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UK-based rights activist and experts condemn Maoist menace in India

London, Tue, 01 May 2012 ANI

London, May 1 (ANI): A London-based human rights activist has accused the Maoists of running an extortion economy under the guise of a popular revolution.

Describing the Maoists as the biggest threat to India since 2004, Peter Tatchell, the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, strongly condemned the Naxals repeated violation of human rights in various parts of India, particularly in the tribal belt.

"Human rights abuses by the Naxalites are absolutely wrong, absolutely and totally unacceptable and not to be support under any circumstances. But, the grievances they address are legitimate. It's their method is wrong," claimed Tatchell.

Incidents of extorting money from mining companies and other businesses are frequently reported. Naxals have also blown up schools and railway tracks, besides establishing parallel control in certain areas of various states of the Indian Union.

Kidnappings for ransom and release of prisoners has become the latest modus operandi of the Naxals. They have kidnapped nearly 1,300 people since April 2009, and killed 281 of them in captivity, including 94 in Chhattisgarh.

The kidnapping of two Italian hostages in Odisha ended after a month. The crisis over the abduction of Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon in Chattisgarh is still on, though the state government has said that it expects him to be released within the next 48 hours.

Experts believe that promoting development-related initiatives is the only solution to countering the Naxal problem in India.

"India needs to focus on fair distribution of resources and requires a long-term approach. The solution to naxalites is the focus on inclusive growth," said Dr. Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Programme., Chatham House, London.

The anti-development approach of the Naxals hampers government-run developmental projects. (ANI)

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Peter Tatchell

May 2, 2012 at 4:31 AM

This report is a one-sided account of my comments. I condemned the human rights abuses of both the Indian security forces and the Naxalites. I never said the Naxalites were running "an extortion economy under the guise of a popular revolution." The injustices the Naxalites highlight are real and grave. They are right to defend the poor. I disagree with some of their attacks that have reportedly involved civilian casualties. Often far worse are the crimes of the Indian police and army in suppressing popular protests and abusing the human rights of Naxalites and their sympathisers. Peter Tatchell, human rights and social justice campaigner, London 1 May 2012



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