Statement against Government of India’s planned military offensive in Adivasi-populated regions

From Panayiotis T. Manolakos:

October 12, 2009
Sanhati (www.sanhati.com), a collective of activists/academics who have been working in solidarity with peoples’ movements in India by providing information and analysis, took the initiative to bring together voices from around the world against the Government of India’s planned military offensive in Central India. A statement (Hindi and Bengali versions are available on our website) and a background note were drafted in consultation with Indian activists, and duly circulated for endorsement.

Interested readers may also refer to the BACKGROUND NOTE (http://sanhati.com/excerpted/1824/) published at Sanhati.

To

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister,
Government of India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi,
India-110 011.

We are deeply concerned by the Indian government’s plans for launching an unprecedented military offensive by army and paramilitary forces in the adivasi (indigeneous people)-populated regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal states. The stated objective of the offensive is to “liberate” these areas from the influence of Maoist rebels. Such a military campaign will endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people living in those areas, resulting in massive displacement, destitution and human rights violation of ordinary citizens. To hunt down the poorest of Indian citizens in the name of trying to curb the shadow of an insurgency is both counter-productive and vicious. The ongoing campaigns by paramilitary forces, buttressed by anti-rebel militias, organised and funded by government agencies, have already created a civil war like situation in some parts of Chattisgarh and West Bengal, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced. The proposed armed offensive will not only aggravate the poverty, hunger, humiliation and insecurity of the adivasi people, but also spread it over a larger region.

Grinding poverty and abysmal living conditions that has been the lot of India’s adivasi population has been complemented by increasing state violence since the neoliberal turn in the policy framework of the Indian state in the early 1990s. Whatever little access the poor had to forests, land, rivers, common pastures, village tanks and other common property resources has come under increasing attack by the Indian state in the guise of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and other “development” projects related to mining, industrial development, Information Technology parks, etc. The geographical terrain, where the government’s military offensive is planned to be carried out, is very rich in natural resources like minerals, forest wealth and water, and has been the target of large scale appropriation by several corporations. The desperate resistance of the local indigenous people against their displacement and dispossession has in many cases prevented the government-backed corporations from making inroads into these areas. We fear that the government’s offensive is also an attempt to crush such popular resistances in order to facilitate the entry and operation of these corporations and to pave the way for unbridled exploitation of the natural resources and the people of these regions. It is the widening levels of disparity and the continuing problems of social deprivation and structural violence, and the state repression on the non-violent resistance of the poor and marginalized against their dispossession, which gives rise to social anger and unrest and takes the form of political violence by the poor. Instead of addressing the source of the problem, the Indian state has decided to launch a military offensive to deal with this problem: kill the poor and not the poverty, seems to be the implicit slogan of the Indian government.

We feel that it would deliver a crippling blow to Indian democracy if the government tries to subjugate its own people militarily without addressing their grievances. Even as the short-term military success of such a venture is very doubtful, enormous misery for the common people is not in doubt, as has been witnessed in the case of numerous insurgent movements in the world. We urge the Indian government to immediately withdraw the armed forces and stop all plans for carrying out such military operations that has the potential for triggering a civil war which will inflict widespread misery on the poorest and most vulnerable section of the Indian population and clear the way for the plundering of their resources by corporations. We call upon all democratic-minded people to join us in this appeal.

National Signatories:

