By Sheshu Babu*
The security forces, armed police and extra-military personnel engage in attacks on so -called terrorists, militants, Maoists or extremists. In all these incidents, the highest casualties belong to weaker sections, Muslim communities, Adivasis, Dalits etc. Thus, on both sides the actual fight is between these communities killing each other.
In an article, Ramachandra Guha (“The continuing tragedy of Adivasis”, May 28,2013, updated July10, 2016, thehindu.com), says, “… On the one side, it (the Chhattisgarh government) gave a slew of leases to industrialists, over- riding the protests of gram panchayats and handing over large tracts of tribal lands to mining companies. On the other side, it promoted a vigilante army, distributing guns to young men owing allegiance to Mahendra Karma or his associates. These goons roamed in search of Naxalites, real or fictitious. In a series of shocking incidents, they burnt homes (sometimes entire villages), raped women and looted granaries of those adivasis who refused to join them”.
The Naxalites who supported the tribals mounted ferocious attacks on Salwa Judum killing many of the miscreants and informers. Those who died in these attacks mostly belonged to non – upper castes. Thus, the battle was between the marginalised sections themselves. As Bela Bhatia in an article “Battle of Baster must stop to give Adivasis a chance to live” (published July 25, 2017, thenationalheraldindia.com), says …” A large majority of those who get killed, especially among the civilians, Maoists, and the stat police are Adivasis.”
The civilians killed by police, the informers, the innocents picked up randomly and jailed are all Adivasis. Similarly, in Kashmir, the Muslims are at the receiving end due to excesses of military operations. In Manipur, the indigenous tribes face brutal attacks from armed personnel.
While the upper class strata do not normally come out to attack, the lower castes and classes are the ‘real warriors’ because they are in the firing line on both sides. These subaltern sections are forced to enter police or military force due to their poverty, severe unemployment and hope for a better future. They are attracted by pay scales which may provide bright future to their future generation. They are forced to fight against their fellow Adivasis or Muslims or Dalits who are struggling for their land rights.
Thus while upper caste people remain unharmed, the lower strata mostly engage themselves in attacking each other. In the article “Who is responsible for Extremism or Naxalism?”, Stan Swamy says (published September 1, 2016, sabrangindia.in), “…The government is creating a ‘police state’ rather than meeting people’s needs: instead of doing some re-thinking about of its developmental model and work towards bringing greater equity among its citizens, it is determined to add more guns against the poorest of the poor”.
He also states that the ‘ local youth’ recruited are Adivasis to fight Maoists who are also Adivasis and this is a ploy to divide and weaken Adivasis and develop mistrust between them. Similar is the case in Kashmir where Muslims are being pitted against Muslims.
The marginalised sections must realize that they are being used by ruling class to their advantage. By making them fight with each other, the governments, industrialists and rich upper castes want to dissipate unity of the oppressed. Since the majority are Dalits, backward castes, Muslims and other minorities combined, the bourgeoisie forces always strive to divide these exploited people by ‘ selective patronage’ and giving sops to certain sections. Hence, these people should be alert to the plans of corporates and the powers-that-be, who back them by supplying military assistance.
The situation should be explained to Adivasis and other oppressed poor convincingly. The ‘ divide and rule’ policies should be analysed by conducting public awareness workshops and lectures. The benefits of united struggle must be taught to working classes. They should be made to understand how their innocence is being used and exploited. Only then, they will be able to save their lands and fundamental rights.
*Writer from everywhere and anywhere. Whenever he ponders on the question ‘Who am I?’ , he finds some response in a lyric by Bhupen Hazarika ‘Ami ek jajabor’:
‘ I am a gypsy
The earth has called me her own
And I have forgotten my home’