The one sided holistic approach:

Posted by Ayman Jamal
May 25, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

25 personnel of 74th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force were killed in the Naxal attack at Sukma, Chattisgarh on 24th April, 2017.
917 jawans  have been killed in 7 years (2010-2017) in the Red Corridor of the country.
There are 106 Naxal affected districts in India. All are backward, underdeveloped regions with rich mineral resources and rough terrain.
Post demonetization, 700 Maoists surrendered, but no one knows if the Naxal funding has come down or not, as claimed by the government at the time of demonitization drive.
Operation Steeplechase started by Indira Gandhi in 1971, taking advantage of the President’s rule to mobilise Indian army and paramilitary forces against the naxals killed hundreds of naxalites and imprisoned more than 20,000 suspects including senior leaders.
Operation green hunt started in 2009 along the 5 states in Red Corridor became a strong anti-Naxal plan for the government killing another hundreds of naxals.
Clearly, huge military operations are not the only solution to the naxal problem.
If it would have been, we would have not been in the same mess.
Also, in 2009, Integrated action plan was started by the then central government for co-ordinated operations aimed at dealing with naxalite problem in all affected states (Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal). It included funding grass root economic projects and increased special police funding in the affected areas.
Interestingly, this plan is scrapped under the present BJP government at the centre.
The Political Theatre :
Since 2014, when the BJP government came to power at the centre, it has used army and armed forces as an element of advertisement for its own political gains. Glorification of army and the surgical strike undertaken against Pakistani terrorists in the Uttar Pradesh elections was the new low set by the present dispensation.
Thanks to the same government, the largest paramilitary force of the world-CRPF- was headless for 2 months before the attack.
There is lack of equipments with the forces (6000 bullet proof helmets for the strength of 3 lakhs).
Food quality is such that 168 CRPF men suffered food poisoning in Andhra Pradesh in 2017.
Stress, heart attack, suicide kills more jawans then the Naxal attacks.
This state of CRPF has been conveniently ignored by this government and the previous governments.
The present government is fighting case in the Supreme Court for its stand of not making CRPF an organised service.
And yet the smart political masters shamelessly appropriate forces for political image building.
Romantic postings :
The romantic idea of placing heads at the helm of CRPF and other CAP forces from services other then the CRPF (or CAP forces) has done great damage. Not only it demotivates the force but also makes mockery of the accumulated expertise of the senior officers of the force, who have spent major part of their service fighting Naxals and separatists in the most inhospitable areas of the country.
War against own people?
The movie – Buddha in Traffic Jam (directed by Vivek Agnihotri) contains a scene where Pallavi Joshi warns Arunoday Singh about the dangers posed by the naxals. She says, that they can be anyone- doctors, teachers, fathers, brothers- and can be in normal families.
By that very scene the director made any one sympathising with the Naxal movement and their situation a threat to the country and a potent danger.
The naxals belonging to the same country are enemies within.
Here naxals are shown as separate entity from the tribals.
Tribals join the naxals and hence become one of them.
Can we confidently say that all the tribals joining the naxals are made to do so by force? Why are then the tribals joining the naxals? Are all naxals no tribals OR all tribals no naxals?
We should not forget that Chattisgarh is not in Pakistan and Naxals are not Pakistanis.
Can we declare war on our own people, based on a problem that is not just simply related to law and order but is a bigger issue of tribal identity, mineral resource exploitation, ideology and development?
The portrayal of all the men and women joining the naxals as enemy of the country is only justified in extremist ideology as seen rising recently in all the political and social debates.
We are intoxicating our own people and specially our youth to rely on military suppression and violence as a solution to every ideological conflict and multidimensional problems plaguing the country.
The fight on the borders and inside the country cannot be fought on the same lines. Can they?
The myth of development :
So what is development?
Roads, schools, hospitals, basic amenities…??
Does the same concept of development exists universally?
Is the meaning of development same for the urban man and a tribal woman?
Why is the role of nature and traditional rights of tribals on land and forests not included in the idea of development when it comes to tribal areas?
Development is not economic growth.
Economic growth is part of development along with social, cultural and political development.
Is it not wrong to impose the state’s idea of development on the tribals?
Making roads for the purpose of giving way to industries by exploiting the mineral riches and cutting down the forests and not for a tribal centric development is a ‘one sided holistic approch’.
No government bothers to ponder on the question of what is the idea of development from the perspective of the tribals.
Are we, as privileged masses of mainstream areas so arrogant that we don’t recognize the ability of the tribals to have a say in their own developmental plans?
Dilution of forest rights act, doing away with social impact assessment in many cases, giving boost to capitalist system in culturally rich tribal areas, ill handling of rehabilitation programmes of the displaced masses due to developmental projects  has become a normal part of the policy implementation  hardly condemned by educated masses and progressive people.
You cannot take away someone’s cultural identity, forests, land and handover a school, hospital in exchange to call it development.
There is a need to balance the natural and cultural sustainability with infrastructural development in tribal areas.
Holistic approach is lacking and whatever approach is being advertised by the government and mainstream capitalist media in the name of valour and bravery and war against its own people is tagged as holistic shamelessly.
Way ahead :
.Removing trust deficit between the government and the people. Undertaking administrative reforms at the state and district levels involving state government as main partner.
At political level – ensure local level democracy and leadership from within.
.Recruitment of females at all levels in the forces : The posting of the first female officer – Usha Kiran- in the naxal hit area of Chattisgarh is a great example and should be replicated at all levels in the forces.
Women have greater potential of connecting with the tribal population and hence can work as a bridge between the tribals and the forces.
.Strong justice delivery system and action against any reported atrocities done by the forces.
.Declaring the Central Armed Forces as organised service and placing heads from the CAP forces itself.
.Preparing a developmental plan for tribal areas making tribals as equal partners and bringing them on the table to contribute to the plan.
.Preserving cultural and traditional rights of tribals with the same zeal as when promoting foreign direct investment in huge projects.
.High profile dialogue with the naxal leaders for peace deal.
Just bravery is not enough to solve the problem (neither of the forces nor of the naxals).
Ayman Jamal
(Student and currently working with an NGO in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh)

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