Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

Radical Socialist Statement on the 7 September all India Strike

Join the All India Strike: Fight for Price Control and the Rights of Working People

Radical Socialist supports the call for an all-India strike on 7 September, given by the National Convention of Workers on 15 July, 2010. Those who participated included AITUC, HMS, CITU, INTUC, AIUTUC, AICCTU, TUCC and UTUC. BMS, which was a part of the ongoing joint trade union action from the very beginning, did not participate in the Convention and has withdrawn from the strike call.
The convention adopted a Declaration which highlighted the demands for

•    Containment of the massive spurt in prices of essential commodities through measures like universal PDS and halting speculation in commodity market.

•    Measures to be taken for linkage of employment protection in the recession stricken sectors with the stimulus package being offered to the concerned entrepreneurs and for augmenting public investment in infrastructure

•    Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws

•    Removal of all restrictive provisions based on poverty line in respect of eligibility of coverage of the schemes under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008

•    The creation of a National Fund for the Unorganised Sector to provide for a National Floor Level Social Security to all unorganized workers including the contract/casual workers in line with the recommendation of National Commission on Enterprises in Unorganised Sector and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour

•    To use the growing reserve and surplus of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), not for meeting budgetary deficits, but for the expansion and modernization purposes and also for revival of sick Public Sector Undertakings.
In the last one year, there has been one immense and virtually non-stop price rise. The raising of petrol, diesel and LPG price has meant raising the state deciding to go in for raising the cost of living. The argument that the state cannot afford such subsidies is a class statement. This same state has been reducing income tax levels even as incomes of the upper layers shoot up. It has reduced corporate taxation in a number of ways. That such practices existed in the past is not because Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had introduced socialism, as present day advocates of total free market and pushing the burden on the exploited claim. That some measures of welfare, however limited, had existed is a function of the class struggle. To gain and retain hegemony at an earlier stage, the Indian capitalist class had been compelled to accept the bitter pill of some welfare measures, the creation of a large public sector and the creation of jobs, the expansion of a public distribution system, the creation of some very minimal health care measures for sections of the workers, and so on. None of this had been done because of any largeness of heart of the capitalist class, and their response often had been that of a person whose tooth was being pulled out without anaesthetics. The defeat of the Railway strike and the Bombay Textile strike were major events that tilted the balance against labour. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the capitalist transformation of China, also disoriented many. As a result, the capitalist offensive was widened in the 1990s.
This has had tremendous negative effects for large sections. Without doubt, sustained working class action, carrying behind it all the other toilers, is the only way to halt and reverse this process. It is therefore heartening to see such an all-encompassing effort. The INTUC has joined the struggle. This is an indication that the pressure and the anger is so great that even unions affiliated to ruling parties feel compelled to take some distance from the terribly anti-people measures of the regime. In this context, Ms. Mamata Banerjee’s decision to oppose the strike and call on TMC cadres to resist it publicly, is an indication of just how far rightwing her politics in reality is. Those former Naxalites who are now swelling her camp have to explain where they stand, whether they will condemn her and resist her thugs, or pretend that since the CPI(M) and CITU are parts of the strike it is best for them to sleep through 7th September.
Supporting the strike, and taking part in all union where our comrades are active, we however note that one off actions, called from the top, do not constitute an adequate response. Of course, mass actions do need to be called by trade union federations, and we do not claim that general strikes will emerge spontaneously from below. In the debate between Marxists and anarchists over the general strike in the late 19th-early 20th century, the Marxists used to argue that a call to halt all production made from above is utopian, and if it were possible one might as well make a call from above for a revolution. But revolutionary Marxists like Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin recognized through their experience of class struggle, the general strike can develop from concrete class struggles, and the task of Marxists is not to make an untimely general strike cum insurrection, but to assist the process of its development. This means a constant struggle. This means linking the general demands to particular struggles, raising demands that push the consciousness of workers forward. In that sense struggles and victories like the defeat of Vedanta are significant pointers. Specifically, it means that general strikes can be effective most when they emerge from major ongoing struggles, linking the large economic battles involved in such strikes, with the political battle, since a general strike is not directed against individual capitalists, but over their heads, against the capitalist state itself.
To defeat the ruling class offensive, we need greater unity, we need a strategy of militant struggles, not making mass struggles the adjunct of parliamentary struggles but reversing the relationship, and we need widest internal democracy within the working class movement, the maximum pluralism to ensure that all voices of all sectors, dalits, adivasis, women and men, are heard and their demands incorporated in the struggles, their participation ensured.

  • Ensure the success of the all India general strike.
  • Launch a sustained campaign for rpice control
  • Restore the full PDS for all, end the farce of dividing the exploited between the Below Poverty Line and the non BPL. when it comes to the distribution of essential commodities at fair prices

Maoism, Green Hunt and Democratic Rights

Kunal Chattopadhyay

One recurrent campaign by the Government of India, by numerous mainstream politicians, as well as by a number of newspapers, journals and their journalists, is that civil rights organisations who stand up for the rights of Maoists are in effect aiding the Maoists. They too, it is argued, are guilty of waging war or perpetrating terror in order to damage the Indian state.

A number of vital issues are involved here, and in one essay one cannot cover them all. The first point that needs to be clarified is that according to the Constitution of India, every citizen of India is entitled to certain rights. Nobody can be convicted without the due process of arrest, production in court, charge sheeting in proper time, case hearings, and conviction, with proper legal assistance being available to the accused. It is for this reason that any genuine civil liberties/democratic rights movement will always make a distinction between the Maoists and the Indian state. The CPI(Maoist) is by its own proclamation an organisation that rejects the Constitution of India. It is an organisation that is banking on an escalation of violence, whereby the people in the middle, those who do not feel any urge to identify themselves with the state regardless of its errors and crimes, will, in case the polarisation is complete, will tend to choose the Maoists. Moreover, the CPI (Maoist) is an organisation that rejects democracy – not merely the limited bourgeois parliamentary democracy, but even more the vision of a wider socialist democracy shared not only by Marx and Engels and their colleagues, but the early Bolsheviks all the way to the seizure of power and till the outbreak of the civil war. Rather, they identify socialism with the dead end of one party rule, extreme violence on any dissent, all the way to summary “trials” and killings of opponents, a line opened by Stalin and continued with minor variations by heroes like Pol Pot and Ceausescu.


Any opposition to the CPI (Maoist) will therefore be a political opposition, rather than a civil rights opposition. One can take a liberal position, and condemn them for their non-acceptance of an abstract democracy. One can take a Gandhian position and condemn them for their adherence to violence. Or one can take a revolutionary Marxist position and condemn them for substitutionism (replacing the working class as the revolutionary subject by the self-proclaimed and self-elected vanguard), for their rejection of genuine working class democracy, which for Marx meant a great deepening of what he saw as a limited, truncated democracy under capitalism, and not for their acceptance of violence, since under certain circumstances violence may be the only method of resistance, but for their glorification of violence. What cannot do is accuse them of violating their responsibilities under the constitution, since they repudiate it.


