August 17, 2012
New Delhi: CPI (M) group leader in Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia today initiated a discussion on effective steps to curb rising incidents of violation of human rights in the country. Initiating the discussion on the increase in Naxalite and Maoist activities in the country over nine states, Acharia said, this threat is the greatest threat to internal security. The situation is very bad in two or three states where the state governments are not in a position to tackle the Maoist threat. More than 3000 people were killed between 2008 and 2011 in Maoist violence.
Acharia said, In West Bengal there was no Maoist activity prior to 2005. But from 2006 these started in three districts with organisation of squad. These Maoists were utilised in Nandigram and Singur. In West Bengal, there were 26 deaths in 2008 but they increased to 158 in 2009. Then in 2011, these further increased to 258. Nearly 500 people were killed during 2008-11 in Maoist violence. Some 90 per cent of them were poor people. A so-called People’s Committee against Police Atrocities was formed in 2008 and the then home minister said in this house that this committee was nothing but the frontal organisation of the Maoists. Now Maoist violence is increasing in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Acharia also said there was rise in incidents of human rights violations from 82,233 in 2006-07 to 90,446 in 2008-09.
The CPI (M) leader hit out at the West Bengal Chief Minister, without naming her, for arresting a farmer for questioning her at a public rally on rise in fertiliser prices. Acharia said the Chief Minister dubbed the farmer as a Maoist and immediately got him arrested.
He pointed out that the Press Council of India Chairman Markandeya Katju had described the Chief Minister as "dictatorial, intolerant and whimsical". Maintaining that the right to expression was a fundamental right, Acharia said this was a violation of human rights. He also recounted the incident where in a Jadavpur University professor was arrested for circulating a cartoon. Acharia said when the professor was manhandled by "TMC hoodlums", the police picked him up and not the miscreant. He pointed out that the State Human Rights Commission had made certain observations against the incident.
He said, Often it is said that Maoists spread their tentacles where there is no development. But this is not based on facts, Acharia said. As for the government’s strategy, this cannot be tackled only by use of police or paramilitary. An Expert Committee constituted by the Planning Commission on why this problem is getting accentuated, said that commitment to land reforms has weakened and it remains an unfinished agenda. Mostly the tribals and dalits have been affected in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia areas of West Bengal and in Jharkhand. Whenever there is a mining project, tribals have been affected and uprooted, with no rehabilitation. They have no right to land. The Forest Rights Act has not been implemented in spirit.
Acharia said, the second important point is that there is a need for a re-look into our policy. We have opened our minerals, mines and natural resources. These natural resources should be re-nationalised. Tribals have become land oustees. Alternative employment is not being given them. So there is a need to change the neo-liberal policy of the government. The constitutional mandate to prevent concentration of wealth in a few hands is being ignored in policy-making. Because of the neo-liberal economic policy being pursued since 1991, the gap between the rich and the poor has sharply widened. Therefore the government would not be able to tackle this problem unless it addresses it sincerely and seriously. There is need for land reforms so that the poor landless labour can get land. Without it, the problem of Maoist violence cannot be tackled.
He said there was no need for the resolution as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was empowered to deal with such incidents. Acharia, however, refused withdraw the resolution, which was later put to vote and negated.
Winding up the debate, Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh said structures and institutions were in place to deal with all kinds of human right violations.