Manifestations of Invisible Violence
In the areas where the government has forfeited its writ to the Maoists and other insurgent groups, a whole generation has been brought up in an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and depravity. They are subjected to extortion and Kangaroo courts. Their movement is restricted, their interaction is restricted, their communication is restricted, and their occupational choices are restricted. All government plans and programmes reach them after the filtering process of the Maoists / insurgents. In the tribal areas, even worship of traditional deities has been forbidden by the Maoists and have been forcibly supplanted by Mao.
No development is allowed to take place in the Maoist / insurgency affected areas. Inaccessibility and backwardness is of critical importance to the Maoists. It is for this reason that they blow up schools, hospitals, bridges, railway tracks and target road construction parties.
A visit to the Red Corridor will reveal the huge swathes of agricultural land lying uncultivated because of Maoist ban or threat. The Prime Minister can keep talking about the second ‘Green Revolution’, but he must realize that it can only take place in a conducive and fear-free environment.
There is a thriving extortion industry worth Rs.14,000 crores in the Red Corridor. The Maoists have emerged as the mining mafia. In Kashmir, the people are benefiting from money coming from the central government and Pakistans ISI.
In these Maoist controlled areas, elections are held under the shadow of the gun and therefore their legitimacy is in question. It is for this reason that the mainstream political parties do not hesitate to tie-up with the Maoists for influencing the voting pattern in their favour. The people are very well aware that after the elections, the government will retreat and they will be back to the mercy of Maoist masters.
Insurgency has played havoc with the demography within the country. With the insurgents running a parallel government in the rural areas, a large number of people are moving towards cities and towns in search of security and progress. The rural areas are devoid of doctors, teachers and rural businessman due to incessant extortion by the insurgents. Maoist insurgency has caused the sky-rocketing of property prices even small towns like Arrah, Asansol, Jamshedpur and Raipur because of exodus in villages. People feel that at least they will be able to buy peace and government’s writ in these areas.
For the insurgents there are many payoffs of invisible violence. There is a thriving extortion industry worth Rs.14,000 crores in the Red Corridor. The Maoists have emerged as the mining mafia. In Kashmir, the people are benefiting from money coming from the central government and Pakistan’s ISI. In the Northeast Manipur and Nagaland have become a bottomless bit. The reason contribute nothing to India’s coffers, but the insurgent outfits run an insurgency industry on tax-payers’ money. The insurgent leadership thrives. Most of the leaders have acquired huge properties in cities and state capitals. They ensure that their own families and children are not victims of the invisible violence.
Maoism has brought in terror in hitherto some of the most peaceful states like Orissa and begun to make inroads in Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand.
The common man is confused by the debate over Maoism and other insurgencies, which he thinks are criminal activities. He is bewildered, why the government or the civil society should even entertain the idea of having ‘talks’ with criminals, and what right does the government have to pardon them. He wonders whether it pays to be a law abiding citizen. He does not know which principles and values to live by and to live for.
Meanwhile the security forces are confused over the shifting definition of their ‘adversary’ and ‘enemy’. They feel that if the insurgents, who have declared ‘war on India’, are country’s ‘own people’, whom are they fighting against. They are not sure whether their actions in line of their duty will have the backing of the country’s leadership. They wonder, is it worth fighting or is it worth losing their lives for ungrateful set of people and VIPs. When they are vilified for their role in counter-insurgency and praised for protection duties of VIPs, they are visited by doubts about being used as a cannon-fodder.
The policy-makers must realize that reacting to ‘visible violence’ can buy them temporary reprieve, but their inability to read and deal with ‘invisible violence’ will cost them India as a modern and democratic nation-state. The nation must therefore define its core values and defend it irrespective of human and other costs.