Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has incisively diagnosed the underlying causes for naxalism (“From Tirupati to Pashupati?” Oct.14). Though his prescription seems faultless, it is a fact that the government is known to falter when it comes to implementing strategies. This can be addressed by posting socially committed bureaucrats and police officers with a fixed tenure in the affected areas. The displacement of 30 million people from project areas in the last five decades, and without adequate compensation, is a gross violation of rights. The delay in passing the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill will only reinforce the Naxal charge that the government is colluding with corporate interests at the expense of local communities who have lived in the mineral-rich forest areas for centuries.
It is important for the government to understand that for tribals, there is no difference between Naxals and the government. They tend to follow anyone who speaks in their favour and this has been the true strength of Naxals who have time and again helped tribals. The government has, knowingly or unknowingly, taken steps that have proved detrimental to tribals. Extensive developmental work in the Left-wing extremism affected areas seems to be the only solution.
Our rural areas do not have proper roads, electricity, education and employment facilities, health care and drinking water even after 65 years of independence. Engaging rural youth in gainful employment and a correction of regional imbalances are one way out.
N. R. Ramachandran,
Naxalism is primarily a sociological problem, and of rights — i.e. recognising the importance of preserving and protecting a way of life. Tribals have the Constitutional right (Article 29) to preserve their culture. An important consequence of the ‘right to conserve' is that citizens have the right to agitate for the protection of their way of life which cannot be solved by the process of development because the term has been controversial — historically as well as contemporarily — with multiple connotations.
Surya Rakesh Moudgil,
The article was an honest and strongly argued perception of the problem. The singular failure to protect the dignity and constitutional rights of the poor, thus turning their places into a breeding ground for violence and the people ready-made recruits has been brought out. Revamping the administration and governance in the affected tribal areas, “empowering tribals who are essentially victims, by giving them access to basics, by giving them what is theirs by right and by securing their livelihoods,” could be the first and urgent step to stem the rot.
Col. C.V. Venugopalan (retd.),