India: Tackling The Maoist Threat

A tribal village in Chattisgarh. Image via Flickr user Pixel_monkey, used under CC license BY-NC-NA

A tribal village in Chattisgarh. Image via Flickr user Pixel_monkey, used under CC license BY-NC-NA

The relentless Maoist attacks have become India's biggest security threat as Maoist separatists have inflicted another deadly blow on Indian security forces. According to reports Twenty-six personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in a Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district on the 29th of June, 2010. Only in last April 76 less equipped CRPF personnel were killed by Maoist attacks. Netizens analyze the cause behind the Maoist onslaughts and discuss ways to tackle the threat.

There are many theories to interpret the Maoist problem, which has a long history. While some like Raunaq Pradhan think that it represents a freedom struggle, others suggest that it is a form of class struggle.

Aju Basil James at The Viewspaper discusses the reasons behind the Maoist insurgency:

The basic problems, many experts proclaim, are the age old ones of poverty and unemployment. The Maoists are concentrated in the forests of Chhattisgarh, Jharkand and Orissa, the area popularly known as the ‘Red Corridor’. These areas are primarily inhabited by tribals and indigenous people. Even as India achieves high growth rate figures and climbs up the ladder in international circles, these people have received next to no benefits of the economic prosperity seen in the big cities. They are still oppressed by bureaucrats and exploited by politicians. If anything, they have only faced the negative side of the liberalised economy – land grabbing by private companies, exploitation of natural resources and a further apathy from governments.

Prerna Suri at The Asia Blog reports that neglect is one of the reasons behind Maoist terror:

They say all this violence is in retaliation for years of neglect. Although Chattisgarh is among the richest states in India, having large desposits of bauxite and iron ore, the state has seen little or no development in years.

Royden D Souza at Despatches And File Notings analyzes the strategy of the Maoists:

The Maoists have gained influence over more than 200 districts over the last 40 years, by a strategy called oil spot strategy. Their approach was to gain control over a small area and then increase their control in the surrounding areas like an oil spot that spreads on the water surface.

Indian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi thinks that Maoists’ war is against India's criminal capitalism:

The Maoist case against Hindu Capitalism is simple: A significant number of our miners, industrialists, democratically elected politicians, Gazetted officers (Administrative and Police), and their un-’holy’ godmen have joined hands to become criminal mafias. Their power is reinforced by official militias called “Special Forces” and unofficial militias such as Selwa Judum that started the present round of tragic violence.

And why is Maoism flourishing? The get compassion from the poor by promising an egalitarian, exploitation free society. Shantanu Dutta quotes Vishal Mangalwadi in analyzing the Maoists popularity – the Maoist leadership chooses to “identify with the landless, the displaced and the marginalized tribals.” So they make better image bearers among the poor and the oppressed.

From Kolkata Nila-kantha-chandra writes in his blog Cuckoo's Call:

From what I see around me, living in Calcutta, it seems we are living under the shadow of looming violence. A civil war, where the have-nots finally turn against the haves. Once something like that erupts, we are in for successive rounds of ever more ferocious blood-letting. No good will come of all that, and India's future as a pluralist democracy would be under severe risk. Life in India would become like what life is like now for people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But the question is, can the necessary changes that must take place in India, which have NOT taken place in the 63 years since India's independence – can such change happen, before the destructive violence erupts? Things like education, healthcare, housing, drinking water, sanitation, public transport. Equal opportunity for all irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances.

I do not see that on the horizon, quite the reverse actually. Neither the govt, nor the private business sector has any such inclusive vision. The civil society is weak and fractured, and divided by caste and religion.

The Indian government is looking for strategies to tame the Maoists. The government has gone on the offensive against the Maoists with police and special forces which changed things little. There are talks about deploying army in Maoist hit areas. India’s intelligence officials are unable to decipher encrypted data sent on Blackberry handset or intercept calls on Skype to get intel on the Maoists. The thoughts of banning these services sound more like cutting the head to cure a headache.

Naveen James at My Country My Views discusses who should bear the responsibility for the unwanted killings and how these can be stopped:

Naxalism or Maobadis cannot be rooted out overnight.This has to be dealt with lot of sense of purpose and a firm policy. No government till date has shown great hunger to deal with this and now this looks like the greatest internal security threat the country has ever faced. Lack of strong political will is putting hundreds of innocent jawans on the line of fire.We cannot afford to loose so many soldiers/jawans to this mindless killings. We also have to ensure that exploitation of the tribals is stopped and economic development happens.

The government of the day is not doing enough and who should be blamed for this? “We The People” should take the blame. We have elected this government to work and if they don't then it is our responsibility to see that they act or perish. The media can play a very big role in this by being the voice of the people. But unfortunately the media tends to go after, rather chase only that news which can make a sensation and get them eye balls& TRP's. The people, Media, Intelligentsia, administration and who & who's of this country must join hands and get the government to act. No country can afford to sacrifice so many of its dedicated forces.

