The discussions and conclusions of the State Cabinet meeting found its way to the press and got proper mileage. Even an official press briefing would not have done justice. Whoever is responsible for leaking such confidential information has violated the moral principle of Cabinet meetings thereby ridiculing the oath of secrecy taken at Rajbhavan during inception. I appreciate the efforts taken by my fellow office bearer for leaking half-baked news of how ‘Aaba was cornered by press on the issue of Naxalites’, ‘it is the question of law and order’. These and many such matters were explicitly published in newspapers and I must say I was amused by their proficiency. The person in question should have been better off becoming a journalist instead of a Minister as the state doesn’t seem to benefit from his political expertise and it saddens me immensely.
I was about to write on ‘problems posed by Naxalites’ but we cited some important developments in Naxal infested Gadchiroli District. In the recent spate of attacks by Naxalites two police officers, two CRPF jawans and three soldiers of Indo-Tibetian Border Police were killed including five innocent civilians and three students. What has happened is certainly of grave nature.
The severity of Naxalite’s nuisance in the year 2010 has lessened in comparison to 2009 due to decisions taken by the government and exemplarily courage shown by our police officers in spite of risk to their life. If compared with police force from other states, Maharashtra Police have put up a brave front. But at times our strategy doesn’t work, plans don’t materialize and police officers are sacrificed. This is a type of war. Hence it becomes necessary to boost the morale of our police and not break them psychologically. The region in question poses geographical obtrusions and is sparse. The Naxalites take cover in the jungles. The Naxalites are trying to spread fear and instigate the villagers against the government.
The Maoists and the Naxalites have prepared a code of conduct and every movement is planned in an organized manner. They take advantage of bad governance, bureaucracy and politicians. Secondly, the Naxalites are spreading intolerance among civilians against the functioning of the system and taking advantage to further their cause. As a Home Minister and Guardian Minister, my readings about Gadchiroli and Naxalites are we need to fight this menace from multiple directions.
I agree this comes under law and order but it also has social, political and economic ramifications. In one of my speeches in Pune I had mentioned, ‘Police and bullets are alone not enough to tackle Naxalites but the answer to the questions can be sourced between first to six floors of Mantralaya’. Geographically Gadchiroli District is rich and self-sufficient. Rivers that never run dry, dense jungle that constitute 80%, fertile land and hard-working people make for the Gadchiroli District. In spite of being rich in natural resources, Gadchiroli has the utmost rate of illiteracy in Maharashtra, percentage of people living below poverty line is highest, features at the end in the Human Development Index list, people going hungry without work, no proper infrastructure like roads, health, education, employment thus giving momentum to Naxal movement. As there is no guarantee of safe passage, law and order people are deprived of government help. The conclusion has merit and though I do not like the sound of it I have to agree with the reality. Under such circumstances we have to show solidarity and raise a fight against this nuisance.
Naxal poses grave danger to our democratic structure just like it raises questions about law and order, social and economic stability. Naxalites view democracy as ‘exploitation by brokerage method’. They view elections as part of exploited system. If Maoists accuse us of this behavior, then it is up to us to bring about a positive change in the life of the civilians. Can a poor person participate in our election process? If not, then what changes can be expected from our democratic government has to be made clear.
After ‘Open Market Economy’, it is a possibility that both, the worlds richest and world’s poor person can be found in our country. It is high time that Central Planning Committee and the Finance Ministry have to take decisive action. A policy has to be formulated for distribution of food, clothing, shelter, education, health and basic necessities in the district. The government has to treat everyone as equal. The doors of Mantralaya are always open for builders and industrialists and they are given red carpet treatment, but what about the common man? This is not the time to blame anyone for am too a part of this same system. Absolute authority lies with people though it is true it can be seen in the behavior of Police Havaldar to the Collector? I agree there are a few officers and workers who are exceptional cases.
Naxal works against democratic structure but we hardly see the political parties coming together and working against the Naxalites, exchanging thoughts and formulating strategies to cope with the problem. Instead we see some political parties patronizing Naxal views for their benefit. Along with the police department it is expected of all the political parties to raise their voice against Naxalites.
Keeping in mind the undeveloped Naxal infested parts of Gadchiroli district we have to tread carefully. The people should be able to identify themselves and feel a sense of belongingness with the government. The speed at which the mine owners files consisting matters of thousands of acres of land are extradited, the poor adivasis are hardly given a chance to air their grievances. Keeping this in mind the process of allotting forest land is gaining momentum in adivasi inhabited land and Gadchiroli is ahead as far as giving the adivasis their rightful share.
Apart from Gadchiroli District this kind of partial behavior is found all over the state. If the common man finds no justice in the government then what philosophy the 85% of the deprived class is expected to follow? They are bound to turn to Naxals as a way of life instead of following Gandhi’s principles. We should be able to create Gandhism of such caliber that it would empower even the weakest of the person in our society. We have been successful in identifying Ambani as India’s richest man but what about India’s poorest man? Until and unless we search for him no matter how many soldiers, police we deploy the danger will remain. Today the whole military is stationed at Jammu and Kasmir but still we fail to restore peace to the valley.
Soviet Union had nuclear weapons, immense power, the Red army, secret service like KGB, Soviet Union were themselves the super-power, their Polit-Bureau consisted of top brass diplomats but still Soviet Union was divided into pieces, the Government collapsed, the reason being Common man’s ire. People want food, clothing, shelter and health not nuclear weapons. This was proved in case of Soviet Union.
As we refer to the past examples, the real answer to Naxalism can be found through development. The need of the hour is to create basic infrastructure on vast scale. The solution lies in providing ample water to fertile land, handing over the land to the adivasis whose forefathers have been toiling hard for generations together, empowering the unemployed, providing education, health and eradicating poverty. Our system functions keeping in mind that Naxalism does not find its way in to a rich man’s house or a developed country. Cabinet and Government are well-acquainted with the fact. If we stand united then only it is possible to destroy the Naxal movement. We are trying to equip the police with modern weapons and proper infrastructure so that he will not die a futile death.
I take in to cognizance the leaked criticism leveled on me in Cabinet by violating the code of secrecy as I lay my thoughts before you. My sensitive colleagues in Cabinet are aware of the truth. Here I present my side of the story.
The rest I will comment on in my next blog.
Love and Regards,
Home-minister, State of Maharashtra.