ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Appeal for Peace in South Bastar

The present situation in South Bastar is characterised by an infinitude of chronic deprivation, along with a complete absence of political discourse. Instead, we have, on the one hand, the Salwa Judum, which the government dishonestly tries to characterise as a “people’s response to Maoism”, and on the other, a purely military engagement between the state-based forces and the Maoists, which acts as a proxy to a political discourse. Both parties to this engagement deliberately ignore the fact that a purely military solution, imposed by either party, even if it were possible, would neither be valid nor sustainable.

Any quest for a resolution of this situation cannot start by addressing the humanitarian problem alone, catastrophic as that no doubt is. The humanitarian situation in South Bastar today is both the end product as well as the precipitating factor behind the current impasse. Any standard appeal for peace would begin with an agenda for the resolution of the humanitarian situation, but given the total breakdown of societal mechanisms in the area, this might have limited possibilities for success. Instead, the first and most urgent necessity is the establishment of an institutional forum for political engagement without preconditions. The purpose of this forum would not be to search for solutions, but rather to concentrate on the identification and recognition of participants in the forum, and the elaboration of an agenda as well as the guarantees necessary for the forum to conduct its business, i e, talks about talks.

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