The Indian state cannot repudiate the constitution. This has nothing to do with whether one is soft on the Maoists or not. This has, instead, everything to do with protecting the rights of every Indian citizen. This state was created through a process that also made the constitution. Repudiation of the constitution in the name of fighting “Naxalism” can lead to a police state.  Consider the case of Arundhati Roy. Roy wrote an article on the Maoists, which could be legitimately characterised as a romanticised picture, and one that, through its absolutely valid characterisiation of the violence perpetrated by the state while remaining silent about the Maoists, and indeed while only painting a rosy picture of the commitment of their cadres and so forth, can create a false image about the Maoists. But if this is the reason to charge her with being a Maoist sympathiser and arguing that she too should be prosecuted under the UAPA or other laws, then obviously civil liberties have gone for a toss. Or take the case of Nandini Sundar. This Delhi-based Professor was part of a government committee that submitted a report, warning the government that systematic exploitation of adivasis was at the root of their anger, and improving their conditions was a key challenge. Sundar has been extremely vocal against the Salwa Judum, a non-governmental militia set up by the government, which has been creating terror in the name of fighting the Maoists. According to the government and large sections of the media, the Salwa Judum is a spontaneous and self-initiated reaction to Maoist oppression, and they hailed it as a turning point in the fight against Naxalism. Fact finding teams, sent by the CPI, by the PUCL, and others, have reported differently. As far back as April 2006, several civil liberties oranisations reported the following: more money was being allocated for anti-Naxal operations than for development; and the adivasis are acutely aware that under the present dispensation they have no opportunity for development. Interestingly, this report explains that Salwa Judum means, approximately, “purification hunt” (an apt forerunner of “Green Hunt’?). The report goes on to state that “the fact is that the Salwa Judum is being led by sections of local elites, contractors and traders, that it is officially part of anti-naxal initiatives, and that it is being actively supported by state agencies to an unprecedented degree”. It also explains that “video shots of Salwa Judum meetings clearly show the Chief Minister, the Collector and politicians like Mahendra Karma addressing these, and security personnel accompanying Salwa Judum processions”. Thus, Nandini Sundar is hardly a voice in the wilderness when she explains that state backed terrorism in the interest of the upper classes is being conducted in the name of fighting the “Naxalite menace”. But since she has persisted in criticizing the government for what is happening in Chhatisgarh, she is to be viewed as a Maoist sympathizer. As she reported in the internet earlier this year, when she and a colleague visited Chhattisgarh, the police followed them, made it impossible for them to book rooms in hotels, and tried to intimidate their drivers.


This line of attack can be constantly widened. If Roy, Sundar, or members of PUDR, APDR, PUCL, etc are targeted as covert Maoists, without any proof, without cases being disposed, but the people being smeared at will, then anyone who defends them in turn can be targeted next. Binayak Sen of PUCL was arrested as a Maoist. He got bail after a very long and sustained national and international campaign, including such actions as campaigns by numerous Nobel laureates. Being Maoist is not a crime under the ordinary laws. One must understand that special laws are being created to tackle them. Thus, the UAPA amendment, passed unanimously by Parliament after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, are being invoked, because one otherwise has to bring specific cases. What has Sundar done? Has she taken shots at some police officer? Has she smuggled guns from across the border or built them in some cellar? What did Sen do? This is a restoration of the concept of “political crime”. So while murders committed under instigations of khap panchayats will be treated as “sensitive issues”, anyone speaking for civil liberties will be accused of being a Maoist. And while urban figures may have some protection, tese methods will lead to intensification of an already massive state terrorism on ordinary people who protest and demand their rights. Thus, women who protested against the police brutality and rape in Sonamukhi village near Jhargram are now being smeared as font persons for the CPI(Maoist). This can only end, unless halted by a determined struggle, by turning the whole of India into a police state, where any criticism of the government will be viewed as signs of Maoism.

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) Statement on Unethical Media Reporting

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is deeply concerned and disturbed by the news report Raped repeatedly, Naxal leader quits Red ranks that appeared on page 1 of the Times of India, dated August 24, 2010.

We unequivocally condemn any such violence and sexual assault inflicted on women, irrespective of the perpetrator(s), whether state or non state, in any situation, anywhere in the country. If the story reported by the leading daily Times of India is correct, it is very serious and condemnable and the woman is not safe; the law should take its course and action should be taken against the accused. And if the story has been planted or used by the state and establishment as some seem to believe, we still fear for her safety from the police and security forces now that she has surrendered. It needs to be ensured that she will not be put under any pressure and that she will get access to lawyers and family.

However, we question the responsibility of the media and its credibility.  Such reporting has serious implications and we as feminists and women’s groups wish to draw the attention of TOI and its readership to the following points in the interest of the privacy, security and safety of women:

Firstly, the woman’s name and position have been revealed in the report, which is against the norms of reporting of rape.  The picture in the newspaper is very clear and does little to hide her identity. TOI’s concern for the woman in this respect is lacking.


Secondly, the report appears to be interested more in highlighting such cases in a loose and highly sensational way rather than sticking to facts with rigor. The report has conflated the very serious issue of rape and sexual violence with issues of sexual choices. In fact, the report uses statements like `she is caught in an ideology that she cannot understand’ but makes no attempt to engage with her at an intellectual level, even though she is reportedly an experienced person and not merely a woman among men.


Thirdly, the story has not been substantiated as per journalistic obligations. Why has the reporter not made any effort to get any version of other sources- of perhaps differing hues?


Fourthly, TOI needs to be more impartial in its reporting of cases of rape, irrespective of who the rapist is.  We find that sexual violence by the army, police and paramilitary forces, in the ongoing military operations, is routinely ignored by the TOI as well as other media sources. This continues to place innumerable women across the country in extremely vulnerable situations; rapes and sexual assault of women by police and paramilitary in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, with the inordinate and suffocating presence of the police and paramilitary, has risen so high that fear and intimidation of women is high too.  It has become impossible for an assaulted woman to even lodge an FIR. Many such survivors of rape in these regions have been harassed and forced to withdraw their complaints.


Finally, the Home Minister has chosen to comment on the TOI story and claim there are more such cases - whereas he has been studiously silent on the many well documented instances where adivasi and poor women have tried to pursue cases of rape against police, paramilitary and SPOs. A recent example is that of an eighteen-year old girl in Gajapati district of Orissa, allegedly Maoist, who was picked up from her village in February along with another person, during combing operations by security forces, gang-raped and is now languishing in jail. No charge sheet has as yet been filed even after 6 months. We urge TOI to bring such stories to its readership across the country so that these women also get some justice. We urge the entire media and the government to break its silence on the miscarriage of justice in the Khairlanji case.


As a national forum against sexual violence and state repression, we assert that violence against women cannot and should not be used as weapons of war, by the warring sides to score points against each other. We are equal citizens of India- our sexuality cannot be used against us. The state should allow free movement in these areas so that it is possible to conduct impartial investigations of reports of sexual violence against women.

Committed to the struggle against sexual violence and state repression,

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression






WSS  is a network of women's rights, dalit rights, human rights and civil liberties organizations across India. It is a non-funded grassroots effort by women to stem the violence being perpetrated upon our bodies and on our societies by the State’s forces, by non-state actors and by the inability of our government to resolve conflict in a meaningful, sustainable and effective manner.

