Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lift ban, stop crackdown, release cadres: Maoists

Gyan Varma / DNA

New Delhi: Even as the tug-of-war between ultra-left wing extremists and the government continues over a possible ceasefire, Ganapathy alias Muppala Laxman Rao, general secretary of CPI(Maoist), has firmly backed the underground organisation’s more flamboyant leader, Kishenji.

In what could be the outfit’s official stand, he has asked the government to lift the ban on his secretive organisation and release jailed cadres if it wants to talk.

A few days ago, Kishenji had offered a 72-day ceasefire if the government stopped crackdown on Maoists. The offer was received with scepticism and there was speculation of a possible rift in Maoist ranks. But Ganapathy’s statement has put an end to any such doubts.

In a recent interview to members of the People’s Union of Democratic Rights (PUDR) in the jungles of the eastern ghats, Ganapathy said the all-out war declared by the government on CPI(Maoist) had to stop, giving its cadres a chance to come out for talks.

His other demand was unconditional and immediate release of all “illegally detained” cadres and end to their alleged torture.
“If these demands are met, leaders who are released from jails would lead the party in the talks,” Ganapathy told Gautam Navlakha of PUDR.

“If the government doesn’t lift the ban, how will Maoists come out for talks? After all it’s an underground organisation. The government should create conducive atmosphere,” Navlakha said.

In view of the Maoists’ willingness to talk, rights activists in Delhi have written to the government seeking permission to mediate.

“We have written letters to the prime minister, home minister and [Congress president] Sonia Gandhi asking them to allow us to mediate. If the government is serious about talks, we are available in Delhi. They should let us begin the process,” GN Saibaba, Delhi University professor who was recently named in the FIR filed against politburo member Kobad Ghandy, said.

“More than 30 organisations have been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and it is important to lift the ban,” he said.

Ganapathy also appealed to people to come forward and disown the “war” launched by the government.

“All democratic, progressive and patriotic forces need to unite and fight against the all-out war launched on people by the central and state governments,” he said, adding that the government’s action was a brutal and violent repression campaign primarily aimed at suppression of the political movement of people and exploitation of mineral-rich areas.

“If the war can stop, it can bring some respite to people. The longer the respite, the better for them. But while the government is holding an automatic gun in one hand, one cannot talk. People will keep fighting. While pumping bullets, people never drop weapons and people never surrender,” Ganapathy told Navlakha.

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