Where is the light in the middle of the forest
As the first phase of assembly elections are over today in Chatishgarh state and 70% voter turnout recorded with the deployment of 1 armed security man for 3 voters, I remember the Oscar selected movie Newton which is a political satire based on a newly recruited government officer Newton Kumar’s efforts to conduct free and fair poll among tribal voters in Maoist-infested hyper-sensitive Dandakaryana forest where elections are held just for name sake.
Tragic news of the martyrdom of Border Security Force Sub inspector Mahendra Singh Gurjar overshadows whosoever wins today’s election and confronts people with the dark realities of Maoism. 28 years old brave officer was the sole bread winner and eldest among two brother and two sisters who are preparing for competitive exams in Jaipur. He has a seven-month-old son who he met only once after his birth. As one after another ‘roadside bomb’ blast results in the death of paramilitary forces, People war Group is now compared with LTTE and Taliban. Government endeavour to curb Maoism has failed time and again due to support of poorest tribal Adivasi to Maoists as well as the lack of political will.
The Red Corridor, running from the Nepali border in the North to Karnataka in the south, with Chatisgarh as the epicentre of Naxalite activities, covers half of India’s territory which was limited to only West Bengal when CPI and CPI-M split in the year 1967. Who can forget the gruesome killing of 28 Congress leaders in 2013! They are a small part of 13,000 people killed since 1980 which Maoists term as protracted people’s war. Dr. Monmohan Singh described Maoism as “The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country,”
The coal mines, iron mines, banned marijuana and opium plantations are feeding the Naxalites with 14 billion rupees of extortion money every year that is used for purchase of Improvised Explosive Devices which was used yesterday in addition to landmines, vehicles, traps and German made assault rifles to storm BSF, CRPF and police force at any time. They can also attack helicopters while preparing to land.
Lack of development is one of the foremost reasons for uprising of Maoism that is spread out in inhospitable inaccessible jungles and hilly terrains in all 29 states. There is no presence of government institutions, no roads, no hospitals, no schools, or communication facilities. Nearly 70 years after independence, the Indian state has still failed to deliver to these parts even rudimentary development. It is a fact that the tribal area has remained neglected for a long time.
Since independence, constitutional provisions of fifth and ninth schedules, which gave rights over forest land to Scheduled Tribes, remained unimplemented.
There was no political will to implement these constitutional provisions and disturb the status quo. These were the main reasons which sparked the Naxalite movement. Poor tribes have been exploited there for a long time. Naxalites have mobilised a large number of tribes, taking advantage of their poverty, illiteracy, lack of job opportunity etc. Poor tribes are the victims in these circumstances. They are stuck between the devil and the deep sea. They believe that if anybody can help, it is the Naxalites.
The solution to Maoism is not foreseen even after the presently fought election. They are highly brain washed. Owing to their familiarity with the area, they can work far better than any external force, howsoever well-trained they may be. They believe in propaganda; believe in gun culture so hardly amenable to peaceful dialogues and surrender. Who will explain to them that the ideology of communism and aspiration of a separate communist nation is out of tune in 21st century!