A policy of no confrontation with armed Maoists, combined with a development programme focused on the marginalised is the best way to tackle the growth of left-wing extremism, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Bipin Gopalkrishna has said.
He was delivering a lecture on ‘Naxalism in Karnataka’, organised by the Indian Institute of Public Administration here on Saturday.
The ‘no-confrontation’ policy that Mr. Gopalkrishna advocated during the lecture was in response to a question about the manner in which the late Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy contained the conflict in Andhra Pradesh during his tenure as Chief Minister. “In my opinion, it [Mr. Rajashekhar’s approach] was an excellent decision,” he said.
Earlier, Mr. Gopalkrishna traced the history of conflict in the tribal heartland of the country, which is loosely referred to as the ‘red corridor’ today.
He said that tribal uprisings were nothing new. When the British started exploiting forest resources and displacing tribal people, there was an immediate revolt.
“Between 1870 and 1919, there were 20 major revolts against the British by tribal people. They were, in fact, the first freedom fighters,” he said.
Stating that historical facts such as this held valuable lessons, he said the government continued to pursue a policy that did not take into account the interests of traditional forest-dwellers.
Closer home, he said that attempts in the past to evict Malekudiya tribal people from the Kudremukh reserve forest had contributed to the crisis in the Malnad region.
“A policy of consistent dialogue is now being pursued,” he said and added that the new approach had already paid dividends.
Regarding the case of journalism student Vittal Maleykudia, whose arrest on charges of having links with Maoists, sparked protests across the State, Mr. Gopalakrishna said: “We have gone out of our way to help him. Some mistakes were made. But we went out of our way…”
‘Between 1870 and 1919, there were 20 major revolts against the British by tribal people’ ‘They were, in fact, the first freedom fighters’
‘Between 1870 and 1919, there were 20 major revolts against the British by tribal people’
‘They were, in fact, the first freedom fighters’