[WSF-Discuss] Fwd: In the Wake of Dantewada Massacre: Three (Divergent) Responses

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Wed Apr 7 23:12:30 CDT 2010

Thursday, April 6 2010

As you must know, the government of India has launched a so-called  
‘Operation Green Hunt’ against Maoist forces active in central India  
(in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal).   
Day before yesterday, on Tuesday, April 6, some 76 members of the  
government of India’s operational forces in the area were killed in  
what has so far been called an ‘ambush’ and a 'massacre' by the  
Maoists – and with apparently no loss of life among the Maoists.  This  
is by far the largest such ‘loss’ for the state, and if experience in  
other such so-called ‘counter-insurgency’ actions elsewhere in the  
country in the past are anything to go by, this could be the prelude  
to a major racheting up of the scale of warfare, both officially  
launched and as uncontrolled reprisals by the government forces who,  
as someone has already said, must be really pissed off by what has  
taken place.  And where they will almost certainly take their  
vengeance out on the ordinary people of the area, mostly Adivasis  
(tribal peoples) and mostly innocent.

I have done periodic postings on earlier happenings, but this is now  
big.  I therefore expect to be now more regularly forwarding  
information on what is happening.

First, this one, a useful collation of articles and diverse opinions,  
and a comment; and then news of a major initiative taken by civil  
movements and organisations, an ‘Independent People’s Tribunal on Land  
Acquisition, Resource Grab, and Operation Green Hunt’ that is taking  
place from tomorrow in New Delhi.



Begin forwarded message:

