The spate of Maoist attacks in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar is shocking. Maoist atrocities are on the increase and the governments at the Centre and the States appear ineffective. Despite the joint operations launched by the security forces, the wave of attacks by the ultras continues unabated. Their actions cause heavy damage to public property and infrastructure, and lead to a loss of human lives. It is as if we are in a war-like situation. The Centre should consider deploying the armed forces to combat the naxal menace as the police forces seem unable to put an end to it.
Maoists should be put down with an iron hand as almost all efforts to engage them in a dialogue have failed. They obstruct government agencies from carrying out development work. If naxalites are genuine about fighting for the cause of the unprivileged, they should provide them education and avenues for employment with the resources they spend on guns and landmines.
The attacks in the three States deserve to be condemned strongly. The government should eliminate the anti-social elements which are causing mayhem in the name of socialism, killing innocent people and damaging public property. It is time to act tough, not engage them in negotiations. All political parties, rights groups and the masses should support the government in its endeavour.
Blasting rail tracks and telecommunication towers, destroying public property and killing people unscrupulously have become common for Maoists. The Centre should draw up a master plan involving all political parties to combat the naxalites and eliminate them once and for all. Though it is not an easy task, it should be done. Political parties should exercise restraint and cooperate with the government. Unless concrete steps are taken and implemented to combat terrorism, life and property will be in peril.
The latest spurt in naxal violence appears to be directly related to the stepped-up offensive by the Centre and the States against Maoists. The ultras always choose soft targets like telecommunication towers, railway track and isolated police stations to vent their ire. There appears to be some coordination among the Maoist groups operating in different States. Governments should involve the locals in the hunt for the leaders of the Maoist groups. The state should convince them that it is capable of winning the war against naxals, promising, at the same time, development, employment opportunities and improvement in their living conditions.
Maoist violence in recent weeks, taking a heavy toll and paralysing normal life in Bihar and Jharkhand, is a cause for serious concern. It shows how grave the threat is to internal security. If the naxalites are serious about addressing the social and economic deprivation of those they claim to represent and for whom they wage an armed struggle, they should abjure violence and enter the democratic mainstream like their counterparts in Nepal.
Maoists should immediately end their senseless violence. Their acts will only lead to the loss of sympathy among people. They should realise that the gun will not bring them power. The only option they have is to win over people in a democratic manner. It would be better for them to realise this before more lives are lost.
Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that he is not in favour of using the armed forces against naxalites is shocking. What are we waiting for — more bloodbath? Do we want naxalism to spread its tentacles in the same way as terrorism?
We should follow a ruthless approach towards naxalites who commit heinous crimes. National security should be our top priority. If the police are unable to tackle Maoists, what is the harm in deploying the armed forces?
Dr. Singh’s observation that “the growth of naxalism in central India obliges us to look at what causes this sense of alienation among certain sections of the community, especially the tribal community” makes me recall Sunil Khilnani’s analogy in the context of India’s new prosperity (“Stop marketing India as a brand, says historian,” September 24). His reference to two traffic lanes — how the movement of traffic in one lane raises the hopes of those stuck in the next lane but quickly hope turns into frustration and anger as they watch their neighbours whiz past — is most relevant. It should help us understand the root cause of naxalism or, for that matter, any rebellion.
The real cause of internal and external threats is the fact that the government is in deep slumber. They will continue to exist as long as administrative inaction persists.
The poor, especially in the naxal-infested regions, think that the government is the greatest threat to their life and livelihood. Apart from the landlord and goonda mafia, police and government officials who patronise them for a fee regularly harass, detain and torture people to extract the lion’s share of their earnings. The people have no one, other than naxalites, to turn to for help and justice.
The media highlight only the excesses committed by the ultras. Has anyone counted the number of men and women tortured to death by the law-enforcing authorities? Is there any law the police follow in naxal areas?