ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On a CPI (Maoist) Apology

In a statement of apparent self-criticism dated 1 September 2011 (EPW, 17 September 2011), the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has offered an apo logy for the posters threatening Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze, Gokul Vasant and Nandlal Singh and members of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan. But they have not tendered an unconditional apology for the brutal murder of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) activist Niyamat Ansari and the threat to Bhukhan Singh for allegedly being “police informers” and “cheating local people” of their forestland.

Eighty-six families in Kope Gram Panchayat, including Bhukhan and Niyamat, were part of a larger movement to secure legal entitlements to forestland under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which was opposed by the same corrupt contractors involved in committing malpractices in the NREGA programme. The team exposed a scam involving Rs 2.5 lakh leading to an FIR being filed against the local block development officer. Within days, on 2 March 2011, Niyamat was beaten to death. The factfinding report published by Gokul Basant-Nandlal Singh hinted at the possible involvement of Maoists with corrupt middlemen, illegal contractors, forest department and local administration.

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