Saturday, December 12, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Re [E-Forum] Brave Gujarati girl


Dear Prashant jee,

Here under I am copying letters from Messers Benjamin Kaila, Raghavan Rangarajan and Kirit Parmar and copies of newspaper reports regarding the infamous "Patan Gang Rape" case. The case has been reported in amazing details in an international web-journal called "Marxist". The report says, "An incredible case of repeated gang rape of female students in Indian colleges was revealed last year, eventually leading to the culprits being sentenced to life imprisonment. But this was no ordinary case of rape; it involved an attempt at a cover-up that led right to the top of the national government itself. It was only the courageous action of the female students, a female teacher and then the families of the victims that eventually achieved justice. The case has brought out the terrible suffering that ordinary working people in India have to bear."

The report goes on to say, "On March 6, 2009, a Fast Track Court in Ahmedabad convicted all the six accused in the Patan gang rape case and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The accused are not only active members of the right-wing 'Sangh Parivar', but are directly associated or related to those in Narendra Modi's cabinet."
It further says, "The Patan serial gang rape case shook the conscience of civilised society, when on the heels of the electoral victory of the BJP in Gujarat, i.e. only two months after the December 2007 elections were over, it was revealed that at least six teachers of the Women's Teacher Training College in Patan, all closely associated with Ministers in Modi's cabinet, had committed serial gang rape of so many girl students, forcing them into submission and silence on the threat to fail them in internal assessment. It was the heroic action of one female teacher Bharati Patel and her students that resulted in exposure of the entire scandal. The organised crime had been going on inside the College with knowledge of the concerned authorities, at least since 2000."
And that, "It was political patronage for these criminals that made all complaints and protests ineffective and redundant every time. It was only after a huge public protest in Patan on February 4, where people a twenty five thousand strong crowd not only came in unison across the party, caste and community identities, but physically assaulted the rapists, so much so that the police had to intervene to save them and only then a case could be registered, which ultimately resulted in conviction of these rapists.
Dnaindia of Nov 18, 2009 (copied below), reports that the Gujarat government had promised help. However, "she (the said victim girl) has received no monetary assistance, apart from the chief minister's token relief of Rs1 lakh, released soon after her story broke." The said money most have vanished by now, and the girl is currently working as a manual laborer for Rs. 60 per day, and taking care of her sick parents.

If Fr. Cedric Prakash could pay her a visit, or send someone with sufficient recognition, and see if a better arrangement can be made for her and her family, that would be most wonderful New Year and Christmas gift for the girl. I am sure, the girl would feel very blessed and would derive a lot courage from the visit of Fr. Prakash in her struggles in the face of her adversity. She is a very bright girl, as can be discerned from her "86.8 % in her final PTC exams." This girl deserves all the help we can give.

I hope you would be able to communicate this urgent message to Fr. Prakash. Thanking you very much,

With best regards,


[E-Forum] Brave Gujarati girl - facts from another source
Friday, 11 December, 2009 7:09 AM
From: "Benjamin Kaila" <>
To: "Dalit Group" <>, "AmbedkarScholarshipGroup" <>, "ZestCaste" <>, "Human Horizons" <>

Dear Donors and friends,
Please read the floowing mail from Mr Raghu Rangarajan. Without my knowledge, he did his research and sent me this info.

Thanks, Mr Raghu, for the information. It is always good to be verified.
Thanks again for the info and for your contribution.

I hope, more people come forward to help this brave and brillient girl.
Yes, as you have suggested, FFEI will consider giving her brother a scholarship this year, though it is a partly amount.
I would like to have his information as well.

Can you both (Kirit and you) get me his info, please?
With regards
------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
An educated man without character and humility was more dangerous than a beast. If his education was detrimental to the welfare of poor, he was a curse to society.
-Babasaheb Dr B R Ambedkar
Please visit www.friendsfor education. org or www.ambedkarscholar

____________ _________ _________ __
From: RAGHAVAN RANGARAJAN <raghavan@prl.>
To: benjamin_kaila@
Sent: Thu, December 10, 2009 9:32:24 PM
Subject: Re: your mail

Dear Benjamin,

Pl. include Rs. 5000 as a contribution from my family for the case below.

Raghu Rangarajan.

