Social Revolution Party

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Archive for December, 2009

Nepal: Ripe for Revolt

Posted by sorev on 05/12/2009

Maoist Supporters

Maoist supporters rally against the government.

There’s been so much news from Nepal in the past 48 hours I barely know where to begin! Since there’s so much of it it’s possible that I’ll give an incomplete view of some developments, but that’s probably unavoidable. Either way, there’s been a hell of a lot happening and it’s worth keeping up with it.

To start things off, Maoist cadres attacked Finance Minister Surendra Pandey, hurling stones at his car as he attended a function which they disrupted, raising black flags as a sign of protest. The attack was in response to remarks he made earlier in the day at the UML’s party convention. Apparently, he claimed that the Maoists will be unable to destabilise the government as it has earned the support of it’s coalition partners by making all the Madhesi party leaders government ministers, and he was reported as saying “Leave the issue of toppling the government. Homework is being carried out to make all the 26 parties participate in the government”. Considering how unstable a government made up of that many parties inevitably must be, and also considering the new developments in the internal struggle within the UML party (more on that later), this government is a weak and insecure one regardless of how many times it expands it cabinet.

The Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student’s Union – Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) has declared an indefinite shutdown of all private “higher secondary” schools in Nepal. The ANNISU – R organises students in high schools as well as universities, and it’s candidates were elected to the leadership of student unions across Nepal recently. It is demanding an increased number of teachers be allocated to public schools rather than private ones, the domain of a privileged few.

The Maoists continue to alternate demands for a national government to be formed under the leadership of their party with threats of revolt if this does not happen (as well as assurances that even the formation of a new national government will only be a means for them to move towards full blown popular revolt). Vice-Chair of the party (which has recently adopted a system of multiple vice-chairs and a more collective form of leadership) Baburam Bhattarai stated that there is “no alternative” to a Maoist-led government. He said that if this does not happen, it will be impossible to move forward with the peace process and the drafting of a new constitution. However, he also stressed that the formation of such a government will be impossible unless President Yadav is “corrected” for blocking the previous Maoist-led government’s move to fire General Katawal, head of the army, which the Maoists have described as unconstitutional and anti-people, and which led to them resigning from government.

It’s worth going into this seemingly simple demand a bit deeper. Since the President blocked the firing back in April this year, General Katawal has actually retired anyway and been replaced by someone else. The Maoists have so far been hazy on the details of how this action by the President can concretely be “corrected”, although they have been consistent in raising the demand that the issues of civilian supremacy this decision raised be debated in the house. So far the government has refused to allow such a debate to take place, and the Maoists have taken to the streets and prevented the sitting of parliament with increasingly militant rhetoric under the general slogan of “civilian supremacy”. Since Katawal has already resigned, the Maoists are obviously not calling for their original move to be carried out – the results it sought have already been achieved. So the question is, why the focus on President Yadav? Why the constant return to this issue? I don’t have any definitive answers, but perhaps the Maoists are using this as part of their strategy to convince the masses that change cannot be achieved solely through the halls of parliament. By focusing on this event, where the President went beyond his mandate to block a move by a democratically elected civilian government that the army disagreed with, the Maoists are trying to convince the masses that under the current form of government and form of society that exists in Nepal, “civilian supremacy” will not be possible. Revolutions do not take place when the leaders of a party just make theoretical demands for “the dictatorship of the proletariat” etc. They happen when a concrete, practical set of demands is put forward which the masses identify with and see for themselves cannot be achieved without revolution. In Russia it was “land, bread, peace”, and in Nepal it may be “civilian supremacy”. Considering the abuses the Nepali people have suffered at the hands of the military, this is a demand with real significance to them.

Bhattarai referred to the President’s move in his speech as a “coup”, and said that the “People’s movement will intensify if the regression is not corrected.” He also condemned the governments moves to import weapons from India, a move he denounced as being against the peace process. He also made some interesting remarks about freedom of the press, saying that “”the press is free when journalists control the press, however, such is not the condition in Nepal.” This is in contrast to the widely held view in the capitalist West that a privately owned press is a free one, as compared to a state controlled and therefore unfree press. Bhattarai is saying that a press owned by wealthy corporations and individuals is not free, as it’s content is determined by and reflects the class interests of it’s owners.