> From: Sukla Sen <sukla.sen at gmail.com>
> Date: April 8 2010 8:57:42 am GMT+05:30
> To: foil-l <foil-l at insaf.net>, nonuclear <nonuclear at lists.movingrepublic.org 
> >,  Free Binayak Sen <free-binayaksen at googlegroups.com>
> Subject: [NoNuclear] In the Wake of Dantewada Massacre: Three  
> (Divergent) Responses
> [The IE editorial today despite its shrill tone quite interestingly  
> draws pointed attention to the considerable divergences within the  
> larger ruling bloc. That's significant.
> In fact, no less than the Prime Minister of India has almost  
> instinctively dismissed the Home Minister's suggestion that air  
> power be used against the deadly Maoist insurgents by claiming that  
> we're too close to the event to do a "review" of current policies.
> But then a review is badly needed if not from the standpoint of Mr.  
> Chidambaram.] .
> I/III.
> http://www.indianexpress.com/news/stayresolute/601715/
> Stay resolute [Editorial]
> The Indian Express Posted online: Thursday , Apr 08, 2010 at 0218 hrs
> The rhetorical ground on the Maoist insurgency had already been  
> covered and the debate settled in the light of facts. That is why,  
> after Tuesday’s well-planned Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh’s  
> Dantewada district that left 76 security personnel dead in the worst  
> single Naxal attack to date, the notes of discord being struck in  
> certain political quarters are counterproductive. These seek to take  
> the argument back to a point long left behind, one to which the  
> Indian state cannot afford to return. Should the operations be  
> scaled down? No. Because that would immediately cede territory  
> recently recovered from Naxals back to them, precluding all chances  
> of ending the insurgency. Should “provocative language” against  
> Maoists be dropped? Here’s a counter-question: whence the idea that  
> those who massacre 76 men after trapping them, those who for years  
> have kidnapped and butchered civilians and policemen, blown up  
> stations, roads, bridges, schools, burnt peasants’ crops, who have  
> reiterated countless times their unwillingness to compromise till  
> the state is destroyed — whence the idea that these people care  
> about the softness or harshness of words?
> The nation’s main opposition party, the BJP, has displayed realism  
> and good faith in promising to support the government through this  
> crisis. But its alliance partner, the JD(U), and the Samajwadi Party  
> have not. It’s a leap of logic to blame Tuesday’s massacre on  
> “provocation” of the Maoists. Does it occur to these critics that to  
> mollify the Naxals or de-intensify Green Hunt, especially now, is to  
> legitimise the rebels? If it does, they are opportunists in the garb  
> of agnostics. If it does not, they join those activists who defy  
> logic, in blaming “state violence” and the anti-Naxal offensive for  
> the ambush. In countering such woolly-headed argumentation this is  
> what had been established: Maoists are terrorists who hardly deserve  
> the consideration the state accords to those it dares not “provoke”.  
> The imperative is to boost paramilitary and police morale and  
> training, not to feed the hesitation of states still unable to  
> summon their full political will.
> The Congress too must put its house in order: the time is past to  
> question the “hardline” policy, the “aggressive” statements, which  
> some Congressmen believe may be “counterproductive”. Hopefully, as  
> the government has said, the goal remains restoring civil  
> administration in Naxal-affected areas and rooting out Maoist  
> influence. There will have to be changes to strategy and tactics,  
> not in regressing to the Shivraj Patil years, but in taking the war  
> against Naxals to its only humane conclusion: the victory of the  
> state and of the people.
> II.
> http://chhattisgarh.ozg.in/2010/04/naxal-butchers-73-crpf-in-dantewada.html
> Naxal Warfare in Central India
> Arnab Sen
> Maoist guerrilla attack kills 75 security personnel in Dantewada, in  
> the indigenous homelands of Central India. Are security personnel  
> cannon fodder in the 'Maoist infested' heartland of India? Should  
> the state send in the Air Force? But what about collateral damage?  
> These are some of the loud speculations in the the never-fail-to- 
> miss-the-point mainstream media, the idiot news on idiot box. Till  
> now, there's deathly silence in the more intelligent social media -  
> at least parts of it I checked.
> Why am I not surprised? Well, why should I be? The past couple of  
> days my mediascape has been fairly flooded with stories of state  
> oppression in Kalinganagar in Orissa and of hoodlums hired by the  
> Tata group who have blocked access to food and healthcare for those  
> who dared to oppose their corridor highway or whatever the hell that  
> piece of road I'd love to see landmined is called. All the while  
> Bombay House hides behind its halo of greenwashing - the Tatas,  
> urban India would ask, surely not the Tatas? People I know and talk  
> to have forgotten what the government and the Tatas had done in  
> Kalinganagar in 2006 - the blood that was spilt and which is now  
> being spilt in revenge several times over across Central India.
> Some public intellectuals have woken up to the guises of Vedanta and  
> its dubious owner and there's some backlash on their trying to  
> acquire land to set up a university. The problem is a Vedanta or  
> even a POSCO is a lot easier to nail down than, say a Tata.
> While our intelligence tells us that mining and petroleum extraction  
> in homelands of indigenous peoples has pretty much the same  
> outcomes, the media lets its inherent biases work in reporting. And  
> public consciousness is unmoved - the people have been hoodwinked so  
> long that they just don't care.
> They call this a democracy - but I guess by now we've come to  
> recognize that scam for what it is. It's time the state stopped  
> fooling itself for now blood is being shed and we're fast heading  
> toward endemic guerrilla warfare in major parts of our geography.  
> The dubious mining deals and a state that has all but lost its  
> credibility is not going to sustain for long - these same investors  
> will turn their back on an unstable economy.
> The solution? Bring things out in the public domain. Engage with  
> academia, civil society, business, the social media. Engage with the  
> people. Dare to own up that big dams was a big blunder - a state  
> scam. Europe did that ages back, They're over and done with it. Dare  
> to protect cultural and religious symbols. Respecting the past is  
> wisdom. Declare geographies out of bounds for extraction of  
> minerals, petroleum, whatever. Our home minister had the gall to say  
> that a sacred mountain would not feed or clothe the Dongria Kondh  
> people. Do these spokespeople of development policy have the  
> faintest clue about the biological diversity in Niyamgiri and  
> Gandhamardhan? Do they know about the wellness the forest affords  
> people who live close to it? People whose food diversity and low  
> morbidity give them a quality of life superior to that of others who  
> score better on poverty indices? And would this minister and others  
> of his thought say this with as much impunity had the bauxite been  
> under Lutyen's Delhi, had it been Raisina Hill? Would they be just  