On Fri, 11 Dec 2009, RAGHAVAN RANGARAJAN wrote:

> Dear Benjamin,
> I have spoken to two friends who have recently met the girl from Patan PTC who was molested by her teachers. They corroborate the report by Mr. Kirit Parmar that you had sent earlier.
> She did get 83% in her PTC (primary teachers course) but has no job. She is working as a labourer and has enrolled for a BA (may be part time/correspondence ) She is keen on a job but close to her home ie in Visnagar, Mehsana, Unjha, etc. She would be open to any job not necessarily that of a primary teacher. She does not know English and is not computer literate. She is intelligent and firm in her resolve and has the support of her family. She is being encouraged by a doctor and a police inspector - I believe the latter may be her inspiration for joining the police force as an officer.
> If you wish to support her with some finances you can decide whether to give it as a lump sum or as an Ambedkar scholarship for her BA. She could be encouraged to move from the Ambedkar Open Univ course (as mentioned in Mr. Kirit Parmar's report) to a regular college (unless she prefers studying via correspondence) . We could also support the brother's education as a way of supporting the family. In any case if you need more information let me know.
> We should also use our contacts to help her get a job in the areas I mentioned above. Mr. Parmar mentioned in his report that she is in a computer course which will help her in getting a job. One of my friends had offered her a position in Ahmedabad but she would not like to be so far away from home. I presume she is young - the PTC course is a two year course that one does after Std. 12 and qualifies you to teach in a primary school.
> Regards,
> Raghu Rangarajan.
> Raghavan Rangarajan
> Theoretical Physics Division
> Physical Research Laboratory
> Navrangpura
> Ahmedabad 380 009
> Office: Room 457
> Phone: o) (079) 2631 4457
> r) (079) 2686 0165
> m) 0 98254 30023

[E-Forum] Re: Help to brave Gujarati girl -links to actual incident
Monday, 7 December, 2009 12:20 AM
From: "Benjamin Kaila" <>
To: "KIRIT PARMAR" <>, "HUMAN HORIZONS" <>, "ZestCaste" <>, "Dalit Group" <>, "Karmayog group" <>, "karmayog-chennai" <>, "OfficersForum" <>, "AmbedkarScholarshipGroup" <>... moreCc: "Prof. Shiva Shankar" <>, "Dr. John Dayal" <>, "John Dayal" <>, "Krao" <>, "Kris Rao" <>, "Anand, Navayana" <>, "S. Anand" <>, "S.Anand" <>, "\'Shivam Vij\'" <>, "shobhita naithani" <>, "BreadSociety" <>, "Stalin K" <>, "StalinK" <>, "Chandrabhan" <>, "ASHA Hansa" <>, "Hahn
Walter" <>, "HinduReporter-RaviReddy HinduSpecialCorrespodent" <>, "Joseph Dsouza aicc" <>, "Journalist-Rajeev" <>, "Journalist-vidya venkat" <>, "Journalist-Swathi" <>, "Tehelka-Shobhita Naithani" <>, "Tehelka-Vikram" <>, "Tehelka-Shammy" <>, "Gail Omvedt" <>, "Gail Omvedt" <>, "gita ramaswamy" <>, "Mohan-La County" <>, "Chritsian Business-Ron Henry" <>, "K.Madhava Rao" <>, "anita mahadas" <>, "ASHA Venkata Pingali" <>, "ASHA-srikanth voorakaranam" <>, "ASHA VinodRaina" <>, "ASAH Sirish Agarwal" <>, "ASHA-Viswanath
Puttagunta" <>, "ASHA-Raghav" <>, "Eleanor Zelliot" <>, "07Meeta Gupta Bhaduri" <>, "Ben Shoan" <>, "FilmmakerChris Bessounian" <>, "David Blundell" <>, "Michael Arlen" <>, "Cedric-Administrator" <>, "Canada Nageswar" <>, "Eugene Culas" <>, "FilmmakerTianna" <>, "FilmStudent-Karthik" <>... more (If anyone thinks I am spamming, please let me know. I will not send any communication in future.)

