Friday, January 8, 2010

Silencing tribal voices

Operation Green Hunt is finally put into full gear; the Union home minister is asked to stay away from its area of operation; and a Gandhian begins a hunger strike at its centre. What do these recent developments imply?

First, the harsh truth — the Centre’s, and consequently the media’s, near-silence all through the last month on its heavily tom-tommed proposed armed offensive against the Maoists, was no rethink. The war cries had boomeranged; it made more sense to keep quiet, let the protests fizzle out, and go ahead with it. It was foolish anyway, to have thought that the outrage of intellectuals (and a few retired security men) could outweigh the exciting prospect of big business finally moving in on all those riches buried under the Dandakaranya forests. As planned, the moment the Jharkhand elections got over, the offensive began. But why is the Union home minister, the man behind it, being asked to stay away? That too by the governor of the State at its epicentre?


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