“There has been a spate of growing murder and violence in certain areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal by armed persons acting on behalf of the ‘CPI (Maoist)’. We strongly feel that their use of the name of Mao Zedong, a widely respected figure, while carrying out the acts of carnage and killing, is reprehensible. Such acts can also in no way be justified in the name of a war against the state. While every conscious citizen opposes acts of oppression committed by members of the exploiting classes or individuals in the state apparatus, the so-called ‘Maoists’, by their violent acts of vendetta, torture and gruesome killings, are gravely damaging the cause of the popular democratic movement. The ‘Maoists’ are thus in fact working against the interests of the workers and peasants.
In order to isolate the ‘Maoists’ politically, it is however important that the Indian state do all that is necessary to restore its presence and credibility in tribal areas whose interests it has largely been ignoring. The central government should review its neo-liberal policies that have pauperized the tribal people and help the state governments to meeting their developmental challenges in these areas. Counter insurgency vigilante groups (such as Salwa Judum) have proved to be counter productive. Harassment and killing of innocent local people should be avoided while tackling the violence, and those responsible for such acts in the name of fighting the ‘Maoists’ should be punished. A genuine dialogue should be started with those ‘Maoists’ who are ready to give up the path of armed struggle.”
The signatories included Irfan Habib, Teesta Setalvad, Vijay Prashad, Usha Patnaik, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, M.K. Raina, Najaf Haider, Badri Raina, Shireen Moosvi, Jayati Ghosh, Iqtadar Alam Khan, Sohail Hashmi, Archana Prasad, Amar Farooqui, Ayesha Kidwai, Simi Malhotra, Nadim Rizavi, Sonya Surabhi Gupta, Lata Singh, Atlury Murali, Biswamoy Pati, Madhu Prasad, D.N. Jha, P.K. Shukla, Arjun Dev, Suvira Jaiswal, H.C. Satyarthi, Kesavan Veluthat, V. Ramkrishna, N.R. Rana, N.K. Sharma, Prabhat Patnaik, Arun Bandyopadhyay and Rajendra Prasad