Saturday, April 17, 2010

Operation Greenhunt II: Who were hunting whom in Dantewada?

Chidambaram: India's George Bush?

Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan at a Press Conference, addressed by signatories of an Open letter to the PM on October 19, 2009 in Delhi, had this to say about Chidambaram - “He has represented many companies with business interests in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, he was a director of Vedanta (a multinational with mining ambitions in Orissa) until the day he became finance minister in 2004. The idea of this war by the government seems to be to use propaganda to get tribal areas vacated for corporate companies, just as George Bush used a false campaign on weapons of mass destruction to grab Iraq’s rich oil wells for American business houses.”

Interestingly, just as Prashant Bhushan said, Chidambaram sounds very much Bush-like when he said "I had said that to counter the menace of naxalism we need ‘a strong head, a stronger heart and enormous staying power’. I believe that the Government has all three qualities. Even as we grieve the loss of lives, I appeal to the House – and through this House to the people of India – that we should remain calm, hold our nerve and stay on the course that we had carefully chosen since October 2009”. Was not 'Stay the Course' the phrase used at least 30 times and made famous by Bush in his policy statements on Iraq!? The usage of the phrase inadvertently tells that the Bastars and Dantewadas are as alien to Indian rulers as Iraq was to US!

Operation Greenhunt: Who are hunting whom?

That is a striking piece in India Today - Slain CRPF man had to take pay cut. It shows who were fighting whom in Dantewada. The CRPF jawans were earning a meager 10,000 per month while relocating and getting used to different theatres of war, from Kashmir to Assam to the hills in Dantewada. And yet, for all their service, the likes of Udaiveer get this kind of treatment from the ruling elite. It is the same indifference, insensitivity from the rulers that swells the ranks of the violent Maoists. Indifference of the Indian state over 6 decades to their basic amenities, education and health drove the tribals into looking at an alternative in Maoism and the state’s ruthless exploitation of their natural wealth now is forcing them to pick the gun. And so we have the poorest of India – CRPF jawans from predominantly UP and Bihar fighting the mainly Andhra Pradesh Maoist guerrillas in the hills of Chhattisgarh! 74 jawans and 8 Maoists die. And for whom? To fill the coffers of the super-rich and the MNCs, with the wealth from the tribal lands.

In a related piece in IBN, a CRPF jawan says “The British have gone but left the babus behind. The Officers act like British babus with us. The condition will always remain like this, nothing will change. Even when Central government will declare some package in Parliament, the big bosses will fatten their pockets further. They are buying crores of machinery and getting commissions. We don't even get a deserving pay” Is Mr. Chidambaram listening? No. He is busy fomenting paranoia and selling a civil war to Indian public. His own transformation from a business executive into a finance minister and then into Home minister seems to be seamless and in complete harmony. He was a non-executive director of the infamous ’Vedanta’, one of the biggest players in mining in the same region now the Operation Greenhunt is on, till the day he swore as the finance minister. And now as Home Minister, he gets down to do the dirty work of annihilating the tribals out of their homes and handing their mineral-rich regions, like in Chhattisgarh and Orissa, to the Vedantas, Tatas, Essars etc.

This job of emptying the Scheduled Areas is easy to do in the guise of an anti-Maoist operation (official figures state that around 644 villages were emptied and nearly 200,000 people displaced by the by the state-backed militia Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh) and these operations would get public support only when Dantewadas happen and paranoia is spread the way the minister is doing now about how Maoists will overthrow the state. So never mind that Udaiveer struggled with his pay when alive, he would now as a dead get Rs. 35 lakh, swiftly by this month-end as per Chidambaram. That is how important this operation is and how heroic the forces participating in it are, Chidambaram tries to make us believe now. Deify the poor Jawan, keep propagating that the Maoists are India’s number 1 enemy (ahead of the LeTs and Al Qaedas ) until the Indian middle class gets around to mentally accepting that it’s okay to throw the poor tribals out of their centuries-old ecosystem - that is the approach. This is a deadly game being played where India’s poorest, who never got anything from Indian state would be robbed of the only thing they have – their tribal land, by the state and the big corporations. The jawans, like those 74 dead, are but pawns in this game.

My Previous Posts on 'Operation Greenhunt':

Operation Greenhunt I: Chidambaram, when would your violence end?


sravan said...

"You have touched the bottomline"

Jai said...

Well I do agree with you when you say that there is anguish amongst the security forces for the lack of basic amenities like medicinical facilities , fooding , shelter etc.. I also agree and strongly share the views on the treatment meted out to the tribals over the past six decades.

But, at the same time I would strongly disagree with the feeling of the article which looks like justifying method and the intentions of these naxals in the garb of showing them being the 'victims'.

Yes its true that our system has not lived upto the expectations on many fronts. The widespread corruption in almost every sphere stinks and stinks rather badly and each Indian is victim of the fellow Indian. Be it the government officials who thrive on unchecked greed of the corporates or the 'common middle class Indian' who has not left any chance in twisting , using and abusing the system with whatever resources available. All this has made the administrative system and the delivery mechanism riddled with inefficiencies.

But this systemic disease doesn't give free license to any organized group of individuals to carry out carnages of the same people they so blaringly claim their support for. It has been reported time and again that these elements are not 'the Robinhoods' but rather cold blooded criminals. Their connivance with the local officials in eating away the allocations made for development of the region is also well known. They have very ably used the political divisions and electoral politics in the states and have their supporters in the establishment who have been sharing symbiotic relationship with them and this shows their real intent

Chidambaram might have been a part of corporate body prior to his political debut and his strategy in countering the naxals might have been flawed. But their cannot be a second point of view on this that they should have to be dealt with strong hand and well thought out strategy. The writ of the state has to prevail over them. The strategy has to be all-inclusive which has to take into account the right of tribals on the forest land and provide for commensurate compensation policies .Ample ckecks and balances need to be in place while deciding upon the purpose , the party and the proceeses while going for allocating the mineral reserves for utilization and this needs to be monitored by some autonomous regulator which should have some representation from legitimate members of tribal community and civil society.

Madhav said...

I completely agree with what Sravan says.

Usually, we see naxal menace from a single perspective alone.

Little is thought about why so many people out there prefer a life of danger! Is is a kind of amusement?!!

In India we see a very few elitists in control of an overwhelming proportion of resources. As long as such things happen, it is bound to impact us.

Excellent write-up..

Amar said...

@ Jai

//there is anguish amongst the security forces for the lack of basic amenities like medicinical facilities , fooding , shelter etc...//

I am not just talking about lack of basic amenities. I am in general talking about the background they come from and the similar background of the people they are fighting.

Why is that criticizing the Govt automatically would mean supporting the Naxals for u!?

Amar said...

//Little is thought about why so many people out there prefer a life of danger! Is is a kind of amusement?!!//

A life they would spend succumbing to the Govt atrocities is obviously more dangerous and humiliating. Somehow this simple thing is lost on all the folks who vociferously supporting the groups who want to just sell away this countries resources for their own personal gains.