Spread of armed insurrection by Maoists in India


Heavily armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district on Saturday 25th May, killing 27 people including State Congress Chief Nand Kumar Patel, senior leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar besides leaving 36 others injured including former Union Minister VC Shukla. LINK

Power flows from the gun – this is the belief of the Naxals (Maoists) who are ‘apparently’ fighting for the rural poor in India – lower castes, advasis(tribals) etc. They have established a network across 170 districts in 15 States. The Naxals have been known to attack police stations, destroy government infrastructure, kidnap government officials, extortion, torture and murder. There are areas in these States that are so dangerous that State governments have advised extreme caution for those politicians or government officials travelling through them; they are often accompanied by heavily armed paramilitary forces.

The Naxals have set up bases across many States and from there have greatly increased their influence. There are ‘liberated zones’ where no one dares enter without adequate armed back-up by State forces. This is a Class struggle that targets ‘upper castes, zamindars (feudal landlords), commercial interests and of course the security forces.

These Maoist guerrillas are called the Red Taliban for the laws they enforce in the ‘liberated’ zones. They pose a serious threat to the very fabric of the democratic process.

There are claims from some sources that these Naxals are being given ‘support’ in man, weapons and finance from the ‘leftovers’ of the LTTE (who blame India for their defeat by Sri Lankan forces), Philippines communists, erstwhile militant groups in India and across the border in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma.

So why have the Naxals been able to gain ground over the years?

Some determining factors:

–          Corruption : at all levels : Primary Health Centres which in most cases are non-existent, local governance,

–          Caste System: This plays an important part in the rural set up. Upper castes are known to dispense their own justice when it comes to the tribals etc. enforced slavery, rape, beatings and more only alienate them (tribals) for they cannot turn to the government system for justice as this too in many cases is ‘ruled’ by the upper castes’ and further are corrupt. In some areas the tirbals are treated like savages with no civil or human rights.

–          Politics: The wishy washy attempt to resist the ‘red embrace’ by countering with largesse – hand outs to tribals that are either ill conceived or merely ‘band-aid’. The inherent problems are not tackled nor is there a concerted effort to do away with wretched ancient caste system.

–          Commerce/industry: The tribals fight a losing battle against the conglomerates who ‘legally’ get access to their land for setting up one industry or another. This is theft. No one seeks the tribals approval nor do they get any compensation whatsoever. One must admit that there are feeble attempts to bring them (tribals) into the social mainstream of the country.

So how does the Indian Government tackle this situation?

–          Police stations in the affected areas have been ‘reinforced’ with watch towers etc.

–          Paramilitary forces often ‘encounter’ the naxals who use  tribal women and children and shields…a bloody collateral damage.

–          The Indian Air Force has deployed its latest Mi-17-5 helicopters in Nagpur to cover Chhatisgarh (who the massacre took place on Saturday 25th May) and Madhya Pradesh. The (SOP) Standard Operating Procedure laid by the Defence Ministry – Fire in self defence only. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose?

–          The red menace has encouraged the growth of non-state anti-naxal groups e.g. Salwa Judum in the State of Chattisgarh. Interestingly the government has supported such ‘extra-judicial groups’ which has resulted in tribals being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. These groups unwittingly have also committed serious human rights violations like summary executions (like the Naxals). This has generated ‘criticism’ from the honourable Supreme Court of India and the Central government.


A shining example –

May 25, 2013 – According to reports, about 250 suspected Naxals, blasted a heavy Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to stop a convoy of about 25 cars carrying Congress leaders in the state and then fired upon them. Although the security men travelling with the Congress convoy fired back, they soon exhausted their ammunition and were cornered in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, killing 27 people including State Congress Chief Nand Kumar Patel, senior leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar besides leaving 36 others injured including former Union Minister VC Shukla.

The personal security officer of senior Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla who had run out of ammunition and was crushed under a car, shouted out to VC Shukla,

 ”Sir, I have not been able to protect you. I take your leave.” He then shot himself. And so did the driver of the vehicle for fear of being caught alive by the Naxals who administer special treatment to captured security personnel.

The security forces are still looking for an abducted policeman.

So how should India fight the Red Taliban?

Ask any social activist or NGO and this will be their answer.

–          The tribals need to be treated like humans and not animals. Thereby utmost care and attention must be given to their roti,  kapada and makaan (food, clothes and shelter – a euphemism that also includes healthcare and social acceptability).

