Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crunch Time for India: Who Speaks for the People?

By Badri Raina, ZNet, May 19, 2010

Badri Raina’s ZSpace Page


As violence in four or five Indian states—Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal—comes to a boil, the State blames the Maoists and the Maoists blame the State.

The hardliners in government and outside who advocate using the army and, yes, air-power, in these regions are dubbed bloodthirsty rightists hand-in-glove with national and international corporate interests by sections of civil society opinion, and opinion-makers who counsel against a military approach to the “Maoist” problem are in turn maligned as clandestine Maoist sympathizers who are deemed to deserve all the rigours of the Unlawful Activities Act.

While these contentions occupy centre-stage in the media, the tribal populations in the affected regions continue to suffer from both ends. And if ever that suffering finds mention, it does so as a very subsidiary incidental On either side of the contention, the fight seems so much more for occupying or reclaiming territory than for the hearts and minds of the people who have lived there for aeons.

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