Sunday, August 27, 2006

Naxalism - Chattisgarh losing it

Reports of large number of tribals staying in the government run relief camps in different parts of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh leaving the camps is an alarming signal on the efficacy of "Salva Judum" against the Maoists.It is more frightening that about 90 members of the CPI(Maoists)who had surrendered to the police last year and were accommodated in the relief camps after paymet of "compensation" also deserted the camps and rejoined the cadre.

The government admission that 600 tribals deserted the Dornapal camp and about 90 ex-Naxalites left Bhairamgarh camp is a pointer that Salva Judum may not be sustained for a longer period.Whether the 90 Maoists who had surrendered and later left the camps was a ply of the Naxalites will be known later on, but it appears that were facilitated to surrender to know about the strategy of the government machinery against the Maoisim.If that is true,then it is a blunder on the part of the adminstration,first to let them “in” and later allow them “out “.

The state had received reports from Bastar police about the plan of the inmates to desert the camps well in advance.The inmates claimed they were dissatisfied with the arrangements in the make shift camps built of polythene sheds ,no beds nor basic human facilities.

The government had planned to construct pucca housing colonies from them near the police stations and high-ways to prevent the Maoists from attacking them.The decision was to handover the construction of model housing colonies through the public sector HUDCO and the foundation was scheduled for October last year.But,nothing happened.The tribals staying in the camps did not get incentives.The government was unable as the numbered swelled to 50,000.

The state launched the movement by the people and for the people,but could not take effective steps to conrol attacks on the people .There was no security to the people. Recent spurt in violence by the Naxalites and "irresponsible" and vague statements by the state’s home minister and the senior police officers has raised serious concern over the containment of the Maoist' menace in the state.

The recent violence is one of the series of major incidents committed by the Maoists in since the Salva Judum was launched on June 8 last year from Bhairamgarh.The government claimed 200 people have been killed by the Maoists for their involvement in the campaign against the Maoists. Maoists have killed innocent tribals,members of the Nagaland police,CRPF,CISF,Special Armed Force,district armed force ,attacked the police stations,blew up railway stations,supply belt of the NMDC,magazine of the corporation and disrupted the power supply of Bastar by blasting the high tension power lines..

The Naxalite who earlier used to operate only in the interiors of Bastar and Surguja are now visible in action on the highways in the two regions and police reports suggest they have even planted pressure bombs in water hand pumps. The growing influence of the maoist can be gauged from the simple fact that they even managed to reach the state capital to distribute their VCDs and literature and that too in the flats of the MLA’s.

Though there has been a significant increase in the Naxal related violence since the last one year, but inaction even after intelligence inputs and presence of large number of security personnel in the state shows the inability of the state to run the normal administration effectively in the Naxal infested areas.

There has been a debate over the movement of the Salva Judum campaign as whether the state has any rights of using people as an instrument in their efforts of eradicating the Left Wing extremism, The state government is not only determined to use them as tools ,but is also glorifying it. Till now, more than 200 villagers associated with the movement have lost their lives in a span of eight months which averages to two persons being killed every third day. In a rare mass migration in post independent India, more than 50,000 villagers have been displaced and are now staying in refugee camps.

Even when so many people have lost their lives and homes with a commitment to drive out the Naxalites from their homeland, state government still has to formulate a policy as how to go about the public upsurge in these areas which is adding to the casualties. The tribals and the villagers who are associated with the campaign have been stranded with nowhere to go, for it’s the maoist who bay for their blood if the join the movement and if they do not, the same is done by the state government.

The developmental programmes and the rehabilitation of villagers displaced owing to the movement as announced by the government eight months back, are still at the policy formulation levels, furthering adding to the miseries of people. Government in a statement admitted non-utilization of 90 per cent of the fund allocated for Naxal infestedDantewada district. There is no construction of roads, no relief works in the district. Maoists got support from the villagers due to rampant corruption in the tribal areas of Bastar.The government sponsored scheme of free supplying of LPG cylinders to villagers and tribals of the naxalite infested district has run into rough weathers, with zero cylinders being distributed in Kanker and Dantewada and 74 against the target of 5,000 in North Bastar

The ministers and the senior leaders of the BJP in Chhattisgarh had been complaining of Centre's poor assistance in combating the problem. It seems the BJP government has no knowledge of the Constitutional provisions of police being a state subject and duty of the state government is to provide security to its citizens. The law and order is an exclusive issue to be dealt by the state government and the role of the Government of India is limited to extending support in form of resources, like extra force and funds. Even after getting the support of the Government of India, which was evident when the centre willingly allowed the state to use the services of the NSG commandos, the state's inability in combating the problem has now the forced it to find new excuses and new strategies to ignore its responsibility. The state now blames the "inaction of the neighboring states".

The state machinery in its statements has termed Maoist violence as an act of cowardice and has repeatedly talked of new strategies almost every week, but on the ground the situation is worsening day by day. Much hype was created by the state government officials regarding availing the expertise of the elite NSG commandos in combating the naxalites, now after these commandos have arrived in the state, no official has spoken anything regarding their effectiveness.

The maoist have also stepped up their activity and have warned that more big strikes would be carried out unless the Salva Judum campaign is stopped.

The Salva judum campaign which was claimed to be launched ‘by the people’ is now leading to sufferings ‘to the people’ and the basic relief ‘for the people’ is the ultimate casualty. It now remains to be seen that when will the state government decide that enough is enough.


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