Wednesday 16th Jan 2019
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Meeting the Maoist Challenge

Cover Story

, by ABDULLAH KHAN

The debate on the Maoist issue has once again begun in the country. Although there is nothing new in the Maoist attacks yet the latest attack was the most dreadful indeed. It is because the target of the Maoist attack this time was not general citizens, but great politicians. That is why policymakers and politicians, right from Raipur to Delhi, made statements on various TV channels, announcing that time is right when a decisive war is fought against Maoists.

As usual, the medicine for the ailment is being prepared under the prescriptions prescribed by those who have half knowledge, but no one is willing to reach the root cause of the issue. It is not a question how Maoists are eliminated as it is no solution to the problem. Wars fought without any strategy and discreet and sagacity may inculcate a short lived feeling of success or victory but to uproot these forces completely, a long drawn battle is necessary. If one takes a bird’s eye view of the past, it would become clear that no government has ever chalked out any correct plan against Maoists.

The much noise and hype for the latest incident is because the hands of Maoists have reached beyond the common citizens to political leaders. One should not be complacent because similar attacks may increase in the future. In fact, the government has paid scant attention to the uplift and development of those areas where it now intends to take on Maoists. The government never focused on providing basic infrastructure for these areas. There is no one to inquire of the people living in these areas whether they get educational, health, food and other necessary facilities. The government minted money by trading in their water, forests and the land, but made no arrangement for their employment by which they could earn a square meal a day.

For electioneering, the machinery reached these far-flung intractable areas but when it came to providing succour and development for these areas, the government withdrew. A common or general tribal has turned into a mere refugee between the government and the Maoists. Neither any epidemic, nor any natural calamity spread in these areas, yet tribal people are resigned to live in relief camps set up by the government and within the winking of an eye the entire area has turned into huge relief camps that have sprung everywhere. Tribal people habitual of leading a free life in forests, have been forced to live in relief camps and to lead a life under the norms and diktats of the government. Their liberty has been snatched away from him. In other words, the very nuances and meanings of liberty and freedom have undergone a paradigm shift for them. Chhattisgarh provides impatience for development and progress of the country, produces 20 per cent steel and 18 per cent of the total produce of the two commodities in the country yet it is the great misfortune of the country that utter chaos is rampant in this state because of the Maoist movement.

Maoists, it appears, have managed to acquiescing tribal people fully. They tell the tribal people that the development undertaken by the government implies that they would be deprived of their property and assets, there are 32 per cent tribal people in Chhattisgarh and until the time road and rail links are not provided, misguided tribal people may not understand what the progress means. Equally true is that there can never be a hundred per cent unanimity with any plan, one must bear in mind that dialogue is that effective weapon in a democracy with which a war can be won. Even the entire humanity can be protected and provided security with this weapon.

A country runs on the basis of its own constitution, but the situation might become dangerous, as in this case, when people are provoked against the constitution and instigated to take up arms. There is no denying the fact that any initiative adopted for the progress of tribal people failed to cover the 206 bones in the body of a tribal completely. They do not have even a square meal a day or portable water to drink. There is, therefore, the need that the government strives to gain confidence of tribal people and, thereby, paves the path of progress in tribal areas. It should be ensured that should any tribal gets dislodged and loses his home because of the progress, it would be the responsibility of the government to rehabilitate him.  The same kind of dialogue can be held by the tribals with the government. The general tribals also should have realised that the road that may pass through their field and forest would remove inequality because, at present, the roads are steps for the progress.

The Maoist attack is inhuman and brutal and there is the need to respond to it most stringently. At the same time, the country needs to reconsider the blunders it has repeatedly committed. There is talk of curing the ailment. There is still time. The government should change its callous attitude toward the Maoist movement, else the situation may worsen.



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