Arundhati Roy, Author and Activist, India
Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Center for Economic Studies and
Planning, JNU, India
Sandeep Pandey, Social Activist, N.A.P.M., India
Manoranjan Mohanty, Durgabai Deshmukh Professor of Social Development,
Council for Social Development, India
Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court Advocate, India
Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics,
University of Delhi, India
Colin Gonzalves, Supreme Court Advocate, India
Arvind Kejriwal, Social Activist, India
Arundhati Dhuru, Activist, N.A.P.M., India
Swapna Banerjee-Guha, Department of Geography, University of Mumbai, India
Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker, India
Dipankar Bhattachararya, General Secretary, Communist Party of India
(Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, India
Bernard D’Mello, Associate Editor, Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), India
Sumit Sarkar, Retired Professor of History, Delhi University, India
Tanika Sarkar, Professor of History, J.N.U., India
Gautam Navlakha, Consulting Editor, Economic and Political Weekly, India
Madhu Bhaduri, Ex-ambassador
Sumanta Banerjee, Writer, India
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Philosopher, Writer, Environmental Activist, India
M.V. Ramana, Visiting Research Scholar, Program in Science,
Technology, and Environmental Policy; Program on Science and Global
Security, Princeton University, USA
Dipanjan Rai Chaudhari, Retired Professor, Presidency College, India
Amit Bhattacharyya, Professor, Department of History. Jadavpur
University, Kolkata
D.N. Jha, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Delhi, India
Paromita Vohra, Devi Pictures
Sunil Shanbag, Theater Director
Saroj Giri, Lecturer in Political Science, Delhi University, India
Hilal Ahmed, Associate Fellow, Center for the Studies of Development
of Societies, India
Reetha Balsavar
Sriparna Bandopadhyay, India
Sudeshna Banerjee, Department of History, Jadavpur University, India
Chinmoy Banerjee
Kaushik Banyopadhyay, Student, IIT KGP, India
Pranab Kanti Basu, Department of Economics and Politics, Vishwa
Bharati University, India
Harsh Bora, Student, Delhi Law Faculty, India
Kaushik Bose, Reader, Vidyasagar University, India
Anjan Chakrabarti, Professor of Economics, Calcutta University, India
Shitansu Shekhar Chakraborty, Student, IIT Kharagpur, India
Achin Chakraborty, Professor of Economics, Institute of Development
Studies, Calcutta University Alipore, India
Rabin Chakraborty
Anand Chakravarty, Retired Professor, Delhi University, India
Uma Chakravarty, Retired Professor, Delhi University, India
Indira Chakravarthi, Public Health Researcher, India
Nandini Chandra, Member of Faculty, Delhi University, India
Navin Chandra, Visiting Senior Fellow, Institude of Human Development, India
Jagadish Chandra, New Socialist Alternative, CWI, India
Pratyush Chandra, Activist, Freelance Journalist, and Researcher, India
Kunal Chattopadhyay, Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur
University, India
Debarshi Das, IIT Guwahati, India
Probal Dasgupta, Linguistic Research Unit, I.S.I., India
Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta, Professor, Jadavpur University, India
Surya Shankar Dash, Independent Filmmaker, India
Ashokankur Datta, Graduate Student, I.S.I. (Planning Unit), India
Amiya Dev, Emiritus Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur
University, India
Soumik Dutta
S. Dutta, Delhi Platform, India
Madhumita Dutta, Green Youth Movement, India, Based in Chennai
Durga Prasad Duvvuri, Independent Management Consultant, India
Ajit Eapen, Mumbai, India
Sampath G, Mumbai, India
Lena Ganesh
