'NO TO THE USE OF ARMY & AIR FORCE AGAINST NAXALITES'
DATE 24th October, 2009 (Saturday)
TIME 3 p.m.
VENUE Speaker’s Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi
Branding ‘left wing extremism’ as the most serious threat to internal
security, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led Govt. is unleashing an onslaught on certain areas of the country where such forces are strong. The armed forces of the country are being pressed into this attack. Over 65,000 Special Forces are being trained by the Army for
the purpose. While Govt. spokesmen are obfuscating the role of the Army in this offensive, armymen of Rashtriya Rifles and closely aligned ITBP are being thrown in. Air Force has been given permission for firing in “self-defense”. This last word is being added only to
confuse the people. Where is the question of “self-defense” when the Air Force is being asked to take part in offensive action? Air Force helicopters are being readied for attack and Air Force personnel “Garuds” are being given combat role.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who has been an advocate for Enron and a director of Vedanta, is articulating the strategy of “capture, hold, develop” against areas where Naxalites, to begin with CPI (Maoist), are strong. He is echoing US Gen. McChrystal’s Afghanistan strategy, essentially a strategy of occupation. In this vision, development comes last and it has not come for the last sixty-two years. And even now, it is being used to camouflage what is essentially a move to deprive the people of their rights to livelihood.
Along with this Army action goes the enactment of black laws, indiscriminate arrests, torture, intimidation and fake encounters.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had underscored the need for this offensive in his speech in Parliament on 18.6.2009, “If left wing extremism continues to flourish in parts which have natural resources of minerals, the climate for investment would certainly be affected.” Thus he made clear that “left wing extremism” is the main stumbling block in his government’s vision for development i.e. for exploitation of mineral resources by foreign MNCs and big corporate houses of the country.
But these areas are inhabited by people, living and desiring to live with dignity. These are among the most oppressed people of the country. Their land is taken, livelihood destroyed and they are left destitute and hungry.
While the callous disregard of their concerns is glaring, the most appalling aspect is the use of Army and Air Force against citizens of the country. These should not be the forces used for the
whims of those in power. They must not in any case be used against the people of the country. They are supposed to defend the borders of the country and not to kill, maim, intimidate and subjugate its own people. The action of the Govt. is bound to redefine the role of the Army and Air Force in the eyes of the people and the present Govt. has no right to do so. Progressive, democratic and peace-loving people of the country reject this role to be assigned to the Army and Air Force.
WE SAY AN UNEQUIVOCAL NO TO THE USE OF ARMY AND AIR FORCE AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY IN ANY NAME AND UNDER ANY PRETEXT.
WE CALL UPON YOU TO SAY NO TO SUCH USE OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE.
* A. B. Bardhan
* Surendra Mohan
* Justice (Retd) Rajendra Sachar
* Prof. (Retd) Randhir Singh
* Admiral (Retd) R. H. Tahiliani
* Prashant Bhushan
* Gautam Naulakha
* G. N. Saibaba
* Arundhati Roy