Dear donors and friends,
Some asked me for the actual incident. Sorry, I did not give any such info in my earlier email.
Here are the links I have collected form the internet.

http://www.dnaindia .com/india/ report_rape- survivor- topper-now- labourer_ 1313167

http://www.marxist. com/india- gang-rape- linked-to- modi-government. htm

http://ibnlive. dalits-rally- behind-raped- gujarat-college- girl/58465- 3.html

http://news. 2/hi/south_ asia/7228719. stm

http://news. chennaionline. com/newsitem. aspx?NEWSID= ff2ff25f- ef91-46b1- 8746-1ef89feff8a 2&CATEGORYNAME= NATL

============ ========= ========= ========= ========= ========

Please forward this email to the forums and individuals who you think may help.
(Names withelp for privacy reasons).
Dear donors and friends,
I have been trying my best to help this unfortunate girl. Please read the following field report by Mr Kirit. I thank him immensely for the pains taken and for giving us a complete picture. That is the spirit of a true social worker. Thanks, brother Kirit.


We are looking for donations. We have already promises for approximately Rs.40,000. We are looking for atleast Rs.1 Lakh contributions. Here is what my options are to help her. I welcome other viable ideas, if any.

1. Her father is disabled due to an accident. He is an auto rikshaw driver. We may help him to buy an auto rikshaw with our contributions.
2. She is a very ambitious woman. She wants to be an IAS/IPS officer. I believe, she has the capacity, if proper guidance is given. Despite her tumultuous past, she excelled in education and harboring such a great thoughts means, she is more than capable. So, we may deposit our contribution in an Fixed Deposit and ask her to take the interest leaving the principal for a later day when she require it.
3. We may help find a job for her. Some Christian missionary school may come forward to give her a job. I am sending this email for many people in position and urging them to help her. I do not know if anyone responds (as in many cases), but I am trying to the best of my ability.
4. We may give her the entire money and ask her to use it the best way possible. She is in need of money and so she is doing labor work despite getting highest marks in her teacher training.
Any more ideas? Please come forward.
I urge everyone who reads this email to contribute a little to help this brave girl. $5 per person will become a great help. As you know, we can issue a Income Tax exemption certificate if you contribute more.
So, please come forward to help this courageous and promising young girl who unfortunately born a Dalit.
With lots of hope
Benjamin Paul Kaila

____________ _________ _________ __
From: KIRIT PARMAR <kirit11@yahoo. com>
To: Benjamin Kaila <benjamin_kaila@>; HUMAN HORIZONS <humanhorizons@ yahoogroups.>
Cc: Prof. Shiva Shankar <sshankar@cmi.>
Sent: Sat, December 5, 2009 8:21:22 AM

Dear Benjamin Sir and Donors and well wishers,
Jai Bhim

I did village visit today and wrote report based on my visit (you may the attachment also), I would like to have your prompt reply on this please.

Field visit Report
From:-Ahmedabad (City)
To :-Jetalvasana (Ahmedabad to Koba circle to Adalaj Cross road to Kalol to Mehsana to Jetalvasana)
On Mehsana Palanpur highway, National Highway No.8.

