War has pretty much broken out in Chhattisgarh but everybody is too busy playing ostrich to acknowledge it.
The headlines in every newspaper across India today featured reports of a massacre carried out in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh by a group of naxalites led by the State Military Commission (Maoist). They were reportedly supported by sections of the CPI (Maoist).
Of the 55 individuals (and counting) killed, the majority were tribal youths who were part of a counter insurgency effort. Most of these men were murdered in their sleep and there seems to be some question as to why their calls for reinforcement were not heeded especially when the entire region is undergoing something of a crisis.
The political game is in full swing and events in neighboring West Bengal’s Nandigram district have already pushed this atrocity to the second or third story of the day on most TV channels. Nobody should be especially surprised because India’s callousness towards her men in uniform should by now be well known.
And by India, I do not only point a finger at the government or the political class. I mean we the ordinary citizens of India. Just look at our armed forces: when it suits our purpose they are the heroes we can’t get enough of; otherwise who really cares? In other countries, it would have been a matter of vociferous public debate if defense personnel were routinely committing suicide, indulging in public acts of violence and shooting each other dead over trivial matters. In India, hardly anybody wants to talk about the kind of psychological crisis this points toward. And mind you, we are a nation that relies heavily on our armed forces.
Policemen figure even lower on the totem pole. We can expect a couple of days of posturing, offers of financial rewards and a promise of employment from the government in question but then what?
Where is the outrage that should by rights be fueling a coordinated region wide attack against the kind of scum that carried out this massacre? I’m a generally peaceful person and I don’t ever advocate the use of violence lightly. But I’m sick and tired of watching fat cat politicians offer mealy-mouthed excuses and dole out money in lieu of producing actual results. If they were really serious about the naxalite threat then the states of the northeast should be working in tandem.
Rather, they seem bent upon bolstering the naxalite movement by dithering all over the place and creating god-sent (Mao-sent?) opportunities like Nandigram. As of right now, they haven’t got the kind of wide spread support that tore Nepal apart but how long will this situation last?
But it important that we not forget that these people would not have won the numbers they have to their cause had it not been for the political set up in the region that has always supported violent rebellion and fostered cultural unrest.
According to Reuters, Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the insurgency was the gravest threat to India’s internal security since independence from British colonial rule in 1947
Does he imagine it sprung up out of nowhere? Not that I completely blame him for his blinkered statements. There are plenty of ordinary citizens who are all too eager to rub their hands in glee at watching the Communist chicken come home to roost and see this as “their problem”.
This is not their problem. This is our problem.
We spend so much of our time bickering amongst each other on paltry issues that we have no energy or perspective left when it comes to things that really matter. Look at ULFA. They target civilians as well as men and women in uniform. The Republic of India has been fighting them on their terms for years but refuses still to address the root causes that maintain their support systems in the state. Everything is too little and too late.
In a week’s time, this murder of 55 men will hardly be remembered. In six months, you will need to reminded of the incident. In a year, you’ll need to ask Google for clarification. But these are real people, fellow citizens who are being mourned in fifty-five different households in Chattisgarh today. Do we hold life so cheap in this country that we cannot even find the time to question why they had to die?
originally published at Desicritics.org