On February 25th the high court in Mumbai granted bail to comrade Ajith, a prominent member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), after being held for nearly 4 years on charges related to “objectionable material” found at his residence. However, the court swiftly imposed a delay on his release to allow the so-called “Anti-Terrorism” Squad (ATS) to appeal the decision. It is unclear whether or not the authorities will actually release him at this moment, but after years of unjust and inhumane imprisonment this represents a critical moment in the fight to secure his freedom.
The Indian authorities, under instruction of the corrupt and expansionist Modi regime, have recently clamped down on virtually all expressions of class struggle and dissent under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The UAPA was originally adopted in 1967 but has been routinely amended and employed almost exclusively as an anti-communist measure to silence workers and intellectuals assumed to be Maoist or Maoist-aligned. In early 2018 it was used in an attempt to bust an electrical workers’ strike in Mumbai after a worker had died and the company refused to fairly compensate their family. Workers were freely abducted and accused of having funded the CPI(Maoist) and of being terrorists themselves. It was also used to round up prominent left-wing intellectuals such as Varavara Rao on similar charges as those passed on comrade Ajith.
In prison, workers and intellectuals charged with such things can expect the harshest treatment. Comrade Saibaba was denied necessary medical attention and isolated for extended periods in deplorable conditions, comrade Ajith was denied access to a cardiologist for his well-known heart condition, and others are tortured and languish in similar conditions for years without a trial. The Indian state does not need evidence to make such arrests, so long as they can effectively stall the trial date, and press on with the most meager and circumstantial evidence to justify routine delays and “further investigation”. These practices, not unlike those of the amerikan state, represent a convenient way the pigs circumvent the “rule of law” they pretend to uphold.
In spite of endless assaults by the Indian state, the struggle for socialism in India continues in force, and the people’s war remains undefeated. The endless roundups of workers, activists and intellectuals has certainly contributed to the widespread suffering of the toiling Indian masses, but it has not broken their will. The reemergence of Maoist cells in Kerala, the increase in strike activity among workers and the growing presence of Maoists throughout the “pacified” regions is evidence that the Indian state has failed. Moreover, the constantly regurgitated threat of “urban Maoism” by the Indian authorities demonstrate the depth of their fears as a new, deeper crisis in capitalism draws closer.
While the state launches ever more erratic anti-people campaigns and attacks on progressive individuals and organizations, the CPI(Maoist) has been meticulous in the rehabilitation of their organization in the wake of terroristic “counter-insurgency” operations. They have elected new leadership, penetrated new areas and gained deeper support among those people the reactionary state has abused and branded “criminals” for standing up to the indignities of Indian comprador and bureaucrat capitalism. Communists throughout the world should study and support the heroic struggle of the Maoists in India.
In the current moment it is critical that we make ourselves and others aware of the condition of Ajith, Saibaba, Rao and other comrades in India, and give whatever support we can to the movement for their release. We are hopeful that comrade Ajith will be released as promised and he may be returned to a humane environment outside the isolating and humiliating confines of the state’s dungeons. If fulfilled, his release would signify a major victory for the masses of India and the International Communist Movement. Further, we join progressive forces all over the world in demanding that all charges against him be dropped, and that all others who have been abducted on similar charges be released.
Support the People’s War in India!
Free comrade Ajith!
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