Travel time 12pm to 2.15pm
Discussion time with victim and his family 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Returned travel time: 4.30 to 7pm
Report Writing time:-7.30pm- 10pm
Objective of visit: - To know the practical situation of the victim
Today morning I met a retired Social Welfare officer as per our planning, who has been one of the information givers on this case, apart from him; I was in touch with few social leaders whom I was assuming that they were known bias. But, then they started giving me excuse to post- pone the visit to the village therefore I decided to go alone and face the situation as well as to know the truth.
As everyone might know that I have two young children whom I look after during the day time so that my wife could do job; So Saturday and Sunday are the only days on which I can do full time social welfare work. As tomorrow I have other field visit to do therefore, I decided to finish village visit today, I left my home by 12pm leaving back my two children alone in the house as my wife would return from her job at 1.30pm.
I knew that this village comes under Mehsana district and Visnagar taluka, when I reached Mehsana, I stopped my bike and bought water bottle and at the same time I inquired about the location of village but the shop-keeper bluntly refused stating that I do not know area which is out side of Mehsana City therefore I don't know the location of about Jetalvasana village, there after I asked few more people about the village but majority of them gave me excuse but not location. Lastly, on young boy who was sleeping his shop, his name was Suresh Chaudhary, he gave me location and also guided me properly how to reach that village.
I got my education up to 10th Std in Mahasana district therefore I know the nature people but this was something out of my imagination. Whenever I asked person, most the time they give me very strange look. Still I continued with my journey towards Jetalvasana village, in-between, I filled patrol (gas), at patrol pump again I asked about village and its location, he said, it is very nearer to this place but it is off road therefore you have to asked someone after 2km., I did that there were high school students who were standing at state transport bus station for waiting for their buses, I asked one student, could you guide me where is Jatalvasana village, they looked me and started whispering with each with smiley face and showed me direction.
Jatalvanasa bus stop is on the main highway i.e National highway No.8 but village is 3km in side the main road. I reached village. I show two people coming out from field, I asked them, 'I want go to Dalitwas (dalit colony)', an old man, showed me way, saying go street and turn right side from temple, go little from there you will reach Harjanvash. I thanked him and followed his showed direction. It was muddy place with lots of cow dung and rubbish. I show female with child there, I asked her, 'I want go to Dalitwash (dalit colony)' she said, 'this is the Harijanwash', whom do you want to talk to? I said, I want to meet the parents of PTC-Patan victim. She very politely replied, he is my husband elder cousin and he lives opposite side of that road. I followed her direction and reached victims house.
I parked my bike, as it was afternoon therefore was no one but few children playing out side, I asked them 'I want to talk to the Victim's father. Children went inside of the house and brought a middle aged woman.
She asked me, who are you? and where are you come from? I give my introduction, I came from Ahmedabad and I want to talk to Babubhai, she said, he is my husband, please come in, I went inside the house, by the time a boy come from in side of the house and went out to look for his father Babubhai. By the time lady gave me water and also offered me tea.
After Babubhai came, we started talking, as per Babubhai, many people have visited his house and they offered me and my daughter many things along with job for my daughter but none of them turn back so far therefore, we do not have faith on anyone. As far as you(kirit) are here, you may have tea and go.
Seeing Babubhai's such reaction, once I had lost my confidence but again I prompted, Babubhai, I come all the way from Ahmedabad to talk to you and to know about your family situation. Without your cooperation I could do nothing to help you and your daughter. I told that I did not get time to have my lunch and I left my two children alone to meet you please. Babubhai's wife also requested Babubhai to let him (kirit) talk. After few minutes of break we started talking, and suddenly Babubhai started crying. Again there was pin drop silent. Honestly, even I did not know how to console him, I waited for a while then again we re-continue our talk;

He gave me following information about his family situation:-
On 8th May 2009 he faced road accident in which he got fractured his left leg, medication cost me lots of money, before he got fracture his left leg, he was master in masonry work but since accident he is unable to work. He got auto rixa on bank loan but due to his physical disability, he could not drive auto rixo, he hardly able to pay bank loan installments. He is also landless labor therefore his family has to depend on seasonal agro based labor work.
Babubhai also said, he has two sons and two daughters, among one son and one daughter got married and they are settled down separately. His elder son does not live with him since this case happened. His younger son has scored 70% in this 12th std and his pursuing in Unza college. At presently, his financial situation is very poor, sometime we are unable to eat full meal. After Babubhai, I talked to his son.
Victim's brother,
He said, he is studying in F.Y.B.Com and he want to leave his village by next year to stay in hostel and complete his remaining studies. He asked which are the courses available after graduation?, I informed him about most the courses and employment options available for him after graduation including Gujarat Public commission jobs and Union Public Commission's jobs (IAS,IPS,IFS, IRS & ELITE SERVICES).
After few hours' discussion, I requested Babubhai to allow me to talk to his daughter (victim) please. He reluctantly agreed and called victim from back of his house. She was made to awake from sleep as evidenced by eyes and sleepy voice. I introduced my to her then had discussion on her present and future plan.
Victim's outcome of discussion:-
When she come to know that I am not here to give her anything but to know about the situation, she started sharing her present situation, she said at present she enrolled herself in B.A major with English in Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University and also doing CCC computer course. She is attending computer course three days in a week. She is very much interested to do further studies and want to become IAS/IPS officer (after saying this sentence she started crying) there was pause for while. Then she asked me how can be a IAS and IPS? I explained every details, how to become IAS or IPS. After listening to my explanation about IAS examination, she took more interested while asking many questions about different education courses and government jobs. She also said she want to help her family therefore she does not have any other option but to do labor work. I agree with her and shared my life story to entire family. It appeared to they got
inspiration and started cooperating to my remaining query.
I inquire about
1. Whether she has her own bank account, (Yes, she has in State Bank of India)
2. Her contact number (yes, her family mobile No.)
3. Her correspondence address (Yes, I have with me)
My observation and understanding about this case;
After field visit, my unasked few questions got answered, victim belong to chamar caste in scheduled caste therefore all information about her has been suppressed. Even most of Gujarati government officials including IAS/IPS belong to non chamar caste therefore she has not received proper rehabilitation. Even I was misguided by non chamar social leaders to know about fact of the victim. Well known human rights activist of Gujarat also does not belong to chamar caste prior to conversation therefore he did not bother to raise this issue any further to get her justice. This is unbearable pain for me to know that scheduled castes even not ready unite in such case.
Request from my end:-
Please give her financial support while contributing as much fund as we can in order to giver her better future please.
Field report prepared by
Ford Fellow (Alumni)
Yes! Ambassador, Western Union Money Transfer
GC-Human Rights and Human Values, University of Birmingham, UK,
Spirituality and Social Work, Arizona State University, Arizona, USA,
Human Rights and Minority Management, EURAC Research, Italy

