HRF Report : An inhuman counter-insurgency

November 1, 2013

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The Preface

The Naxalites, or more specifically members of the CPI (Maoist), have establishedthemselves in the predominantly adivasi tracts of Central India. They have done thisby working among the adivasis and gaining their trust through successfully fightingagainst various forms of exploitation and oppression that the adivasis werehistorically subjected to. Because the Indian State sees the Maoist movement as a threat it has essentially declared a seemingly low-intensity war on the Maoists. Withthe realisation that the Maoists have significant popular support among the adivasis,in order to effectively counter the movement, our State has chosen to brutalise thissupport base, these adivasis, to wean them away from the Maoists.

This report is about that brutalisation and its impact. It is essentially a report aboutthe suffering inflicted on a people who are to us non-adivasis so near geographicallybut so distant and virtually non-existent in our minds and social psyche. Ourperception of adivasis has been historically clouded by false caricatures andmisinformation by a complex of vested interests. It is similar to what Europeans havedone to Africans and the same European settlers have done to Native Americans. They needed their extraordinarily rich lands and natural resources but couldn’t justshove those people aside and expropriate them – their own collective moral conscience wouldn’t allow that. So they began to portray the native residents of thesecontinents (the “adivasis” there) as savages that need to be civilized if necessary, andinevitably necessarily, at the point of a gun. The caricaturing of the natives as less-than-human beings is essential to the brutal imposition of “civilization” and”development” on them.

Our adivasis have similarly been caricatured and imprinted as less-than-human in our minds over several generations. This makes the violence imposed on them seem insignificant and the resultant suffering invisible. As truly civilized beings, and not as our predecessors who used “civilization” as an excuse to brutalize and exploit, it is time that we begin to see the humanity in our adivasis and the inhumanity of our actions against them. This report is to help us do that – to begin by educating ourselves about and acknowledging the immense and entirely unacceptable suffering inflicted on our so-very-human adivasis by our not-so-human governments and police.