Chairman Prachanda

Chairman Prachanda

Similar comments were made by Prachanda in a widely reported speech to a Maoist mass gathering on Saturday. Telegraph Nepal wrote that “Prachanda has said that the stage is set for the Maoists’ led uprising to come to an end,” and reported him as saying that “We are marching along cautiously to bring an end to the Peoples’ Revolution, the stage is set for the final showdown… People are less hopeful that the Constitution will be drafted on time, it is the wish of the people that forced us to take to the streets”.

Kantipur Online reported on the same speech, claiming that Prachanda said “it is high time for a decisive revolution… “Several revolutions done in the past have only resulted in compromise due to the status quoits ideology of some leaders… The protests this time around will successfully conclude the people-oriented revolution.”

Nepalnews also published an article on the speech, writing that Prachanda said the time is ripe for “new communist revolution”. The UCPN (M) Chairman reportedly warned the ruling feudalist and bourgeois parties that the current protest movement the Maoists are leading could turn into a “decisive communist revolution if the parties tried to block the country’s political transformation.” Prachanda went on to say that the Maoists “will create a storm of revolt,” and the current agitation is just a “prelude” to this.

Bhattarai made two other speeches worth taking a look at. During a press conference, he reportedly echoed Prachanda and said that the current protest movement is merely “a preliminary exercise towards yet another revolt.” The Maoist leader stated “this is just the rehearsal of the blizzard that awaits the country”, and claimed “the incumbent government is in a mood to impose war on us, we want things settle amicably, however, they want just the otherwise… they want to declare emergency and rule the country ad infinitum”.

In a seperate speech given to a Maoist mass gathering, he slammed the leaders of Nepal’s parliament as “criminals”, accusing President Yadav of being the “new avatar of [former king] Gyanendra”, and warning that Yadav will have a “fate similar to Gyanendra”.

The Maoists have recently issued the government with a set of 45 demands, in a move echoing the Maoist’s issuing of 40 demands shortly before they launched the People’s War in 1996. So far there do not appear to be any concrete details about what these demands are, but the very fact that they have been issued is significant. In his speech to the mass gathering, Bhattarai reportedly followed his denunciations of President Yadav with a threatening statement reminding the current government that when the Maoist’s original 40 demands were ignored, the People’s War began and the monarchy was destroyed,  and therefore “If they ignore our fresh 45 point demands it is certain that the fate of the parties will be akin to the institution of monarchy.”

He also claimed that the government is “conspiring to dissolve the Constituent Assembly”, which when coupled with the declaration a few days ago by another senior Maoist leader called Gajurel that if the CA was dissolved the Maoist would “capture the state” is a big call to make.

A major political struggle is also beginning in Nepal over how the judiciary will be organised once the constitution is written. The Maoists have successfully sought the support of the Madhesi parties to win a majority vote in a committee set up to put together a document proposing how the judicial system should operate in the New Nepal. In their proposal, My Republic reports that they have put forward “parliament as the final interpreter of the constitution besides also proposing appointment of the chief justice by parliament from outside the judicial service.” Various reactionary parties are aghast at this, claiming that an “independent” judiciary is necessary and that this would open up the judiciary to political manipulation. However, this is a move to ensure democracy. In a nation of extreme poverty very few people are able to attain the education and experience necessary to qualify as a lawyer, let alone a judge, and therefore the judiciary is overwhelmingly made up of people from a privileged, upper class background. By allowing for the elected representatives of the people to appoint (and presumably force from their position) judges, the Maoists are struggling to ensure that the nations laws and the application of these laws will reflect the will and class interests of the working masses, not the privileged few.

I’ve published some reports on the internal struggle taking place in the UML party (a reformist, revisionist CP) over the past few weeks. It should be kept in mind that what knowledge I have of this struggle has been gained through scattered, unclear reports translated into English and filtered through the bourgeois media, but from what I can gather, the struggle appears to be between, on the one hand, a current gathered around party Chairman Khanal and Vice-Chair Gautam, who both are seen as being relatively friendly to the Maoists, and senior party leader Oli, who is closer to the Nepal Congress and bitterly hostile to the Maoists. There has been a round of purges and reorganisations as Khanal tries to undermine Oli’s faction, and there is the possibility of a split.

