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Mainstream, VOL LI No 25, June 8, 2013

Why is the Tribal taking to Killing?

Sunday 9 June 2013, by Humra Quraishi


Killings are a barbaric form of revenge and unleash of anger, and should never be allowed to take place. No, never. Not under any of those garbs or excuses or camouflages or cover-ups. Whether inside jails and in those officially constructed cages, or out there in the open, in and around forests and jungles.

Heated discussions on in the corridors of power and the blame-game takes off on this latest tragic incident, where several Congress-men and their aides and bystanders were killed in Chhattisgarh. Political lobbies are at work, with the BJP and the Congress throwing blatant charges at each other. And that in between a bit of space is getting hogged by the so-called experts; busy with their outdated formulas, how to go curbing this cycle of violence. Invariably all those formulas seem centring on hounding and pounding; unmindful of the fact that these will start off another series of killings. After all, paramilitary operations result in none of those long lasting strategies of containing resentment and anger ...countering violence with violence cannot get you moving towards a peaceful phase.

 In these last few days of television-watching, I have heard only one sane voice—that of the former DG of the BSF, E.N. Rammohan. Yes, on the small screen he’d asked that crucial why! Yes, this former IPS officer showed guts and grit by asking this basic—why is the tribal taking to killing? Why!

Yes, there have to ample backgrounders to this—why are those who had been living in complete peace in the tribal belts and villages, are getting provoked. Angry to such an extent that are killing those who are governing them! There has to be a ‘why’ to this. And till this ‘why’ or set of ‘why’s are not settled, how can that unease and unrest be expected to settle!

Disparities are growing. The gap is widening —that gap between the rulers and those ruled. Political and business mafia also comes in the way. Yes, the government of the day knows the riches the tribal land holds out—in the form of coal, precious stones, herbs and trees, agricultural output and other by-products—do not necessarily reach those genuine land-owners: the villagers and tribes living in those belts, on their ancestral land. No, those do not. They continue to sit or survive deprived. In fact, decades back they could have been living in relatively better conditions, as then their land-cum-those resources were not taken over by the political mafia. Also, there were lesser of those divide-and-rule political strategies in vogue.

Today, there seems only one option—activists and grassroot level workers have to be in the forefront for a dialogue to take place—between those aggrieved/angry and those who are administering those belts. Those crucial or, say, basic ‘why’s have to be asked.Those gaps, those disparities have to be contained.

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