A very large gathering of social organizations and citizens of repute and social standing who met in Delhi on 04th August, 2009 to discuss the issues arising out of continued escalation of armed conflict in many parts of India, resolved that people’s right to life and security, their welfare in a democratic society can not be compromised or negotiated under any circumstance.
Their focus had been very much the recent brutality in many parts of India where State governments and Maoist militants fought out savage battles with the Government of India also taking the stand that development work can be carried out only after security is established by the government forces.
The resolution adopted at this deliberations notes with responsibility that [quote] In the context of Pakistan, the Prime Minister has said: “I was told that Mumbai was the work of non-state actors. I said this gave little satisfaction and that it was the duty of their government to ensure that such acts were not perpetrated from their territory.” What is applicable to the Government of Pakistan must be equally applicable to the Government of India and the Government of Chhattisgarh, which continues to support and promote the illegal activities of the Salwa Judum and Special Police Officers [unquote].
The full text of the Resolution adopted follows
04th August 2009, New Delhi
We are a group of people concerned about the escalating armed confrontation between the CPI (Maoist) and Government forces.
Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh recently said “dialogue and engagement is the best way forward… Unless we want to go to war with Pakistan, dialogue is the only way out.” Surely, the fallout of waging war on one’s own citizens is as serious, and perhaps more so, than the fallout of war between two states. Yet, from all accounts, the government is planning a major military offensive after the monsoons across several states, in an effort to wipe out the CPI (Maoist). This attempt to replicate the recently concluded war in Sri Lanka, will involve a similar huge cost in civilian lives, which is unacceptable in any country which claims to be a constitutional democracy.
The military build-up by the government is accompanied by the increasing use of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and the enactment of security laws, which penalize ordinary freedom of expression. It has also involved, as in Chhattisgarh, the use of non-state actors like Salwa Judum to terrorise villagers, burn their homes and force them into camps or outside the state. Over a thousand people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced and rendered destitute by the Salwa Judum, SPOs and security forces acting in concert. In the context of Pakistan, the Prime Minister has said: “I was told that Mumbai was the work of non-state actors. I said this gave little satisfaction and that it was the duty of their government to ensure that such acts were not perpetrated from their territory.” What is applicable to the Government of Pakistan must be equally applicable to the Government of India and the Government of Chhattisgarh, which continues to support and promote the illegal activities of the Salwa Judum and Special Police Officers (SPOs). In addition, even when the Supreme Court has ordered that the Chhattisgarh government give compensation and rehabilitate victims of Salwa Judum and security forces, the CG Government has taken no action whatsoever.
The Home Minister’s statement that development work can be carried out only after security is established by the government forces in the region is against all the principles of citizenship. It also views security in narrow terms as the security of the state, ignoring the real need of ordinary people to be secure from arbitrary arrests, killings and displacement. The police and security view of Naxalism as purely a law and order problem, which justifies the need for more security forces, more police stations and better weaponry ignores the socio-economic context which gave rise to Naxalism in the first place, including concerted corruption and harassment of the poor by the police in these areas. The militaristic approach of the Government of India and of the state governments to a situation which is an outcome of their own systematic and criminal neglect over the years of such underdeveloped regions, largely populated by the adivasis and dalits, cannot be allowed to become ‘the solution’ towards the resolution of the ongoing conflict. Indeed, the usual insensitivity of the administration and of the forces often from other states has often given it the character of an ethnic war in the affected areas, as is being witnessed in Lalgarh or Dantewada.
The Maoists, whose ideology already rests on armed struggle, have responded to the State offensive through further militarization. They are killing policemen, security personnel and those they deem informants, leading to an escalating spiral of violence. All lives are valuable, whether that of the police or ordinary villagers. While they claim to draw their support from the people, their actions are putting at risk the very people they are fighting for, a risk that people are virtually being forced to take.
While the government and the Maoists are engaged in military offensives, the real issues that concern the people have been lost or are severely neglected. Apart from the issue of affirming peoples rights over land and forests and stopping the widespread land acquisition without the consent of the local people and related displacement and dispossession that is taking place, significant issues related to people’s right to food security, good quality education and health, regular employment, and the ability to lead peaceful and dignified lives on an everyday basis has been seriously undermined due to this ongoing armed conflict.
As concerned people, who wish for a peaceful, democratic and just resolution of conflicts, we urge the Central and the State governments and the Communist Party of India (Maoists) to:
1. Enter into a dialogue without pre-conditions
2. Put peoples’ security and welfare above everything else. Concerns regarding food security, unjust and forcible land acquisition that threatens livelihood should be addressed through dialogue and without escalated deployment of forces.
