Red Alert – Part 2

Previously: Red Alert – 1

Though the Naxal movement started in 1960s, it had a cool-off period in between. The recent uprising began with the Nandigram movement in 2007. The area came uder SEZ policy and a chemical plant was to set up in the area. The villlagers opposed it and in the ensuing clashes with the police 14 people were killed. The villagers laid accusations of police brutalities. Trinamool Congress, Socialist Unity Centre of India, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and INC togethor formed the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC)or Committee against Land Evictions. The aim of this committee was to protect the farmer’s land. The CPI(M) cadres, attacked the area on 14 March 2007 along with the Police to reclaim their dominance over the area. Many people were killed in the attack, though the official numbers claim 14. There were also allegations of infanticides and rapes.

The movement got a boost in 2008 with “Lalgarh”. It began with the opposition of the Jindal steel plant which was stated to be set up in Shalboni. An attempt to assasinate the Bengal chief minister was made. Several raids were conducted by the police and fighting between the Maoists and the Police broke out in places.

The Maoists set up a committee  called Police Santras Birodhi Janaganer Committee (PSBJC), or People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities. PSBJC activists blocked roads, shut off police access to the area, and attacked CPI(M) workers. The locals claimed that the Lalgarh police detained and tortured them on minor pretexts. The anger against the police had been growing since long but, the spark was provided when the police detained three school children, between 13-16 years of age for being suspect maoists. The station was surrounded and roads leading to the area were blocked. The nearby villagers also took part in therevolt. The adivasis formed the backbone of the movement. Like in Nandigram, CPI(M) cadres unleashed violence on the adivasis which further worsened the situation.

The problem area is not just these two villages but a stretch of area from Bengal to Andhra and a few provinces here and there. This area called the Red Corridor is a hub of Naxalite activities. Nearly 180 districts are under Naxal influence. The main reason for the movement here is the economic situation. This is an impoverished area and is amongst the poorest regions of the country. Agriculture is the major sector followed by mining and forestry, but the rapid increase in population puts a lot of pressure on these sectors, which are thus unable to satisfy the demands.

The social situation is not much differrent. The division by caste is prominent. Overall literacy rate is low. All these factors are responsible for the movement. People take to such extreme measures when they have been trampled upon for long, and have nothing to loose. We know what happened in the French Revolution and we know why the people in Russia revolted.

Now the question remains why the situation has not been tackled and was allowed to grow since such a long time. The basic motive was power. Though we are a democratic country, the caste system is still prevelant and the people of the upper castes are not ready to give up their power. The people from lower castes are not allowed to rise to ensure that. The policies of the government are fine, but they are of no meaning if they don’t reach the people for whom they are meant. As I said before, people revolt when they hsve been trampled upon since long and have nothing more to loose. Whatever we may say, but the truth remains that the whole region and the majority of the people living in it have been neglected. The low litteracy rate, farmer’s suicides, no economic growth are just some reasons for the growing movement.

The division of the people by our political leaders on the basis of caste, creed, relegion and sect has further worsened the situation. The vote bank politics ensured that the situation will worsen with time.

Use of force alone is not a solution. To get a permanent solution we need to get out if this dark age culture of castes and creeds and bring everyone togethor.  Many say that army should take up action, a college mate recently claimed that our army is useless and is afraid of the maoists, that is why it is not willing to enter the battle zone. Why we should not use the army? The reason is simple, using army would mean that we will have to declare a war. No one wants a war in their home. Declaring a war would mean that all human rights of the area will go for a toss. The situation came to this extenct because of the inhuman treatment of the people. A war, where human rights are of little importance would be like adding fuel to the fire.

As Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, DIG of Chhattisgarh said, they are our own people. We need to bring them in the fold not annhilate them. To curb this situation, more than a strong military hand we need a strong leadership. A leadership strong enough to unite the people of India.

2 Responses to “Red Alert – Part 2”
  1. Vipul Grover says:

    Prateek, a very nice analysis of the whole situation. A nice read.

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