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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Support Chidambaram's war

Times Of India
Friday October 09, 2009

Tarun Vijay

The brutal killings and beheading of security personnel and common citizens in Jharkhand and Maharashtra must make all Indians stand up in unison to defeat the Maoists. We must shun all our differences on such occasions. Home minister P Chidambaram must get full support in his war on the Maoists. Those who know and have been interacting with him can vouch he is willing to do another Siddhartha Shankar Ray in spite of a strong pro-Naxalite lobby in Delhi. He snubbed them on one occasion and in clear words termed Maoists as ‘cold blooded murderers’. Indians, performing their duties and living as law abiding citizens can’t be allowed to be beheaded by the beastly gun wielders who say they are secular revolutionaries. Till June this year, according to home ministry sources, 1,127 incidents of Maoist violence occurred in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra, Maharashtra, Orissa and Bihar. In these, 457 citizens were killed including a two-year-old. Two hundred of those killed were security personnel and 27 special police officers, the common citizens who offer their services to help the security network. Many were killed after being declared ‘police informers’. The Maoists have destroyed 172 schools, hospitals, roads, railway stations, police posts and similar public property in the above-mentioned period. In the last 10 years the figure of the killings by the Maoists has crossed five thousand. Their sources of funds and ammunition lie in the territories of India’s sworn enemies and their boys get training in jungle warfare too by the intelligence agencies of the neighbouring countries. So, those who act to destroy our social fabric and create insurgents, those who are our enemies are their friends.

See some of the news reports about their ‘acts of bravery’: (a) Last year hundreds of them took over a town in Bihar and freed nearly 400 inmates from a jail, including many supporters, (b)This year they stole 19 tonnes of explosives from a state mining operation in Chhattisgarh, and killed more than 50 people by setting off a landmine under a truck in February, (c) The home ministry says nearly 1,000 people died in Maoist-violence last year, while a senior police officer told Reuters there were more than 20,000 armed rebels backed by hundreds of thousands of supporters, and (d) According to villagers, (in Bihar) the victims were killed after they defied Maoists and refused to hand over their land to them."They claim our land to be theirs and the incident took place at the disputed land site. They came at midnight. They caught all he people and shot at their heads from a close range," said Jawahar Singh, a villager.

Still in Delhi, one may find a number of so-called intellectuals of the secular variety trying to raise support and a respectable space for them. They base their sympathies for the Maoists on two counts: they are working for the emancipation of the poor and the downtrodden, people who are voiceless against the repression of the state apparatus, and secondly their motive is secular, they want development for people's progress and an equitable distribution of resources which the corrupt state machinery and political system doesn’t provide. Hence their fight is for the higher motives of public good, so state power must try to understand them and provide good infrastructure in the areas they are ‘active’. That alone will help people to appreciate the noble virtues of the government and they will stop helping the Maoists.

Nothing can be farther from the truth than these manufactured premises. It’s a sham apology for the murderous exploiters of the poor and downtrodden. They work in unison with the country’s enemies and hence are nothing but traitors and antinational insurgents. Nobody has any sympathy for the corrupt and lethargic policemen, politicians nor would any sane person support the lackadaisical speed of development and lack of infrastructure in the poorer, distanced pockets of rural India where the Naxalites thrive. The rich get richer and the poor get the election dates. Hospitals, schools, roads, an administration that delivers has remained a dream, still we are marching ahead and the resilience and individual brilliance of an Indian is making the nation move ahead. A lot remains to be done but is the beheading the only acceptable method to achieve that and to cleanse the system? Then how many heads must roll before the final heaven of the proletariat revolution materialises? It’s also false that the Maoists enjoy public support. Most of their cadres are drawn at gunpoint or compelled to join their ranks through threat. If the Maoists are so confident of massive public support why don’t they contest elections and make the ugly, corrupt politicians leave the space for the Red angels?