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Rape survivor, topper, now labourer
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:24 IST
Ahmedabad: She survived the torment of being repeatedly gangraped-- at a government-run college in Patan, by her own teachers -- and yet topped the Primary Teacher's Certificate exams.
Now she survives as a farm labourer, earning Rs60 per day. The victim, Pooja (name changed), a Dalit girl, who was violated for months by the very people who were supposed to protect and nurture her, was promised a job by the state government.
The assurance was given during the trial of her six tormentors, who were later sentenced to life in prison, at a time when outraged and shamed Gujarat demanded that the government act responsibly and sensitively.
Those promises seem to have been forgotten today. While her application for employment is tossed back and forth in babudom's labyrinth, Pooja struggles to fend for her bed-ridden parents. Her mother underwent a hysterectomy recently and the father suffered a bone injury, said Manjula Pradeep, the executive director of NGO, Navsarjan, which has been championing Pooja's fight for justice.
Talking to DNA over phone, Pooja said, "I cannot join a private school because they pay a measly Rs1,000 a month. As a labourer, I earn Rs60 per day." Her toils demoralise her so much that even the memory of scoring 86.8 % in her final PTC exams provide little succor, she said.
As for government functionaries who had initially offered her support, they are now issuing non-committal platitudes. Pooja said that the state education minister, Ramanlal Vora, had told her, "The government has received your application for a job, and will get back to you in due course of time." The only concrete offer that was made, that of a clerical job, came at a time when she was fighting her battle for justice.
"The government has to perform its role by offering her social security, and ensuring her physical and mental well-being," Pradeep said. "It should fulfil all its promises of looking after her and giving her a life of dignity."
Corroborating Pooja's statement that she had sent written applications to all government notables, including Narendra Modi, Pradeep said that
Pooja had also met the Mehsana collector twice with her plea for a job.
Ajay Bhadoo, the district collector of Mahesana, confirmed receiving her representation. "She had made a representation to us in writing, three or four months back," he said. "We had forwarded it to the official concerned, who is the district primary education officer. Then the application was forwarded to the state government."
Meanwhile, Pooja continues to press on with her menial job, showing the same spirit that allowed her to survive her unspeakable trauma. She has received no monetary assistance, apart from the chief minister's token relief of Rs1 lakh, released soon after her story broke.
Despite DNA's sustained attempts, education minister Vora and revenue minister Anandiben Patel, who is the sitting MLA from Patan, could not be reached for comments.
Double click an English word for Macmillan Dictionary definition
6 Gujarat teachers get life term for gang raping Dalit student
Ahmedabad, Mar 6 Six teachers of a college in Patan near here were awarded life terms by a special court for gang raping a 19-year-old Dalit student today, a year after the incident had led to public outrage in Gujarat.
Manish Parmar, Mahendra Prajapati, Ashwin Parmar, Kiran Patel, Suresh Patel and Atul Patel were pronounced guilty by Additional Sessions Judge S C Srivastava at Patan, about 125 km from here in north Gujarat.

The judge imposed a fine of Rs 4,000 on each of them and said failure to pay the amount would invite additional six- month imprisonment.

The court also directed the convicts to pay Rs 10,000 each to the girl, a student of the Primary Teachers' Training College (PTC), as compensation.

