Mark Tully: The root of the problem is the Indian government’s inability to provide what those they govern rightly feel is their entitlement.
Operation Green Hunt – a two year campaign against the Naxalites, now more often called ‘Maoist terrorists’- began last November and is expected to last for two years.
Mark Tully, former BBC Delhi Correspondent writing at the time quoted Arundhati Roy: “If the tribals have taken up arms they have done so because a government which has given them nothing but violence and neglect now wants to snatch away the last thing they have – their land.”
She bitterly criticised the plans of multinational companies to mine the forest’s bauxite and other rich mineral reserves.
Mark Tully added that the root of the problem is the Indian government’s inability to provide what those they govern rightly feel is their entitlement.
“Nowhere is this more manifest than in the callous handling of tribals who have been dispossessed of their land.
“Reading Arundhati Roy, I was reminded of a visit I made to a resettlement villages for tribals, who had twice been evicted in order to make way for power stations. When they complained to the official accompanying me that they were not being provided with electricity, he shot back: “Well you cannot afford it, can you?”
With that sort of callousness all too common amongst officials, is it any wonder that tribals support Maoists who promise to protect their lands?
On February 5th 2010, demonstrations were held in front of the Indian Embassies in the Hague, London, Vienna, Bern, Berlin and Frankfurt to condemn “Operation Green Hunt”. Ravi Kumar sends news that further demonstrations are planned in March and the Indian Workers’ Association Great Britain (IWA-GB) is appealing for international allies to join them: pointing out that as the issues have not been covered in the international media, many outside India are unaware of the scale and scope of the military offensive.
They believe that the Indian State’s the real objective is to clear the mineral rich areas and hand over the land to corporations for mining, industrial projects and Special Economic Zones. This has been resisted in Singur, Kalinganagar, Jagatsinghpura and Nandigram.
They are calling for:
1. Immediate cessation of all armed operations against the people.
2. Immediate suspension of land acquisitions and displacement