Monday, March 30, 2009 - The Great Indian Circus

M K Dhar has another excellent write up on the Great Indian Tragic Circus which
starts in April this year - The Great Indian Circus

The funniest ad in the idiot screen: ‘Aap election ke time par vote nehi dete hai to aap sho rahe hain.’ The young man with sprouting beard is not exactly pleading for awakening the people for exercising franchise. He is selling TATA Tea. TATA is a respected name in business world and he has the right and money to flood the screen with ads. But selling tea and hawking for vote do not really go well together. It’s like mixing the finest French wine with Russian Vodka. However, the young advertiser was able to sell to me the slogan: I was already awake about the real colours of the skin and soul of Indian elections but the ad induced me to share other aspects of with you all; especially the Youngistan voters. Having seen Indian elections since 1952 as a school kid, managing a couple of these exercises during service career in the IB, manipulating a few on orders of the ruling cabal and witnessing the bones, marrows, and soul of the Indian electoral process I had lapsed into a chasm of contradictions. I am really horrified about witnessing the 15th Great Election Tamasha. Some commentators say: It is a vibrant and buoyant democracy. As a staunch believer in democracy I often regretted that I had to tinker with the people’s mandates on behalf of certain ruling cabals and on the other hand I was astonished at the innovative genius of our political breed and gullibility of Indian voters. Indian democracy is sustained by its electoral process. That is the lowest strata from where the process starts and ends up in the consummation of the Parliament, the podium of Indian democracy, which determines the fate of the nation.

Thanks to Doordarshan. Indians are able to witness real time performance our parliamentarians; some politicians, some goons, mafia dons, criminals and some moneybags. To witness the sordid affairs in the parliament remind me of my primary school, where the old teacher, hard of hearing and partly blind tolerated everything that happened in the room; provided his slumber was not disturbed. Our pranks included every possible nuisance, though innocent. Our Speaker is like my primary teacher, blinded and silenced by the rule books. He can, like Somnath Chatterjee cry and comment sadly that the House had become a market place. IN any case, to avoid military dictatorship and total matsayanaya (anarchy) we have to vote and elect some politicians and some anti-socials. The System and the Establishment have to run on rails with frequent derailment.

However, election time, since 1967-68 has become a festival time. Under the kaleidoscopic process my discerning eyes and mind could identify and silently record the aberrations, circumventions and blatant interferences that have become integral parts of the election process.

Come April and India would turn to a continent of Sorceress, jokers, marauding animals, murderers, violent eruptions and of course, money spinning business enterprises. The election magic would unfold with all the accompanying tamashas and. It would scintillate millions of minds and strengthen the saying that Cricket is the religion of India and election is the greatest employment generator. Election is a ritual that has to be performed like any other rituals are performed for allowing the system to continue on or off the rails. For a humble street-side Indian like me too much of excitement produces more pancreatic juices in half empty or totally empty stomach and my inability to reach the goodies distributed by the political parties on the eve of election with deliverance of tons of promises generates more frustration. My inability to pick up the election goodies in not for physical inability; it is partly metaphysical and partly my unfortunate location in a so-called gentlemen inhabited area and my scorching exposé to the hell-fire of electoral process in certain capacity during my service life.

Had I lived in a slum or jhuggi cluster I would have been richer by few hundred bucks, couple of Indian manufactured foreign liquors (IMFL), some saris and at least a pair of blankets besides handsome cash. The idiot that I am, I live in a no man’s area; neither a posh colony nor a slum. Often my name is stuck off from the electoral rolls along with thousands of suspected creatures, who in the perception of the ruling Palm Party, are suspected fifth columns and are likely to vote for the Lotus Party.

No joke. It happened to me and other 4000 voters who went to cast vote in the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections. Our names were struck off with pen ink by the election officer of the area. On RTI query it was learnt that the officer concerned was a school superintendent and was directed by a leader of the Palm Party to strike our names out of voter list as we were suspected Lotus Party supporters. I swear I have nothing to do with either the Palm or the Lotus. Yet I was targeted simply because I have been a strident critic of systemic aberrations and misuse of the election process by our politicians. I have been, in my private life, highly critical of the corrupt electoral process and role played by four Ms: Money, Muscle, Madira and Maidens. I need not bore you with my 12 year old experiences. Let me share with you some very advanced techniques of Indian election that I happened to witness only 5 years ago.

It so happened that I was required to visit a number of parliamentary constituencies in 2004 in Purvanchal (near about Balia), Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra mandated by a consortium of cephologists. I happened to befriend a Palm Party master mind in charge of Bihar constituencies (prabhari). Personally he was opposed to poll adjustment with RJD, but was compelled by the highest in the party to cooperate. I decided to adopt my friend as the model organiser of the election circus. Materials I reproduce below were borrowed from the command process of my friend who briefed the party candidates on what all they were required to do from step one (securing party ticket) to step two (preparations), execution process and management issues.

Nearly 200 aspirants were seated in a hall waiting to have a darshan of the leader seated in an isolated room with a single aide, couple of large suitcases stacked in a corner and surprisingly me, an outsider, who happened to earn confidence of the mighty prabhari (in charge) for the state of Bihar. One by one the 200 odd aspirant lambs appeared for darshan simply to plead for a party ticket. The prabhari had a fixed drill. The aide ritually collected a briefcase and emptied the currency notes in the suitcases and the lamb seated himself with folded hands and apologetic smile and sunken hungry looks.

It is difficult to narrate all the 200 odd lamb’s encounter with the prabhari. However, I structured a model from what I heard and seen to sensitise my cranium and to realize that the ritual of election had added on many adjuncts, which were not intended to parts of the holy democratic process prescribed in the Constitution and the Representation of Peoples’ Act etc and other laws of the land. I presumed that some of my visitors were well conversant with the rituals. They followed the drill like disciplined soldiers of the Palm Party. (Do not misread me: Lotus and other parties also follow the same ritual with some modifications crafted by their expert technicians.

However, those who are victims of the TATA tea ad and feel allured to turn up to the polling centre, may like to glance through the following paragraphs as ramblings of an old foggy who turned a holy cynic tiger after eating hundreds of humans and animals. I promise I am not a clawless and toothless foggy tiger. I learnt while doing certain jobs and I share what I learnt from the Bihar prabhari. So, be prepared to be shocked.

Prabhari Ubacha (the in charge said):

1.What you have given here is the darshan money. It qualifies you to be short listed and your name to be forwarded by the Pradesh party to the High Command (HC). The High Command (whosoever it might be) would be the final arbitrator. The HC is helped by A, B. C. & D (no name please).

2.Once your name is forwarded, go over to Delhi with a few supporters meet A, B, C, & D with adequate lubricants. Carry trunk full of money. Do not forget to meet X Patel. He is the conscience keeper of the HC. Satisfy him with the demanded amount. The final satisfaction lay with the HC. If you have any conduit to reach the HC, spend lavishly and reach there. The entire process may cost you rupees 10 million.

