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Brutal Force or Development – Way ahead against the Naxalite Insurgency

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By Vasudha Kaul

The Naxalite insurgency movement, today is present in nine states, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. In 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites the “single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”In June 2011, he said, “Development is the master remedy to win over the insurgents”.

This article determines if, as Manmohan Singh argued, development will be an effective instrument in preventing the Maoist insurgency in India or brute force will suppress them enough to kill the movement.

Picture from naxalrevolution.blogspot.com
Picture from naxalrevolution.blogspot.com

India after independence had two divergent development paths to choose from. One was the Gandhian ideology of sustenance of villages by providing them with political decentralization. The other was the rapid industrialization and growth proposed by Nehru. India, as we know, followed the Nehruvian ideology.

The size of the Indian economy has tripled today but it has been majorly a jobless growth with half the country being under the poverty line. This inequality has led to severe grievances among the victims of the exclusive economic development process.

These grievances coupled with the entrenched historic caste-based discrimination in India, have led to an on-going caste-based struggle and hence the Naxalite insurgency.

This situation is exacerbated by the government’s failure to ameliorate the issue through the development process. The Naxalites organize the Dalits against the upper caste around the issues of land, wages, caste discrimination and sexual abuse of Dalit women.

Although the origin of the Naxalite insurgency can be found in grievance, its sustenance, on the other hand, can be attributed to Indian government’s approach towards the insurgents.

The government, instead of looking out for the root cause, has taken up a form of an oppressor.

The civil and police administration engage in aggressive operations, arrests and fake encounters of tribal civilians not involved with the insurgency. This creates an anti-establishment environment and sympathy towards the insurgents that leads to a renewed form of grievance. This grievance leads to further dissemination of the Naxal ideology.

Development a tool?

The “only development” solution fails because one, even in the best scenario of low level conflict, the welfare policy implementation is highly inhibited and two, because it assumes lack of economic development as the only criterion for the continuation of the insurgency. This is not to say that development is not good tool to deal with insurgency but it is a necessary condition and not a sufficient one.

Image from naxalitereview.wordpress.com
Image from naxalitereview.wordpress.com

There have been certain occasions where Naxalites have been appropriating funds meant for development purposes and cases where armed threat is used against public officers for extraction of bribes, but these factors alone would not be able to keep the momentum alive and garner support from the disenfranchised masses. Police brutality is one of the leading reasons of this issue.

An only military solution is not feasible as well. Currently there are 71 battalions of para-military forces, i.e. 71,000 personnel, have been deployed in the Naxal affected areas. Although the forces play a vital role in aiding the state led developmental activities, they cannot be the driving force for curbing the insurgency. This is proved by the fact that increased police brutality results in increased recruitment for Naxals. On the one hand, in Orissa, the focus is on the pro-development model rather than the police brutality, which has devalued the insurgency in the eyes of the masses. On the other hand, in Jharkhand the continued police brutality continues and so does the insurgency and the continued support from the masses.

Hence developmentalist strategy alone or a strategy based on the police action will not yield long-term results. The two factors must go hand-in-hand for long-term benefits.

The validity of the two-pronged approach is demonstrated in Madhya Pradesh. With the increase of security in the state and introduction of rural livelihood program – NREGA, there was considerable decrease in the insurgent activities.

It is important for the government to recognize the two types of obstacles in any implementation. One is the Maoist insurgent leaders who want to replace the rule of the state with an alternate system of governance via violence and the other are the masses, mostly Tribal and Dalit population, who desire economic development. Both these aspects have to be dealt simultaneously.

The government while dealing with the Naxalite insurgency has to keep in mind that it is not the Naxals who have created a fertile environment for insurgency. Rather, it is the existing failure of governments to protect the rights of the poor.

The disenfranchised hence look at insurgency-based organizations for their social welfare and justice. The government also has to keep in mind that there are two sets of social structures that it has to address. One that of insurgents and the other of the low class-caste masses that vies for development. To deal with both these levels of structure, the state must launch a multi-directional security and developmentalist efforts. It is the only way in which people’s faith in the administration and governance can be restored.

Vasudha Kaul is a graduate student at The University of Oxford reading in Modern India Studies.

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India will soon ask Malaysia to extradite Preacher Zakir Naik

India will soon approach Malaysia with a request to extradite hardline Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

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India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik
India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik. wikimedia commons
  • India will seek the Malaysian government’s help in extraditing televangelist Zakir Naik who faces charges of money laundering and inciting hatred through his sermons broadcast on Peace TV, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Zakir Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia 

Officials will approach their Malaysian counterparts with the extradition request sometime within the next two weeks, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing in New Delhi.

“Any formal request seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires a completion of the internal legal process involving consultation with other ministries involved in the case,” Kumar said.

“At this stage, we are nearing the completion of this process and as soon as this process is complete we will be making an official request to the Malaysian government in this matter,” Kumar said. “It could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. But it would be soon and the nature of our request would also be clear.”

Naik fled India a month before terrorist carried out a massacre at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in July 2016. This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said the Islamic preacher legally obtained permanent residency in the country, and that Malaysian authorities would arrest him only if he broke local laws or was found to be involved in terrorist activities.

Naik’s speeches allegedly inspired some of the militants who carried out the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka, where 29 people, including 20 hostages and five gunmen, were killed.

