The Indian State which is ruled by the comprador class cannot be overthrown by means other than armed conflict. This is the fundamental political belief of the CPI(Maoist) which aims to seize State power through “protracted armed struggle”. When the Maoists are so frank and clear about their ultimate objective, it is difficult to appreciate why the ongoing conflict between them and the State should be viewed as “one side is bent on destroying the ‘LWE’ (left-wing extremism) and the other side determined to defend themselves”. To some, it may appear that the “other side” is concertedly defending the subjugated masses from a repressive and brutal State but the real intention of this “other side” is obviously something more ominous and far more profound than it seems to be. Is it not true that both the sides are equally resolute to destroy each other? Many exponents and experts who find nothing wrong in the Maoists method of action have affirmed us that condemning the Maoists violence is actually a symptom of “bourgeois-liberalism”. Maoist violence and State violence cannot be viewed as same because the heart of State violence is to suppress and consistently kill innocent people whereas the Maoists’ are violent just to “defend” the poor Adivasis. Even when the Maoists opt for offensive steps, we are advised to view it as a part of their defense tactic! When State forces take action, it is “war against our own people” which is highly condemnable because “political aspirations ought not to be suppressed militarily”. But when the Maoist People’s Army arrogantly slaughters innocent people at random under so many “noble” pretexts, it does not need to be condemned, but instead needs to be glorified because the victims simply “suffered the fate that they deserved”. (Source) This is a strange and dangerous logic.
Violent ideologies will continue to attract people as long as the very source of their resentment remains unabated. But why does ultra-left sectarian politics always have some special appeal among a section of the thriving middle-class of this country as the only way to address injustice? In a recent speech, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat has explained that left sectarianism seems to be an “easy way out” for it’s proponents since they can “dangle the prospect that there is another short cut to revolution.” (Source) Accordingly, a battalion of human rights, civil liberties organizations, Gandhian social workers and a section of urban embedded intellectuals are raising the mercury level in the ongoing debate on the Maoist menace by repeatedly harping on two aspects as the real cause behind the Maoists spread. They talk about the development model implemented by the Indian State since 1990’s which is responsible for shattering the livelihood of the Adivasi (tribal) people. They also talk endlessly about the gross violation of Adivasi rights from the ongoing State paramilitary offensive Operation Green Hunt. Both the issues are relevant and needs proper introspection.
In the Adivasi land
No one can deny that the Adivasis are among the poorest of the poor in India. Well-off sections of the society have always deprived them of their elementary rights and never viewed them with any respect. Historically, they have been left at the mercy of the oppressors, plunderers and their agents. Numerous time during the colonial rule, the Indian Adivasis had bravely fought to resist the British colonial interests but their rebellion was never been treated as part of the Indian Freedom Struggle. The British took away their autonomy over the forests by imposing the Forest Act in 1927 after terming them as traitors and encroachers. The biased law remained in force until 1980. Valued only as cheap labour in factories, mills, plantations, quarries and mines during the British colonial rule, the Adivasis also became the victim of a separate Adivasi identity created by the colonial rulers that had categorized the community into tribal and non tribal, criminal and non criminal tribes.
The situation remained unchanged even after Independence. Successive governments and their callous, corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy have failed to provide them the basic means of livelihood. Development works or benefits of government policies have seldom touched their lives. People in the remote Adivasi dominated areas continue to live without roads, electricity, hospitals, clean water and proper sanitation. The post-independent elites, the middle-class and various political leadership were also ineffectual to do any justice to them. Instead, they have regularly cheated and victimized the Adivasi communities by showing little or no concern for them and went on exploiting their precious resource base. In the situation as it prevails now, the Adivasi population has increasingly become alienated from their vicinity and traditional resources. They are forced into chronic poverty and are also at risk of losing their community identity.
According to a recent study of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), nearly 2.6 million people have been displaced between 1950 and 1991 in the country due to mining and 164,000 hectares of forestland has been diverted for the purpose. 52 per cent of the displaced population belongs to the Adivasi communities whose livelihoods and economy are closely attached with the forests. A wilderness of terrible despair that the Adivasis are facing today is directly linked with the central government’s disastrous National Mineral Policy (NMP) released in the year 1993. The Ministry of Environment and Forest has sanctioned 881 mining projects between 1998 and 2005 in forest areas diverting 60,476 hectares of forest area and forced a significant number of the Adivasi populations towards immediate displacement from their traditional habitat.
