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Civil rights groups should not defend Naxalites -Dr Raman Singh

Civil rights groups should not defend Naxalites -Dr Raman Singh

Author: Deepak Kumar Rath
Publication: Organiser
Date: March 4, 2007
URL: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=173&page=6

The Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini organised a national seminar in New Delhi on February 14, 2007 on "Innovative Strategies to Counter Naxalism: Experiment of Salva Judum." The seminar was held in four different sessions throughout the day which had eminent speakers drawn from a wide spectrum of on-field workers to policymakers to law enforcers.

Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, addressing the seminar strongly lamented the lack of comprehensive coordination across the affected states and the Centre. Dr. Singh pointed out that within the Naxal movement various outfits like People's War Group and MCC had managed to merge and form outfits like the CPI (M). It had also received help from LTTE and Maoists, yet in India it had not been possible to put an integrated action plan into place to combat them.

While 13 states in the country are riddled with Naxalism, a people's movement against Naxalism called 'Salva Judum' has come up as a huge non-violent retaliation rattling Naxals in two districts of Chhattisgarh. The rest of the states affected with Naxalism have been viewing this agitation with interest to assess its fallouts, Dr Singh pointed out.

Shri K.M. Seth, former governor of Chhattisgarh, while speaking on the occasion called Naxalism the greatest threat to the internal security of the nation. He warned that under the present strategy of Naxals, the whole movement is shifting towards cities. Shri Seth added that it is now merely a terror-based organisation involved in kidnapping, abductions and killings of the innocent people. He lauded the Salva Judum as a combative movement above party politics and stressed that it is a ground movement, which could not be stopped by the government.

Shri Rathore, DG Police, Chhattisgarh, started the second session by calling the participants practical persons involved in the process of purification called Salva Judum. He called it a non-cooperation movement against violence equating it with Satyagraha. He said it is movement that is removing the poison from the social fabric.

Shri Kedar Kashyap, MP from Chhattisgarh, spoke on his actual experiences of participations in Salva Judum padyatras. He informed that Salva Judum has succeeded to such an extent that areas which were inaccessible and unsafe because of Naxal presence some two years back now facilitate easy mobility. He also said that Naxals are no longer receiving funding from the local people as earlier and are being forced against the wall as they have to call for money from outside now.

Shri Chhabinda Karma, Chairman, Jila Panchyat, Dantewada called Salva Judum the biggest people's agitation after the freedom struggle. He spoke of how the Naxals had managed to eat into people's confidence, their culture and also weaken the will of the police.

Shatabdi Pandey in a power-point presentation depicted the role of women in the Salva Judum. She also lamented the false propaganda by Naxals and called for bringing forward the thinking brain.

Shri Girishkant Pande, academician with close study of the Naxal movement over decades, in his address displayed a comparative study of the Salva Judum agitation and the Naxal organisation. He pointed out that while Naxalites are well trained particularly in guerilla warfare, the Salva Judum activists are untrained. The Naxals possess sophisticated firearms and hi-tech equipments while the Salva Judum activists have low-profile firearms and mostly use primitive arms like arrows and axes.

Shri Swapan Dasgupta, eminent journalist, said that we have deluded ourselves that Naxalism is not an assault on the sovereignty of the nation. He said that it is still defined as a movement originating from a socio-economic problem. Differing on these oft-stated views, Shri Dasgupta said that Naxalism followed a design. "Surely poverty is not a corridor", he said referring to the red corridor developed through the 13 states of India by the Naxals. He further said that Salva Judum is only one of the innovative strategies, that can combat Naxalism.

Shri K.P.S. Gill, former Punjab DGP called this his assessment of the Naxal problem particularly in the state of Chhattisgarh. He said that such issues could be effectively addressed only when the political establishment, administration and police work in tandem. While he pointed out that problems like short-staffing of police in Chhattisgarh are being taken care of now, he also had a word of praise for the political establishment saying in his assessment there is political backing to weed out the problem.

Shri Balasubramanium Kamrasu from Andhra Pradesh refused to call Salva Judum an experiment. He said that it is a people's outburst and not planned, as is the case with an experiment.

Shri Bal Apte, MP and RMP Director Shri Vinay Sahasrabudhe were also present on the occasion.

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