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Mainstream, VOL LII No 18; April 26, 2014

Stop Election Violence, Join Wider Left Unity: Open Letter to India’s Maoists

Tuesday 29 April 2014, by Bharat Dogra

communication

It was extremely distressing to read in newspapers today that 14 persons, including seven members of a polling team, were killed in landmine blasts triggered by Maoists in Chhattisgarh on April 12. These election-time attacks are extremely shocking as elections, despite several problems, are an essential part of democracy.

This letter is also a request to you to reconsider your methods and strategies so that a broader unity of Left forces can be established for peaceful struggles to realise the ideals of equality, justice, cooperation and social harmony.

If I’ve understood your views correctly, then you stand for equality and justice with special emphasis on land rights of the poor. You believe that land reforms should ensure land to the landless peasants who work the hardest to produce food. You believe that the land rights of small farmers, particularly tribals, should be firmly protected. The massive displacement of tribal farmers whether in the name of mining or dams or parks or industries should be firmly resisted. In particular the forces of imperialism and multinational companies or other big corporations, who are involved in such snatching of land and livelihood rights of the poor, should be firmly resisted. The development paradigm that inflicts such displacement as an unavoidable cost should be rejected.

If these are indeed your main views, then I fully support these views and in addition I can assure that many others like me, committed to the ideals of socialism, also fully support these views. However, my humble submission to you is that your violent methods are not the proper way to realise these aims. What we need is the broadest possible unity to achieve these aims and your violent methods make it difficult to achieve such unity. This broadest possible unity should try for united action by all Leftist parties and all other groups committed to equality and justice.

At a broader level when we speak about revolution then just as opposition to imperialism and ending of wars are important aspects of revolution’s aims, similarly checking prolife-ration of arms and peace at all levels are equally important aspects of revolution. A basic aim of revolution is to root out the causes of distress, but violence as well as violent tendencies are themselves a major cause of distress. Thus peace has to be a very important aspect of all revolutionary thinking.

The greatest possible unity has to be established, nationally and internationality, to realise the ideals of justice and equality. For this conditions of open, continuing dialogue, and debate as well as transparency are needed. Secretive and conspiratorial strategies will not succeed in bringing about such a broad-based revolution, while violence-based strategies are necessarily secretive.

You can make a beginning by saying that you’re accepting this position and giving up violence in principle, while maintaining all your preparations for self-defence. Then it’ll be for the government to give an adequate satisfactory response. Also following acceptance of peace as a principle by you, various democratic rights and civil liberties organisations, distinguished acedamics, retired bureaucrats and some elected representatives can also take up this important issue so that such possibilities of changing to peaceful path become available without imposing any heavy cost on you. But the first important step is that you reconsider the path of violence and accept the path of peace in principle.

13.4.2014

Bharat Dogra

C-27, Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar,

New Delhi-110063
Tel.: 011-25255303