A Long March for Peace and Justice: Kolkatta to Lalgarh
August 9 th to 15 th, 2010
The agony that engulfs us, seeing the people's struggle for survival turns into pain, anguish and a shock, when one finds an increasing larger area of our country turning into a battleground. The very adivasi areas which have been relegated to a state of deprivation and destitution in spite of the bounty of natural resources, inherited and preserved over generations are today facing a new attack by forces that are resulting into their mass eviction and massacre, with the blood of our own brethren spilling over.
While the radical left, especially the Maoists have intensified their armed struggle against violence by the State perpetrated in the name of Growth and Development, the State is countering the same in the form of Operation Green Hunt with oppression, perpetrating the cycle of violence and counter violence. This has neither been successful in establishing law and order nor in resolving the issues related to development planning, transfer of land, minerals and other resources or even adivasi dignity which is at stake in the corporatized, minimalized development plans and actions, which are the known cause of conflict.
The situation is worsening day by day and while hundreds of CRPF and Maoists, as well as innocent adivasis are killed, thousands are jailed and lakhs of adivasis, evicted are lying in the wretched camps. Salwa Judum and Maoist armed cadres claim to be up against exploitation, but what is this civil war leading to as far as the adivasi communities are concerned? Can such a spree of murders, rapes and other repressive measures even give a hope to bring in peace and also end the conflict or attain human rights in a democratic way? Will the Maoists attain their goal and will their vision come true even after taking lives and destroying properties? Will adivasis gain the necessary inspiration and empowerment after the war? Will the State be able to rule in the region after the bloodbath is over, whenever that may happen?
The citizens of this country, not only the adivasis and other victims of development of the present paradigm but including the toiling masses as also the wider sections cannot and should not tolerate such mindless violence anymore. Large sections of population that is facing the brunt, direct or indirect must arise, awaken and act, joined by the entire civil society. To the least, we must ask questions, more or less on the lines above.
Ø We must intervene and say ‘End the Violence'. Don't approve any inhuman MEANS claiming to be justifiable due to THE END, since this would be contradictory to the very notion of the right to life with dignity.
Ø We should be asserting people's right to resources – land, water, forest, minerals – especially of the adivasi communities towards just and sustainable harnessing and with no monopolization and corporatization but co-operation as the basic socio-eco-political means.
Ø We should demand an immediate halt to the deals based on the adivasis' resources with the national and multinational investors which should remain dormant till the people's consent is obtained.
Ø The West Bengal Government must immediately withdraw the unjustly clamped Section 144 in Lalgarh and allow a free entry and movement to all organizations and individuals to assess the true situation and work towards meaningful and democratic resolution of the issues.
Ø Development should be planned within the framework of equity, justice, and sustainability with directly democratic processes, decentralized units and micro to macro approach.
Ø Ours is a free nation, but a real nationhood can be built only by respecting diversity, even Socio-cultural identities, of tribal, hilly and such other communities facing exclusion.
Ø We should also be demanding the State to implement all the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution and guarantee the fundamental rights, even apply positive discrimination principles in the case of adivasis.
Ø The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas Act), 1996 and Forest Act and all legal constitutional provisions must be fully and fairly implemented.
It's towards this end and to assure people of our support if and when they get into a peaceful struggle, or even a dialogue that we must all march together, pledge together, appeal together for non violence, peace and justice.
We appeal to you to join the Long March for Peace and Justice from Kolkatta to Lalgarh starting on August 9 th , in vehicles and train . This would be a walk into Lalgarh to hoist the Indian National flag on August 15 th .
We appeal to all organizations and movements, all concerned citizens and groups to come forward to be the organizers and marchers themselves!
LET US DENOUNCE VIOLENCE, WAR AND TERROR IN THE ADIVASI REGIONS.
LET US COMMIT TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANE LIFE ALL OVER.
We await your response …more details will be conveyed and confirmed at the earliest.
Medha Patkar Swami Agnivesh Mahasveta DeviNational Alliance of Bandhua Mukti Morcha People's Movements
National Alliance of People's Movements – West Bengal
Contact Nos: 09433830031, 09423965153, 09818905316, 09179148973