> as callous had it been politically sacred and not an old religious  
> and cultural symbol, some local obscurity, some folk Ramayana tale?  
> I double up in laughter at the prospect of uranium under Lutyen's  
> Delhi and leasing out Rashtrapati Bhavan to a mining company.
> I think indigenous peoples have finally risen up. Quell them with  
> airstrikes. Burn down forests. I suspect that is what this minister  
> seriously wants to do, as in another of his insane diatribes he has  
> wanted to see 90% of India urbanized. But the spirit will not be  
> smothered.
> The state needs to backtrack immediately. It needs to engage and do  
> some serious course correction before there's more bloodshed it can  
> gloss over, before someone calls the state's and media's bluff,  
> before someone unmasks holier than thou CSR. Conscientious  
> investment by the Church of England has pulled the carpet from under  
> Vedanta's act. We are perhaps just a few years away from large scale  
> conscientious consumption.
> The message to the old world order is loud and clear, change or  
> perish.
> III.
> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303720604575169614063173730.html
> OPINION INDIAAPRIL 7, 2010, 11:13 P.M. ET
> Mao vs. Gandhi in Chhattisgarh
> A naïve admiration for the Maoists is emblematic of the tendency in  
> some among the Indian intellectual class toward left-wing utopianism.
> Maoist insurgents ambushed Indian security forces in the dense  
> forest region of Chhattisgarh state in central India on Tuesday,  
> killing over 70 troops of the Central Reserve Police Force. Analysts  
> are calling it the worst single-day loss in fighting domestic  
> insurgencies.
> But despite such massacres, not everyone in India regards the  
> Maoists with horror. One such apologist is the talented and  
> articulate novelist Arundhati Roy who has, since her Booker Prize- 
> winning 1997 novel "The God of Small Things," focused on bigger  
> things, such as attacking Indian economic reforms, foreign  
> investment, free markets, the United States and Israel.
> In a rambling 19,500-word essay published a week ago in Outlook  
> magazine in India and the Guardian newspaper, Ms. Roy writes of  
> recent experiences following the Maoists in the Dandakaranya forest,  
> near where the security forces were ambushed this week. The piece  
> was headlined "Gandhi, but with guns."
> The comparison is obscene. Not only does it suggest an amoral  
> nihilism, it also represents a rewriting of history. A Gandhian with  
> a gun is as absurd as a Maoist pacifist. India's founding father  
> Mohandas Gandhi may not have been as perfect as some would make him  
> out, but he did believe that only the right means could be used to  
> reach an end, however noble. In 1922 he suspended a nationwide civil  
> disobedience movement, when some Congress followers burned a police  
> station in Chauri Chaura, killing over a dozen policemen and  
> officers. Maoist ideology is precisely the opposite: The ends  
> justify the means.
> Ms. Roy herself notes that when she mentioned Mohandas Gandhi's non- 
> violent struggle to the Maoists, they laughed hysterically. Despite  
> her best efforts to portray a bucolic image of Maoists and tribals  
> living harmoniously, their tranquility disturbed by forest officers,  
> loggers, mining companies, and security forces, the truth still  
> comes through. The Maoists show off an impressive arsenal of  
> weapons, and their teenage recruits watch hours of reruns of violent  
> ambush videos. The kids tell her they want to implement Mao's vision  
> in India.
> Ms. Roy's naïve admiration for the Maoists is emblematic of the  
> tendency in some among the Indian intellectual class toward left- 
> wing utopianism. In "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers,"  
> Tom Wolfe lampooned the Park Avenue elite sucking up to the Black  
> Panther terrorists who were killing cops in 1960s America. Is  
> history repeating itself in India?
> Nevertheless, just as in America three decades ago, the tide may be  
> turning as ordinary voters become fed up with the violence. Maoists  
> have been fighting the Indian state for over four decades under  
> various names, including Naxalites, the name the movement got  
> because of its origins in the town Naxalbari in West Bengal, where  
> peasants revolted against landlords in the 1960s.
> Like Maoists elsewhere, they are brutal. They conduct show-trials,  
> sometimes executing the people they find guilty; they use improvised  
> explosive devices and land mines; and they appear to use child  
> soldiers. Since 2006, their attacks have become audacious, targeting  
> police stations, power lines, schools and trains. They have not  
> spared civilians and other "class enemies" who in their view  
> collaborate with the state.
> Even India's Communist Parties have distanced themselves from  
> Maoists, and condemned their practices. The opposition Bharatiya  
> Janata Party strongly supports the government in its battle. For his  
> part, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Maoists' threat  
> the gravest national security crisis the country faces.
> To be sure, Indians living in forests have legitimate grievances.  
> Their rights are routinely violated. Successive governments have  
> failed them. Large companies, Indian and foreign, want the mineral  
> wealth in those forests. The state hasn't built schools, nor  
> equipped the few that are built. There are few primary health care  
> centers, and the administration neglects remote areas. The rapidly  
> modernizing and prospering parts of urban India ignores the region,  
> its poverty, and its problems.
> But the Maoists offer no solution. Their collectivist  
> authoritarianism is culturally alien in an India where spiritual  
> acceptance of fate prevails, and where, despite feudal structures,  
> inequities and rigidities, there is social and economic mobility.  
> With all its flaws, it is a real democracy. Maoists know they would  
> never win power through the ballot box.
> They can only win through force, by shocking the state, by spreading  
> terror, and by scaring away the administration so that they can  
> reach their end. Which is power, not the removal of poverty.
> Maoists want an articulate messenger, and Ms Roy fulfils that role.  
> Her poetic eloquence clothes their naked ambition of power, offering  
> it respectability. Her fame helps make their struggle known to  
> audiences abroad, where people with limited knowledge of India  
> accept the romanticized image of warriors in the jungle fighting for  
> justice that she writes about. In early April, while the Maoists  
> were preparing to ambush the troops in the forest, Ms Roy was in  
> Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a public forum with Noam Chomsky.
> Ms Roy has explained Maoist violence as a response to the repressive  
> state, suggesting that the tribal groups are rising against the  
> state, getting even—an eye for an eye. But as Gandhi said, an eye  
> for an eye leaves the world blind.
> Mr. Tripathi, a writer based in London, is the author of "Offense:  
> The Hindu Case" (Seagull, 2009).
> -- 
> Peace Is Doable
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> nonuclear at lists.movingrepublic.org
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Jai Sen
jai.sen at cacim.net
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