M.S. Ganesh
Subhash Gatade, Writer and Social Activisit, India
Pothik Ghosh, Editor, Radical Notes, India
Rajeev Godara, General Secretary, Sampooran Kranti Manch, Haryana
(associated with Lok Rajniti Manch), India (Also an Advocatein Punjab
and Haryana High Courts)
Abhijit Guha, Vidyasagar University, India
Jacob, South Asia Study Center
Manish Jain, Assistant Professor, Center for Studies of Sociology of
Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
Shishir K. Jha, IIT Mumbai, India
Avinash K. Jha, Assistant Professor of Economics, Shri Ram College of
Commerce, India
Bodhisattva Kar, Fellow in History, Center for Studies in Social Science, India
Harish Karnick, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur, India
Sumbul Jawed Khan, Biological Sciences and Bio. Eng. Department, IIT
Kanpur, India
Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, India
Ravi Kumar, Editor of Radical Notes and Assistant Professor, Jamia
Millia Islamia, Central University, India
Abhijit Kundu, Faculty, Sociology, University of Delhi
Gauri Lankesh, Editor, Lankesh Patrike, India
Soumik Majumder
Dishery Malakar
Julie Koppel Maldonado
Dr Nandini Manjrekar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Soma Marik
Satyabrata Mitra
Siddhartha Mitra
Tista Mitra, Journalist, India
Najeeb Mubarki, Assistant Editor, Editorial page, Economic Times, India
Dipankar Mukherjee, PDF, Delhi, India
Subhasis Mukhopadhyay, Frontier
Pulin B. Nayak, Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics,
Delhi University, India
Nalini Nayak, Reader in Economics, PGDAV College, Delhi University, India
Soheb ur Rahman Niazi, Student, Jamia Milia Islamia, India
Rahul Pandey
Jai Pushp, Activist, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, India
Imrana Qadeer, Retired Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and
Community Health, J.N.U., India
Neshant Quaiser, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia, Central
University, Department of Sociology, India
Divya Rajagopal
Ramendra, Delhi Shramik Sangathan, India
Ramdas Rao, President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bangalore Unit, India
V. Nagendra Rao, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, India
Shereen Ratnagar, Retired Professor, Center for Historical Studies, JNU, India
Sankar Ray, Columnist
Kirity Roy, MASUM and PACTI, India
Atanu Roy
Anindyo Roy
Dunu Roy, Social Activist, India
Sanjoy Kumar Saha, Reader, CSE department, Jadavpur University, India
Sandeep, Freelance Journalist
Dr. K. Saradamoni, Retired Academic
Madhu Sarin, Social Activist
Satyam, Rahul Foundation and Dayitvbodh, India
Jhuma Sen, Delhi
Samita Sen, Professor, Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, India
Santanu Sengupta, UDML College of Engineering, India
Ajay Kishor Shaw, Mumbai, India
Dr. Mira Shiva
Jagmohan Singh, Voices for Freedom Punjab, India
Sandeep Singh, Mumbai, India
Harindar Pal Singh Ishar, Advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, India
Preeti Sinha, Editor of Philhal, Patna, India
Oishik Sircar, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, India
K. Sriram
Viviek Sundara, Mumbai, India
Saswati Swetlena, Programme Officer, Governance and Advocacy Unit,
National Center for Advocacy Studies, India
Damayanti Talukdar, Kolkata
Divya Trivedi, The Hindu Business Line, India
Satyam Varma, Rahul Foundation
Rahul Varman, Professor, Department of Industrial and Management
Engineering, IIT Kanpur, India
Padma Velaskar, Professor, Center for Studies in the Sociology of
Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
G. Vijay, Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Hyderabad, India
R.M. Vikas, IIT Kanpur, India

