Skip to main content

Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: 'Failure' to address Adivasi concern over their natural resources

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

The brutal Naxal attack on the security forces in Chhattisgarh is a reminder of how the Naxals have amassed huge weapons to 'protect' their zones. It is a complete intelligence failure on the part of both the Central and state governments who allowed this massive assault to happen. This was the same region where earlier the Maoists had ambushed security forces killing them in large numbers.
Chhattisgarh's Congress leadership was virtually wiped out by the Maoist attack in Sukma. If this is a dangerous terrain, then the Central intelligence agencies must ponder as to what is the reason for this continuous failure, because there is no other region where the Naxal attack on security forces has been so intensive.
With this kind of violence, no sane government will appeal for peace. The security forces are expected to follow the 'rule of law' and should do the same. At the same time, no one should encourage them for violating their own code of ethics, because that is the difference between private militias and professional forces, who are there to protect the people and the region.
It has been seen that in the din of avenging deaths, many in the security forces make the ordinary Adivasis their victims. One can only hope that they won't do it this time. Targeting Adivasis and assaulting them for this would be playing in the hands of those who wish to strengthen their narrative against the security forces.
As Naxals have now confined to a few zones, it seems their desperate attempt to assert their 'presence' in the region and the violence unleashed by them will harm the Adivasis and ensure more government money being pumped in for security purposes, thus ensuring entry of the big corporations, which is being resisted by the Adivasis.
It is sad that the real issues have been pushed to the backburner as successive governments have not ensured Adivasis anything new. Their forest rights are under attack, and not much land has been given to them in these regions. Will the government in Chhattisgarh as well as the one in Delhi come out with a comprehensive package to ensure the protection of Adivasi land and their participation in the decision making process of the region they belong to?
The irony is that Chhattisgarh has more outsiders as 'landed' and 'business' people, but the Adivasis and Dalits remain the same. The Adivasis, perhaps, can't even think of having a chief minister from their community in the state, as for all the practical purposes the outsiders have had more stakes in Chhattisgarh than the local people. How long will this inequality be allowed to continue?
Will the government come up with a comprehensive package to protect Adivasi land from corporate loot?
Equally important for the government is to sensitise the Central forces about the sensitivity of the local population, particularly the Adivasis. Treating every Adivasi as a Maoist falls in the trap laid by those who 'glamorise' them as 'revolutionaries' . Maoist violence actually legitimizes the Central government efforts to militarise the zone and hand over the beautiful natural resources to the big corporates.
If the government really wants to eliminate violent insurgency in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere, it must address the anxiety of Dalits-Adivasis and ensure their voice is heard in all the decision making processes. There is a need to strengthen the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA in all the forest zones and provide them autonomy, build schools, and credible public health system. Also, one must ensure that young Adivasi leaders flourish, and their concerns are heard. Without that it won't be possible to tackle the issue of violence.
Most of the jawans in our armed forces as well as para military forces hail from kisan families. One knows their pain, as they have to go in a different terrain, follow the order and lay down their lives. They live in difficult circumstances, and their service terms and conditions too are far inferior to their other counterparts.
Indeed, the internal security battles are extremely tough. Treating them as a mere law and order problem will not work. It is time for our political class to ponder and sit along with diverse sections of people, including the people of this region and other zones, listen to their voices and do the needful.
Adivasi zones need everlasting solutions and such brutal violence only helps those who do not wish Adivasis to live peacefully. Let the Adivasis be given autonomy over their regions to decide about their future and developmental work, and we will see a big change.
Our condolences and solidarity with the families of the martyred security personnel. One only hopes the government will do enough to take care of their families so that they don't suffer in future.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

Anonymous said…
india is the worlds largest democracy. democracy is also always biased and selective. invariably the disenfranchised suffer in a democracy

TRENDING

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Saving farmers and consumers from GM crops and food: Philippines court shows the way

By Bharat Dogra*  At a time when there is increasing concern that powerful GM crop lobbyists backed by enormous resources of giant multinational companies may be able to bulldoze food safety and environmental concerns while pushing GM crops, a new hope has appeared in the form of a court decision from the Philippines. 

Top Punjab Maoist who failed to analyse caste question, promoted economism

By Harsh Thakor*  On June 15th we commemorated the 15th death anniversary of Harbhajan Singh Sohi or HBS, a well known Communist leader in Punjab. He expired of a heart attack in Bathinda in 2009.