Almost half of the 50 major mining districts in India have a large Adivasi population. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa are the three top mineral-bearing Indian states regarding concentration of mineral deposits. About 70 per cent of India’s coal, 80 per cent of its hematite iron ore (high-grade ore), 60 per cent of bauxite, 40 per cent of manganese and almost all its chromite are found in these three states. The three states are also characterized by large forest covers, big Adivasi populations with a very high rate of poverty and backwardness. (Source)
The Maoists have made inroads in areas where hilly regions with dense forest covers provided a geographical advantage for them to operate in a relatively easier way. These are also the areas where State apathy, abuse of power and denial of people’s rights are severe. These favorable conditions have immensely helped the Maoists to strike a chord with some sections of the people living here. The Adivasi dominated regions were selected as a strategic choice, not because of any special concern for the dismal condition of the Adivasis. After subtly exploiting their misery, the phraseology mongering Maoist leadership has effectively applied a warped and distorted ideology on them. They have ignited the brewing resentment with their gun wielding politics and enlisted the Adivasis youths as the perfect cannon fodder in their protracted people’s war.
A “Gandhian social worker” gives a fantastic ‘Gandhian’ interpretation on why the Adivasis are with the Maoists. He has expounded that when the Adivasis come to the realization that “the only reasons for losing my land and my resources were because the “government” agents were not on my side and that they had guns,” the only means that is left to oppose the government agents and save their resources is, “to have guns of my own”. (Source) This now famous “Gandhian” social worker believes that under a repressive setting choosing a gun is the only way to channel the anger of the poor, and thus grants a “Gandhian” legitimacy to the Maoist gun-culture. A section of the deracinated intellectuals and rights group activists tend to perceive the Maoists like a Messiah for championing the Adivasi causes and for offering “formidable resistance against implementation of hundreds of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for mining and mineral-based industries in predominately tribal India.” It becomes an excellent excuse to vindicate the rebels from all their misdoings.
To endorse what the Maoists are doing today, passionate sympathizers are putting forward an outrageously simplistic and romantic logic. They argue that in a “fake” democracy, “resistance seemed the only way out”. One cannot “pretend to be neutral” under such terrible circumstances. Violence of the “oppressed and the oppressors” cannot be morally equated. They have discovered that the only political force that is capable to channel the anger of the poor against a failed system is the one and only CPI(Maoist). They are enthralled by the wild dreams of a “new democratic regime” under the Maoists where landlordism will be abolished and the tillers will become landowners, where the property of the imperialists and the big bourgeoisie will be confiscated, the representatives and backers of the anti-democratic opposition to socialism will be stymied, income and wealth will be properly redistributed to satisfy the reasonable needs of all. At the same time they convey a warning to “the ruling classes and those who govern on their behalf” that the CPI(Maoist) “is not merely a guerrilla army backed by a large section of the people in its areas of operation, but a party with a vision and a plan that does all it can to implement, against all odds”. (Source)
Let us now see how the so called “Maoist ethics” works on the ground. The Maoists who are about to create a “new democratic regime” surprisingly does not keep trust in democratic principles themselves. This aspect is evident from the everyday life under an authoritarian military setup in the dark Dantewada jungles where in the name of the people everything including the functioning of the ostensible people’s committees and jan adalats (people’s courts) are determined by the Maoist dictum. Whoever dares to disobey their authority is branded as agents of state or police informer or exploiter and is executed in cold blood. Without any transparent process of verifying guilt, these kangaroo courts act in a four-in-one role – as the accuser, prosecutor, judge and executioner to regularly deliver capital punishment to the accused after identifying them as class enemies. The Maoist leaders keenly follows the ultra-left tradition initiated by Charu Mazumdar and has elevated their murderous obsession into a political principle. It is quite easy to terrorize and keep the people under a constant threat by the AK 47 wielding people’s guerrillas. Instead of being involved with issues of livelihood and socio-economic justice, the Maoists believe in practicing mindless militarism as the only resort to achieve their desired goal. The barrel of their guns is pointed to disrupt the emergence of any strong democratic movement in their area of dominance. However, they are rarely heard to assault any member of the “comprador bureaucratic capitalist class”. There is no instance where the Maoists have stopped mining operations in these areas; neither did they ever organize any strong movement against the poor living and working conditions of the locals who work in the mining industries. How is it possible for so many industrialists and mining companies, traders and forest contractors to happily go on doing their business in the Maoist infested areas? It is simply because the big bourgeoisie and corporate houses are their stable cash cows. They have to regularly pay handsome protection money to the Maoists and fund their "revolution".
