Who Am I? Gladson Dungdung
|| By Gladson Dungdung ||
An emerging human rights organization of Jharkhand, the “Jharkhand Human Rights Movement” has released the first “Jharkhand Human Rights Report 2001-2011”, which was welcomed from all corners of the society. However, I was just checking to know the reason of absence of some Human Rights Activists in the report release ceremony held in Ranchi on March 10, 2012. While responding my queries, one of the noted Human Rights Activists of Jharkhand told me, “You have written a lot against us in the report”? I was stunned to hear such unexpected view, but repeatedly questioned him, “What do you mean by “us”? He responded me saying that he cannot tell me everything over the phone but he’ll talk to me later.
Indeed, he was quite upset and angry with me. He was upset with a chapter in the report entitled “Naxalism and Human Rights violation”. Perhaps, he associates himself with the Naxal Movement, which is, of course, not wrong. But often, I hear him justifying the killings by the Naxals. In the last year, when I had raised the questions against brutal killing of innocent people by the Naxals through the media, he had told me, “I don’t expect such things from you”. The relevant question here to be asked is should a Human Rights Activist be biased for anyone? How can a Human Rights Activist justify the killings? And can a human rights activist shield the perpetrators like the state does? Ironically, this activist used to hold a big position in the Indian based internationally known civil rights organization.
I recall that the same Human Rights Activist and his companions had clapped for me and my team, when the Jharkhand Human Rights Movement (JHRM) had intervened and exposed the rampant human rights violation committed by the security forces in the Saranda Forest last year. Consequently, the Security Forces were bound to vacate 25 villages and schools. In fact, I had become a champion of the civil rights for them that time. However, the Jharkhand Human Rights Report, which has created ripple impact in the state, made me villain in the eyes of those Human Rights Activists now. What a contradiction, paradox and tragedy!
Similarly, a few years back, when I came into the limelight through the Human Rights Activism, I was coined as an anti-national by the so-called patriots. A few youth had even ruthlessly questioned me whether I get money from Pakistan, Nepal or China for speaking against the Indian State? They had even attempted to coin me as a Maoists sympathizer and supporter. And when I intensified my interventions on the issues of gross human rights violation committed by the security forces in the name of cleansing the Maoists in the Red Corridor, some of them even told me that I’m an over ground Maoist and a Maoist Ideologue as well.
The story does not end here. The Law Enforcement Agencies have also been attempted to coin me as the working force of the Maoists. When I intervened on the issue of rampant human rights violation in Saranda Forest by the security forces, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Kolhan) Naveen Kumar said that the Jharkhand Human Rights Movement is an outfit of the CPI-Maoist, has intention to derail the anti-naxal operations therefore, it is crying foul. The Jharkhand police also traced mobile record and other documents to prove our link with the CPI-Maoist but at the end they get nothing because the JHRM has nothing to do with the Naxals.
Similarly, in the last year, when I participated in a mass rally against police atrocities held at Khunti of Jharkhand, a police officer P.K. Mishra of Khunti police station had questioned me, “Why don’t you organize Rally against the Maoists, when they kill our police forces”? He had even threatened me to tear down and dry up if I don’t shut up my mouth on the issues of police atrocities. The worst thing is, I made a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Khunti about the incident and asked them for action against the police officer, but nothing was done against him. However, I didn’t shut up my mouth in demand of justice for the victims of police atrocities but I’m under the attack from all corners.
Meanwhile, I had two rounds of discussion with Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister of Rural Development on the issue of Saranda Development Plan. I was surprised to know about his reactions. He told me that I have been raising the issues of human rights violation committed by the security forces but what about the Maoists? He also told me that the CRPF Officers are quite unhappy with me as I have been filing cases against them. However, when I inform him about the preparation of the Jharkhand Human Rights Report, which would also highlight the human rights violation committed by the Naxals in Jharkhand, he was quite happy and had expressed his willingness to release the Report.
The most interesting thing is that everyone wants me to shoot others on behalf of them in the name of the human rights. It seems that the India’s Corporate Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s theory of either this side or that side, and there is no such middle in between, is internalized by them. However, the fundamental rights i.e. right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individual guaranteed by the Indian Constitution has no place in this theory. According to a noted educationist of Jharkhand Dr. Rose Kerketta, the state is a killer instinct therefore; whoever comes to the power will continue the same practice, hence, we should not expect much from the state for protection of human rights.
Of course, there is no doubt in the fact of the state being the biggest violator of the human rights, consequently, the state sponsored human rights violation has been in the rapidly growth across the country. However, can we put aside the human rights violation committed by the non-state actors and the society? There are three major violators of the human rights i.e. the state, the non-state actors (Maoists, other Naxal and criminal groups) and the society as a whole. However, the state is constitutionally responsible for the protection of human rights and in fact the small forces emerge only whenever and wherever the state is fail in delivering justice.
But, these days, it has become a fashion for the so-called Human Rights Activists to cry foul on human rights violation committed by the security forces but they keep mum when the non-state actors do the same thing. Hence, it is obvious that they are also batting on behalf of the Naxals similar to the state, who bats for the corporate houses? These kinds of actions of the so-called Human Rights Activists will only add more problems in the civil rights movement and put questions in the credibility of the Activists’ voices and the person like me will also struggle for identity? Finally, I would always keep clarifying to everyone that, I neither stand with the state nor with the Naxals but I walk with the most marginalized people, whose human rights are being violated everyday by the either sides.
(Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand.)