Maoists aren't yet on the march into Kerala but it won't be far away, warn social and tribal activists.
They said that the simmering discontent among the tribals and the marginalized against the unkept promises by successive governments may turn the State into a fertile ground for insurgency.
Former Naxalite-turned-social activist K. Ajitha said there was no immediate situation to fire up an armed struggle but it could not be ruled out considering the apathy of successive governments against the demand for land by Adivasis and dalits.
“Maoist insurgency could not be ruled out as governments have always neglected the demands of the adivasis and the marginalized over the last several years. Discontent is brewing among these sections and we cannot predict how it will evolve in the future,” she said.
Ms Ajitha said she does not subscribe to the view that Maoism is something bad. Both the adivasi movement led by people like C. K. Janu in Kerala and the struggle by Maoists subscribe to the politics of liberation. “Maoists pursue this politics in a different way,” she said.
But Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha leader Ms. Janu had a different take on the possibility of Maoist insurgency in the State. There was no ground for the insurgents in a place like Kerala, she said.
She suspects that the government has an agenda in spreading the news that Maoists were spotted in the forest areas near the Karnataka border. The lies could be attributed to the concerted efforts by the government to deny land and other rights to Adivasis, she said.
“The police have spread fear among the adivasis in places like Thirunelli by conducting checks and searches in Adivasi areas. The aim is to create fear among Adivasis and scare them away from agitations for land. I also doubt that the government wanted to keep away media attention from its ongoing crisis especially after the controversy over the Suryanelli by spreading rumours of Maoist presence here,” she said.
Ms Janu said the adivasis in Kerala were aware of their rights, and it would not be easy for Maoists to make inroads considering the fact that majority of the adivasis are part of various organizations. “But the government would be responsible, if Maoist infiltration happens in the State as they have always suppressed democratic struggles for their rights by Adivasis,” she said.
M. N. Ravunni, State council chairman of Porattom organisation, went a step ahead in rejecting the Maoist presence in the tri-junction of Kerala, Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu borders by stating that the latest combing operations is part of the State government’s attempt to swindle the huge funds earmarked by the Union government for anti-Maoist operations.
“It’s an attempt to deflect the attention of people from the controversies in which the State and Central governments have landed,” he said.