3.Once you figure in the honour list you have to take several steps to jump into the real election war. Do not treat it as election. It is a war against your opponents and this war has to be fought with all the weapons you have. I am here to suggest some of weapons and ingredients that go in winning an election war. Remember one cardinal point. You have to generate hundreds of temporary employment to run the machine. Keep apart 10 million for the heads you have to hire.

4.Suppose you have 4 state assembly constituencies in your constituency. Divide each assembly segment into 6 operational zones and appoint a core team of managers with a reliable person as the chief manager. They should in turn appoint similar controlling and operational bodies in a cluster of 5 panchayats. Each lower formation should be composed keeping in view the caste composition. Say in panchayat cluster R you have mostly Chamar voters with assorted Bhangis, Nais, Sutars, Mallhas etc, include adequate representative from each caste. These are your front fortifications.

5.Take care that your opponents from Lotus, Cycle and Laltin (lantern) parties have considerable access amongst low caste voters take necessary steps to neutralize them. If necessary use some of the Senas (private armies) and Naxals to reduce their influences. Do not shy away from violence. Remember, violence is the mother of this universe. We all are here because our beginning started with a violent Big Bang. Spend lavishly to win over the caste votes. Keep apart 10.5 millions.

6.Form a core managing body at the centre of your activity. Staff that with loyal relatives and friends and only loyal party followers. Do not neglect the existing stalwarts. Maintain low profile before them and keep them happy with whatever resources they require feeling happy-wine, entertainment (perhaps maidens), money and of course lots of promises. Do not annoy the Thakur, Brahmin, Bhumihar and important of all the kayasth stalwarts. In final count they and the urban middle caste influence the opinion making process. The kayasths are low profile snakes. If you neglect they would sure bite. However, to neutralize some of the recalcitrant upper caste stalwarts do not hesitate to use force. You can use Senas and the lower castes to initiate caste war and exploit the situation the way you prefer.

7.If the lower caste voters go against you use the upper castes to burn their villages and kill a couple of the untouchables.

8.If the Muslims show recalcitrance engineer communal riots. Get villages burnt and kill a few scores. They would run to the Palm automatically. After all, the Palm has been promising them the secular shield all these years. They would prefer the Palm over sure death.

9.Yes. If certain segmental areas are dominated by the Muslims woo them adequately. Promise them reservation in education, services, recruitment in Army and Police and Haj subsidy at higher rates, establishment of Urdu University, and any other local demand they may have. Shed tons of tear in the name of secularism. These Muslim lambs have been our vote bank for 50 odd years. Be sure that minimum 13 to 15% of your voters are Muslims and all these votes are denied to Cycle and Laltin. The Lotus people have no hold on them. Remind them that the Palm has always protected them and the Palm is the symbol of secularism that has ensured minority safety by inserting Article 25 to 30 in the Constitution of India, despite opposition from several quarters. The promises made by the Palm party in 1916 and scrupulously followed in 1935 were included in the Constitution mainly to ensure that they would unhesitatingly support the Palm.

10.It is possible that some minority leaders may lean to Cycle, Laltin and hammer & sickle. Try to neutralize them by using violence; if necessary by hiring goons from outside your constituency. There are plenty of such hands in Delhi, UP and other states. You may even engage some mafia and smuggling dons to take care of them. There should be no shortage of guns and bullets.

11.I would tell you first about the structural formations that you would require fighting the election. Listen to me on the logistics that you would require to win this Mahabharata war.

12.Contact the professional shadow voter suppliers from neighbouring constituencies. Hire about 10000 shadow voters in advance and get their voter ID card prepared and ensure that their names find place in voter list. The shadow voter contractors would require about Rs. 10 lakhs inclusive of honorarium for the proxy voters. Add another 5 lakhs for their secret accommodation at different places with full supply of whisky and other drinks, TV sets, cooks and all other facilities. Obviously provide for their transport arrangements. Be ready to spent 10.8 million rupees.

13.Hire about 50 pehlwans from different akharas. They would be your basic muscle power to be used in thwarting booth capture by your opposition candidates, to silence your adversaries and to storm certain polling booths that you are required to capture. Bear the cost.

14.Immediately order 10,000 bottles of IMFL (Indian manufactured foreign liquor and Theka Sharab Desi. Store these at secret locations. Tap breweries in Nepal, Bengal and Sikkim. Do not tap local suppliers. These have to be distributed in sensitive areas about 3 to 1 day before election to induce cluster voters.

15.Order 500 cell phones and 700 SIM cards to be procured from reliable vendors and if necessary from neighbouring states. These would be required by your area in charges, booth managers, block managers etc. Keep a secret record.

16.Order 300 handheld VHF sets to be used by booth in charges, your control room and group leaders of the shadow voters. All efforts should be made that communication between your field workers and your control room is smooth.

17.Procure 10000 saris, 10000 dhotis, plenty of bindis, churiyas, cosmetics, and blankets for presenting to target voters among the low caste segments. Keep enough cash @ 500 for individual voters and @ 2000 for sardars, mukhis, and pradhans. These have to be distributed only on the eve of the polling day.

18.Hire singers to compose catchy tunes mimicking popular bollywood and Bhojpurui hit songs to be recorded in cassettes, disc and circulated free amongst voters. These would also be used your propaganda vehicles at weekly hats, market places and other places where people turn up in great numbers.

19.Hire video film makers and get quality video films made linking you with the common toiling people. There should some shots showing you harvesting, planting and even cleaning garbage. You should look like one of the villagers clad in ordinary or scanty clothes. Also such video should connect you directly with the glorious leaders of the HC and the long traditions of the Palm Party. Circulate these video/DVD discs free of cost.

20.Contact PR men in Mumbai and hire at least two top male and two female cine artists to perform in your constituency, deliver lecture in your favour and appeal for the victory of the Palm. Tie up with the HC, as they have panels of such film artists who generally campaign for the party.

21.Hire in advance at least two helicopters to be used by you and the HC people for electioneering. Suggest contact the HC. They have panels of helicopter and small aircraft suppliers. Go by the wisdom of the HC. They have permanent give and take arrangements with the suppliers.

22.Now for local use hire at least 200 Latahaits (musclemen equipped with long bamboo batons) to frighten and maim recalcitrant voters and also to silence your opponents in your own party and in the opposition parties.

23.Purchase in advance at least 50 jeeps and hire as many required to ensure mobility of your campaigners. Tap the Kolkata markets.

24.Hire street corner drama groups from local and Delhi/Kolkata art and dance institutes for performing in busy places. Some efficient script writers should be hired to write catchy skits in favour of you and the Palm Party.

25.Book nearly a dozen hotel rooms for your guests like film artists, and important media persons.

26.Engage someone reliable as your media manager. He would mobilize print and electronic media persons for projecting you as the sure winner candidate and to vilify your opponents. Keep some scandalous stories ready about your opponents to be publicized at crucial moments of campaigning. Remember that the more you besmirch your opponents the better glow you add to your persona.

