Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sukma, Malkangiri, Daringbadi - abduction unites these palces


The weakening of democratic institutions is never good for any Nation.  Many Nations – economically poor or strong, have stronger Nationalistic alignments – which is appears absent in Indian political scenario.  There are many a times when there are discordant notes and chaotic political scenario lacking clearer direction.   The greatest of the political seats in India are those of the President and the Prime Minister.

First there was public outrage over ‘defence land being grabbed’ for a post-retirement home led the President Prathiba Patil to surrender land allotted to her new home in PUne.  A retired Lt. Col. Suresh Patil involved with ‘Justice for Jawan’ object to the nearly 5 acres being set aside for the President’s home.  Close on the heels, came the news of CBI booking BEML Chairman for alleged cheating, criminal conspiracy and corruption in connection with tendering process for hiring a private consultancy firm and carried out searches at several locations including his residence;  and… Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s adviser  denied that there was any “irregularity or illegality” in the allotment of two plots of land to his niece and a “family friend”  in Bangalore by a cooperative society of employees of the public sector defence undertaking BEML.

At a different ground, it is more than a week since the Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon,  was abducted by Maoists – he has not been located and no grounds made in the negotiations so far.  There are disturbing reports of  Maoists upped the ante, seeking more for the release of the Collector.    The Interlocutors are in Tadmetla village to talk to the insurgent leaders.  From there they reportedly are to be taken to interior place in two wheeler.  Maoists are seeking release of 17 of their jailed comrades as against the original eight for freeing the 2006-batch IAS officer.  Tadmetla is the place where Maoists had massacred 75 CRPF troopers and one state police official on April 6, 2010, the biggest ever rebel attack on security personnel in the State.    The Govt  after spate of abductions of two Italians, Orissa MLA, Sukma Dist Collector, has realized that it is full blown terrorism and not simple trouble fermented by our spoilt brothers and sisters.

Again, if one looks back to the State’s will and way of handling such issues – one would be perturbed by the hollowness of direction.  Only recently, the Home Minister P Chidamabaram told Rajya Sabha that the Govt noticed "minimal" presence of Maoists in the northeast region.  He was also reported as saying that So far, no case of Maoists indulging in smuggling of arms from across the border has come to notice.  He was trying to make that an issue across the border by stating that most of the weapons seized from insurgents carry Chinese mark.  It is or was never solely an issue flamed from across the border, it is very much happening in our heartland and the Govt. needs to address the issues properly.  Elsewhere in a special session organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce, he was quoted as saying that the Centre was not asking Maoists to give up their ideology or surrender or even lay down arms, but “simply stop the violence and come for talks,”

He is not alone in making such confused statements.    Shivraj Patil, when he was the Home Minister in 2008 sought to invoke the nation¿s sympathy for Maoists describing them as 'our spoiled brothers and sisters who are angry and misled'.   Now, the Minister of state in the home ministry, Jitendra Singh,  is quoted as stating  'This (abductions) is a new development in their (Maoist) tactics, indicating the gradual transformation of the outfit into a fullblown terrorist organisation which indiscriminately targets civilian non-combatants.'  'Earlier, the home ministry called them extortionists and criminals. The ministry's data from November last year says Maoists kidnapped 1,554 people over the past three years. But three high-profile abductions have humiliated the government.

The government believes that the Maoists will implode because of their new-found tilt towards terror tactics.  'In the long run, the inherent nature of the  ideology which puts a premium on violence, killing, destruction of infrastructure, indiscriminate use of landmines targeting even civilians and kidnapping of noncivilian combatants will create dynamics for its own demise even in the worst-affected districts.  Assuming that indeed would happen, lot damage would have been caused to the Nation by the time such a natural death occurs and a Govt. cannot be waiting for things to settle on their own.  

The abductions of Alex Paul Menon recently and R.Vineel Krishna in Malkangiri last year are not to be seen as incidents in isolation – whatever be their personal views they were the faces of the State working in remote villages trying to implement the welfare measures for the locals and sad that they have become pawns in the abduction and negotiations…

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th April 2012.

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