Naxals – Insurgents or Innocents

Naxalites are a group of people who aim to create a classless society and fight for the rights of poor labourers and tribal people living in the most backward areas of the country. Naxals believe in the Maoist ideology that power flows from the barrel of the gun and thus take on the authorities and system in their fight for justice and equality. However, most of these people are poor and illiterate and do not understand the meaning of these terms, they are just angry about the way they have been treated and join the movement as they do not have any other alternative.

The Naxalite movement in India started in a place called Naxalbadi in West Bengal in the year 1967, when a group of oppressed peasants started a revolution against the landlords for redistribution of land and wages. India’s independence from British rule brought no difference to the lives of these people as they were still subjected to atrocities by local authorities and Zamindaars. These landless farmers and peasants faced centuries of ill treatment and neglect and even post independence were constantly ignored by the Governments who were busy laying out the foundation of modern India without taking into account these poor and downtrodden people.

The crime against these helpless people never caught the attention of the media and public as they lived in the most interior parts of the country and constituted the most backward class of the country. In fact the very existence of these miserable people living in the most inhuman conditions was also unknown to contemporary India until they decided to make their presence felt.

The Naxal movement was a desperate attempt by these destitute people to draw the attention of so called ‘Shinning India’ towards them. They took the path of looting, rioting and killing to let their frustration out. Initially some intellects and a few communist parties supported them.

However, over the years the Central and State governments kept ignoring the Naxalite menace and now it has become an endemic in the country. Naxal attacks are becoming more frequent and devastating day by day. These people are armed with latest weapons and skillfully trained and the police are clueless about how to tackle them.

The Home Minister recently described Naxalism as the biggest internal threat to the sovereignty of the nation. Some people even call them terrorists. But out casting these people as ‘Terrorists’ would not help us solve the problem. We need to realise that these are the people of India and like most of us, their concerns are genuine.

India proudly claims to be the largest democracy in the world. However, in this manic dance of democracy, almost everyone is dissatisfied with the way our country is being run. While others like OBCs, Jats, Gujjars and Dalits use Bandhs, Chakka jams, damaging of public property to express their anguish, Naxals have moved a step forward using killings to get the attention of the nation. Although killing of innocent people can never be justified but these people need to be involved in the democratic framework before they lead to anarchy in the country.

Ansha Agrawal

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