27.Engage at least 5 sleek operators who would be tagged with the observers from the Election Commission. No effort should be made to affront them. Rather they should be pampered as much as possible. Your managers should try to find out the background of each observer and modify their approach to suit the personality of the concerned observer.

28.Remain on the right side of the DG Police, Range DIG and district SPs. Befriend as many thana darogas as possible. If possible get officers of your choice posted in police stations where your position is shaky. Remember police can influence more than two third of the voters. We still live in feudal society and police is Mai baap. Feed them as they demand. Do not try to save money. The more you spend better returns you would get once you are elected to the parliament. If you spent 10 crores you can earn 500 crores in 5 years. How? I would tell you the ways and means later.

29.Yes. Look out for important Muslim maulanas, musclemen and gunners who would campaign for you amongst the Muslim voters, maim them if necessary and use the guns where necessary. Use of the gun should be secular in nature—applicable to all religious groups as and when the situation demands to maim, kill, frighten and capture booths. Hire some from Nepal. Their face would be unknown.

30.Most important point is procurement of ink removers. To caste shadow votes repeatedly your voters would require removing the election ink mark. These ampules are sold cheap at Burra Bazaar in Kolkata. Procure at least 3000 ampules and distribute to every booth in charge.

31.Liaise with the DG Police so that only state police and Home Guards are posted near the booth and Central polices are deployed in peripheral areas. Raise the bogey of Naxal interference and get the Central police shifted to remote areas to chase the Naxals. Try to influence some Naxals to create some trouble in your constituency so that the EC understand your argument better.

32.Obviously you will have block committees, booth committees, and booth volunteers on payment and transport arrangements. They should be paid handsomely as daily retaining charges and food and entertainment (liquid).

33. Just to remind you please rehearse the voting-delay tactics by raising frequent objections, booth capturing technology, Shadow voting science and plundering a few booth and destroying the EVMs where the going is not good for you. Deny this pleasure to your opponents where they want to outwit you.

34.Obtain some propaganda material from HC but get your own materials prepared from other states so that the EC cannot guess your expenditure limits.

35.Yes. Appoint a good and crafty CA who would fudge your election expense account and most of the expenditures would not be reflected the in the balance shit. Maintain two books. One for the EC and one for yourself. Remember you have to realize more than ten times the money you spend from the people of this country after you get elected. That is democracy: it is right of the people to be ruled by a privileged few who win at the cost of the people and bleed the people after winning. Democracy has a price to be paid. Everything has a price. Is not it?

36.So much for the pre-poll instructions. I would, as Bihar Prabhari, come again to teach you the exact polling procedure, rigging procedures and precautions to be taken on counting days.

37.Separate lessons would be given on the technology of frightening, maiming, killing and subduing your opponents. Application of the tools of killing is a different science. These are only a few tips on the technology of election. Wait for my next visit. I have more for you and other candidates. After the two day-long long educational sessions I emerged as a wiser person. Just made a meek query: Brother how much a candidate has to spend? He lighted a cigarette, offered me one and smiled mysteriously. Finally he broke silence: Democracy is a costly affair friend. In this particular constituency the Palm Party candidate has to spend 10 crores. Some constituencies may be costlier depending on the situation.

I pondered on way back to Delhi as to the total money that would be spent in this particular constituency. Palm Party 10 crores, Lotus Party 8 crores, Cycle Party 5 crores, Laltin party 7 crores, and the Elephant Party minimum 4 crores and independents minimum 1 crore. That means 33-35 crores would be spend in one constituency. Therefore in average for the 525 constituencies a total amount of nearly 18, 000 crores would be spent by the candidates only. What about the government expenses? I shuddered to imagine. What a great circus! Democracy indeed is a very costly cracy.

However, I do not discourage you from voting. I specially appeal to the Youngistan voters and affluent segments of the society who normally do not turn out for voting. Go to and enlist yourself and come forward to change the rotten system. You have no idea about how the system functions. You need not avoid voting simply because the system is wrong. Please vote with vengeance to elect the correct person from your constituency who you believe would the best out of the entire rut. Please do not vote for the mafia, gangster, criminals, collaborators of the foreign Jihadis, known corrupt and looters and dacoits. Your democracy should be your choice: the correct choice. If you can elect at least 100 good MPs that would contribute a lot to maintain sanity inside the holy precinct we call Parliament. They would be able to work as watchdogs; the dogs have a reputation to run after loaves of meat even if they are domesticated and have been taught the ways of civilized way of eating. Even if a few out of the 100 indulge in money for question practices do not get discouraged. Your discretion and constant pressure only can rectify the rotten System. Please vote to defeat the rut and try to bring our democracy back on the rails.

I have only recorded certain ground realities about which you may not be aware. Truth is often ugly. This should embolden your resolve to vote with vengeance-TATA tea or no TATA tea to turn the ugly to beautiful.

(Note: Readers who are keen to know details of the Technology of Election in Indian Democracy may like to read my books: We the People of India: A Story of Gangland Democracy –English and Gangland Democracy-Chunavi Goondaraj-Hindi. This is no solicitation. Just an added value to the essay)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ben Peterson in Nepal

Ben Petersen, from Australia, has traveled to Nepal to report directly about the revolutionary events there. He has made a special point of interviewing a wide range of people — to give a real sense of the impact of the Maoist revolution, and also the intense contradictions at this particular moment.

All his articles and views can be found on his blog at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cardinal Calls BJP ‘lesser evil’ than Marxists

The cardinal now seems to have hurt the feelings of the
maoists and marxists in this country who have of late
been taking up religious causes with
a venegence..... :(

BJP - A lesser Evil

MUMBAI, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Mar 23: A move by the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) to castigate the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) for apparently praising the virtues of the BJP over those of the Communists, has sparked a vigorous debate over the intellectual flexibility allowed by the Church and the attempts to politicise academic remarks.
We love fascists... We are like this only...

Earlier this week, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Kerala-based 82-year-old head of the CBCI, was reported as saying that the BJP is a “lesser evil” compared to the Marxists. The cardinal, while speaking after the release of his biography Straight From the Heart in Kochi, was asked which of the two he considered a greater threat.

His reply: “The greater threat will certainly be the Marxist one, because it is much better to live under those who believe in a God of love and mercy than to live under those who don’t believe in God and will do anything to bring about social justice, social equality and destroy all differences of class and caste.”

For those who have known the outspoken, liberal, progressive priest, this was just another scholarly observation. For them, Vithayathil could never hold a brief for any party, let alone the BJP, as he has consistently opposed the Church meddling in politics and even taken on the Vatican for trying to impose its decisions on bishops.

But that did not stop the BCS from slamming the cardinal and asking the CBCI to draw a line. “While BCS neither holds a brief for the BJP nor for the Marxists, but to compare them and what they stand for is odious to say the least,” said BCS President Dolphy D’Souza. “Religion is a personal matter and religion should not be mixed with politics. People are being polarised because of such mixing.”

