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Maoists, India's enemy within

Maoists, India's enemy within

Author: Deependra Jha
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 7, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/187423/Maoists-India%E2%80%99s-enemy-within.html

What is happening in Lalgarh today can by no means be termed a coincidence. The Maoist menace, which can be traced back to the ideological differences that cropped up within the CPI(M) in the late-1960s, has over the years, contrary to the far Left's claims, undergone changes which never showed any signs of social reform. In fact, having grown into a problem of monstrous proportions, today it is justly considered by the Government as 'terrorism'.

The recent usurping of administrative authority in Lalgarh, West Bengal, by the Maoists is just what the rebels have been preparing for over the years. In November 2008, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had narrowly escaped a landmine explosion set off by the Left-wing extremists. The police had on that occasion arrested some villagers on suspicion of carrying out the failed assassination attempt. The Maoists saw this as an opportunity and launched a series of violent protests and strikes against the local police and their 'draconian' ways. Such was their clout that during this year's general election no polling booth could be set up in Lalgarh.

The Maoist insurgency has caused immeasurable damage to the country's infrastructure and has claimed many innocent lives. If terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir have killed over 27,000 civilians and police personnel during the past two decades, Maoist-linked violence in India over the past 20 years has claimed more than 6,000 lives. If one is worried that peace in Jammu & Kashmir in the near future is not plausible due to terrorism, ask those living in the 'Red Corridor'. Armed Maoists, in virtual control of villages in 180 districts across east and central India, deprive the local populace of any sense of security.

The state's show of might in Lalgarh was undoubtedly needed. But it is embarrassing for a State Government, which has been involved in a political turf war with the Maoists for the last three decades, that to tackle low-scale insurgency like the one in Lalgarh, it had to seek assistance from the Centre. Should the police pat their own backs every time they put a few petty criminals behind bars? After all, it is they who will have to deal with the Maoists. Given the circumstances, after the paramilitary forces leave Lalgarh, it is doubtful whether West Bengal Police will be able to hold on to the regained posts.

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