On August 28, 2018, some of India’s leading land and human rights defenders were arrested or had their homes raided on charges of conspiring to assassinate the PM Narendra Modi, among other things. Here, we present their profiles and some selected writings/talks, as well as a video dossier of the draconian UAPA law, courtesy TheWire.in
Madhu Ramnath writes: Time and again we have heard that the Naxal insurgency is due to “under development” in areas like Bastar. Education is also supposed to deter Naxalism, according to some, but one may ask whose education? Fundamentally it’s about respect, dignity and trust in our behaviour towards others, in this case the Adivasi.
In her new book, The Burning Forest: India’s War In Bastar, anthropologist Nandini Sundar provides a harrowing narrative of the toll this ongoing conflict has taken on the lives of Bastar’s Adivasis. Sundar demonstrates how the institutions of democracy have failed to address the human tragedy in what has become one of India’s most militarized regions.
From Juggernaut publishing: There’s a hidden war going on in central India away from the headlines — and Bastar is at the centre of it. Sociologist Nandini Sundar, who has written about Bastar and its people for nearly three decades, has now authored a gripping account of the war between the Maoists and the State.
Javed Iqbal reports: Months have passed quietly with allegations of day-to-day violence and repression. Throughout the summer, say locals, many adivasis were caught and humiliated by the C60 – Maharashtra’s special anti-naxal force. In interviews, they detailed how they were deliberately humiliated by being beaten on the soles of their feet and on their buttocks.
In this excerpt from his new book, published by Hachette India, Rohit Prasad looks at the roles of the different players in the battle between Adivasis, Maoist rebels, corrupt bureaucrats and hungry corporations, concluding that the situation is one of “cooperative plunder”, where two apparently antagonistic forces align for the purpose of siphoning away resources.
Madhu Ramnath reports: Unknown to the rest of the country, a small group of adivasis from the forested villages in central Bastar have been busy doing work that would make conservationists proud. People from Sandh Karmari, Kakalgur, Kangoli and nearby villages have been gathering native seeds and raising them in nurseries in fairly large numbers.
Sreekumar Kodiyath writes: The final phase of the Sri Lankan Government’s war with the LTTE in 2009 saw a systematic program to make the affair a private one, by expelling reporters and human rights activists from the war zone. Those who stubbornly remained either disappeared or were detained. The army called it a “War without witnesses”.
Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava reports: Groups like JJMP and TSPC thrive on a levy collected from mining. Jharkhand accounts for nearly a third of India’s coal, a quarter of its iron ore and 16% of copper. In return, the armed groups provide protection to mining companies and intimidate villagers to facilitate land acquisition for the companies.