“We are also shocked that one of the leaders of the Church has chosen to speak in this fashion at the run up to the elections...the Church all along has maintained that we need to vote on secular lines and this statement is misleading,” he added.

Christian religious and community leaders expressed surprise over the BCS stance and said Vithayathil’s comments seem to have been misunderstood, with some accusing D’Souza of jumping the gun. “He may have made the statement out of frustration with Left parties in Kerala as they have been targeting Christian institutions and also making changes in school texts which are trying to promote atheism,” said Dr Abraham Mathai of the All-India Christian Council. “These acts have been opposed by churches in Kerala. The statement in that sense is limited to Kerala and is being blown out of proportion.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Maoist Apparatus And Bridging The Old Fault Line

M k Dhar has an interesting take on the Maoist Movement in india on his blog published in July 2008.

Maoist Apparatus And Bridging The Old Fault Line

About a week back I received a surprise invite from the India Chapter of the Amnesty International to address an youthful gathering on “Maoist Menace: Government Force Application Counter Productive.” I attended the gathering with great trepidation, as I am a witness to gross Human Rights violation in insurgency, terrorism and communal violence affected areas.

However, I expressed my disagreement with the AI organisers on two counts: Maoist Movement was not a Menace and Government force application was not counterproductive. The galaxy of scholars and intellectuals were surprised by these contradictory statements. There is no contradiction.
Maoist Movement is not a menace. It has a long historical evolution and as it metastased due to chronic neglect by the State, it emerged as series of wars against the State, believed to be established by a Constitution and conducting the affairs of the nation on the basis and sanctions of certain Acts, Laws and Systemic logistics.

The Maoist Movement has not grown out of Charu Mazumdar’s Naxalbari in 1967. It has a long history, which is basically the history of India’s Agrarian unrest, uprising of the deprived, exploited and overlooked etcetera of the majority segments of the Peoples. Often their agitations assumed violent manifestations of the deprived and exploited rural populace grinded under the millstone of feudalist bosses, money lenders, political exploiters and plunderers of the national exchequer. These movements were identified with stamps of different isms, as the history rolled on.

In brief: The Ho, Munda, Kol, Santhal uprisings did not receive any stamp of any Ism, as there were none and the ruling classes described this as audacious rebellion by the tribals against the British Authority. The nametag was incorrect. These were classic uprisings of exploited tribal people of Bihar, Bengal and Chhotanagpur region who revolted against exploitation by the British, Indian zamindars, money lenders and general economic depravation. The British, in collaboration with the Hindu-Muslim zamindars had suppressed the revolts after application of great military effort. The names of Sido-Kanu, Birsa Bhagwan etc have become immortal in the folklores of the tribal people now inhabiting parts of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

The Sannyasi Revolution in Bengal and parts of Bihar against the degraded Muslim rulers and the corrupt officials of the East India Company was initiated after the devastating famine of 1770. The event was immortalised by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya in his Devi Chowdhurani and Ananda Math, both nationalistic novels. These were strings of combined agrarian uprising of the rural proletariat, in which Hindu Sannyasis and Muslim Faqirs and agrarian folks had taken part. The religious tag assigned to the movement had finally motivated Bankim Chandra to sing the immortal song of patriotism: Bande Mataram.

The agrarian uprising in 19th century Bengal under Titumir and the Faraizi group were stamped as Wahhabi uprising against the British and the mostly Hindu landholders. The movement had affected parts of Bihar as well.

The Indigo revolt in Bihar and Bengal was also essentially an agrarian movement against forced cultivation of Indigo by the British planters. The event was immortalised in Neel Darpan, a fact based novel by Dinabandhu Mitra that had stirred up the national conscience and had contributed to the rise of Indian Nationalism.

The Telengana agrarian revolt and armed struggle first against the oppressive regime of the Nizam and later against the independent government of India and the Tebhaga Andolan of Bengal on the eve of the independence movement were spearheaded by the Communist Party of India. Your author’s father had also fought alongside legendary figures like Ila Mitra against the unjustified agrarian policy of the British. These historic movements were fought at the point of history when India was going through the convulsions of independence movement and sure certainty of partition of the country. The Communists of the day were inspired by the Russian Revolution that was cored around urban workers and not the peasantry. Nonetheless, it was given a stamp of Communist Revolutionary movement of the agrarian folks.

Besides these movements there were several agrarian uprisings in former Madras territory and in certain parts of the territory of the king of Travancore. The Moplah uprising in Kerala, though started as an agrarian movement and movement opposing British policy against the Khalifa of Turkey, had degenerated into a communal holocaust proving inexorably, that any socio-economic movement conducted in the name of religion was bound to degenerate into communal carnage, especially in a pluralistic society where tolerance is the first victim.

When Charu Mazumdar conceived of armed uprising of the agrarian proletariat he had very little sense of organisational planning, military expertise and sustaining capability. He had no command structure except some fringe mobilisation done by Jangal Santhal, Kanu sanyal and Khokan Majumdar. Charu was a theorist and not an expert field commander. He was fired by Maoist ideology and believed that application of Maoist ideology in a rural pocket would give rise to spontaneous uprising all over the country.

Charu was an angry person, very impatient and was limited by tunnel vision of a visionary who believed that his vision was the beginning and end of the journey to the goal of emancipation of the proletariat of India (Your author had the fortune of interacting with some fathers of the movement in 1965-67 at Naxalbari).

Charu’s movement, branded as Naxal Movement came to be stamped as a Maoist Movement. China supported it through electronic and print propaganda and termed it as ‘spring thunder’ of Maoist revolution in India. Charu’s successors, now presumably fighting agrarian guerrilla warfare with much more sophisticated weapons and organised command structure, are also described in generic terms of Naxals and Maoists. This dissertation is not the proper forum to examine how much of Maoism is involved in the present phase of the movement and how much it is conditioned by other issues. In short: We have a vast, sophisticated, agrarian, rural and ideological guerrilla warfare problem that has not been properly evaluated, diagnosed and treated. The historical legacy has now assumed threatening proportions giving rise to the existence of a vast conflict zone in the country that has arisen from the volcanic ashes of National Fault Lines of the past.

Most people admit that Charu’s experiment with Maoist methodology of upgrading the agrarian unrest with “mass elimination” of class enemies had added a new dimension to the movement. His experiments had evolved through several experimentations. The “mass elimination” tactic applied in greater Calcutta, Debra-Gopibllabhpur, Shrikakulam, Koraput tribal area, Mushahari uprising in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, several places in Punjab, Lakhimpur-Kheri in UP, Bihar, Wyanad in Kerala, and Birbhum uprising ultimately fizzled out in the face of resolute State action and in places action by organised upper caste armed forces. Charu’s “mass elimination” had temporarily inspired young students of elite colleges of Calcutta, Delhi and other places and they had carried out the mindless bloodbath believing that it was the right prescription to fight the class enemies. China had egged on the Charu-brand revolutionaries with a view to create soft internal bellies in India during and after India’s involvement in the liberation war of Bangladesh. As the urban and rural ‘mass elimination’ programme had no definite war-direction even a seasoned killer Maoist like Asim Chatterjee (my college acquaintance) was disillusioned. He felt tired of the mass killing pogrom prescribed by Charu.