As represented by: AIPWA, AISA (Delhi), APDR (West Bengal), Action India, All Tripura Indigenous and Minority Association, Alternate Law Forum, Ananya (Karnataka), Anhad (Delhi), Baiga Mahapanchayat (Chhattisgarh), Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, CAVOW (India), CPDR (Maharashtra), Campaign for Justice and Peace (Karnataka), Chhattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch, Chhattisgarh Mahila Mukti Morcha, Dalit Adivasi Manch (Chhattisgarh), Dalit Stree Shakti (Andhra Pradesh), HumAnE (Orissa), HRLN (Jammu & Kashmir), HRLN (Madhya Pradesh), Hengasara Hakkina Sangha (Karnataka), Human Rights Alert (Manipur), IRMA (Manipur), IWID, Jagori (Delhi), Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (Madhya Pradesh), Jan Jagruti Manch (Chhattisgarh), Lalgarh Morcha, Lokayata (Maharashtra), MARA (Karnataka), Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, NAPM (Karnataka), NBA (Madhya Pradesh), Namma Manasa (Karnataka), Nari Mukti Sanstha (Delhi), Navsarjan Sanstha (Gujarat), Naya Chhattisgarh Mahila Sangh, Nirantar (Delhi), PSSK (Chhattisgarh), Patel Pat Chaunki (Chhattisgarh), Pratidhwani (Delhi), PUCL (india), Rachna Manch, Rohidas Mahila Kalyan Samiti (Chhattisgarh), Saheli (Delhi), Sahmet (Madhya Pradesh), Samajwadi Jan Parishad (Madhya Pradesh), Samata Vedike (Karnataka), Samanatha Mahila Vedike (Karnataka), Sangini (Madhya Pradesh), Vanangana (Uttar Pradesh), Vidyarthi Yuvjan Sabha, Women’s Right Resource Center (Madhya Pradesh), Yuva Samvaad (Madhya Pradesh), Stree Adhikar Sanghatan (Uttar Pradesh), Stree Jagruti Samiti, Trade Union Solidarity Committee (Maharashtra), WinG, Women Against Militarization and State Violence (The Other Media),  Women’s Right Resource Center, Women’s Education Forum (Chhattisgarh), and many individuals.

Contact email id: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Trotskyists and the Resistance in World War Two

Ernest Mandel
The following is excerpted from the transcript of a school on the history of the Fourth International organised by the International Marxist Group in London in 1976. It is reproduced here from the Ernest Mandel Internet Archive.

I want to go into the question of the resistance movement in Europe between 1940 and 1944 in detail. I want to do so especially because some comrades for whom I have respect, and whom I hope to see back in the Fourth International, the comrades of the Lutte Ouvrière group in France, have made it their special point of honour to raise this question against the Fourth International.

From the foundation of the Communist International, communists were educated in a principled rejection of the idea of "national defence" or "defence of the fatherland" in the imperialist countries. This meant a total refusal to have anything to do with imperialist wars. The Trotskyist movement was educated in the same spirit. This was all the more necessary with the right-wing turn of the Comintern and the Stalin-Laval pact in 1935, which turned the Stalinists in the West European countries, and in some colonial countries, into the worst advocates of pro-imperialist chauvinism.

In India, for instance, this led to the disastrous betrayal by the Stalinists of the national uprising in 1942. When the uprising took place, the British colonialists opened the jails for the leaders of the Indian Communist Party in order to transform them into agitators against the uprising and for the imperialist war. This tremendous betrayal laid the basis for the continuous mass influence of the bourgeois nationalist Congress Party in the following decades.

Our movement was inoculated against nationalism in imperialist countries, against the idea of supporting imperialist war efforts in any form whatsoever. That was a good education, and I do not propose to revise that tradition. But what it left out of account were elements of the much more complex Leninist position in the First World War. It is simply not true that Lenin's position then can be reduced to the formula: "This is a reactionary imperialist war. We have nothing to do with it." Lenin's position was much more sophisticated. He said: "There are at least two wars, and we want to introduce a third one." (The third one was the proletarian civil war against the bourgeoisie which in actual fact came out of the war in Russia.)

Lenin fought a determined struggle against sectarian currents inside the internationalist tendency who did not recognise the distinction between these two wars. He pointed out: "There is an inter-imperialist war. With that war we have nothing to do. But there are also wars of national uprising by oppressed nationalities. The Irish uprising is 100 per cent justified. Even if German imperialism tries to profit from it, even if leaders of the national movement link up with German submarines, this does not change the just nature of the Irish war of independence against British imperialism. The same thing is true for the national movement in the colonies and the semi-colonies, the Indian movement, the Turkish movement, the Persian movement." And he added: "The same thing is true for the oppressed nationalities in Russia and Austro-Hungary. The Polish national movement is a just movement, the Czech national movement is a just movement. A movement by any oppressed nationality against the imperialist oppressor is a just movement. And the fact that the leadership of these movements could betray by linking these movements politically and organizationally to imperialism is a reason to denounce these leaders, not a reason to condemn these movements."

Now if we look at the problem of World War II from that more dialectical, more correct Leninist point of view, we have to say that it was a very complicated business indeed. I would say, at the risk of putting it a bit too strongly, that the Second World War was in reality a combination of five different wars. That may seem an outrageous proposition at first sight, but I think closer examination will bear it out.

First, there was an inter-imperialist war, a war between the Nazi, Italian, and Japanese imperialists on the one hand, and the Anglo-American-French imperialists on the other hand. That was a reactionary war, a war between different groups of imperialist powers. We had nothing to do with that war, we were totally against it.

Second, there was a just war of self-defence by the people of China, an oppressed semi-colonial country, against Japanese imperialism. At no moment was Chiang Kai-shek's alliance with American imperialism a justification for any revolutionary to change their judgement on the nature of the Chinese war. It was a war of national liberation against a robber gang, the Japanese imperialists, who wanted to enslave the Chinese people. Trotsky was absolutely clear and unambiguous on this. That war of independence started before the Second World War, in 1937; in a certain sense, it started in 1931 with the Japanese Manchurian adventure. It became intertwined with the Second World War, but it remained a separate and autonomous ingredient of it.

Third, there was a just war of national defence of the Soviet Union, a workers state, against an imperialist power. The fact that the Soviet leadership allied itself not only in a military way - which was absolutely justified - but also politically with the Western imperialists in no way changed the just nature of that war. The war of the Soviet workers and peasants, of the Soviet peoples and the Soviet state, to defend the Soviet Union against German imperialism was a just war from any Marxist-Leninist point of view. In that war we were 100 per cent for the victory of one camp, without any reservations or question marks. We were for absolute victory of the Soviet people against the murderous robbers of German imperialism.

Fourth, there was a just war of national liberation of the oppressed colonial peoples of Africa and Asia (in Latin America there was no such war), launched by the masses against British and French imperialism, sometimes against Japanese imperialism, and sometimes against both in succession, one after the other. Again, these were absolutely justified wars of national liberation, regardless of the particular character of the imperialist power. We were just as much for the victory of the Indian people's uprising against British imperialism, and the small beginnings of the uprising in Ceylon, as we were in favour of the victory of the Burmese, Indochinese, and Indonesian guerrillas against Japanese, French, and Dutch imperialism successively. In the Philippines the situation was even more complex. I do not want to go into all the details, but the basic point is that all these wars of national liberation were just wars, regardless of the nature of their political leadership. You do not have to place any political confidence in or give any political support to the leaders of a particular struggle in order to recognise the justness of that struggle. When a strike is led by treacherous trade union bureaucrats you do not put any trust in them - but nor do you stop supporting the strike.

Now I come to the fifth war, which is the most complex. I would not say that it was going on in the whole of Europe occupied by Nazi imperialism, but more especially in two countries, Yugoslavia and Greece, to a great extent in Poland, and incipiently in France and Italy. That was a war of liberation by the oppressed workers, peasants, and urban petty bourgeoisie against the German Nazi imperialists and their stooges. To deny the autonomous nature of that war means saying in reality that the workers and peasants of Western Europe had no right to fight against those who were enslaving them at that moment unless their minds were set clearly against bringing in other enslavers in place of the existing ones. That is an unacceptable position.

It is true that if the leadership of that mass resistance remained in the hands of bourgeois nationalists, of Stalinists or social democrats, it could eventually be sold out to the Western imperialists. It was the duty of the revolutionaries to prevent this from happening by trying to oust these fakers from the leadership of the movement. But it was impossible to prevent such a betrayal by abstaining from participating in that movement.

