Negotiate With Naxals: They Are Humans
Posted by Admin on October 16, 2009
By J. N. Raina – Syndicate Features
Naxalism and Maoism will crumble down, provided the ‘miserable’ are not considered remorseless. Provided they are not branded as ‘bandits’ and ‘cold-blooded murderers’. If the Maoists are treated as ‘rodents’, they will behave like snakes. They are far away from the ‘cattle class’ category and have remained alienated in their neglected regions.
The Congress remained paranoid with the Naxalite movement and treated them as a ‘bandicoots’. The party was in power for decades, but treated the ‘despicable’ with disdain. The subsequent regimes, especially the UPA government, also failed to micro-manage development in the Maoist-prone areas, even after the country’s economy got well on track.
The CPI (M) government in West Bengal did not even implement the Central government’s projects in tribal areas. The Naxalites and the Maoists went haywire, and now uncontrollable.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh feels concerned about the growing Naxalite violence, which is different from other forms of law-and-order-related violence. It basically stems from the accumulated grievances, which have been left unattended. When poverty becomes extreme, it provides a fertile ground for the Naxalites to grow and spread their tentacles.
The Centre has launched a ‘country-wide offensive’, involving security forces, to wipe out ‘Naxal menace’. But it will prove counter-productive, given the nature of the ideological battle being waged by the Maoists. Minus violence, there seems nothing wrong with the ideology of the oppressed. It can be construed as God’s own ideology.
“Revolution is the festival of the oppressed”— Germaine Greer
77 per cent of the Indians live on less than Rs 20 per day, while just five per cent are hugely prosperous, according to the National Commission for Enterprises in the unorganized Sector. There exists a vast gap between the haves and the have-nots. That is why the likes of Kobad Ghandy, who belongs to a rich family, developed a soft corner for the Naxalites, when Jawaharlal Nehru’s dream of socialism started fading away in 1960s and 1970s. Kobad’s wife, Anuradha, a sociology professor, also joined his fray and died while working for the cause she felt dear to her heart. There are many who like them remain committed to the cause of the alienated society.
Before his arrest, Kobad said in an interview that they were trying to impart basic education through Mobile Academic Schools. Various teams involved in this task were specializing in designing courses for the backward people. They would eat and live with the poorest of the poor, considered ‘miserable’ by the elite. They would take care of their health et el. Kobad told the interviewer that the level of under-development in Bastar region and other Naxalite-affected areas is worse than sub-Saharan Africa. He is aghast at the Prime Minister’s remark that the Maoists are the ‘deadliest virus’.
Should it not have been the job of the government to ameliorate the lot of the ‘miserable’? On the contrary, intellectuals like Ghandy are treated like criminals, even though he is against gun culture. Congress icon Rahul Gandhi, in his Herculean task of reviving the party, has in a way adopted some techniques of Naxalites —eating with the poor and sleeping with them in their mud huts. Is he playing a dirty role? He is showing the way to the Congress leadership, which is afraid of the Maoist ideology that should have been repulsed at an embryonic stage.
Be as it may; an IAS officer P B Salim, on deputation in Kerala—he is District Collector of Kozhikode— has learnt ‘valuable lessons’ while he was posted in Lalgarh (West Bengal) earlier. Now he wants to imitate the Maoists, who are drawing support from the alienated sections. Salim mingles with the tribals and the poorest people, eats and sleeps with them in their thatched houses.
Just listen to Salim: “I had seen life in Lalgarh. The poverty among tribals had strengthened the Maoists’ grip over Lalgarh. The best way to defeat Maoism is to develop tribal regions”.
Ironically the Prime Minister, who has admitted that the Naxal movement has managed to retain the support of the poorest people, has instructed police to combat the ‘ideological edge’ the Naxals have obtained. Is it expected of police to do so? At several times in several places, police had acted as a ‘brute’ force to suppress the oppressed. We cannot expect police to have an ideology.
There is a deep nexus between the police, the politicians and criminals. There are instances of state terrorism. How many police personnel have committed rape of innocent women? Instead of taking right steps even at this late stage—when 40,000 square km area in the country is under Maoists control—to stem the rot, the government has unleashed a ‘psychological war’ against ‘Maoist terror’.
The administration has every right to eliminate the source of arms, and unearth them, but not to annihilate the downtrodden in the name of Naxals. It is better to drag them to the negotiating table. The government has been talking to terrorists, why ignore Naxals? It has launched a media campaign, with advertisements in the national and regional papers, calling Naxals as ‘cold-blooded murderers’. We cannot close our eyes when the Maoists kill dozens of security personnel and innocent people. But we ought to know the reasons behind the Red revolution.
There are politicians in almost every party who have turned murderers. They indulge in land grabbing, but continue to remain in the limelight because of the prevailing system. However they will manage to get elected. When political big wigs indulge in rape, murder and other heinous activities, does the government advertise and appeal people to maintain a distance from such politicians? Even law does not exist which enables the electorate to recall unscrupulous and unworthy lawmakers.
This is why the Naxal movement is spreading. Today it has reached 165 of the country’s 604 districts. As many as 13affected states are reeling under the Naxal impact.
If elected political leaders like Chief Minister Mayawati can indulge in ‘wasteful expenditure’, running into thousands of crores of rupees in erecting statues what affect it can it have on the Naxals? If a fraction of this amount is used for the welfare of the ‘miserable’ and the development of the region they inhabit, hands of conscious administrators like Salim could be strengthened.
The wrong acts of maverick politicians will give a fillip to Maoism. The notion of some bureaucrats that ‘skewed movements’ like Naxalism and Maoism make it impossible for such problems to be solved is preposterous. Naxalism has grown in the absence of agrarian reforms. There is a lot of social discrimination. As per a survey, 88 per cent of the Dalits and 84 per cent of the Muslims are poor. That is social justice Indian way.
Salboni village in West Bengal has been under CPI (M) rule for three decades but it has no basic amenities. Local live in mud houses and drink polluted water.