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Encounters of the State kind

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2010

Okay. Here I’m, with another edition of Garruless and if any of you resent that I’m back in a week, please call the editor-in-chief, he will give you a fair hearing, and justice will be done, unlike what happens when the State tramples on human rights and gets away with it because it does that with the unbridled might at its command, no questions entertained, no answers given.

So, why is it that, when it is said that Maoists don’t leave a body behind — like the Apaches used to Once Upon a Time in the Sierra Madre — because they without fail carry their dead with them, that suddenly one Friday morning one of their top leaders is shot dead along with a comrade in a “genuine” encounter, and our Maoist brothers and sisters forget their credo and walk away with nary a glance behind! Doesn’t jell with Maoist nature, does it? Talk about a tiger without its stripes or a leopard minus its spots or a monkey tailless. Would Lanka have burned?

I hold no candle for Maoists. But I surely would like some light thrown on this encounter talk that the police keep coughing up. I’ll call it smoker’s cough, because I’ve this uncanny feeling such encounters take place only after men in khaki have smoked out the said encounter-dead.

It appeals to the State in some states to pander to the feudal, and there are states in this country, even after six decades and more of Independence, where feudal lords hold not just court but also the reins of power, with the police and administration at their command, such as Andhra Pradesh. Some of those Telugu movies take forward that imagination and make it look so real that it cannot be anything but the reality.

Surely, there must have been casualties among the Maoists too in the Dantewada incident of April 16. But how many Maoist dead were found strewn around? Not one. Was that because the remaining CRPF men, the ones who survived the firefight, tuck tail and run and run? Or, was it because the Maoists took their dead with them into deep jungle to cremate or to bury?

Extra-judicial killings have become very common in the heartland of India. It comes handy when the person looking into that extra-judicial barrel is a top Maoist leader, one whose word is heard. Why otherwise was it being said that the Government of India was working on Cherukuri Rajkumar ‘Azad’ to streamline a dialogue between the Centre and his gang of merry men.

If my brothers-in-‘pen’ are to be believed, Azad was the last hope for PC & Co., to get the Maoists to the talking-table. But, then, lo behold, the man is dead meat on an autopsy table! Is there something amiss there? Are the states and the Centre working at cross-purposes? Are the feudal elements having the last laugh, which lends credibility to the Maoist claim that the only escape from drudgery and enslavement is an overthrow of the status quo? A change of guard with nothing of the before in the after, a government of the people for the people by the people in the real sense of that phrase which today stands reduced into a slogan of empty puerile words, thanks to the machinations of the status-quos, people who live in modern glory with all the gadgets of development at their feet but who perpetuate a medieval existence for the majority to perish in, just so that the minority could command and prosper in.

Friends, I’ve had some fun lampooning the Maoists in this column, and I believe a little fun at anybody’s expense is no crime as long as it doesn’t kill and maim fellow human beings or hurt sentiments very, very personal. But I refuse to entertain the thought that the State stands for everything good. I refuse to believe that Azad was killed in a “genuine” encounter. There is a false ring to it.

If Azad was killed in a “genuine” encounter between the police and the Maoists, his 80-year-old mother wouldn’t have petitioned the high court for a glimpse of her son’s body. There wouldn’t have been a body to glimpse. His comrades would have taken it with them, not just because they are in the habit of taking their dead with them but also because this was the body of Azad. It would suit them to keep the belief of an Azad alive ‘alive’ than an Azad dead ‘alive’. — Sushil is Assistant Editor, Business, with the sushil

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