–          The existing laws in the country include jail time for those using derogatory words/actions against a person of a lower caste: this should be enforced and seen to be enforced.

–          Tribal lands must not be unilaterally acquired and the tribals must be informed and their interests protected by the State and given precedence over commercial interests.

–          The civil and human rights of the tribals and other lower castes must be protected and those abusing it even though they may include government or security forces must be punished.

–           Human slavery/bondage must end. Whole families, veen children as young a 2 years are human slaves. The Internaitonal Justice Mission, among other NGOs operating in india have been instrumental is saving/rescuing hundreds of families from slavery. This must end.

–           Support for the subsistence farmers/families whose crops have failed due to drought etc. It is claimed that more than 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the years due to failure of crops etc. Their families are left in penury and are then easy targets for slave owners/Red Taliban.

–          Corruption is endemic in India – it has not left anything untouched. Monies and other welfare schemes for tribals are often ‘looted’ by vested interests. This should stop and those found dipping their hands into funds allocated for the tribals must be prosecuted.

The danger that the Moaist pose to Indian democracy is best reflected in these chilling words uttered by a Chinese official– “We can break India anytime we want”


Live Encounters Magazine January 2013

Live Encounters Magazine January 2013


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Today is the Feast of St. Francis Xavier

St.Francis Xavier, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa, pic by mark Ulyseas

December 3, 2012 – The is an excerp from a  news report written by Fr.Shannon Pereira SJ and Fr.Gregory Naik SJ

St.Francis Xavier helped Ignatius of Loyola in the founding of the Society of Jesus – Jesuits – in 1540 – two years prior to Francis Xavier’s arrival in India.

The Jesuits have a special history in the State of Goa, India, where Francis Xavier first began his work. Apart from pastoral care, priority was given education and social work. The Jesuits brought the first printing press to Goa in 1556 and printed the first book in Konkani (the local language).

It is interesting to note that according to some estimates, the largest number of educational of institutions around the world is named after St. Francis Xavier. Wikipedia puts it conservatively at around 140. In Goa there are 10-12 (college, boarding and day schools). The total in the rest of India according to Wikipedia is 62 , and in the world there are apparently 66 institutions.

On St.Francis Xavier’s arrival in Goa in 1542 the Diocesan authorities had requested him  to take charge of the newly constructed St. Paul’s College, as he was a graduate (MA from the University of Sorbonne, Paris)

St.Paul’s College, of which now remains only an arch of the chapel façade in Old Goa, was given to the Jesuits (hence called Paulistas) in 1548. They not only enlarged the building but raised its academic standard to the level of a University with various departments like Theology, Medicine, etc. On the staff were prominent professors, both Jesuits and laymen who attracted students from all over Asia. The students of Medicine could practice in the Royal Hospital founded by Afonso de Albuquerque soon after the conquest of Goa in 1510. It was handed over to the Paulistas in 1591.

In 1610, following the death of many Jesuits due to an epidemic, the College was shifted to a new building. This venture came crashing down when the Jesuits were summarily expelled from the Portuguese colonies in 1759 by orders of Dom Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal and Prime Minister of Portugal.

The Society of Jesuits was later formally suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. Though it was restored by Pope Pius VII after 41 years in 1814, the internal politics in Portugal did not permit the return of the Jesuits to its colony. They had to await the constitutional reform of another Prime Minister, Dr. Oliveir Salazar in 1933. But when they finally returned to Goa in 1935 they could find only a part of the chapel façade of the original St.Paul’s and no traces of the other. They did find, however, the Royal Hospital now located in Panjim (Palacio dos Maquinezes, the Old Medical College).

St.Francis Xavier’s work lasted only 10 years from 1542 when he arrived in India to 1552 when he died on the island of Sancian, off the coast of China.

His relics, body, lies in a silver casket in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, where every year on December 3rd his feast is celebrated by thousands of faithful from Goa, the rest of India and the world who flock for mass.

The Sacred Relics, body, of St.Francis Xavier, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa, pic by Mark Ulyseas

Live Encounters Magazine December 2012 – Two Volumes!

Knowledge is power and we are empowering people with the free distribution of knowledge.

Writers, poets, photographers, civil & human rights activists, animal rights activists, social workers, professors, people from theatre and music, culinary gymnasts and more contribute free of cost to share their knowledge with the world for we all live in a small village in the universe called Earth.

