Revolution in South Asia

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Struggle India: Relase Asit Kumar Sengupta and all political prisoners!

Posted by n3wday on July 6, 2009

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This article was sent out on the AWTW e-list.

India: “Release Asit Kumar Sengupta and all political prisoners now!”

29 June 2009. A World to Win News Service. Following is a press release from the organisation Struggle India dated June 2009, signed by M. N. Ravunni, its Acting General Secretary. (Contact: M.N. Ravunni, Mundur P.O, Palakkad District, Kerala, India. Phone: +91 9249713184)

On the afternoon of 22 January 2008, the notorious Chhattisgarh police raided the home of comrade Asit Kumar Sengupta and took him away. The same evening, they again raided in large numbers and searched his house for two days. His wife was detained for questioning. The police seized all the copies of the revolutionary internationalist journal A World to Win, titles put out by his publishing house Puravaiya Prakashan, all the books in his personal library and his PC. Violating the norms laid down by the Supreme Court, his arrest was formally registered only after two days. He has been accused of waging war against the state in association with a banned organisation, the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Who is Asit Kumar Sengupta? Why was he declared an enemy of the state?

Awakened to radical politics through the 1960s mass struggles and mobilisations in West Bengal, Asit was attracted to the revolutionary movement through the Naxalbari armed struggle of 1967. Since then, his revolutionary cultural activism and work as a propagandist, begun at the age of 20, has never ceased up till this arrest. This creativity in the service of the people has, over more than four decades, spanned the diverse fields of literature, drama, publishing and journalism. A number of his short stories, short plays and articles in Bengali, Hindi and English have been published in various journals. His short plays were staged in a number of places, including in Delhi by students of the National School of Drama. With this literary and cultural background he took an active part in the formation of All-India League of Revolutionary Culture (AILRC) and later served on its executive committee for several years.

During the 1980s he was in the Central Reorganising Committee, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [a grouping, since dissolved, that came out of the Naxalite rebellion that had led to the formation of the CPI(ML) after a split in the revisionist CPI(Marxist) ]. He edited its Hindi mass paper Rashtriya Mukti, and also served as an Editorial Board member of its English periodical Mass Line. He fought revisionism within the revolutionary movement and played an important role in the process of reorganisation leading to the formation of the CPI (M-L) Naxalbari. He was prominent in propagating Marxism-Leninism- Maoism and presented a paper on behalf of A World to Win journal at the joint seminar in Kolkatta commemorating the 150 anniversary of the Communist Manifesto.

Asit published A World to Win from Delhi for nearly a decade. He started publication of its Hindi edition Jitne Ke Liye Hai Puri Duniya, handling on his own almost all the translation and other editorial tasks. He launched a publication centre by the name of Puravaiya Prakashan (East Wind Publications) , which brought out more than 20 Maoist titles, in English, Hindi and Malayalam. The A World to Win stall at the annual International Book Fair at Kolkatta used to be a well-noticed centre for revolutionary literature from all over the world.

When Struggle India was launched in May 2007 as an anti-imperialist, all-India mass front, he was elected its General Secretary.

The state-sponsored Salwa Judum [militia] in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh State of India, aimed at smashing the People’s War led by the CPI(Maoist), is waging an inhumane campaign of suppression. Even the Supreme Court has called for ending it. Continuous and powerful protests of human rights and cultural activists were instrumental in this exposure. The state is doing all it can to suppress such opposition and clamp down on revolutionary propaganda. The arrest of Asit Kumar Sengupta is a part of this. Nearly two years back, Dr Binayak Sen, an international award-winning people’s doctor and human rights activist, was arrested on charges similar to those foisted on Asit. Though an international campaign called for the release of Dr Sen, the notorious Chhattisgarh state government had denied even his right to bail. (It has now been granted by the Supreme Court.) Asit, too, is denied bail, while this case drags on without trial. During the 15 months since his arrest, the police could not produce any evidence in support of their charges other than the perfectly legal Maoist literature they have seized from his house. Yet they deliberately persist with the case so that this revolutionary intellectual will remain locked up in a prison cell, cut off from the people.

This is not a chance incident. Boasting of being the world’s largest democracy, the Indian state deliberately targets revolutionary and progressive writers, publishers, journalists and human rights activists. This is done relentlessly in order to block exposure of its anti-people activities, its corruption, and the inhuman torture, killing and “disappearing” of those who resist. Not only Asit and Dr Sen, the Indian state has imprisoned hundreds who dared to raise their voice against it. We from Struggle India appeal to the fighting masses and justice-loving peoples throughout the world to support, by all means, our campaign for the release of Asit Kumar Sengupta and all political prisoners languishing in different jails in various parts of the country – immediately and unconditionally.

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