The Maoist backers believe that “unless people are armed there is no other way one can neutralize the great advantage the ruling classes enjoy over means of violence”. These backers have found an effective way to “humanize the demonized” and counter the State sponsored “abuses, half-truths and untruths” by reciprocating it with similar abuses, half-truths and untruths in favor of the Maoists in thrilling reports based on what they “saw, heard, read, discussed, debated, and argued” during the sponsored trips into the Maoist heartland. (Source) The mystifying reports tell us that the Maoists shit in neat field toilets, do not drink or smoke, can skillfully stitch and sew, can cook delicious but nutritious meals, watch popular movies, listen to their all time favorite BBC news and “be it day or night” takes out a book to read and a notebook to write. The senior Maoist members carry laptops and download TV programs from You Tube. Hearing from them that “we do not kill, loot or rape,” the enthusiastic fact finders become sanguine about the moral stateliness of the rebels. They are equally satisfied with the answer, “we only kill enemy of the people”. When a senior leader was asked why they are killing CPI(M) party workers, the terribly “honest” revolutionary replies that he “couldn't answer without reading report of the state committee”. After blowing the Maoist trumpet in full force these “quite supportive” admirers become flabbergasted to find that the Maoists do not try to “over blow their achievement”!
Gurucharan Kisku a.k.a Marshal, a key Maoist functionary of the Kharsawan-Purulia-West Midnapore-Bankura sub-zonal committee who has recently turned into a renegade with several of his followers has revealed a disturbing account which is in sharp contrast to the lofty claims of the backers. Kisku has exposed how the Maoists squad members “collect a levy of Rs 20 and 3 kg rice from every such poor and deprived tribal household at gun point” and have killed “more than 200 tribals who where neither rich, nor oppressor”. (Source) In another interview, Kisku has said, “I have realised that if the party line is clear, there is no need for unnecessary killings. Ultimately, most of the dead people are tribals themselves. Whenever a tribal raises his voice against the Maoists, he is killed.” In reply to the question whether he is still a Maoist, Kisku answers, “If you consider Maoist as someone who kills police officers and innocent people, I am not one.” (Source)
Kisku, who was one of the closest aides of CPI(Maoist) leader Kishenji, has also accused that the Maoist leadership were not working for the Adivasi people but instead “have attempted to divide tribals”. In the name of leading a justified war on behalf of poor and deprived tribals, the Maoist top brasses are “using them as instruments.” Expressing his discontent, Kisku went on to say that, “Tribals are a social entity, with distinct customs, religion and language. The party is destroying this tribal system and way of life in Jungalmahal and other areas. It is following the proletariat line where distinctness is not recognized. There is no development of tribals under CPI(Maoist). There is only 20 per cent representation of tribals in the leadership of the party at all levels.”
The ongoing events in Lalgarh have revealed how the Maoist’s “strategy” works among the impoverished masses. From 2007, there have been sporadic incidences of violence in the area carried out by armed Maoist squads’ crossing over from Jharkhand. The Maoists had prominently marked their presence in that area when they tried to assassinate the chief minister of Bengal by an IED explosion on November 2008. In the ongoing verbal extravaganza, it is seldom uttered that the police action in Lalgarh had intensified only after the attack on the Bengal chief minister. The CPI(Maoist) had accepted the responsibility of the explosion in a press release. Maoists spokesperson Gour Chakraborty was found to reveal in an interview that, “Our party wanted to kill Bhattacharjee”. (Source) A key Maoist leader Shashadhar Mahato, better known as Bikash, had openly stated that since someone needs to execute the chief minister “we took charge of it”. When the police raided across the Lalgarh area in search of the culprits, a resistance group called the PCAPA (People’s Committee against Police Atrocities) cropped up instantaneously to “defend” the local Adivasis from police brutality.
