Staging a candlelight vigil at the high-security India Gate area on October 9, 2009, members of the civil society protested against the barbarism of Maoists, who beheaded Francis Induvar, an inspector in Jharkhand Police in the outskirts of Ranchi, a few days back. Confronted with the alarming rate at which the Maoists have been targeting innocent citizens, the members of the civil society, under the aegis of Civil Society Forum, sought to press home the fact that this kind of barbarism was no longer acceptable. The candlelight vigil was held to protest against the soft attitude of the Government towards the Maoist violence let loose across several states of the country.
Over 200 people, including students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Jamia Milia Islamia alongwith eminent citizens like KPS Gill, Joginder Singh, Vijay Kapoor, Balbir Punj, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Dr Chandan Mitra, Tarun Vijay, R Balashankar, gathered to express their solidarity with the victim’s family, defying the prohibitory orders. Activists raised slogans terming Francis Induwar as a martyr. Banners were displayed condemning the brutal act and urging the Government to act in retaliation. The gathering was targeted to stir the consciousness of people towards the threat that Maoists violence posed, where civil society has moved beyond condemnation to prod the Government and the establishment to initiate active counter offensive against the menace. Student activists Vivek Vishaal and Santosh Pathak from JNU and Delhi University Students Union president Manoj Chodhary said, “We honour and salute police officer Francis Induvar for his martyrdom in defence of the Indian State.”
KPS Gill, former DGP of Punjab, said, “There has to be a political consensus. Security forces need to be strengthened and proper economic steps should be taken. The Government should be able to deal with intellectuals who are pro-Naxals. This should be done with adequate intelligence. You cannot stifle their voices rather should deal their philosophy with truth.”
Dr Chandan Mitra, editor of The Pioneer, who had visited the aggrieved family in Ranchi just a day before, recalled that the victim’s son re-iterated that he would be an inspector and fight the Naxals.
He said that it was a shame that for the past six months Induwar was not even getting his wage. He said that the Government should sympathise with the family and pull up its socks. BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “To know what is right and not to do is cowardice. These extremists should be dealt with strictly.
With such a barbaric act, the Government should not try and sit for a roundtable conference but should act in retaliation.
In a direct indictment Balbir Punj, Member of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and convener of this vigil said, “Opinion leaders have been prevaricating this issue for a long time. This is the time to act. This is the 393rd murder in the State of Jharkhand. This is happening when there is President’s Rule. When is the government going to wake up?”