Since the halcyon days of Charu’s original Communist Party (ML) the movement has undergone several changes, splits, unity efforts and de-regionalisation process. It has started assuming a composite character, a kind of united movement, despite existence of splinter groups, (nearly 30), organisational incompatibility and minor ideological differences. The unity of the Maoist forces in India means uniting forces that originated from the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) as well as MCC(I) and others. The CPI (ML) was founded under the leadership of Charu Mazumdar in 1971. Following his death in 1972, the CPI (ML) splintered into many pieces. After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the coup d’√©tat carried out against his successors by Deng Xiaoping, the world communist movement fell into a great crisis. The Indian movement was divided into many factions. The Maoist parties and organizations had to defend Mao and Maoism and oppose Deng and also the dogmatic attacks on Mao launched by Enver Hoxha of Albania.

One of the parties descended from the original CPI (ML) which continues to uphold the banners of Mazumdar and Maoism is the CPI (ML-Naxalbari), like the Maoist Coordination Committee, a participating party of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), which is continuing to work for the unity of the Maoist revolutionaries in a single centre in India. The RIM is intricately connected to the KPD (Communist Party of Germany (ML), CPP (ML) Philippines, Sandero Luminiso (Peru), Communist Party of USA (USA) and Purva Banglar Communist Party (Jana Juddha).

The CPI (ML-Naxalbari) has been advancing especially in the states of Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Of particular importance among the other parties in this same category is the CPI (ML-People’s War), which has a long history of leading the masses in waging armed struggle. The CPI (ML-PW) has strongholds in broad rural areas in the states of Andhra, Maharashtra, and Orissa, as well as Bengal, Bihar and elsewhere. The CPI (ML-PW), along with the above-mentioned RIM participating parties and organizations, are members of CCOMPOSA (the Co-ordinating Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia).

A united revolutionary Maoist party has been a strong desire of the Maoist ideologues, since the setbacks suffered by the Naxalbari uprising and the splintering of the Maoist forces. The MCC (I) and CPI (ML-PW), CPI (ML-Naxalbari) etc groups have now considerably consolidated their position and battle-capability in several parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala, which offer almost a contiguous territory to the armed Maoists. Never before these groups had such territorial consolidation and power to exercise Mass Control Mechanism (MCM) along with armed struggle. The Maoist movement has emerged as the single largest threat to India’s internal security situation. The developments have thrown up several challenges to the Indian State and its Systemic Tools, especially after success of the Maoist movement in Nepal. If Nepal is taken as a part of the unbroken map the reader would realise that there exist a dagger like thrust into the heart of India-from Nepal to deep southern India, rolling down steadily to the Western Ghats.

Conditions in vast areas of the Indian countryside are considered to be mature for waging a People’s War by the Maoists. Criminal neglect of the rural economy, scorched earth policy in the rural agrarian sector with helps from the feudal lords, unemployment and pangs of hunger have not been mitigated during last 60 odd years. Government policy of offering doles, unemployment allowances, rural employment grant etc have made about 35% of the rural population to look up to the ruling deities as gods raining occasional manna. A class of permanent beggars are being created by this policy and very little has been to generate economic sinews for strengthening the bridge between the urban affluents, rural feudals and the chronically starving masses. Suicide by the farmers has added a shameful chapter in India’s economic failure.

The Maoists consider that weakening of the Indian State, splintering of political parties, rise of caste and region based parties and scorched-earth policy pursued by the governments in the rural areas offer them better opportunities to strengthen the movement and advance towards a successful armed revolution. The major ideologues also realise that the lack of a united Maoist party, a people’s army and revolutionary united front, the full revolutionary potential of the situation in India has not been fully realised.

Recent meetings of the major Maoist groups have stressed on this aspect of unity and combined movement against the Indian government machineries. Keeping these aspects in view a few structural peculiarities of the Maoist movement and their operation policies are required to be understood both by the State Machineries and the common people, who are the main fodders of the struggle that is now being waged by the State and the Maoists.

In a given Conflict Zone (as in Maoist affected areas) basically four groups of players are regular constants:

Diagram of initial Parties Involved in Conflict Zone

G= Conflict Territory; T= Armed Terrorists; P=Peoples; S=State

As the Conflict develops into a cancerous continuity, several other factors enter the arena with different objectives:

Tertiary Foray of Other Parties in the Conflict Zone

V= Vested Interests; M= Media; H=Human Rights Groups

Besides these elements there are additional inputs which are essential to keep the movement alive and kicking:


F= Foreign Input; OTG= Other Terrorist Group Support; C= Caste Amalgamation; CR= Criminal Elements’ Support; W= Weapons Suppliers.

As the situation develops into regular armed conflict between the Maoists and the State the rebels start implementing “Mass Control Mechanism.” This well-researched technology of revolution has been widely chronicled by the scholars on terrorism studies and Conflict Management sciences.

In short: the Maoists start with destroying the State Control through propaganda, destruction of symbols of governance like schools, hospitals, tehsil offices, railway lines; assassination of government officials, members of elected local bodies, caste enemies, and raids on isolated police pickets. The Maoists try to isolate the targeted area and the peoples by destroying roads, bridges, blowing up busses and setting up their own defence systems. Peoples living in remote village clusters where there in no tangible presence of governance, any kind of developmental activities and are subjected to rampant corruption by the government officers and exploitation by the landlords and loan sharks gradually start looking up to the Maoists for protection and start living on hope that the changed system as promised by the Maoists would one day deliver the dream world that shine afar in the glittering cities and homes of the affluent. They rapidly lose confidence in the State and any coercive action implement by the State further alienates the People’s confidence in the governing tools and the State as an established entity.

Once the Mass Control Mechanism of the Maoists is in position the Mass Control capability of the government starts evaporating. It very fast loses control on public trust that the State can protect, feed, and assure their advancement. When the level of erosion achieves criticality, the Maoists start striking against big State Targets. From small skirmishes the conflict situation is upgraded to periodical “Big Engagement,” resulting in establishment of Liberated Zones. We have witnessed this in Nepal and we are passing through Stage II of the conflict; establishment of Mass Control and hitting the State hard in guerrilla engagement. Various phases of the conflict have been laid down by Mao and Che Guevara and General Giap. These are text-book realities being implemented by the present day Maoists.

