What happened in Tuticorin is nothing but protecting the corporate mafias in close connivance of the state power. Let us not forget how Vedanta attempted to destroy Odisha and its great Adivasi heritage. If you see how the police and the political establishment tackled this issue, then you must remember that these things are going to happen. The police and army jawans, who are actually the children of our kisans, will be used to fire on their own. They will not protect anything else but the powerful corporate.
We must not forget that Vedanta violated various laws in India including political donations. Yes, the same political forces and I am sorry to say, Congress hand to are in mud and dirt in this along with the Hindutva party, ran against the NGOs, civil society organisations, any one else who spoke against these corporations. Political goondas, IB and other intelligence agencies were let lose against them in the name of foreign funding but at the same point of time country’s two biggest parties got funds from Vedanta violating the FCRA laws. How can we ignore that FCRA was brought out by Indira Gandhi to control the political opponent and see how smartly our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley legalised the donation by amending the FCRA law in retrospection for 42 years.
The point that I am making here is that Vedanta and its offshoot Sterlite are powerful corporations and many time bigger than the laws. There is no way we can catch them and make them accountable unless our political leaders do not become their lap dogs. I am happy that Rahul Gandhi condemned this brutal killing but let him also apologise for if Congress has got donation from this company which has played havoc with environmental laws and norms everywhere.
The collector in Tuticorin is nothing when the political leadership in Delhi is hell bent to give our land and natural resources on plattor to these corporate goons who are destroying our livelihood and environment. Frankly speaking, do we need this bloody developmental model which vitiate our climate and make it impossible to breathe. We have thousands of diseases emerging every day now and as a nation failed to protect our people.
Who will make Vedanta accountable ? The courts ? The political parties, the constitution ? Question is when you are getting chanda from them, dont expect political executive to act against them. It is as simple as this. People too are not interested and take to street only when they face threat to their life directly. The situation has reached to such a level when all those who are working to bring this consciousness are getting frustrated for being blamed as ‘anti development’ living in utopian world. If I say, to hell with your ‘development’ which destroy the livelihood of the people who nurtured nature and protected our environment then I am unsuitable for this life.
But the Tuticorin protests has a clear message and I am sure it will increase in the coming days. If the political executive feel that people can be controlled by firing at them or putting Asam Rifles in Manipur or Jats, Rajput, Maratha soldiers to control adivasi struggle then we are wrong. We can not run India through using our inherent contradictions because public know everything. The firing shows clearly that the political executive was not keen to close the plant against which the people have ben campaigning for the past one hundred days. There was no media coverage. No reporting. The Chief Minister or any of his ministers had no time because frankly speaking they use courts to get rid of the troubles but wont take any action. Why has the Tamilnadu government not expedited the matter in the court and close the plant if it is a threat to people’s life and safety.
Was Tamilnadu government under any pressure from the central government to go slow on this and allow the protest to fizzle out. It is important to know what they speak. Will Tamilnadu government order a judicial inquiry as how the police was there with AK 47 and other assault rifles to control the people? These are new ways of threatening and intimidating people indicating them to desist from protesting.
In democracy people have right to protest. Often they turn violent because the patience is lost. People go to all the babus who run the government and when nothing happens, they organise protest. We know well that government does not want people to organise protest. A government and political party busy with lynching people in the name of cows and their caste, has not time to think of people’s issues. A government which think that our rich natural resources are for sale and should be used to protect the big banias of international market will definitely not hear the voices of the people. It is a disgrace that our political class has betrayed people as it failed to protect their interest. When political parties fail, when social movements are not allowed to protest, when media does not reflect your issues, people will take law unto their hand and the result will be chaos and violence.
There are hundreds of other Tuticorin under production because of the absolute failure of the political class as all of them have been purchased by the corporate mafias or they are misguided by the brahmanical bureaucracy or ‘intellectuals’ about the ‘development’. Please allow us to live our life our own way, perhaps that was much better than the poison that these big corporation spread in our air and other surroundings.
We stand in solidarity with our friends in Tuticorin, Tamilnadu. We condemn this brutal violence on unarmed people who had been protesting for the last one hundred days. It is important for the Tamilnadu government to clarify as what did it do for the past one hundred days to address the issues raised by the people and what is its stand on the plant now. Will it close Vedanta or not ? Will it ask them to leave the state or not?
[Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. First published by CounterCurrents.org.]
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