursued by the Government which has come to believe the liquidation of the movement.
At a deeper level, the Committee feels that the methods adopted by the Government as well as the Naxalite movement have been destroying the integrity, self-reliance, self respect and dignity of individuals and communities. It is not only a question of the physical violence but also the psychological violence where a large number of people have been compelled to concede the hegemony of someone or the other over themselves. Extremist practices of State and Naxalites often rule out the possibility of rational discourse and people seem to be afraid of raising their voice against false encounters or Naxalite killings. There is no need to debate about the State impunity of a radical political movement which informs the people that their struggle is to provide an alternative and just system, as, very often, there appears to be no difference between the display of impunity by either side. It is in this larger backdrop that the Committee is deeply concerned with the need to democratise the system and increasing the democratic space through the abatement of violence and accountability to people.
Committee of Concerned Citizens Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Sir, You may kindly recall this Committee met you on April 10 last year to discuss a number of issues relating to the climate of violation in governance which have been causing deep anxiety to conscientious citizens. We have documented our discussions in the booklet entitled in 'In Search of Democratic Space'/ 'Moodo Gonthu Kosam' in Telugu. We have also discussions with different cross sections of people in the last few moths and what we write reflects the public perception as expressed by various people.
It is more than since a year since the Committee met you. Unfortunately, your Governments has not only not acted on any of the assurance given to us but did not even respond to most of the specific appeals made by us to from time to time. These issues of public concern are being relegated to the background due to the exigencies of the immediate circumstances; the concerns need to be brought back into public discourse if we are to move forward to wards a democratic society. We are therefore addressing you through the columns of newspapers.
You may recall that, among other things, you promised to take action on the land distribution which is one of the central issues. You stated specifically that the Government would concern regularisation of the lands occupied by the poor people in the villages. No action has been taken on this till now. There have also been no steps taken to put an end to the harassment and torture by police and to initiate the process of withdrawing cases against youth in Telangana. There have been no efforts to initiate a debate in the Assembly or outside of it on all aspects of the matter. There is no move to appoint a State Human Rights Commission either. The People's right to life with dignity continues to be ate stake.
Appreciating the need for adherence to values and sanctity of human life, you made a categorical assurance that there will be no fake encounters. Contrary to this assurance, the Government have reached an all time record in encounter killings in 1998 resulting in the death of as many as 275 persons. During this year, the number killed in encounters has already crossed a 100 by the moth of May. It is clear that the Government's policies the Telangana region place on overriding emphasis on the law and order and military approach to what is basically a social and political turbulence. This approach has only aggravated the situation. A large number of precious lives has been lost. As a part of the militaristic policy, the Government has been seeking to acquire more sophisticated weaponry including technology from foreign countries. The society has been paying heavily for the reinforcement of the police machinery which appears to be very often protecting itself if not actually profiting from the turbulence. The inhuman policy of extermination of individuals is blatantly being followed by the Government by the misguided belief that eliminating individuals will eliminate the movement.
While images for the future are envisioned in the name of Vision 2020, a large number of young persons are being killed almost daily in encounters. At a time when sensitive political administration is call for, the Government has been increasingly depending on brute force miserably failing to recognise issues of human dignity, particularly for the poor and the downtrodden and the imperative need for curbing State violence against the people who have a right to live with dignity. It is widely known in the Telangana district, that the police do not hesitate to kill anyone who is even remotely connected with any radical movement and the people are illegally detained by the police for days together. Police men in plain clothes just whisk away persons, detain and torture them and produce them before the Courts, only if and when they choose to. There is wide spread practice of extortions by police and corruption to minimize torture or securing release. The common people now have becomes so tragically reconciled to this situation that they feel greatly relieved and grateful to police if they are allowed to stay alive. The atmosphere of far does not leave any space for anyone to protest.
The society is becoming increasingly insensitive to the daily stereotyped news reporter on encounter killings which are obviously based on police handouts and sickeningly identical in our description of the occurrences throughout the year. It is usually reported , in a matter of fact manner, that the police find a group of persons holding a meeting or running away from them or throwing grenades at them and in retaliation, the police open fire, killing a number of persons, often described as "unidentified" Naxalites and thereafter identify the dead bodies, recover weapons, kits and revolutionary literature as a matter of course. People are fed on such patently false stories, while in most cases, the truth remains that persons are picked up and done away within stage managed encounters. We have brought a number of specific cases to you notice from time to time. We consider that the fake encounters can no longer be considered as isolated aberration of malevolent personalities or termed as excesses or mere transgressions of law of individual police personnel. They can only be perceived as the calculated and deliberated system response of the State which is adopting a policy of annihilating of individuals, unable to comprehend a complex problem which is the result of inequity and denial of justice.
We are constrained to say that the Government is showing scant respect to the rule of law. On the contrary, it has become the prime violator of law by indulging in encounters, which as we have pointed put, are no other than custodial murders committed under the mask of authority. Government has also been deliberately dishonoring the directions of the Andhra Pradesh High Court issued in the Madhusudan Raj Yadav case that in all cases of encounters deaths, an offence must be registered and investigated by an independent agency and also the detailed directives given by the National Human Rights Commission. We find that the Government has been adopting a policy of rewards not only to the policemen but to self confessed murdered as well. The placing of a "price on the head" is a shocking through back to the medieval times, when monarchs and feudal lords placed rewards on the heads of outlaws (brought dead or alive). Apart from the constitutionality, legality and morality of this practice, the placing huge monetary reward on a persons head is nothing short of encouraging profiteering in murder. Such practices are dehumanising and can induce the motivation to kill rather than follow the lawful practice of arrest and prosecution of any person who commits a crime.
