Reality Check India

Politics of entitlement and Naxalism

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 21, 2006

So I started this blog to address two issues that I think have the potential to lay the Indian state to waste.

  1. The disrespect shown to the constitution by the politicians, especially with regard to Article 14 (the right to equality). This has allowed the creation of vote banks based on the promise of special privileges to arbitrary groups at the expense of public goods. The issues such as unmonitored OBC quotas, special treatment for minorities, are just  manifestations of this phenomenon. Today, the real interests of the public are getting congealed around these benefits offered or promised to them just for being members of these arbitrary groups. A larger and larger segment of Indians no longer care about the “big picture” issues facing us. They seem to have conceded the possibility that Article 14 is toast, and the real way forward is to press for even more special privileges for the group (or groups) they have organized themselves into.
  2. The unchecked Naxalite movement. Although it is not as systemic as the first problem. It has the ability to shatter this country in the near term. The naxalite problem is inextricably linked to the first problem (the politics of entitlement). The legitimate social justice tools of this country have not reached the really needy. Whether it is the tribals or the really backward, they have no way out of the social and economic hole they find themselves in. The extreme reluctance of the political class to study the true effects of the quota system points to the stark fact that the beneficiaries of the social justice platforms in this country are a very small segment and it is getting smaller. The inter-group (whether SC/ST or OBC) disparities are so huge that it would be impossible to bridge for the really needy. To this mix add the lack of land reforms and you get the picture.

Consider the reaction of Indians and the media when one of the most outrageous attacks on our country happened. No, I am not talking about the Mumbai  blasts, I am talking about the military style attack on a Salwa Judum camp by Naxalites. I scanned all available media channels looking for direct coverage of the attack. No luck. It has found some print coverage but that too is full of platitudes and age old talk about “understand the root of the Naxal problems”.

Here is a summary of just how outrageous this attack was:

 bastarmap.jpg

For those who dont know what Salwa Judum is, first a small detour

Salwa Judum translates to “Peace March” in Bastar district of MP. A large group of adivasis (tribals) in Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh got frustrated by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and naxal menace. The government is largely absent in these areas and the naxals have a free run, the naxals banned the tribals from conducting their weekly barter melas, which form the cornerstone of their culture. In a brave act, they decided to take up arms and protect themselves from these Naxals in April 2005. It is important that they took up arms only as a defensive measure.  The state government also supported them. The lack of criminal ruthlessness, training and weaponry in the Salwa Judum activists made them no match for the dreaded Maoists. Anyway this part of India (13 heartland states / about 20-25% of the area) is messed up beyond belief. Entire villages are being moved into “relief camps”, to escape Naxal reprisals. Over 50,000 tribals from 700 villages no longer live at home, they live in these relief camps in the heart of India.

Interesting fact : At 39,000 sq km, the Bastar district is larger than Israel , larger than Kerala, larger than Belgium !!

Interesting fact 2: Bastar district has a “unsurveyed, unexplored” forest jungle called Abuj Mand. The forest zone is 10,000 SQ KM with a population of just 20,000. I did not know about this at all until I read this article.

Interesting fact 2: The Dantewada district has an area of 10,000 Sq Km (1/4 the size of Kerala) but has a population of just 700,000. Over 78% of then are Scheduled Tribes. For more information about this fascinating and beautiful district visit here

This is what Raman Singh CM of Chattisgarh has to say about Salwa Judum.

`Salwa Judum’ (peace march) against naxalism in the State would go down in history as one of the world’s most successful revolutions.

So consider the audacity of the military style attack last week.

  1. Errabore is the name of one of the 700 odd “relief camps” run for hapless tribals by the Salwa Judum. This is in Dantewada district of Chattisgarh. It seems like this camp had CRPF (a paramilitary force) protection.
  2. At about 1 AM on July 17th, a armed group of 800 Naxalites and Maoists attacked the CRPF camp. Later reports in Deccan Chronicle suggest that atleast 300 of these Naxals were from AP. The Naxals from AP were also believed to have led the attacks.
  3. The attack was military style. First they lay seige to all roads connecting the town of Errabore, then they attacked the CRPF camp as a diversionary tactic. Their real interest was to kill the Salwa Judum activists taking refuge in these camps.
  4. For two hours they laid siege to TWO CRPF camps. Three platoons  of CRPF personnel were confined to their bases, while they targeted the relief camp.
  5. In the two hours, they ruthlessly massacred 32 refugees(hacked to death with sharp weapons or charred to death) , kidnapped 28. After the attack was over over 250 refugees were “missing”.

Where is the government in all this ? How can they raise or encourage a self-defense force without adequate training, weaponry, or protection ? Where is the rapid action team ? How can Naxalites lay seige for TWO Indian paramiliary bases for TWO hours, without sustaining heavy casualities ?

Why was AP CM YS Rajasekhar Reddy allowed to give a free run of six months to Naxals as an election reward ? His government as well as the UPA must be held accountable for this relaxation. Why should other states suffer because of acts of the CM of one state ? This is an All-India problem and no state should have the right to declare ceasefire.

