JUSTICE AND RIGHTS
We cannot underestimate … the cynicism of centers of power in pursuit of their own often despicable ends. It is within this context that we should … consider … the detailed investigation carried out in this important and careful study. And it is within the same context, I think, that the people of India should respond constructively to the call for a serious parliamentary inquiry into what actually happened and its roots.
– Noam Chomsky
The terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001 posed a test-case for Indian democracy. This book tells the story of how civil institutions in India – the media, the police, the political executive and the judiciary – failed the test. As a result, the question ‘who attacked Parliament’ remained unanswered, and the human rights of the accused were seriously violated. The following issues, among others, are examined in detail: complicity between the media and the police; actions of the NDA government in promoting fear and prejudice; largescale fabrication and concoction by the investigating agency; biased trial and judgment in the POTA court and ‘balancing act’ of the High Court
The discussion is supported with extensive documentation from newspaper reports, judicial statements, public statements, and some important but little-known literature on the subject published earlier. Most of these are included in the Annexures. The book ends with a strong appeal for a comprehensive parliamentary inquiry.
As the title suggests, this book is about the plight of Adivasis (= Tribals) in the context of current Maoist upheaval in some parts of east-central India, especially some regions of Dandakaranya forests that span across the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh. Reportedly, there are thousands of Maoist guerrillas armed with sophisticated weapons confronting a vast array of paramilitary forces assembled by the government of India (GOI). The offensive action of the government is (unofficially) code-named Operation Green Hunt (OGH). Caught in the cross-fire are millions of poor, marginalised and historically isolated Adivasis. Already hundreds of Adivasis have lost their lives in the armed conflict, thousands are in jail mostly on fake charges, several hundred villages have been looted and burned, lakhs have fled from their homes, hundreds of schools have closed down, and malnutrition has reached sub-Saharan dimensions. It is a matter of sinister irony that Maoist guns were needed for the government to wake up to formidable developmental challenges in the Adivasi areas. But no proposal for development carries any meaning when the Adivasis are caught in a war. Since the basic thrust of the book is to articulate the urgent humanitarian cause of saving Adivasi lives, it is to be viewed as a political work, primarily.
A must read for all those that follow the intense debates on politics and development in India. This book explores the writings of Maoist ideologues relating to the Maoist movement in India’s tribal regions. Mukherji develops a serious critique of Indian state polices and the violent response to them, preferring the large social movements that advocate an alternative path of development through non-violent resistance.
-Anuradha M. Chenoy
Professor in the School of International Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, co-author of Maoist And Other Armed Conflicts (2010)
Nirmalangshu Mukherji is a careful, judicious scholar, and his inquiry into these intricate issues is sensitive and persuasive.
Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT.
Nirmalangshu is smart and he cares. The best outcome would be if his book could contribute to a strategic debate for how to resist the land-grabs, expand India’s fragile democracy, and most urgently, break the noose that the state is tightening around the adivasis and their lands.
- Justin Podur, York University, Canada
Mukherji persuasively argues that the Maoists are at a brutal dead end. His solution is a desperate hope that reforms can be granted through an extension of democracy. He does dramatically demonstrates the consequences of revolutionaries setting themselves over and outside the class they purport to lead.
- Socialist Review
Parliament Attack case
Maoists in India
Democracy, State, the Left