The State has a statutory obligation to get involved. Its response is represented by application of force- police and para-military actions, developmental activities and incentives to assure people that the State is capable to defeat the forces of the guerrillas. As the government forces try to regain turf and minds of the people they exercise more force, not necessarily against the visible Maoists alone; force is applied against suspected and innocent villagers as well. In the absence of supplementing administrative, economic, and security reforms that mere application of force by isolated police actions alienate the people more, resulting more erosion of State’s Mass Control. This is the classic concept that was even exercised by Mahatma Gandhi-but through Satyagraha and non-cooperation. Even Gandhi could not restrain the Ahmedabad textile workers and Chauri Chera peasants from resorting to violence. Increased communal violence after he tried to control the Muslim masses through Khilafat movement testifies to the eternal revolutionary claim of Voltaire: Liberation can only be achieved through violence.

Between the Maoists and the State there remains another element in the Conflict Zone: The Peoples, who are not part of the Mass Controlled Area or who do not believe in the kind of revolution that the Maoists propagate. These Peoples have three options: Die as war zone fodder, Resist the Maoist on their own (very lean chance) and Resist the Maoists with the help of the State. The last option is not a new idea. It has been implemented by the British in Malyasia, General Giap in Vietnam and India in certain parts of the trouble-torn North East, and in the Punjab. People’s Defence against the Peoples who want change through violence is an internationally recognised War Zone policy.

I found it difficult to convince the Human Rights Activists that at certain point during a conflict situation, Indian law provides for the vital implement of Self-Defence. Once this aspect of defensive mechanism is upgraded to organised defence it takes the shape of VVF, Special Police Officer and the Salwa Judum. I have serious reservations about ways and means through which the Salwa Judum concept is being implemented by the Peoples and the State. In the present form, status of training, motivation and fighting capability the Salwa Judum is likely to be treated as clay pigeons by the Maoists shooters. That is a half-hearted and ill conceived and miserably executed operation-more for political mileage than for regaining Mass Control in the conflict zone.

I have illustrated infiltration of other parties in the conflict zone: Such as Vested interests (forest contractors, timber merchants, Tendu-leaf contractors, investors who invest Maoist money in legal market to generate revenue; arms suppliers, foreign supporters, caste forces, criminals etc. The government often overlook these aspects firstly because of the Vested Interest having control on the political bosses; the caste barons acting as vote-bank assets and other elements passing under the noses of the intelligence and police because these agencies are not efficient enough to keep track of them. Some one may call them inefficient.

This situation allows the Maoists to set up an elaborate political network. Over years the major Maoist groups have built up a tangible political structure, which has variables in different operational areas in the country. For a model the following diagram should represent the basic structure (no allusion to any particular Maoist group):


Since elaboration on each segment would take pages it would suffice to say that in Maoist movement the Central Committee is supreme. All other sub-formations are under strict control of the party centre. Deviations in operational matters are permitted but not in ideological programming.
On the other hand, the military formation is also formidable. It is not organised in the initial stage as Brigades and Battalions, but contain well coordinated, trained, ideologically brainwashed cadres and ancillary units. Induction of women soldiers and propaganda personnel add value to the movement and allows it easy access to the homes and hearts of the vulnerable people.



The graphics may offer impression that the Maoists are well entrenched and they have the capability of waging prolonged war against the State with well oriented, trained cadres, arms supplied from sources like Nepal Maoists, LTTE, Bangladesh and Nepal Based suppliers and Kashmir militants peddling weapons through different cut outs. It may be taken into account that the Maoists have developed connectivity with arms suppliers in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. While the LTTE is the prime suspected carrier it should not be forgotten that the Maoists command control of certain coastal areas in West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh through which weapons are smuggled in. Remoteness of the areas controlled by them and inadequacy of State response make the Maoists look bigger than life.

In the Amnesty International discussion I said that the State use of force was not counter-productive, it was inadequate and ineffective.

In the vast operational areas from Bihar to Andhra Pradesh with most active hubs in Orissa, Jharkahnd, Chattisgarh remote tribal areas the Central and State intelligence apparatus is appallingly inadequate. While they may have access to some surface political information they do not have access to hardcore operation information to storm the Maoist hideouts effectively. On the other hand, the Maoists have strings of informers to give them advance information about troop’s movement and State plans of operations.

The State (taken as a whole) has not deployed adequate force to isolate the Maoists from the peoples and to take them on as highly equipped guerrillas. A guerrilla force cannot be fought by conventional forces-police or military. Superior commando forces trained in guerrilla warfare are required in sufficient numbers, buttressed by normal police-operational forces to overwhelm the forest dwelling Maoist guerrillas. Several state governments have not yet trained special police guerrilla forces and depend on normal law & order police personnel. They try to dominate areas by setting up isolated pickets without adequate speedy-response-support troops, well equipped communication and fast moving conveyance. These police pickets are pregnant ducks.

Different state governments do not have coordination and moving guerrilla forces cannot be fought within the imaginary boundary lines of the intricately laid state boundaries. There is hardly any aerial surveillance, electronic monitoring mechanism to monitor communication network of the Maoists. Despite plethora of conferences, discussions and decisions on ground position of the State continue to be fragile. State response is inadequate. Inadequate application of force cannot break the magic-spell of Maoist Mass Control Their propaganda machinery is based on folklores woven around Sido-Kanu, Birsa Bhagwan etc. The name of Mao is often inserted in places of tribal heroes. Mao has started replacing Sido-Kanu and Birsa in various tribal strongholds of the Maoists. Their cultural groups work in unison with over ground cultural groups and spread the ideological spell. The State has very little weapon to counteract this propaganda barrage.

I had informed the Human Rights group that in my opinion India does not require any armed struggle to repair the lapses of the government during last 60 odd years.

The repair work to improve the conditions of the cultivators, rural artisans, landless peoples, rural unemployed and anarchic rule by the big land owners, caste barons, money lenders and Forest Plunderers can be achieved through improved administrative corrections, Societal changes, containment of corruption and better economic packages for the neglected rural and tribal areas.
Revolutions in the name of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism cannot be allowed to destroy the democratic core of the country. I have personal sympathies and connectivity with many Maoist leaders of the past and present, but I differ in these vital areas of national concern.

We have enough worries from other sectors which threaten the integrity of the country. Threats from the Islamists, ethnic rebels and proxy-war from neighbours are yet to be contained. Maoism is the last thing that would suit the civilisational genius of the people of India. The very ideology has failed in Russia, failing in China and last vestiges of Marxism and Maoism cannot survive in the form of Castroism and India Marxism-Maoism. Marx and Mao are great, but their Isms are dead. The history has turned leaves towards another confrontation-between the energy hungry west and the masses of Islamic countries. India is precariously located between the two fighting giants with a huge Muslim population having sympathy for their coreligionists and hatred for the west.

Recent developments around Amarnath land grant and Nuclear deal with the USA have proved beyond doubt that vast sections of Indian Muslims continue to be haunted by the spectre of Pan-Islamic Ummah and the intestinal feeling for separation from the majority Hindu community that was voiced over hundred year ago by Shah Waliullah, Sir Sayyid Ahmad, Mohammad Iqbal, Chaudhry Rahmat Ali and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Repeated historic blunders by the Congress and Caste-based parties and the so-called Indian Left to segregate the Muslims from the mainstream India in the name of Sachar Commission findings and other vote-bank gimmicks have pushed the Muslim psyche back to 1935. Now India has to actuate it’s nuclear and foreign policy keeping in view the Muslim opinion, which is wedded to the idea of separatism. The mistake committed by Gandhi in dragging the Congress to the Khilafat Movement in 1920 was the first encomium for perpetuation of communal politics in India,
What should, therefore, be the State response?

