By Gladosn Dungdung
30 October, 2009
“Naxalism” has acquired the center stage of the whole debates in the government, the media and other public domains after the Maoists beheaded Francis Induwar, the Police Officer of the CID Special Branch followed by the killing of 17 Police men in Maharashtra, blowing up of school buildings in Jharkhand, attacking a Jeep carrying CISF personals in Chhatishgarh and hijacking drama of Rajdhani Express in West Bengal. The government and the media are crying foul almost everyday and also attempting to fix the responsibility on the Human Rights Groups on the one hand and the so-called intellectuals are arguing the military operation as panacea to the Naxal problem on the other.
The Corporate Home Minister P. Chidambaram keeps saying that the Human Rights Groups must condemn violence perpetrated by the Maoists on one hand and some intellectuals like Swapan Das Gupta and News Anchors like Arnab Goswami have even gone beyond their limit by discovering some uncivilized words like “Maoist-Terrorist” and are attempting to manufacture the consent that all the Adivasis are Maoist-Terrorists therefore they must be blown up by the military operation without looking other side of the story. The Naxal politics between the Trinmool Congress and the Left Parties have also intensified in the West Bengal.
The most important question here needs to be answered is why there are so many hues and cries on “Naxalism” though it is not a new issue. The Naxalism has been flourishing in India for last 4 decades. There were several cases of beheading people, many police pickets were blown up in the past and train was also hijacked for 16 hours in 2006 in Jharkhand. The matter of the fact is the Central and State governments were never serious in addressing the issue of Naxalism and now when the problem is utterly intensified, they are crying foul with the clear intention of burying the failure of the entire system of governance. The government officials were busy in bagging money of the development and welfare schemes meant for the poor. The law enforcement agencies were quite active in collecting money in the police stations, check-posts and other places. And the politicians engaged themselves in capturing power through every ways and means. Consequently, the Naxalism is growing day by day.
However, the main reason is that the so-called ‘Red Corridor’ is full of minerals, where the Adivasis have been residing for centuries. The Multi-National Companies are eyeing on the minerals of the regions and the government is all set to sell it in the market rate therefore it has signed hundreds of MoUs with these MNCs. Since, the Adivasis of these areas strongly feel that they have been betrayed, neglected and dispossessed in the name of development, industrialization and the national interest in India for last 6 decades after the Independence therefore they are resisting against unjust displacement. Consequently, the industrialization process has come to a halt. The Corporate Home Minister P. Chidambaram knows the best way to get the land clear is brand the Adivasis as Naxalites, capture the land and hand it over to the Multi-National Companies.
It is obvious, because P. Chidambaram has very good corporate connections world wide. Earlier, he represented the bankrupt American energy giant “Enron Corporation”, as a senior lawyer in India. He also represented the controversial British mining conglomerate ‘Vedanta Resources’ in the Mumbai High Court until 2003 when he became the finance Minister of India. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Vedanta and withdrew $70,000 that equals to Rs.35 lakhs in 2003 and also enjoyed hotel and travel facilities on the account of the Vedanta while he visited different parts of the world during that period.
One sees the Naxal cry as corporate link also because there are many cases filed against the Adivasis who are raising their voices against unjust displacement but at the same time not a single case was registered against the corporate house, who have terrorized the Adivasis, violated the laws of the land and taken away the constitutional rights of the Adivasis. For instance, the Sponge Iron factories are operating in Kolhan and Chhotanagpur regions of Jharkhand without pollution clearance, fulfilling of the job promises and compensation to the people but no action was taken against these corporate houses but at the same time, the state government has filed 11 criminal cases against 3505 Adivasis in Jharkhand who are fighting against corporate houses like Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, Mittal Steel, Bhushan Steel and RPG Group. Why?
Ironically, we live in a democratic country, where the government, the media and the other Institutions are run by the corporate houses, as a result, the rich people are always privileged and the poor are marginalized in every way. The paradox is the government promises land and forest rights through the forest right act 2006 to the Adivasis, who have been neglected, dispossessed and marginalized for the years on one hand and also signs the MoUs and promotes the forcefully land acquisition in the various part of the country in the name of so-called development on the other. Consequently, the people have lost their faith on the government. Therefore it must withdraw all the MoUs signed for the steel plant, mining projects and power plants, create a democratic space for the common people, where decent voice can be heard because the theories of the sunglasses will only complicate the problem.
The failure of the state, growing social inequality and non justice delivery are the main reasons of spreading the Naxalism therefore the state has no moral rights for crying foul at this moment. The conflict between the state and the Maoist will never come to an end till the marginalized people were ensured social, economic and cultural justice and also they are made stakeholders to the development and welfare schemes. In a democratic country any kind of violence perpetrated either by the state or non-state actors can not be justified and violence can never be the means to address the issues in either ways. Therefore, both the parties should come together and find out the middle ground, where the media can also play a constructive role because the society can not survive without harmony and peace.
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based in Ranchi Jharkhand. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org