Miseries of Orphans are now Weapons of War

No great country was ever saved by good men…good men will not go to the ‘lengths necessary’ to save it…”.
       Horace Walpole.
The ‘Good Men’ of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) seem to have taken this last refuge of the “Men at War” to heart. Fifty orphans from the Chhattisgarh state run Astha Gurukul School are sponsored by CRPF to visit national capital & Mrs. Pratibha Patil, President of India. If things had stopped here, it would have passed off as an innocuous event based on humanitarian consideration. But they haven’t. A girl child is reported to have said that she will request the president “to eliminate the Maoists”. Even miseries of these children have become the new weapon unleashed by Mr. Chidambaram’s Home Ministry to win the war of propaganda & public approval for the no holds barred armed offensive ostensibly against the Maoists. Granted that each & every child in this group may have lost a parent or both to Maoists violence. They may have even had the grave misfortune of witnessing the gruesome deed perpetrated before their own eyes. One may not even begin to empathize with their pain and anguish. Violence often founds the ways of punishing the innocents.
Even handed Home Ministry would have found ways to take to the president the orphans of :
       Sikh carnage of 1984 in Delhi that were instigated, encouraged & abetted by Congress leaders,
       Muslim carnage of 2002 in Gujarat that were instigated, encouraged & abetted by BJP leaders,
       Mumbai terror attacks at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Trident and Taj,
       State & Insurgent violence in North Eastern States,
       Last but not the least, orphans of untrammeled violence of Salwa Judum actively aided & abetted by security forces.
All these children would then have demanded of the President “to eliminate respective perpetrators who deprived them of their parents & childhood”. One would then applaud the great lengths to which these good men are willing to go to make this country great.
Like the good men of CRPF, there are good men (and women) of media too. They too are eager to go to any lengths by filing ‘news reports’ that in their sheer audacity start sounding like pamphleteering. Take a look at following story in Telegraph – red marked text is highlighted for its spin or pretext.



The children from Dantewada at Raipur railway station before leaving for Delhi on Tuesday evening. Picture by Rupesh Yadav
Raipur, Dec. 16: Orphaned in Maoist violence, children from red zone of Chhattisgarh are out to see the world that is not dotted with landmines or ruled by bullets.
Fifty children who lost their parents during rebel massacres over the years are on a trip to Delhi from the dense forests of insurgency-hit Dantewada district. They will visit the national capital to see historical monuments besides meeting President Pratibha Patil. Kumari Rukmani of Kisteram and studying in Class VI is keen to meet the President. “I will request the President to eliminate the Maoists, who killed my father in 2006,” she said.
Interestingly, it’s not any civil rights or non-government organisation arranging the trip, but the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is combating the rebels in their den, which has organised the trip under its civic action programme.
“The students will stay in New Delhi for a week and will see the monuments to know the country’s history, besides meeting prominent persons, including the President,” CRPF deputy inspector-general S.C. Parashar said.
The students left for the national capital by train last evening.
The students stay at the state-run residential Astha Gurukul School in the worst Maoist-hit district of Dantewada in restive south Bastar. The total number of students in the school is 150.
The CRPF plans to arrange the trip in batches. Of the students, 20 are girls. Three teachers and an escort of CRPF are accompanying them to Delhi.
“The students are orphans, underprivileged and have not seen the world outside,” Parashar said.
Having witnessed ugly violence unleashed by the Maoists and living under death threats, the children were awe-struck seeing the chaos in the city roads for the first time yesterday.
Even the children — fear and pain of losing parents still etched on the faces — saw a train for the first time.
Now, they want no more children to be deprived of parenthood by the Maoists. “We want the end of Maoist menace,” said Karam Ram, who is studying in Class V.
Hailing from Konta area, Ram — whose sister is in Class III in the same school — recalls how the rebels organised a meeting in the village in February 2006 and killed his father.