The security personnel may be as good or bad as are the pen-pushers of Delhi and Kolkata who provide intellectual shields to the murderers of Red Land. Francis, who was beheaded in Jharkhand or any other person in uniform, is also a victim of a rusted system. Policemen are ill equipped, poorly paid, asked to do difficult duty hours, and yet not given the respect they deserve. They come from lower or middle income group families, the men in white, the netajis, put tremendous pressure on them for political purposes, at the end they are held responsible for any mistake or failing to contain the lawbreakers while the politicians enjoy dinners with them in circuit houses as we saw in the last Lok Sabha elections when the same Maoist leaders were entertained by Congress leaders to ensure electoral victory in their areas of ‘influence’ in Andhra. The men in khaki are expected to protect the citizen. It’s a tall order for which they are never trained. The police and security set-up in India remains prisoner to a colonial vision. Prakash Singh, the renowned police officer, took up the issue and got orders from the Supreme Court too, but no state has shown any interest in implementing the orders. None in India has shown that he has a stake in reforming the police set up because the corrupt and rusted machinery serves vested interests. Reforming and making the men in khaki enjoy a certain degree of autonomy, better arms and modern training in guerrilla warfare and of course better salaries is on nobody’s agenda.

One has to have an intense hate and a ruthless violent mind to behead a person or to kill children.

Ruldu Ram (not the real name but the story is true), a tribal student from Chhattisgarh is the youngest child in his family. He has a younger brother and a sister. His father was a farmer, having a small piece of land in the remote part of Dantewara. For him the life remained a constant struggle, agriculture was not enough to provide for the family needs and he had to go for labour work, quite often. Still he was getting notices of demand from the local Maoist outfits: pay a thousand, or sometimes five thousand or part with your land. He was afraid but couldn’t do anything. Neither could he inform the police. The men in khaki were as unreliable. The news would soon reach the Naxalites and they would have him killed on charges of being a police informer. One day the Maoists, six of them, came to his house to demand money. He was simply unable to pay. His children and wife were all seeing him begging for his life. The Naxalites wanted money or instead asked him to join their ranks. They get new recruits like this, at the gun point. The father showed them his children and wife. Who will look after them if he goes to the jungle to take up guns for the red revolutionaries about whom he knew nothing? No idea why they are fighting, for whom and to serve what purpose. Angry Naxalite warriors beheaded him before the eyes of wailing children and a helpless wife.

This year, when the brother of Ruldu Ram’s slain father too refused Maoist’s demands, he was beheaded in his house.

Ruldu Ram is with us, a few friends who are helping children like him pursue studies and maybe he would become a police officer. His mother, with blank eyes, works in her village, often as a labourer and tries to ensure food and some education for Ruldu’s brother and sister. She has only one dream: to see children grow up and get married. She doesn’t know that her husband was slain for the cause of ‘the poor, downtrodden and proletariat’. Those who killed were ‘revolutionaries' working to bring about a ‘change in the statecraft, which is anti-people, anti-development and anti everything that their philosophy, Maoism, another name for the Communism as was practiced by Stalin and Mao’, approves of. She is ignorant. She didn't read Das capital.

There are more than 5,000 such stories. Stories of poor, ignorant, farmers and labourers, teachers and students, infants and school-going children. All of them were killed for a ‘revolution’. To bring about a change. They were either labeled police informers or were killed because they wore uniform. They were agents of the state. Hence deserved to be murdered.

And then these, the revolutionaries who killed small and petty farmers and villagers and recruited new members not through convincing them about the greatness of their ideology, but at gunpoint,’ join us or get killed’ had a number of influential dreamy eyed drawing room chocolate cheeked supporters who would discuss the poor at International addas of passionate debates and say how Naxalsim is directly connected to the lack of development and increasing corruption and anti-people policies of the government. They would say the gun wielders are not criminals, they have a dream for the emancipation of the common people, they want to serve the poor and the downtrodden and the farmers and the women.

Those providing a shield to the Maoist murderers should also be held as much responsible for the killings as are the Maoists.

Chidambaram has rightly refused to get into this ‘tackle Naxalism-Maoism through development' trap. In a civil society, development, democracy and a strong sense of respecting pluralism can have no place for violence. We are suffering too much from the bloodshed of our own people — Islamic jihad is on one side and on the other side has emerged the threat of Maoism. Both are two faces of the same coin. Both must be dealt with an iron hand. Hence, Chidambaram needs India’s support crossing all barriers of parties and ideologies.

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