Here’s confirmation for something most people already know.Almost three out of four Indians (73%) are unhappy with policing in their local areas.
Then, more than half of Indians (53%) believe Maoists are the biggest threat to India. In comparison, only 32% view cross-border terrorism as the most potent threat facing this country. And yes, a large majority (68%) think the government isn’t doing a very good job of combating the red rebels.
A Hindustan Times-CNN IBN survey conducted by research organisation C fore covering 1,621 adults across eight cities should also be an eye-opener for those intellectuals who glorify and romanticise Maoist violence. Only 40% of Indians consider their wanton acts of terror to be ideologically driven. A larger minority (45%) feel such violence is nothing but terrorism.
But, at the same time, they aren’t blind to the reasons fuelling Maoists – 61% blame social inequity for driving people to rebellion and 70% feel development and political participation can wean people back to the mainstream.
On Kashmir, too, Indians are pretty certain about whom to blame. More than three out of four respondents (76%) blame the Centre, the state government or the local police for letting the situation get out of control. But they’re also optimistic about a solution — 65% feel the situation can be retrieved and 55% say it can be done without involving Pakistan.
Significantly, a third of Indians see Pakistani involvement as a necessary condition for lasting peace in the Valley. Opinion is almost equally divided on Kashmir’s notorious stone throwers —44% feel stone throwing is the work of motivated gangs, while a slightly smaller percentage (39%) say they’re venting their anger.
While a clear majority (53%) feel autonomy is the best solution for the state, more than one in five favour independence. And surprise! More than one in three Indians (36%) feel foreign mediation is necessary to solve the Kashmir problem. Is India a soft state? Two out of three Indians think so. This, perhaps, is what gives our neighbours the gall to fish in our troubled waters. Again, 65% feel India’s neighbours are fanning the unrest in Kashmir and Nagaland.
A majority also have a remarkably benign view of India’s role in its neighbourhood — 54% say the country does not behave like a big brother. A large minority, however, have no illusions —32%, or one in three people, accept that India does throw its weight around in the subcontinent. Red shadow looms