The mineral Rich states are all covered with forests, are the greatest hub for the tribal population who are far away from the world that runs in the cities and towns. Lack of schools, make them uneducated hence unskilled in comparison to the city population (School Chale Hum is a complete failure in such areas). But they are not completely unskilled for their skill lies in agriculture and other rural occupations.
Now, the government here has acquired a model of development which is always injected to our brains through our school text books and TV. The model has always advocated the setup of Industries, Plants and factories as the main infrastructure for development. And in the name of this developmental model that involves mindless mining, setting up of steel plants, aluminium plants etc. millions of tribal are getting displaced. The rehabilitation policy of the government has only reduced them from the possession of acres of lands to a one room house. (I have been to Hatia, the area where the displaced from the HEC (Heavy Engineering Corporation) land are rehabilitated). The displaced are promised employment, but in the race of skilled labours, where do the illiterates and the people whose expertise lies only in agriculture, stand? The answer is quite obvious… they form the much needed manual labours in the factories with a meagre salary. Another aspect is, it has triggered migration in large no. to the other states in search of livelihood especially to the cities Delhi, Bombay and Kolkata. These migrants work as domestic labours in the posh areas of such cities.
Now why the government finds no difficulty in neglecting the lives of these sufferers? Right now I can only think of two reasons…
1) to fulfil the Hunger for more and more Electricity among the people of towns and cities esp. the Metros.
2) Displacement of people increases the availability of cheap manual labours in the country.
This problem has also triggered a rise of an armed rebellion group called the Maoists (Naxalites). The people who have lost their faith in the current form of government have joined hands together to overthrow Democracy because they feel that doesn’t matter whichever party comes to power, the UPA or the NDA the loot for minerals will continue since for them the growth rate of GDP is more important than the lives of the poor. It’s always the arms race or the Kashmir issue that has been more important than the basic rights of our own people. The emergence of such revolts is quite obvious if a certain section of a society is denied its basic survival rights. I guess this is why we struggled against the British Regime. (Not to forget that Bhagat Singh was a freedom fighter for us but a terrorist for the British ; there are always two perspectives)
But then there are people who still believe in this Democracy and are struggling through Gandhian ways of protesting like for example, Medha Patekar of Narmada bachao Andolan, and Dayamani Barla in Jharkhand against Arcelor-Mittal, that seeks 12,000 acres of land to build the world’s largest steel plant, by displacing about 40,000 tribal. Interestingly, Jharkhand has a history of people’s movements that have enabled the tribal to fight for their land, forests and survival rights e.g. the Koel-Karo movement, Netarhat Movement etc. After being cheated in the name of TATA and HEC the tribal here rose in the Gandhian way to protest and as a result of this, even after signing of more than a hundred MOUs with the multinational, international and the national companies none of them have been able to flourish.
Now the Indian government has launched operation Green Hunt which is currently operative in Chhattisgarh in a secretive manner. It’s almost a month and very little news have been emitted from the area. Last news we got was on 10thFebruary 2010 when Supreme Court ordered the Government to produce the 12 villagers picked by the paramilitary forces in front of the court. And the RTI made by Mr. Pathak, Leader of PUCL, as to know how many innocent villagers have been killed so far, responding to which the government accepted that four innocents have been killed. But, looking into the past actions the government, prior to the HUNT had released 1 lac such people who were arrested under false allegations of being a Naxalite, in Chhattisgarh. Then in the Manipur Issue, where Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 is imposed, that gives the Indian Army every right to Kill anyone under suspicion of being a member of the separatist Militancy, where more of civilians are killed than the Army or the Militant revolutionaries.
Now with this kind of History in the nearest past, can the Forces of India be trusted with the Green Hunt?
Is Armed revolt the only way out from this crisis situation?
Are there any other hidden agendas of the government because the Green Hunt will hardly scare the Naxals since they are themselves armed?
In this whole loot of minerals and the game of Violence and Counter-violence between the Government and the Naxals, who is the ultimate sufferer? and Does anyone even care?
Is it the Democracy that has failed us or we have failed the democracy?
If you go with the 2nd one, Will the future politicians and the makers of the country be innovative enough to device a middle path so that the voices of all sections of the society don't remain unheard?
I have tried to keep the blog post as open ended as possible so that we can discuss more on the issue and use this space as a forum…