Endorsed by the following organizations and individuals:
Aman Biradari — Anhad — Asha Parivar — Association for India’s Development — Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), N Delhi — Campaign for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh (CPJC) — Center for Information & Intervention on Punjab — Delhi Forum — Friends of South Asia — Hazards Centre, New Delhi — Human Rights Forum — Intercultural Resources, New Delhi — Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association — Medico Friends Circle — NAGA PEOPLES’ MOVEMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (NPMHR) — National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) — New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) — Panos South Asia — People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) — South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) — South Asia Solidarity Initiative — South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) — TEST Foundation, Chennai — The Other Media, Delhi — Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, Dantewada — Vettiver Collective, Chennai, Tamil Nadu — Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), N Delhi
Aashima Suberwal, University of Delhi ; Abhinandan Varma ; Ajay Dandekar, IRMA ; Ajay Gudavarthy, JNU ; Ajay Mahurkar, IGNOU ; Ajay Mehta, National Foundation for India ; Akhil Chowdry, Lawyer ; Akram, NAPM/Asha Parivar ; Amit Bhaduri ,Professor Emeritus, JNU ; Anand Chakravarty ; Appu Esthose Suresh, Reporter, Covert Magazine ; Aruna Joshi Muktasad ; Arvind Kejriwal, Parivartan ; Ashok Agarwal, Advocate, Center for Information & Intervention on Punjab ; Ashutosh Kumar, Student ; Asit, Activist and Researcher ; Asit, CSDS ; B. Srinivas ; Bela Bhatia, (CSDS) ; Charul Bharwada, Researcher, Ahmedabad ; Chitrangada Choudhury ; D. Bandyopadhaya, Council for Social Development, N. Delhi ; Dithli, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) ; Dr. Daisy Dharmaraj, TEST Foundation, Chennai ; Dr. Pushkar Raj, PUCL ; Dr. Rajnish Shukla, Vir Sewa Mandir Research Institute for Jainology, N. Delhi ; Dr. Santosh Kumar, EDI ; Dr. Umkant, Dalit Rights Activist ; Faisal, NAPM/Asha Parivar ; G. Srinivas ; Garima Sinha ; Harsh Bora, Student ; Harsh Mander ; J.J. Royburman, Tata Institute of Social Sciences ; Jai Sen, CACIM ; Jawed Naqvi, Journalist /DAWN ; K. Balgopal, Human Rights Forum, Hyderabad ; K.B. Sayane, Council for Social Development, N. Delhi ; Madhu Bhaduri ; Mamata Dash ; Manoj Misra ; Manoranjan Mohanty, Retired Prof., University of Delhi ; Meghna Bramachari, Student ; Monica Banerjee, NFI ; Mukut Lochan ; Nadim, Delhi Forum ; Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi ; Niharika Yadav, Student, University of Delhi ; Niraj Kumar, PUCL & Manwadhikar Patrika ; Nitya Anthra ; Nivedita Menon, JNU ; P.T George ; Prof. Chaman Lal, JNU ; Prof. Gynaeshwar Chaturvedi ; Prof. Suvit Kaul ; Pushpendra Kumar ; Ram Ratan Chatterjee, Writer & Human Rights Activist ; Ramachandra Guha ; Rebecca John, Advocate ; Renu Khanna, Baroda ; Rudolf Heredia (ISI) ; S. Srinivasan, Baroda ; Sarojini, Medico Friends Circle ; Seema Misra, Lawyer ; Shakkir Jameel, Advocate, (APCR) ; Shashwati Talukdar ; Shereen Ratnagar ; Shruti Tambe ; Sibi Arash, Panos South Asia ; Siddharth Varadarajan, Journalist ; Subrat Kumar, Independent Film Maker ; Sujit Ghosh, UP Rural Worker’s Union, Lucknow ; Suvaid, University of Delhi ; Swati Maliwal ; Tani Bhargav ; Tapan Bose, (SAFHR) ; Teesta Setalvad ; Uma Chakravarty, Retired Prof., University of Delhi ; Vidhya Das, AWSDC, Kashipur ; Vijayan M.J., Delhi Forum ; Vinay Mahajan Researcher, Ahmedabad ; Vrinda Grover, Lawyer ; Walter Fernandes, (NESRC), Guwahati ;