The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Indian Christian Politician Advocates Support for Maoist Militants

Friday, November 4, 2005
RAIPUR
newindpress.com

Senior Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi on Thursday asked party leaders not to support the anti-Maoist movement as the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leaders were involved in the agitation.

Jogi said Chief Minister Raman Singh had admitted that the RSS leaders were actively involved in the exercise and its leaders had been inspiring tribals to challenge Maoists in their stronghold, Bastar, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

In June this year, the tribals in the Bastar region had launched an armed revolt against the rebels in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state. The RSS is regarded as the BJP's ideological mentor.

"I strongly oppose the participation of Congress leaders in the anti-Maoist movement after Chief Minister Raman Singh's disclosure," Jogi told IANS.

"Once the chief minister admitted openly that the RSS was behind the anti-Maoist movement in Bastar, I think the politicians of secular credentials should dissociate from the movement," said Jogi, the lone Congress MP from the state.

He claimed that the RSS was involved in the agitation in a bid to help the BJP gain ground in tribal and backward areas in Chhattisgarh where the party had never enjoyed their support base.

Though Jogi did not mention any Congress leader by name, his counsel was clearly directed at veteran Congressman and leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Mahendra Karma, who has been spearheading the movement with full support from the state government.

Karma is the lone politician from central India who is being provided Z plus security for the past decade due to the threat by the leftist guerrillas. A top Maoist commander, Bhupathi, has declared the leader as their main enemy.

Reacting to Jogi's advice, Karma a bitter critic of Jogi, told IANS: "I do not need anyone's advice... the whole Bastar region is burning, Maoists have blocked development, locals are dying due to starvation, I will continue to lead the battle against the guerrillas."

Karma said that he had apprised Congress president Sonia Gandhi last month about the ongoing agitation against the Maoists in Chhattisgarh and she had appreciated his efforts to bring peace in Bastar.

However, Jogi said he would meet Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and request her to ask Congress leaders to dissociate from the movement.

The Maoists are active in nine of the state's 16 districts and run a virtual parallel administration in these areas. Among the worst affected districts include Kanker, Dantewada, Bastar, Surguja, Rajnandgaon, Koriya, Kawardha and Jashpur.

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