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Millennium Post

Violence is never the best solution

Once again, Chhattisgarh has been bloodied with a Naxal attack that has claimed 16 lives, including a civilian and several Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men, who were killed in Sukma district in tribal Bastar. In a deadly ambush reminiscent of last year’s terror attack that almost wiped out the state Congress leadership, killing its president Nandkumar Patel, former union minister V C Shukla, as well as controversial and divisive tribal leaders like Mahendra Karma, jawans were targeted by what seems to be a 300-strong Maoist battalion. Resorting to such heinous violence proves nothing beyond the fact that the rebels, who otherwise do have enough reasons to feel alienated, have not budged from their acknowledged position of using brutalities to drive home the point. Nothing has ever been gained out of violence, whether state-sponsored or guerilla, and the serial encounters between the security personnel and the Naxalites, that have peppered the history of states such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, have only complicated the ordinary lives of the tribals living in these regions. A history of brutality, both by and against the Naxals, would yield shocking results, blowing apart the assumptions of the sociopolitical mainstream and the governmental establishment that brand the Maoists, not quite unjustifiably, the ‘biggest internal security threat.’ What gets obliterated in the official and media-generated accounts of these shootouts is the fact that lives of local people are inevitably put on the line and they bear the brunt of the State-Naxal faceoff, even though both loudly proclaim their primary concern to be the lives of these hapless people.

Although the Naxals deny legitimacy of the state and believe in violent overthrow of regime in the name of the people, it is equally true that these regions, also known as the Red Corridor in official parlance, are actually more ‘MoUist’ than Maoist. With ‘memoranda of understanding’ (MoUs) between transnational corporates and mining giants and the political establishment dictating and legitimising the official loot of our national/natural resources, the tribals have been left without much of a livelihood. Rampant forest clearance and turning fertile, arable land for mining and indiscriminate industrialisation have thrown the centuries-old tribal life completely off gear. Most of these decisions have been taken without taking into account the local needs and aspirations, which is why the Naxal ideology has found a foothold among the civilians. Issues such as displacement, land reforms and land acquisition have been left unaddressed by the heartless regimes, and even though the current Chhattisgarh government under Raman Singh has done ample good work, it is still not enough to alleviate the decades of grievances and ensure rights of the locals are safeguarded. Economic development cannot be at the cost of exclusion of the locals and military solution, which the state thinks is the only way to deal with the violence, will only aggravate the extreme unrest in this tension belt.
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