Our friends, the Naxalites

Don’t expect the UPA government to take the fight to the Naxalites

Source: The Calcutta TelegraphHow can an official intelligence report that says Left-wing terrorism has spread to 182 districts across the country be headline news? Everyone knows that. It has been a long time since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called it the “gravest threat to national security” and promptly did nothing about it. This week Naxalites massacred more than 50 police and para-policemen in Chattisgarh’s Bastar area. It is no longer sufficient to question the UPA government’s competency to fight this war. It is necessary to question its intent. Does the UPA government really want to defeat the Naxalites at all?

It does not look like it.

The battle against Naxalism must be fought on two fronts: first, by promoting a development narrative that is different from that of the Naxalites. The UPA can’t even fight on this front because there is little to distinguish its own rhetoric of “social justice” from that of the Naxalites.

Second, by nationally co-ordinated counter-insurgency operations. Even without accounting for partisan politics, the level of co-ordination required to fight Naxalism is unprecedented. Capturing Veerappan—a trivial exercise in comparison—took decades even when his activities were primarily restricted to two (relatively more developed) states. The UPA government has been content to treat the war against Naxalism as a state subject, leaving states to their own devices. Even the best planned state-level anti-insurgency initiatives will fail to deliver anything more than tactical results when Naxalites can easily operate across state boundaries.

None of this is rocket-science. Officials in the home ministry would probably realise this in their first week at work. That they have failed to develop and implement a half-sensible national anti-insurgency policy indicates that their political masters don’t want them to do so.

Related Post: Offstumped on what the brawling Communist party MPs, trigger-happy Communist policemen, and ruthless Communist terrorists have in common.

14 thoughts on “Our friends, the Naxalites”

  1. nitin, this is one battle that cannot be won through the gun, i believe it has to be on the table, and negotiating with the naxalites. Their existence is because of governmental failure. if the government, over the years had delivered on development, this might not have been there. the gun simply cannot win this war. The gun should have been the last resort. Negotiate, bring them to the table, and promise development for peace. Use the gun on those who refuse. Politicians sadly dont have the will.

  2. The terror attack on the police station in Bijapur by Naxalites as reported in Hindustan Times is deplorable without any doubt. However I was surprised by the scale of killing in this attack and concerned that something terrible is happening in India that is not getting due coverage in international media. The under privileged class in India feels itself trounced under the feet of bourgeoisies who are rapaciously gulping Indian resources to imitate the lifestyle of the citizens of western world. The naxalites represent the reality of interior India that is obscure to the western reporters who are dazzled by the glitter of Bollywood and dazed by the success of Indian cyber world companies. India has aligned itself with the capitalism of US and the socialist ghost of Nehruvian era has been exorcised from its economy. The backlash by the Indian down trodden is feeble yet it is gaining momentum day by day and the time is not far away when the news of the emergence of a leader of Hugo Chavez stature from the little known states of Chhattisgarh or Jharkand would take the world by surprise. In the eyes of western media India is beautiful, democratic, vibrant, progressive, secular and the darling of the west yet in the dark jungles of far off India Naxalites have become the voice of oppressed Indians who find themselves languishing in the India that has no resemblance to the India portrayed in western media.

  3. I saw this urdu proverb in a newspaper today, “laaton ka bhoot, baaton se nahi bhaagta”.

    I agree the gun cannot win the war, but the war cannot be won without the gun. Without some party *demonstrating* the futility of violence to the other, there is no incentive to talk. This is conflict management 101.

    We are past the stage where addressing development issues is enough to stop the maoists. Our train left that station a long time ago. Now we are near the terminus, we are discussing the structural fundamentals of this nation. Can we or can we not maintain the most sacred monopoly of the use of force ?

    No country in the world will negotiate with a group that just killed 55 of its agents. Why must India be the laboratory for the crazy ?

  4. Masd,

    Can these underprivileged downtrodden be accomodated on our social justice platforms ? The answer to this question is the *key* to everything in India.

    The emergence of naxalism is extricably linked to the abject failure of social justice in India. The fundamental flaw is the astonishing absence of a measureable definition of social backwardness.

    A necessary but not sufficient condition for solving the naxal issue is to introduce objectivity and data into social justice.

  5. Vastan and Masd, it’s unfortunate you guys still think murderous rampage of naxalites is anything to do with economics or development. Naxalism was born and in peaked (at least the last cycle) when India was the socialist head of the world. Movies stars may be on a spending binge and money may be going to IT industries but Naxalites don’t care. Naxalites aren’t asking for Infosys to be located in the small villages of Chattisgarh so that people there can have access to jobs that Infosys provides. Naxalism is about attacking the political structure of our country. They hate democracy and the freedoms that come with it. They rather form a military junta like Myanmar and rain terror on the rich and the poor alike with total political control. It’s nothing do with development.

    Vastan, I can tell you any number of states entered into negotiations with naxalites. They come to the table when they down with a call for ceasefire, regroup when the ceasefire is on, and make excuses to break negotiations and start their killing rampage. It’s a pattern that repeats every five to six years – read some recent unbiased history. Now the commie partners of Manmohan are holding Indian security apparatus in line so that Naxalites can propagate. The only language naxalites understand is the sound of a booming rifle.

  6. ….”The UPA can’t even fight on this front because there is little to distinguish its own rhetoric of “social justice” from that of the Naxalites.”…..

    doesnt quite follow. To the contrary, the UPA should be in a stronger position to demonstrate its ability to peacefully address any underlying grievances ie. “social justice” and will be more effective than a stick-wielding NDA perhaps that will drive up recruitment to the Naxal ranks. Agree with Vatsan there.

    The only issue I have is that we must not get into a cycle of “rewarding violence”. Any redressal should be aimed at the base population wherefrom the Naxals draw their strength and must bypass the Naxals and their active sympathisers as completely as possible. This should stand out as a peace incentive.


  7. “Social Justice” is nothing but a vacuous slogan. UPA is a monster which thrives on secularism (euphemism for Hinduphobia in this country), slogans are helpful in popularity contests, but have no utility while framing policies. Policies means ideas, which is not something we can accuse this clique of.

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