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Make tribals stakeholders in development

The government’s policies are responsible for the growth of naxalism in states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Orissa (editorial, Agenda for Chidambaram: Hit Naxals hard but give succour to tribals, April 17). The tribals feel deprived of their livelihood and access to forests because of the mining operations carried out by the multinational companies and corporate houses. Maoist groups are naturally exploiting their dissatisfaction with the government for their vested interests.  

It is beyond one’s comprehension as to why the government is not making tribals stakeholders in the mining activities if these are must for the development of those areas.

One also wonders when the government will fix a time frame for ending the Maoist violence. It must stamp out corruption, poverty, unemployment and social and economic inequality in society. These factors are to a large extent responsible for the general unrest in the country. Strong-arm methods alone cannot wean away the disaffected people from the left wing extremists.



The editorial rightly states that whereas Naxals must be dealt with tough measures the tribals should be empowered with economic measures so that they are weaned away from the path of violence. The Naxalite problem is an amalgamation of problems pertaining to law and order and socio-economic deprivation.

We have failed to enable the tribals to join the mainstream of life. The government, at the Centre and in states, failed to stop the exploitation of their natural and human resources. The governments did not develop their human resources through education, healthcare and job opportunities. There was no political process to involve them in democratic politics.

The administration made no serious efforts to address their acute socio-economic problems. They were often victims of cruelty and repression unleashed by various administrative and private forces. 

The Maoists took advantage of this and filled in the gap by providing leadership and training to the tribals. The tribals are playing into the hands of Maoists who want to accomplish their hidden political tasks.

India is a democratic country and does not believe in violent means to achieve its Constitutional goals. No government can allow the violent forces to play with the lives of its citizens.  

On their part, the Centre and the states must intervene and prepare “action plans” to initiate political processes and development projects. Humanise administration and eliminate violent elements if they don’t relinquish arms. Open educational institutions and hospitals. Plug borders to prevent smuggling of arms. Modernise the intelligence system to study and control the Maoists and other violent elements.


Might of the pen

Heartiest congratulations to Geetanjali Gayatri, Principal Correspondent, The Tribune. She has been awarded the UNFPA-Laadli Media award for her bold articles on the khap panchayats of Haryana that condone honour killings of women.

Her thought-provoking articles and views on gender sensitivity not only enlightened the readers and the citizens of the country but also compelled them to come forward to give moral support to the victims’ families which had to bear the brunt of the khap’s diktat. Other scribes too should take a cue and let their pen awaken the social conscience.

DILBAG RAI, Chandigarh

Nuclear danger

The Tribune Editor-in-Chief Raj Chengappa’s coverage of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC was apt. To save the world from nuclear terrorism and unimaginable but preventable catastrophe, this is the right step initiated by US President Barack Obama, honoured last year with the Nobel Peace Prize.

India along with other nations can play a historic role to rid the world of nuclear danger. Indian scriptures’ espousal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world is one family) is the only magna-carta to the problems facing the world.

BM SINGH, Amritsar

Unreasonable demands

The recent demand made by the Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat at Kurukshetra calling for an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to prohibit the solemnisation of marriage within the same gotra as well as between inhabitants of same village is unwarranted and illogical (editorial, Defiant as ever, Time to catch khaps by the horns (April 15).

Any legislation ought to reflect the viewpoint of the majority of civil society rather than of a minority. No custom, howsoever ancient, can override fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

At present marriage within same gotra is valid under the Hindu Marriage Act. Even if provisions are made in the Hindu Marriage Act to ban such marriages, there is the Special Marriage Act. In fact, in a majority of cases, young couples solemnise their marriage under this Act which is commonly known as court marriage. Provisions of this Act are more liberal as there is no caste or religion bar. Would the khaps then call for amendments in this Act too?

In July 2006, the Supreme Court in Lata Singh case had expressed concern over increasing cases of harassment, threats and violence against young men and women who marry outside their caste. It directed the administration in the country to ensure that such couples willing to get married should not be harassed or subjected to threats or acts of violence. If the parents of the boy or the girl do not approve of such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage, the maximum they can do is that they can severe off social relations with the son or the daughter.

HEMANT KUMAR, advocate, Ambala City



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