8 Responses to “Miseries of Orphans are now Weapons of War”

  1. Sudhir Bal Says:

    This is a very good example of " Damned if you do and damned even if you don't" If a person wants to find hidden meaning to a sincere attempt to win hearts and minds of the people, such thoughtfull people and those spreading such thoughts through forwards and what have you will get the attempt undone within a short time. This is not to say it is a sincere attempt or otherwise. I am only going by what is written by the author and I find no demon there for sure except perception of the author! Or is it a hidden agenda being put forward? I wonder!!! Once again expecting similar actions to be taken in each and every violent incident(Sikh carnage of 1984, Muslim carnage of 2002 , Mumbai terror attacks and State & Insurgent violence in North Eastern States mentioned herein) smacks of inadequate understanding. Can you have same solution to be applied to each inciudent? For that matter to even equating the four incidents except the violence part of it is dubious to say the least. Neither the causes nor the situation before, during or after the events similar. On this count as well suspecion about my last line about cannot but be raised! It stinks man!!!

  2. Sadanand Says:

    Thanks Sudhir.I agree that it surely stinks.

  3. Ranjit Jatar Says:

    Agree with Sudhir. Also let me mention that I admire Chidambaram and the manner in which he is determined to eliminate Maoists, trying to get adminstration in the maoist affected areas to function — and accepting that injustice has been done to the maoists and others in those remote, rural areas, which needs to be addressed through development work.In other words a three pronged strategy. I really cannot think of any other multipronged strategy that will work. If anyone has any thoughts on which features of the above strategy the Home Minister should drop –or which he should add on, then it would be great to table it. Ranjit Jatar Ranjit

  4. Sadanand Says:

    The much admired Chidambaram made the announcement of starting the process of forming the Telangana state on the night of 10th December. It was done without consultations within party and outside. Almost unilaterally, with what objective I do not know. Now he has egg on his face. But no one sees it. Has anyone faulted him for that? Tribal heartlands that were neglected for 62 years are suddenly coveted for their mineral wealth. It was this neglect that caused Maoist to gain toehold much later and then prosper. Yet the Maoist problem is just blown out of proportion to their actual strength on the ground. It is a way of creating a giant monster (Saddam & weapons of mass destruction) for building public support for an all out war for fighting Maoists, but actually for driving tribals off their lands for handing them unencumbered to the mining interests (Oil in Iraq). Of course all this in the name of development, which no one before and even now – Maoists or no Maoists – can stop the government from delivering if it is to benefit the tribals & poor. There is enough material available about what needs to be done to address the issues, if one seriously intends to study it. I would cite my own post (http://satark.blogspot.com/2009/09/who-is-kobad- ghandy.html) wherein I had quoted the analysis & recommendations of the study group formed by Planning Commission of our very own Government of India. All that Chidambaram has to do is follow them. Issue is to be seen sincerely in totality and not just pick up some thread here or there. Sadanand

  5. Sudhir Bal Says:

    I agree with Sadanand that the issue needs to be seen in totality and not pick a thread here and there! Well put! Only I see a problem in following it in totality! Wealth with some one without the wherewithal to utilise it would mean the wealth remaining unused with no benefit for man or beast! Are we then seeing the issue in totality??? Big question mark then. I think we would need a facilitator – one may claim the facilitator is an exploiter! Do you have any other rational choice?? If you don't have, one might as well stop harking on this issue and put our minds to better and more beneficial things of aspects related to how to make use of the resources with inclusive benefits! No one – neither the govt, security forces nor Chidambaram are against the tribals. Maoist – surely need to be dealt with firmly with steel hands while winning the heart and minds of the indigenous peoples! And that to my understanding is the stated goal of the policy makers and am sure if the attempt is made in that direction, things would be sorted out. But certaily it would be of no avail if two separate issues are seen togather to see if "some one has egg on his face or not" it is yellow gernalism at its worse and nothing fruitfull will be achieved, because it is the most cynical and regressive way of looking at the glass! For such people the glass would always remain half empty and by circulating their views it would not take much time for the glass to be actually empty!!