It is undeniable that the PCAPA was able to maneuver a significant number of locals, most of them impoverished and ingenuous Adivasis, and has coercing them to confront the state administration. Even after the government reprimanded the accused policemen and undertaken several remedial steps, the PCAPA refused to come to any compromise with the state government and continued with their violent protests which in many ways were identical with the Maoists distinctive style. On the grass root level, the PCAPA targeted local CPI(M) workers. No wonder that the CPI(Maoist) is particularly hostile against the CPI(M) in Bengal since the Marxists are the only political force in the state that has come forward to fight them politically. They systematically started burning houses of “class enemies”, looting banks and killing local CPI(M) leaders and workers who were either agricultural laborers or poor peasants and created a total anarchy after undermining and preventing the state forces to enter the area. Soon, the devious Trinamul Congress chieftain and a section of high-flying urban intellectuals were seen screaming on media to justify the anarchism and bloodbath with the excuse of expressing their “concern” for the subjugated Adivasis and started to feed the “heroic resistance movement” with dubious fodder. Gradually it became crystal clear that the PCAPA is really not interested to resolve the apparently meager issue of police brutality but has a much greater objective in mind – to cordon off and convert the area into another notorious Maoist stronghold. The Home Minister of the country has to later admit in the Rajya Sabha that the PCAPA is “only a front organization to the CPI (Maoist)”.
Though proclaimed by some rights activists and run-of-the-mill academics, in real sense Lalgarh was never a “community upsurge”. Let there be no mistake that from its origin, the movement steadily followed the dictums of the Maoists bosses. The killings and destruction of properties, the call for a boycott of the State agencies were the handiwork of the so called “revolutionaries” who were eager to create another liberated zone of its own kind in Lalgarh. The “radical democrat” intellectuals attempts to show how the Maoist leadership carries out a class analysis to understand the concrete forms of exploitation and oppression and “clearly” identifies the friends and the enemies while spreading their movement. If this is the case then why the Maoist hands are smeared with proletarian blood? The majority of people killed by them are always from the deprived and neglected sections of society for whom the Maoists claim to be fighting for. Most of the CPI(M) party members in and around Lalgarh who are bearing the brunt of the deadly “new democracy” of the Maoists also belong to the same social class.
Inside and outside pressure groups are robustly persuading the government to renounce the “unconstitutional” Operation Green Hunt and rethink its counter-Maoist strategy. But who will pursue the Maoists to desist from their killing spree? Isn’t it quite obvious that the present situation will not improve any further if only the Indian State discontinues their anti-Maoist operation? Isn’t it also the Maoists who must be prevented from their violent acts? The activists who have specialized in defending the rights of the Maoists are debating the issue with utter dishonesty. Presently their single track demand is that the State must first and foremost stop the repressive action on the “Adivasis”. They are always quick to raucously denounce the State offensive but rarely seen to come forward to even say with the same intensity that along with the State onslaught, the Maoists violence must also stop. Instead, when the Maoists massacres paramilitary forces, triggers deadly blasts, attacks police posts, robs banks and mines, kidnaps and murders innocent people to provoke the State for instigating brazen measures to curb the deteriorating law and order situation, the so-called rights activists create a hullabaloo on sympathy networks against the “phlegmatic response” of the State while maintaining a discreet reticence about the clinical atrocities of the Maoists or try to define it on moral terms. This particular façade of the Rights groups is not only disingenuous but also deeply suspicious.
Just like the State agencies, the rights and civil liberty groups are similarly caught up in misleading public opinion by systematically giving a lopsided view of the subject. When the Maoist armed squad attacked a relief camp in Dantewada on July 2006 and killed thirty Adivasis including children, CPI(Maoist) spokesperson Azad had surfaced to justify the killing by saying, “No people’s war can be so clinical as to have no civilian casualty”. How did they forget that incidence? Are they not aware that the Maoist goons have ingeniously melted among the Adivasi population and it is quite hard if not impossible for the State security forces to distinguish between a hardcore Maoist insurgent and a naive Adivasi? How to identify and isolate the CPI(Maoist) leaders and members from the common people in the so-called “liberated” villages? After getting recruited as cannon-fodders in the Maoists squads, should the State forces continue to consider the Adivasi men and women simply as Adivasis? Is it not true that at the end it will be no-one else but the Adivasis who will be left to bear the catastrophic impact of the clash between the State forces and the so-called revolutionaries? On this question the activists are maintaining a conniving silence.
