How To Overcome Challenges Posed By Maoists?

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It is really sad commentary on Indian democracy, that even after 6 decades since India’s independence, our mainstream media and even our governments seem unwilling to give space to Adivasi (tribals) voices to be heard in the ongoing heated debate on Maoists. In the wake of horrible massacre of congress leaders in Chattishgarh, almost all the newspapers and TV news-channels have devoted much time and effort in discussing the alarming growth of Maoism in India’s red-corridor; but in all this hullaballoo dominated primarily by the hawkish voices calling for military solution.

The complete absence of Adivasi voices in the main-steam political and media circle is really disturbing, to say the least; besides it does not bode well for our democracy that continues to ignore sizeable population of 8 percent. No doubt many Adivasi feel alienated in the present unequal democratic system, more so those citizens who are living in remote areas in wretched and exploitative conditions; they are forced by tragic circumstances to embrace Maoism to survive in our indifferent society, which continue to ignore their plight and usually do not like to hear their voices.

Greed and dishonesty on the part of people who are supposed to govern and the corporate who often promise to put India and its denizens on the path of development by using India’s precious mineral wealth; they have jointly led to such a colossal mess, the creation of hush-hush red-corridor that stretches from Karnataka in west coast to Bihar in north and West Bengal in east coast; wherein lies chunk of areas dominated by Maoists, on the other hand the government presence is confined to few urban centres.

India's Red-corridor

It really is alarming situation, but purely military solution is akin to stabbing oneself in stomach, to get rid of cancerous ulcer. While our prime-minister repeatedly states that Maoism is the biggest security threat to our nation; I believe that idea of Maoism poses much greater warning to our idea of democracy and constitutional provisions. We have alienated a sizeable population by our political misdeeds in last 6 decades.

But the course correction can be attempted by our democracy. It needs two-pronged approach. Firstly, both government and public have to jointly fight this ideological war against the idea of Maoists by adopting more inclusive approach towards development of least developed tribal areas and integrating them in our mainstream society in a non-discriminating way. Secondly, to wrest back the areas and to win back people from the highly motivated Maoist cadre, they need to send more local police forces, which are conversant with the local tribal languages and have deeper understanding of their culture and society. Any high-handed military approach would be counter-productive and it would again swell the rank of Maoist cadre, and may plunge our entire country into a down-ward spiral, both politically and economically.

Good old-fashioned talks between the Government and Maoists should not be discarded completely, especially when one is taking to separatists, terrorist, even our enemy states.

In 2013, India can continue to walk down the path of self-destruct, by brushing mineral-wealth scams galore by corporate under the carpet and ignoring its own constitutional provisions for the governance of schedule tribal areas. May better sense and honesty prevail among the powerful people, politicians and bureaucrats who govern our country, media-people who form public opinion and the corporate who have built their empire on exploitation of mineral wealth from the mines in the tribal areas? Or else this Maoist fire might spread to newer areas, where discontent among public is high like tribal areas, because of poor-governance and unrestrained corporate greed.

Please do bear in mind that an eye for an eye, it shall only lead to complete blindness in India.

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Sameer Bhagat

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Social-Activist. Author of SALVAGING ADIDWEEP.


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