Saturday, October 31, 2009

Terrorism & Maoists- the larger threat?

If 2008 was the year India reeled under terrorism then 2009 presented an entirely different picture. Maoists emerged in the country like never before bringing the entire country to its knees. For so long had we lived in plausible deniability of Naxals being a real threat than when it surfaced first in the form of PCPA in Bengal we dismissed it as we generally do for all home grown resentments; as we are all chiefly concerned with Pakistan sponsored terrorism. The PCPA was still a homegrown simple case of grievance which could be easily solved. It took months to register that this time around this had emerged as a full fledged problem.

For long the tribal of India their rights and their movements were crushed coercively and much more violently than a general mutiny merely to make a statement or warning to others. The 1960-70’s saw the emergence of a movement in Naxalbari of West Bengal and soon it engulfed major portions of India. It showed that there was verve in the movement for landlord peasant parity which was too dangerous to ignore. However the policymakers chose to ignore this merely by playing the game of “carrot and stick’ hoping this would quell the agrarian revolt.

However in the past few years this feature of the movement has inexplicably changed with the so called red corridor running down from Bihar to Andhra Pradesh touching the districts of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh a formidable stretch which the government cannot choose to ignore .The movement has also changed its essential character. It is no more concerned with the peasant’s landholder clash now, taking its fight to the government machinery as well.

One major reason why this has found expression so fast is that the ground realities existed for it to grow. For too long the tribal’s had been abused .People who stood and spoke for them were not tolerated .The government was not too keen to recognize their forest rights either without looking into their relationship with the forest. The average tribal was aware of their deplorable conditions and their difference with the other people, they knew that the government had failed to develop their community and they were continued to be exploited by various sections of the society .These grievances finally gave form in Naxalism where the average tribal woes were vilified.

However this cannot be a justification for the recent spate of violence that they have indulged in. What is indeed more worrying is that the ideologue actually comes from the elite class who are attracted to the annals of the people was and Maoism. The recent example is the capture of CPI(M) ideologue Kobad Ghandy a product of the prestigious Doon School in Dehradun and a lawyer who practiced in London. Ghandy is a classic example of how the elite class is drawn to the Maosits movement. This very ideologue makes Maoism a much larger threat than it was originally perceived .The recent beheadings of the police officer at Chhattisgarh and the attacks in Maharashtra point out that the Maoists are no longer training for mere resentment expressions but for a full fledged war against the state .The police and the Home Ministry has to think of a befitting reply this movement must be crushed -like the Andhra Pradesh- which if left to grow will undermine the existence of the nation as a whole.

This movement derives it strength somewhere form the grassroots support and when such social disparities do actually exist in India, it becomes all the more dangerous. While terrorism in all forms rarely have mass appeal Naxalism actually does including support from some intellectuals who themselves gain a sense of vicarious pride by supporting the movement .Thus it is absolutely necessary that solving this problem must be the prime goal of the Union Government and the Indian State .

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