The Indian Express makes the point
In an excellent editorial, the Indian Express points out how the Naxalites have taken the opportunity to consolidate their positions — not just in Indian states, but also across the border with Nepal’s Maoists, while the Indian government has been dangerously fragmented.
It does not require the benefit of hindsight to argue that the Andhra Pradesh government in the past three weeks has done more to dignify the Naxalites than all of Gadarâ€™s ballads put together. To make matters decidedly worse, the Central government is in visible and confused retreat on a significant law and order problem affecting more than 120 districts spread across 12 states. New Delhi has announced aid to Kathmandu to tackle Left extremist violence, but to state governments it has signalled a hands-off approach. Hyderabad is free to strike ceasefires, while, to take just one example, in Maharashtra cops struggle to deal with attacks by cadres resuscitated and regrouped in AP.
For the Naxals, these are good times. The Y.S.R. Reddy government caved in to their ludicrous demand that they be allowed to come overground for peace talks laden with arms. It not only halted all police action against PWG cadres, it has also transferred officials involved in anti-Naxal crackdowns. This gave the Naxal old guard freedom to organise morale-boosting rallies, their weapons and slogans affirming commitment to armed revolution at the ready. They have utilised the respite to consolidate and organise a merger with the Maoist Communist Centre and announce solidarity with the Maoists in Nepal. Violence is perceptibly up in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
As studies in contrast, the Naxal strategy and the government response are striking. The Maoists have addressed old turf battles in an effort to consolidate and expand the area firmly under their parallel administration. Even in naming their merged avatar the Communist Party of India (Maoist) they have indicated their cross-border linkages, with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). These are linkages the Centre appears almost oblivious of. Cross-border cooperation is offered to Nepal. But the Union home minister disowns all responsibility for the task at home and asks chief ministers of states affected by Naxalite violence to forge their own responses. A consolidated challenge and a fragmented response. Ironically, it was a Congress government led by Indira Gandhi that resolutely crushed the Naxal challenge three decades ago. Now, another Congress government is not just dithering, its home minister is weaving obfuscatory arguments about Union and state lists in the Constitution to shirk blame. It also seems to be confusing the security problem for a socio-economic issue. Naxalites have always coated their plans for revolution with references to socio-economic concerns. The government must respond â€” it has to â€” and address oppression and poverty. But turning a benign eye at criminal acts of violence and extortion cannot be part of a sincere response. [IE]