The first responsibility is to regain Mass Control from the Maoists through application of superior targeted force. This should be accompanied by the National Repair Works (not doles to national beggars), to fill in the fault lines of last 60 odd years caused by the independent government of India and its provincial governments. Without repairing the fault lines immediately followed by determined and superior force application, the situation cannot be retrieved. We would be fighting hopelessly half-witted game against the determined Maoists, who are inching towards unity and are trying to assume massive striking power following the success of the Maoist movement in Nepal.

That the government resolve for force application is half-hearted or inadequate or ill conceived and executed is illustrate by the latest gruesome incident at Balimela Reservoir in Orissa. Balimela ravine area in Malkangiri district is a parrot beak like area of Orissa jutting into Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh.

The combined Orissa police and Andhra Pradesh Grey Hound specialist force had gone to search the forested hills overlooking the reservoir which feeds pipeline to nearby Dumduma powerhouse nearly 4 kilometres away. The forces received information that the Central Military Council of the Maoist group was having a meeting in the area. The information could have been correct or a decoy. The grave mistake was committed when only a water bourn patrol was sent and no territorial force was deployed on the flanking hills dominating the water body. There was no static watch-post also. The planning was faulty and execution was half hearted; half the policemen did not know how to swim.
In contrast planning of the Maoists appeared to be exceptionally well:


1. Police Party had no support Vessel. It had no On-shore static or mobile positions and Mounted Heavy Guns. It was a lone venture and a near-ready kill. Planning had no deep tactical understanding of the terrain and support mechanism.
2. Locations indicated are approximate and do not represent the exact ground position.

My intention is not to dig hole. The State must apply force, when it is required to apply, in adequate quantity and superior quality. The haunting problems of lack of concrete steps by the central government, inadequate preparations of the state governments and insufficiency of cutting-edge intelligence is likely to add woos to the country’s agonies.

Along with determined force application the vast areas of state responsibilities towards the people have to be attended without seasonal and cynic political gimmicks. The vast countryside is getting isolated from the urban centres, urban prosperity is not reaching the vast rural areas and the neglected hill tribals are getting more disillusioned. Only superior military application by the State cannot stop the Maoist upsurge. The political and bureaucratic class are required to be in war-preparedness to tackle the situation by taking both determined military actions and honest development and socio-economic reforms. The Urban India should look towards Rural India and Aranyak Bharat (forested India) and exclusively the glitter of Globalised economy.

The Maoist guerrilla warfare should not be treated at par with ethnic or regional conflicts. The ideological guerrilla warfare has earned the historic recognition of success through fault lines of the State. Let us be aware of these fault lines and employ all possible State resources to repair the gaps.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Iranian Blogger Reported Dead in Prison

Iranian Blogger Reported Dead in Prison

Omid Reza Misayafi, one of a number of Iranian bloggers arrested for "insulting" the OmidMisayafigovernment and religious authorities in that country, is dead. Misayafi's death was reported on Global Voices Onlinevia an Iranian human rights site in Farsi and we learned of it from The Committee to Protect Bloggers.

No cause of death is yet known, but the Committee says torture of bloggers is common in Iran and they are usually placed in close proximity with the most dangerous criminals in any facility. Misayafi was sentenced in December to 30 months in prison "for insulting Islamic Republic Leaders." The man said he was a cultural blogger, not a political one, and only wrote a few satirical articles that got him into trouble.

An update tonight indicates that the prison conditions may have lead the man to take his own life. Directly or indirectly, it appears that Misayafi's life has been brought to an end for exercising free speech, for criticizing an authoritarian state and for doing it using online social media. Social media users and advocates around the world should take note of this event.

We've reported here on a number of bloggers imprisoned in Iran and in Egpyt for documenting government abuses or just writing critical words about governments that demand total compliance. In the middle of last year we wrote about Iran's parliament debating legislation that would add the death penalty to the list of possible punishments for using blogs to challenge government authority

Read it all.

Monday, March 09, 2009

China fuels Sri Lankan war

China fuels Sri Lankan war

Sri Lanka, the once self-trumpeted "island of paradise," turned into the island of bloodshed more than a quarter-century ago. But even by its long, gory record, the bloodletting since last year is unprecedented. The United Nations estimates that some 1,200 noncombatants are getting killed each month in a civil war that continues to evoke a muted international response even as hundreds of thousands of minority Tamils have fled their homes or remain trapped behind the front line.

With the world preoccupied by pressing challenges, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, Defense Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, a naturalized U.S. citizen, press on with their brutal military campaign with impunity. The offensive bears a distinct family imprint, with another brother the president's top adviser.

Chinese military and financial support — as in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Burma and elsewhere — has directly aided government excesses and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. But with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly emphasizing that the global financial, climate and security crises are more pressing priorities for U.S. policy than China's human rights record, which by her own department's recent admission has "remained poor and worsened in some areas," Beijing has little reason to stop facilitating overseas what it practices at home — repression.

Still, the more China insists that it doesn't mix business with politics in its foreign relations, the more evidence it provides of cynically contributing to violence and repression in internally torn states. Sri Lanka is just the latest case demonstrating Beijing's blindness to the consequences of its aggressive pursuit of strategic interests.

No sooner had the United States ended direct military aid to Sri Lanka last year over its deteriorating human rights record than China blithely stepped in to fill the breach — a breach widened by India's hands-off approach toward Sri Lanka since a disastrous 1987-90 peacekeeping operation in that island-nation.

Beijing began selling larger quantities of arms, and dramatically boosted its aid fivefold in the past year to almost $1 billion to emerge as Sri Lanka's largest donor. Chinese Jian-7 fighter jets, antiaircraft guns, JY-11 3D air surveillance radars and other supplied weapons have played a central role in the Sri Lankan military successes against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (or "Tamil Tigers"), seeking to carve out an independent homeland for the ethnic Tamils in the island's north and east.

Beijing even got its ally Pakistan actively involved in Sri Lanka. With Chinese encouragement, Pakistan — despite its own faltering economy and rising Islamist challenge — has boosted its annual military assistance loans to Sri Lanka to nearly $100 million while supplying Chinese-origin small arms and training Sri Lankan air force personnel in precision guided attacks.

China has become an enabler of repression in a number of developing nations as it seeks to gain access to oil and mineral resources, to market its goods and to step up investment. Still officially a communist state, its support for brutal regimes is driven by capitalist considerations. But while exploiting commercial opportunities, it also tries to make strategic inroads. Little surprise thus that China's best friends are pariah or other states that abuse human rights.

