February 17, 2012
[In recent months as the anti-big dam movement is gaining strength in Assam, the powers that be have been on their job. News papers and TV channels are being fed with the propaganda that Maoists (and possibly China!) are behind the agitation (http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=jan1312/at06). The media have been dutifully reproducing this concoction for consumption of general public. This appears to be a ploy to distract attention from the real issues of loss of livelihood and ecological disaster. We are publishing a pamphlet issued last year by the JNU Forum Against War On People. Although a little dated, it addresses questions which have become all the more urgent.-Ed]
“The government has lost the confidence of the people. It has decided to dismiss the people and appoint another one” – Brecht.
As the Indian state’s fascist war on its people intensifies, Operation Green Hunt has not remained confined to the regions of central and eastern India alone, nor only has it remained restricted to the battlefield. Any kind of resistance by the people and their organizations in order to protect their dignity and livelihood and challenging the neo-liberal agenda of the Indian ruling classes and any voice in support of the people, irrespective of geographical location, comes under brutal attack by the ‘joint forces’ mobilized by the Indian state. The ‘joint forces’ of the Indian state comprise of the army, the air force, the paramilitary, the police force, the IB, vigilante gangs like Harmad Vahini, Salwa Judum along with the judiciary, corporate media and the sold-out section of the intelligentsia. Operation Green Hunt proceeds not only through the expensive weapons of the Greyhounds and the COBRAs but also through fake encounters, branding of all forms of dissent as ‘anti-national’, ‘anti-development’, or ‘the biggest internal security threat’. These forces are shielded by the criminal draconian laws like UAPA, AFSPA, MCOCA, Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act, and so on. All the ruling-class political parties like the Congress, the BJP and the CPI(M) have come together to justify this fascist war which is aimed to violently throw peasants and adivasis of this country out of their means of subsistence and reduce them to utter pauperisation, in the name of democracy, development and peace.
In recent months, fake encounters have become one of the most potent weapons in the hands of the ‘joint forces’ to kill people in struggles and their leaders. In Odisha alone more than 30 people have been killed fake encounters since the beginning of Operation Green Hunt, with heightened frequency in the last two months. In continuation of these fake encounters, the paramilitary forces have claimed to killed three cadres of the CPI(Maoist) in Sundergarh district of Odisha, on 12 February. As reported in the mainstream media, the alleged Maoists were killed in a fierce encounter with the ‘security’ forces, and arrested three ‘hardcore Maoists’ from Assam. The three accused: Aditya Bora, Tingraj Orang and Asik Sabor have been allegedly close to the ULFA and were found imparting military training and trying to establish a Maoist base in Assam. Aditya Bora has been also identified by the police as a central committee member of the Maoists, and this was faithfully parroted by the pliant media, uncritically reproducing the police version. The Odisha police celebrated this ‘reported arrest from the so-called encounter site’ as the conclusive proof of Maoist-ULFA links. All three were illegally detained by the police and tortured in the name of interrogation for many days rather than producing them in front of a magistrate.
The ambit of Operation Green Hunt has now been extended to the North-East as well. On 28th January, 6 people were arrested from different districts of Assam for being supposed ‘Maoist activists’. The arrested persons were Kishore Das of Sipajhar in Darrang district, Nibash Hajong of Silapathar in Dhemaji, Dhaniram Das of Lakhipathar in Dhemaji, Diganta Gogoi of Borguri in Tinsukia, Jun Bora of Merapani in Golaghat and Maneka Medhi of Pengeri in Tinsukia district. All of them were part of the anti-dam movement led by Brihot Nadibandh Pratirodh Mancha (Resistance Forum against Big Dams). The proposed construction of 168 big dams in the North-East for generating 63000MW of electricity has posed a direct threat to the people of the region. The Indian state is hell bent on proceeding with these mass destruction projects to fulfil the corporate interests and diktats of multinational agencies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank. With utter disregard of all social costs, scientific opinion and even government reports against these projects, the central government imposing these big-dams as a part of its ‘Look East Policy’, so as to sell the water resources of the region to the East-Asian market. Already more than 30,000 people –mostly from tribal communities– have been displaced by the big dams in Arunachal. The life and livelihood of the people of Assam too are in grave danger. In return of this destruction some paltry jobs on contract and a mere 25MW of power are thrown as crumbs to Assam and Arunachal. Being fully aware of the devastating consequences, the people of Assam have been waging a militant struggle against the looming total socio-economic and ecological destruction under the banner of Brihot Nadibandh Pratirodh Mancha. Various democratic and peoples’ organisations like Krishok Mukti Songram Samiti (KMSS), Assam Student and Youth Organisation (ASYO) etc. have been active in this struggle.
The Indian state has identified this peoples’ movement as the biggest impediment to its mega-dam projects. Hence they have been branded as ‘Maoist frontal organisations’ and its members have been put behind bars. With civil rights activists, social workers, journalists like Binayak Sen, Himanshu Kumar, Mahasweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, Raja Sarkhel, Prasun Chatterjee, Seema Azad etc. who are harassed and persecuted as ‘Maoist sympathisers’, more names from Assam such as Akhil Gogoi , the secretary of KMSS, and now Aditya Bora has been added. Aditya Bora has been one of the active members of the anti-dam movement, and it is no surprise that the state has found the excuse of ‘Maoism’ to slap trumped-up charges on him and throw him into prison. Asom Chah Jonogosthi Surakhya Samiti (Assam Tea Community Protection Committee) which along with many other organisations of the tea garden workers have also been branded as “Maoists” and are facing severe repression. Tingraj Orang and Asik Sabor, arrested along with Aditya Bora, have been well-known activists from this community. British colonialists had envisaged Assam as a huge tea plantation with indentured ‘cheap labour’ brought in from central and eastern India. There is a fear now among the rulers that the historical ties of these communities in Assam and the adivasis of central India will be revived. Hence is the constant evocation of the spectre of Maoism by the regional rulers led by the chief minister Tarun Gogoi, and the subsequent attempts to silent all forms of dissent.
Oppose Operation Green Hunt! As the ruling classes’ ‘joint forces’ intensify and expand Operation Green Hunt we call upon all the democratic forces in this country to expose and oppose the nefarious designs of the Indian state wherever people stand in resistance to its neo-liberal agenda. We must bring out the everyday reality of Operation Green Hunt as experienced by the people of the subcontinent, and stand in solidarity with the uncompromising struggles of the resisting masses for their livelihood and dignity against this fascist war on the people.