Government many a times has accepted ‘Left Wing Extremism’ as being the most serious internal security challenge. Ever since the eruption of extremist violent actions in the name of Marxism/ Leninism/Maoism, every now and then we here about the report of waning Naxal might. At the same time, we find them gaining ground in some other part of the country with different name. The so-called revolution believed to be started in a village of West Bengal called Naxalbari, found grounds in forests of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha and now has made its den in Chhattisgarh. What is the reason that we are not able to root out this menace and violent tactics adopted by them was the key question Organiser/Panchjanya decided to take up in this year’s dialogue on defence.
Maoism in the name of ‘class struggle’ gained ground during the first Telangana Movement (1946-51) itself, which the then united ‘Communist Party of India’ (CPI) proudly flaunted as a glorious chapter in the history of peasants’ struggle. The roots of denouncing democratic means of socio-economic change always existed in this ideological stream. After the division of Communists in 1964, Maoist-Leninist elements decided to openly take the path of ‘Allegiance to the armed struggle and non-participation in the elections’ against the CPI preached line of ‘peaceful road to noncapitalist development’. Since then Naxalbari to CPI (Maoist-Leninist) to Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) to People’s War Group (PWG) to now CPI (Maoist) they are propagating the same ideology armed rebellion in different names. What are the reasons that they face a setback but continue to challenge the state in some form or the other?
The biggest reason is we never dis-sected the ideological plank and character of this category of communists. They keep on changing goalposts. They come to even negotiating tables to buy time. They never clarify the objective and nature of their classless society. They effectively use propaganda machinery on Maoist lines. They exploit all possible Constitutional means to challenge the same Constitution. They manipulate the poor and marginalised, sometimes on development plank and most of the times with fear factor. The Maoist ideology glorifies violence and the ‘Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army’ (PLGA) cadres are trained specifically in the worst forms of violence to evoke terror among the population under their domination. As they do not believe in the system, they do not play by any rules.
While doing this, their commitment to Maoist Insurgency Doctrine ‘Bearing of arms is non-negotiable’ and ‘the use of violence and armed insurrection as a means to capture State power’ is ultimate. In other words they are clear about their objectives and means to achieve them.
On the other hand, we as a nation get carried away by their agenda. We keep debating whether it is a development issue or security issue or law and order problem. Ideologically we allow people with Maoist ideology to thrive in urban spaces while banning the organisations they speak for. Our vote-bank politics does not allow our leadership to take a stand on their funding sources. Simply putting, clarity about the objective of finishing this menace is momentary and state specific. This contradiction in purpose and positioning is the root cause that Maoists survive and spread their wings in different areas.
With the rising aspirations, technological innovations and new ways of development, communism of all varieties is losing the appeal. The foreign originated ideologies could never tune themselves with cultural realities of Bharat which are more evolutionary rather than revolutionary in nature. The youth wants positive and constructive action programme rather than the destructive ones. In such scenario, Maoism has a very little space to grow or sustain if we evolve a coordinated and multi-pronged strategy to trounce this menace.
The Dialogue on Defence was an effort in that direction. A‘s discussed in the first session, there is a need to increase outreach of our governmental and social apparatus. People living in forests are our brethren and they are deprived of basic facilities is a fact. The same purported inadequacies about the existing system, which Maoists use for mobilisation, have to be addressed. The question is whether Maoists want this to be addressed. If so, they would not have blocked road connectivity or busted mobile towers. Therefore, we need a strong security strategy to ensure success of the development programmes.
As discussed by experts, there is a need to train, equip and sensitise our police machinery on the issue. Unified command moving in smaller groups, as army does, in patrolling areas has to be devised. Not only Centre and individual States, but all States should be on the same page on operation part. Maoists have capitalised on this bureaucratic division of anti-Naxal operations to move from one state to another.
We need to move beyond political lines to address the issue. Naxals cannot be good or bad, like any other terrorist they believe in ideology of violence to attain political objectives. They want to create fear-psychosis in their area of influence. Therefore, Maoist should be treated like any other terrorist organisation. No implicit or explicit support to the Islamic State or other terrorist organisation is permitted, then why legal, ideological or literary battles on behalf of Maoists are allowed, is the question we need to address.
One of the reasons why, Maoists are not successful in their mission because being adherents of an extremist ideology, slight deviations lead to divisions. We need to harness on these splintering tendencies among the ultra-communists. They should understand that they are not the only ones who can play divisive politics.
There are successful examples of Green-hunt operations first in West Bengal, then in Andhra Pradesh. We have to learn lessons from them.
Our Constitution has enough scope for socio-economic transformation of the nation through democratic means and therefore, there is no scope for armed insurgency. If we resolve and amplify our coordinated efforts with clear objective of trouncing the red terror in every form, Maoism/ Naxalism can soon become a history.
*Original article was published in the Organiser.