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India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai gives platform to DU Prof, accused of tribal man’s murder, to demean Presidential candidate and tribal leader Droupadi Murmu

For someone who is accused of threatening tribals to not align themselves with the state and instead support Naxalites, it is indeed peachy for Sundar to pontificate what a tribal leader can or cannot do for upliftment of tribals.

India Today and Rajdeep Sardesai on Monday gave platform to Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar to demean tribal leader and NDA’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.

During a discussion on Sardesai’s show, Sundar claimed that any of the candidate the NDA would have put up would have been a ‘rubberstamp’ candidate as she accused the ruling party of subverting all institutions, including judiciary. However, in reality, we have recently seen how the judiciary of secular India has been citing Islamic Sharia. Further, as a woman, looking down on other woman leader, especially one from tribal community, a community Sundar claims to be working for its upliftment, being elected to the highest post in Indian politics, just shows the crab mentality.

Sundar then claims Murmu might ‘not be worse’ than anyone else and added how there needs to be a difference between ‘representation’ and ‘ability to represent’. She then claims that while she is ‘happy’ the tribal community is getting representation, she was not sure if Murmu might represent tribals in the way ‘they need to be represented’. Because, clearly, if the representation is not done as per Sundar, is it even representation?

Sundar then claims BJP policies are ‘anti-adivasi’ and while Murmu as Governor of Jharkhand she had done her bit for the upliftment of tribals, Sundar was upset that Murmu gave assent to the bill that criminalises forced religious conversion. One of the prime concerns the tribals in India face is religious conversion by coercion or when missionaries, especially Christian missionaries lure the tribals into Christianity fold by offering them money, rice, food – all in the name of Jesus. When someone is lured into converting religion, the element of free will is missing and since tribals are vulnerable and susceptible to such forced conversions, criminalising it is a step that actually benefits the tribals. But since Sundar has decided it is not fair, the world should oblige.

Sundar then claims that while Murmu has done her bit for the tribals, she does not think Murmu would do ‘very much’ as the President. And towards the end, Sundar just decided that the post of the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces and the head of the State is ‘not important anymore’.

Nandini Sundar accused of having blood of tribal man on her hands

Born in 1967, Nandini Sundar is a professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics. She is also the wife of former The Hindu editor Siddharth Varadarajan, who is currently the founding editor of ‘The Wire‘. Nandini Sundar, who still writes for various platforms including her husband’s The Wire, is accused of a tribal man’s murder in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma.

In May 2016, under a fake name ‘Richa Keshav’, Nandini Sundar went to Maoist-hit Bastar along with JNU professor Archana Prasad and Joshi Research Institute’s Vineet Tiwari. She was accused of provoking the villagers against the government. It was alleged that the professors threatened to burn houses if villagers did not support Maoists.

In a letter to the VCs of JNU and DU, Bastar SP said that the Sundar and Prasad tried to instigate the villagers against the police by telling the villagers that their daughters and sisters would not be safe is police camps are set up in the villages.

In the letter, the villagers alleged that they talked to Sundar and Prasad and spoke about how the Naxals in the village beat them up and loot their money and ration and harass them. The villagers said that they are standing united against the Naxals and want the police camps in the village. However, Sundar, Prasad and CPM leader Sanjay Parate who was accompanying them told the villagers that the police and administration will do nothing for the villagers and if they do not help the Naxals, it will in turn only harm them. They urged the villagers to do as the Naxals as them to for their own betterment.

To this, Communist Party of India – Marxist’s Sitaram Yechury even came to the rescue and called the letter ‘fake’ and dismissed it as ‘intimidating tactic’ and ‘curbing and suppressing opposition political parties’.

Later, Nandini reportedly travelled to Nama in Sukma, one of the worst Naxal-affected districts, again as Richa Keshav, and held a meeting. Two days later, Shamnath Baghel, a tribal man, lodged a complaint with the police stating that Sundar (as Richa Keshav) and others asked villagers to not support the police and associate themselves with the Naxalites. The complaint even mentioned that Baghel was warned of dire consequences for opposing the Naxalites. He mentioned that if he was killed, Sundar and others would be responsible. On 4th November 2016, Shamnath Baghel was murdered.

Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri said that Sundar and others were booked for murder, criminal conspiracy and rioting.

In May 2017, Podiyam Pandu alias Panda, a Maoist had surrendered to the Chhattisgarh Police, Panda had named Nandini Sundar, activist Bela Bhatia and other social activists meet Naxal commanders. According to police, Panda was also familiar with the urban network of Maoists and played a crucial role in arranging meetings between Maoist sympathisers from town with the ultras in the jungle. Panda had claimed he would drive around Sundar and others on a motorbike for meetings with top Maoists like Hidma, who is believed to have masterminded the killings of 25 CRPF jawans in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma in 2017.

For someone who is accused of threatening tribals to not align themselves with the state and instead support Naxalites, it is indeed peachy for Sundar to pontificate what a tribal leader can or cannot do for upliftment of tribals.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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