Indeed, with its ability to provide political protection through its U.N. Security Council veto power, Beijing has signed tens of billions of dollars worth of energy and arms contracts in recent years with such problem states — from Burma and Iran to Sudan and Venezuela.

In the case of Sri Lanka, China has been particularly attracted by that country's vantage location in the center of the Indian Ocean — a crucial international passageway for trade and oil. Hambantota — the billion-dollar port Chinese engineers are now building on Sri Lanka's southeast — is the latest "pearl" in China's strategy to control vital sea-lanes of communication between the Indian and Pacific Oceans by assembling a "string of pearls" in the form of listening posts, special naval arrangements and access to ports.

China indeed has aggressively moved in recent years to build ports in the Indian Ocean rim, including in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. Besides eyeing Pakistan's Chinese-built port-cum-naval base of Gwadar as a possible anchor for its navy, Beijing has sought naval and commercial links with the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar. However, none of the port-building projects it has bagged in recent years can match the strategic value of Hambantota, which sits astride the great trade arteries.

China's generous military aid to Sri Lanka has tilted the military balance in favor of government forces, enabling them in recent months to unravel the de facto state the Tamil Tigers had run for years. After losing more than 5,594 square km of territory, the Tigers now are boxed into a 85-square-km sliver of wooded land in the northeast.

But despite the government's battlefield triumphs, Asia's longest civil war triggered by the bloody 1983 anti-Tamil riots is unlikely to end anytime soon. Not only is the government unable to define peace or outline a political solution to the Tamils' long-standing cultural and political grievances, the rebels are gearing up to return to their roots and become guerrilla fighters again after being routed in the conventional war.

While unable to buy peace, Chinese aid has helped weaken and scar civil society. Emboldened by the unstinted Chinese support, the government has set in motion the militarization of society and employed control of information as an instrument of war, illustrated by the muzzling of the media and murders of several independent-minded journalists. It has been frenetically swelling the ranks of the military by one-fifth a year through large-scale recruitment, even as it establishes village-level civilian militias, especially in conflict-hit areas.

With an ever-larger, Chinese-aided war machine, the conflict is set to grind on, making civil society the main loser. That is why international diplomatic intervention has become imperative. India, with its geostrategic advantage and trade and investment clout over a war-hemorrhagic Sri Lankan economy that is in search of an international bailout package, must use its leverage deftly to promote political and ethnic reconciliation rooted in federalism and genuine interethnic equality. More broadly, the U.S., European Union, Japan and other important players need to exert leverage to stop the Rajapaksa brothers from rebuffing ceasefire calls and press Beijing to moderate its unsettling role.

Brahma Chellaney is professor of strategic studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.

Japan Times

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Supreme Court verdict on Blogging

Ahh... the days of the wild wild west are over ... it seems...

Bloggers can be nailed for views

NEW DELHI: A 19-year-old blogger's case could forever change the ground rules of blogging. Bloggers may no longer express their uninhibited views on everything under the sun, for the Supreme Court said they may face libel and even prosecution for the blog content.

It will no longer be safe to start a blog and invite others to register their raunchy, caustic and even abusive comments on an issue while seeking protection behind the disclaimer — views expressed on the blog are that of the writers.

This chilling warning emerged as a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam refused to protect a 19-year-old Kerala boy, who had started a community on Orkut against Shiv Sena, from protection against summons received from a Maharashtra court on a criminal case filed against him.

Petitioner Ajith D had started a community on Orkut against Shiv Sena. In this community, there were several posts and discussions by anonymous persons who alleged that Shiv Sena was trying to divide the country on region and caste basis.

Reacting to these posts, the Shiv Sena youth wing's state secretary registered a criminal complaint at Thane police station in August 2008 based on which FIR was registered against Ajith under Sections 506 and 295A pertaining to hurting public sentiment.

After getting anticipatory bail from Kerala HC, Ajith moved the Supreme Court through counsel Jogy Scaria seeking quashing of the criminal complaint on the ground that the blog contents were restricted to communication within the community and did not have defamation value. He also pleaded that there was threat to his life if he appeared in a Maharashtra court.

A computer science student, Ajith pleaded that the comments made on the blog were mere exercise of their fundamental right to freedom of expression and speech and could not be treated as an offence by police.

Unimpressed, the Bench said, "We cannot quash criminal proceedings. You are a computer student and you know how many people access internet portals. Hence, if someone files a criminal action on the basis of the content, then you will have to face the case. You have to go before the court and explain your conduct."

Times of India.

Friday, March 06, 2009

CPI(Marxist) News

There is a striking difference between communists(those who divide society on the basis of class) and communalists(those who divide society on the basis of religion) in this country. 

The difference lies in the fact that communalists in 
India almost never acknowledge class as a real issue 
nor take up any class based issues , but the communists 
on the other hand(marxist or maoist) are all involved in 
some religious cause or the other.

In my opinion, religion and it's subset caste will 
continue to remain the center around which Indian 
politics will be played. 

Don’t be surprised if you spot Osama posters at CPM rally

NEW DELHI: CPM, which has been travelling along with radical Islam, is piling pressure on allies to back its plans to field a nominee of Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani for the Ponnani seat in Kerala.

The decision to award ticket to a Madani follower has not gone down well with CPI as the party had traditionally contested the seat. Outfits like Jamiat-e-Islami and leaders of the Sunni sect have been lobbying with the CPM leadership for awarding the Lok Sabha nomination to a leader who shares their world view.

Although the alliance between CPM and Islamists may look bizarre to outsiders, the Left in Kerala has been a beneficiary of their affection. With the waning influence of IUML, radical elements in the community have been moving away from the Congress-led front. Just like Left movements elsewhere have worked their way up by exploiting extra-territorial grievances of the Muslim community, the Kerala CPM have been engaged in sustained anti-US and pro-Palestine campaigns in the state.

The biggest audience for the manufactured outrage over Danish cartoons on the Prophet, protests against India’s engagement with the US and solidarity for Saddam Hussein were provided by the northern districts of Kerala.

With the two sides of the political aisle vying with each other for a larger share of the minority vote — the Muslim vote alone accounts for 20% — the competition to appease leaders like Madani is certain to intensify in the coming months.

CPM seems unconcerned by the fact that Madani, exonerated for lack of evidence in the Coimbatore blasts case, still faces around 20 cases in Kerala, which includes spreading communal hatred. The Left elite and liberals had organised a massive ‘civic reception’ for Madani in Thiruvananthapuram when he was released from the Coimbatore jail.

Kerala was in the news recently for its spotty record on fighting terror-financing when the high court directed the state government to take immediate measures to track the source of Rs 4 million hawala funds that landed in Kondotty village of Kerala. State home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was forced to admit in the assembly that illegal transfer of money to the state by agents abroad is a Rs 100-million-a-year business. 

The minister also told the assembly that investigations into some of the cases showed that people involved in this illegal trade had links with anti-national forces. The state intelligence set up is also suspecting a portion of these funds sustaining the radical Islamic outfit NDF.