The ban improsed on the People's War Group has only vested the administrative and police machinery with enormous and unlimited powers to harass people. In actual practice, even political groups which are banned are treated in the same manner, regardless of their affiliations, policies and activities. There have been instances of the people being thrown out of their own homes on the ground that they were sheltering suspected naxalites or they were sympathizers and people being arrested en masse. For their mere presence at meetings. The tremendous repression let loose by the state has severely constricted the role of the people and stifled the emergence of democratic movements issues concerning the people.
We find that the very state and its institutions which are mandated to protect the people are indulging in violence against them. The issue that bothers us is that the institutions and mechanisms set up under the Constitution are increasingly appearing as hollow structures which cannot deliver justice as visualized in the text of the Constitution. Who is responsible for this subversion? Is there no way of restoring humanity, sensitivity and accountability, so that this oppressive atmosphere can be dispelled?
We are equally concerned with some of the violent practices of the Naxalite movement. We are also addressing a similar letter to them as we want these movements to work in the interests of the people and to be fully accountable to them. But we strongly feel that as the Chief Minister of the State, you are accountable to the people for every action of the Government and call upon you take immediate steps to remedy this unbearable situation of gross violations of the Rule of Law and the Constitutional mandates, so that people can live without fear and with dignity.
We are publishing this letter as Governments have to operate in the public sphere. We also hope that this open letter will give rise to a public debate as well. SR Sankaran For the Committee of the Concerned Citizens (The above letter was published in New Indian Express on 2 June 1999)
Brief Record of discussions of the Committee of Concerned Citizens with the Cabinet Sub Committee on 2 January 2000
Shri T. Devender Goud, Home Minister was present along with Principal Secretary (Home), Secretary (Pol) and AddI DGP The Committee of Concerned Citizens was represented by Shri SR Sankaran; Shri KG Kannabiran; Prof. K Jayasankar; Prof. D Narasimha Reddy, Shri Kodanda Rama Reddy and Shri Janardhana Reddy The Home Minister welcomed the Committee. Shri Sankaran explained the context in which the Committee of the Concerned Citizens came into existence as an independent body to intervene in the climate of violence and brutalisation in large parts of the State particularly in Telangana. He referred to the efforts of the Committee in the last three years including the visits to villages, discussions with people, discussions with the leaders of PWG as well as discussions with the Chief Minister. He mentioned that the present Home Minister was also present at the meeting with the Chief Minister in April 1998 as he was the Revenue Minister that time. He referred to the booklet brought out titled "In Search of Democratic Space/ Moodo Gonthu Kosam" and the subsequent Open Letters to the Chief Minister and the CPI (ML)- PW on their actions. He expressed the Committees deep disappointment at the lack of response on the part of the Government. The socioeconomic issues raised by the Naxalite movement have been reduced to a law and order problem and a political burden of resolving peoples issues has been passed on to police. He referred to the spate of the encounters- the meaning of the term encounter is well known- that are continuing. In the year 1998 there was a record number of 275 killed in encounters; in the year 99 it was about 215. There was little doubt that most of these were fake. There was no sanctity attached to human life. He expressed that the firm view of the Committee that the assurance given by Chief Minister in April 1998 that there will be no fake encounters, they are continuing without any let up. The assurance given by Chief Minister have bot been kept up. The land issues are not being attended to. There is al round harassment by police. Shri Sankaran handed over a note on behalf of the Committee as well as copies of the earlier documents to the Home Minister.
Prof. Haragopal mentioned that there are 95 lakhs of agricultural laborers 3 lakhs of unemployed in Andhra Pradesh continuously seeking employment. He said that we were sitting on a volcano and a sooner we realised it would be better. We should understand the pathetic conditions in which poor people are living and realise that we are treating only the symptoms. The fact that PWG has no strong base in coastal Andhra has a lesson. Fifty years of independence has not created conditions of the confidence for the poor. No poor person can walk into police station and expect a Sub inspector to look into his grievances or even to respond politely. There is a culture of authority and contempt for the poor on the part of the police and this has its genesis even from the political level. The administrative apparatus has become dehumanized. He referred to an instance where a young person was rebuked by police merely because he wished 'happy new year' to a police man. The ordinary poor person is treated is an adversary by the police. He emphasized that the autonomy given to the police is based on trust based on the Rule of Law. The society trusted police and entrusted a gun to them to be used only and strictly in accordance with law. But power has become arbitrary, de-institutionalised. And not brutalised . Quite naturally , the society is reaching with anger. The long range effects on society have to be understood. He mentioned no movement can be crushed just by force. Most movements all over the world have ended only by negotiations through political initiatives. Prof. Haragopal referred to the wrong perceptions of the police officers and the law and order apparatus on the society. What is to be administered as a "medicine" has become regular food and thus pointed out to be poison. He pointed out that the fact that in the past whenever the Chief Minister directed that encounters should be stopped, the encounters stopped immediately - as it happened when Shri Chenna Reddy or NTR took such a decision.
