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Should Maoist be treated on par with terrorist and anti-nationals?

By Pratibha Sharma

Maoists in India have become the gravest threat to our country. The extent and magnitude of the Maoists operations are so gigantic that they are affecting the social, economic and political and even the well being of our country.

No wonder Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist as the biggest challenge to our national security. Maoist also called Naxals in Indian context refers to the armed insurgency by the cadres of Bhakpa Male, Tritiya Prastuti Committee, and People's Liberation Front of India etc.

The followers of Maoism believe that the means of production and resources existing in the world are concentrated in the hands of exploiters. Hence they like to overthrow them, even if it means by armed means and should be re-placed by a system that is to be in the hands of the masses.

In India, Maoists have planned to overthrow the democratic system of governance by 2050 and replace it by their own system of governance gain complete control over the country. Maoism has originated in India from West Bengal at a place called Naxalbari. In the initial days, it was a motley collection of students, farmers and intellectuals that was led by two leaders Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal.

Initially those who felt dissatisfied and neglected joined this extreme left bandwagon. But soon Maoists have spread to the other states. Maoist rebels now control and run a parallel government in as many as 10 states. Over the last few years, more people have died as a result of Maoist insurgency than due to any other kind of militant movement in the country.

The Maoists have complete disregard for democracy, laws and human values. They have been committing crimes like abduction and killings with impunity. Whether it is abduction and killing of Jharkhand policemen 'Francis Induwar' or the attack on the convoy of a political party in Bastar, all demonstrate the ruthless attitude of the Maoists.

According to intelligence agencies estimates, the total number of Maoists cadres in country could be about 50,000 and the majority of them being below 25. The Maoist have an annual budget of rupee 10,000 crore. Majority of it comes in form of extortion (levy), illicit drugs cultivation and covert aid. On an average, Maoists demand a levy of 15-20% on any government or private funded activity. As a result, no commercial entity is willing to work in the areas of Maoist dominance. Hence the affected areas have no roads, factories or even cottage industries. Thus the people there do not get any jobs and are ultimately forced to join the rank and file of the Maoists.

Recently, a few splinter groups have broken off from the main Maoist group CPI-ML and formed their own organizations. These groups are fighting regular turf wars for dominance and control over their respective areas. In the beginning the Maoist movement may have been one of some disgruntled elements but now it has completely evolved into armed insurgent groups.

Maoists from the very beginning have been open to receiving foreign aid and assistance. It's proved by the recovery of foreign made weapons from them. It also found out that trainers from countries like China, Philippines, and Ireland have arrived in our country to provide training in Guerrilla warfare to the Maoists. The Maoists have also been trying to join hands with the various international communist insurgent groups such as the Nepali Maoists, FARC, Irish republican army etc. It has been confirmed that Maoists have links with the Kashmiri separatists and North-East insurgent groups.

All these instances clearly points that Maoists are anti-national elements and be dealt accordingly. In dealing with the Maoists, the Indian Penal Code Chapter VI that deals with offences against the state, S.121 Waging war against government, S.124-A sedition which has been further supplemented by laws such as National security Act, should be strictly implemented. A message of deterrence must be sent to them that no enemies of the nation will be tolerated by the Indian leadership or the governing elite. However, care should be exercised to avoid collateral damage and those who have joined the ranks of Maoists forcefully should be allowed to join the mainstream and lead a normal life.

A carrot and stick policy should be adopted and the disgruntled Maoist cadres should be won over by a good rehabilitation package. Recruitment drives and employment counseling camps should be held in the affected areas to rope in unemployed youths. In the Maoist affected area establishing block offices, primary and secondary schools, hospitals, village panchayat offices etc should be the priority. Civil authorities should make sure that beneficial measures such as public distribution system reach the needy speedily.

Lessons should be learnt from the Andhra Pradesh which was one of the worst sufferers of Maoist violence. However by adopting a multi-pronged strategy, the government has succeeded in eliminating the Maoists from that state. The special police force 'Greyhounds' established by the Andhra Pradesh authorities succeeded in almost wiping out the Maoists from state.

This was quickly followed by establishing all necessary infrastructure (like roads, schools, hospitals and beneficiary schemes) to bring about the oppressed and deprived people on par with the mainstream society. Andhra Pradesh as a result today is free from clutches of the Maoists.

Maoism didn't take shape in one day; neither will it go away in one day. Fighting Maoism will take years. If the measures mentioned are implemented rigorously, the days are not far when India will be free from all these trouble mongering entities. If India has to race towards its ultimate goal of providing peace and security to its citizens, then the problem of Maoist insurgency has to be sternly dealt with.

