Romancing the Maoists

The silence of the human rights activists after an attack in which security forces are killed is telling

Written by M Venkaiah Naidu | Published: May 1, 2017 12:43 am
sukma, sukma attack, sukma maoist attack, crpf, crpf attack, sukma crpf attack, crpf jawan killed, jawan killed, chhattisgarh attack, chhattisgarh crpf attack, left wing extremism, indian express news, indian express opinion The road in Sukma that the CRPF was guarding. Source: Dipankar Ghose

In a barbaric and dastardly attack by the outlawed Maoists, India lost 25 brave CRPF personnel. They were ambushed and killed by the anarchists, who are hell-bent on stalling the development of the backward tribal areas and exploiting the situation. Some security personnel were also injured. The attack shocked the conscience of every right-thinking Indian. No sympathy or monetary compensation will make up for the loss suffered by the families of the victims. Nevertheless, the government will extend all possible help to them. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated, the sacrifices of the brave jawans will not go in vain.

While the Maoists are an offshoot of the communist movement, the ideological warfare unleashed by them is totally out of sync with the tenets of democracy. Disillusioned with the communists who placed their faith in democracy, a section broke away to propagate and practise a violent ideology. Unfortunately, a variety of reasons, including the lack of political will and the failure of different regimes to devise a concrete strategy to combat Maoists, the backwardness of some regions and illiteracy, provided fertile grounds to the outlaws. The Maoists have a sinister design: To prevent the development of backward regions and exploit the situation by misguiding poor villagers, striking fear among them.

The Maoists cry hoarse about the government’s supposed indifference in providing basic amenities to the people. But they destroy and vandalise public properties, including schools and railway tracks. They do not want proper education and economic empowerment of the people as that would make the villagers see through their gameplan. Much like the separatists and terrorists in Kashmir, they do not want peace. Their agenda is the domination of the bullet over the ballot. That is simply not acceptable.

While the Maoists have been perpetrating mindless violence for decades, what is surprising is the support and sympathy they have received from so-called human rights activists, left-leaning columnists, armchair intellectuals and a section of the media — in the name of human rights. It should be noted that human rights are for humans, and not for terrorists. The silence of the human rights activists is as dangerous as the violence of the Maoists. Such people should realise that they are weakening the unity and integrity of the country by silently condoning Maoist violence. Terming them “Gandhians”, legitimising their violent struggle, is inexcusable.

Whenever an extremist or terrorist is killed in an exchange of fire with the security forces, human rights activists raise a hue and cry. But there is deathly silence when the outlawed guerrillas go on a rampage and kill security forces or innocent villagers. Don’t the security personnel, their families and other villagers have human rights? By their tacit support, these human rights activists are emboldening the Maoists to indulge in barbaric acts. These activists should answer if they believe in the Maoist ideology of achieving power through the barrel of a gun. It is time to expose the double standards of these activists and other so-called intellectuals who romanticise the Maoists.

It would be pertinent to recall that last month, a Maharashtra sessions court sentenced suspended Delhi University Professor G.N. Saibaba, and four others, to life imprisonment for links with an outlawed organisation, and for waging war against the country. The latest attack on the CRPF personnel, providing security to workers engaged in road construction, reflects the growing desperation of the outlawed outfit as many of its cadres have been deserting it.

Left-wing extremists killed more than 12,000 people, including over 2,700 security force personnel in different parts of the country between 1994 and 2014. Among major incidents was the killing of 75 Indian paramilitary personnel at Dantewada on April 6, 2010. Twenty-five anti-Maoist protesters in Erraboru village in Chhattisgarh lost their lives to landmines laid by these extremists. On March 4, 2007, they shot dead Sunil Mahato, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP. At least 44 people were killed when the Maoists bombed a bus in Dantewada on May 17, 2010; more than 150 passengers were killed when the Gyaneshwari Express derailed on May 28, 2010.

There have been several instances of the Maoists killing innocent villagers — most of them Dalit and Adivasis — by branding them police informers. On May 25, 2013, a Maoist attack resulted in the death of Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh minister, Mahendra Karma, and the Chhattisgarh Congress chief, Nanda Kumar Patel. Veteran Congress leader V.C. Shukla, injured in the incident, succumbed to his injuries. In erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, policemen, politicians and villagers lost their lives to Maoist violence. The victims include Telugu Desam leader and the-then Panchayati Raj minister, A. Madhava Reddy, and Congress MP Magunta Subbarami Reddy. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu survived an attempt on his life in 2003.

Thanks to the efforts of the Centre and different state governments, the influence of the Maoists is now limited to a few pockets along the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Whatever little support they get from people in these states is due to the fear of their guns. The Centre and state governments will now follow a two-pronged strategy: Strengthening and modernising the security forces and improving delivery mechanisms to ensure that development and pro-poor welfare schemes reach the grassroots level. The PM is determined that such schemes reach people hitherto untouched by them. The Maoists want to stop this, but we will not allow them to do so.

The writer is Union minister for information and broadcasting, minister for urban development and minister of housing and poverty alleviation

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