What lay behind that fifth war? It was the inhuman conditions which existed in the occupied countries. How can anyone doubt that? How can anyone tell us that the real reason for the uprising was some ideological framework - such as the chauvinism of the French people or of the CP leadership? Such an explanation is nonsense. People did not fight because they were chauvinists. People were fighting because they were hungry, because they were over-exploited, because there were mass deportations of slave labour to Germany, because there was mass slaughter, because there were concentration camps, because there was no right to strike, because unions were banned, because communists, socialists and trade unionists were being put in prison.

That's why people were rising, and not because they were chauvinists. They were often chauvinists too, but that was not the main reason. The main reason was their inhuman material living conditions, their social, political, and national oppression, which was so intolerable that it pushed millions onto the road of struggle. And you have to answer the question: was it a just struggle, or was it wrong to rise against this over-exploitation and oppression? Who can seriously argue that the working class of Western or Eastern Europe should have abstained or remained passive towards the horrors of Nazi oppression and Nazi occupation? That position is indefensible.

So the only correct position was to say that there was a fifth war which was also an autonomous aspect of what was going on between 1939 and 1945. The correct revolutionary Marxist position (I say this with a certain apologetic tendency, because it was the one defended from the beginning by the Belgian Trotskyists against what I would call both the right wing and the ultra-left wing of the European Trotskyist movement at that time) should have been as follows: to support fully all mass struggles and uprisings, whether armed or unarmed, against Nazi imperialism in occupied Europe, in order to fight to transform them into a victorious socialist revolution - that is, to fight to oust from the leadership of the struggles those who were linking them up with the Western imperialists, and who wanted in reality to maintain capitalism at the end of the war, as in fact happened.

We have to understand that what started in Europe in 1941 was a genuine new variant of a process of permanent revolution, which could transform that resistance movement into a socialist revolution. I say, "could", but in at least one example that was what actually happened. It happened in Yugoslavia. That's exactly what the Yugoslav Communists did.

Whatever our criticisms of the bureaucratic way in which they did it, the crimes they committed in the course of it, or the political and ideological deviations which accompanied that process, fundamentally that is what they did. We have no intention of being apologists for Tito, but we have to understand what he did. It was an amazing thing. At the start of the uprising in 1941 the Yugoslav CP had a mere 5,000 active participants. Yet in 1945 they took power at the head of an army of half a million workers and peasants. That was no small feat. They saw the possibility and the opportunity. They behaved as revolutionaries - bureaucratic-centrist revolutionaries of Stalinist origin, if you like, but you cannot call that counter-revolutionary. They destroyed capitalism. It was not the Soviet army, it was not Stalin, as a result of the "cold war", who destroyed capitalism in Yugoslavia. It was the Yugoslav CP which led this struggle, accompanied by a big fight against Stalin.

A1l the proofs are there - all the letters sent by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the Yugoslavs, saying: "Do not attack private property. Do not push the Americans into hostility to the Soviet Union by attacking private property." And Tito and the leaders of the Communist Party did not give a damn about what Stalin told them to do or not to do. They led a genuine process of permanent revolution in the historical sense of the word, transformed a mass uprising against foreign imperialist occupation - an uprising which started on an inter-class basis, but under a bureaucratic proletarian leadership - into a genuine socialist revolution.

At the end of 1945, Yugoslavia became a workers state. There was a tremendous mass uprising in 1944-45, the workers took over the factories, the land was taken over by the peasants (and later by the state, in an exaggerated and over-centralised manner). Private property was largely destroyed. Nobody can really deny that the Yugoslav Communist Party destroyed capitalism, even if it was through its own bureaucratic methods, repressing workers democracy, even shooting some people whom it accused of being Trotskyists (which was not true - there was no Trotskyist section in Yugoslavia then or at any time previously). And it did not destroy capitalism through some bureaucratic moves with a foreign army, as in Eastern Europe, but through a genuine popular revolution, a huge mass mobilisation, one of the hugest ever seen in Europe. You should study the history of what happened in Yugoslavia - how, as bourgeois writers say, in every single village there was a civil war. That's the truth of it. The only comparison you can make is with Vietnam.

So I think that revolutionaries should basically have tried to do in the other occupied countries what the Yugoslav Communists did in Yugoslavia - of course with better methods and better results, leading to workers democracy and workers power directly exercised by workers councils, and not by a bureaucratised workers party and a privileged bureaucracy.

That is not to say at all that it was our fault if the proletarian revolution failed in Europe in 1945, because we did not apply the correct line in the resistance movement. That would be ridiculous. Even with the best of lines, the relationship of forces was such that we would not have succeeded. The relationship of forces between the Communist parties and us, the prestige of the CPs, the links of the CPs with the Soviet Union, the low level of working class consciousness as a result of a long period of defeats - all that made it impossible for the Trotskyists really to compete with the Stalinists for the leadership of the mass movement. So the mistakes which were made, both in a right-wing sense and in an ultra-left sense, actually had very little effect on history. They are simply lessons from which we have to draw a political conclusion in order not to repeat these mistakes in future. We cannot say that we failed to influence history as a result of these mistakes.

These lessons were of a dual nature. The leading comrades of one of the two French Trotskyist organizations, the POI (which was the official section), made right-wing mistakes in 1940-41. There is no doubt about that. They started from a correct line essentially, the one I have just outlined, but they took it one step too far. In the implementation of that line they included temporary blocs with what they called the "national bourgeoisie".

I should add they were able to use one sentence by Trotsky in support of their position. Remember that before arriving too hastily at a judgement on these questions. This sentence came at the beginning of one of Trotsky's last articles: "France is being transformed into an oppressed nation." In an oppressed nation there is no principled reason to reject temporary, tactical agreements with the "national bourgeoisie" against imperialism. There are conditions: we do not make a political bloc with the bourgeoisie. But purely tactical agreements with the national bourgeoisie are acceptable. We should, for instance, have made such an agreement in the 1942 uprising in India. It is a question of tactics, not of principle.

What was wrong in the position of the POI leadership was to make an extrapolation from a temporary, conjuncture situation. If France had permanently become a semi-colonial country, that would have been another story. But it was a temporary situation, just an episode in the war. France remained an imperialist power, with imperialist structures, which continued through the Gaullist operation to exploit many colonial peoples and maintain its empire in Africa intact. To change one's attitude towards the bourgeoisie simply in the light of what happened over a couple of years on the territory of France was a premature move which contained within it the seed of major political mistakes.

In fact it did not lead to anything in practice. Those who say that the French Trotskyists "betrayed" by making a bloc with the bourgeoisie in 1940-41 do not understand the difference between the beginning of a theoretical mistake and an actual treacherous intervention in the class struggle. There was never any agreement with the bourgeoisie, never any support for them when it came to the point. Whenever strikes took place the French Trotskyists were 100 per cent on the side of the workers. Whether it was a strike against French capitalists, German capitalists, or a combination of both, they were on the side of the workers every time. So where was the betrayal? It just confuses a possible political mistake and an actual theoretical one - which eventually could perhaps have had grave consequences, but in actual fact never did. That it was a mistake I naturally do not deny. But I think the comrades of the POI minority who fought against it did a good job, and by 1942 it was reversed and did not come up again.

