Thursday, June 18, 2009

Naxalites in Lalgarh need to be crushed

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

In 2007 Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that the biggest threat that the country faces is from Naxilism. But two years hence we still do not seem to be serious about curbing this threat. Although terrorism is perceived by many as a bigger threat the Naxilites in reality have a much wider presence in the Indian heartland with as many as 165 districts in the country under the rule of the Left extremists.

States like Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa are severely affected while others like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttarakhand have been ocassionally hit by the extremists. Lalgarh in West Bengal seems to have become their latest terror hub with the Naxalites controlling more than 100 villages and the security forces sitting around the boundary drawn by the Naxals.

The State Government has done very little to curb this menace in spite of the Naxals' attempt to kill Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in November last year. The Left Front after its humiliating performance in the Lok Sabha polls is scared to take any tough stand feeling the tribals might get agitated against it. The state government which had supported an arm struggle in Nandigram and Singur does not want to burn its fingers again.

The Centre on its part has hardly done a thing other than providing a few companies of Central security forces to the State Government. The UPA Government does not want to seen directly involved against the people ahead of the Assembly Polls in 2011. After getting hold of the Left Front's neck in the Parliamentary elections it doesn't want to let it go. In case a Nandigram like incident happens in Lalgarh it wants the Left Front to get the entire blame.

The ground reality is terrifying and the speed at which the Left extremist are expanding their network they might soon engulf the entire country into a civil war. The Lalgarh problem and the ones similar should be tackled firmly by the law enforcement agencies. The Government should follow it up with development in education, basic infrastructure and employment.

If these people are let off this time the Naxalites might expand their network in other rural areas of West Bengal and neighbouring states. The Government should be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to dealing with the Naxals. One reason for our indifference to the Naxal problem is the elites in the society have never been affected by it in urban areas. Let us not wait for a Taj like incident for us to realise the seriousness of the Naxal threat.


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