Are extra-legal measures against the Maoists like the creation of Salwa Judum responsible for worsening of the security situation in Chhattisgarh? Senior lawyer Aman Lekhi joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. I think we need to follow the same which we followed against Punjabi terror? Asked by: Sathyaki
Has adopting extra-legal measures helped the fight against the Maoists?
A. The issue is more complex and far more serious. The response has to as effective but more nuanced. There is an articulate lobby which in a rather sinister fashion cloaks terrorism - leveraging fear for political considerations - as a righteous fight on ideological considerations. Direct action is imperative but not sufficient and political and economic means must supplement it. The problem is complete absence of coherence in strategy, prompted also by fear of adverse propaganda by activists (and any representative government cannot be immune from such fear) and inadequate operation of the existing system to deal with Scheduled Areas, and want of political will.
Q. Is deploying army in Naxal affected area a solution to this problem? Asked by: Rakka
A. Army alone cannot help. On the contrary it will seem as an alien occupying force and provide fodder for the Maoist propaganda machinery to further perpetuate the violence. There has to be upgrading of intelligence, honing of operations of the existing para-military forces and induction of locals in the same to suggest that forces are being used in aid of law and order for the benefit of all not to establish an alien order but provide a secure and stable environment for existence. In addition the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, Panchayat and the remedial measures and schemes framed by the Government should be honestly and sincerely implemented to compliment the activities of the security forces. That said this is an insurgency like situation and the worth of direct action cannot be undermined.
Q. Who is supporting the Naxals in terms of money and arms? Asked by: Mohan Das
A. Naxals are being supported by forces hostile to India. The sheer expanse of its spread shows the danger implicit in its growing for our country. The manner in which the Naxals themselves behave show they have no respect for law or human-rights and the system they will create will imperil and render unsafe every individual under their control. The tribals are displaced and impoverished; that is the reason which is touted for the movement. How is it that the leaders of such displaced and impoverished people get the money and material to "fight the Indian State". the very terminology used by them shows they are Anti-Indian.
Q. Sir, why a country of 125 crore is unable to control a few thousands Naxalites and terrorists? Is not the lack of political will? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker
A. I agree. It is unfortunate. The country is not the priority for its leaders. The very absence of political will provides a Phillip for the brigandage the Naxalites indulge in.
Q. Mao is no more and with him dies his ideology which he wanted to perpetuate. What we now see, is a very diluted version of his ideology, which has been polluted with lots of ills. Neither are they fighting for the poor nor is the government serious of addressing the situation. We have today as many supporters of Maoist as there are people opposing. Asked by: SE
A. Mao is just a name. Ideology is merely an excuse. The cause of the poor is only propaganda. Absence of development cannot ever justify the frenzied violence. Those being killed shows they are not being targeted for their "class character." The manner in which the Naxals themselves behave shows they have no respect for values or human life to be able to work a system with any sensitivity which they proclaim has not been shown to them
Q. I think the situation would keep getting worse till the politicians don't play ball. They don't bother when the security forces are targeted and just pay lip service. look how every politicians came jumping and shouting foul when they were targeted (Sonia Crying, Rahul trying to act tough) I hope desperation and fear does not make the politicians react immaturely? Asked by: Arun
A. Governance requires sense discretion and maturity. It requires timely action. It demands an understanding of the ultimate objective and a vision for the country. Above all it demands honesty of purpose and sincerity of action. Only then can bold steps be taken and difficult situations require some daring and enterprise which much of our political leadership lacks.
Q. What according to you is the solution to this problem? Asked by: Vishal Matani
A. The problem requires a multi-pronged approach. Direct action involving the security forces cannot be abandoned. It has to be pursued but differently. There has to be improvement in intelligence gathering and more effective coordination. Aside from increasing the numbers an attempt has to be made to involve the locals. The use of force should be used along with remedial measures provided in the Constitution and the laws and the Panchayats should be involved more actively. The Benefit Schemes introduced should trickle down to those deserving. Such measures will assist effective policing as law and order would be seen to be sub-serving public good and not as an end in itself merely perpetuating the coercive power of the State.