The sectarian mistake, however, was in my opinion much graver. Here the ultra-left wing of the Trotskyist movement denied any progressive ingredient in the resistance movement and refused to make any distinction between the mass resistance, the armed mass struggle, and the manoeuvres and plans of the bourgeois nationalist. social democratic or Stalinist misleaders of the masses. That mistake was much worse because it led to abstention on what were important living struggles of the masses. Those comrades (such as the Lutte Ouvrière group) who persist even today in identifying the mass movements in the occupied countries with imperialism - saying that the war in Yugoslavia was an imperialist war because it was conducted by nationalists - are completely revising the Marxist method. Instead of defining the class nature of a mass movement by its objective roots and significance, they try to do so on the basis of its ideology. This is an unacceptable backward step towards historical idealism. When workers rise against exploitation and oppression with nationalist slogans, you say: "The rising is correct; please change the slogans." You do not say: "The rising is bad because the slogans are bad." It does not become bourgeois because the slogans are bourgeois - that is a wrong and absolutely unmaterialist approach.

Trotsky warned the Trotskyist movement against precisely such mistakes in his last basic document, the Manifesto of the 1940 emergency conference. He pointed out that they should be careful not to judge workers in the same way as the bourgeoisie even when they talked about national defence. It was necessary to distinguish between what they said and what they meant - to judge the objective historical nature of their intervention rather than the words they used. And the fact that sectarian sections of the Trotskyist movement did not understand that, and took an abstentionist position on big clashes involving hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, was very dangerous for the future of the Fourth International.

To abstain from such clashes on ideological grounds would have been absolutely suicidal for a living revolutionary movement. But we had no section in Yugoslavia. And had we had one, it would happily not have been sectarian. Otherwise we could not address the Yugoslav Communists and workers with the authority which we have today. Our first intervention in Yugoslavia was only in 1948; it was a good one, and so now we can speak with an unblemished banner and considerable moral authority in Yugoslavia. But if the Lutte Ouvrière line had been applied in practice between 1941 and 1944 in Yugoslavia, and if Yugoslav Trotskyists had been neutral in that civil war, we would not be very proud today and we would certainly not be in a strong position to defend the programme of the Fourth International. As it is, some of the Yugoslav Communists who later became Trotskyists were heroes in the civil war, which gives them a certain standing and moral authority. It makes it easier for them and for us to discuss Trotskyism in Yugoslavia today. If we had to carry the moral blemish of passivity and abstention in a huge civil war, we would, to say the least, be in a very bad position today.

Trotsky's Speech in Mexico on Moscow Trials

Statement of Santosh Rana, General Secretary of PCC CPI(ML) on Jangalmahal

On 24 August 2010 evening, a Maoist squad launched attack on village Lodhasuli in Jhargram p.s. Dt West Midnapur. With guns in hand, they forced the villagers to assemle and five villagers were severely beaten up. They demanded that Sm Rebati Chalak, the Gram-Panchayet member of Lohasuli should resign and that they (squads) would run the Panchayet. They threatened the villagers with dire consequences if
anybody gave shelter to Niranjan Bera ( the Secretary of Midnapur district committee of CPI(ML) )and Upanshu Mahato (the leader of the movement against pollution of Sponge Iron factories).

On 26 August night, a Maoist squad accompanied by local Trinamool Congress activists launched attack on village Chhota Gahira under Jhargram p.s.. They severely beat up CPI(ML) members Guhiram Pal,
Durjodhan Mahato and Rajani Pal and other villagers. They threatened the villagers that nobody should maintain links with any political party other than the Maoists and Trinamool Congress.

The CPI(ML) severely condemns both these incidents.

The CPI(ML) is alarmed at the situation in Jangalmahal where in some areas armed CPI(M) supporters are capturing villages with the help of Joint Forces while in others, the Trinamool Congress is capturing
villages with the help of Maoist squads. None of them has any respect for the democratic rights of the people.

The CPI(ML) has been active in the area for over forty years and led innumerable struggles of the workers, peasants, Dalits and Adivasis on the issues of wages, land, irrgation,Forest rights and Dalit-Adivasi
rights. In recent times, it has organized the people against atrocities by Joint Forces and against pollution of Sponge Iron Factories. Upanshu Mahato was recently in jail for launching movement against pollution. The rural reactionary forces ( ex-landlords, usurers and bad gentry) who have always opposed democratic movements have now become Maoist and Trinamool supporters and attacking us.

In order to restore peace in Jangalmahal, the Joint forces should be withdrawn and the CPI(M) on the one hand and the Maoist-Trinamool combine on the other must stop capture of villages with arms. The
people’s fundamental right to life and right of expression must not be suppressed.

Jhargram sub-division is now burning under severe drought.  Many people are starving. People need peace,food and jobs. Our appeal to ALL  : Stop capturing villages and stand by the villagers with
food,water and jobs

27 August 2010
From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


24 AUGUST 2010

The National People’s Tribunal (NPT) on Kandhamal, held in New Delhi on 22-24 August 2010, was   organized by the National Solidarity Forum - a countrywide solidarity platform of concerned social activists, media persons, researchers, legal experts, film makers, artists, writers, scientists and civil society organizations to assist the victims and survivors of the Kandhamal violence 2008 to seek justice, accountability and peace and to restore the victim-survivors’ right to a dignified life.

The jury of the NPT was headed by Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief                                   
Justice of the Delhi High Court.  Joining him as jury members were
Harsh Mander (member of National Advisory Council), Mahesh Bhatt (film maker and activist), Miloon Kothari (former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing), P. S. Krishnan (retired Secretary, Government of India), Rabi Das (senior journalist based in Bhubaneswar), Ruth Manorama (women and dalit rights activist), Sukumar Muralidharan (Delhi-based free lance journalist), Syeeda Hameed (member of Planning Commission, Government of India), Vahida Nainar (expert on international law, mass crimes and gender), Vinod Raina (scientist and social activist with a specific focus on right to education), Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat (former Chief of Naval Staff) and Vrinda Grover (advocate, Delhi High Court).
Thousands of dalits and tribals belonging to the Christian minorities in the Kandhamal region of Orissa were victims of organized violence starting in August 2007.  According to government figures during the
last bout of violence from August to December 2008, in Kandhamal district alone more than 600 villages were ransacked, 5600 houses were looted and burnt, 54000 people were left homeless, 38 people were
murdered. Human rights groups estimate that over 100 people were killed, including women, disabled and aged persons and children; and an unestimated number suffered severe physical injuries and mental
trauma. While there are reports of four women being gang-raped, many more victims of sexual assault are believed to have been intimidated into silence.  295 churches and other places of worship, big and
small, were destroyed. 13 schools, colleges, and offices of 5 non- profit organizations damaged. About 30,000 people were uprooted and lived in relief camps and continue to be displaced. During this period
about 2,000 people belonging to minority communities were forced to repudiate their Christian faith.  More than 10,000 children had their education severely disrupted due to displacement and fear. Today,
after two years, the situation has not improved, although the administration time and again claims it is peaceful and has returned to normalcy. With a view to create conditions for justice and accountability for the violence, the National Solidarity Forum organized a National People’s Tribunal (NPT) on 22-24 August 2010 at the Constitution Club in Delhi.  The objectives of the Tribunal were:
1.      To provide a platform for victim-survivors and their families to voice their experiences, perceptions,  demands and aspirations to civil society at large;

2.      To study and analyse the long-term and short-term causes and impact of the Kandhamal violence;

3.      To assess the role, conduct and responsibility of various organizations, groups of individuals or persons, in influencing, precipitating and escalating the violence;

4.      To assess the role played by the state and district administration and public officials, including the police, before, during and after the pogrom;

5.      To assess the functioning of the criminal justice system for fixing criminal accountability and prosecuting the guilty;

6.      To study and analyse the various rights of victims and survivors that have been violated during the violence and thereafter;

7.       To recommend both short-term and long-term remedial measures for promoting an efficient delivery of justice and reparations, and for strengthening peace-building, prevention of communal violence and
secularism; and

8.      To present the findings and recommendations before civil society, including the media, and to persuade the government and other agencies to pursue the necessary follow up action to restore dignity, right to life, justice and peace to the victim-survivors of Kandhamal violence.