In this recent news article, Gautam has come out saying that right wing elements have penetrated the UML and are diluting it’s communist ideology (this is kinda old news and has been the case for years, but for the vice Chair of the Party to say it is a big development). Gautam reportedly denied that he is “Maoist friendly”, but made a series of statements which are worth taking note of anyway. Telegraph Nepal wrote in the article that “[Gautam] favoured Communist Unity, saying the new constitution must be a pro-poor one, for which there is the urgent need to unite with the Communists but not with the Rightists.” Gautam was reported as saying that in order to defeat the “Rightist trend” in the UML, an “inner party struggle was necessary to restore pro-proletariat and workers friendly ideology in the party.”

He stated that “continued wrangling between the parties will make sure that the country will not get the Constitution on time, the responsibility for the failure will be that of the UML as it is currently leading the government”, and added that “In that eventuality, the country will be ruled by the Feudal, Rightists and the Imperialists.” He concluded by warning the UML cadres that if the constitution was not drafted on time it would make possible the restoration of the monarchy, and said that the Maoists must be brought back into the “politics of consensus” in order to avoid another civil war.

I’m always wary of making too many comparisons between situations today and Russia in 1917, but I’ll make a tentative comparison here. In Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, there was a group called the

Bam Dev Gautam

UML Vice-Chair Bam Dev Gautam

Socialist Revolutionary Party. It split between it’s left wing elements, the Left SRs, who for a time formed a coalition government with the Bolsheviks and cooperated in the revolution, and the right-wing SRs who joined the White Armies and fought to crush the revolution. The UML is similar in many ways to the SRs – it’s a party with many grassroots cadre who do genuinely believe in socialist revolution, despite the petit-bourgeois nature of its leadership and political line. If the UML splits down Left/Right lines, it would have a big impact on the political landscape in Nepal, and could make the Maoist’s task a whole lot easier. I guess we just have to wait and see what happens.

Last but not least, senior Maoist leader Kiran has been reported as saying his party is fundamentally opposed to the parliamentary system and will ensure that the new constitution does not adopt it. Kiran was quoted as saying “Parliamentary democracy is merely the platform for people to chat… We won’t accept the system and will write the constitution to establish the people’s federal republic instead.” He apparently went on to say that the Maoists will write the constitution by “incorporating the best practices of both the democratic and the communist countries”, and concluded by saying that  “Maoists are for establishing the rights of the oppressed rather than those of the ruling class. Our model of constitution will include revolutionary land reforms, national economic management and state restructuring on the basis of ethnicity with right to self-determination.”

All in all, an eventful and exciting 48 hours. The fiery rhetoric of the Maoist leadership continues, a parallel state has been revived, a set of 45 demands have been presented mirroring the ones on the basis of which the People’s War was launched… Things just keep getting hotter in Nepal.

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Left With Hope From Pakistan

Posted by sorev on 05/12/2009

Left with Hope
By Umer A. Chaudhry
January 19, 2009

More than 125 years after his death and 150 years after he wrote his most famous piece of work, Karl Marx seems to have managed his return from Highgate Cemetery of London. His specter is no longer haunting merely Europe, rather it has expanded its reach to every corner of the world. All this when only a few years back it was declared and uncritically accepted that there can be no alternative to new-liberal capitalism, history was stated to have ended, and even the human capacity to observe and understand the world was questioned based on, amongst other things, the limitations of language. On the other hand, the world also saw, with the alleged ‘death of Communism,’ a sharp revival of the politics and militancy in the name of religion. Set against this backdrop, even the modest re-emergence of Karl Marx in the political and social discourse is highly remarkable. After all, the modern capitalist class structure, upon whose criticism Marxism proudly stands, did not collapse along with the Berlin Wall.

The return of Marxist discourse is not unaccompanied by a noticeable global upsurge in the political presence of the Left. The victory of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) in the Himalayas early in 2008 gave a major boost to the Leftist political activists around the world. The history and strategy of the Nepali Maoists were critically discussed and appreciated with reference to all accessible records and statements of the Party via various Internet forums and meetings around the globe. The out-pouring of Chinese students in opposition to Free-Tibet protests in many parts of the world just before the Beijing Olympics compelled many to have their first look at the history of China and the Chinese revolution. The mounting strength of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales added by their increasing confrontations with U.S. Imperialism in Latin America became another source of inspiration for the world’s Left. The communist parties in India entered into a major struggle with the Congress Party, conducting mass demonstrations against the Indo-U.S. nuclear deals. Even in Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has maintained itself as the country’s second largest party and its largest opposition party. All in all, the global recovery of the Left, though not at a very grand scale, is apparent to every perceptive eye.

