By RSN Singh
In the Maoist attack on Central Jail at Jehanabad in November 2005, there were two components of violence and terror: 'visible violence' and 'invisible violence'.
While the visible violence was reported extensively by the media, the invisible violence went largely unreported.
For more than six hours, the town, a district headquarters having a DM, SP and a CJM, was virtually under the capture of the Maoists.
The inhabitants in every nook and corner of the town were subjected to terror by armed patrol of the Maoists. This was not a sudden development. It was manifestation of years of breeding of 'invisible violence', which the state had ignored on the plea of helplessness or on the basis of puerile intellectualism.
The invisible violence in Jehanabad is a reflection of the situation in Kashmir, the Red Corridor and the Northeast.
Our attention span and emotional engagement with incidents relating to internal security have become directly proportional to the magnitude of the 'visible violence': Like 73 CRPF personnel being killed in Chhattisgarh, the hostage crises in Bihar or the attack on Gyaneshwari Express in Bengal.
As we get used to incidents like these, our tolerance levels for 'visible violence' also increases.
But what about 'invisible violence'?!
The press does not report on invisible violence because it is not tangible and therefore has no news value. The legislators could not care less because they have benefited from it. And in the absence of political direction, the bureaucrats have neither the backing nor the courage to influence the ground situation.
In the process, the state apparatus begins to erode, making way for anarchy.
Let us look at some real incidents highlighting the physical, economic and psychological havoc that 'invisible violence' can wreak on the lives of people and whole generations.
Image: A boy eyes a gun carried by a villager in Jehanabad on 17 April, 2004. Picture copyright AFP. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.
Also see: Pakistan : The Next Battlefield | Capture of India : the Maoist blueprint