The Sukma Ambush: Condemning Selected Violence and Overlooking Gross Injustice

Opinion

After the  Maoist attack on 24 April took the lives of 24 CRPF men in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, the corporate media is continuously firing salvo on the Maoists for using violence against the men in uniform, who are called the son of the poor, and for “misguiding” the poor and “stalling the development work” that would bring a major change in the lives of the poor tribal people of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, etc.

 

Upper-caste privileged Hindu scribes and columnists, who have studied in the most premier institutes and universities in India and abroad and are working on the payroll of the corporate media houses, are now leading the intellectual crusade against the “senseless violence” that the Maoists have unleashed on India and why the Indian government should start an all-out war in the Maoist belts of the country to wipe away the “red menace” for once and forever.

 

If we analyse the corporate controlled Indian mainstream media, we will see that most of them, the majority indeed, toes the Hindutva line of the RSS and the BJP and strictly despise people who care to dissent against the Hindutva brigade’s narrative. Those who are not showcasing their affiliation with the RSS or the BJP’s Hindutva mission publicly are doing so in the subtle way, by spreading the same vicious propaganda on behalf of the ruling bloc through sublayers of Nehruvian secularism, which is nothing more than the soft Hindutva ideology pursued by the now-ailing Congress Party during its heydays.

 

The Hindi and the English media outlets are the leading media outlets, whose political line and propaganda style is plagiarised by the numerous regional media houses owned by the same set of corporations that own those leading media outlet and therefore, we see that the same lies and deceitful contents are copied throughout a large network that serves news and information to nearly 500 million people out of 1230 million population.

 

These corporate media houses owned by foreign monopoly and finance capital and managed by upper-caste elite Hindus, follows a straightforward policy of using the armed forces of the country as a hallmark of patriotism and censoring or vilifying any attempt by the common people to question these military arms of the Indian state that thrives on the indirect and direct taxes paid by a billion people.

 

When the military and paramilitary of the country is sent by the government to suppress popular revolts against its anti-people policies, we are told by these news people that the forces are actually serving the cause of the nation. If someone dares to ask, whose nation are these forces serving by massacring innocent tribal people in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, by shooting school going kids in Kashmir and by raping young women in Manipur, the label of “anti-national” will be pasted by the very scribes who would call such an act “murder of democracy” should  it have happened in the neighbouring Pakistan or Bangladesh.

 

As soon as the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district killed 25 heavily armed CRPF men on duty, the corporate controlled media houses and their journalists started playing the klaxon of the government loudly and kept pitching for a military solution to the “Maoist problem” and all parliamentary parties gave their nod to what these corporate entities were saying through their media outlets. Arnab Goswami’s Republic, funded by a BJP MP cum military hardware seller, is still off-air and hence many were spared the usual cacophony on “patriotism” from the man who would amplify his tone to subjugate anyone questioning his views.  

 

But these same media groups, both ardent supporters and self-styled vehement “opponents” of the Hindutva regime, remained conspicuously silent when the police gang-raped more than 40 tribal women in Bijapur in October 2015, they remained mum when the mentally challenged minor Pottam Somaru was killed in a cold-blooded murder committed by the CRPF and police in December 2016, when Arjun Markam, a school going student was killed in July 2016 for fun by the same paramilitary forces, when 19 villagers, including five teenagers aged between 12-15 years, were killed in Sarkhelguda in 2012, the newspapers and TV channels brushed aside the case of rape and murder of Makdam Hidme, an innocent tribal minor girl who was brutally gang-raped and then dressed in a Maoist uniform before being shot by the very glorious “jawans” of India in June 2016.

 

Their silence on these cases of goriest atrocities committed by the Indian state against the tribal people to punish them for standing up against the nefarious nexus between the Hindutva state machinery and the big mining corporations owned by foreign capital, shows clearly that these corporate-controlled mainstream media outlets and the government’s bootlicking servile lackey journalists on their payroll are not against all forms of violence. They are not against the violence that their employers, the big corporations owned by foreign capital, unleash on the poor people at different places. These toady journalists and the self-certified “nationalist” demagogues are against the violence that the poor and oppressed people unleash as a mode of resistance against these corporations and the state machinery that works as their stooge.

 

It is for this reason that these media outlets never condemn the mass killings, maiming and sexual abuse of the Kashmiri people, including the Kashmiri children, by the Indian armed forces. It becomes next to blasphemy for the “free and democratic” media outlets owned by the big foreign monopoly capital to question the state machinery and its actions against the poor. They repeatedly keep broadcasting the fabricated stories of patriotism by showcasing the army and paramilitary forces, which are complicit in some of the most heinous crimes against humanity, as the icons of “nationalism” in India.

 

The system of army worshipping and unconditionally submitting one’s will to that of the army, which  the British imperialism has built during its two hundred years of direct colonial rule over India, helped them to keep the middle-class and the poor of the colonised nation subjugated to the military, which was manned by Indians and was paid with money sucked from the Indians and it worked for the British imperialists against those very Indian people.

 

When Nehru and Jinnah divided India among themselves under the guidance of the British colonial rulers, they did not dismantle the colonial military and paramilitary system that was built to consolidate the British colonial rule over India. In fact, the entire colonial state machinery remained intact and parts of this or parts of that were rechristened into heavily Sanskritised Hindi to show a departure from the colonial practices. But the Indian people, especially the poor and the middle-classes, were taught by the new rulers to never question the will of the armed forces and always subjugate themselves to the interests of the army and paramilitary forces.