In Pakistan, the Left has also made a modest yet a noteworthy reappearance. It was mostly due to the movement against the unconstitutional and illegal imposition of emergency that the Left has been able to gain visibility at a larger scale. Many journalists expressed their surprise at activists robustly raising the traditional slogans of the Left during major rallies of the lawyers’ movement. Many lawyers, who had any past association with the Left, were instantly attracted towards the sight of the red flag and the octagonal Mao caps. Young students, out of curiosity, inquired about the new crimson element on the streets and got to know about the strong tradition of resistance and struggle that Left carries forward. They were even more astonished to know that Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib, whose poetry also returned and was received with great appreciation, were also leading figures of the Left in their times.

Many people, however, are still not clear regarding why the Left engaged with the lawyers’ movement in the first place. It was not a knee-jerk reaction and obviously not an ignorance of the fact that the lawyers’ movement hosts a whole lot of forces, including the staunch right-wing elements of mainstream political parties- traditional foes of the Left. On the other hand, the Left participated in the lawyers’ movement to connect it with other anti-dictatorship movements that occurred in the past eight years, in order to help in building a larger movement for democracy, secularism, social justice, and rule of law – something running contrary to the goals of the religious right-wing. The Left made attempts within its capacity to build a movement that could address the basic question of the Pakistani State and society, and efforts were made to invite groups like Anjumen-e-Mazareen Punjab (AMP), Railway Workers’ Union (RWU), and the striking PTCL workers to the lawyers’ processions. However, it can be a criticism of the Left at the lawyers’ movement that it did not build any bridges with mass working class organizations, as was done during the anti-Ayub movement of the 60’s, though heavy focus was laid on traders’ organizations. The Left may not have succeeded in giving a more progressive and inclusive shape to the lawyers’ movement, despite all out efforts to do so. Notwithstanding, the Left stood staunch as to its goal and, at the very least, floated the right idea.

Nevertheless, a degree of confusion did exist during the course of the lawyers’ movement when many parties of the Left -including Labor Party of Pakistan (LPP) and National Workers’ Party (NWP)- decided to join the All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM) and boycotted the elections early in 2008. One of the parties of the Left that did not join the APDM, a noteworthy exception, was the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP), which held that the Left must unite itself as a secular-democratic force in efforts to distinguish itself as a progressive force in the democratic movement, refraining from partaking in an alliance that has known reactionary right-wingers as its leading faces. The APDM-Left, conversely, either argued that the APDM was not dominated by the right wing, or that the alliance helped them in expanding the scope of their political activity. Be that as it may, the Left managed to make unified calls for the struggle against the Army dictatorship and its political cronies during the vital days of the February elections; only to have been responded by threats by elements of the State as a witness to their efficacy.

Another debate that was waged with passion in the circles of the Left, which are accessible to intellectuals and students through Internet forums, was the position regarding the conflict in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The Left that mingled with APDM called for an immediate stoppage of the military operation for the reasons that it targeted civilians, lacked efficiency due to double-dealings of the ISI and was conducted under the directions of the U.S. Imperialism. The CMKP, finding itself alone here as well, took a different stance. Vehemently opposing the civilian casualties, the double-dealings of the ISI, and the U.S. drone attacks, the CMKP argued that history and circumstances have led Pakistan to such a stage where extremism cannot be rooted out through peaceful dialogues and negotiations. Such means, it is believed, have a negative outcome as they allow the militants to get back on the offensive. Hence, it is essential to use force to deal with the threat of religious fanaticism. There are many other arguments, with varying degrees of sophistication, made for or against the afore-mentioned positions; what was most awe-inspiring was the level of thoroughness of some of the debates.

The aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks has appeared as a great challenge for Pakistan’s Leftists. To understand the predicament faced by them, it must be understood that the Left has always directed its efforts against the Military-Mullah alliance: the elements of quintessential mainstream politics in Pakistan. These two institutions have always stood in the path of even the smallest transition of our country towards democracy- both feed on jingoism and excessively anti-Indian hate-mongering, in order to conceal their retrogressive and narrow political stance.

