May 24, 2007

No one left

Three arrests in the news in recent weeks: of Dr Binayak Sen, Arun Ferreira, Murali Satya Reddy. It's OK, you think. For the police tell us that they came for these people who are Communists, or Naxalites, or Maoists. Even "hardcore" Naxalites. What's the problem?

Well, it's to answer that last question that Martin Niemöller wrote a poem about the Nazis. One version of it reads like this:
    First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the sick, the so-called incurables,
    and I didn't speak up,
    because I wasn't mentally ill.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me,
    and by that time there was no one left
    to speak up for me.
Let's remember: there are still some of us left. Right now.


km said...


Anonymous said...

Absolutely true. It seems that McCarthyism is gripping India. In Chhattisgarh, the new law CSPSA has draconian provisions.
If I have any communist literature at my home, I am open to persecution. This is when, in the name of salwa judum, entire villages are being wiped out.

Latest in the case: Rajendra Sail, president of PUCL, CG has also been arrested.

Anonymous said...

Dont have the details of this.

1. The transition I detect is at Maoist-harcore naxalite \- vs -\ the others in the list: communist, sick, jew. Wish Dilip had taken a little more time to slide across that.

2. At least one, Murli satya reddy is claimed by naxal sites as a divisional commander - perhaps of a liberal arts society engaging in free expression- in Rajnandgaon-Gadchiroli areas.

Will check on the others.

3. I wonder if its OK to go after people only after they have committed crimes or if police have strong enough evidence to suggest impending criminal activity can they go ahead with deterrent action.

4. A speedy and fair trial should always be assured.

5. It should be possible to sue for false arrest and exact damaging penalties & imprisonment of the arresting cops in case of harassment and wrongful arrest.

6. Naxalism:
what level of activity is criminal, is it only the guy that fires AK47s/ sets off bombs.

- how about those that form part of the intel network or logistics support for them, feed/ clothe/ treat them.

- how about the evangelists of this cause that work to create an enabling environment for them to operate. Does this come under FoS?

Perhaps these guys are just calling like that Sikh Guru, for "somebody's head on a platter" but slicker and not that obviously.

Do we reward them for their clever way of going abt the same thing?


Dilip D'Souza said...

Wish Dilip had taken a little more time to slide across that.

Slide across what? I don't follow. Read other versions of the poem (linked in the post) to see the other groups of people mentioned.

In any case, that's the whole point: when they came for people I didn't care for, I didn't say anything -- until they came for me, when there was nobody to say anything for me.

Nikhil's comment is, in effect, the reason Niemöller wrote his poem.

Anonymous said...

why is Charrrukh and the Boooollywood dancing in movies while the Bombay city is becoming biggest shanty-town in world ??

"Nero fiddled while Rome burned.....and Charrukh and Booollywood danced while Bombay became shanty-town".

Anonymous said...

all Communists and Chinese-Mao-boot-lickers should stop using American and Western invented capitalistic stuff such as computers, internet, television, automobiles, aeroplanes, machinery, pharamceuticals, satellites, etc.......and go and sit in their mud-huts in Calcutta.

unfuel the planet said...

i had read this poem long time ago... and i totally agree this is what caste segregation will do to us

Stray said...

I feel the problem is of perception. Communism/naxalism may seem like a disease in a capitalist world. But the fact that oppression of the highest order led to the violent naxal uprising, says something about the times that were. And the bigger fact that naxalism still exists i feel says even more strongly about the times that we are still stuck in.
Poland launched its Lustration laws that divided its societyinto two- supporters and protestors. Unfortunately, in India our very own lusration brings only supporters. Strange that no one's willing to look behind the veil.

Anonymous said...


IMHO being arrested by Indian police is a risk that Naxals / Naxal sympathizers knowingly run, and is a lot better than being 'encountered'.

I still believe in our judicial process and think that ppl who are falsely arrested will be let off by the courts.

To a fair extent, I even believe that police will 'false-arrest' only ppl that they have a fair to considerable evidence against, even though it falls short of convicting them.

When I think about the possible rights I will have in a society controlled by Naxalites / Maoists - after their revolution succeeds - unlike a society that is ruled by the sick, the jews, or even the communists- I am very tempted to overlook excesses committed in the defence of the freedoms I enjoy now.

My support for the rights of naxalites under Indian law and due process is sadly dependent on an inverse proportion of the chances of their revolution succeeding.

I think the same goes for jihadi terrorists or any other kind of wrongdoer.


Anonymous said...

Final comment:

1. Support Dilip on Dr.Binayak Sen

-- fairly clear that some targeted attempts at muzzling PUCL are on.

2. Ambivalent on Arun Ferreira.

3. Oppose, as already with comment #1 on Murali Satya Reddy.

Cant put in more time on this. In my previous comments on arrests vs false arrests, I havent given enough consideration to planting false evidence and framing an innocent person.

However I think Indian courts are fairly wary of police methods and it will not be too difficlt, for a good laywer to punch thru fabricated stuff.

4. Transition:
is between ppl who are part of the system and working within its parameters:
Group#1: sick, jews, communists

and ppl who are actively and violently trying to overthrow it-

Group #2: maoist naxals.

This is a boundary case for the system being overthrown.

As I said in my earlier comment, the system will most likely offer closest to unbiased due process only if it has an assurance of prevailing and its writ running.

As the situation departs from this, the system will take steps to ensure its preservation that *will* abridge due process.

I am reasonably confident that this will be true for any system:


- lets have ~25% of US territory defacto controlled by an organized militia comparable to PW/MCC conglomerate for a similar length of time

- not necessarily absolute loss of govt authority, open contests and a 50-50 win ratio is sufficient

- and check on civil liberties and first amendments and their implementaion then.

Fairness of the system is not relevant to the above discussion.

It is necessary to change a system to be fair and inclusive without getting it into defensive reflexes thru maoist confrontation.


Dilip D'Souza said...

I am very tempted to overlook excesses committed...

Ambivalent on Arun Ferreira...


All more reasons that Niemöller wrote his poem.

Anonymous said...

1. Reasons for Neimoller:

Agree and am thankful to him for saving me from becoming an all-out savage.

2. Hope you noticed that I want a free and fair trial even for Murali Satya Reddy*, whose praja court would have settled a case on you or me in 2 hrs flat with sentences that go up to execution.

*- everybody for that matter- osama bin laden included.

3. I support the arrests of Naxal sympathizers that police have sufficient evidence against.

Am still ambivalent on Ferreira, Neimoller or no. Let the courts decide. Only caveat I see is false evidence as I mentioned before.

4. But do you see a boundary case here as you do with the FoS track.


Anonymous said...

I think there is a great deal of after-the-fact rationalization (and some remorse) being shown by right-wing cadres regarding Dr. Binayak Sen's chilling arrest by the state government. Dr. Sen was merely doing his job as a doctor and human rights practitioner, stoutly performing under the moral injunction requiring us all to be our brother's keeper. I have no opinion, favorable or otherwise, about the Naxalites or the State, and would prefer if others did not conflate their preferences for one side or the other with Dr. Sen's unjustifiable incarceration by the junta. Fil Munas (USA)