Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No tears for 15 policemen killed by Naxalites!

Just a few days back, the Naxalites gunned down 15 policemen in an ambush in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.

It was not an ordinary incident but still it didn't affect most of us including the media and the masses. All of these slain policemen lived in harsh conditions in jungles, amid deadly mosquitoes, and without the comforts of city life.

No medals, honours

1. No interviews with their family members appeared on TV or in the print. Do you think these policemen will get any posthumous rewards or medals? No demand for honours was raised from any section. You may not have seen photographs of any of these martyrs either. They also went down fighting like other policemen do. Rather, they fight in tougher conditions.

They lost their lives fighting the Maoists who are fighting the Indian state and want to overthrow the government to establish the 'people's republic'. But there was no outrage. I don't know the reason why this massacre didn't get due attention.

In the Jamia Nagar's Batla House encounter, one policeman was killed. The youth killed and those caught were mostly students. The story remains unclear. But even if we forget that, my simple worry is that why hard-core ultra-leftists who kill policemen by dozens are not even termed as terrorists.

And those policemen who die in jungles at the hands of hardcore Naxalites living the sole aim of insurrection, don't get any credit. Maoists will remain Maoists or Naxalites or the Ultra-leftists despite killing in dozens.

The image of a Terrorist

2. But young students who have no previous criminal record are termed terrorists even if there are holes in police stories and doubts. Is it just because of their names?

Or the image of a terrorist that has been created in our collective consciousness. He has to be a Muslim. If he is not, he can't be a terrorist! So what if a national paper innocently writes 'the left-wing extremists carry out 100 land mine explosions ever year'.

The policemen who died in Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) or Dantewara (Chhattisgarh) are mostly armed with old weapons and have to save themselves not just from the bullet that can be fired from anywhere in the jungle.

There are also landmines, that can blow up anytime. These policemen fight for this nation. They don't have sophisticated arms which the encounter specialists carry in Delhi or Mumbai. But when these policemen die, there is not even a sigh.

Narmada, the Maoist leader

3. The women who led the Markegaon attack was Narmada. Naturally her photo is not available yet. But has India TV or any other channel yet focused on her or shown the story of the kind that scream like 'Vo mahila dahshatgard jo policewalon ka khatma kar gayi'. Narmada is a college dropout. Wouldn't it have been a story of how she got so indoctrinated and turned the Killer.

As I write this post, there is another attack of Naxalites in Bihar. Nearly 11 policemen have been killed by the Naxalites. Ya, I too write 'Naxalite', not 'Mao-inspired Terrorists' or even 'Leftist militants'.

Or may be the Naxals know it well that anything in rural India or for that matter which happens away from metros and 'low TRP regions', will never become a national issue.

So they can perhaps breathe easily as long as all this happens in Sarguja, Jhabua, Bastar or Jehanabad---away from the Cities. Urban Indian can sleep peacefully and watch a dozen stories about Terror every day on the dozen-odd 'News' channels.

Just to remind: In case it is still not Naxal Terrorism, the Red Terrorists have killed 650 deaths in India in the last year, three times the number of people who died in all terror strikes.


[No way this post intends to belittle the contribution of martyrs like MC Sharma. It is to highlight how policemen are getting killed like flies in the rural area and nobody, just nobody bothers. The aim is also to highlight how imbalanced is our collective approach towards terrorism and militancy, and how skewed is the vision of the media that builds popular opinion and in turn clouds our perception.]