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

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Beyond Rage and Vengeance

How may we begin to put an end to this war of the Government of India against a section of its own people?

In India’s internal wars, the combatants (and non-combatants) who get killed on both sides are our own people. But compare big-media and official reactions to the Sukma (southern Chhattisgarh) ambush of 24 April 2017, in which 25 jawans of the 74th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost their lives, with their responses to the 13 October 2016 felling of 24 Maoist guerrillas of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in Malkangiri (Odisha) by the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh. In the former, hysteria and rage clouded better sense in both big-media and official pronouncements, whereas in the latter, exultation and euphoria dominated their utterances. But now that the dust has settled, it is time to pause and ponder about this internal war in which the Indian state and the Maoists have been engaged. In the Malkangiri ambush, the Maoist guerrillas were caught unaware and 24 of them perished; in Sukma, a heavily-armed CRPF unit suffered fatalities because of lapses caused by their prolonged deployment over the last three to five years.

The government claims that it is fighting the “left-wing extremists” to extend the rule of law and constitutional order in the areas of left-extremist influence. But the official refrain is replete with words and phrases like “war-like” situation, “military operations,” “area domination” and “road opening party.” The police have been hounding lawyers, reporters, and social and political activists who have come to aid and assist the local Adivasis accused of “Naxal offence” and dumped in Bastar’s overcrowded jails. The government forces in the Bastar region number around 80,000 whereas the Maoist guerrillas, men and women, are a mere 4,000, outnumbered in the ratio of 1:20. Frankly, what is going on in Bastar is a “sub-conventional war,” being fought between the forces of the Indian state and the Maoist-led guerrillas, with the former not only fighting the latter, but also targeting civilian Adivasis as well as anyone who comes to their aid. So the reality is that the government is fighting a dirty war against a section of its own people wherein the rules of war do not apply and the rule of law does not prevail.

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Updated On : 27th Aug, 2017
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