real gain

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Apr 2018 11:53:32

THAT as many as 44 districts across the country have been removed from the list of Naxal-affected districts because the Left Wing Extremism has either been eliminated from those areas or has only a negligible presence, indicates a real gain the Government has registered in its fight against Maoism or Naxalism. We have every reason to believe the assertion of Union Home Secretary Mr. Rajiv Gauba that Maoist influence remains only in 30 worst-affected districts and would be countered effectively in due course. 

This piece of good news has come at a time when many had started believing that Left Wing Extremism (LWE) was proving too heavy for the Government to handle. Actually, that was never the case, and the Government forces were fighting the menace quite effectively all over the country. As happens in any war, the Government forces, too, were suffering losses and setbacks in their campaign. Maoist propaganda machinery often used those setbacks to tell the world that the Government was losing the battle. But slowly and surely, the Government was gaining an upper hand in the fight, which is now reflected in the proud assertion by the Union Home Secretary.

A few years ago, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had identified as many as 106 districts spread in ten States as LWE-effected areas. Those districts were covered by the Ministry under a scheme that took care of Security Related Expenditure that paid for transportation, communication and other needs to engage the Maoists in a continuous fight. Several States came together for joint action against the Maoists and kept the pressure on so that the Left Wing ultras started feeling the heat. Simultaneous developmental drives in affected areas also yielded good results, leading to effective elimination or reduction of Maoist influence in 44 districts. By any standard, this is a welcome development.

Fight against Maoism or Naxalism has been a multi-dimensional campaign, involving not just the Police or Paramilitary forces but also a huge administrative effort to take development to the farthest corners of human habitation in India’s deserted hinterland. On that critical frontier, tribals and other neglected sections of human community lived precariously. The Maoists took benefit of those conditions and tried to fan an anti-national feeling among those poverty-stricken people.

Fortunately, the Government understood the dynamics of Maoist operations and prepared plans to counter the influence. It took a long time of more than 25 years to start restricting the Maoist influence. Yet, ultimately, the Government has started making an effective statement of its sovereignty and authority, finally limiting the influence of LWE in as many as 44 districts. The fight has hardly ended. Much to the contrary, it is likely to enter a more intense phase as the Maoists would fight back to retain their hold in respective areas. Going by the manner in which the Government, as a whole, has handled the challenge, it can be said safely that the Maoists will soon be on the run. Already, they are feeling the pressure, and are showing signs of certain desperation. It is in that state of mind that they might launch a counter-offensive. But obviously, the Government is ready to face the the emerging challenges in its fight against Left Wing Extremism.

No matter the few setbacks the Government forces suffered in the past four decades of ever-growing Maoist influence in India’s hinterland, a clear and bright light is visible at the end of the dark tunnel. This became possible only because of the patient but resolute manner the Government handled the challenge -- despite some undesirable engagement with the Maoists by some mainstream political forces in the country. This campaign, thus, must be continued with unmitigated verve and nerve.