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Monday, June 09, 2014  
Not just Naxalism, Indian Government must look at the Issues behind
"It's a fact and we have to accept that in the villages of our hinterlands there is a very strong support for Naxalism, and the main reason behind this support is the successive governments' (whether it is state or the central Government) step motherly behavior towards the problems of the villagers, and hence the sense of insecurity in their hearts and minds. Just behaviour like an ostrich in the sand is not going to solve any problem. The government needs to address this issues related to the Maoist surge on an urgent basis."
Syed Hassan Kazim
   

After the deadly attack on the CRPF jawans in Dantewada by the Naxalites, the whole nation seems to have turned their angst against the Maoists and the tribals and everyone wants them to be bombed out. Be it the high profile Editors of so called national media or the politicians from the BJP and Congress everyone is acting as if they are the only ones who make the policies for the welfare of the nation state as a whole. Honestly speaking no one is interested in discussing about the root causes which generate or have been generating sympathy for the Maoists and their movement among the tribals. Neither the government not the so called free media seem to be interested to explore the flip side. Unless the root causes behind the growing dissatisfaction of the tribals and the poor as a whole are addressed each and every measure by the government will boomerang.

In fact the main reason behind the surge of Naxalism is the exploitation meted out to the people living in our mineral rich tribal areas due to the anti poor policies of the successive incumbents of 7 RCR.  It's the lack of faith towards the governments which lure the poor towards Naxalites. Just bombing out the Naxal hide outs and encounter of the Maoist is not going to solve the problem unless there is an apt redressal of the grievances of our have-nots who have always been kept marginalized by very system.

The rampant corruption and exploitation carried out by the civil servants, government officials, police, forest employees, politicians etc at the village level should and must stop. Otherwise all the measures taken to uplift the socio-economic condition in naxal hinterlands will be nothing but like taking pain killer which may have an instant effect but not the cure.

These so called policy makers or the ministers who thrive on the money of businessmen and corporate tycoons like Tatas, Mittals, Ambanis and Vedanta need to have an honest approach in resolving the issue. Unless the corruption prevailing at each and every level of our society doesn’t come to an end and the grievances of our 40% of the population addressed to their satisfaction, the change we are hoping about will remain a distant dream.

Shoma Choudhary once wrote in Tehelka that ''At the heart of the Naxal riddle, there are three primary questions: Who is a Naxal? What is one’s position on violence as a tool of struggle? And why is Naxalism on the rise across the country? At a political level, they do not believe in parliamentary democracy (where they see power still concentrated in the hands of the feudal upper class) and their long-term objective is to seize State power for the people through armed struggle. In this back ground can Naxalism really be wiped out by brute counter force? If that were so, Siddhartha Shankar Ray’s crackdown in Bengal in the 70s should have nailed it for all time. But the fact is, while stories of their own coercions are true, Naxal leaders enjoy wide support because they also espouse socio-economic causes and empower people that the successive governments (either BJP or Congress or whatever) has ignored strategically for 60 years.

Once, In a FaceBook discussion a person asked me a very interesting question, ''Why is that Maoists are gaining ground only in Mining belt?'' My reply was that, It's only because the mining belts are one of the most poor parts of our country (but unfortunately it's because of these parts only the Tatas, Ambanis and many other Businessmen became rich) These areas have always been exploited either by the government or the MNCs backed by them. Every time the resources from these places have been extracted (but these places haven’t seen any type of development since ages). If the corrupt corporate tycoons and politicians can use the wealth of these mining lands for their personal gains then what’s wrong is there if someone or any other organization comes forward(having whatever intention) to increase the sense of security among the people living on the margins. It's a fact and we have to accept that in the villages of our hinterlands there is a very strong support for Naxalism, and the main reason behind this support is the successive governments' (whether it is state or the central Government) step motherly behavior towards the problems of the villagers, and hence the sense of insecurity in their hearts and minds.

Just behaviour like an ostrich in the sand is not going to solve any problem. The government needs to address this issues related to the Maoist surge on an urgent basis.

In fact, the State's duty is not only to uphold the law by force but also to ensure the equal distribution of wealth and opportunities.

It doesn’t need for someone to be an economist to understand about the prevailing injustice and inequality in our so called civilized society. It needs common sense. If we get annoyed when someone tries to snatch our valued belongings from us then the poor of the poor have also the same right. The difference is we the neo rich because of our power and money can buy what ever we want, but what about the ones who could even manage the meal of even a single time. They too earn their money by doing hard work (but not sitting in Air conditioned offices).

It’s really dis-heartening when most of the people who are killed in the war between the state and non state actors are poor whether they are the soldiers of the state or the fighters of the non state actors. Most of the soldiers killed were the only bread earners for their family and it's a fact that when the dust of the Dantewada attack settles the people who are sitting at the top will forget these poor Jawans and their family and they will be only remembered at the time of elections to garner votes .

There is a similarity between the soldiers and the tribals which is: ''Both, the Soldiers from Uttar Pradesh and the tribals form Jharkhand are desperately poor and on the same side of the big divide which is getting wider with the passing of every single day. In essence, what the state is doing is making the poor fight with the poor.''

The aftermath of Dantewada has opened up the ugly truth that ‘poor pitted against poor’. At the backdrop of politico-editor-activist brain storming sessions the sooner we understand this reality the better.

(Author is Media and Communication Executive with Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), New Delhi)

 

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