Of the many planks on which the Congress led UPA Government has been cobbling support, none is more definite and pointed than the one regarding the greatest threat facing India being the one from `Maoists’. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have repeatedly stated that they will stamp out Naxalism irrespective of what the cost may be.
The major media have been playing their part by continuously whipping up passions about Maoism and Naxalism and engaging in rank speculation without any regard to professional ethics, indeed as in the recent case of the disappearance of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s helicopter. Every incident of attacks on police that do take place with some regularity in several parts of the country is used as an opportunity to whip up mass hysteria against Maoists. These events are preparatory for setting the stage for a massive military campaign using not just police and para-military but even the Army and Air Force in certain regions of the country.
The regions of the country that are ear-marked for these operations are precisely those in which vast deposits of minerals lie which have hitherto been uptapped. These regions are those in which the earliest settlers of what is modern day India first settled down and their descendants live to date. Such regions have had special dispensation
through the millenia and even under colonial times, and up unto the present day. Sensing that their lives are likely to be turned upside down by the growing interest in the exploitation of mineral resources, the peoples have begun to organize themselves to resist the onslaught.
The events have shown that reorganization of the regions leading to the carving out of the states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand, which were first based on the demands of the tribal peoples, have actually turned the lives of these peoples into a living nightmare. The hand of the Indian state in fomenting vast troubles and a civil war like atmosphere has
been demonstrated in Chattisgarh in no uncertain means. The net outcome is to depopulate precisely those regions of these states where the interests of big businesses are converging. Mining activities are expected to begin across the length and breadth of these regions.
It is widely recognized that under the pretext of curbing Maoist activities the Indian state is planning to organize an unparalleled assault on the resistance mentioned above. It plans to foment inter-necine conflict by arming various groups allegedly to fight Maoism, in addition to carrying out military operations, so that the back of the resistance
is broken. By doing so, it will ensure favourable conditions for big businesses, national and international to carry out their exploitation of natural resources. In other words, the anti-Maoist campaign is a cover for a vast land grab of tribal lands for the benefit of big business.
All forces interested in securing a bright future all the peoples of India must stand up and oppose the planned military interventions in the tribal lands. There must be an awareness campaign for the rights of the tribal peoples of India. These rights are inalienable, indeed as are the rights of all the peoples of India. There must be a debate on the use of the land and the resources and the produce of the land of India. The true owners of these are the people of India, and not the big businesses.
By B Ananathanarayanan