The Tribunal heard 43 victims, survivors and their representatives, and 15 experts who presented studies / fact-finding reports on the Kandhamal violence.  Documentation related to each case, consisting of
affidavits, court documents, medical and other supporting documents, as well as copies of reports and studies on the violence were placed before the jury for its perusal.  The depositions were on a range of
issues including a) adivasi and dalit rights to religious and culture freedom; b) role of police, administration and the criminal justice system; c) issues relating to housing, compensation, relief, rehabilitation, food and livelihood, displacement and migration of the victims; d) impact on children and their education; e) gender violence and violations of human rights; and f) role of media, political parties, and civil society in peace and reconciliation processes.
Formal invitations were extended to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Women’s Development and Child Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as well as the
National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and National Commission for Women   to participate in the proceedings of the Tribunal.  However, there was no participation from the concerned ministries and commissions.

The jury records its shock and deep concern for the heinous and brutal manner in which the members of the Christian community, a vast majority of who are dalits and tribals were killed, dismembered,
sexually assaulted and tortured. The deliberate destruction of evidence pertaining to these crimes came to the attention to the jury. There was rampant and systematic looting and destruction of houses and
places of worship and means of livelihood. The victim-survivors continue to be intimidated and systematically denied protection and access to justice.
From the testimonies heard and the detailed reports received, the jury is convinced that the carnage in Kandhamal is an act of communalism mainly directed against the Christian community, a vast majority of
who are of scheduled caste origin and anyone who supported or worked with the community.  It is clear to us that there was deliberate strategy of targeting of the community, fed by groups of the Hindutva
ideology such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the active members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The jury is further convinced that the communal violence in Kandhamal was the consequence of a subversion of constitutional governance in which state agents were complicit. The jury acknowledges and appreciates the courage, determination and resilience of the victim-survivors and the human rights defenders supporting them, who have braved physical, psychological and economic hardships and intimidation to tell their stories before this Tribunal, thereby breaking the culture of silence. After listening to the myriad accounts of all the victim-survivors and their representatives, as well as the experts who presented a summary of their studies / fact- finding reports on the Kandhamal violence, the jury offers the
following preliminary findings and recommendations:

The jury observes that a majority of victim-survivors and their families are from marginalized groups, particularly from the dalit and adivasi (SC and ST) Christian community, and that most live in abject
poverty and on the brink of despair. The victim-survivors and their families are yet to obtain justice, rehabilitation or regain a right to life with dignity.  The victims/survivors have undergone incredible
hardships, including physical and psychological trauma, threats and humiliation, deprivation of a dignity, an extensive loss of movable and immovable property, a source and means of livelihood and their right to a decent standard of living - including food, housing, education and health services.  They have faced persecution in all its forms – such as social and economic boycott as well as religious,
caste-based and cultural discrimination. They live under a constant threat to their lives and personal security and continue to suffer from trauma. The consequence is that even two year after the outbreak
of the violence, the victim-survivors are unable to return to their villages and resume their normal way of life.  They continue to be subjected to constant and overt manifestations of communal, caste and class-based discrimination. All victim-survivors and their representatives who deposed before the Tribunal strongly articulated their demand for justice and security.

The jury observes that communal forces have used religious conversions as an issue for political mobilisation and to incite horrific forms of violence and discrimination against the Christians of SC origin and their supporters in Kandhamal. The object is to dominate them and ensure that they never rise above their low caste status and remain subservient to the upper castes. The jury observes, with deep concern,
that a range of coercive tactics have been used by the communal forces for conversion or re-conversion of a person into the Hindu fold, including threat, intimidation, social and economic boycott and coercion, as well as the institutionalization of humiliating rituals. The state and district administrations have, on no occasion, intervened to protect the freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
The jury observes, with concern, the institutionalised communal and casteist bias of state agencies, and their deliberate dereliction of constitutionally mandated duties, their connivance with communal forces, participation in and support to the violence and a deliberate scuttling of processes of justice through acts of commission and omission. The state agencies have blatantly failed to extend much-needed institutional support to victim-survivors and protect them from ostracism, socio-economic boycott and subjugation by non-state actors.


A.      State’s Complicity and Collusion

•       Institutional Bias: All testimonies and reports have pointed towards the complicity of the police – senior officers as well as the constabulary – during the phase of violence, and their collusion with the wrongdoers during the phase of investigation and prosecution. Based on the testimonies, the jury concludes that this was not an aberration of a few individual police men, but evidence of an institutional bias against the targeted Christian community.

•       Failure to Prevent the Violence: The police deliberately failed to prevent the violence by a) non-implementation of the recommendations made by the National Commission for Minorities in its reports of January and April 2008; b) permitting the funeral procession of Swami Lakshmananda through a 170 kilometre route through communally sensitive areas; c) allowing hate speeches and incitement to violence; d) allowing a series of programmes by the communal forces (such as the bandh of 25 August 2008, shraddhanjali sabhas and dharnas by Hindu religious leaders).  In particular, the permission given by the state administration to the funeral procession cannot, in any way, be a mere lapse of judgment. The state agencies displayed long overdue political resolve when they stopped VHP leader Praveen Togadia from visiting Kandhamal in March 2010. This late awakening was however, of little help to the victim-survivors of the district.

•       Suspension of Police Officials: Many witnesses deposed about the failure of the police to protect them from the violence and their refusal to register First Information Reports subsequently. There were long delayed actions to check police complicity, when five police officials were suspended for misconduct and negligence in connection with the sexual assault on Sister Meena, and the identification of 13 police officials for failure to protect persons and property in Kandhamal by A.K. Upadhyay, DIG (Training).

•       Destruction of Evidence by Public Officials: The jury is constrained to observe that public officials have colluded in the destruction of evidence and there is testimony directly implicating the District Collector in this misdemeanour (Case No. 24)

B.      Communal Forces, Freedom of Religion and Discrimination

•       Forcible Conversions: Testimonies pointed towards forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism during the violence and subsequently, as a condition for their return to their villages. No known action has been initiated against any of the perpetrators by the administration under the provisions either of criminal law, or the state’s Freedom of Religion Act.

•       Serious Violation of Religious Freedom: The violent intimidation of the Christian community, accompanied by social sanctions against the practice of Christianity, the destruction and desecration of places of worship, the forcible conversions to Hinduism, the killing and torture of victims and survivors for their refusal to repudiate their faith, are all acts violative of the constitutional guarantees of right to
life, equality and non-discrimination, as well as the right to religious freedom.

•       The Role of Hindutva forces: The accused identified in all witness testimonies were members of Hindutva organisations.  This is substantiated by the response of Orissa Chief Minister, to a query
raised in the state Legislative Assembly, on 23 November 2009.  In his written response, Mr. Naveen Pattnaik said that pursuant to investigation, 85 members of the RSS, 321 members of the VHP and 118
members of the Bajrang Dal had been arrested.

•       Discrimination on the Basis of Caste and Religion: The targeted violence against dalit Christians, as well as the continued discrimination against them are violative of Constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination, right to a dignified life and the prohibition of untouchability. Further, they amount to a serious violation of all provisions of the UN Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a convention ratified by India. The Concluding Observations of its forty-ninth session held in August/
September 1996 (as it reviewed India's tenth to fourteenth periodic reports under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, 1965), the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination affirmed that "the situation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes falls within the scope of" the Convention.  The Committee states that "descent" contained in Article 1 of the
Convention does not refer solely to race, and includes the situation of scheduled castes and tribes.

