सोमवार, 28 दिसंबर 2009

NAPM expresses full solidarity with Himanshu’s

NAPM expresses full solidarity with Himanshu’s ongoing fast for peace and justice in Chattisgarh

Government must wake up to the reality and indispensability of initiating and sustaining democracy and peace in the region

The National Alliance of People’s Movements expresses full solidarity with the indefinite fast declared by Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram demanding restoration of peace and just governance in Chattisgarh. We, at NAPM feel that this is a moment of soul-searching, not just for Himanshuji, as he declared, but more so for the conscientious citizens of this country and the rulers of our nation who have sworn to live up to the constitutional values.

We salute and congratulate Himanshubhai for his resolute conviction in restoration of peace in the region inspite of the innumerable odds that the Chattisgarh Government, para-military forces and the Salwa Judum have brought his way. His ashram, painstakingly built over two decades could be broken but not his will to defend the adivasis’ dignity, rights and resources. He could be issued restrain notices by the Collector but he could not be stopped from standing up for peace amidst the air of hostility and violence; questioning the burning of houses of adivasis, displacement, brutal assault, killing, rape and intimidation of any legal action.

It is notable to observe how the same Chattisgarh Government reacted and dealt with Himanshuji differently when he was working on issues of health and education but took up cudgels against him the moment he challenged all these injustices and took a clear position on the indefensible human rights violations of adivasis. It is indeed a national shame that the Padayatra in Dantewada was not allowed to be carried out by the State Government which is trying all possible ways to screen off any independent assessment and critique of the ‘people’s war against terror’ in the state. If the state government is really interested in ending the cycle of violence and promoting respect for rule of law, it must immediately stop persecution of the real warriors of peace like Himanshuji and instead dialogue with him.

We also express our deep concern on the increasing manner in which an internal strife is being fuelled by vested interests (with the State looking away) within the adivasi communities; whether in Chattisgarh, Orissa or Andhra Pradesh, while this is the moment in history when unity amongst adivasis is most essential if they are to resist the onslaught on their lives, livelihoods and natural resources. The biggest threat' that India is facing today is not ‘internal security’. In fact the ‘internal insecurity’ that the adivasis are facing from the State and corporate giants, preying upon their resources of the adivasis is the real national challenge to be addressed.

It is high time the State takes a prompt decision to dismantle the privately armed militia; the Salwa Judum, which the Supreme Court and Planning Commission have also come down heavily on. We also sincerely urge the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to give a call to the nation that they are indeed for establishment of peace and have the sustained will to end impunity and restore rule of law. The ball is clearly in the ‘Court’ of the ‘State’ now. The earlier it dawns upon the State that voices like that of Himanshu are not the problem, but the solution and consults them to resolve the conflict, better will it be not just for the people, but also for the image of India in the eyes of the world as the largest democracy.

Medha Patkar Anand Mazgaonkar P. Chennaiah Sandeep Pandey