Human Rights, Naxalites and Tribals in India

By Prem Kumar Tirumani

The Naxalite attack on security forces in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on April 6 in which 75 CRPF men were killed was more shocking to the nation than the terrorist attack at Taj Hotel in Mumbai. Attack from outsiders is not new to India. The attack of the Muslim extremists may be categorised as a contemporary version of the ancient Mughals. However, armed Indian citizens killing their own Indian security personnel in large scale was rarely heard since the post Independence communal riots.

Though the left wing extremists defend the act by saying that its a citizens fight against the corrupt government, there is no rational justification in their argument. Its a direct violation of human rights. Its a murder of innocent lives. The corrupt officials, that they are actually after, stay untouched in their seats. Its high time for India to re-evaluate its policies on development and internal security.

India has been proud that its economy was least effected by the recent global economic crisis and it is one of fastest growing economy in the world. However, if we visit the tribal areas, we could rarely realise the fruits of this growing economy. There are villages that don't have even the basic necessities such as safe drinking water, primary education and health services. The radiance of 'shining India' never reached them and if some NGO sends a beacon of hope, it is instantly curbed with brutal force by religious extremists.

It has been that in these underdeveloped areas, mainly inhabited by poor tribals, the Naxalism has flourished. Most of them are raised with their rights violated every day. Not just human rights even the fundamental rights ensured by the constitution. Inequality, caste discrimination, conversion issues, re-conversion issues, poverty, physical, sexual and emotional abuse has been part of their daily life. For the people here, the definition of democratic government is not the "government of the people, by the people, for the people.". For them government means, "patwari (revenue officials), police and forest guards." And all of them are only the agents of exploitation.

In order to make the locals understand that governance means doing good to them and not troubling and exploiting them, the government has to reform its policies and change its strategies to bring development in these downtrodden areas. IAS officers and civil servants have to debate over the ways and means that are being adopted by the government to tackle Naxalism

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