A WORLD TO WIN    #30   (2004)


Denounce the Crimes of the Indian Authorities!
Defend Comrade Gaurav!

As AWTW goes to press, the Indian government has just abducted two leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN(M)) and illegally handed them over by night to the torturers of the reactionary monarchy running Nepal. The two are Comrade Matrika Prasad Yadav, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPN (Maoist) Central Committee and head of the newly organised Madhes Autonomous Government, and Comrade Suresh Ale Magar, an alternate Central Committee member who accompanied the former and is also a leader of the World People's Resistance Movement-South Asia. CPN(Maoist) Chairman Prachanda issued a statement saying: "By arresting Comrade Yadav, a popular leader of the entire Nepalese people in general and of the Madhesi people in particular, and Comrade Ale Magar, a popular leader of an oppressed nationality, the Indian ruling class has struck at the heart of the entire Nepalese people from the Terai to the hills. This die-hard reactionary conduct of the Indian ruling class, which proclaims itself a 'republic' and the world's biggest democracy, has today stunned and enraged our party and the masses of people who are fighting against the medieval autocratic monarchy in favour of a republic."

This latest outrage comes as an international battle has been heating up to prevent the Indian authorities from committing the same crime in relation to Chandra Prakash Gajurel, known to millions in Nepal and South Asia as Comrade Gaurav, who has been held in an Indian gaol since 20 August 2003 when he was arrested by the Indian authorities at Chennai (Madras) airport as he attempted to travel to Europe to carry out Party work. Since Comrade Gaurav is a member of the Political Bureau of the CPN(M), which is leading a people's war to free Nepal from feudal oppression and foreign domination, naturally he could not travel freely.

The Indian authorities have charged him only with possession of false papers. Even if this were true, India does not usually treat such matters as a major violation of their laws, and usually deal with this kind of thing in a matter of hours, not months or years. In this grossly unequal world, millions of people from oppressed countries do whatever is necessary to pass through the iron wall around Europe and North America. The way the Indian authorities have treated Comrade Gaurav shows clearly that, regardless of the formal charges, in their eyes his real crime is not "illegal travel" but being a leader of a mass revolutionary upsurge in a country that has long been considered India's protectorate. India is, along with US imperialism, one of the main backers of the reactionary and thoroughly corrupt monarchy that has been fought into a corner by the CPN(M)-led People's War. The handover of Comrades Yadav and Ale Magar without even the pretext of a legal procedure shows that the danger is real indeed that the Indian authorities may try to do the same to Comrade Gaurav.

Even before this latest outrage by the Indian government the CPN(M) Information Bulletin number four warned, "There is real danger of the Indian state handing him over to the butchers in Nepal. Even though the prevailing extradition treaty between the two countries does not legally bind one to hand over the political detainees to the other side, the Indian rulers have been selectively invoking different treaties and laws to suit their own interests. For instance, they did not hand over the people accused of plane hijacking and the bank robbery case belonging to the Nepali Congress in the 1970s, but readily and stealthily handed over Comrade Bamdev Chhetri and others [from the CPN(M)] last year." (Full text at www.cpnm.org)

Protests against the detention of Comrade Gaurav have been held in many countries around the world and have served as schools of internationalist solidarity. Support statements were issued by a politically broad range of forces immediately upon his arrest, including the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the Workers Party of Belgium, the Communist Party of Norway, the Communist Party (ML) of Greece, the Maoist Communist Centre of India, and the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), and these were quickly followed by many others.

In Istanbul, Turkey, a protest was held outside the Indian High Commission and a delegation of well-known human rights activists and lawyers met with a representative of the Indian government to make known their concern. The World People's Resistance Movement (WPRM) has organised protests around Europe, and faxes and emails demanding Comrade Gaurav's release have poured into the Indian authorities. WPRM Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) and STOP USA (a platform of more than 50 groups that helped organise demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq) staged a protest rally in front of the Indian Embassy in Brussels on 12 November at which the protestors handed India's Ambassador a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Vajpayee demanding Comrade Gaurav's immediate and unconditional release. Spokespersons for the Workers Party of Belgium and WPRM highlighted the recent increasing brutality of the reactionary regime of Nepal and urged the justice-loving people of the world to fight for his immediate release. A protest letter organised by Nepalese students in Norway was handed over to the Indian Embassy in Oslo, Norway, on 10 November.

At the time Comrade Gaurav was attempting to travel to Europe, the ceasefire between the government and the CPN(M) was still in place. But since then the war has resumed. The monarchy, with its arsenal reinforced by weapons acquired from the imperialists during the ceasefire, has stepped up the bloody intensity of its US-style counter-insurgency war. Human rights groups like Amnesty International have denounced a wave of disappearances carried out by government forces.

The Nepal government has sent Interpol "red corner notices" for a number of revolutionary leaders, and the US recently listed the CPN(M) among its second tier of "terrorist" organisations. But the world's press, even establishment media like the BBC, France's Le Monde, The New York Times and India Today, have had no choice but to acknowledge that millions of Nepalese have rallied to the side of the popular insurgency in Nepal against the decrepit monarchy. Fighting to win the freedom of Comrade Gaurav is a crucial battlefront in the larger fight for the liberation of the oppressed of Nepal.

The task of defending Comrade Gaurav is particularly important for the Indian communist movement which has a special responsibility to oppose these reactionary moves by its own ruling class. A Committee in Defence of C.P. Gajurel has been formed in Delhi. It includes prominent university professors, lawyers, journalists, political activists and well-known personalities. Some 500-600 people took part in an 8 November meeting in Chennai (Madras) to support Comrade Gaurav. Speakers from a broad range of forces, including a member of India's parliament, demanded Gaurav's immediate release and threatened a "strong storm of struggle" if India turns him over to Nepal.