You can catch me excreting more words on the Guardian website today, this time banging on about the gap between India’s civil society and the government’s response to the Naxalites.
It includes the case of Sodi Sambo, a 28-year-old villager who witnessed the murder of 9 neighbours back in October, and has been effectively imprisoned by the police since trying to come forward.
Alongside the great internet firewall of China, the vicious paranoia of Burma’s ruling junta, and the lists of murdered journalists in Sri Lanka, India appears as a beacon of free speech and open-minded self-criticism. And yet, for all the vociferous passion of its journalists and activists in calling the powerful to account, the overall impression is of voices screaming into a vacuum.
Nowhere is this feeling more evident right now than on the issue of the left-wing insurgency raging through India’s poorest regions. Under the broadbrush moniker of Maoists or Naxalites, these insurgents represent one of the few forms of resistance for villagers and hill tribes against the inequities of continuing feudal structures and the encroachment of global corporations – backed by the state – who treat them as awkward impediments to mining plans.