“A defining characteristic of the human rights movement is its attitude of suspicion towards all power and authority,” wrote K. Balagopal, one of the finest human rights activists in India. Asserting that “the human rights movement is equally concerned about physical violence and structural violence,” Balagopal had revealed that “the violence of rebel movements is rarely as well balanced and exactly sufficient for its stated aim of establishment of justice as the movements’ claim it is.” Pointing out at “the more romantic the more distant” human rights activists who finds it uncomplicated to condemn institutional violence but remain relatively quiet against the “popular militancy” carried out by rebel movements, Balagopal had asked, “Can the fact that the purported final aim of the authority is total liberation of human beings from all oppression render one blind to these questions?” (Source)
Balagopal had intensely denounced all forms of violence. Since “systematic violence on both sides bleeds society,” he was also a sharp critic of the Naxalites for their belief that violent armed struggle is the inevitable form of revolutionary class struggle. Writing in the context of the Naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh, Balagopal had argued that the Naxalites, “intentionally used methods that would challenge the very authority of the law and push the state, inch by inch, to repudiate law and legality”. He had further observed that the, “systematic violence by the naxalites has gone hand in hand with the State electing a response of systematic violence to the naxalite movement,” and had swayed both sides to “copy a lot from each other because they set each other’s terms.”
According to Balagopal’s analysis, “Systematic and calculated violence begins with the enemy but soon turns to the agents of the enemy within and among one’s friends”. Exposing the dilemma that characterizes the Naxalite movement he further continues, “The naxalites social base consists of the landless poor, the peasants, and the miners and factory labor, with the middle class as a potential ally. Yet the majority – overwhelmingly – of the victims of naxalite violence belong precisely to these classes/groups.” He had argued that as “there is no natural mechanism to ensure that the aims of the militants remain close to the needs and aspirations of the supporters…..This question is all the more urgent because it is the supporters who willy-nilly bear the brunt of the State’s counter-attack.”
Balagopal’s moral honesty did not go well with the pro-Naxalite coterie of academics and intellectuals who have lately been reduced to the obnoxious position of fire eater apologists of the CPI(Maoist). He analysis had surely irked the pseudo-dissent shadow-warriors who thinks that, “violence of the state forces in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa and the violent resistance of the tribals (under the leadership of the CPI(Maoist)) whose land had been taken, livelihood destroyed and who had been thrown into the wilderness of destitution, despair and hunger cannot be morally equated.” Quite predictably, Balagopal was ruthlessly abused by them for the “basic shift” in his priorities and world view and was termed as a “liberal humanist” and “reformist”. His critics has even gone to the extend to declare that, “Those who claimed that they were equidistant from the aggressor and the aggressed were on the side of the aggressor – it was their class bias that made them assess the two with the same yardstick.” (Source) However these frenzy concerns sounds almost bizarre since neither the noisy “radical democrats” nor the highflying Maoist leaders belong to the aggressed class.
Selective Human Rights
Balagopal’s criticism can be fittingly applied to the various human rights and civil liberty groups who thinks that State terror and the terror by non-State actors is altogether different since the “states have killed many times more people than those killed by non-state actors”. In his writing Balagopal had raised a fundamental question: “How can the Human Rights movement not look at how this power is being established, with how much real backing and support it is being exercised, what norms it is following, how democratic the norms are, how accountable this power is to the people in whose name it is exercised, and so on?” Criticizing the sheer duplicity of the Maoists politics he writes, “…expression of contempt of institutions and processes of public justice under the State is quite common with the Maoists, though it has never prevented them from demanding enquiries and lawful action by such institutions against perpetrators of what they believe to be injustice.” (Source)
To defend the rights of the Maoists, human rights activists have chosen to rest on the third preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. The preamble says, “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”. Indigenous human rights groups and activists has interpreted and reinterpreted the Declaration in their own way to fit it into their diverse schemes. “…the real Human Rights Activists would never justify any kind of cold-blooded murder, torture or ill-treatment committed either by the State or non-State Actors” claims one such activist but then go on saying, “The Human Rights Activists raise their voices only when the state violates or does not enforce, ensure and protect the Human Rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India, embodied in the UN Conventions, Covenants and Protocols signed and ratified by the Government of India and enforced in the Court. The human rights violation by the non-state actors takes place only when the state is inactive, ineffective and unjust, which also should not be justified.” (Source) This statement reveals the sly attitude of the human rights community. They claim to be impartial but cannot prevent themselves from exposing their prejudices. The resonance of their rhetoric is quite obvious to notice. Off course they do not justify the atrocities committed either by the State or non-State actors but definitely tries to shield the non-state actors by squarely putting the responsibility on the State. When the Maoists killed 70 CRPF jawans in Dantewada on 6 April 2010, the civil rights organization PUDR issued an incredible statement: “we neither condemn the killing of security force combatants nor that of the Maoists combatants, or for that matter any other combatants, when it occurs.” Why? Because civil rights organization “can only lament the folly of the Indian government which lacks the courage and imagination to pursue a non militaristic approach which is pushing us towards a bloody and dirty war.” (Source)
