Killing of 26 CRPF Jawans by the Maoists in Sukma, Chhattisgarh in indeed shocking and highly condemnable and everyone is asking for a revenge. But, the question is: revenge from whom? From the Maoists or from the Adivasis, or from both?
Can we take revenge from our own citizens?
And, the attack took place on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of, Naxalbari—the precursor of the present Maoist movement is the tribal areas of the central Indian state—a movement of disillusioned youths wanted to create a just, equitable and responsible polity and society, a dream that turned sour, but remains valid even today as the state crushed the movement with all its forces, but couldn’t crush the dream.
To deal with the problem of left-extremism in the Adivasi areas and to nip in the bud, we have to find the answer, why Maoists thrive there and how they get mingled with the forest dependent Adivasis of the region?
It is because of exploitation against these Adivasis, began by the colonial regime, but continues even today as elaborately told by Prof. Nandini Sundar in her well-researched book, The Burning Forest that is a thought-provoking account and in-depth account of the war, genocide and state-sponsored pogrom going on against the forest-dependent Adivasis who are at the receiving end since the colonial days when the British Government established the dictatorial and despotic FD to grab the very forest produce, they were sustaining and conserving since generations and the phenomenon goes on even almost 70 years after ‘independence.’
The Naxal movement that has shaken the establishment will remain relevant and attractive to these forest-dependents until the state doesn’t take it as a real development issue that guarantees easy, accessible and affordable health, education and livelihood problems and just treats it as a law& order issue and keep persuading development at all cost, helping corporate world, behaving like its agent.
Sadly, it seems, the state hasn’t learned Any lesson even after the state-sponsored tool of terror Salwa Judum, a totally unconstitutional mechanism was finally disbanded by the Supreme Court in 2011 and remains hands-with-gloves with the big industrial players like Tata and Essar that has been further accentuated with the right-wing RSS/BJP governments assuming power both in the centre and state and continues to treat problem not just in Bastar, but in the entire central India as a merely law-and-order problem; the similar approach it has in Kashmir, whereas the problem is that of addressing basic notion of development that guarantees affordable and accessible health, education and livelihoods to all along with conserving the Adivasi way of living and culture and not ‘civilizing’ them, that is nothing but their Hinduization by the RSS and its front groups. This is re-confirmed by the action of the Chhattisgarh Govt that continues to harass local journalists and activists there and even by the court that has sentenced the differently-abled professor, G.N. Saibaba, of Delhi University, for being ‘Moist sympathiser,’overlooking the precedence of Dr. Vikayak Sen and Soni Sori.
Here the FRA, that was enacted in 2007 to undo the ‘historic injustice,’ with all forest-dependents, could have been an effective tool to implement the rights of the forest-dependents and deliver a blow to the Mosists’ propaganda, but it remains on paper and it hasn’t been implemented in its true letters or spirit anywhere.
Hence, unless an all-inclusive development of the region in not formulated and implemented and rights of the forest and nature lovers Adivasis are not stopped and state-sponsored violence by the groups like Salwa Judum or even by the security forces as the SC directed and appointed CBI has found that CRPF indulged in rapes and killings of the innocent villagers, very much like the Indian Army that committed mass rapes in Manipur in 2002 and also in Kunan Poshpora, Kashmir in 1991, the government will just treat the symptom and not disease.
Post script: While, only 31 CRPF Jawans were ‘martyred’ in 2016, as many as 467 were killed by malaria, diarrhea, depression and typhoid. 35 even committed suicides. Little wonder, many officers and jawans chose to opt for voluntary retirement and left the service.
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