I agree fully with Kalpana Kannabiran — for whom I have great regard — that there is enormous, unacknowledged violence in the poverty and oppression of the everyday. But I am convinced still that retaliatory violence will not remedy but only further brutalise society, and more deeply entrench violence. The violence and injustice of the state, of poverty, caste, gender and communalism, but also of non-state actors, need to be resisted, but with non-violence and democracy.

I agree also that sympathy with Maoism is not a crime. But I am emphatically not sympathetic to Maoism, or any form of violence including state violence in particular. I know this is not a popular position with many people with whom I agree on most other issues. This is why I feel I must place the reasons for this opposition firmly in the public domain, to try to contribute a little to the morally and politically important debate about the best ways to resist injustice and build a more just and humane world.

(Harsh Mander is a social worker.)

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