The origins of the word Naxal comes from the village of Naxalbari, near Siliguri in West Bengal where the movement first originated. The origins of all naxalite groups come from the CPI (ML), the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist. The naxalite movement disintegrated into myriad groups and factions in the early seventies within five years of its birth. Along with this organizational disintegration, there was a lot of ideological disarray and confusion.
The much publicized claim of the naxalities that the CPI (ML), launched in 1969, heralded the new revolutionary party, collapsed in shambles in 1971-72. Even before this the movement had begun to splinter. A brief recounting of the organizational disintegration is necessary to get a full picture of the state of the naxalite groups today.
Even before the announcement of the formation of the CPI(ML) in 1969, the splintering had begun. In 1968 when the various naxalite groups which split away from the CPI (M) formed the All India Coordination Committee of communist Revolutionaries (AICCR), two groups broke away that year itself in West Bengal-the Parimal Dasgupta and Asit Sen groups. The latter formed the Maoist Coordination Centre. This was followed by the AICCR led by Charu Mazumdar disaffiliating the Andhra group led by Nagi Reddy, DV Rao and Pulla Reddy. In 1969, the following groups also disassociated from the Charu Maxumadar-led naxalites-the BB Chakraborty group which is known as the Liberation Front, the Moni Guha group, and the Kunnikal Narayanan group in Kerala which maintained a distinct identity.
The naxals enjoy immense support among the lower strata of the society in what is known as the Red corridor, a collection of states with active naxalism (most of these atates are mentioned in the above para). The adivasis regard the Maoists as their friends for it is these rebels who have stood by them. All the normal channels of redress are closed for them. The police beat them. The political parties — be they the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party — are with the Salwa Judum (A anti naxalite movement in Chhattisgarh.)The courts do not give them a hearing. The media does not care. Where else will they go except to the Maoists? When the police attack them, it is the Maoists who save them. Even though Naxals are claiming land and livelihood related issues, their attitude is violent. They believe that Administrative and Political institutions are inadequate and take advantage of the prevalent dissatisfaction and injustice among exploited segment of population. They act as an alternative Government which is promises to emancipate these shortcomings.
There are 76 districts and 9 States found to be badly affected by Naxalites. In case, good livelihood, land and wages are properly provided to the peoples living in those areas, they can be stopped from turning into Naxals and support extremism. So who is to blame for this fallout? Is it the state or the people? The Maoists are not wrong in their basic ideology of upliftment of the poor and such but they are grossly mistaken when it comes to the modus operandi. Violence will only lead to more violence and thus more innocent bloodshed. Well, in my opinion, it’s a mixture of both. The steady neglect of both the state and the upper classes of the society have lead to this fallout. But the point that remains to be noted here is that taking arms against the government is not the solution, not even an option. What do they hope to achieve in this manner? Do they want to sit at the South Block? A couple of air strikes by the Indian Air Force and they will all be wiped clean.
The message that violence should be dropped must be driven home into the minds of the Maoist leaders. This can be done only with the help of the media. The Time magazine says that India’s Maoist Insurgency is the third most under-reported story of 2009. Less conservative and reclusive than has historically been the case, the naxals have chosen to undertake bold (and brutal) actions calculated to garner media attention. This has included the beheading of a captured police inspector in October and a dramatic train hijack during the election campaigns.
This was preceded by the capture of Lalgarh in West Bengal, a move seemingly calculated to demonstrate to India and the world that the Maoists were a force to be reckoned with. While the naxals are all becoming media savvy, giving interviews and press conferences to gain the sympathy of the well off and thus getting their arms funds, the government is doing quite the opposite. The media can also be used by the government as a tool to reach out to the naxals and also the people and convince them to leave their armed ways aside and make way for peaceful talks. This remains to be the only way out of this huge mess that it is.
The writer is the Andhra Pradesh correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz
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