Maoists’ Violence Needs Peaceful Solutions In last few weeks, the Naxalites have intensified their attacks on police force and changed their strategies to force government to negotiate. Swapping of police officer with Naxalite prisoners was as bad or as good as swapping of Kandahar passengers with terrorists. Intensities of terror only differ. But it has set precedence. Home Minister has urged Naxalites to give up arms for starting a dialogue. He may be right in principle. But today after 40 years of Naxalite movement we need a fresh & more proactive approach to solve the problem. The governments, state as well as the centre, know the issues involved & their complexities visàvis the tribal aspirations, land reforms, acquisition of land for projects, rehabilitation of displaced people due to projects etc. There is nothing which government does not know to take a decision. Why are we waiting for first Naxalites to raise the level of violence to attract attention and then again wait for them to abjure violence? Congress & the communists of all shades have been political allies for most of these forty years. Trinamul Congress is offshoot of Congress. Now they are all playing the blame game. Proactive Comprehensive Package: We have seen the farmers benefiting from the special package of Rs.70,000 crores last year. There are demands for special packages for Bihar, UP, Karnataka, Andhra even for relatively frequent & smaller issue like annual floods. Why can’t the central government come out with a preemptive and proactive package for the economic development of the Naxal affected areas in cooperation with the concerned states? Do we have a unified policy for development of tribal areas which would address the genuine concerns of the affected groups? We still do not have acceptable unified policy for acquisition of land for any project, public or private, and for compensation & rehabilitation of displaced people. For the tribals who do not wish to relocate, income generating projects based on low skills like handicrafts and handloom, or food processing based on local factors of production may be the acceptable answer. The basic issue of providing livelihood to the poor
tribal people should be taken care of through NREGA or any scheme specially made for Naxal affected areas. Change Ownership of the Trigger: Talking about abjuring violence! We have seen Maoist movement in Nepal. Even though they have stopped the violence, there is issue of merger of the Maoist fighters with the Nepalese Army. And there is no solution yet for this issue. Do we want to end up with some thing like this situation? Over the decades, these Naxalites have developed no skills other than pulling the trigger. They are also battle hardened young people. Have we given them a good enough reason to drop the gun? Can we for example offer a job in paramilitary forces to any one surrendering the weapons? It may be better to channelize their energies by deploying them with assured jobs in paramilitary forces of different skill levels and sensitivity. Political Solution & Not Force: The train hijacking incidence indicates that the Naxalites have stepped up level of activities to high visibility spectrum with objectives of getting their cadre freed from jails. On the other hand the FIR filed names only unknown miscreants instead of the known groups who are responsible for the event. It is time politicians stop such cover ups and eyewash games. West Bengal government has been committing faux pas one after the other from Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh to Rajdhani hijack. Congress has been only playing a wait & watch game as communists are now out of the UPA government. Since they can not form an alternate government in Bengal, Congress has refrained from sacking the government by invoking article 356. The home minister is busy with plans to modernize the police force to meet the challenge. This in any case was over due in any state of India after terrorism from Pakistan took its toll. While that is being done, we need to differentiate Naxalites and bring them into main stream. By police force we may succeed in containing the activities of the Naxalites but we can not solve the basic problem. That is possible only with a political solution.
Delays Escalate Situation: Prime Minister has called Maoists biggest threat. We have a minister for North East or interlocutors for J&K. Who is in charge of such a major long standing problem in Naxal affected areas? The home minister is in charge of security part (the effect) but what about the root cause? It is left to the states to manage the issue in spite of their failure to contain the Naxalites even in Congress ruled states like Maharashtra & Andhra. It is time we pull up the socks and have a comprehensive frame work to address the issues. Let us not wait for bows & arrows to be replaced by AK47 or stones pelted on Rajdhani to be replaced by bombs. We have to give a good reason for Naxalites to come to negotiating tables. Earlier the better! Vijay M. Deshpande Corporate Advisor, Strategic Management Initiative, Pune October 30, 2009 Scroll down for my other blogs Or visit www.strami.com
Published on Nov 1, 2009
Why are we waiting for first Naxalites to raise the level of violence to attract attention and then again wait for them to abjure violence?