Saturday, February 23, 2008


Condemnation of Maoist and State violence in Orissa

We the undersigned strongly condemn the massacre of thirteen policemen
and two civilians in Nayagarh town of Orissa by armed Maoists on
February 17.

At the same time we also condemn, equally strongly, the subsequent
killing of thirty five alleged Maoists as claimed by the Orissa police
in a desperate measure of revenge and to show they are still 'in
control'. Going by past experience there are grave doubts as to who
the people they have killed really are- Maoist guerrillas or innocent

Media reports about acts of wanton brutality by the Maoists, such as
burning alive a policeman and castrating another – if true – is
especially condemnable. There can be no justification whatsoever for
such actions, especially by a political group claiming to wage an
armed struggle for social justice and striving to build a new
revolutionary society.

We are completely opposed to this cult of violence, even though we are
fully aware that the way the central and state governments treat
non-violent movements with utter cynicism, they inevitably push people
towards such cults.

The Maoist atrocity in Nayagarh is particularly unfortunate as it is
detrimental to the various democratic mass movements all over Orissa
that are resisting the policies of land grab and diversion of natural
resources to global and domestic corporations. The Orissa government
is bound to use this incident as yet another excuse to crack down on
the militant but non-violent struggles of the people against unjust
development policies in the state.

We also call upon the government of Orissa as well as the Indian
government to stop their brazen misuse of state power to carry out
arbitrary arrests, torture and even murder of innocent citizens in the
name of containing the Maoists. As elected bodies bound by the Indian
Constitution they are expected to adhere to the laws of the land and
democratic norms instead of resorting to vigilante justice.

Finally we request the media in the state to stop labeling activists
fighting democratically against state policies and oppression as
'Maoists' with no evidence to back up such claims.

Amit Bhaduri, Economist, New Delhi
Achin Vanaik, Political Scientist, New Delhi
Apoorvanand, Academic, New Delhi
Aditya Nigam, Political Scientist, New Delhii
Amit Sengupta, Journalist, New Delhi
Mamata Dash, Activist, New Delhi
Praful Bidwai, Journalist, New Delhi
Rabi Shankar, Activist, Kashipur, Orissa
Sumit Sarkar, Historian, New Delhi
Satya Sivaraman, Journalist, New Delhi
Tanika Sarkar, Historian, New Delhi
Subrat Kumar Sahu, Film Maker & Writer, New Delhi