Prof. Jayasankar referred to the backwardness of Telangana region. He said that while one need not necessarily endorse the policy of Naxalites, one can not certainly accuse them for the lack of development of Telangana and say that they are hindering development. As a matter of fact, the evidence is to the contrary. There is no casual relationship between Naxalite movement and backwardness of Telangana. On the other hand, one should says that the Naxalite movement gained momentum because of neglect of Telangana. This hypothesis is can be demonstrated that the fact that is development is to be better where Naxalite movement is less intense, then a district like Mahbubnangar in Telangana should have witnessed greater development. He pointed out that Kothagudem Thermal plant is running efficiently even through it is located in a Naxalite area. One may say that peace is bought by paying money out of fear; but this is being done everywhere and to all parties and not just to Naxalites. Shri Jayasankar also pointed out that the 1968 movement for separate Telangana took place when Naxalite movement was in its infancy. He pointed out that while the river Krishna enters Andhra Pradesh in Mahbubnangar District, the district gets little irritation. There is a long history of neglect of Telangana. Ramagudem fertilizer factory is close due to the shortage of power is shown as another reason even though it is situated in the power belt. Prof. Jayasankar wanted to know which project has been abandoned due to Naxalites. Azam Jahi Mills was closed down long back. So was the case with Sirsilk. He asked who was responsible for the closure of industries started by Nizam. But though Vizag steel plant is also facing problems but it is being worked. He referred to the large scale employment of non locals in Telangana contrary to the Six Point Formula. He apprehended that Vision 2020 will widen the disparities further. He reiterated that Telangana was being neglected and observed that it is being correct to treat what ever development what is taking place in Hyderabad City as development of Telangana region.
Prof. D Narasimha Reddy mentioned that though the members of the Committee come from different walks of life but share a common concern. He referred to the atmosphere of fear prevailing in Telangana. There is a fear of State repression. There is also fear from different types of violence such as persons being killed as police informers. There are deep root for this violence. The atmosphere of violence is product of socioeconomic conditions. He referred to the conditions of the small and the marginal farmers which is a major issue in Telangana. Whenever the Committee went, there were deep reactions among small and marginal farmers- something like saying we do not want police; we do not want Naxalites; we would like to lead a better life. They need land reforms. They need knowledge. 70% of people committed suicide due to the failure of cotton crop were small and marginal farmers. They had been pushed into this situation by the context dealers. Many young people in Telangana are not staying in the villages for fear of police repression. He expressed the view that the type of actions followed by the State will worsen situation further.
Shri Kodanda Rama Reddy referred to the specific situation prevailing in Tribal Villages in Adilabad which he had studied in depth. The people had no land other than what was given to them at the time of Haimendorf many years ago at the time of Nizam Rule. No doubt, some houses have constructed for them later. There were schools but with every little attendance. At least 50% of the people migrate from the villages in search of work. People seem to feel that they were much better off in the past than at present. People have lost what ever control over thy had natural resources .He also referred to the agitation in the minds of the University students. There was a crisis. One must look at the life struggles of the common people. Many are potential militants though they have questions on the movement. The situation of lack of emerging employment opportunities in the context of the dreams and interests of marginalised has to be recognised.
Shri Kannabiran mentioned that while the other members of the Committee were younger in age and they seem to have some hopes, he was much older and he saw no hope. He recalled his two meetings with Chief Minister N T Rama Rao on this subject. He made reference to the setting up of Bhargava Commission of 1978- which was wound up as many police officers threatened ton resign. He referred to the Cabinet Committee of 1990 under the Chairmanship of Shri Sudhakar Rao. He mentioned that Shri Janardhana Reddy as Chief Minister acted under an already repealed Criminal Law Amendment Act and when this was pointed out that, the Public Security Act was immediately promulgated to cover up the actions of the Government. He mentioned that entire decades of the Naxalite movement have been converted into Parvathipuram, Secunderabad and Ramnagar conspiracy cases. These case records read like dissertations not crime records. Any form of protest is being curbed and choked, leaving no space for any democratic protests. Shri Kannabiran said that the killings by the police termed as encounters are the grossest form of human rights violations. He observed that in all the cases of encounters, the killed people are shown as accused and an FIR registered and the matter closed; year after year; case after case; the same lie is repeated. He referred to the State Policy of encounter killings of leaders of movements and mentioned that these are crimes that can not be covered up by efficient public relations exercises. He referred to the High Court Judgement in Madhusudan Raj Yadav case. He also pointed out that the magisterial enquiries in the case of police encounters are mere departmental enquiries and carried little credibility. He pointed out that the State indulges in killing political adversaries as well as religious minorities .. Shri Kannabiran mentioned , that for more than thirty years, he has been fighting on this encounters. He had no hope that this policy will ever be reserved. In regard to surplus and distribution, he pointed out that, instead of distributing land, an order was issued by the Chief Minister Janardhan Reddy not to register the land occupied by poor. He observed that people deserved better bureaucracy and better political leaders. He said that every Chief Minister seems to think that he is an all powerful remark. Shri Kannabiran observed "you have been elected not because you are most competent but because you are popular. You must have accountability. You can not say or do anything and get away with it." He referred to the case of Barugula Pradeep who was arrested in Hyderabad and taken to Warangal whereas the District Collector sent a reply that he was arrested and bound over while found addressing a meeting against globalisation in Warangal. He mentioned about cases where persons were afraid of coming out on bail due to the fair that they may be killed by police outside the jail gate. Of the total offenses in the State, about 80% have nothing to do with Naxalites and one should know what was the performance in respect of this. He pointed out that there were two anti Goonda Acts and wanted to know against how many land grabbers these laws have been applied. He referred to the incidents in Karimnagar and also in Warangal, where the APCC President Rajasekhar Reddy was attacked. Shri Kannabiran wanted the government to become law abiding. He observed "if you act with impunity, you become vulnerable". He asserted that State can not indulge in illegalities and should be accountable to people. He mentioned that governments should learn from people and governance is a learning process. Governments should be responsive. Principal Secretary (Home) mentioned that the land reforms performance in other State particularly the Southern States could be studied and lessons learnt. He referred to the unjustified killings of the police personnel by Naxalites. He also referred to the decline of the Naxalite movement in Kerala and West Bengal. Responding to the observations of the Committee, Home Minister observed that this a very important issue of the concern and the present discussion is a part of the series of discussions. He felt that the long neglect of social problems givers rise to frustration among the suffering people. Such problems can not be allowed to continue. He mentioned that Government was open minded and sincere. Any line of solution were welcome. Police, he said, was part of government and was following the approach of Government . He agreed the issue of the Naxalite movement can not be left to police alone. It would be irresponsible for government to ask police to solve the problem and get back. He observed that 1000 or 2000 people can not force their views on the rest of the entire State. He wanted the Naxalites to come over to the main stream. By mainstream, he said, to meant a democratic set up. If the issues are resolved, the huge amounts spend on police can go for welfare schemes for the people. He mentioned that as Revenue Minister he had struggled hard to get land reforms implemented properly. But there were difficulties in implementation including interventions by Courts. The basic rights of poor people have to be properly recognised. Even if it is not an easy, he said, government will implement land reforms wherever possible. The government considered itself fully accountable to people. Home Minister mentioned that the dialogue on the issue can not end with just one meeting and mentioned that the dialogue should continue. He thanked the members of the Committee of Concerned Citizens for coming over to the discussions.