The distressing tragedy of Mumbai was followed by astute chauvinist nationalism, employing the electronic and print media to further its cause. The image of retrogressive forces is being resurrected, in a planned manner, and zealous calls of “unity” are being given. This is responded to with indifference and total underestimation of the unjust and negative politics of the Army and religious fundamentalists. Television channels are opened for people like Hameed Gul to beat their jingoistic drums in the name of religion and false patriotism. The Left, in these circumstances, is left with no option but to end its year by placing a struggle on the cards against the politics of hate-mongering and jingoism. In this, so far with some formal engagement, the Left appears to stand united.

All in all, the politics of the Left has generated great interest fresh circles. The youth and the oppressed, thoroughly disgusted with military dictatorship, religious extremism and the mainstream parties of Pakistan, are eagerly seeking a new alternative on the political scenario. The Left appears as a major hope. The Left must maintain clarity with regards to its political position while becoming as accessible as possible towards those who are willing to struggle for the solution that guarantees democracy, progress, and social justice. The Left must stand steadfastly with its commitment towards peoples’ democracy, secularism, land-reforms, independence from Imperialism, equal rights and opportunities for women, minorities, oppressed nations, and most notably, the emancipation of the workers and peasants.

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To Establish a Liberated Area in India

Posted by sorev on 05/12/2009

Kisenji

Kisenji speaks to media 1.5 kilometers from police camp in Lalgarh area.

KOTESWAR RAO, alias Kishenji, is a politburo member of the banned CPI (Maoist) and is in charge of the party’s operations in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. He was drawn into the revolutionary movement when he was doing his B.Sc. (Mathematics) in Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh. He became a full-time member of the CPI-ML (People’s War) in 1974.

“We plan to spread our movement to north Bengal, the plains of Bihar, the central districts of Orissa and eastern Chattisgarh,” he told Frontline in an exclusive telephonic interview in which he talked about the Lalgarh movement, the Maoist programme of individual killings and future plans of the Maoist movement.Excerpts:

Do you think the movement in Lalgarh is the fallout of the Singur and Nandigram movements rather than a heritage of the Naxalbari movement?

The movement in Lalgarh is the fallout of the Naxalbari movement, but the movements in Nandigram and Singur also had an impact on the Lalgarh movement and the people of Lalgarh. Such a long and sustained movement on a political issue has never taken place in the history of independent India. The main reason for this is the increase in political awareness among the masses.

At the same time, there is, on the one hand, a worldwide economic crisis and, on the other, Indian multinationals seizing the land and property of the common people. These, too, had a role to play in the eruption in Lalgarh.

And of course the Nandigram and Singur agitations, in which we were also present, are certainly big factors. At present, it is not possible to carry out just a peaceful agitation in West Bengal; along with peaceful agitations there must be huge rallies and meetings involving the direct participation of thousands of people.

There is a view that the Lalgarh movement is a spontaneous tribal movement that became so big that the CPI (Maoist) had to get on to it or be left behind. Your comments.

It is not as if we started doing our groundwork in the region yesterday; we have been doing our groundwork for a long time. The Maoist role and leadership in the area has been a continuous process. But, at the same time, the PCPA [People’s Committee against Police Atrocities] and the Maoist movement are not the same, and it would be incorrect to say that the people of the region have been influenced only by Maoists; they have been very much influenced by the PCPA, too.

But if there were no arrests following the assassination attempt on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on November 2 last year, would you have been able to build such a strong movement?

Not something like this. It would have developed in a slow process. But the reaction of the people worked to our advantage – much more than it did in Nandigram or Singur. We didn’t have any demand other than that the police apologise to the people, but the State government did not agree to it. We were left with few options.

Did you at any point think that the movement might not need you?

Yes, I did. We expected a movement after November 2, but nothing so big. I expected the strength of the movement to be around 50 per cent of what it eventually became. But the movement itself has undergone a qualitative change over the months. Earlier, when the villagers protested, they assembled in large numbers with their traditional bows and arrows. Then the combined forces entered the region and many villagers fled.

Subsequently, they all returned and now they are not fleeing anywhere. They are standing their own ground and collecting weapons to strike back. So tell me, where do you think this spirit to retaliate is coming from? Whom do you think the villagers are supporting now?

In 2007, it was decided that the CPI (Maoist) would broad-base its activities and not focus only on individual killings like the earlier naxalite movement. But Maoist killings are being reported almost every other day. So in what way is it different from the old programme?

