Saturday, April 17, 2010

Naxal Menace

Some of my earliest memories while growing up are those of my villagers carrying rifles on their back and preparing for their imminent fight against the naxals. Our village was one of the first targets of the Naxals in the region. It was way back in 92-93 and these were still the early days of Naxal terror.
I remember two fierce encounters between Naxals and my villagers and that includes my family members too. So, I can't keep myself from expressing views on the current war that PC has launched against them.
One of the encounters is still afresh in my mind, I used to study in 4th std at the village school and with 100 odd strength of the school, all students knew each other quite well. One day, I saw one of my classmates (who belonged to basti where mostly labour class families lived) holding a pamphlet and on reading, I cud see the name of my great grand father on it. Probably, the naxals came to that basti last night and distributed these pamphlets. Dadaji was asked to handover a large part of his land holdings to this naxal group or face dire consequences. In the lunch, I took this pamphlet to him, reading the contents to him. He was 90 year old then and I was amazed why they would target such an old guy. Later, on growing up, I realized dadaji was merely symbolizing those who holded bigger plots of land and hence was the choosen one :) .

After sometime, I dont really remember how much, it was the harvest season of paddy crops and I was playing in the khalihan alongwith my friends when we heard some gun shots. The sounds were coming from across the canal flowing by, it was at this place that most of our harvested paddy was kept. Naxals had declared a war on us, they came in huge numbers and planned to take away the harvest. Man, what a moment it was, I could see the whole village up in arms against them. I never saw such a unity in my village apart from those times.A long encounter, probably for 6-7 hours followed, resulting in the death of one of the Naxals. There were a dozen policemen too,but they happened to be mute spectators as they neither had the will nor the fire power to take on the might of Naxalites. Finally, the naxalites backed off, gradually they dispersed in the night after the death of one of their colleagues.

The positive outcome of this encounter was that during the dreadful era of 96-97 when almost whole of Bihar (at that time Jharkhand too was a part of Bihar) was burning under the terror of Maoists,PWG and Ranvir Sena, our village and neighbouring areas enjoyed total peace. Atleast there were no killings on this account.

For the government, I believe , they should have acted much before. Its been here for two decades and could have been stopped by exercising a proper mix of force and developmental activities. I dont totally buy the lack of development theory as is being propagated by some of the Maoist empathisers. Its true that poor people are found in large numbers in such groups, but its because they get easily influenced. They are exposed a perfectly oiled machinery of maoist brain wash with audio,video and literature.
Those who are sympathising with Maoists (read Arundhati Roy and co) are doing no service to the nation. Nepal is already paying the price of not taking these insurgents seriously and it should be a lesson enough for us.

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