New Delhi: Residents of India's worst Naxal-affected states want development and if forced 10 times the number of people will prefer Government over Naxalites. These are the stunning findings of the first-ever opinion poll of people living in India's Naxal-infested areas.
The extensive opinion poll conducted in seven of India's worst Naxal affected states has thrown up some myth-shattering findings. Commissioned by CNN-IBN and The Week the findings establish that people living in the states believe lack of development was triggering Naxalism and pushing it will help solve the problem.
Conducted by CSDS he poll finds over 60 per cent have faith in democracy and despite controversies and civil rights allegations, will prefer the Government over Naxalites.
The Naxalites may have challenged the authority of the state, they may be trying to wage armed war in the name of the rights of the poor but the poll results are an eye-opener.
Almost 49 per cent of the people say they will choose the Government while just five per cent say that they are with the Naxals; 34 per cent say they are neither with the Government nor with the Naxalites.
The Big Naxal Poll
|Forced choice favours the Government|
|In current conflict people stand with|
|Preference for development over coercion or negotiation|
|How should the government handle this issue?||All||Amongst Sympathizers||With High Media Exposure|
|Negotiation with Naxal||11%||16%||14%|
|Development and infrastructure in the area||33%||59%||41%|
|Support for unconditional ceasefire|
|Both Government and Naxals should cease hostilities without any conditions||All||Amongst Sympathizers|
|Faith in Democratic process|
|My vote has||Naxal Affected districts||All India 09-10|
|Reform wins over Status quo or revolution|
|Our Political system should be|
The survey was conducted by CNN-IBN and The Week in association with CSDS
While the Government and the Naxalites are locked in what seems to be an endless war an overwhelming 56 per cent of people say they favour an unconditional ceasefire while just 12 per cent say no to an unconditional ceasefire.
The CNN-IBN-& The WEEK poll asked the most controversial questions: what is the way to handle the Naxal challenge? The findings from the ground were unequivocal with 33 per cent of people saying the state should push development while only 19 per cent feel that coercive methods should be used and 11 per cent feel that negotiation between the state and the Naxalites is the way out.
While some activists may disagree people in the war zone are not ready to give up democracy yet.
In fact 60 per cent of the people in the Naxal-affected districts say they have faith in democracy while 22 per cent of those polled say that democracy is not effective.
However, there was deep cynicism with the political system.
An overwhelming 76 per cent of the people say that the political system needs to be reformed while just six per cent feel it deserves to be destroyed.
The findings are solid and simple and the majority is with the Government, wants an unconditional ceasefire, favours development to counter the Naxal challenge, has faith in the democracy, but also wants the political system to be reformed.