C.      Sexual Violence and Other Gender Concerns

•       Silence and Invisibility: The jury observes, with deep concern, that silence continues to prevail in matters of sexual assault. This applies at all levels, including documenting, reporting, investigating, charging and prosecuting cases. Though witness testimonies show that sexual violence was rampant, there are only five reported cases, and an even smaller number that have been registered and are pending in the courts. One of the testimonies refers to the gang rape (Case No. 3), but none of the accused has been formally  charged.

•       Special Vulnerability of Women: While all victims and survivors face intimidation and threats, women face the additional danger of sexual violence not just against themselves but also against their daughters
(Case No. 12).  The immediate consequence of such threats is a hightened sense of vulnerability and a restriction on their movement. The jury observes that the threat of sexual assault against women
continues to be used as a tool to prevent families from returning to their villages, to prevent women from resuming their livelihood activities, and pursuing justice.

•       Violation of international covenants: The pattern of violence against women is violative of constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination on the ground of sex as well as a right to life with dignity.  In addition, the attacks violate international standards, including the UN Convention on Elimination of Violence
Against Women (CEDAW) which has been ratified by India.  The CEDAW Committee, through General Recommendation 19, has clarified that gender-based violence, that is,   violence that is directed against a
woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately, amounts to discrimination against women.

D.      Failure of the Criminal Justice System

•       Arbitrary Exercise of Discretionary Power: The jury observes, with concern, an arbitrary exercise of the discretionary power vested in the police and the prosecuting agencies.  In many instances, the police have refused to register FIRs, have delayed registering FIRs by 2-5 months, and dissuaded victim-survivors from registering FIRs and coerced them to omit the names of perpetrators and other details from the FIRs, particularly if they indicated the complicity of public officials or members of communal organizations.  Victim-survivors were also shunted between various police stations for registration of FIRs in contexts where their safety was at risk.

•       Arrests: Many victim-survivors deposed before the jury that the perpetrators of heinous crimes had not been arrested, and were roaming freely and continuing to threaten, intimidate and humiliate them.
Testimonies point to an inordinate delay in arresting the perpetrators, and a failure to arrest many more, contributing to an overall climate of impunity.  Honest police officials who attempted to arrest perpetrators were threatened. Testimonies indicate that victim- survivors were often threatened with arrest under fabricated charges in order to silence them and deter them from pursuing justice.

•       Investigation & Prosecution: The deliberate destruction of evidence, particularly of killings, through the burning or disposal of bodies, has resulted in the absence of forensic evidence in many cases.
Investigations were marked by a neglect of the basic requirements of gathering evidence, which severely impaired the efficacy of the prosecution. Delay in obtaining forensic evidence, failure in obtaining corroborative evidence and the rampant intimidation of victim-survivors and witnesses,  have led to many acquittals.

•       Appreciation of Evidence by the Fast Track Courts: Upon perusal of judgments, affidavits and statements, the jury concludes that the judicial weighing of evidence failed to recognise the extraordinary
context in which these mass crimes have been committed. Minor discrepancies in witness testimonies in court have been given undue weightage, leading to an alarmingly high number of acquittals.

•       Judgment and Sentencing: Studies indicate that lenient sentences have been awarded without an acknowledgment of the gravity of the crimes committed and their consequences, both in terms of heinous
killings and assault, as well as rampant looting of movable property and destruction of immovable property belonging to the dalit and adivasi Christians. A fine of Rs. 2000 has been mechanically imposed,
without any correlation with the value of property destroyed.  Further there seems to have been little attempt to apply S. 357 of the Cr.PC which provides for an imposition of a higher amount of fine, which
could be recovered and paid to victim-survivors as compensation.

•       Gaps in Indian Criminal Law: The jury observes that clear gaps exist in the criminal law to prosecute and punish those responsible for targeted mass violence. These include the absence of investigative
procedures and evidentiary rules relating to mass crimes, such as punishing for murder even in the absence of the body of deceased. The protections guaranteed by law to public servants obstruct their
accountability. Such gaps make dispensation of justice in contexts of mass violence extremely difficult.

•       Relevance of International Criminal Law: The testimonies shows that the Kandhamal violence meets all the elements of Crimes Against Humanity as defined in applicable international law. The jury has come
across cases where victims were dismembered or burnt alive, constituting the crime of torture under jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals. (The International Criminal Court’s definition of torture in Article 7 does not require that torture be committed by public officials.)  That a victim was forced to drink cow urine and shave his head amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

E.      Protection of Victims and Witnesses, Access to Justice & Fair Trial

•       Willingness to Testify in Court: Those who deposed before the Tribunal were keen, ready and willing to depose before the Fast Track courts.  However, they face severe intimidation and threats. Despite the concerned authorities being informed, no steps have been taken to provide any protection to the witnesses and victim-survivors.

•       Hostile Atmosphere in Court: The atmosphere in the trial court (Fast Track courts) was described as hostile. The atmosphere was fearful as the accused were accompanied by a large number of persons representing the accused, and from communal forces.  The atmosphere in court is not conducive to a fair trial.  There has been no initiative taken, either by the Prosecutor or the court, to hold the proceedings in camera.

•       Absence of Safe Passage: Victims who have dared to lodge complaints & witnesses who have courageously given evidence in court are unable to return to their homes. There is no guarantee of safe passage to and from the courts. They are living in other cities and villages, many of them in hiding, as they apprehend danger to their lives.

•       Threat of Sexual Assault: Women victims and witnesses have received constant threats of sexual violence and rape to themselves and their daughters.  Ironically most of the accused roam freely and live in
their villages and homes.

•       Absence of Free Legal Aid: Since most of the victim-survivors are from underprivileged communities, there is a dire need for quality legal aid services at state expenses.  None of those who deposed before us had been extended free legal aid services.  Most victim-survivors have been supported in court through the initiatives of non-profit organizations.  The failure of the state to provide free legal aid has contributed substantially to an absence of fair trial.

F.      Concerns Related to Children

The most important finding related to children status in Kandhamal is sense of hopelessness, injustice discrimination and fear prevailing among children, threatening to severely impact their growth and
•       Mental Health: Children are in deep state of mental trauma. There has been no trauma counselling for the affected children and adolescents in Kandhamal. Even today they have night mares of running in the jungle, with the killers in pursuit, are scared of any loud sound and are afraid of people walking in groups or talking loudly.
•       Education: Large number of children has dropped out of school due to financial and social insecurity and many have them have gone out for work. Many of them had to discontinue their education due to discrimination meted out to them by the school authority and also in some cases by children in schools. Many children were forced to change school and many of them opted for residential schools out of the
state. Post violence many dropped out due to the inability of the families to bear the expenses, fear, and also due to lack of facilities to commute to school.
•       Child Labour: Many children have left education and have gone to Kerala, Surat and neighbouring states. Even girls have gone to Udhagamandalam (Ooty) and working in coffee plantation.  there is no
data available with the district Labour Office regarding the present status of child labour in the state. Last child labour census in the district was done in 1997.
•       Child Trafficking: There are rise incidences of trafficking for children, mainly for labour, sexual exploitation and abuse. Though there are no consolidated data on number of children being trafficked
post violence in the district, we have come across some instances.

