Saturday, August 23, 2008

The far reach of Naxal menace

Naxalism today symbolises the rising incidents of extortion, land mine explosion and mass killing. They extort money from landlords and businessman to sustain their campaign. It's the common people who have to bear the brunt of Naxal menace..

CJ: Chakradhar Behera

FEW DAYS back, one of my neighbours, a native of Naxalite affected Koraput district of Orissa came to my place to tell me about his plan to leave Delhi for the time being. I was astonished to hear his plan and suddenly wanted to know the possible reasons. "I am in serious financial problem, then how can I float my dream to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer," he said breaking his silence. After completing his masters degree in political science from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Subash Jani (names have been changed) came to Delhi for civil service examination preparation. His father runs a small grocery shop in a village adjacent to Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border and also provides financial support to his two sons. Subash’s younger brother Krishna also holds a masters degree in computer science and is currently in Hyderabad looking for a better job. Revealing the reasons behind his decision, he further said, "My parents are regularly getting threats from the Naxals for protection money, and to save their life, they have fled away to an undisclosed place."
With their constant support, Subash and Krishna scaled a record height in the educational field of Koraput district, which inspires many students of the district. They are amongst the few graduates of tribal dominated Laxmipur block in Koraput, dreaming of a bright career instead of severe problems. "As my parents are now unable to provide me sufficient money, I am going to my uncle’s place in Orissa and as the situation gets better, I will come back," he said.

Realising the far reached impact of Naxalism from Subash’s story, so many unanswered questions came to my mind. Was Naxalbari movement really aimed at mass killing and harassment of innocent people?

The recent year’s Naxal incidents have shown a different face of Naxlism, which is far away from its initial targets. They are not only limited to attacks and explosions but also actively involved in economic exploitation, paving way for the rich businessman and industrialist to exploit the land, people and their resources as much as they want.

They justify themselves as exploiters rather than saviours. Like the sad stories of Subash and Krishna, there are many other stories one can find in any Naxalite affected areas.

Today Naxalism symbolises the rising incidents of extortion, land mine explosion and mass killing. The turning identity of this radical ideology has received severe criticism even from the Left politicians and sympathisers. They extort money from landlords and businessman to sustain their campaign, but the common people suffer a lot both directly as well as indirectly.

more >> Those industrialists, businessman and contractors pay protection money to the Naxals; they enjoy de-facto power to exploit the common man. It seems that Naxalites are no more crusaders against exploitation. In true sense, they are against development and don’t want the undeveloped tribal areas to develop, fearing their elimination. If road connectivity to the remote tribal and forest area improves then it would be a nightmare for them to play hide and seek with the police.

Similarly, improvement in education, health and basic infrastructure would empower the public to reject the false propaganda established recently. To get rid of Naxal menace, we have to work out strategies for public empowerment and regional development with active involvement of the local governing bodies.

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