  6. Sadanand Says:

    If the attitude is that King can do no wrong,then no criticism can be tolerated. Chidambaram was on the board of directors of Vedanta Resources & represented them as lawyer before becoming Finance Minister in UPA-I. If I am told to believe there will be no conflict of interests, then my credulity is stretched. If the use of wealth is always going to benefit Sadanand and Sudhir is the one who always has to make a sacrifice; then even a very accommodating Sudhir will question the rationale of development (for whom, at what cost) at some point. That is the history of development all along in India and elsewhere. Where the haves have always benefited at the cost of have-nots, though there would be some marginal adjustments. If invectives like 'stink' or 'yellow journalism' are going to march as arguments, less said the better. Regards,

  7. Ranjit Jatar Says:

    I think we are seeing ghosts where we need not. Vedanta is a well known mining company which employs 29000 people. Whats wrong with mining especially if done in an environment friendly way ? And so what if Chidambaram was on its board?Doesnt make him a bollywood villain. Vedanta says it wants the following competencies /characteristics in its people –bubbling with energy, enthusiasm and creative ideas, ambitious to further your own career, willing to take on new challenges, in the habit of doing things in an unconventional way,Surely the Maoists/tribals would benefit in such an envirnoment. More than leaving the wealth underground. Ranjit

  8. Sadanand Says:

    Earlier you had asked if any features could be added or subtracted from what Chidambaram proposed. The recommendations of the Study group appointed by planning commission would be a good starting point. Please have a look if not already done. I would also suggest a look at the article by Eric Stoner where he cites, "…. Rand corporation to conclude, “that military force is almost never successful at stopping terrorism. The vast majority of terrorist groups that ended during that period were penetrated and eliminated by local police and intelligence agencies (40%), or they reached a peaceful political accommodation with their government (43%)".Mining (include Oil in it for the sake of present discussion) is probably the most anti-poor/ anti-indigenous communities industry in the world. Reasons are not far to see. There playground is invariably remote, inaccessible areas where marginalized and poor people live far away from where Mainstream Media prances around. Poor are hunted off their fields in the name of development but hardly ever benefit from it. Check out , , for starters. Within India it has happened time and again when Jan Sunwai (public hearings) that are to be conducted mandatorily for recording objections of project affected persons and also for environmental impact assessment are sabotaged by Corporates through thugs, politicians and even district administrations that turn willing collaborators. The Jan Sunwai by eminent persons (mind you this is not official Jan Sunwai, but people's initiative) regarding Narmada Sarovar project can be seen here. If one reads through it one finds the lengths to which governments can go to hoodwink the public, especially the project affected. See what this team has to say about stories untold,"It was in this configuration of circumstances that each of us saw an opportunity in NBA’s invitation to us to visit the valley, and hear people facing submergence speak their version of the events that was so affecting their lives. Since the invitation had been extended to the resettlement authorities at the NVDA and Maharashtra and to each of the four of us, we hoped that it would be an exercise in exchanging points of view. This last was not to be, since the officials did not respond to the invitation. Listening to the women, men, and children speak of their idea of development, law, and justice led us to realise the importance of locating these ideas in mainstream discourse. They spoke to us with trust that we would help their words waft beyond the valley and be heard in wider spaces".Vedanta had published a Full Page advertisement in Indian Express in which a claim was made that 2.5 million people have been covered under community development schemes in 427 villages. This was a specific claim in public domain that I thought was verifiable. I wrote to get the details of the villages so that one can ascertain the truth and "nail the lies of activists on the ground who say that companies do little or nothing for the project affected". I was told, " …..Unfortunately, we are not able to provide this level of detail". Why? Is it because scrutiny is to be avoided? The claim is made publicly, but details cannot be provided publicly In this context I would also like to bring to your notice the affidavit filed by Prashant Bhushan in response to "Contempt of Court" proceedings brought against him in Supreme Court. If one goes through it, one finds a scathing indictment of the cavalier manner in which judicial decisions were made for Vedanta resources to begin their bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri hills – Orissa. I like to decide about companies & people by not merely what they say, but also by what they do. If we sift through all this information, it takes Will and efforts as it is not available freely (pushed on to us) as government and corporate narratives, then we would begin to see REAL GHOSTS everywhere.Regards,

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