This is in response to the article “Will the mindset from the past change?” (Nov. 9). I agree with the assessment of the authors that there has been a sad neglect of the interests of the adivasis over a long time. I also agree that the proposed dialogue should be conducted as one between ‘us’ and ‘us,’ not ‘them’ and ‘us.’
Organised violence by several groups, broadly labelled as Naxalites, has spread over 200 districts covering a large swathe of territory from Bihar to Karnataka posing a serious threat to the Indian Union. The movement has not gathered greater momentum only because of its inner contradictions, lack of cohesion and the absence of a charismatic, dynamic, clear-headed leadership.
While firmly dealing with mindless violence, it is equally important to address the genuine grievances of the people and redress them. Effective steps should be taken to provide adequate opportunities for gainful employment to the poor and improve access to education, health care and other social goods. In this context, I would emphasise the need to expand and reorient the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on the lines suggested in my article in The Hindu of October 14.
Former Chief Secretary of Bihar, Bangalore