At that time, annihilation of the class enemy was the only form adopted to bring about the revolution. We have changed that. We say that annihilation is one of the forms. This was not invented by Maoists; we have seen in history that the masses have always allowed it. To us, annihilation is one aspect of our total movement.

It was not a regular feature earlier as you claim. It became a regular feature only after the combined forces entered the region. If you recollect, before the deployment of Central forces, we held a Jana Adalat [people’s court] for 30 CPI(M) people in Madhupur [near Lalgarh].

More than 12,000 villagers attended the trial. The public wanted the death sentence for 13 of those under trial. But Bikas [the Maoist commander of operations in Lalgarh], after hours of persuasion, finally managed to convince the public that the time was not right to mete out such a punishment. Finally, the public agreed that those 13 people be just made to wear garlands of chappals and apologise. The other killings took place only after continued disregard of repeated warnings that were sent to the victims both by us and by the people of the region.

The victims were not just police informers, they practically marched with the combined forces. It is not that we killed only CPI(M) people, we killed members of the Jharkhand Party, too, for helping the combined forces and for joining the Gana Pratirodh [People’s Resistance] Committee; and I would also like to add that there is no difference between the Salwa Judum and the Gana Pratirodh Committee.

We killed the main leaders of the committee. Of the six main leaders of the Gana Pratirodh Committee, three were from the CPI(M) and three from the Jharkhand Party. Here again, we killed them after repeatedly requesting them to desist from forming such a committee. They did not listen to us and we had no other alternative.

The annihilation policy of old and what we do today are not the same. Along with individual assassinations, there are also other forms of actions that we undertake – different kinds of mass movements, social boycotts of culprits, and various developmental works.

In fact, recently, in Shankabanga village [in Purbo Medhinipur], we dug a seven-kilometre canal for irrigation. We have done similar work in many villages.

The CPI (Maoist) had announced that it will spread the movement to new areas following the general elections this year. Which are the areas that have been identified?

North Bengal, the plains of Bihar, the central districts of Orissa and eastern Chattisgarh. All these are backward areas where multinational companies are trying to penetrate, and the State governments are signing memorandums of understanding with them. The strategic location of these areas will also help us in our movements.

The movement in Orissa is one of the most upcoming movements by our party and it will facilitate a combined consolidation of our movements in the neighbouring States of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, bringing as many as 15 districts under our control.

Tell us something about your plans in West Bengal.

Very simply, to establish a liberated area. We decided in 2007 that this [the Jangalmahal] would be a guerilla area. Since then we have progressed a lot, we have already reached out to more than half the population of the region and made it politically aware. I can tell you only so much. Our politburo does not allow us to divulge the tactical aspects of our programmes.

But is there widespread recruitment into your movement from the region?

There has to be recruitment, or else how will the movement grow?

There are reports of fresh plans by your party to try and assassinate the Chief Minister, and even storm Writers Buildings. Your comments.

The media need sensational news, and the police need to justify their fat salaries. Do I really need to elaborate? As I have repeatedly said, to kill Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was not my decision. It was the decision of the people of Nandigram, the people of West Bengal, and even sections of the liberal bourgeoisie.

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who earlier extended her support to the PCPA’s movement, seems to have distanced herself from it. Your comments.

I have been asking Mamata Banerjee for the last three months to make her stand clear. After the general elections her fortune has soared, but what about the fortune of the “Ma, Mati, Manush” [Mamata’s political slogan of Mother, Earth, and People]? Their situation remains the same. What Mamata Banerjee is doing is indulging in opportunistic politics.

With the State and the Centre now planning to launch a much stronger attack, do you not think that your movement, as it stands today will endanger the lives of thousands of innocent and apolitical villagers?

The state should think about that. People like Manmohan Singh, [P.] Chidambaram and Buddhababu are responsible for the situation as it stands today. Ultimately, they are the ones responsible for the killings. We still want peace, it is the government that does not.

So are you willing to sit for dialogue with the government for the sake of peace?

You are probably the 210th person to ask me this question. Chidambaram and Buddhababu have clearly said there will not be any dialogue; they have already arrayed their forces for war, and still you people from the media keep harping, ‘You will all not survive this’. This is clearly to break the spirit of the common people. I do not understand why you all are continuously asking me this question. It really is not possible for me to provide routine answers to such routine questions. I am standing in a battlefield here.

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