The incident at the state government-run college in Patan came to light on February 4, 2008 after the victim told her parents and relatives that she was repeatedly raped by the teachers over a period of six months.

The girl comes from a poor background and was a resident-student of the college.

She was threatened by the teachers that they will not give internal marks to her and fail her if she did not give in to their sexual advances, police had said. PTI
Mar 06, 2009
Teachers held over Gujarat rape
By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi

Six male college teachers accused of gang-raping a female student have been arrested in India's western Gujarat state, police say.
The six have also been suspended from work at a teacher training college in Patan town.
On Saturday, a 20-year-old student told her college vice-principal that she had been sexually assaulted by her teachers repeatedly in the last six months.
Police say the girl fainted as she narrated her story to a college doctor.
Several other girls in the college have since come forward with complaints of sexual harassment against the teachers.
On Monday, angry parents and students damaged the school building and attacked staff.
The small town went on strike on Tuesday, demanding justice.
Gujarat Revenue Minister Anandi Patel, who represents the Patan constituency in the state assembly, also visited the area.
She called for more recruitment of women to teach at schools and colleges for girls.
A judicial inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
A spate of cases of sexual assault have been reported in India recently, leading to calls for tightening the law against such crimes.
Dalits rally behind raped Gujarat college girl
Meghdoot Sharon / CNN-IBN
Published on Fri, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:46 in India section
Tags: Gujarat, Patan , Patan
Read Comment | Post Comment
ASKING QUESTIONS: The Dalits want the college administration to be held accountable for the rape.

Patan (Gujarat): The repeated gang rape of a young student by her teachers in Gujarat is quickly getting politicised.
Dalit organisations took to the streets of Patan on Thursday in support of one of their own.
They are rallying behind the young Dalit student who accused her teachers of gang raping her repeatedly over a period of six months. They want the college administration to be held accountable.
"We are here in support of the courage of this girl. This incident is shameful for the entire samaj," says former minister, Gujarat, Ishwarbhai Makwana.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has sent a team to Patan to inquire into the matter.
After meeting the victim at the Civil Hospital, they want answers as why hasn't her statement been recorded yet, and why she still has no police protection.
They are also asking why a girls' college did not have a single woman lecturer.
"There was not a single woman teacher in this college where these atrocities have been taking place," says member, NCW, Yasmeen Abrar.
Feeling the pressure is education minister Anandiben Patel, a close aide of Narendra Modi, and the BJP MLA from Patan.
The opposition Congress held protests across the state, hoping to score over the ruling BJP.
The Patan sex scandal is slowly snowballing into a major controversy.
The Dalit samaj says it will take the fight to all districts of Gujarat if the accused are not dealt with very strongly.

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[ZESTCaste] Naxalites: It's us versus them again

Naxalites: It's us versus them again
Chitralekha Dhamija 12 December 2009, 12:48pm IST

So we've decided to smoke them out. Satellite imagery, global
positioning systems, armed choppers are in place. By all indications
our forces seem Chitralekha Dhamija poised to lead the ultimate
offensive to rid us of Naxalites. No one's complaining, less so after
the grim television coverage of the late Francis Induwar and his
grieving family suddenly brought the distant Maoists closer home.
Induwar, a special branch inspector, was decapitated in October this
year upon the government's refusal to release arrested Maoist leaders
such as Kobad Ghandy, Chhatradhar Mahato, Chandrabhushan Yadav etc.

The military is good as gold for messy tasks like this. It was exactly
this kind of intervention that doused the Left in Peru, forced the
Zapatistas to seek out internet forums. Closer home we only have to
look at what happened to the LTTE. So really it should work.

But let's be clear about whom exactly we expect to be eliminated. In a
context somewhat changed from the socioeconomic setting that drove the
agrarian unrest and peasant consciousness of yesteryears, who really
are 'Naxalites' today? Are they mostly poor people fighting for a
larger cause? Modern day mercenaries employed by an international
nexus? Neither? Just who is the state going after?

I have not met Kobad Ghandy or Chatradhar Mahato but as part of my
doctoral research I met with dozens of armed cadre of the MCCI and
People's War, then in process of merger into CPI (Maoist), over months
in 2003. Across districts in Jharkhand and parts of Bihar I located,
lived and travelled with these men and women - zonal commanders,
sub-zonals , area commanders, deputies, fresh recruits. They are not
members of central committees but the kind of Naxalites who, if things
go as planned by the government, will be directly in the line of fire.

