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Bloodbath At Sarkeguda

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

04 July, 2012

It was a night when the innocent Aadivasis in village Sarkeguda were busy with the festivities for planting seeds at their land. The festivities are a community affairs and a matter of great joy where people dance and celebrate the event. Hence when villagers of Sarkeguda were planning for their festivities, none ever thought that their homes would turn out to be their graves with piercing bullets of Indian State. The director General of Central Reserved Police Force, Mr K.Vijaya Kumar says that his force can fight against Naxals but cannot fight against the propaganda unleashed by ‘human rights’ activists.

17 Adivasis died in the so called encounter at the place about 30 kilometer southwards from the district headquarter of Bijapur on the night of June 28th. Those who have known the police operations and their using media understood well that it is slaughter by the CRPF as to the claim of Naxal being present there, blood bath would have been much bigger and CRPF must have lost a number of their people. In this case the so called injuries reflect clearly how the operation was carried out.

Noted Human Rights defender and former President of People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Justice Rajinder Sachar demanded an independent inquiry from a retired judge of Supreme Court on this issue. Justice Sachar said that he has no faith in the ‘magisterial’ inquiry which is conducted by the people who have committed crime. And none can disagree with him when he says how the freedom of expression and political ideas are now under severe threat by the Indian state. How can reading any book or believing in any ideology becomes a crime? ‘ I too have lot of books on Mao and written by him in shelves and would like the authorities to take action against me, said Justice Sachar. The fact is that with so much of material already available on the internet, it is futile to charge people with such argument which will only make a mockery of law and law making institutions.

The insensitivity with which the reporters at the press conference asked question show how Indian society has learnt to behave whose interest revolve around its own identity. Our news papers and TV studios have no time to follow up a story which shows killing of children in the incident which has been reported by BBC. How is it possible a foreign channel is able to get live footage of the people slaughtered and yet our reporters have no time do that except to publicize the government version of ‘fight’ against ‘Maoism’. Rather than introspecting its own failures and betrayal of the tribal cause, the government, media and its opinion makers want us to believe that if there is a Naxal he must be killed immediately without giving him or her an opportunity to defend in front of the law. And to kill Naxals we must support each action of our Para military forces even if our ‘brave’ soldiers and jawans butchers villagers, communities and children in the mid night. The response is that in the war zone, the military will respond with arms and not with folded hand.

One cannot disagree with Swami Agnivesh when he said that it is one of the most gruesome incident in recent years which he termed as’ cold blooded’ murder of innocent tribal. They are fighting for their dignity and right while the thieves in the government want to control their resources and destroy the beautiful forest zones for the commercial greed. Beladila mines are located in the region and big corporations want to clear the zone for their business interest. The government of Chhatishgarh is just working as a provider to these companies.

The issue of indigenous people is of great importance. Britain, Canada, Australia had publicly apologized to them during special sessions of their parliament where prime ministers and their national parliament unanimously spoke against the discrimination meted out to them. India on the other hand remain absolutely arrogant and shameless in even accepting the fact that there are indigenous people in the country for the fear of the controversy would directly puncture the thesis of the Hindutva protagonists that they are the ‘son of soil’. Our political parties, civil society and government has no botheration about tribal. P.A.Sangma can claim that he is a tribal and wanted support from parties in the name of tribal but the fact is whether Sangma can go to Chhatishgarh and speak to the people. Can he demand an independent inquiry on these merciless killing of tribal in the central India. Yes, Sangama was proposed by Naveen Patnayak, the chief minister of Odisha, whose government have displaced thousands of tribal and where tribal have become fodder for big national and international corporations. If Sangma really concerned about the treatment meted out to tribal in India, he must visit Chhatishgarh and seek apology from the state government for killing innocent tribal. Maoist may have their own agenda but the tribal have found them more trustworthy then the political class of India in protecting their resources.

If the political parties had taken care of the tribal of India, situation would not have gone out of hand. Can we ever imagine how Delhi’s TV Chanel pick up issues of individuals and become law themselves? One can also notice how an individual event is converted into a national event with emotionally charged people speaking on the TV studios and campaign for justice. If there were this much of deaths in our cities or states by this time there would have been a beeline of politicians, social activists and people to condemn the incident but since tribal are not in the mainstream of India, such apathy is glaring and expose Indian hypocrisy.

The problem with the urban middle class is its complete neglect towards the causes that shape our destiny. It want to enjoy the nature by using its monitory gains and is habitual of appreciating the tribal as long as they remain ‘mute’ and ‘dance’ to its wishes when they travel to these locations. The same middle class jump on the Toyota show of ‘greenothan’ but refuses to question big companies, corporations and agencies when they destroy our beautiful locations where tribal live in complete harmony with nature . We call that Indian Territory but for them it is their territory which they have nurtured for hundreds of year. The fact is that we have become colonizers of these lands and going there with brutality and barbarism to loot their resources and kill them if they oppose. It is not really the question of Maoism or Naxalism. It is the question that the government wants to look innocent and naïve. It has betrayed tribal cause as Swami Agnivesh said that last year when Home Minister Chidambaram wanted him to negotiate with the Maoist groups and their leader Azad had given a proposal for peace, the agencies and villain inside them actually killed him in a fake encounter. It is not knew that a government which work in diverse directions with so many ambitious leaders ready to foil plan, can not really take a bold initiative.

The Hindutva’s thugs in Chhatisgarh have already betrayed tribal there by imposing a non tribal as chief minister on the tribal heart land. And shockingly there is no effort to win over the tribal by the same government which is using the Baba card to assimilate the tribal identity in to a broader Hindu identity where they become subservient to brahmanical forces and brought back to rituals of Hinduism without questioning the historical wrong being repeated by the Indian state. Tribal unrest in India will be damaging for India’s reputation as a democratic nation. A political prime minister would have taken bold initiative to bring them to mainstream and heal the wound but with commercial greed dominating our political class, it is clear that they have decided to grab the tribal land and convert their homes into permanent graveyards.

We gain nothing after questioning our police and paramilitary forces. After all, they are carrying out the order of their bosses who want to vacate those areas at any cost. When the war is between them and ‘enemy’ then they are not going with a big heart to placate the tribal. We know what happen in war and what the forces do hence there is no meaning if we blame the army or the police for the atrocities as they are made to commit these crimes for the benefit of state. No army in the world can actually win a battle without violating human rights and human dignity.

The question is how to we make our political class responsible and accountable for its action. The tribal question in India is serious and can actually have negative repercussions internationally if the government does not wake up. Each killing of tribal will not bring peace in the region but will make people more determine to fight against such onslaught. An independent inquiry will not be sufficient unless there is a complete moratorium on the loot of tribal resources by the colonizers and being promoted by the governments in the name of development. Let the Parliament of India and the states of Chhatishgarh, Jharkhand and Odhisa discuss the issue of tribal autonomy and their fundamental rights so that their faith in Indian state is restored so that there is permanent peace and harmony in our tribal zones. A government which has become facilitating agency for greedy corporations will never be able to win the confidence of the people who are victimized by its highhandedness as well as aggressive nationalist posturing. Civility demands that for permanent peace we need justice done to the people who have been wronged historically by our state. We need to make a big apology to tribal for destroying their livelihood and actually betraying their cause for so many years. Nothing is too late if our intentions are good. Let the prime minister and opposition parties sit and decide over this soon and send a positive message to all the people in tribal zone that we care for them, we are pained at their pain and we want their happiness and well being. Will our political leadership show its magnanimity and big heart or will it again start humiliating those who are trying to share the pains of our own brothers and sisters in the tribal heart land.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com


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