Neither can some men be overlooked, nor can they be allowed to force their demands in a democracy. Problem solving is a modus operandi and to pursue this one has to look back as to why the concern commenced and then discover probable solutions. When someone is retaliating hard, you cannot abruptly order wiping off that individual. And if you do so you produce ten others with same ideology. A group picks up guns, moves to an isolated place, rarely relishes the perks to which the society has easy access, treats an elected government as enemy, and loses men in counter attacks. There has to be a reason for all this and we need to discover the same. The recent killings in Assam are forbidden and to put it right, this is not a way to retaliate. The murderers deserve severe punishments, but of course the governments will have to also find out stable solutions that can prevent such massacres in future. The problem is that we do not pay heed to issues until they become extremely problematic to handle, and many a time detrimental to internal security of the nation. Naxalites and Bodo militants are pressing concerns and how can we even think of inclusive growth without resolving this? These men, hailing from tribal areas, have been misused by political groups, even for delaying state’s development by making them a front face for opposing infrastructure projects.
Foremost, the grounds of the Maoist movement are structural; economic, political and cultural dimensions are closely linked. Then, these ‘ultras’ have few legal, but many unrealistic demands, which cannot be accepted when the government has to think of whole of India. For say, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), which claims to be a representative of the Bodo society, asks for establishment of a sovereign Bodoland, free from Indian expansionism and alleged exploitation. The naxal movement can be traced back in the 60s when with the aim to redistribute land to landless, a group of people picked up arms in West Bengal. Reason, as quoted by many studying these conflicts, is underdevelopment of tribal areas while the governments of all times supported crony capitalism resulting in vast inequality of income distribution. Let us, however, be somewhat positive with shift of people and our central government towards the development agenda and assurance of equality in revenue dissemination. This can gradually change the sentiments of militants; however quick actions are much-needed since the death of innocents can never be acceptable in a nation that elects administrators of the people to work for the people. Then too, you cannot think of uprooting these militants all of a sudden; planning is the key.
How to deal with Left-Wing Extremism is a critical question and has to be on the top of the agenda of the home ministry. And for the states too, you cannot blame the central government as the Naxals and Bodo militants have been able to galvanize support in the backward areas since these governments have failed to the core in providing basic facilities ranging from health and education to security and governance. A paradigm shift is necessary both in the states’ assessment and that of the center to address the concern of naxal insurgency. A meaningful democracy calls for working firmly within the conventional framework of law and ethics and at the same time seeks for political and social stability. This message has to be disseminated to the retaliating groups, either by the way of talks, or through weapons, if necessary. While considering Naxalism as the greatest threat to internal security, the UPA governmentdisremembered that the issue has been able to survive and even fortify for more than four decades now since the administratorshave failed terribly in understanding that this is something beyond the law and order problem, this is the retaliation of the underdeveloped and deprived.
The underlying causes have to be considered wisely. After independence, the oppressed classes were not only exploited by the land owners as sharecroppers and landless laborers, but were also victimized by mighty money lenders. Then was the alienation of the tribal land that widely crippled economic wellbeing, which was the outcome of traps of money lenders and government’s limitations with respect to access to forest land. In the phase of agriculture commercialization, the left-out bunch also suffered the brunt of social oppression, naxal cadres coming from classes of agriculture workers, tenants and sharecroppers. The Naxalism movement gathered support even from the educated class who made universities and schools as places of radical ideology. Then was the Indira’s approach to uproot Naxalites during the emergency period when many of their leaders were killed and thousands of cadres including even the blameless suspects were sent behind the bars. Right from the beginning, the Schedules 5th and 9th of the constitution of India were barely implemented, thus suppressing the provision for limited form of tribal autonomy with regard to exploiting natural resources on their lands, e.g. pharmaceutical and mining, and ‘land ceiling laws’, limiting the land to be possessed by landlords and distribution of excess land to landless farmers and laborers.
Though the governments have those legal and powerful teeth to bite the necks of these Bodo and Naxal militants, yet the need is to put at rest the fundamental cause- Socio-economic development in areas affected in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh. Though many past schemes have aimed at lessening the troubles, politics in implementation could not produce real outcomes, else the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Securities Act, 2005 would have played their role. One thing that is to be realized at the earliest is that innocents are not only losing lives but are also getting motivated to join the radicalism. ‘Social Integration’ of the backward by way of giving them the right over produce from forests where they have been residing since decades and by instilling faith in the people that they will be administered in a more effective manner by respective state governments as compared to by the Naxals is the key. Another aspect is that running operations by undertaking unlawful mining of country’s mineral resources located in remote forests, these Maoists are breaking the backbone of our economy, by claiming their rebelas a battle between India’s most neglected people and most powerful corporate houses.
Looking for economic and infrastructure growth of India, the new government cannot overlook the Naxal factor that is relishing those lands and resources which are needed by the government and the businesses to facilitate inclusive development. Nor can they ignore the misconception of Adivasi people who view guerrillas as their saviors. Tell me how can we withstand terror threats from across the border when internally we aren’t secured and united? It is to be noted that the former director-general of AP concluded that as a result of dialogue with Maoists in 2004, violence in the state decreased by 80-90 percent. The central government should look for drawing out a national plan with discussion and participation of state governments and setting up a ministry so as to administer end-to-end matters related to functioning and impact of Naxalites and such other groups, and human rights violation by security forces and the rehabilitation of Naxalites who are ready to cooperate. One thing is obvious, that with concentration of these guerrilla groups in the backwards tribal regions, any poverty alleviation policy of the government will prove out to be a letdown. Along with, the corporate sector will remain craving for better prospects in terms of mining and enabling infrastructure. Thus measures are to be quick and needless to say, workable. Military alone cannot be the answer, socio-economic expansion and multi-lateral dialogues are needed. Lastly, every Indian has the right to dignified life; both politicians and rebellions need to know this.