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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

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Naxalism: The 'war' against anti-peasant forces
First Published: 17:38 IST(21/5/2003)
Last Updated: 12:46 IST(4/6/2003)

Mission -- crush anti-peasant forces; Mode - guerilla warfare; Motto -- Naxalism.

Known as Naxalites, these ultra leftists strike an awe in vast parts of central India. Carrying on a bloody legacy of Marx-Lenin and Mao-inspired 'protracted people's war', they have cultivated links with Nepali Maoists, LTTE and even the ISI. Besides, they are now part of Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), the first international coalition of Red terror.

As per Union Home Ministry, ISI is using People's War Group and Maoist Communist Centre networks for drug trafficking. In return, the two get modern arms and guerrilla training.

Intelligence reports of Naxalites trying to build a corridor through some areas of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh all the way up to Nepal has further alarmed India.

According to a HT report, even PV Narasimha Rao's land in AP could not be cultivated for years for fear of Naxalites. The recent blowing up of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's plant in Andhra Pradesh or an Orissa minister's house amply reflects their audacity, strength, will and firepower.

Naxalism -- the ultra-leftist manifestation of age-old peasant struggle in India -- was born in West Bengal's Naxalbari village in 1967 with an armed revolt backed by Comrade Charu Majumdar. The "rebellion" was crushed but the saga of terror and violence that entailed continues in different streams despite severe crackdown on them over decades.

The movement continues to breed in both its political and violent forms in backward and tribal areas of MP, AP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and some parts of Tamil Nadu.

Of the many Maoist organisations in India, the People's War and MCC are at present engaged in armed struggle against "ruling classes and oppressive state forces" in AP, Bihar and adjoining areas.

Faced with a host of military and other measures against them, Naxalites have acquired lethal firepower and guerilla war expertise over the years. They are well organised and armed with latest weapons. They blow up landmines with precision, conduct killing raids, run parallel governments in remote areas, and romanticising a Robin Hood image, conduct people's court, extort money from "landlords" and distribute the booty among the poor.

Hundreds of extremists and policemen have got killed in this "war" even as Special Task Force (Bihar), Gray Hounds (AP) and a Central Coordination Committee have been set up to tackle the problem.

There have been setbacks and pauses in the Naxalite movement but no break. And the recent attacks on US firms in India and Nepal in protest against US' Afghan blitz could just be the beginning of a new chapter in the ultra-leftist movement.

Although developmental forces dub Naxalism as anti-national, experts say it is a politico-ideological and socio-economic problem, which needed to be addressed with sensitivity.


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