Unless efforts like the above are not taken up India will face a looming catastrophe as per Vishal Mangalwadi:

Maoists are not the only ones gearing up against India Inc; most of the poor are being radicalized, whether by Islam, Hindu godmen, or Maoist guerillas.

The government of India has acted wisely in not sending the military against the Maoists. For the military may soon be needed to defend our metropolis from the downtrodden who are finally rising up against India’s Criminalized Capitalism.

1 comment

  • Hem Raj Jain

    The Editor

    Sub:- Hindu India unwilling to tackle tribal based Maoism.

    Ref:- Departmental NREGP with its trade union in infested areas, the only solution.

    Dear Sir

    Not withstanding Prime Minister Manmohan’s routine airing, for the last six years, of ritualistic concern that Maoism (Naxalism), which has brought 200 districts (one third of India) under its sway, is the biggest existential threat to India and despite on-going seeming ‘outrage’ of Indians (including its politicians, Central and effected State Governments, print and electronic media, intellectuals, NGOs etc.) against the killing of security personnel in Maoist ambush in the State of Chhatisgarh, if people world over think that now India will not rest unless this menace of gory Maoism (Naxalism) is eradicated from the face of India then they are yet to learn a lot about the guile and shenanigans of Hindus. This is evident from the following (i)- root cause of this Maoism rampant mainly in tribal areas of India and (ii)- the easy solution to this gory Maoism which Hindu majority India is unwilling to take:-

    (1)- There are two groups amongst Hindus who are Hindus only in the sense that they are neither Muslims nor Christians. These are (i)- ‘dalits-proper’ who were earlier untouchables and (ii)- tribals. It is note-worthy that Dalits and Adivasis (tribals) are still not allowed to go in temples in which ‘upper caste’ Hindus go.

    (2)- For thousands of years both these dalits-proper and tribals have remained the victims of worst & inhuman behavior of Hindus, the cruelty of which though has mitigated to some extent due to the compulsions of democracy but discrimination and prejudices still remain in its essential ingredients.

    (3)- The dalits-proper were identified by their profession of sweeping (including of night soil) and skinning etc. of dead animals but at least they were part of the agricultural economy (so called civilized economy) of Hindus. Where as the profession of tribals (in jungle economy) were not as detested by Hindus but this jungle economy being different and ‘uncivilized’ economy were considered to be sufficient cause for the condescending and inhuman attitude of Hindus towards these tribals.

    (4)- These age old prejudices of Hinduism against its own people, dalits-proper and tribals, is the root cause of (i)- still on-going atrocities against dalits-proper (despite some of them occupying position of power including like Mayawati who is Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the largest State of India) and (ii)- of forlorn condition of tribals in India and the barged-pole manner in which this Maoism of tribal areas has so far been handled by Central and effected States Governments of Hindu majority Indian State.

    (5)- Though along with ‘all-out-war’ against Maoist (read tribals) including deployment of spy drones / UAV against them, the economical packages to these tribals are also being discussed intensely and extensively across various quarters of India especially after said Maoist ambush but this problem of gory Maoism (Naxalism) in tribal areas of one third India will not be solved permanently unless India recognize it mainly as a social and political problem and stops considering it merely a law &order and economical problem. For this India will have to do as given below.

    (6)- Though due to pauperization of Indian State, Government of India (GOI) despite its commitment to Parliament in 2005 that National Rural Employment Guarantee Program (NREGP) will be implemented within five years in all the 600 districts for every job seeking adult for 300 working days, presently the NREGP is being implemented for only 100 working days and for only one spouse. But in the interest of tackling gory Maoism in tribal areas ‘Tribal-NREGP’ should be implemented for 300 working days for every job seeking adult in these tribal areas which comprises one third of India.

    (7)- Here it is needless to mention that if this Tribal-NREGP is not to face the unfortunate fate of NREGP which is being implemented through corrupt and inefficient system through local bodies (Gram Panchayats), then TNREGP should be implemented departmentally by GOI and make it ‘Tribal-Departmental NREGP’ (TDNREGP)

    (8)- But this TDNREGP will merely be an economical and law & order measure and it will lack the efficacy unless the social and political approach is also taken by starting trade unions for the workers of TDNREGP by the political parties especially by the ruling and main opposition political parties in these Naxalite infested States. Here it is needless to mention that educational and health institutions run by these trade unions of TDNREGP is the surest way of bringing these tribals in the ‘mainstream’, in the real sense of the word

    (9)- Though trade union for TDNREGP workers is easy said than done because in constitutionally ‘socialist’ India, the trade unions which were in fashion before eighties has now become a dirty word under the fear of uni-polar world power capitalist USA (and other western countries) especially after dismemberment of USSR. This is evident from the fact that what to talk of Congress and BJP (the ruling and main opposition parties of India) now even leftist parties (including Communists) also do not launch trade unions for the workers of NREGP. But if India is really serious about eradicating this gory Maoism (Naxalism) from the tribal areas of one third India then there is simply no alternative to TDNREGP.

    Yours truly

    Hem Raj Jain

    235, Jacee Ct, South Ridge Mankato, MN-56001
    Ph: 612-202-4053

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