Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maoist Menace: A lesson from the past

By Dr TH Chowdary

THE Naxalites and Maoists who are now in operation in 160 districts of the country (one quarter of the total) have no faith and in no loyalty to the Indian Constitution and State. They themselves are describing as People’s War Groups (PWG) and they have military formations like People Liberating Guerrilla Army in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu border areas and Commanders of Guerrilla Zone in Dandakarunya Special Zonal Committee, Andhra and Orissa Special Zonal Committee and so on. These are like our army’s fighting divisions, corps and eastern and western etc., commands. By the very designation of Maoists, it is clear that their inspiration is not from this soil, form this country’s history, philosophy or society but from a foreign country and foreign ideologies. They are waging a war. As if they are already a government, in their supreme self-confidence, they are offering ceasefire and most stunningly, they offered compensation to the families of the 76 CRPF Jawans they killed in the latest battle. It is clear from their formations, from their ideology, from their actions and their declarations that they are an army and a State in the making, challenging the State of India itself. They are operating not in state by state but across the states. Is it not absurd for the Home Minister to say that the fighting these Maoists is primarily the responsibility of the state police and that the Center could only aid and guide them? Can a state or a few states together fight an all-India insurgent army with its police trained and deployed to keep law and order?

No rebel army can be sustained in the field without a support structure operating openly by utilising the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed by the democratic Constitution which is mainly applicable to citizens who are loyal to the Constitution and who are peaceful. The infrastructure to sustain the Maoist armies is provided by the above-ground Maoists under different descriptions like the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, revolutionary writers associations, revolutionary students union, people democratic students union, Student Federation of India, progressive writers, societies for civil liberties human rights and so on, all of which are under the command of the Maoist armies. The former are making use of the democratic freedom, liberties and rights guaranteed by the civilised State, India. Can any state, which has the responsibility of defending itself and the Constitution and guarantee the life and limb and liberties of its peaceful citizens, treat an all-India armed revolution, and organised armies—be they guerrillas—as though it is a local problem, a social problem, a problem of development, social justice, tribal rights etc?

All the political parties with perhaps the exception of the BJP had been either by fear or by populism at one time or the other, have supported the Maoists calling them patriots fighting for social justice (which they as rulers for sixty years failed to deliver). The PWG, the Naxalites and various such groups seem to have forged common armies to take on the might of the Indian State. Politicians and political parties while in opposition have fraternised at least in words and statements with the Maoists. Even Lok Satta party says that they are “peaceful Naxalites” little realising that the aim of Naxalite/Maoist army and party is to destroy the present State and its Constitution and put in place, a Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat like in China, North Korea, Cuba and earlier, in the Soviet states of eastern central Europe besides USSR. The Maoists are drawing inspiration from a historic past when the People’s Liberation Army under Chairman, Mao Tse Tung fought for more than two decades against the established State before he finally becoming the victorious in 1949. The UPA government at the Centre and many ramshackle governments in the states are in no better position than the corrupt Ko Ming Tang in China before 1949. While the KMT showed the will to fight the Chinese communists, many political parties and governments in India are compromised, maybe out of fear from violence of the Maoists, their people’s courts and instant justice. That is why the Maoists have been able to spread their armies in several district in different states, each ruled by a different party there.

If the Maoist armies are to be defeated, first it is necessary to destroy their above-ground infrastructure by resorting to Preventive Detention Acts, which were used for the same purpose against the same communist insurgency in 1947-51. Then the Government of India had no hesitation in using the armed forces to fight the armed communists. Even Pakistan is using its army and air force to put down the Taliban terrorism and insurgency. Russia has repeatedly used its army and air force to put down the armed revolts in one of its provinces, Chechnya. China does not hesitate to use the People’s Liberation Army against the Islamist secessionists in Xinxiang and the Tibetans aspiring for freedom in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Philippines has been using its armed forces against the secessionist Moros. Indonesia used its armed forces (though unsuccessfully) against the armed rebels in Papua-New Guinea, which was called Irian Jaya by Indonesia. Sri Lanka used its armed forces against the LTTE and wiped them out. In all these cases, the insurgents and armed gangs swore enmity to the established State and to achieve their aim, they took to arms. India must make up its mind whether it recognises the Maoists as enemies of the State as they themselves have declared or will use policemen as canon fodder for the Maoists. There is the serious prospect of defections and meek surrender when confronted by the Maoists as the State itself is not serious against the enemies. It is time enough for the Indian State to label the Maoist armies and their above-ground infrastructure as insurgents and put them down with all the might of the State, as Malaysia did in the 1950s, and Sri Lanka in 2009. It is worth while to recall the most instructive call of Winston Churchill: “If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

1 comment:

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