Sir, It is more than year since we met you. We have documented all over earlier booklets entitled. 'In Search of Democratic Space'/ 'Moodo Gonthu Kosam; in Telugu. We have also held discussions with different cross sections of people in last few months and what we write reflects the public perception as expressed by various people. We feel that there is a need to continue the process of debate that was initiated by us and welcomed by you as well. You will agree that today more than ever before the issue of public concern are being relegated to the background due to the exigencies of the immediate circumstances. These concerns need to be brought back into public discourse we are to move forward towards a democratic society. That is why we are writing to you through the newspaper columns. We also wish to mention that the State has failed to respond our demand for humane governance. In this regard, we have a addressed a letter to the Government expressing our concerns. We are fully aware that you have suffered a very large number of causalities in the recent past. Despite that, we have noted that there has been a commendable decrease in the use of landmines and in the destruction of public property.
At the same time, we feel concerned to find a shift in the direction of you movement and the thrust seems to be more on the military objectives rather than the mobilization of people for social transformation. These trends are reflected in various incidents and events that are taking place. This militarization of approach to social change has its own inherent limitations. This, we are afraid, stifles the democratic expression of peoples aspirations. It also aggravates violence in the society and side track in the question of social transformation. Revolutionary change in our view is a qualitative alteration of the existing social relations and creating new human beings who are superior in material and moral terms. It is the moral responsibility of any emancipatory movement to preserve all that are humane in the existing society. The neglect of this aspect could be the cause for the degeneration of the surrendered Naxalites including important leaders who have spent their prime life as part of the movement. We also think that the behaviour of most of the militants is part of this process. We emphasis this fact that in several instances, sphere physical force has come to replace the democratic methods of spreading the movement. We feel that you entire approach to the policy of targeting elected representatives needs rethinking. We consider that this practice is unwarranted and is essentially power oriented. The public representatives are not you representatives nor are they of their persuasion. The accusation you level against them most often that they have not effectively intervened against encounter killings. We have been condemning these killings on moral political, and, legal and constitutional grounds. These are public issues and it is for the people to question the representatives about their difference to this grossest from of human rights violation. We feel that you have converted what essentially is a people's issue into your private party issue and therefore, the people have got reduced to play the role of spectators. We think that you are also not able to understand that people in a constituency face several problems in their interaction with thew Government and some of the elected representatives do mediate and try to resolve these problems. In electoral politics, the people's representatives will all their limitations try to retain adherence of the constituents by addressing the issues brought before the m. Sripada Rao and such other people whom you are targeted or propose to target fall in this category. You should understand that the unjustified killings of Sripada Rao, which we also condemned, brought public resentment against your action.
You may be aware that there is a judgement of the High Court and there is also a report of the National Human Tights Commission on encounters and the State Government never honoured them. Surely, you can not expect an elected representative to be effective where the Courts and the Commission miserably failed. By no stretch of logic can be find the ineffectiveness in stopping encounter killings a valid reason to do away with a political representative. We are sure you will reconsider your position on political target and desist from such actions.
When you are working for the overthrow of an entire exploitative order there is no point in singling out a particular representative of the order as a target. If the entire system is to be transformed, the annihilation of a few select individuals is not going to bring about a qualitative change. During our earlier discussions, you did agree that the society can not be changed merely by exterminating individuals and promised that the issue as to how to reduce loss of lives is receiving to the attention of the party. The policy of individual annihilation is as flawed as the policy pursued by the Government which ahs come to believe that liquidation of activists individually will lead to he liquidation of the movement. We have an impression that the movement has become some what insular that it is unable to perceive that there is a specious logic circulating that the silence of the people against the Wanton killings in encounters is projected as a social sanction for them. We feel that unless the issue of take encounters is brought back into the public sphere as a democratic and human rights issue, there can never be an abatement of these brutal killings. This context calls for building a strong mass movement against these undemocratic and inhuman practices of the Government. We fear that your actions are often replicating the State Violence. As an instance, we may mention that you refusal to hand over the body of a Sun Inspector Police in Khammam district is replicative of the State behaviour. The appeal the police to the civil liberty activists in this connection was similar to the situations in which we had appeal to the police to hand over the bodies of Naxalites killed in encounters. The recent kidnapping and killing of a home guard visiting his native village is yet another instance of this nature.
We are not aware of your methods of mobilising resources. Several cases of extortion by all kinds of anti social elements in the name of the party have come to outer notice.
It is the responsibility of the movement not only not to resort to inhuman extortion but prevent such undesirable practices. It is necessary for you to review some of your political practices over the past one and a half decades. You will find that the blowing up of property and acts of violence in response to the encounter killings by police and the tremendous repression let loose by the State have severely constricted the role of the people and stifled the emergence of democratic movements on issues concerning the people. The Naxalite movement has come to mean essentially a confrontation between the police and the Naxalites.
