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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 44, October 17, 2009

Human Rights Groups Condemn Maoist Violence in Jharkhand and Maharashtra

Saturday 17 October 2009

CHRI Statement

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative condemns the killings and gory violent means being adopted by the Maoists in the last few days. The merciless beheading of the police officer in Jharkhand and the brutal murder of 18 police personnel in Gadchiroli is shocking and such mindless bloodshed cannot be justified as a means to achieving any end in a democracy and the perpetrators need to be brought to justice before the law.

The CHRI urges the Maoists to abjure the path of violence and come to a common negotiating platform to resolve grievances within the democratic frame of the Indian polity.

At the same time we urge governments at the Centre and States to arrive at an early resolution of the conflict by exploring all channels of negotiations with the Maoists. The CHRI also believes that the recent promise of the Home Minister to wipe out the Maoists will not solve the problem. A resolution can be brought about only by genuine negotiations and providing just solutions to long standing grievances. Govern-ments at the Centre and State levels need to generate confidence among the people that they are equal partners in the process of conciliation. Without this the mindless cycle of violence will continue consuming innocent lives and will hold back democracy and development in large parts of the country.

PUCL Statement

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties strongly condemns the brutal killing of the police officer by the alleged Naxalites in Jharkhand. It is an unacceptable act of gravest human rights violation by the people who claim to work for the downtrodden and poor. It is a long standing firm belief of the PUCL that violence in any form can never be a means to achieve any end however grand that might be. There is no place for such mindless violence in a democratic state and society that India is.

The PUCL also watches with pain the fight between the security forces and Maoists in some parts of Chhattisgarh and elsewhere in the country. While it is a clear case of war against one’s own people by the state, the Maoists too with the adoption of violent means of struggle have undermined the liberal and democratic spirit of the Indian Constitution. While innocent civilians are losing lives, the ongoing mindless fight between the two parties is a clear case of the impasse in which there is and will be no winner.

The PUCL believes that the Indian state must address the root causes of the social and economic conditions that breed an insurgency-like situation wherein a group of people is compelled to take up arms against the state. Clearly this kind of insurgency breeds because of violation of basic human rights of the people. The mindless vested class-centric development and consequent displacement and impoverishment of tribals must stop. The tribals must get adequate opportunities for their means of livelihood, education and health. On the other hand the Maoists must desist from using violent means of struggle that cause severe misery and deaths of the tribals on whose name they unleash violence in turn harming the hapless innocent people. One must bear in mind that in a democratic country the ends achieved through violent means are neither desirable nor lasting. The only way for a harmonious solution of the present deadlock is negotiations between the two parties. The Indian Government must reverse its stand of crushing Maoists through military means and must engage them in a dialogue.

Now that the Indian state has captured one of the senior ideologues of the insurgent group, the PUCL appeals to the Government of India and insurgents that channels of negotiations between the two parties must be explored and an honourable solution to the ongoing violent struggle is sought to the mutual satisfaction of the both parties. The Maoists must come forward and negotiate with the government for the legitimate rights of the downtrodden people for whom they are supposedly fighting.

PUDR Statement

The People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi (PUDR) inequivocally condemns the gruesome killing of Inspector Francis Induwar by the Maoists in Jharkhand.

The PUDR has consistently maintained that neither civilians nor captives should ever be subjected to torture or to cause death. Once any person is taken into custody, by any warring side, it becomes the bounden responsibility of the captors to ensure safety of the person in their custody.

It is sad that both the government and the CPI (Maoist) have violated this basic norm that is necessary to minimise brutality against the human body even in the course of war. In innumerable past instances the government through its policy of encounter killings has been indulging in exactly the same practice.

The PUDR opposes war against our own people. We urge that the Indian state show to courage and imagination to engage in a dialogue with our people, especially those whom the Prime Minister himself says are supported by the ‘poorest of the poor’. Nevertheless, if war is imposed the PUDR appeals to the CPI (Maoist) as well as to the Indian Government to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. We also demand that the CPI (Maoist) and the Indian Government pledge to abide by the Geneva Convention and Protocol III (dealing with non-international conflicts) and other Covenants which govern the conduct of war/s. We also wish to remind the media that they have deliberately suppressed press statements issued from time-to-time by organisations such as ours, only to turnaround later to question us as to why we do not condemn heinous crimes committed by non-state groups. We request them not to become a tool of misinformation or to suppress truth about the crimes committed by any side in the conduct of war.

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