 

Though the armed forces of India and its paramilitary forces are filled with the poor youth looking for the only available government employment opportunity in the country, the leadership role in these forces is always reserved for men from the upper-caste feudal background. The armed forces and the paramilitary forces of the country ardently follow the feudal and Brahminical practices and the personnel of these forces are strongly conservative and patriarchal in their social and religious outlook. These factors make all of these armed forces the most reactionary arms of the state machinery, which can be unleashed on the people of the country at any moment, subject to the whim of the government.

 

When the Tata group wanted to clear the forest zone of South Chhattisgarh free from tribal resistance, they empowered the local leaders and landlords with immense funding to raise the mercenary forces like Salwa Judum, back in 2005. The CRPF, BSF and the Naga Battalion worked in tandem with the private militia, which worked as its shield and sword against the hapless tribal people. Mere farming or living in their houses would have made the tribal people the enemy of the state. The bloodshed that continued since 2005 was never shown live on TV, the victims of the state and corporate sponsored terror were never heard by the very middle-class who bay for the blood of the tribal people in return of the heavily armed soldiers dying in the frontier.

 

These media houses are also quiet and quite clueless on what can be the way for the tribal people to resolve the persisting problem if they are unwilling to live their forest and land to the mining corporations. The intellectuals and the drummers of “nationalism” within and without the Sangh conglomerate are surprisingly quiet on what can be the path for the tribal people, who are subject to extreme violence and oppression, to seek justice for themselves.

 

The mainstream narrative that the tribal people are “misguided” and “fooled” by the Maoists cannot work anymore; despite being an insulting and hardcore Brahminical statement against the tribal people, this narrative denies the existence of state terror and the absence of an impartial and pro-people justice system that can help these tribal people to take on the perpetrators of the monstrous crimes committed on them.

 

The press was supposed to be a pillar of modern democracy, working alongside the people and questioning the establishment and demanding answers from it on all of its misdeeds. When rather than becoming what it was supposed to be, the media outlets, now owned by foreign corporations and the clan of Murdochs, remain absolutely mum when it comes to criticise the government and force it to take corrective actions against its misdeeds, the media advocates to the nation complete submission to the whim of the government and the ruling party, then question arises on the need of such toady journalism in the modern society, which not only acts servile to the powers that be, but also works as footsoldiers of the very corporations against the people.

 

As long as it has the government’s patronage and the investments coming from the foreign capital owned corporations, the Indian media industry will flourish and will keep posting the state-corporate narrative on the problem of Maoist rebellion to the people. It will keep denying the abject condition of the tribal people against whom the highly armed and technically adept  state machinery has launched an all-out war, it will overlook the agony of the tribal people who are subjected to the most sanguineous violence of 21st century world and it will keep playing the tune of “patriotism” defined by Nagpur headquarters of the RSS.

 

The violence against the tribal people by the Indian state machinery is nowhere near the end. The brutal atrocities committed by the Indian state’s armed wings continue to spill blood on the soil in states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand under the garb of combating left-wing extremism. In reality, the Maoist forces have gained moral, and in some places, military upper-hand, against the paramilitary forces sent by the government. Through a series of rural and jungle-based alternative government models, these Maoists are giving legitimacy to their counter-violence operations against the paramilitary and police forces. The right to govern their own affairs, the right to live a life without being subjugated to the jackboots of outsiders has always played a key role in raking up support in favour of the Maoists and hence the counter-violence against the paramilitary forces and police continues with some periodic lull, totally undisrupted.

 

There cannot be any justification for the violence committed by the paramilitary forces and the police on behalf of the big foreign monopoly capital owned corporations on the poor tribal people and villagers. Through their utmost biased condemnation of the counter-violence by the Maoists and playing victimhood to hoodwink their subscribers, i.e. the middle class, the corporate media’s staff and the advocates of the state-corporate nexus actually pours more fuel on the fire of hatred against the mining corporations and its servile forces, burning amidst the poor tribal people.

 

The justification of violence against the hapless tribal people of Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand by the Delhi or Mumbai based, convent educated, high-salaried scribes and technocrats or managerial staff of corporations act as cannon fodder for the Maoists. The more these Gadflies of the empire advocates strong military measures against the Maoists, the more the Maoists intensify their recruitment drive by winning over the tribal support using such vitriol of the Eminence Grise, by showing the poor and oppressed people how the ruling elites want to treat them.

 

Men who have no courts to hear their petition, people who live under a police that can kill anyone among them just for fun any time, women who are either raped by the paramilitary or are constantly under the threat of being raped, people who are branded “Maoist sympathisers” and are therefore made scapegoats for the state machinery to persecute, cannot seek justice from the very system that oppresses and persecutes them every day. No policemen will record the complaint against their colleagues, no minister will entertain a plea against a corporate entity that pays a huge amount of money to their election fund, no media house will allow air time or newsprint expenditure on a cause that can hurt their investors or advertisers. No one, absolutely no one, except few human rights organisations, strongly despised by the authorities, few Gandhian reformists, and the armed Maoist forces stand beside those tribal people at the hour of their need. How could then the South Delhi residents expect the loyalty of the tribal towards the institutions they cherish and the people they love as demi-gods?

 

As long as there will be no alternative path to seek justice, to see the culprits of terror and sexual violence getting adequately punished, the tribal people will not leave their association with the Maoists, who have consolidated their base in South Chhattisgarh with the help of the same tribal people. But instead of providing justice to the aggrieved tribal people and women, if the voices demanding the equal constitutional rights of the poor people of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, etc. are gagged and activists working for the rights of the tribal people are thrown behind the bars, then the violence and its cycle will continue unabated with more bloodbath. The ball is in the court of the government and the future will depend on what course it pursues.

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