Friday, November 6, 2009

Widespread Maoist Movement in India

After the Naxal (Maoist guerillas) firing on a police patrol party in Chhattisgarh, murder of 17 persons in Amose Bhiron village of Bihar, massacre of 19 policemen in Maharashtra, and killing of a police inspector Francis Induwar in Jharkhand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Naxals cannot be called militants and the possibility of use of military against them is also ruled out.

Earlier, he also said that the government would not bow before Naxals. The government will not remain a mute spectator toward activities such as extraction of money, looting, snatching, and violence by Naxals. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram also commented, "Until the Naxals lay down their weapons, talks cannot be held with them."

The statements of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister fell on deaf ears of Naxals. On the contrary, they gave a call for closure in Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.

During the shutdown, the Naxals blew up railway tracks in Jhrandi area of Dhanbad, burned three trucks in Giridiah and damaged a bridge by triggering explosions. A telecommunication tower of a private company was set on fire in Burky Salia village of Bihar.

In West Bengal, a worker of an anti-Maoist committee was murdered. Two officials of the Punjab government and the Punjab State Electricity Board were killed at Amarapura in Pukur district of Bihar.

Naxal activities continued for the second day in Bihar and Jharkhand. They ransacked the railway station at Bansipur, set ablaze the divisional office of Sangrampur, and blew up a building of a school in Chatra village of Jharkhand. A polling booth was targeted at Garhchiroli in Maharashtra. It is astonishing that the prime minister is speaking in term of not using military against Naxals, saying that they are not militants.

Aim of Naxallites

The aim of Naxals is to grab power through the barrel of a gun in accordance with Maoism. Hence, it is futile to hope that they would join the mainstream of the country's democratic order.

Distressed over the turmoil triggered by Naxals, the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led West Bengal government is also appealing to the Union Government to wipe out Naxalism. It is worth mentioning that Maoism also influences the West Bengal Government. It was owing to this inclination toward Maoism that the Communist Party of India was divided a few years ago.

Central and State Governments Approach

After the capture of Lalgarh, etc. in West Bengal by Naxals, at the instance of the Bengal government, the central government rushed the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel there and freed Lalgarh. Viewing the gravity of the situation, Chief Minister Budhadev Bhattacharya called on the prime minister and the home minister recently to start a joint campaign for the elimination of Naxals. They suggested that an identical drive should be launched in neighboring Jharkhand state because Naxals fled to another state easily after carrying out an incident in one state.

In response to the appeal of Chief Minister Budhadev Bhattacharya, the union government agreed to deploy 17 companies in West Bengal. All this manifests the gravity of the situation and that it is beyond the capacity of state governments and their police to deal with Naxals. He has suggested that a similar drive should be initiated in the neighboring Jharkhand state. That is why Naxal-affected state governments are asking for deployment of more security forces to combat Naxal violence.

What Should Be Done?

Notwithstanding the deployment of the central security forces, the conditions there are not being brought under control because the CRPF has also its own limitations. The position of the police is such that its strength is not in proportionate with the rising population. It is, therefore, better to press the military into service in order to wipe out Naxals.

In Punjab, militancy was eliminated by deployment of military when terrorism was at its peak there. It was owing to the complacency of the government that forest smuggler of the South, Veerappan, could not be arrested for a long time. The image of India continues to be that of a "soft state," and China and Pakistan are exploiting our softness.

While the government persists with its policy of not using military against Naxals and offering to hold talks with them, they continue to intensify their activity and extend their area of influence. Although the government is using only the CRPF to counter Naxals, yet eventually it will need to press the military into action to wipe out Naxalism [Maoist movement] that is posing more and more threat to India's internal security.

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