---By Pratibha Sharma

By Abhishek Dixit

It is the duty of the government to make the things difficult which are wrong, easy the things which are right for the people. This single line quotation itself narrates the role of ideal government for its people to maintain the peace, harmony and peaceful coexistence of the people in the society.

But unfortunately in case of Maoists/naxalites, our governments are completely failed to provide the remedy of their problems. Rather than making things easy for them government has made the things difficult for them where they were forced to take weapon in their hands rather than sitting and talk with the government representatives. In such scenarios where people are forced to take the weapon to redress their grievances cannot be termed as terrorists and anti-national.

It was the summer of 1967 where in a small village of West Bengal name Naxalbari people rose up against the government system and they took the weapon in their hands and over the time they took much of eastern and central India in their grip and was declared as terrorists by Government of India .Since they were following the ideology of Mao (leader of China) and they were trying to run their own government so they were declared as anti-national or terrorists but did we try to find out and resolve their problems before they were forced to take up the arms the answer is "NO".

If we try to analyze the root cause of the problem of Maoists/Naxalites then we come across two main reasons first is "non implementation of 5th & 9th schedules by government in the tribal areas and second is the centuries old "caste system".

As per the 5th schedule of our constitution Government will declare the schedule areas in the country and accordingly provide the rights over the natural resources in those areas as per the provisions of 9th schedule.

But these provisions are misused for one's own welfare rather than the welfare of tribal people. Central and state governments gave licenses to private companies for mining and cutting in these areas as they were considered to be mineral rich areas of our country where no share was provided to local people and also no attention was paid to their dilapidated situation because of loss of habitat and earnings out of these areas on which they were dependent from a long time.

This provided the chances for the growth of local leadership since national/state leadership was failed to provide solution to their problems.

Second, since most of these people belong to schedule caste and tribes and they were away from mainstream society for a long time so called "forward" people of the society could not accommodate these people into the mainstream of the society and these tribal people felt a sense of separatism. Icing on the cake is done by repressive policies of government against their rise as a militant organization.

In Chattisgarh where the local people were feeling like "between devil and deep blue sea" because on one hand Naxalites were forcing them to help while government supported "salwa jhadum" was forcing them not to help and in such situation with so many innocent people were forced to take the weapon as it was the weapon which was helping these people not the government.

So the people who are rose for their own welfare against the exploitation by government and local people cannot be termed as terrorists or anti-national because they have some causes that are not resolved by anything other than weapon. These people are our own people which if given a chance can contribute immensely in the growth of our country so in place of treating them as terrorists government should seriously listen to their problem, redress their issues and should try to bring them on round table for talk rather than in the battlefield where only the blood will flow of both the sides rather than any solution will come.

It was well said by Gandhi ji "an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind" .So the solution resides in talking, resolving issue and providing them a sense of security on financial front, living front, social front so that these people could also come in the mainstream of our society and contribute for the betterment of our country, our society, our people.

--Abhishek Dixit

By Arjun Tyagi

Maoist literally means people who are follower of Maoism and Maoism is actually the thought of a Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Basically Maoism which was a revolt of peasants against their exploitation by bourgeoisie .It was a people's war at that time. The origin of revolutionary Marxism in India ,particularly Maoism ,are typically traced to 1967 ,when radical left parted from Communist Party of India (Marxist) and formed Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) which are Maoists of India.They supported a local peasant uprising in Naxalbari (West Bengal).Thus CPI(M-L) came to be known as 'Naxalites'.

Maovadi problem has a long history in India. Over the years, it is a movement that spread in a white colour changed from black to a dark shade. This problem is not original and not a terrorist movement in the cross border terrorism, it funds the State of production. This problem originated in the Indian independence. Indian Maoists dismiss Indian government as a sham. The naxal movement of a noble nature, "maovadi" took shape as the problem has become tarnished. The causes of the Maoist movement in India are structural. Economic, political and cultural dimensions are closely linked.

The first is the economic situation which is exploited by Naxalites and their extreme left ideology. It seems much like a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, India has experienced relatively fast economic growth, which has led to increased levels of national wealth. To facilitate and continue this development, businesses need more land and natural resources such as minerals. On the other hand, this economic growth has been uneven among regions, and has widened the disparity between the rich and the poor.