We do feel that you should revise you policies so as to permit the emergence of forces willing to work for democracy. Such forces do exist and will go if opportunities for public protest are not so constricted by a climate of violence. We would like to say that your creatively must lie in allowing the unhindered and un interfered enlargement of democratic space.
We are also concerned about the forth coming elections. We have always been holding that it is open to anybody to canvas for boycott of elections . This is not forbidden even by the election law. But when we met you last, we also emphasized that boycott of elections can not be enforced by physical violence. We reiterate our earlier stand that you should observe restraint and do not use in the coming elections. The periodical democratic process like elections with all their limitations will enable the masses to assert and articulate their aspirations to a certain extent. In the growing authoritarian culture, this would also in the long run contribute to the enlargement of democratic space. We have also been observing over the past decade that despite your call for election boycott, the people have no responded for different reasons. There is also perception that in certain constituencies, you have soft peddled the boycott call. This leads to duplicity and will not contribute to the creation of an alternative democratic culture. We are publishing this letter as you are located in public space. We also expect that this open letter will give rise to a public debate as well. SR Sankaran For the Committee of the Concerned Citizens
(This letter was published in New Indian Express on 3 June 1999)
Press Release: KG Kannabiran, President, PUCL has issued the following statement today, April 28: On 25 April 6 members persons of the Racha Konda Dalam were killed in Chityala, Nalgonda District. Yesterday, on 27th April were killed in Chandragiri Hills in Warangal. Every day two or three members of the Naxalite factions other than CPIML (PW). There were small headlines in the press. The tally for the year 2000 already is around 120. The encounter that took place in Chityala Mandala two women were killed. In the encounter in Chandragiri Hills there were five women. All these are very young persons. Some of them appears to be teenagers. All these dead appears to have been surrounded and attacked by hurling bombs and hand grenades from a safe distance. This hardly can be described as an encounter. The injured police person obviously was injured while hurling the grenade ineptly. When killing has become part administrative practice, hurling grenades and bombs for killing will really not make any difference. When impunity becomes part of the administrative practice of the state it hardly matters how they are killed. To sanction by our silence this administrative practice of killing people, whether they be naxalites or rowdies, is to permit erosion of civilized and lawful governance. By our brutal silence we are paying a heavy price in terms of human and democratic values and none of us are conscious of this. The situation calls for intervention by all sections of the people to prevent further escalation of this violence. Without people's active and informed intervention neither politics nor governance can be disciplined. We call upon the people to voice their growing concern about this endemic violence in the State and lend support to the efforts made towards terminating this violence by the various civil liberties and human rights groups and the efforts specially made in this behalf by the Committee of the Concerned Citizens. KG Kannabiran 28 April 2000
Reply to Committee of Concerned Citizens: Which way is your Journey
The AP State Committee of our party has gone through the open letters written recently in Vaartha Daily by you under the name of Shri SR Sankaran to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and to the CPI (ML) (People's War). In order to properly understand the issues you have raised and the validity, it is necessary to understand the nature and the Society, the attitude of the present Government and the struggles of the people against the exploitation and repression let loose by the ruling classes. However, in view of the limitations of this essay, we are restricting ourselves to the matters relating only to Andhra Pradesh State.
For more than two decades, the oppressed masses in Andhra Pradesh have been carrying on a revolutionary movement of social transformation. They have been conducting a heroic struggle to struggle to crush landlordism in Telangana. The peasants have recovered thousands of acres of land which had been in the clutches of landlords. They are progressing towards the New Democratic Society. The State which serve the interests of the landlords, the comprador capitalists and imperialists normally utilize all methods including armed repression to put down this struggle. Even then amidst ups and downs the peoples struggles consistently move forward day by day, people answered the armed repression of the State by their armed struggle. It is only through their mobilization against exploitation and oppression and through reacting to the armed repression by State, that the people are able to realise their democratic aspirations and inherent potential .
The Committee of Concerned Citizens has not be able to understand the above realities correctly. By saying that "the thrust seems to be more on the military objectives rather than on the mobilization of people for social transformation. This militarization of approach to social change has its own inherent limitations. This we are afraid stifles democratic expression of people's aspirations. It also aggravates violence in the society and sidetrack the question of social transformation", the Committee are confusing the issues. The methods and forms of the struggles of the people adopt foe social transformation emerge on the basis of their own consciousness. It is appropriate for any democratic minded people to demand that the forms of struggle are much more important than the forms and methods of the struggle. People will always have the freedom to choose the form of struggle necessary for achieving the democratic objectives. The armed might arising from people's movements is no other than the highest expression of peoples democratic aspirations. It is no doubt that true that the army of the exploiting classes or of foreign countries which have no relationship to people reduce people to mere spectators; but the role of the armed might emerging from people's struggles will be totally different this. It will tremendously increase the involvement and the creativity of people. It will not be difficult to understand the above, if we can correctly understand the history of the society, the laws of the progress of the society and the class struggle.
