Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Absurd to sympathise with Binayak Sen

Stand up to Maoists
Joginder Singh

January 10, 2011  

It's absurd to sympathise with Binayak Sen who helped Maoists under the garb of helping tribals

One fails to understand the reason behind such an uproar against the conviction of Binayak Sen, who is actually a front man, courier and a supporter of Maoists. Just because he is a paediatrician by profession and has worked for tribals does not mean he cannot commit any wrong. The lower court, which has sentenced him to life imprisonment along with two others after an open, two-and-half-year trial, must have found him guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit sedition. Everyone expresses full faith in the judiciary as long the judgement, be it acquittal or conviction, is in favour. The moment a verdict is contrary to one's expectation, the fairness of the judiciary is questioned.

Rights activists, Left sympathisers and members of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha held a rally and staged a sit-in to protest against the verdict. Such ceremonial protests by activists, who call themselves the custodians of civil and human rights and believe in making irresponsible statements, go on to show that they want to have all the benefits and rights of a democracy but none of the responsibilities of protecting the nation from those who threaten to destroy it. What surprises one is that a former Chief Justice has called the judgement "nonsensical" and "unacceptable" and that he feels "ashamed to belong to a judiciary that delivered such a ridiculous judgement."

The sole objective of these Maoists is to browbeat the security forces and civilians so that their illegal activities like kidnapping for ransom, extortion and protection racket remain unchallenged. What is most disturbing is that they are doing all this and more in the guise of helping tribals and uplifting their lot. An estimate puts their earnings from illegal activities at `1,500 crore. They impose their reign of terror by killing innocent people and men in uniform. Between 2005 and May 2010, they have taken the lives of 10,268 people. While 2,372 deaths were reported in 2009 as many as 1,769 people died in 2008 and 1,737 in 2007. In one of the worst Maoist attacks, 55 civilians were killed, 40 injured and 125 kidnapped at Dantewada on February 28, 2006. And more recently in April 2010, 76 CRPF personnel were massacred in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

It irks to see that there is not a word of sympathy from these so-called civil rights activists for the innocent people slaughtered in cold blood by Maoists. But they are up in arms when a conspirator is convicted by a court of law. They are least bothered about Maoist crimes and large-scale corruption. All they want is cheap publicity and this casts doubts on their sincerity.

The Union Minister for Finance, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, is right in slamming the argument that Maoist violence is an offshoot of lack of development as "more imaginary than actual". The Minister, reacting to the 'root-cause theorists' who routinely peddle the 'lack of development' theory to justify the spread of Maoism, said the Maoists are engaged in a political project to capture power by using guns. In his words: "Development is needed. Lack of development may swell Maoist cadre. But they do not run charitable institutions ... They are political elements and want to capture power."

The Union Minister for Home Affairs, Mr P Chidambaram, has been equally candid. He said in unequivocal terms that intellectual and material support to Maoists from various quarters was making the Government's task to curb the menace all the more difficult. He has been equally critical of the liberal media for giving these murderers respectability. According to him, Maoists seduce the media by making false charges in court to generate sympathy. "Maoists believe in violence which has no place in a democracy. A strong head, a stronger heart and staying power is required to tackle them," he said.

That the Maoists have been creating mayhem in the country for the past few years is common knowledge. They account for the top five worst attacks on men in uniform anywhere in India, including Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East. The following instances serve to underscore the threat they pose:

March 15, 2007: 55 killed in an armed attack and bombings at Bijapur in Chhattisgarh.

June 29, 2008: 31 policemen, mostly from anti-Maoist Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh, and four paramilitary personnel killed in an attack on a motor boat at Malkangiri in Odisha.

April 8, 2004: 19 Jharkhand Armed Police personnel and nine CRPF men killed by landmines at Chaibasa in Jharkhand.

July 9, 2007: 16 CRPF men, eight policemen from Chhattisgarh and one civilian killed in Maoist attack at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.

February 15, 2010: At least 24 personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles killed in an attack on the EFR camp at Silda in West Bengal.

April 2010: 76 CRPF men killed in an ambush at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.

The prophetic warning of Mr Chidambaram needs to be drilled into the heads of civil rights activists: "There can be no half-way approach. Most people still think there could be a compromise or some kind of median approach. This is immature and foolish ... This (Maoist violence) is expected because as long as we did not engage them, they were happy and expanding. They will continue to expand unless we challenge them."

The rights activists would do well to advise their Maoist friends on the futility of killing innocent and poor people. In fact, that would be of help in dealing with what the Prime Minister describes as "the most serious threat to India's internal security". Despite the Prime Minister's deep concern over the "virtual collapse of law and order in view of extortion demands, display of arms, encroachments on public property and the militant rhetoric of Maoist leaders at rallies and meetings", the situation remains unchanged. It is high time for every right-thinking person to come to the aid of the Government. On its part, the Government needs to change the law to encourage people to come forward and depose before a court of law, as nobody, except a foolhardy person, would do so when an atmosphere of fear and terror prevails.

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