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After Dantewada, intellectuals unsure of support

HT Correspondent  Kolkata, May 18, 2010
First Published: 23:50 IST(18/5/2010) | Last Updated: 23:51 IST(18/5/2010)

Two bloodbaths in two months in Dantewada have claimed an unnoticed casualty — intellectual support for the Maoists.


Many left-leaning writers, poets, singers and activists have traditionally supported the Maoist cause, if not their methods, and pressed the government to handle their violent ways as a social rather than a law-and-order issue.

But after Monday's attack, coming close on the heels of the massacre of 76 securitymen by Maoists on April 6, some of them
are not so sure any more.

Magsaysay award winner Mahasweta Devi condemned the “senseless killing”, adding that the government should “immediately initiate talks with the Maoists in order to stop this reign of killings”.

Singer and rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, who earlier opposed the ban on the CPI(Maoist) and demanded scrapping of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act under which the organisation was outlawed, also condemned the killing of innocents.

“I strongly deplore this act of violence as strongly as I deplore state-sponsored violence on the tribals in the name of tackling the Maoists,” Suman said.

Suman said he does not rule out the possibility of the SPOs boarding the bus with the intention of using civilians as a human shield in the event of a Maoist attack.

Maoist sympathiser and Telugu poet Varavara Rao said the attack was a “gross mistake”.

“I think it was a gross mistake on the part of the CPI(Maoist) in gathering local intelligence that the bus also had civilian passengers.

They should have gathered more conclusive intelligence before triggering the blast on that bus,” Rao said.

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