Maoist attack on CRPF on 25th April last has once again underlined the unrest which is going on in the tribal belts of our country. The latest attack took place in Sukma, which is located in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. The attack resulted in the death of 25 CRPF jawans and injuries of many others. This attack was latest in the series of attacks on security forces and civilians by the armed Maoists. On 11th March of the last month 12 jawans had been killed in the ambush. These only confirm that the violence in the troubled tribal districts of Chhattisgarh has not abated and there is no possibility of its abetment in the near future. In fact, the government does not have any tangible policy to fight the menace perpetrated by the red terror.
In the violence, hundreds of our jawans, Maoists and adivasis have been killed. After attack demand arises from our urban middle class to crush the red rebels by force and many suggestions start floating in the air to eliminate them. According to one suggestion, army should be used against them. Another suggestion says Air Force should be deployed to clear them from the forests. Someone may be found suggesting unleashing the terror on them. But they forget that all people living in the troubled forest areas are not Maoists. In fact most of them are victims of the continued fight between the Maoists and security forces.
There are many examples of sufferings of tribal people, particularly their women folks. Two months ago Chhattisgarh High Court had sent a notice to the State Government regarding mass rape of tribal women. The High Court had issued the notice on the basis of a report of National Human Rights Commission, which had investigated the incident. The investigation established that 28 tribal women were subjected to mass rapes. Security forces make them their victims by alleging their complicity with the Maoists. If fact, tribal women are the worst victims of the fight between the security forces and the Maoists.
Many tribal men are killed by Maoists as they dub them as police informers. On the other hand they fall victim to the tortures of the police, which dub them the associates of Maoists. Congress leader Mahendra Karma had started Salwa Judum and under this program he had raised an army of tribal to take on the Maoists. That was started, when Congress was in power. Even after the installation of BJP rule, that continued. Because of Salva Judum, tribal were pitched against one another. It was a bloody war among the tribal and ended only after the intervention of Supreme Court of India.
Tribal are poor. They are on the brink of starvation and hence they are being exploited by the both sides. Tribal youth- both men and women- are facing unemployment. They are asked by the Maoists to join them to bring revolution. Some of them join them to get rid of unemployment. On the other hand, those joining the security forces are also from humble family background. Hence, all killed in the bloody fights are poor people.
Forest dwellers get tempted to join the ranks of Maoists, because they have lost their right on their jungle, jameen (land) and jal (rivers). Till the Mughal and Maratha rule they had unrestricted rights on the produce of forests. During British rule, they started losing the rights over the produce of forests. Trees began to be cut. This continued after Independence. With industrialization, the exploitation of jungles increased and this exploitation resulted into the displacement of the forest dwellers. New people entered into the forests in large number and they started dictating their terms on the tribal. It resulted into the undeclared enslavement of the original forest dwellers by outsiders. Discoveries of mines and minerals further aggravated their situation.
These mines and minerals have become the base of rapid industrialization and development, but the fruits of development are not being shared with the tribal people, who are being displaced because of mining and industrialization. Thus the tribal have become the victim of developments and now they are finding themselves alien in their own lands. This has fueled discontent among them and this is being exploited by the Maoists to swell their ranks. Hence, the government must ensure their development to keep them in good humor and to root out the menace of Maoism. Government has taken certain measures to improve their lots, but due to corruption, these government measures are not working. Hence, corruption should also be taken care of.
-Contributed by Kriti
Picture Credits: newindianexpress.com