The Committee of the Concerned Citizens says "we emphasis the fact that in several instances sheer physical forces come to replace the democratic methods of spreading the movement. We feel that you entire approach to the policy of targeting elected representatives needs rethinking". Let us see what the same Committee says in the open letter to the Chief Minister, the atmosphere of fear does not leave any space for anyone to protest" "we are constrained to say that the government is showing scant respect to the rule of Law" the tremendous repression let loose by the State has severely constricted the role of the people and stifled the emergence of democratic movements on issues concerning the people." When on the inside the Committee itself says that the State has wiped out the democratic space in the State, there is no meaning in criticising that our party is resorting to violence instead of adopting democratic methods of struggle. In situation in which our party and peoples organisations have been banded and on more suspicion on links with us, any youth in rural and urban areas can be caught and killed, is their any point in the in the Committee saying that we should fight in a democratic manner? There is no meaning in stressing that people should fight in a democratic manner in a situation where there is no democracy; on the other hand, they should stand by the people and demand democracy by the from the State. Never in the course of History have the exploiters and the ruling classes allowed the people to bring about social transformation in a democratic manner. While the oppressed the people do fight in a democratic manner to the extent it is possible, there is no alternative to resort to violence when the ruling classes is a historical inevitability to ward of the exploitation and oppression on them and to overthrow the ruling classes from power, because of the fact that the ruling classes attempt to suppress the peaceful peoples movements by extreme cruel and ruthless methods, with the objective of continuing their exploitation. This struggle may appear undemocratic from the point of view of the Constitution framed by the ruling classes but from the point of view of he people, it is entirely democratic. Those intellectuals who are on the side of the people will not consider that only those movements that fall within the limits set out in the constitution are democratic and it is undemocratic for the people to take to armed resistance when it becomes necessary to resolve basic problems. History tells us that it has never been possible for people to overthrow the ruling classes expect by force, even in bourgeois is democratic revolutions. The Committee not only looks at the world from within the same frame work. The Committee is unable to see hoe fractured the frame work has become; hoe antagonistic it has become for the democratic aspirations of the people; and hoe much burden it places on the people on now.
That is why the Committee is unable to see many facts in an integrated manner. It is assuming that the representatives of bourgeois parties are peoples representatives fulfilling peoples needs. It has converted the Government of exploiters into an abstraction and has assumed that the representatives of the ruling classes have no responsibility for the actions of the State. It has not been able see that the primary responsibility for the repression on the people is that of the political parties which serve the interests of the ruling classes. While on the one hand on the Committee recognise that police repression is a part of State Policy, on the other hand they are unable to, see the connection between the representatives of the political parties and the repression on the people. Moreover, the Committee very innocently asks our party "surly, you can not expect an elected representative to be effective (in stopping encounters) where the Courts and Commissions miserably failed. "You are not able to understand that the orders of the High Court and the Human Rights Commissions will have no use except to remain part of dusty files, in the areas where the revolutionary movement is intensive. The fact remains that all times, the role of the political parties are much more effective in the Government functioning that of he Courts. During the time of a political crisis, the bourgeois democracy sheds all its pretensions and show its true nature. Its mercenaries the repressive machinery commits wide spread depredations on the people. The enormous increase in the role of the police machinery in the Chandrababu Government in Andhra Pradesh can not be understood unless it is seen in this perspective.
While starting that "when you are working for the overthrow of an entire exploitative order, there is no point in singling out a particular representative of the orders as the target. If the entire system is to be transformed, the annihilation of a few select individuals is not going to bring about a qualitative change "the Committee of Concerned Citizens criticize the action we are taking against the representative of bourgeois political parties we will be overthrowing the exploitative order. Our party clearly believes that this order can be overthrown only by mobilising people in various ways, by creating awareness in them, by making then participants in the revolutionary movement. Our party works along with the masses. The forward of the revolutionary movement will not be confined to any single form of struggle. We feel that the Committee has come to a wrong and hasty assessment of the strategies we are following without analyzing the our practices in depth. While it is true that the system will not change by extermination of individuals, there is nothing more illusory and meaningless than to think that the society will change without any casualty on the side of the exploitative forces.
The Committee has expressed the opinion that "we have an impression that the movement has become somewhat insular that it is unable to perceive that there is a specious logic circulating that the silence of the people against the wanton killings in encounters is projected as a social sanction for them. We feel that unless the issue of fake encounters is brought back into the public sphere as a democratic and human right issue there can never be abatement of these brutal killings." The Committee also accuses us of converting what essentially is a peoples issue in our private party issue reducing people to mere spectators. Let us see what is the truth. These is no need to be surprised at the ruling classes projecting the silence of the people as social for the encounters. Even if the people are not silent, the State creates in illusion as if there is peoples sanction for encounters and indulges in repression through its wings. As a matter of fact, people are never silent about encounters. They are expressing their protest in any form that they could think of . They are protesting They are reveling the true facts to the newspapers and the fact finding committees. They are protesting against the repression by participating in thousands in funeral processions with the dead bodies of the encounter victims. Is it not a fact that when a peoples movement in the form of a Committee for securing dead bodies emerged, the State initiated action to murder the peoples singer Gaddar? The distressing fact is that the Committee of the Concerned Citizens is accepting the falsehood that people are silent in regard to the encounter deaths. This will only amount to lending support to the propaganda of the ruling classes regarding the social sanction. We are addressing direct questions of the Committee. Can you say how many of the wide spread encounters which took place last year did you condemn? Can you tell the people how many cases of at least important encounters did you visit the places for fact finding? Can you tell the people whether you worked in collaboration with people s movement against encounters or organisations any where? What is the purpose of starting a new a movement against encounters? Do you think that such a movement has ceased in the state sometime? Cant you see that efforts made for a long time by peoples organisations who are facing innumerable problems? Did you see the same keeness, interest and consideration you showed in condemning the murder of Sripada Rao in the case of peoples singer Belli Lalitha? What is the point in saying that people are silent about encounters when you Committee is an independent body not aligned to anyone and far removed from the people? It appears that you are believers in Satre's philosophical dictum that the role of the intellectuals is that of Ombudsmen - through remaining outside the tasks of achieving the historical mission of the people, taking up the role of advising them when peoples movements and organisations appear to be losing their way, examining the desirable and undesirable, arrogating to themselves the position of vanguard. At least now, if you reexamine your programmes against encounters and if join hands with peoples organisations in building a strong peoples movement, people as well as our party will certainly appreciate you effort.
