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The Bhindranwale moment has come

The Bhindranwale moment has come

Author: Editorial
Publication: Free Press Journal
Date: October 8, 2009
URL: http://www.freepressjournal.in/FPJ/FPJ/2009/10/08/ArticleHtmls/08_10_2009_005_006.shtml?Mode=1

Remember the time in the late 70s and early 80s when the Khalistani terrorist groups had held the entire nation to ransom? No one was free from fear. They struck at will in most parts of the country, particularly in the North. Aside from Punjab, the national capital bore the burnt of their ire.
Several politicians were gunned down, innocent citizens at wedding receptions, in local and inter-State buses, in trains and market places were killed at random. The maniacs targeted everyone and anyone who happened to be unfortunate enough to be present when they decided to launch the killing spree. For long, the central government looked the other way as these Pak-inspired desperadoes wrought havoc on human life and businesses. Hindu-Punjabis re-located in other parts of the country, leaving behind their homes in Punjab. Property prices plummeted in Punjab towns. In the capital, residents fortified themselves behind steel gates, with entry and exit to various colonies being regulated from dusk to dawn. Mrs Gandhi, who in, the first place, had encouraged Jarnail Singh Bindranwale to try and break the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab, gave his armed thugs a long rope. When the genie she had released refused to be bottled, the Operation Bluestar was launched, with what terrible results is now widely known. If only she had resisted the temptation to introduce third party actors in the interplay of regular political forces and, having introduced them, had she not given them a long rope, much blood-letting and mayhem could have been avoided. Besides, the nation would have been spared huge costs in socio-economic terms.

That was then. Now, the nation is up against a far bigger threat. The epicenter of the Khalistani movement was Punjab, though Delhi and a few other cities were often dragged into it.
On the other hand, the Maoists now threaten a large swathe of the country. From West Bengal and Jharkhand to Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, etc., at least one-third of the districts in the country are in the grip of Naxal violence. But like the Khalistanis, the Maoists too had the tacit support of the Marxists. Indeed, Charu Mazumdar and a few other ideologues of the Naxal movement were, to begin with, covenanted members of the CPI (M). Only when the gun-toting thugs, who gave `Lal Salaam' and proclaimed ` Mao is our chairman', turned on their erstwhile comrades did the CPI (M) distance itself from them. But by then it was too late.
All those making partisan noises about the encounter deaths in Gujarat ought to consider the ruthless manner in which under Siddarth Shankar Ray the police and the paramilitary forces had wiped out young men and women swearing by armed struggle and Maoism. But what was eliminated during the Emergency was allowed to strike roots due to the complicity and inaptness of the ruling Marxists in West Bengal.

Belatedly as the political class recognizes the threat from the insurgents, they seem to have upped the ante, delivering `instant justice' and killing what they call class enemies. Not a day passes without some Maoist group killing or maiming innocent people in some or other part of the huge area terrorized by them A couple of days ago, they killed a group of villagers in Bihar. On Tuesday came the news about their beheading of an inspector of the Jharkhand Police. Late last month they had kidnapped Inspector Francis Induwar in broad daylight from a village market. There were unconfirmed reports that they had sought to swap him with a couple of top Naxalite leaders arrested in recent weeks. However on Tuesday came the news that the decapitated body of Induwar with his head completely chopped off was found on a slip road off the national highway leading to Ranchi. In sheer barbarity, the act competed with the worst the Taliban are widely known to do to their victims.

The throwback to medieval atrocity ought to be the tipping point in the war against Maoists. Notwithstanding the apologists for the insurrectionists, who, surprisingly, find an easy platform on nightly television to circulate widely the antinationalist poison, the time may have come for an Operation Bluestar-type action to neutralize the growing menace of Maoist violence. For, in a constitutionally-ordered society there can be no place for ordinary citizens taking up arms, regardless of the severity of the grievance against the State.
Anyone challenging the State by means other than peaceful deserves no sympathy. The so-called intellectuals who defend Maoists on the ground that the State itself is the biggest perpetrator of violence against unarmed and innocent people are living in cuckooland.

The Maoists are not revolutionaries driven by sheer concern for the suffering humanity. They are extortionists, rapists, rent-seekers, exploiting innocent tribals and defenceless villagers and small-time businessmen. By the time Mrs Gandhi picked up the courage to eliminate Bhindranwale, he had become a threat to the very people in whose name he had been waging a murderous campaign. It would seem the Maoists have reached their Bhindranwale moment. Now, there is no other option other than for the State to unleash its full fury against them. The sooner, the better.


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