115. Just read…… The Burning Forest: India’s war against the Maoists

Four pages of acronyms and abbreviations gives an indication of the tsunami of people, places and organisations cited in this work; all testimony to the flawed counter-insurgency that sees only a security issue. And even while reading this account of incidents since 2005, the Indian Ministry of the Interior has announced the construction of more than 250 police stations in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh to intensify the terror against the Indian people.

Nandini Sundar, human rights activists and Professor of sociology at Delhi University, has details the stories that the mainstream media has left in the shadows in the former undivided district of Bastar . Prof. Sundar been instrumental in challenge state abuse and terror, filing a case with the Supreme Court against 500 deaths and rapes in Chhattisgarh, arising out of the Salwa Judum vigilante movement. In 2011, the Supreme Court of India banned Salwa Judum, but the state sponsored strategy remains under different banners.

Her work details the violated land rights, and the deliberate creation of insecurity. Such insecurity, she argues, legitimizes the government’s coercive action of moving displaced groups into camps where they are policed, starved, and turned against their own village people. Parallel to this the big corporations take over the rich land of Chhattisgarh, all in the name of development, in what is claim are moves “toward development and security.”

The voice heard from the pages is not of the Maoist-led resistance (more CPI if anything) but an attempt to hold the Indian state and its instruments to account, striving to make the Constitution of India meaniful. As she writes in the Preface:

“This book is written because, in the absence of justice, at least the truth must be on record.”

Bastar2009 Meeting of revolutionary Adivasis in southern Chhattisgarh.
2009 Meeting of  Adivasis in southern Chhattisgarh.

Documents, statements, and interviews of leaders of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in various languages, including English, Hindi and Telugu, can be found at BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET – the website itself subject to access censor within India.

Originally published by Juggernaut Press in 2016 unfortunately with the Verso edition having the cost of £24.99 for the paperback it is unlikely to be a browsing buy but will appear on reading lists and undergraduate bibliographies.


Just read…..Night March: among India’s revolutionary guerrillas

Reading about the ‘Naxalites’


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