G.      Reparations

•       Compensation: Compensation for loss of life, injuries and loss of / damage to property has been awarded in an extremely arbitrary manner. The amounts awarded are grossly inadequate and do permit victim- survivors to regain the standards of living enjoyed prior to the violence.  The award of compensation does not recognize sexual assault or the extent of loss of house and movable property destruction, the
exclusion of which has caused immense difficulties to victim-survivors and their families.

•       Relief and Humanitarian Assistance: From the testimonies of victim-survivors and reports, it is evident that the relief camps did not provide for basic facilities such as nutritious food, clean water and
sanitation, or adequate security.  There was a lack of trauma counselling, medical assistance and other forms of humanitarian assistance that ought to have been made available to all victim-survivors in the relief camps.

•       Safe Return or Resettlement: Many victim-survivors have been forced or duped into returning to their villages, where they have faced continuous threat, intimidation and fear of attacks if they did not
repudiate their faith. Many victim-survivors and their families continue to live on the outskirts of their villages, without any source of livelihood.  The state and district authorities have taken no proactive measures at creating an atmosphere conducive for the safe return of victim-survivors to their villages.  By failing to recognize the right of all victim-survivors and their families to a safe return to their villages or resettlement at state expense, the state has grossly violated the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

•       Reconstruction of Houses and Places of Worship: Some victim-survivors have been provided inadequate compensation for rebuilding their houses and many excluded from an award of compensation
altogether.  A majority of places of religious worship that had been damaged or destroyed during the violence, have not been re-built.  The amounts awarded as compensation to some are grossly inadequate for re-building such structures, while many others have been denied compensation altogether on technical grounds.  The jury strongly believes that reconstruction of houses and places of worship at state expense would restore a sense of confidence and justice among the victim-survivors and their families, and restore them to a life with dignity.

•       Livelihood and Education: Many educational institutions that had been damaged or destroyed during the violence are yet to be rebuilt, thereby depriving children from victim-survivor communities of their
right to education, jeopardizing their future opportunities and causing a generational setback for emerging deprived dalit communities.  Many victim-survivors who lost their source of livelihood, including agricultural land and government jobs, due to the mass displacement that took place, have received no assistance
from the state for a restoration of the same.  Many testimonies presented before the jury highlighted the fact that victim-survivors have been illegally deprived of employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act subsequent to the violence.

•       Peace-building: Although village level peace committees had been set up, the testimonies before the jury as well as studies and reports indicate that such committees have not enjoyed the confidence of the
victim-survivors and have been used as a platform for further intimidation.  Notably, there has been no involvement of women in peace-building and negotiating processes, which violates standards set by international law, particularly UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

H.      Human Rights Defenders

Non-profit organizations and human rights defenders have been targeted for their role in assisting victims with aid, relief, rehabilitation and process of justice. Victim-survivors have testified with regard to the destruction of personal and official property, attacks and damage to the offices of such organizations.  These are contrary to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders that calls upon the State to protect Human Rights Defenders and their work.


•       Enquiry into and suspension of police and administrative officials responsible for grave dereliction of duty.

•       Proactive prevention of programmes planned by Hindutva forces that are divisive and propagate hate such as kalash yatra, Shraddhanjali sabhas (memorial meetings) and dharnas by Hindu religious leaders of Orissa held to perform rituals to eliminate the ‘enemies of Hindus.’

•       Sections 153 A and B of the Indian Penal Code be strictly enforced.

•       National Legal Services Authorities at both State and Central level to set up legal cell to assist victims to register FIRs where they were not registered or inaccurately registered, re-open closed cases, and transfer pending cases to outside the Kandhamal jurisdiction.

•       A Special Investigation Team (SIT) be constituted to re-examine the already registered FIRs for accuracy, examine registrations of fresh FIRs, the trials that resulted in acquittals due to intimidation and/ or lack of evidence and recommend the trials that need to be transferred or fresh trial conducted outside Kandhamal;

•       Proactively identify cases of sexual assault has been grossly underreported due to fear and intimidation; and recognize and charge sexual assault in FIRs where they have not been so recognized.

•       Appoint Special Public Prosecutors who enjoy the confidence of the affected community.

•       State must provide protection to victims and witnesses before, during and after the trial process according to the guidelines provided in the recent judgment of the Delhi High Court.

•       Endorse the recommendations of the National Advisory Council of drafting a new bill on mass crimes against impunity and secure accountability for mass crimes. The draft be in accordance with the
emerging international standards of individual criminal accountability for mass crimes as set in the statute of the International Criminal Court and jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals.

•       Both the State and Central government adopt at the very minimum the Gujarat compensation package to enhance the compensation already announced.  In addition, victims of sexual assault be included as a
ground eligible for compensation and employment. , Compensation for loss of livelihood
•       All mechanisms set up to improve the criminal justice response, provide reparations, including compensation and rehabilitation be based on human rights indicators and standards that recognises the
fact that even after two years thousands continue to be displaced.

•       State make all effort to provide medical and psychological, particularly trauma counselling to the victims/ survivors, particularly the women and children.

•       The specific educational needs of the children who have suffered displacement as a result of the violence be address with measures such as bridge school under the Sarva siksha Abhiyan, Kasturba Balika Vidhyalaya for SCs and STs girls; and residential ashram schools.

•       The livelihood schemes of the state and central government be particularly provided to the affected community including M G Narega and special thrust be given for the affected youth in the PM’s skill
training mission.

•       The special component plan for the SC and the tribal sub-plan for STs should given priority focus to the schemes directed at the affected community. Dalit Christians to be provided all non-statutory benefits available to schedule castes.

•       All training centres both of administrative and police to focus on education and awareness about rights, secularism and constitutional guarantees to minorities.

•       Restitution and Rehabilitation to follow the international standards set in paragraphs 16-18 and 25-29 of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and paragraphs 52 to 68 of the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based Evictions and Displacement, 2007.

•       The State should recognize the Internally Displaced Persons’ right to return to their homes and create all possible enabling conditions to facilitate such safe return in accordance with the above standards.

•       Review The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act 1967 given the failure of the state machinery to prevent the violence and protect lives and properties of the people.

•       Designate the affected areas as communally sensitive, appoint officers with professional integrity and sensitivity to the overall communal context and be alert to any early warning signs and develop appropriate response mechanisms to halt the brewing of hate mobilization and religious and caste-based discriminative activities.

•       Given the fact that human rights violations continue to take place as outlined in this report, the NHRC should take immediate steps to initiate an investigation into the incidences of violence.

•       The National Commission on protection of Children Rights should investigate the need for children of the affected community to receive trauma counselling, to respect and promote their right to education
and nutrition, take specific steps to prevent child labour and child trafficking. Appropriate agencies at the central and state levels need to respond to these issues.

•       All efforts by the central and state government to improve the situation in Kandhamal must comply with the provisions of international human rights instruments that India has signed and ratified including CERD, CAT, CEDAW, CESCR, CRC, , UNPCR, UNDHR.

•       Confidence-building and peace-building initiatives by the state and district administration should have the participation of members of the affected community, particularly women.

•       The state and district administration should, with immediate effect, implement the recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities, issued in their reports of January, April and September 2008

Justice A.P. Shah, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court
Harsh Mander, Member National Advisory Council
Mahesh Bhatt, Film maker and activist
P. S. Krishnan, Former Secretary, Government of India
Miloon Kothari, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing
Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Former Chief of Naval Staff
Syeeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission
Vahida Nainar, Expert International law
Sukumar Muralidharan, Free lance journalist
Vinod   Raina,  Scientist and Social Activist, Right to Education
Ruth Manorama, Dalit & women’s rights Activist
Vrinda Grover, Advocate
Rabi Das Senior Journalist, Bhubaneswar