The Burning Forest: India's War Against the Maoists

The Burning Forest: India's War Against the Maoists

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Author/Contributor(s): Sundar, Nandini
Publisher: Verso
Date: 04/09/2019
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
An empathetic, moving account of what drives indigenous peasants to support armed struggle despite severe state repression, including lives lost, and homes and communities destroyed

Over the past decade, the heavily forested, mineral-rich region of Bastar in central India has emerged as one of the most militarized sites in the country. The government calls the Maoist insurgency the "biggest security threat" to India. In 2005, a state-sponsored vigilante movement, the Salwa Judum, burned hundreds of villages, driving their inhabitants into state-controlled camps, drawing on counterinsurgency techniques developed in Malaysia, Vietnam and elsewhere. Apart from rapes and killings, hundreds of "surrendered" Maoist sympathizers were conscripted as auxiliaries. The conflict continues to this day, taking a toll on the lives of civilians, security forces and Maoist cadres.

In 2007, Sundar and others took the Indian government to the Supreme Court over the human rights violations arising out of the conflict. In a landmark judgment in 2011 the court banned state support for vigilantism. The Burning Forest describes this brutal war in the heart of India, and what it tells us about the courts, media and politics of the country. The result is a fascinating critical account of Indian democracy.