Proponents of these businesses argue that these regions need economic development, if they are to catch up with their richer counterparts. The Indian aboriginals, known as adivasis, live these richly forested lands, which are wanted for development by businesses. The conflict between economic progress and aboriginal land rights continues to fuel the Naxalite's activities.

Their strongest bases are in the poorest areas of India. They are concentrated on the tribal belt such as West Bengal, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh where locals experience forced acquisition of their land for developmental projects. At the start this movement was a poor men's voice but today its aptness is doubtful. Today this conflict between Naxalites and Indian Government has taken a different form. Today for the rights of tribal people Naxalites or Maoists they are somehow crossing some limits on humanitarian grounds. That humanitarian ground on which in the past their movement was based on.

Naxalites or Maoists are brutally killing innocent policemen who are performing their duty in that area. There is no ground on which these killings can be made approved. They are destroying infrastructures created by Indian government. All these activities create instability and insecurity to that area. There are some proof also that these activities are funded by China to create insecurity in India which act as a hindrance to development in these remote areas. Countries like China are supplying arms and ammunition as well as training to them.

Actually Maoists basic demand was getting these poor people at an equal platform to urban people but the havoc they are creating nowadays is opposite to their so called actual aim on which their ideology is based. It can be seen from their recent killing of many congress leaders. What Maoists are doing today is anti national. Killing innocent people and policemen, destroying infrastructure cannot be legitimized for the name of revolt of poor people it's totally anti national .Activity which are creating fear ,insecurity, instability and also they are funded by our country's adversaries can be called as 'terrorism'.

So they should be treated on par with terrorist and anti nationals but military response is not the only option of solution .There should be continuous talk with the local people of the affected area. At last we must remember our country India's policies nad actions are based on principle of non violence .So any violence of any type anywhere in our country is an act of terrorism and anti national activity.

--Arjun Tyagi

By Dharmesh Sharma

The recent tragedy in Chhatisgarh, an ambush carried out by naxalites, left two senior congress leaders and two dozen others dead. The incident once again sparked the blame game between the Centre and the State. However, a counter offensive is now impending. In light of such a stance of government, a pertinent and fundamental question still lingers on, that is whether to treat the Maoists on par with terrorists. Sometime back, the Prime Minister, in one of his speech condemned Naxalism and declared it as the most serious National security threat to India.

Born way back in Naxalbari village of West Bengal, as a resentment against the local landlords, Naxalism has, since then expanded its foothold in nearly one-third of the country. The Naxalites are affiliated to Maoist ideologies of revolution through arms carried out by the peasant class to overthrow the State and establish a People's Government.

In a functional democracy such as that of India such political objectives seem highly inconsistent and absurd. The Maoist disbelieves and derecognizes the State. These cadres of Left Wing Extremism have often sided with the enemies during testing times of Indo-China war of 1962 and also in 1971. This clearly reflects their anti nationalistic attitudes. The usual 'Jehadi' terrorists have religion as their motivation; however both forms of terrorism have waged a war against India which is tantamount to Sedition. The 'Red Terror' works from within and is even more complicated and difficult to handle as a direct face off severely affects civilians.

Most Maoist prone areas are devoid of basic facilities of infrastructure, health and education, which the people are rightly entitled to, being citizens of India. The fruits of development are blocked by the Maoists. They are against the developmental schemes of Government and themselves are involved in fund raising by entering into nexus with the Capitalist class with whom they stand in ideological contradictions, reflecting their double standards. They often force people to camouflage them and even launch an attack against the paramilitary forces. They coerce the young locals to join their cadres and misguide them, ruining their lives. Hence, their claim to be the trustees of the people and 'Gandhians with Guns' sounds more a rhetoric, typical of politicians and not a revolutionaries at all.

The clashes between the paramilitary and Naxalites have often led to civil casualties adding to the discontent of the people. The innocent and misguided villagers are made to believe that the State is their enemy. Some stray incidents of crimes such as rape and coercion by few personnel has given the opportunity to the Maoists to harp upon which they use it to their advantage. This has lent an ill repute to the armed forces amongst the locals.

However with no clear cut out political objective, such a struggle is futile and unsustainable. Also their natural allies like China and Nepal are developing healthy political relations with India, much to their disadvantage. Also developmental efforts by the Centre like the Integrated Action Plan scheme in Naxalite prone areas is underway to take fruits of development to the local citizens and take them into confidence for any future operations.

Hence, branding Maoists as terrorists would be no mistake given their stand against Sovereignty and Integrity of India, disbelief in democracy and civil rights, use of arms and ammunitions, and anti developmental stance.

--Dharmesh Sharma