Guest Editorial by Anat Hoffman, Civil & Human Rights Activist
Letter to the Editor by Brother Budi Hernawan OFM on the prevailing situation in Papua and an appeal to the Government of Indonesia for Peace Talks
Terry McDonagh wellknown Irish Poet,writer and Playwright talks about his life and works
Eric Hobsbawm – Another Jewish Contrarian by Natalie Wood
Are Bengalis characteristically Left-inclined? A study Romit Bagchi
2012 – Another Year of Living Foolishly? – Mark Ulyseas
Photo Gallery – Cuba – Joo Peter
Remember and Resist – Randhir Khare
Generating Yourself! – Candess M Campbell
Peace Needs More Than Talk – Steven Beck
Guest Editorial by Jemma Purdey, Woman-Mother-Writer
One Dollar For Music Raoul Wijffels in an exclusive interview
Photo Gallery – Bali – Jill Gocher 
Beering and fearing in Khajuraho – Harish Nambiar 
Book Review: Jeffrey Winters’ Oligarchy – Marcus Mietzner
Dr. Navina Jafa, author of Performing Heritage: Art of Exhibit Walks in a Live Encounter
Fadedgenes – Excerpt One From a work in progress book by Mark Ulyseas
Pastel ab Hmas – Richard Ganulin
I Hate Deadlines – Arjun Bagga
Art in Food – Enrico Wahl’s Food Art with photography by Mark Ulyseas

A thank you to all my friends on WordPress. Keep writing, let the world know we are only a village in this great big expanse of the Universe.



Live Encounters Magazine September 2012

Live Encounters Magazine September 2012 is out on the cyber stand, It’s Free. Please Share.

Exclusive features – The Way of Apostle Thomas – a journey into antiquity by Mark Ulyseas: A poem by well known Irish Poet, Writer Playwright Terry McDonagh : Candess M Campbell Phd exclusive on Health: Romit Bagchi senior correspondent of The Statesman speaks about his book Gorkhaland: Joo Peter’s photo gallery on Geikos (Geishas) in Kyoto: Randhir Khare’s latest book Walking Through Fire: Henky Widjaja bites the bullet on Islamic Defenders’ Front of Indonesia: Natalie Wood is back with a column on her homeland, Israel: Civil & Human Rights Activist Anat Hoffman writes a letter to the readers: Arjun Bagga pens a short story to tickle our sense of proportion.

Knowledge is power and we are empowering people with the free distribution of knowledge.

Please share this magazine with everyone.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Shame on Maharashtra – Food for starving children sold as feed for livestock!

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra. It is the maximum city where Bollywood jostles with some of the richest people in the world and a robust Middle Class churns out the money. Yet not far from this city are starving children who are having food stolen from their mouths. Recently NDTV a national television channel carried out a sting operation to catch the thieves. Here is an excerpt from their stomach churning report. You decide…does India need foreign Aid…And how has foreign Aid been used in the past years?

According the Maharashtra government’s figures,  1,17,493 children have died in the last four years due to malnutrition in state. In 2011-12 alone, 21,533 children have died due to malnutrition.


Thane: It is tale of shame from Maharashtra’s Thane district. An NDTV investigation has found that nutrition supplements meant for malnourished children in anganwadis is being siphoned off by middlemen, allegedly in connivance with government officials. The supplements are then sold to poultry and dairy farms as feed for livestock.

A hidden-camera investigation uncovered this nexus in Vikramgadh taluka in Thane district. Activists say that this malpractice is not just limited to Thane but spread  across the state.  “There is no community control. It is only a systemic control which is apathetic towards the whole issue because it’s not their children who are malnourished. It is the alienation of the entire bureaucracy from the poor is another issue which is affecting all the schemes for food, whether it is PDS (public distribtion scheme) or ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services), ” said Lina Joshi, the former Director of an NGO, Apnalaya.

An NDTV team posed as potential buyers and approached middleman Yashwant Thakre. Once the NDTV team gained his confidence he showed the team empty packets of the supplements. The contents of the packets had been emptied into larger gunny bags and stored at his house. Mr Thakre told this NDTV team, “This comes from the government talukas. The supply that comes to the taluka, we get hold of with Lina Joshi who has studied the Anganwadi system said, “It is shocking in the sense that at the cost of malnourishment which Maharashtra is facing such things are going on. Let’s face it that all these years we talked about being a progressive state; we are also now very high on malnourishment status both in urban, rural and tribal areas. And I think this is something which all of us have to accept including the system; that what is happening is that the children who are malnourished are increasing in number and that needs to be strictly controlled.”