Q. You have said, "Naxals are being supported by forces hostile to India." Just today Gen. Shankar Roychowdhury, former Army chief, has said they receive no help from any external force and must be treated as citizens of India. Even former AIr Chief PV Naik had said that the Air Force was not supposed to bomb its own people when he was asked about the same. So are they wrong or naive? Or are you spreading falsehood? Asked by: Prabal
A. I fail to understand how those who do not receive any help from an external source and fight for the deprived and marginalised and are themselves not endowed adequately can yet from nowhere generate the resources to fight a war!!
Q. Bringing Naxal to the main stream, will it help in resolving the issue? Asked by: Manj
A. Who has kept them out. They have chosen to remain out. They claim to be fighting a War. They want to dismantle the system. The propagate the Annihilation Line. They follow the Historic Eight Documents and yet paradoxically seek to call themselves "political activists". They are insurgents and terrorists.
Q. Naxals are committed to a unlawful, unjust and undemocratic struggle with terror as their main plank. Ideology is used to glorify innate love of violence. Is my view right? Asked by: kp vidyashankar
A. Ideology is merely a ruse to seem self-righteous when what they do is unapologetically criminal
Q. I think the problem has to be tackled on political front, economic front and social front together. Therefore these extra legal forces as long as do not address these issues will be a failure. Your view please. Asked by: jim
A. Extra-Legal forces is a wrong expression. Maintaining security is one of the primary functions of a Government. Any criminal or violent activity has to be suppressed in public interest. There cannot be excesses but possibility of excesses cannot hobble the proposed action. Nevertheless aside from use of security forces other measures need to be taken too. It is this which will distinguish the use of force by the government from the violence unleashed by Naxals show the former to be legitimate and the latter not.
Q. Handful of people are holding development to ransom and forcing government to spend lots precious time over these. What is their list of demands let them publish extensively in MEDIA, to day none can ignore media, let the people decide whether it is just or not, if it is just, believe me people will force the govt to act. Asked by: SE
A. The country is crying for development. But accountability has to be enforced within the system. Our democracy gives expression to every opinion and does not tolerate abuse. It is this system which the naxals are targetting and want replaced by a truculent authoritarianism.
Q. Will this Naxal problem ever resolve or will it continue to exist? Asked by: Dewaker
A. No problem can ever be bigger than the idea which makes a country. We need commitment and perseverance to engage ourselves meaningfully in finding the solution.
Q. Niyamgiri has rich resource of bauxite, what it the use of it the tribals whose cause these Naxals espouse. It has to be excavated, refined, processed, converted to metal and then cash made of it, put a cess on the profit and spend the same for development, why do the Maoist shy away from putting such proposals Asked by: SE
A. The areas affected by Naxalism are all mineral rich. The problems lie in dislocation of tribals. There are adequate provisions to deal with the situation but the naxalites themselves create an environment where the same cannot be implemented. The fear affects even the Panchayats and their Peoples Courts are Kangaroo Courts of summary justice where their dictat prevails. This affects the tribals themselves.
Q. Do this problem of Naxalism exists in other countries also apart from India? Asked by: Rohit
A. Similar problems exist. However the problems which exist in India for handling these problems are unique to this country. It is this which magnifies all problems because finding an effective solution is hobbled by activists who have made a profession of discrediting everything except that which they espouse.
Q. The policies which suppressed terror in Punjab will those polices not help in fighting against Naxals. Asked by: Dhruv
A. I have already said the policies to deal with Naxalism have to different but the method of engagement and the assiduousness diligence and dedication which characterized the Punjab method have necessarily to be incorporated.
Q. If there is no functioning govt in certain stretches of RED CORRIDOR, how do elections happen there? Can't election commission say that holding elections in these areas is difficult and then state emergency can be imposed in these areas and central govt can directly intervene and develop these areas at a robust rate? Asked by: Abhishek Dixit
A. Election Commission issues detailed guidelines for holding elections. The security of personnel as also the convenience of voters are both factored. The situation requires urgent attention but imposition of emergency is not required. The writ of law has to be enforced and the system worked efficaciously. Though it may appear to be so, our governance is not so fragile as to be overwhelmed by the naxalites.
Q. Dear Sir, it seems that the Maoists are getting weapons from other countries, considering they out-gunned security forces and they used IEDs. Isn't it an important info to have, if we need to counter the insurgency. Asked by: Narayan
A. All measures have to be used. Any attempt to over-awe the state or over-reach its authority and attack its existence cannot be tolerated.