Former IG of Bastar SRP Kalluri Saturday said Naxalism was being “imposed” on the region’s adivasis, who are otherwise “simple, ambition-less people”. Kalluri was speaking at a conference on ‘Rashtriya Patrakarita’ at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).
Kalluri’s entry was marked by protests outside the gate by IIMC alumni and JNU students, who raised slogans. Some students, who gave their exam recently, alleged that while their identity card gave them access to IIMC till May 31, they were stopped from entering since they had been critical of the invite to Kalluri — who has earlier been pulled up by the National Human Rights Commission for “abuse of power”. Students had also criticised a yajna that preceded the conference. “How can they not allow journalism students to attend a conference on journalism? Are they afraid of us asking hard questions? We have valid ID cards but we aren’t being allowed,” alleged Dipankar Patel, a former student.
Inside the venue, however, Kalluri was greeted with applause and slogans of ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Arguing that intellectuals from Delhi were spreading misinformation and that “not more than five people in Bastar” would speak against him, Kalluri said, “You cannot sit in Raipur or Delhi and understand Bastar. Adivasis in Bastar are very simple people, they can derive unlimited happiness from limited resources. They are never hungry, they are ambition-less, they don’t want anything. They have no idea what is revolution, what is China, who is Mao, or what is JNU. Naxalism was imposed on the people of Bastar because of a geographical accident — being close to Andhra Pradesh. Naxalism is an international conspiracy to create internal security problems and tarnish the image of the country.”
He said human rights activism and social activism had become a “dhanda” (business) and those involved in it were only interested in extorting money. On his transfer, Kalluri, quoting a film dialogue he attributed to actor Akshay Kumar, said, “Tabaadle se ilaaka badal sakta hai, iraada nahi.”
IIMC Director General K G Suresh spoke out against those attacking the programme, and said he didn’t need lessons on secularism from “children of Marx and Macaulay”. He said IIMC would continue to organise yajnas. “Classes are over, there are no students, teachers have not been invited. So who are we saffronising? Trees, plants and monuments? Lighting of the lamp, bhoomi poojan have always happened in institutions, so what is this talk of no yajna? Has a yajna ever harmed anyone? Yajna hoga, aur danke ki chot pe karenge,” he said.
On the role of journalism, he said, “If you are a reporter you are told to be negative. This is a western model, not ours. Media’s job is to be the bridge between the government and people; to put forward people’s problems and issues before government. There should be criticism but it should be constructive. To target a politician, end his political career and remove a political party from power is not my aim. This should not be the aim (of any journalist).”