The Committee of Concerned Citizens has given its finding "your actions are often replicating state violence". The Committee is accusing us of behaving in the same manner as police do in handing over the dead bodies of persons killed in encounters. There will never be a need for the parties engaged in revolutionary movements to cause disappearance of bodies should not reach the families. However, in the existing circumstances, the revolutionary movement is not, in actual practice, capable of having the opportunities of entrusting the bodies to the families or taking the responsibility of entrusting the bodies to the families. But, for the police and the government there are always the facilities of handing over the bodies of those dying in our hands to their families. In actual fact there are. Taking just an isolated instance and without analysing why it happened, (you say that people take no part in protest; as it actually happened, without the involvement of any dalam, people themselves killed the Sub Inspector who came in disguise and they buried the dead body. Based on such incidents), it is distressing that the Committee of Concerned Citizens expounds that our party actions are replicating state violence. It is a naked truth that in Andhra Pradesh, the State as a policy causes disappearance of persons, engineer killings by antisocial elements, creating gang of killers. Cremating the dead bodies to obliterate the evidence. If it is said that all these criminal acts are replicated by out party in our actions, it is nothing but an effort to cover up the ruthless repression unleashed by the Government on people and magnifying the mistakes of people's action while exhibiting weakness to expose the ruling classes.
Let us see the attempts of the Committee of Concerned Citizens to cover up its limitations and weakness. It says "you will find the blowing up of property and acts of violence in response to encounter killings by police and the tremendous repression let loose by the State have severely constricted the role of the people and stifled the emergence of democratic movements on issues concerning the people. We do feel that you should revise your policies so as to permit the emergence of forces willing to work for democracy. Such forces do exist and will grow if opportunities for public protest are not so constricted by a climate of violence. We would like to say that your creativity must lie in allowing the unhindered and uninterfered enlargement of democratic space ." This is exactly what can be termed as looking at issues upside down the exploiting the classes adopt oppression and violence in unlimited way. If people are a little classes attitudes and false consciousness. The struggle of the people for social transformation has to face the unbridled violence of he exploiters. It has to be fought. No democratic minded people will portray the peoples just struggles as violence. They will fearlessly state that the cause for the climate of violence is the ruling classes. People with understanding, people who are enlightened will not lag behind the common people. Thee will very much ahead of the common people who are victims of ignorance and deception by the ruling classes. But the Committee of Concerned Citizens is demanding people to stop violence and create conditions for expressing public protest. This Committee does not seek to transcend the limits of expressing protest. In order to have the right to show concern, they are placing limits on the rights of the broad masses of people. They are unable to see that it is the government of the ruling placed by the State. By thinking that we can work within the limits set by the state that is indulging in armed repression, it will not be possible to promote democracy or democratic forces; they will further diminish. The revolutionary movement of the last two decades in Andhra Pradesh had proves only by proving carrying along with the people who are fighting decisively against exploitation and oppression that democracy and democratic forces will get furthered. Only the Committee of the Concerned Citizens is refusing to see this fact. The revolutionary movement is adopting suitable strategies to take along with the people who are in different degrees of consciousness. Our party is working with this principle as the basic parameter. We are always ready to make the necessary changes after putting to test the strategies of the struggle.
The allegation of the Committee of Concerned Citizens that we are using to force to make people boycott elections is not at all true. The amounts to only adding their voice to the propaganda of the Government, the people and the ruling class parties. The real fact is that in the struggle areas, the ruling classes, casting aside their own Constitution and the Laws, forced the people to vote by the compelling them through all the Government machinery, particularly police. They indulge in arrests and torture. There are army marches in the villages. If people do not vote, they discontinue rations and disconnect electricity. They take up extensive propaganda for casting votes. The Committee of Concerned Citizens is refusing to see the open repressive governance on the people. The Committee of the Concerned Citizens is saying that the "democratic" process like elections are valuable, without any reference to the realities and analyzing whom it benefits. Our party gives a call to the people to overthrow this condition. The party asks the people to fight for alternative state power. As a part of that, the Committee of Concerned Citizens can not prove that we used force on the people even in any one village in the struggle area. If anyone has the courage to observe the truth, they can understand that in the struggle areas it is the ruling classes that uses force to compel the people to vote.
Without understanding how much antithetical they are while talking in regard to the matter of elections, the Committee of Concerned Citizens is making yet another allegation against the party 'there is also a perception that in certain constituencies that you have soft-pedaled the boycott call. This leads to duplicity and will not contribute to the creation of an alternative democratic culture.' We can understand this as a part of the mischievous propaganda onslaught of the ruling classes. Or, when we do not implement the poll boycott. But the Committee of Concerned Citizens does not fall in either of above categories. The Committee has openly expressed its opinion that we are using force on the people for poll boycott, there is no significant response from the people for poll boycott and that we should not impede the democratic process like elections. Further, they are criticizing that we are soft-pedaling the poll boycott. It is said that this duplicity will not contribute to an alternative democratic culture. It will be good if the Committee of the Concerned Citizens gives up its prevaricating approach and examine whether what they are saying is really about alternative democratic culture at all.
