Press Release, October 7 2009
On October 1, 2009, Sri Panchanan Tudu, President of the Jharkhand Janamukti Morcha was killed. The next day followed the killing of Sri Amalendu Patra, an activist of the same party. According to the press release of Maoist leader Bikash published in the Times of India on October 3, 2009, they (Tudu and Patra) were killed by the Maoists because the slain leader and activist joined the Samanway Munch. Earlier the Maoists had killed some leaders and sympathizers of the Jharkhand Party (Aditya). Other than these, a doctor and a nurse, polling personnel, school-teachers, agricultural labourers and poor peasants, some of whom were CPI(M) supporters, were murdered. Most of them belonged to poor Dalit and Adivasi communities. Since November 2008, when the movement against police atrocities started, the political forces participating in Jharkhand movement have been demanding autonomy for development through empowerment. The form of autonomy demanded would be such that the financial and administrative power would be vested in the hands of autonomous councils to be elected by the people on the basis of universal suffrage and all political parties would enjoy the freedom of carrying out political activities.
The State Government did not take the course of dialogue with the people and the elected panchayts; instead, it resorted to state terror to suppress the mass movement.
On the other hand the Maoists started killing the cadres and sympathizers of other political parties active in the area and tried to impose their one-party rule. Previously, the CPI(M) had tried to curb all opposition parties in the area. The Jharkhand movement had opposed it. Similarly, we are opposed to the one-party rule of the Maoists or any other party.
The Jharkhand Andolan Samanway Manch believes that organs of political power have to be elected by the people on the basis of universal suffrage. This is a fundamental democratic right. The JASM will stick to this fundamental position while launching movement for autonomy. The Maoists in Lalgarh want to have all power vested in the hands of armed squads led by them. They are unwilling to accept elected bodies as organs of political power. So, they want to stop all activities by other political parties. They are attacking the JASM because it opposes the Maoists’ practice of eliminating all oppositions and differences of opinion.
We are opposing the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato under the UAPA and demanding that the UAPA be scrapped. We are strongly condemning the State Government for threatening the intellectuals who had met Chhatradhar and supported the movement. if somebody is to be arrested for talks or contacts with the Maoists then the CPI(M) leaders of West Medinipore have to be arrested first, for they had supplied firearms to the Maoist leader Kishenji way back in 2000 for suppressing the Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
We would like to convey to the State Government, the CPI(M) and the CPI(Maoist) that there is no military solution to the problems of Jangal Mahal.
- The State Government stops state repression, the UAPA be scrapped and Chhatradhar Mahato be released.
- The Maoists stop killing and repression on the people who politically differ with them.
- The State Government initiates a dialogue involving all political and social organizations and elected panchayts.
- A formula for self-rule and autonomy be developed through dialogue.
- The Panchayts elected in 2008 be allowed to function.
We appeal to ALL to cooperate to create an environment of dialogue.
Signatories: Santosh Rana, Manoranjan Mahato, Aditya Kisku, Pradip Banejee, Leba Chand Tudu.