08-Jun-2010

The Moist Problem: An Issue of Social Justice

Tehelka has a hard-hitting interview with a former chief of BSF. He minces no words and states that it is first and foremost an issue of social justice. The interview is worth reading in full.
It is not about development. It is about rights. This government has to understand — how is it that land ceiling was implemented in Kerala? Why is there no Maoist movement there? You know what happened there? Under EMS Namboodiripad, the law was so strong that anyone who was a tenant farmer for 12 years, the ownership of the land passed to him without compensation to the owner. We are now in 2010, but in most parts of the country, we are behaving as though we are in 1610 or something. Do you know in Australia and the US now, they say that if any minerals or oil is found in the Reservation areas, that resource belongs to the Aborigines and Native Americans. In India also, the first thing that should be declared is that if minerals are found in the forest, it belongs to the people of that forest. The MOUs should be signed by all the people of that village with that company. After that, give them legal guidance and see that the profit comes to their accounts. Is the government in Delhi prepared to do that? Why should they? Every MOU has a Swiss Bank account attached.
Will he be invited on TV shows? Unlikely. All they seem to want is an eye for an eye, bullet for bullet and strafing the forests from the air. But the Maoists/Naxals don't seem to be in it for the money and are hence more dangerous. And the tribals have nothing to lose and all to gain.

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