We feel that the Committee of the Concerned Citizens has not been able to exhibit the democratic approach in many matters because of the fact that they are not keeping peoples aspirations in firmly in view. So long as there is no understanding of the nature of this society, until there is a realisation that bourgeois democracy is, in substance, bourgeois dictatorship, so long as there is no clarity as to who constitute the People's so long as the Committee just assume that they are on the side of the oppressed people on every issue, the aspirations of the people can not be adequately reflected. It will also not be possible to comprehend the correctly the evolution of the society. This is the main reason of the vacillation exhibited by the Committee of Concerned Citizens is many matters. Your bourgeois liberalism reflected in the vacillating approach will, in essence cause damage to the cause of people's aspirations and only the help the cause of exploiting classes. This role of liberal bourgeois has been proved again and again by history. We hope that you will decide the course of your journey learning lessons from History.
June 20, 1999
MAHESH Secretary, Andhra Rashtra Committee CPI (ML) (People's War) (The original letter in Telugu was published in 'Vaarta' on 26 June 1999)
Committee of Concerned Citizens
To, The CPI (ML)
Date: 16 June 1999
Dear Friends, We have addressed on open letter to you on the 1 June 1999. This has been published in the newspapers on the 3 June. We have also addressed an open letter to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on the same day, which was published in the newspapers on the 2 June. These letters have been brought out in the form of a booklet by the Committee. A copy of the booklet is enclosed.
There are certain issues, which we did not wish to include in the open letter but feel that we should bring to your notice. We are mentioning them in this letter.
An important question which needs a debate is the exodus from your party on a large scale. Around 565 members have surrendered during the period of a year. Though it would be undemocratic to prevent persons from leaving the party or threaten them with dire consequences for leaving the party, these surrenders raise very important issues. Some of these issues may be the sole concern of the party. But there are some issues which concern the people who deal with the party. We would like to elaborate them below.
The surrender of experienced leaders affects the credibility for the movement in several ways. If the reason foe their surrender is the disillusionment with the policies and the methods of the party, then that should inform that the party should its house in order. There are quite a number if experienced leaders of your party who fall in this category.
If the leaders are opportunistic and decide to surrender and walk away with the reward on their heads as rehabilitation money, it destroys the party's credibility and in such a case how do you expect the people to deal with you. Is it fair to expect people to obey the direction of the squad leader if the party when they know that hew is not likely to stay there for long? What we are concerned here is with the popular perception and the understanding. The recent surrender of Jambri women of Padamallapuram village in East Godavari district where the party squad killed two tribal persons and beat up several women. He also warned them against accepting any compensation or relief from the Government. Before long, the same Jambri surrenders to the Government and accepts a huge reward!
There is a feeling that there are many who use the party for getting on comfortably in life after surrender. A women from Nizamabad pointed out to one of us how this happens. She is an utterly poor women who has been living in the area where the movement is very active. In her words "A person join us militant. Three months thereafter he enters the squad. Six months or a year there after, he becomes a squad leader. He surrenders and he retires with a reward for this brief political life and he led with the party. Where as the poor who have witnessed the growth of the militant have been subjected to ill treatment by the same militant during the various phases of growth and by the police forces as well, with no compensation for the loss of life and harassment suffered on account of violence by both." Such perceptions need your serious attention.
There are also down right infiltrators who have resent to responsible positions and thereafter turned killers and hirelings maintained by the Government. You are fully aware of such instances.
We are not suggesting that you should be severe and prevent people from getting away from the party. That would be nothing short of fascism. What we wish to point out that to you is that such surrenders have public consequences. They erode your credibility and legitimacy. We are of the view that these large scale surrenders should enter into your reckoning. The question is how are you morally justified in your actions when leaders who have spent almost their entire life time with the party surrendered and very often become property developers or real estates agents.
We also with to point out that quite a number of young squad leaders have sacrificed their lives to obtain the release of some senior leaders who, a few months thereafter, surrendered leaders to the police pose serious questions to your movement. And this young people who were involved in the operations to secure the release of their leaders have been either killed in encounters or otherwise facing prosecution and harassment. Undoubtedly, it is on account of some failure of your party that such dualities are emerging.
It is well known to you that the Government is propagating that the Naxalite movement is blocking the States progress and development. But what you have to think about is whether you can counter this propaganda merely by forceful prevention of the Janmabhoomi Programs, then you should highlight it and help an informed debate to take place. It is only through a democratic debate that the improvement in he quality and content of politics is possible. The violence your present policies is giving rise to is crippling your on movement and preventing the emergence of democratic forces.
When we met you last, you mentioned you that there is no hit list. But in actual practice, contrary to your statements, we find that people have been targeted for a long time and finally done away with. There are a number of such instances including that of Sripada Rao. From the press statements of the party, we learn that we they have been on a hit list for a long time. It also reported that there is a hit list contained in the diary of a PW member killed in an encounter recently in Nizamabad district.
In this letter, as well as in your open letter, we have raised certain fundamental issues which can not be wished away by a linear discourse on ideology. We do feel that a political party you are accountable to the popular perceptions of your politics. We consider that we should draw attention to these perceptions as a matter of our concern for the people. As you also agreed that such criticism will be necessary for any movement. We hope that these will not be dismissed as mere "bourgeois liberal perceptions."
Committee of Concerned Citizens
Your letter of 16 June reached us in time. Even by that time, we had seen the open letter addressed by you to our party in "Vaarta" newspaper. By the time your letter was received, we had sent our reply to the same newspaper.
After seeing the issues that you thought of bringing to our notice, without including them in the open letter, we are of the opinion that those issues are not those which can not be discussed publicly. Moreover, we thing that what ever approach and attitudes you have exhibited in the issues raised by you already, the same approach characteristics in the issues in the letter. Only some further confusion and lack of clarity are shown. We think that our open reply is adequate to meet the issues raised by in your letter. In what ever from you wish to debate this issues, we shall try to give our reply in a corresponding manner. Requesting not to distance yourselves from the peoples aspirations.
MAHESH AP State Committee CPI (ML) Peoples War Date: 17.7 79
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