Friday, December 11, 2009

‘We Reject The Maoist Line’

Gananath Patra, advisor to the CMAS has played a central role in the organisation for 15 years

Why did the CMAS start forceful land occupation in Narayanpatna?
The land in Narayanpatna belonged to Adivasis. Laws, records and government circulars prove this. Over the years, outsiders — especially moneylenders and liquor traders — cheated Adivasis of their land. We became outsiders in our own land. For years, we filed petition after application but how long can we wait? They treat us badly and want us to farm the land – all of which was once ours. It was humiliating. So we warned the moneylenders and the traders and then took over their land. Some of this was through force, since they would not hand it over.

But why demolish the houses of people in the process?
We only destroyed houses of Dalits who refused to cooperate with the CMAS. Up until 8 May, not a single house was destroyed. It was they who attacked us first, with lathis and guns and destroyed six of our houses in Domsil. As leaders, we contained the violence as soon as we could.

Is the CMAS aligned with the Maoists? Why the constant attempt by the government to brand you as Maoists?
They call us Maoists because we live in the jungles and oppose the state. Forget the leaders, ask the people in the villages if they know who a Maoist is or what Maoism means. As leaders, we can tell you that we reject the Maoist line politically. We are opposed to the left adventurism of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and follow a mass line.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 50, Dated December 19, 2009

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