*************

International Signatories:

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, M.I.T., USA
David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, The C.U.N.Y.
Graduate Center, USA
Michael Lebowitz, Director, Program in Transformative Practice and
Human Development, Centro Internacional Mirana, Venezuela
John Bellamy Foster, Editor of Monthly Review and Professor of
Sociology,University of Oregon Eugene,USA
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor and Director of the
Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University,
USA
James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University, USA
Michael Watts, Professor of Geography and Development Studies,
University of California Berkeley, USA
Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Departments
of Anthropoogy and Political Science, Columbia University, USA
Mira Nair, Filmmaker, Mirabai Films, USA
Howard Zinn, Historian, Playwright, and Social Activisit, USA
Abha Sur, Women’s Studies, M.I.T., USA
Richard Peet, Professor of Geography, Clark University, USA
Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International
Relations, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of
London, U.K
Massimo De Angelis, Professor of Political Economy, University of East
London, UK
Gyanendra Pandey, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of
History, Emory University, USA
Brian Stross, Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin, USA
J. Mohan Rao, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, USA
Vinay Lal, Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University
of California Los Angeles, USA
James Crotty, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Haluk Gerger, Political Scientist, Activist, Political Prisoner, Turkey
Justin Podur, Journalist, Canada
Hari Kunzru, Novelist, U.K.
Louis Proyect, Columbia University
Biju Mathew, Associate Professor, Rider University, USA
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Nicholas De Genova, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Latino
Studies, Columbia University, USA
Peter Custers, Academic researcher on militarisation, Netherlands
Radha D’Souza, School of Law, University of Westminster , UK
Gary Aboud, Secretary, Fisherman and Friends of the Sea, Trinidad and Tobago
Mysara Abu-Hashem, Ph.D. Student, American University, USA
Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English, Montclair University, USA
Nadim Asrar, Ph.D. student, University of Minnesota, USA
Margaret E Sheehan, Attorney at Law, USA
Arpita Banerjee, Lecturer, Whittemore School of Business and
Economics, University of New Hampshire, USA
Deepankar Basu, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of
Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Sharmadip Basu, Syracuse University, USA
Joseph A Belisle
Kim Berry, Professor of Women’s Studies, Humboldt State University, USA
Varuni Bhatia, Assistant Professor, Religous Studies Program, N.Y.U., USA
Anindya Bhattacharya, Faculty, University of York, UK
Sourav Bhattacharya, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Peter J. Bloom, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies,
University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Sister Maureen Catabian, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Philippines
Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Department of Communications,
University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Shefali Chandra, Professor of South Asian History, Washington
University at St Louis, USA
Ipsita Chatterjee, Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Piya Chatterjee, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of
California Riverside, USA
Angana Chatterji, Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies,
San Francisco, USA
Ruchi Chaturvedi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College,
City University of New York, USA
Chitrabhanu Chaudhuri, Ph.D. Student, Department of Mathematics,
Northwestern University, USA
Len Cooper,Victorian Branch,Communication Workers Union Australia
Priti Gulati Cox, Artist, USA
Stan Cox, Senior Scientist, The Land Institute, USA
Linda Cullen, Canada
Huma Dar, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, Canada
Koel Das, UCSB, USA
Atreyi Dasgupta, MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA
Grace de Haro, APDH Human Rights Organization, Argentina
Nandini Dhar, Ph.D. student, University of Texas Austin, U.S.A.
Martin Doornbos, Professor Emeritus, International Institute of Social
Studies, Erasmus University, Netherlands
Emily Durham-Shapiro, Student, University of Minnesotta, USA
Arindam Dutta, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, MIT, USA
Anne Dwyer, University of Washington, USA
T. Robert Fetter, USA
Kade Finnoff, Doctoral Candidate, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Kaushik Ghosh, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Bishnupriya Ghosh, Professor of English, University of California
Santa Barbara, USA
Vinay Gidwani, Professor of Geography, Graduate Center, City
University of New York, USA
Wendy Glauser, MA candidate, Political Science. York University. Toronto, Canada
Ted Glick, Climate Crisis Coalition, Climate Crisis Coalition and
Chesapeake Climate Action Network, USA
Inderpal Grewal, Yale University, USA
Shubhra Gururani, Associate Professor of Anthropology, York University, Canada
Anna L. Gust, University College London, UK
Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South
Arne Harns, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Social and Political
Sciences, Free University of Berlin, Germany
Amrit Singh Heer, Graduate student, Social and Political Thought, York
