The most recent and probably the most grievous situation faced by the Indian Government is the war waged by the Maoist community. A word that now fills the nation with horror, Maoist, was initially used to describe the followers of Mao, basically communists, who arose from the tribal areas of India, demanding the development of their people, social justice and equality.
Maoists in India are called Naxalites, the name taken from Naxalbari, a small village in West Bengal, where the movement originated. Several times in the past, there have been incidents of violation of human rights with regard to the tribal belts in these areas, at the hands of Government agencies. This triggered violent reactions from Maoists who set out to “punish” the nation for the injustice meted out to their people. To achieve their aims, they took to arms, and there have, ever since, been reports of Maoist attacks in various parts of the country.
To cite the most recent instances, the brutal killing of 76 armed personnel, the use of arson to eliminate a bus carrying civilians and the derailment of several coaches of a civilian train. Over the past two months, the Maoists have refuted their claims of not hurting civilians, and the nation is at the threshold of the worst ever insurgency.
The situation has degenerated so much that the Government, after several attempts at trying to institute peace talks, is now aiming at making them surrender. However, till now, there is no infrastructure in place to end the Maoist guerrilla war.
It is shocking to see that in the world’s largest democracy, Democratic methods have given way to the use of violence and terror as a means of subverting the will of the Government. In addition, since India happens to be a socialist republican democracy, it entitles every citizen and resident the right to life. Thus the state will stand condemned if it takes any lethal action against the Maoists within their own lines.
It surely makes one wonder, would there have been space for an uprising like this had India been under a dictatorship, where the rulers would have been just as ruthless as the ones disrupting law and order?
It also raises a question about the Maoists’ idea of development and throws light on the issue of whether this fight really is for the betterment of all or is simply an attempt by communist leaders to attain political power by keeping innocent fellow citizens hostage in a game of terror.
There have been several debates and discussions among the political Who’s Who of the nation over various ways of tackling the rebellion. However, at the end of each debate, the Government is left with no solutions and the rest of the nation full of fear – fear of what new horror they might wake up to the next morning….
Amidst the fear and hostility, one suggestion comes to mind: while trying to control Maoist activities in the north eastern part of the country, wouldn’t it be wise on the part of the Government to accelerate the process of development in these areas and speed up their integration with mainstream India, to regenerate the faith of the people in the government and eliminate support for the Naxalites?