Time to herald renaissance in the jungles [Part 5 of 5]

Posted on May 24, 2010 in Politics

Abhirup Bhunia: (in the final part of the 5 part series on Naxalism. Read the complete series here).

Unproductive, cacophonous and conflicting debates have raged through for the past one year or so apropos the unending violence unleashed by the Naxals. The critiques have encompassed causes and what went horribly wrong in resolving the problem but none included answers to those waiting-to-be-answered questions. One reason for that could be the lack of discernment. Not one person could provide a guarantee that the simmering tribe dominated areas in Chattishgarh, Bengal, Bihar, Jharkand and the rest would finally settle down never to rise up again. Well, no human can guarantee!

Perhaps no soothsayer or clairvoyant can unearth what these violent Reds are trying to put across by wreaking unrestricted, atrocious and cold-blooded carnage. Are they attention-seekers? Or is it a hapless case of settling scores? Are the Naxalites waging war against the Indian state seeking to overthrow them? Or is it that they have been forced to take up the arms on behalf of destitute people in order to deliver social justice? In each case there is a justification. Let’s dig up each instance. If seeking attention of the government with the intention that the latter addresses their issues, is the case, let there be no ambiguity they have succeeded. (Too much of attention has already been paid to them.) But the fact that it stops there and doesn’t finish up with their concerns being addressed says that the path treaded is flawed and fruitless. If the Naxals are trying to settle scores, they have miserably failed in their attempts, because civilians, jawans and helpless villagers are not in charge of the government from whom they possibly expected attention followed by development. If it is about social justice, then their efforts have been all the more futile since it is they whom the Naxals claim to be representing who are getting killed. All this can bring us to one confident conclusion if not multiple: the path of violence thereby walked by the Maoists in order to fulfill their objective, whatever it is, is dreadfully erroneous and unpardonable.

Now the onus is squarely on the government. Why were those areas so starkly undeveloped that things turned so ugly? Why has the government failed to anticipate (The government should have seen it coming)?

Solutions: (personal views of the author)

1. Call for immediate truce. Halt operation Green Hunt so that peace talk like situation is created. Violence and armistice cannot go together.

2. Convince the Naxals that the chances of any grievance in future would be minimal.

3. Fast track development — health and education, to start with.

4. Let the two pronged approach, which is harped by Sonia Gandhi, the PM and the articulate spokespersons of the Congress, be implemented. But one prong of the process will be to develop and the other should be to convince, not to fight out.

5. Why not implement NTEGA (National Tribal Employment Guarantee Act) like a NREGA exclusively in states affected by Naxalism to be executed by the state and not the centre?

6. Finally, give them a period of time (say 3 months) — those who do not buy the proposals should be simply treated as scalawags who come in the way of positivism and productivity. Treat them as vehement violators of the law and penalize them heavily.

Conclusion:

No other thing, in the past year or so has gained more air time (TV) and print space (Newspapers/magazines) consistently than Naxalism. It is time for them to call it a day and make sure it dies out once and for all. But for that to happen, some thorough brainstorming by the think-tanks is required. It is also high time that internal spats are put to death. In addition, let us stop christening some people as Maoist sympathizers. Let us not coin terms like the latter, red terror and so forth. It is time to mean business and get down to brass tacks.

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