When NDTV brought this scam to the notice of the Women and Child Development minister of Maharashtra, Varsha Eknath Gaikwad, she promised action against those found guilty. “I have not yet received any complaint but since you have done a sting operation I am happy that I have come to know what is going on in Thane district and we will take action against the CDPO, the supervisor and the sevika who is working there and we will ensure this will not take place anywhere else in Maharashtra. We are tackling malnutrition in Maharashtra and we want the state to be malnutrition free. We will not tolerate these things and we will definitely take action,” she said.a little bit of adjustment. This belongs to the government. You cannot sell it outside.”


Note: In the meantime, thousands of children continue starving to death!


Where are you going India?

Pic by Mark Ulyseas

The news trickling out of India continues to be confusing. Where is this old, elegant and cultured Lady going? Where do her loyalties lie?

On one side she cuddles up to Uncle Sam. On the other hand she works a deal to buy oil from Uncle Sam’s arch enemy, Iran, while purchasing arms from Iran’s arch enemy, Israel….in fact Israel appears  close to becoming the number one arms supplier to India.

What is happening?

India talks with folded hands and presents a picture of divinity that transcends comprehensive reality yet on the other hand spits in the very hands that supports it?

Has the politics of religion guiding the hands that rule India?

Has communal voting become the deciding factor? Like the elections in India’s most populous state which was won by a political party pandering to the Muslim vote? Even Mr. Bill Gates realised this by meeting the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh yesterday and suggesting ways and means to “help” the development of “toilet” facilities for the vast unwashed and alienated.

On Thursday, the Iranian Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi (who is in India to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Teheran for the NAM Conference), launched into a diatribe against Israel at a Press Conference with his Indian counterpart at his side, Mr.S.M.Krishna, the Indian Foreign Minister. The Iranian Minister even suggested that no Iranian was involved the terrorist attack on an Israeli Diplomat in Delhi earlier this year. While taking care not to directly blame any Iranian Agency for the attack, India had earlier requested Teheran through the Ministry of External Affairs to cooperate in the probe against three Iranians. India has also requested Iran’s permission to send an investigating team to Teheran but no response has been received. Ironically Iran is the country that supports Pakistan.

Hilary Clinton’s many forays into the festering Indian political scene appears to have come to nought. She was pushing for India to succumb to US pressure not to buy oil from the Iranians. But she didn’t offer another option. India incidentally buys oil from Iran in Indian rupees. And this helps because of late the Indian rupee has fallen from 46 rupees approx to a US$ to Rs.55.50 approx to a $!

So it’s economics and religion that appears to be controlling this vast country, not common sense.

Ministers associated with the Congress Party and its allies have been caught in a web of corruption that runs into millions of dollars. While the Central government has names of bank account holders in foreign countries, it refuses to divulge these names to Parliament even though the cash in these banks accounts is believed to be unaccounted wealth directly related to the looting of the country.

And in the meanwhile US multinational corporations have written to the US president complaining that there appears to be a lack of “decisiveness in decisions” between the States and Central Government. Added to this is HSBC’s latest report describing the Indian Economy as a “gasping elephant”.

Local armed insurgency – Maost and Naxals in some Indian States are operating with impunity… Kidnapping, killing and controlling large swathes of land. And they appear to get support from the local peasantry because the government’s policies to help the marginal and disenfranchised rural folk are mired in caste politics and corruption.

Ineptness, skewered ambitions and a warped sense of perception appears to have gripped Indian politicians. Instead of fighting the growing fire that is engulfing the country they are pandering to caste, religious and regional politics that continues to have a destructive bearing on the country’s economy and international relations.

Though Israel is India’s natural ally….yet India works “closely” with Iran (a country that supports Pakistan). It appears the Indian politicians are afraid of losing the Indian Muslim Vote therefore this stance – a ridiculous balancing act that may eventually affect the sovereignty of this great country.

Incidentally, Russia which has been India other natural ally has been selling advanced fighter jets to China and is doing brisk business in many other areas with it.

In the next ten years if Indian politicians continue to behave like local chieftains and continue to ignore the international ramifications of their policies; the arrogant Indian Middle Class continues to be disconnected from the rest of India; we can be assured that this country will fragment into smaller States destroying the dream that its founding fathers had envisaged in 1947.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om