ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bastar in the News

YouTube channels by independent journalists from Bastar tell stories of everyday life and challenge the overt securitisation of the region in mainstream discourse.

The attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada in April 2023—in which 10 paramilitary personnel and one civilian were killed—sent shockwaves through the nation. The shock was in part due to the fact that the government had reported a 77% decline in violent cases of left-wing extremism (LWE) over the past decade on account of sustained operations by the security forces. The attack shook us out of the complacent view which equated a decline in the number of violent incidents with a concomitant decline in the influence of the Maoists in their strongholds.

This complacency is a result of how the Maoist conflict has been covered by the media as well; corporate media has a security-centric approach to the region. Bastar has been a theatre of violent guerrilla conflict for decades and has been identified as one of the biggest internal security threats by the Indian government. However, even then, it only makes brief episodic appearances in the collective imagination of the nation, and that too only when an attack is carried out on the paramilitary forces. The immediate aftermath of an attack catches eyeballs due to the cacophony created by the media ecosystem for a short while, only to disappear to the margins of public discourse until the next major instance of violence occurs. Once the coverage of an attack or an abduction is over, corporate media quickly loses interest and moves on to “more important” business. As a result, Bastar remains isolated and “remote” in the minds of the public. This approach leads to an excessive emphasis on the security aspect of the conflict at the cost of its political, social, and human aspects.

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Updated On : 25th Sep, 2023
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