What happened on a saturday afternoon during the maoist attack where security personnels were killed is a cause of great concern. On April 3, twenty one security personnel were killed, thirty one severely injured and one soldier went missing after the security personnels were attacked twice by custom-made grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns near Jonaguda village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. As the country mourns for the loss of our jawans, it becomes imperative that we try to understand what exactly Naxalism is.
Each country faces two kinds of major threats, internal and external. External threat to the nation can be combated through deploying heavy forces, increasing security across borders, and building war ammunition and technology to better the surveillance system. But the biggest threat to the country are the forces which cause internal threat to the country. Naxalism stands as one of them. Naxalism exists because there have been conflicts between the government and the maoist over a span of 50 years now. The naxals defy the Indian state because they are unhappy with the work the government has done in certain states. The movement is also known as Left Wing Extremism that has caused disharmony in around 40% of India’s territory which is an alarming rate.
The major root cause of the rising naxalism is considered to be poverty. Ironically, a good fraction of people exist in states like Punjab,Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan who belong to adivasis,dalits and economically weaker sections ending up not being a part of the naxalism movement. These areas haven’t been impacted as such. The Naxalites operate in 60 districts in India, mainly in the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. It is believed that in such areas, poverty causes degradation of life resulting in the alienation of a particular category of people that fall into the pit of naxalism. Eventually these people start to believe that justice can be acquired outside of India’s judicial system by breaking the current order. But poverty cannot be a justification to what these people are doing to our country. Poverty is a widespread phenomena across Indian states but how many people out of the lower class or dalit class pick up arms and ammunitions to slay a common man? Therefore, there is no excuse or justification to the atrocities done in the name of poverty.
To understand the psyche of the naxalites, you need to understand the ideology that runs behind the political movement. The movement first emerged in 1920 and with the course of time has grown into many states and areas. The idea behind it is to create a classless society. Right after India’s independence, The communist party of India, joined the electoral democracy in 1951. Later, in 1964. a part of it broke away from the party and became more radical. CPI-M ( Communist party of India Marxist) was then formed. But, they accepted and followed a part of what the constitution represents and some people within the party were unhappy with it. Therefore, a fraction of it again broke into another party to become the “Communist party of India Maoist” who started the violent Naxalite movement.
The party believes in the Original Mao’s ideology that power flows through the barrel of the gun. There is no belief in the parliament democracy and its practices. The rural areas are made to transform into guerilla zones which they call “ liberated zones” where such illegal practices are carried out. It all started when the Communist party of India Marxist which was led by Charu Majumdar initiated a violent uprising in 1964. It started from a village called Naxalbari, that happens to be in the Siliguri District of Darjeeling, West bengal. The movement adopted a strategy to redistribute the land to the landless. So the land was snatched from people who happen to have excess land resources and given to the landless. In the state, “Bimal Kisan” who had obtained a judicial order went to plough the land and were attacked by the local landlords and their goons. In the present time, the party claims to be fighting for the rights of the tribes in the forest belt around the states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal.
The government had earlier introduced welfare schemes for rehabilitation of naxalites. The idea is to bring naxalites back to society and establish peace and harmony. The policy accepts those naxalites who have surrendered with or without arms. A screening is done by the Rehabilitation committee after which they are given aid under the policy. Along with a monthly stipend of Rs. 2000, a grant of 1.5 lakhs is offered in the form of a fixed deposit. The amount can be withdrawn only after 3 years. However, the surrender-cum-rehabilitation scheme has failed in certain states where the amount paid as a reward for surrendering is not practiced. Naxalites who surrender are scared to accept the financial aid due to threats from the Naxal organisations. It is also seen that sometimes, people surrender only to enjoy the benefits of the scheme and not because they regret doing what they did. Such people can go back to join the movement whenever they want to.
While the states suffer from the brutality of the naxal movement, the politics, as usual, enjoys a UPA vs NDA argument. The blame game doesn’t stop. The recent attack in Chattisgarh became a topic of politics for the center as the following state is ruled by the UPA government. With time, it has become important to look at this issue from an angle different from that of politics. This is an issue of the country and needs to be resolved as soon as possible.