ATSUM Leaders Arrested

Far from seizing the opportunity to bring the stakeholders on board to assuage their hurt feelings/sentiments, the government seems hellbent on crushing dissent/defiance with draconian action against those they perceived recalcitrant or defiant.

I was refraining myself from rushing in with comments/ observation on the arrest of ATSUM leaders, lest I be accused of being uncharitable to the tribal leadership particularly MLAs/MP who, in the fitness of things, should have stood up against such wantonly arbitrary and autocratic action of the state government.

Having heard nothing from their end, I decided to go public in my humble way to let the ‘powers that be’ know that their arbitrary and undemocratic action cannot and shall not be the last word on the fate of our future.

And I say so for the reasons below:

1. ADC, for all the wrong reasons foisted on and perpetrated upon the tribals ever since, has come to symbolise the ‘big divide’ between the government and the tribals. I dare challenge the efficacy and rationale of whatever ADC related decision/action taken by the government over the years – only to desecrate and denigrate democratic instrumentality of the ADC institution. Far from owning up to numerous lapses/failures they have gone berserk on autocratic/undemocratic action mode.

2. I am not privy to whatever decision mutually agreed upon in the meeting dated. 05.04.21. only to be followed by government swooping down on the student leaders 6/7 hrs later in the wee hours of next morning. That said, I dare say heaven would not have fallen on earth if benefit of the doubt was given to students leaders to clarify on the ‘why and how’ of their actions ( if there be any) resulted in breach of agreement. It is in the very nature of dialoguing in search of solution that no unilateral action is called for which is what the government did in a nefarious manner.

3. The fact of the matter is, the government is desperately looking for scapegoat to offload the burden of their utter failure on the ADC front. Far from seizing the opportunity to bring the stakeholders on board to assuage their hurt feelings/sentiments, the government seems hellbent on crushing dissent/defiance with draconian action against those they perceived recalcitrant or defiant. These student leaders are neither terrorist nor are they habitual criminals by any yardstick of the law. Why then is the government acting so ham-handedly and so low?

4. The only crime, if you so will, committed by the tribals is asking the government to hasten the process of rectifications of the past wrongs and be ground footed in taking forward all that legitimately belong to the tribals. In the given imbroglio, the least government could have done is acknowledging upfront how grossly flawed had been their handling of the ADCs. It is solely the government’s making that they find themselves in a ‘catch 22 situation’ – whether to go ahead with the ADC elections as before or wait for the newly created districts where not even a spade work has been done.

This is what we end up with, when powers are used as mere instrument of expediency by subverting ‘Truth and Justice’; as much matched up by people at the receiving end ever ready to crawl and kowtow to diktat of ‘Untruth and Injustice’.

Sword Vashum. Retired additional deputy comptroller and accountant general. Views are personal.

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