Apni Satta, Apna Kanoon

cpi-m.jpgIn 1967, in a village called Naxalbari in the Siliguri sub-division of West Bengal, an ideology-based movement was started by the extreme left wing elements of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). The movement in 1970’s got hold of eastern India completely due to some key factors that played an important role in spreading the naxalite virus. To begin with, the intense fragmentation of the states and underdevelopment of the infrastructure gave rise to the social and economic differences, thus making the class distinction very prominent. Also, some of the problem arose due to the land reforms adopted by the west Bengal government at that time. Today we face an extreme situation which has threatened and disrupted harmony and internal peace. This movement has spread its venom in 185 districts of 16 Indian states.

Naxalites, as they are termed, are originally tribal people who revolted against the landlord system. As the name suggests, they are highly influenced by the Marxist ideas and want to topple the democratic form to structure a classless society and communist rule. They represent the landless laborers. Despite having an extremist ideology inspired by Karl Marx and Mao-Zedong, they have degraded to nothing else but another terrorist group. There activities include extortion, dominating lives of those they claim to represent in the name of providing justice. Their ideological purity has tainted with the criminalization of politics. The CPI-M is the largest and the most lethal. Their main motive is to seize political power through protracted armed struggle and herald a New Democratic Revolution. Their ideology is obviously against the present Government and our Constitution. The challenge offered by these communist ideological groups, epitomized by their slogan “Apni satta, apna kanoon”, continues to be a key concern for national security.
Our nation already dealing with cross border terrorism, externally abetted insurgency and proxy war, now has to cope up with a full fledged internal security problem. This disease is too wide spread and is taking 16 states under its wrap. Their key operating areas are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and according to recent reports, even the interiors of Maharashtra. The common link between these areas is the fragile administrative and political situation and poverty. Due to inadequacy of administrative and political institutions, espousing local demands and taking advantage of the prevalent disaffection. They have three types of forces: first is the main force, the platoons military as well as protection. Then, is the secondary force, the guerilla squads, and lastly the base force or the people’s militia. Naxalism is not a law and order problem, but its roots dig deeper in the socio-economic inadequacy. The Center has already indicated that talks and negotiations are still open and they have not ruled out a peaceful settlement by listening to their demands. The most important step that should be taken is to influence the people of these regions and re-establish their faith in the democracy and justice system of our Constitution. Secondly, a fair and just land distribution should be implemented. The landlord system although banished, still prevails in the interiors of many underdeveloped states. Our local bodies should, hence, be more responsible towards this issue. Next step will be to provide the right to education and proper medical facilities. Media coverage in these areas is less as compared to other high tension areas of the North. Restoration of social welfare and social justice will also be an important step in this direction. If we think deeper into this problem, the solution is quite simple. The venom has multiplied due to our ignorance. Not setting up a strong administrative rule caused underdevelopment, and hence, the solution can be nothing else but development, which is sustainable and benefits all.

Aakanksha Ahluwalia

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/piven/2158713567/]