Thursday, July 18, 2013

How police make Naxals from common men

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

It could have been an encounter if the names were Muslims. They could have been easily made scapegoat like jehadis from Lakshar or Indian Muzahidin which our security agencies are habitual of whenever they arrest anyone whose name sounds a Muslim name but somewhat it did not happen. Reasons may be different but the fact is they became victim of highhandedness of our forces. What was their fault? They went to a village to spread awareness and did not have the ‘permission’ to organize a nukkad natak in the village in East Champaran. I did not know that as I never required that. Perhaps governments want us to apply for permission for doing everything. That will never work in India. In fact, that would be counterproductive.
Last night was a disturbing one for me. Namo Narayan Meena, a student of MSW in Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidya Peeth called me at 7 pm suggesting he has been arrested by CRPF along with 8 other students from BHU and other colleges of Varanasi who had gone to East Champaran in relation to a programme in a village. I asked as why they were arrested. Namo Narayan said that they have a theatre group which comprises mostly students and it is usual for them to go to villages and perform their ‘nukkad’ nataks and speak to the people about the current situation. CRPF people felt them suspect and arrested them. They were beaten up too. Namo Narayan was quite sure that they are in a difficult situation but he was keeping a brave front. ‘ I just wanted to inform you sir, that we are not doing anything wrong, but our friends must know where we are’. I assumed that they will be put in a Thana and released later on. At 9 pm, Namo Narayan called me again saying that the police was taking them some unknown place and that he feared an encounter. Such things will automatically come in the minds of people who are in the villages and fighting for people’s right. I knew the fact that it would be difficult to get in touch with any one at the moment and hence I started trying contacting people in Bihar. It was disappointing not to find any one. One ray of hope was Khalid Ansari, who spoke to Mr Ali Anwar, the JD ( U) MP. I also passed the number to Namo Narayan and asked him to contact me once he is able to speak with Anwar Saheb.
Unfortunately, after 1030 pm, there was no connectivity. I was trying hard but nothing materialized. In the morning again, I first send a message and then called but situation remain the same. I was worried but did not know what to do. At around 730 in the morning, I called up another friend of Namo Narayan, to find out what was happening and whereabouts of these students but Pankaj too had no information. He promised me to find out. Actually, Namo Narayan was tried to speak to Mr Ali Anwar when they reached Motihari but the police officer snatched his phone and that is why we were unable to contact them till the time of their release. This is a big violation of their rights to disallow them to speak to either their lawyer or their leader. CRPF and other Police officer must be asked to respond to this as why they not allow the students to speak to their people. This is nothing but totally dictatorial.

For me it was more of a helpless situation as all these young boys have been very active and I had enjoyed some of my days with them speaking on Ambedkarism to Marxism and other forms of discrimination. They have zeal and determination to do things. I encouraged them to campaign for Humanise India and broaden their horizon. At around 11 am, Pankaj called and informed that all of them were brought to Gaya and that they would be released by the noon. I was still worried about it and hence tried to contact them. At around 4 pm when they were released Namo Narayan said that they have been released as police find nothing in them. They had been taken to Motihari. All these students are returning to Varanasi after this horrible experience where you cannot speak in your own country and you will have to take permission for every small thing to speak and write. Is it democracy? Is it the freedom that we all got from the British Raj.

Police was active in their PR exercise in Motihari that they have arrested Maoist suspect but the problem with our security agencies is their stupidities and absurd ways of functioning. For a foot march in 2008, I was hounded by the same security apparatus for nearly a year and finally the local police officer asked me whether I was a communist or not. I laughed at him but living in rented place means you are at the mercy of your owner who was more than willing to give him Rs five hundred note and verify on my behalf that I was not a ‘communist’ as he perceived.

These are the dirty games. I have many more anecdotes about these idiotic officers who feel too proud of being power of the ‘Government’ and look down upon everything else because we are just powerless. We can’t get things done at our own but at the moment; I have a request to our friends. I know they are eager to go out and do things as they have passion to do things. Please inform your friends and relatives whenever you are planning to go to some interior place. It is important to have a local contact and be in touch. Equally important is to inform immediately to friends about any suspicious activity. These things are essentials as Indian police can murder you and put an AK-47 in your hand any time and make you a terrorist. Hence it is important that just because there is a fear, we cannot leave our work. The only thing is that we have to be alert and work cohesively and in a better planned way. It is time that all the democratic forces who believe in social justice and secularism should join hand and fight democratically against such anti-democratic forces. In the meanwhile, I hope Nitish Kumar will not raise the bogey of Naxalism to fulfill his poll agenda. It is time, we take this political battle against communal fascism and brahmanical capitalism to a logical conclusion and it is only possible if we learn a few lessons with such incidents. We cannot believe in the ‘democratic’ nature of our police and state. Let us be careful in future so that such incidents are not repeated as we don’t want to lose our young who are future of the country and will be our strength.

In the meanwhile I will only say to our police and paramilitary forces that there struggle is important but they should focus on their work and not work in isolation. Unless they work with the people and understand their sentiments, they would only be outsiders and none will help them. At the end of the day, you are only fighting battle against your own people and torturing and humiliating innocent youngsters will only create more enemies and distrust among the masses and the reality is that no battle can be won without their cooperation. So, it is not the guns but the mind and heart that will make them victorious.

We must strongly condemn this incident as it violate our right to speak to our fellow citizens and villagers. More so, because it criminalize the activities of students who wanted to visit villages and make people aware of their rights. This is a warning to all of us and only answer to this is fight jointly against such anti democratic measures of the state

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