University, Canada
Helen Hintjens, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands
Robert A Hueckstedt, Professor, University of Virginia, USA
Zeba Imam, Ph.D. student, Texas A&M University, USA
Kajri Jain, University of Toronto, Canada
Dhruv Jain, Graduate student, York University, Canada
Mohamad Junaid, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, City
University of New York, USA
Louis Kampf, Professor of Literature Emeritus, MIT, USA
Jyotsna Kapur, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale, USA
Emily Kawano, Director, Center for Popular Economics, USA
Nada Khader , Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation
Jesse Knutson, University of Chicago, USA
Peter Lackowski, Writer/Activist, USA
Maire Leadbeater (human rights activist Auckland New Zealand)
Joseph Levine, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of
Massachusetts Amherst, USA
George Levinger, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts
Amherst, USA
David W. Lewit, Alliance for Democracy, USA
Jinee Lokaneeta, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Drew University, USA
Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English, University of
Pennsylvania, USA
Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of
Massachusetts Boston, USA
Sanjeev Mahajan
Sunaina Maira, Associate Professor, University of California Davis, USA
Panayiotis “Taki” Manolakos, Writer/Activist, USA
Carlos Marentes, Farmworkers.org, USA
Bill Martin, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, USA
Erika Marquez, New York, USA
Thomas Masterson, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, USA
Jim McCorry, Belfast, N. Ireland
Victor Menotti, Executive Director, International Forum on Globalization, USA
James Miehls, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Stephen Miesher, Associate Professor, University of California Santa
Barbara, USA
Ali Mir, Professor, William Paterson University, USA
Raza Mir, Professor of Management, William Paterson University, USA
Katherine Miranda, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.
Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director, Oakland Institute, USA
Roger Moody, Association for Progressive Communication, UK
Agrotosh Mookerji, Statistician and student, UK
Joshua Moufawad-Paul, Ph.D. student, York University, Canada
Sudipto Muhuri
Alan Muller, Executive Director, Green Delaware, USA
Sirisha Naidu, Assistant Professor of Economics, Wright State University, USA
Sakuntala Narsimhan
Sriram Natrajan, Independent Researcher, Thailand
Nandini Nayak, SOAS, University of London, UK
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham, Longman Professor of English, Oberlin College, USA
Ipsita Pal Bhaumik, NIH, USA
Shailja Patel, USA
Saswat Pattanayak, Editor, Radical Notes, USA
Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project
Kavita Philip, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine, USA
Mike Alexander Pozo, Political Affairs Magazine
Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University
of California Irvine, USA
Kaveri Rajaraman, Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, USA
K. Ravi Raman, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Manchester, UK
Leena Ranade, AID India, USA
Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor, The College of New Jersey, USA
Ravi Ravishankar, Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, USA
Chandan Reddy, Assistant Professor, University of Washington, USA
Bruce Rich, Attorney, USA
Dr. Andrew Robinson, UK
Rachel Rosen, International Workers of the World and OSSTF, USA
Seth Sandronsky, Journalist, USA
Amit Sarkar, Visiting Fellow, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID/NIH, USA
Bhaskar Sarkar, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies,
University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Helen Scharber, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Anna Schultz, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, School of Music,
University of Minnesota, USA
Svati Shah, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, University of
Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Shaheen Shasa, USA
Snehal Shinghavi, Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Tyler Shipley, Department of Political Science, York University, Canada
Samira Shirdel, Community Advocate, Chaya: a Resource for South Asian Women, USA
Jon Short, Department of Communications Studies, Wilfrid Laurier
University, Canada
Kuver Sinha, Texas A&M University, USA
Subir Sinha, SOAS, University of London, U.K
Julietta Singh, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA
Preethy Sivakumar, York University, Canada
Ajay Skaria, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, USA
Stephen C Snyder
Nidhi Srinivas, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New School, USA
Chukka Srinivas
Poonam Srivastav, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota, USA
Priyanka Srivastava, Ph.D. candidate, University of Cincinnati, USA
Rachel Steiger-Meister, Graduate Student, Wright State University, USA
Raja Swamy, Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, USA
Usha Titikshu, Photojournalist, Nepal
Wendel Trio, Former Chair, European Alliance with Indigenous Peoples
Shivali Tukdeo, University of Illinois, USA
Sandeep Vaidya, India Support Group, Ireland
Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick, U.K
Nalini Visvanathan, Lecturer in Asian American Studies, University of
Massachusetts Boston, USA
Daphna Whitmore, Secretary, Workers’ Party, New Zealand
T. Wignesan, Editor, Asianists’ Asia, Centre de Recherches, CERPICO
and CREA, France
Daphne Wysham, Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies, USA