As a result of this half-baked outlook, the rights activists have considered that it is their moral duty to take a “zero tolerance” and “antagonistic” stance while criticizing human rights abuses by the State while human right abuses by non-State actors should be criticized in a “non-antagonistic” manner. But there is a fundamental question here – do non-State actors have the same human rights duties or commitments to respect or renounce from the direct human rights violations of others? What if non-State actors commit significant human rights violations? Should it also be criticized with a “non-antagonistic” approach? In the height of their folly, rights activists has completely overlooked Article 30 of the Declaration which has cautioned that, “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” (Emphasis added)
“Among all the armed opposition groups in India, the Naxalites or Maoists are probably the worst human rights violators” reports the rights group Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR). According to the report “Torture in India 2010” ACHR has noted that, “the Maoists continued to kill civilians on the allegation of being “police informers”, members of the anti-Maoist civilian militia such as “Salwa Judum” and for not obeying their diktats. The Maoists have been responsible for brutal killing of their hostages after abduction. Often the hostages are killed by slitting their throats or beheading. Often these killings were authorized by Maoist ‘people’s courts or Jan Adalats.” (Source) When the Police Officer of the CID Special Branch, Francis Induwar was brutally beheaded by the Maoists, human right activists who swear by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights dawn to dusk were seen to be more occupied to establish a “seems to be true” allegation that, “Francis Induwar was not protected by the police department because he belongs to the Adivasi community.” In Lalgarh, while the Maoist cadres have slaughtered more than 150 CPI(M) workers and supporters from June 2009 to February 2010, the concerned human rights group APDR representative have disclosed that the group is keeping a list of the dead but only the “people allegedly killed by armed CPM forces”. According to their selective human rights principles, the victims who are associated with the CPI(M) are State actors by default and therefore not entitled to human rights at all. Going by this weird logic, all Maoist violence can be effortlessly justified.
Article 10 of the Declaration has proclaimed that, “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair, and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.” However a noted professional dissent and “world citizen” cannot stay away from mitigating the kangaroo courts as a “lesser wrong” by putting forward an eye-for-an-eye school of morality: “At least … the collective was physically present to make its own decision. It wasn’t made by judges who had lost touch with ordinary life a long time ago, presuming to speak on behalf of an absent collective.” (Source) If this is not outright deception then nothing is.
While the entire human rights system is based on the responsibility of the State, the dangers that originate from the non-State actors must also be considered as a matter of grave concern. The human rights communities usually trace their lineage to the United Nations General Assembly's 1948 Declaration which has entitled rights and freedoms for everyone but does not suggest that the State has any specific responsibility in this regard. Those who advocate that human rights is related only to serious abuses of State power and relevant only when applied against the State is deliberately ignoring this point. Their disagreement about applying human rights obligations to non-State actors is based on a slanted outlook which is often superficial and simplistic. Several examples are available in the media reports which confirm that non-State actors like the armed Maoists are amply capable of abusing and violating human rights too. While many human right groups has constantly held the State liable for violating human rights and for failing to make human rights obligatory, time has come when the non-State actors must also be held evenly accountable. International humanitarian law applies to all sides. It cannot be purely a state-focused subject.
Most of the human rights groups that operate in India today have emanated in the 1970s from the outer fringes of a variety of Naxalite factions. It is therefore obvious that these groups will be biased about the left sectarian adventurist politics of the Maoists and the organized violence perpetrated by them. These groups are purposely serving the cornered Maoists who are in desperate need for support from the civil society to broadcast and propagate their cause. The “victory” in Nandigram and Singur has stimulated these groups to become more aggressive against State discrimination or victimization. But they must be reminded that all discourses regarding human rights must be kept away from the realms of rhetoric and ideology.
Human rights can never be selective.