War on Maoists: Activists feel the heat

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War on Maoists: Activists feel the heat
New Delhi:  NGOs and civil rights groups allege that being targeted by the police in the Centre's war against the Maoists. Many activists find themselves branded Naxal sympathisers - directly or indirectly - in the 1,000-page chargesheet against Kobad Gandhy, considered a big catch in the war against Naxals.

Gandhy was arrested last September in Delhi on charges of forgery and promoting Maoist ideology. The chargesheet produced on February 18 names several NGOs and activists for being supporters or helping to expand the Maoist network. It says: "Other civil liberties and human rights organisations i.e. PUDR, PUCL and APDR also take up issues of their outfit CPI (Maoist). These organisations play a very important role in broadening the base of the outfit."

"The idea is to intimidate people. For each person arrested, you silence 25 others. We are entering an era where the Government is criminilasing thought itself," says Arundhati Roy.

Rajinder Sachar, PUCL President and former chief justice at the Delhi High Court, says: "I protest very strongly that PUCL other organisations have been named. Violation of human rights is a violation of human rights, irrespective of whether the victim is a terrorist or an innocent person."

But the Centre is in no mood to let up on its campaign. "Naxals seduce the media and unleash false charges in courts and use unsuspecting NGOs and activists. The debate between Intellectuals and civil rights activists confuses people," the Home Minister said recently.

As the campaign intensifies, many fear the voices of reason may become a casualty in this war.


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