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Chronicles of conflict in red zone

The author weaves the book with her experiences but doesn’t suggest public policy changes

Published: 05th November 2016 12:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2016 02:19 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

My story dances with abandon to the sound of the Madia dhol under a full moon night, where my friends and I raise a toast of mahua to hope and future.” Author Nandini Sundar ends her latest chronicle of Bastar with these lines.

All of us have our biases and Sundar is no different. She quotes from a 2007 meeting with a senior official (SO) in the Naxalite Cell of Home Ministry with evident disapproval. The SO states, “From this statement I can tell you are biased.” Take the instance of the Independent Citizens’ Initiative (ICI) deciding to approach the Supreme Court in 2007. The description of the process of litigation suggest, that somehow the ICI was being discriminated against. The blemishes of the dispute resolution system tar all litigants with the same brush. At least at the SC-level, there is no discrimination. 

This is nothing but inconsistency, hence, if NHRC rules against you, that is unfair. But if SC rules in your favour, that’s the way justice should be.

The SC judgment was primarily based on Articles 14 and 21. “The Centre and state immediately worked to nullify the effects of the order.”

Is this the first time that governments have changed laws to take care of adverse judgments? “One might think that in politically contentious cases, especially those concerning ‘national security’, court processes would play out differently from more ‘regular’ matters.”

After making a reference to Article 14, what is this supposed to mean? Therefore, that last sentence captures the essence of the book. It is beautifully crafted, and will clutch your heart-strings. But what does it amount to in concrete terms? Is there some specific suggestion about public policy changes?

Is Left wing extremism uniform throughout the country? Has the state been able to contain the problem only in some parts? Does the author add anything to the 2008 report of the Planning Commission?

“Why is it that when NMDC produces 20 million tonnes of iron ore annually, people around the mines go to bed hungry?” Had Sundar tried to answer this question, we would have had a serious book. With that missing, this case study is only a toast to mahua on a full moon night.

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