Since the Sukma encounter of 24 April, in which 25 CRPF men were killed by the Maoist guerrillas, the Modi government has plunged into a drive to prove that its forces in the jungles of Chhattisgarh are gunning down the outlawed CPI (Maoist) activists successfully. One such claim surfaced a few days ago when the BJP-led Chhattisgarh government and the CRPF claimed to have killed 21 Maoists in a single “encounter” to avenge the killing of their men in the forests of Sukma.
As soon as the claim surfaced, the CPI (Maoist) leadership denied any such ambush and called it a hoax circulated by the Modi government and its lackey, the Raman Singh’s BJP government of Chhattisgarh, as they did in the case of the so-called “surgical strike” against Pakistan, after a militant attack on the army camp of Uri took 19 lives. This political chicanery is circulated by the government and its toady media throughout India to boost the morale of the armed forces deployed in the forests of central and eastern India to fight a battle on behalf of the big mining corporations of India and abroad against the poor tribal people, so that the latter can be evicted from their land and forests.
But the police and the paramilitary forces are operating with extremely low morale for being involved in an utmost unjust cause in Chhattisgarh, and it’s the major reason why a large number of paramilitary personnel, especially from the CRPF, are applying for voluntary and pre-term retirements. Though the Modi government is trying to motivate the depressed soldiers with higher perks and through the pro-military rhetoric of the RSS affiliates on television and internet, the paramilitary and other armed forces of the Indian state are unable to battle the local people and win victory anytime soon, due to the lack of inspiration.
These paramilitary men are mostly forced to operate under immense pressure and they are mentally and physically put on strain by the officers and bureaucrats to serve the greater interests of the mining corporations owned by Vedanta, Tata, Adani or Reliance group. Leave alone better working conditions, the paramilitary men are even not served proper food in their canteens and one simple complaint on food quality and inhuman treatment, done by former BSF soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav made the government fire him from his job.
The stress of work, the unjustified battle on behalf of the rich against the poor and the dearth in any motivation has increased the number of voluntary retirements in the paramilitary forces. As per a report by Financial Express, the voluntary resignations by the paramilitary personnel, including officers and soldiers increased 450 times since Narendra Modi became the prime minister. According to the same report, 9065 paramilitary personnel have resigned from service in 2016-17 alone. Though the government would magnify the figures of Maoist surrenders and use the corporate media to drum its success in nailing down the members of the banned outfit, it doesn’t talk about why so many people are deserting its camp every year.
It’s not that the entire battalions of the CRPF are depressed due to the wrongdoings and it’s to keep the soldiers active, the officers have allowed them a free reign in the territories they occupy. This has resulted in numerous incidents of rape, arson, torture of poor people by these forces, which is done to derive sadistic pleasure by the personnel of the armed forces who mainly come from the heartland of feudal India and are feudal beliefs, practices and misogynist outlook is deeply imbibed within these forces of the government.
Their atrocities on the poor and the semi-starved tribal people, especially their sexual violence against the tribal women helps them to stay motivated in a battle, where they are fighting on behalf of the wrongdoers, who are covered by the shrouds of “patriotism” and “nationalism” of the RSS variant. When attacks by the tribal people, who have assembled under the banner of the Maoist party, cause the death of the paramilitary personnel, even the most motivated and activated soldiers get into depression and fear of the tribal retribution engulfs them from all corners.
The government’s attempt to broadcast fake news of avenging the Sukma attack is a part of its policy of showing the country, especially the superficial patriot upper-caste elites and middle-class people that the Modi government is actually winning the war of the mining corporations waged against the poor tribal people. To make the news more authentic, the paramilitary personnel will indiscriminately shoot few tribal people in some remote part of Chhattisgarh and then dress them up with Maoist uniform and photograph the dead bodies to spread the news that it’s winning the war.
Under no pretext can those who oppose the fascist Hindutva forces, remain mum when the Modi regime is shamelessly peddling lies through the corporate media houses to boost the spirit of the paramilitary forces that are engaged in the most brutal and most oppressive war against the tribal people of India, who are trying to protect their land, water and forest resources, which are connected with the environmental safety of India in the future. A strong condemnation must be done and the Modi government’s vile efforts regarding the war in Chhattisgarh must be unveiled before the poor and downtrodden masses of the country so that these poor people can participate in a larger anti-fascist and anti-corporate appeasement movement for democracy and a just society.
Based in Maharashtra, Anand Patil is a staunch opponent of opportunist politics and supports democratic voices. He is vocal about Dalit, tribal and Muslim rights and has been a rights activist all his life.