A thin slice of the guerillas I met were deeply committed, men who had
sacrificed ordinary life for a cause they believed in. A few more were
opportunists who joined the movement with calculated personal agendas,
and are unlikely to die on the job. The numbers however - and that is
what matters - were made up of those I call Drifters. Not hard-nosed
ideologues, not cold-blooded mercenaries, just ordinary young people
making the best of 'occupational choices' available.

Perhaps it's also time to ask why so many children from erstwhile
'enemy' families are joining the Naxals. As opposed to the dominant
conception of Naxalites as marginal peasants, most armed cadres in
dastas I met had land enough for subsistence, often much more than
that. Their stories warn against easy essentialisation of Naxalites
and pitching them into carry-over categories from past discourses:
richpoor , landed-landless , Dalit-upper castes and so on. Take for
instance a sixteen-year-old MCCI area commander whose Rajput folks had
25 acres of land in Latehar but couldn't make ends meet. Or Oraon, a
sub-zonal commander, who worked in Delhi's Wazirpur industrial area
before he joined the Naxals. Agriculture was never on his wish list. A
Dalit area commander, who had "enough to eat" but walked six
kilometers to school each way in pursuit of "other dreams" joined Nari
Mukti Sangh at the age of fourteen. A captured MCCI 'hardcore' from an
impoverished Santhali family in Giridih had thought she would be a
"leader" .

Land or no land, rich or poor, it was finally aspirations as ordinary
and universal as recognition, achievement, status, clout and izzat
(from peers and community, not class enemies) that shaped choices in
locations that haven't provided ambitious young people with too many
avenues of self-fulfillment and peer approval. It doesn't help that
these political choices are being made at an average age of 12 to16,
when young people find guns and power that issue from holding them
uncomplicatedly attractive.

So let's go ahead with a military plan if we must but let's at least
be honest about who it is that we are going after. As we gun them
down, let's be completely conscious of the real identities of
Naxalites today - they are not quite heroes dying for a larger cause
or merely hard-boiled opportunists. Most of them are just young people
whose aspirations were never on our radar, and who the state may now
have no choice but to murder.

The writer is a Mumbai-based journalist and academic

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[ZESTCaste] Dalit family sold for Rs 2.75 lakh in Rajasthan

Dalit family sold for Rs 2.75 lakh in Rajasthan
Kshitiz Gaur, TNN 12 December 2009, 04:34am IST


AJMER: A court in Rajasthan has asked the police to register a case
against an influential Rajput family in Ajmer district for allegedly
selling an entire Dalit family for Rs 2.75 lakh to a Tonk-based
furnace factory to work there as bonded labourers.

Mahaveer, his wife Sharda and their children Rakesh, Mukesh, Ghisalal,
Chitar and his wife Sajani were sold last year, but the incident came
to the fore when the family escaped from captivity. One year after the
alleged transaction, the seven members of the Dalit family escaped and
reached their native Sunariya village in Ajmer. They took refuge in a
jungle after they were brutally beaten allegedly by the Rajput family
members who also burned down their house. The court order came after
an Ajmer-based lawyer decided to take up their case.

On Friday, a court in Sarwar asked the police to register cases
against the alleged culprits, including Gopal, Bhupender, Prahalad and
Hanuman Bheel. ''Last year Gopal, Bhupender and Prahalad took us to
Tonk on a jeep and left us at the furnace factory. We had to work
there for 15 to 16 hours daily,'' recalled Mahaveer. He said factory
owner Mustakim Bajigar refused to pay any wages saying he had already
paid money. ''We used to get very less to eat and were not allowed to
go out,'' said Sharda.


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[ZESTCaste] Mayawati for trifurcation of Uttar Pradesh

Mayawati for trifurcation of Uttar Pradesh
IANS 11 December 2009, 06:15pm IST

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati on Friday said she is
for creation of independent states of Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh
out of an

"I have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to give us
clearance for creating independent states of Budelkhand and Harit
Pradesh out of a giant-sized and unmanageable Uttar Pradesh," Mayawati
told a hurriedly convened press conference here Friday evening.

She said her move follows the central government's nod for carving the
state of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh.

She said: "I was always in favour of smaller states as they are much
simpler to govern."

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