Saturday, April 14, 2007

Are Naxalites on path of righteousness…?

Sun, 2007-04-15 01:27

By J N Raina - Syndicate Features

In plain terms, what is the magnitude of India’s tolerance to absorb shock waves, emanating from terrorism, communalism, Naxalism and age-old casteism, which are almost inter-linked?

As if Pak-sponsored terrorism is not enough to bleed India, Naxalism, based on a borrowed doctrine, advocating Maoist Communism—which stands against the Indian establishment--- is emerging as a hydra-headed monster in the country.

The latest massacre of 55 persons of the Chattisgarh Armed Police (CAP) by the Naxalites, at Ranibodli police camp in Dantewada district, shows to what extent the Naxalism has spread its tentacles, creating civil war- like situation in the affected regions.

Whatever be the authenticity of the report, most CAP personnel were allegedly in an inebriated state. Only six policemen were on duty; they were ‘sufficiently’ alert to repulse the attack of some 400 armed guerrillas. Any how they were no match to raiders.

Another version says 16 policemen and 30 Special Police officers were killed in the attack. DIG (Bastar range) John Longkumer, while denying reports of drunkenness, has said: “Drinking is an integral part of the Adivasi culture. To drink is one thing; to be drunk another”.

Undoubtedly, it was a wake-up call for the nation. The menace of Naxalism cannot go on endlessly and should not be taken lightly as just a law and order problem by the mandarins in the South Block. A total 551 people--- 316 civilians, 147 policemen and 88 Maoists—have been killed in Naxal violence in Chattisgarh since January 2006. It is the worst affected state after Andhra Pradesh.

Chattisgarh and Jharkhand account for major incidents in the Naxalite belt, extending from the north of Andhra Pradesh to the Nepal border encompassing Orissa, Bihar and Maharashtra (Gadcharoli). The situation is very alarming. Even the Army is alarmed at the growing menace of Naxalism.

Naxalites now openly support for secessionist activities in Kashmir and the northeast. The Naxalite leadership generally refrained from issuing such pro-secessionist statements in the past. They mainly confined themselves to getting a firm foothold in the tribal belt. Not any longer.

The banned Maoist party--- the CPI(Maoist)—at its 9th party conclave, somewhere in the ‘liberated zones’ along Jharkhand-Bihar border, has supported the demand for pardon of Afzal Guru, who has been convicted in the Parliament attack case.

The month-long conclave was held after 36 years. It was the first such congregation after the merger of the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCC) and the People’s War Group (PWG) in 2004. The latter had earlier come into existence in 1981 in Hyderabad. 100 delegates from 16 states attended the deliberations which ended on February 2.

A call issued from the conclave has called for support to ‘just struggles’ of nationalities and sub-nationalities, demanding secession. “Kashmir and various nationalities of the North-East have been waging an armed struggle against the Indian Government for their right to self-determination, including the right to secede from the so-called Union of India”, Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathi, who was re-elected General Secretary of the CPI(Maoist), told the delegates.

Unbelievable but true, the Maoists have set up full-fledged Research and Development (R & D) wings through the support of some scientists, who are ideologically close to Maoists. Some scientists of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) are reportedly working in R & D labs controlled by the guerrillas. This side of Naxalite activity came to light when security forces unearthed a full fledged R & D unit near Bhopal. Another such unit has been noticed in Jabalpur.

The ‘disclosure’ came just on the heels of the attack at Ranibodli police post, in which the Naxalites are said to have used an improved version of petrol bomb for the first time. The extremists are trying to develop more lethal weapons to target security forces. The ‘guerrillas’ are running what can be termed as a parallel government in their ‘zones’.

According to the annual report of Maoists’ Central Military Commission, they are striving to raise a parallel army called “Revolutionary Army” to fight the Indian Army. Surprisingly enough, it is happening at a time when India is trying to enlarge its sphere globally to emerge as a super power and when its GDP is growing.

The Naxalites have also planned to ‘disturb’ growing private sector in many ways. They have chalked out a huge plan to disrupt proposed infrastructure for mining projects and steel plants in mineral-rich belt, where they hold sway.

Maoists control over 19 per cent of India’s best forests. Tribals are in their belly and they too are comfortable with the Naxalites, who exploit increasing alienation of tribals and ‘colonial era repressive forest laws’. Timber mafia and poachers pay ‘protection money’ to the Maoists.

According to a study, there are ‘linkages’ between ‘forest mismanagement’ and the spread of Maoism. Forest-related issues are being used by the Maoists to gain control of villages in tribal areas.

Analysing the socio-economic conditions in the most affected areas of Orissa, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, the study predicted that 50 per cent of India’s forest cover could be ‘potentially brought’ under the Maoist control within five years. ‘Mobility’ of government officials inside these forests is falling in Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand and it has come down to just 15 per cent, a fall of around 40 per cent in five years. The Maoist violence, it says, affects close to 300 million people across 7000 villages. The CPI (Maoist) is said to be in control of 155 districts in 15 states from 55 districts.

The Maoists are not on the path of righteousness. While their counterparts in Nepal have discarded violence and joined mainstream political parties in delivering governance, Indian Maoists are still lurking. They should take a look at China and Russia from where they have borrowed their ideology, terminology and techniques. They would do well to join the mainstream of national life and fight for the cause of the downtrodden within the democratic set-up.

- Syndicate Features -

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