In November 2016, the Indian government banned Naik’s Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation, which partly funded the Peace TV channel that is banned in India, Bangladesh and several other countries.

Kumar said because the Indian government had knowledge of Naik’s whereabouts, the legal procedures would be tailored to requirements between the two countries in their extradition treaty.

Advocate challenges charges

“Naik is being hounded because he hails from a minority community. The charges that the investigating agencies are trying to frame are all stale and are hardly incriminating,” advocate S. Hariharan told BenarNews in a phone interview from Delhi.

“The charges lack veracity and would not stand scrutiny in the court of law. We will be challenging the extradition and deportation.”

Last week, the Indian government filed a 61-page charge sheet against Naik alleging he was involved in a criminal conspiracy by lauding terrorist organizations. In April, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him in an alleged case of money laundering through his NGO and a shell company.

In Malaysia meanwhile, the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has urged the government to ignore any request from India to extradite Zakir Naik, Reuters reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote last week in an opinion piece published in Harakah Daily.(BenarNews)

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Government approves FDI proposals worth Rs 24.56 cr

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FDI
Government approves FDI proposals worth Rs 24.56 cr

The government on Thursday said that it has approved foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs 24.56 crore, including one from Sterling Commerce Solutions India.

“During the month of October, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance has disposed off three FDI proposals aggregating to foreign investment of Rs 24.56 crore,” an official statement said.

 The proposal of Sterling Commerce Solutions India, worth Rs 24.56 crore of FDI, has been approved that seeks to issue shares to the shareholders of three wholly owned subsidiaries of IBM India upon their merger with the company.

Another proposal from Arval India, which does not require any additional FDI, has been approved to undertake the activity of financial lease in addition to the current activity of operating lease, the statement said.

The ministry said that a proposal from Ivanhoe India Equities Inc to provide investment advisory services to overseas entities by a yet to be incorporated Indian investee company has been returned as it was premature.(IANS)

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Crossfire between Rohingya Insurgents and Myanmar Military leaves Hindu Refugees In a Deadlock

Hindus form a small but an established minority in Myanmar and Bangladesh

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Rohingya Hindu refugees
A Rohingya refugee distributes wheat, donated by locals, among other refugees at a camp for the refugees in New Delhi, India.
  • The Hindu refugees, who fled to Bangladesh, have placed their hopes on the Modi  government 
  • The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s Rakhine state
  • The Indian government was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting Rohingya Muslims from the country 

New Delhi, September 21, 2017: The crossfire between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar’s military has left hundreds of Hindus, who fled to Bangladesh, placing their hopes on the Indian government.

Around 500 Hindus have taken shelter in a cleared-out chicken farm, in a Hindu hamlet in the southeast of Bangladesh. The place is situated at a distance of a couple of miles, where most of the 421,000 Rohingya Muslims, who also fled violence in Myanmar since August 25, have taken abode, mentions the Reuters report.

The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to their villages in the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s restless Rakhine state. Modi government, meanwhile, is working to make things easier for Hindus, christians, Buddhists, and other minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh to gain access to Indian citizenship.

“India is also known as Hindustan, the land of the Hindus,” said a Hindu refugee, Niranjan Rudra, “We just want a peaceful life in India, not much. We may not get that in Myanmar or here.”

The fellow refugees agreed and shared their desire of getting this message received by the Indian government through media.

The Indian government, however, has declined to comment on hopes of Hindu refugees. it was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims from India.

Achintya Biswas, a senior member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also called the World Hindu Council, on the other hand, stated India as the natural destination for the Hindus fleeing Myanmar.

Also readStop Lecturing And Demonizing India over its Plan to Deport 40,000 Stateless Rohingya Muslims: Minister

“Hindu families must be allowed to enter India by the government,” Biswas said, according to a report by Reuters, “Where else will they go? This is their place of origin.”

Biswas said the VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, would be submitting a report to the home ministry demanding a new policy that would be allowing Hindu refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh to seek asylum in India.

While India’s Home Ministry spokesman, K.S. Dhatwalia declined to comment, a senior home ministry official in New Delhi, on the condition of anonymity, mentioned that no Hindu in Myanmar or Bangladesh affected by the violence had approached Indian authorities.

“At this juncture we have no SOS calls from Hindus,” the official said.

“Also, the Supreme Court is yet to decide whether India should deport Rohingya Muslims or not. The matter is sub-judice and any policy decision will be taken only after the court’s order.”

Hindus form a small but an established minority in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Rudra along with other Hindu refugees talked about how they fled soon after Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 Myanmar police posts, instigating a fierce military counterattack.

“Our village in Myanmar was surrounded by hundreds of men in black masks on the morning of Aug. 25,” said Veena Sheel, a mother-of-two whose husband works in Malaysia.

“They called some men out and asked them to fight the security forces … a few hours after we heard gunshots,” she added.

Soon after taking office in 2014, the Modi government issued orders stating that no Hindu, or refugees of other minority from Bangladesh and Pakistan would be deemed as illegal immigrants even if they had entered the country without having the required documents, on or before December 31, 2014.

India, indeed, is in a tough situation, where it can’t compromise with the principles it holds being a Secular nation that is always engaged in humanitarian activities, but will also need to keep in mind the potential security threats that might come along with such an act of acceptance.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha