Thursday, 13 August 2020

Root Out Maoism

Updated: March 12, 2011 3:27 pm

Giving a bloody nose to the security forces engaged in flushing out Maoists in Odisha under “Operation Green Hunt”, the red rebels reportedly succeeded in getting accepted all their demands. The abduction of Malkangiri District Magistrate R Vineel Krishna and a junior engineer Pabitra Majhi by Maoists on February 16, 2011, and the subsequent release of Majhi on February 22, after hectic negotiations between the Odisha government and Maoists, have once again proved that how enervated the state government is, lacking in resolve and orientation. In fact, during the entire episode and even before that, the Naveen Patnaik government never showed up the courage to weed out those vicious elements who are waging a brutal war on India. Maoists are far from an ideologically committed lot fighting for the poor and have no compunction in killing adversaries—often the same poor tribals—in cold blood. But a day after the chilling abduction, the state government buckled under pressure, accepting the Maoists’ demand to stop all operations against them in the state. The Naveen Patnaik government’s acceptance, declared by state Home Secretary UN Behera, will deliver a body blow to ongoing counter-insurgency operations in not just Odisha but other states affected by Maoist violence. “All anti-Naxal combing operations in the state will be stopped,” Behera said. It is worth mentioning that after the abduction the Maoist issued 14-point demands, including an immediate stop to counter-insurgency operations, withdrawal of security personnel from areas dominated by the Red terrorists, release of 700 Maoists (among them top leaders and ‘commanders’) currently lodged in various jails, and the scrapping of the Polavaram multi-purpose dam project in Andhra Pradesh. The response of the state government was astonishingly swift. Instead of standing up with a steely resolve to eliminate these barbarians once and for all, the state government ordered the immediate suspension of counter-insurgency operations. The state government, which is committed to uphold the Constitution of India, agreed to ‘negotiate’ a deal with those who hold that document in utter contempt.

                It is a matter of concern that the Maoists have managed to brazenly commit such an act. Now that the government has buckled, we should also think what signal will go to the umpteen security personnel from this episode? What is immensely disturbing is the fact that the drawing room-television screen Maoist supporters sought to make a hysteria through a section of print and electronic media in support of Maoist sympathiser Binayak Sen after Chhattisgarh High Court rejected the bail application of Sen, who is in prison after a Raipur court in December sentenced him to life on charges of sedition and for his links with Maoists, the same ‘elite’ class maintained a studied silence after the abduction incident took place in Odisha. Elite bleeding-heart Maoist sympathisers have been provided enough space in the liberal bourgeois media to continuously drum on their admiration and paint a romantic picture of the ‘constructive programmes’ of brutal Maoists, which is run by the ‘principles of democracy’ where ‘individuals shall be committed to the government, minority to the majority’. They are ecstatic about how the Maoist governance has made the oppressed tribals feel proud of their identity and has brought back their self-respect. But are the Maoists really interested about the genuine problems of the tribal inhabitants of these regions or they are using the tribals as a pawn in their game? Do the Maoists represent the entire tribal population of these regions? These remain pungent questions, which have an easy answer. The tribal heartland of India was not really selected by the Maoists because they had any special affection and empathy for the underprivileged tribals. It was a strategic choice for its geographical advantages. To build up a safe base and getting prepared for their so-called revolutionary war, the Maoists required a secured hideout for themselves, which will be inaccessible to the state security forces. There could be no argument at all that the tribals have remained the most neglected people in India and has encountered endless state apathy during both pre-Independence and post-Independence time. The tribal regions are among some of the most backward regions of the country. The Maoists have simply exploited the situation by seducing a small section of the inhabitants to achieve their own gory interests. Improvement of tribal life has little significance in the broader context of the Maoist strategy. The secluded tribal lands are important for them as self-sufficient base areas, for consolidating their strength to later expand and unleash ‘protracted People’s War’ against the Indian state and subsequently overthrow it. Idealism is okay in the textbooks but when it will come time to live in a communist society, I do not know how many Indians will feel positive about it. Maoism is a virus that will destroy our democracy, and, therefore, we need to deal with it ruthlessly.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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