There is total lack of interest  in this attack on Indias heartland among the politicians. Even the general public who have now formed into “entitlement groups” do not seem to care. The media could care less because, its viewers are not interested in this public issue. The politicians who have allowed these naxals to regroup are not being questioned.

Only by snatching away the ability of politicians to play the entitlement card, can we get people to care more about common issues. Social justice programs must be studied, analyzed, tweaked, micro managed, and fine tuned to reach the neediest of the needy. If not, we have achieved nothing other than dividing the country along convenient groups.

Links

Recommended site :

http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?p=240173

Excellent article :

http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnist1.asp?main_variable=Columnist&file_name=ashok%2Fashok25.txt&writer=ashok

http://www.deccan.com/WedEditorial/Editorial.asp

A civil liberties site that turns around and attacks the self defense group Salwa Judum

http://www.pucl.org/Topics/Human-rights/2005/salwa-judum-report.htm

http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?gid=122&id=399335

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10 Responses

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  1. Sharan Sharma said, on July 21, 2006 at 9:37 am

    > Where is the government in all this?

    Samuel’s record is well-known in AP. This is what Swaminathan Anklesaria Iyer had to say here:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-782107,prtpage-1.cms

    “…the new chief minister is widely believed to have risen to power on the basis of murder, loot and terror.” and

    “YSR’s culture of violence is treated as commonplace politics.”

    Shekhar Gupta also noted in an article last week on how even while the police had surrounded Naxals in AP (the top leadership?), they were asked to withdraw because ‘what will intellectuals/human right groups say’. Human rights etc. my foot! These guys are all hand-in-glove.

    RC, you might also be interested in this site – i am sure you are already aware of it but just in case:

    http://naxalwatch.blogspot.com/

  2. Sharan Sharma said, on July 21, 2006 at 9:41 am

    > Where is the government in all this?

    Samuel’s record is well-known in AP. This is what Swaminathan Anklesaria Iyer had to say here:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-782107,prtpage-1.cms

    “…the new chief minister is widely believed to have risen to power on the basis of murder, loot and terror.” and

    “YSR’s culture of violence is treated as commonplace politics.”

    Shekhar Gupta also noted in an article last week on how even while the police had surrounded Naxals in AP (the top leadership?), they were asked to withdraw because ‘what will intellectuals/human right groups say’. Human rights etc. my foot! These guys are all hand-in-glove.

    RC, you might also be interested in this site – i am sure you are already aware of it but just in case:

    http://naxalwatch.blogspot.com/

    (Slightly off the topic but Samuel’s main focus in AP is missionary activity. Everyone knows that nonsense that’s going on in Tirupati currently.)

  3. Sharan Sharma said, on July 21, 2006 at 9:44 am

    Sorry for the double post, RC…added a sentence in the 2nd one at the end but inadvertently posted the whole thing again….

  4. realitycheck said, on July 21, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Yes Sharan,

    The naxalwatch website is good collection of news stories. I will add it in.

    It is sad that one of the most beautiful areas in the heartland of this country with dense forests, lakes, and waterfalls is effectively outside the reach of Indians. Remember the Jehanabad jail break. Remember the mortar attack on Venkiah Naidus chopper (which was burnt down)! The list goes on..

    People like YSR must be held accountable for their actions.

  5. indianwriting said, on July 21, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    I read a news article that Naxals and Islamic terrorists have joined hands. can’t seem to find it now.

    Also, this is interesting:
    http://www.ibnlive.com/news/when-naxals-turn-stock-investors/12856-7.html

  6. Barbarindian said, on July 23, 2006 at 5:27 am

    SIMI and Maoists join hands:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1794302.cms

  7. Barbarindian said, on July 23, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    Shivraj Patil gives a clean chit to madrasas:
    http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/Jul232006/update1449532006723.asp

  8. Srinivasan said, on August 28, 2006 at 10:43 am

    This Naxals game is another politics what I our so called Leaders play. Now, this time, for naxals this is not a struggle against the government for the rights of the people living in jungle. Rather it is a money making business. In Bastar itself, Jindal group had laid Iron Ore transportation system through the Jungles. Tata is planning to set up a plant. Defence people are working. But, for Naxals they want their piece of cake. They charge some lakhs in ransom and allow to carry your work. They really dont want the development as they talk about. Initially local people coming by walk to work in those projects. By the completion of the project, they were attending their duties in bi-cycles. I appreciate this as development. Move vehicles are moving. But the Govt. can take this trend forward and can really improve their standards. But Naxals dont want this. If the local people come to know the value of money, they will not go with the naxals. Thats why they are opposing. Another naxalism, in highly softend stand is conversions. Just for a lunch they get converted. To add to this we have people like Rajasekara Reddy, the AP CM. All the state govt. are searching for naxal leaders. But in Hyd. they take road from Badrachalam to Hyd, attend the meeting and get lost in the jungles, that too with full police protection and scot free. Where our politicians are heading.

    Lets God save our country.

  9. […] The attack on the Salwa Judum camp is a big mistake on the part of the Naxals, the popular sentiment is rising against them. The state must capitalize and put an end to this movement and resettle those affected. Then he slammed politicians for trying to talk peace with terrorists, who had blood on their hands. […]

  10. anonymous said, on April 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    almost all your links don’t work. Please give the updated links.


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