“Empower the tribal people to root out the menace of Naxalism in India” avers Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha during USI -Amity Joint Panel Discussion at Amity Campus, Noida

To discuss the Naxalite problem in its entirety, USI (United Services Instituition of India) and Amity organized a Joint Panel Discussion on the topic “Problem of Naxalism in India: Ground Realities and Strategic Challenges towards Conflict Resolution” at Amity Campus, Sector-125, Noida, which co-incided with “ Kargil Vijay Diwas” celebrated on 26 July every year in honour of Kargil Wars Heroes who sacrificed their lives fighting for their country against Pakistani intruders.

Delivering a special address during the occasion, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha referred to the problem of Naxalism as Political and Administrative problem rather than a problem of Army. The fight is about the rights and that’s why a common man resorts to arms. Trying to assess the potential reasons behind the growth of Naxalism in India he said, “years ago the tribal people withdrew into the forest to keep themselves away from the so called civilizing influences, they kept to their own practices and remained at an extraordinarily low level of economic livelihood. Then “Modernization” really hit upon India in 1947 and since then, the number of tribal people who have been displaced amounts to a cumulative total of 60-65 million (6.5 crores). As result of which frustration, anger and fury grew among the most quiescent tribal people of India, they suffered from dissatisfaction at individual level, Community level, State Level and a sense of total disempowerment. Economic Development, with the sole concern about GDP rate and with little concern with what happens to the people, demands that maximum resources should be acquired from land, above the land and most importantly, the wealth which is below the land. “Over the course of last 30 years as a result of the actions of independent India and with the delighted collaboration of huge number of State Governments that have seen great benefits to themselves by bringing in capital investment even from outside India including the largest single foreign private investment ever made by the Republic of Korea anywhere in the world. We have a complete disconnect between the rising curve of economic growth and the rising curve of people’s discontent. Increasingly in recent years, there has been an increase in the entry of outsiders into the tribal property because much of our mineral resources are to be found under the lands where the tribals are settled for centuries”, stressed Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Quoting the speech of Prime Minister, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar described the Naxal Problem as the “single most important internal security problem” that India has ever faced and referring to one of the reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs which came out few years ago, the MP shared, “1/3rds of the Districts of India are either partially or very severally affected by LWE (Left Wing Extremism). More recently there has been a pairing down of these figures, there has also been an exclusion of the expression “Partially affected LWE Districts” and the current figure that is broached about by Ministry of Home Affairs is 78. Some of these are believed to be bogus because there is a plan under which money is made available and politicians have started claiming with considerable pride that they have LWE districts so as to access the money. At the same time there are Districts which ought to be declred LWE but are perhaps, not included in that category.” Sharing his views, further, on the severity of the Naxalism in India, "It’s not a problem which is new, it’s a problem which has been boiling up over the years and many ad- hoc solutions have been attempted and none have succeeded. We need to recognize that the spread of these Marxists indicates acquiesce of the people, the reluctant acquiesce of the people, rising to the active collaboration of the people. The presence of Naxalism in Dandakaranya Forest is neither an accident or nor something to which there can be an easy security based solution.” He urged the gathering to understand the mind of the tribals who find themselves displaced again and again and have been made acquiesce in an alternative which may not be better. Unless and until, the State gives a clear alternative in the form of empowerment to the tribal people, the problem of Naxalism can be tackled properly.

Welcoming the august gathering, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group acknowledged the role of Defense Personnel in safety and security of the country and expressed his desire to regularly work with USI in promoting the cause of Defense Services and National harmony.

Prolific speakers with rich personal experience shared their views during the Panel Discussion including Shri EN Rammohan, IPS (Retd) on “Root causes of the Naxalite Maoist Insurgency and the Solution to the Problem”, Lt Gen VK Ahluwalia, PVSM, AVSM**, YSM, VSM (Retd) on Ground Realities and Strategic Challenges towards Conflict Resolution, Ms Shoma Chaudhury, Social Activist who presented the counter view of the problem.

The enriching and informative session was chaired by Lt Gen KM Seth, PVSM, AVSM (Retd)-Former Governor Tripura and Chattisgarh who expressed, “During the last 7-10 years the monster of Naxalism has spread his tentacles to nearly 200 districts out of the 608 or little more. The problem has become more intricate, people have started knocking urban doors. The spread of Naxalism can be attributed to the inability of the State concerned to deliver the basic services and make the rural inhabitants, particularly, the tribal inhabitants the part of National Developmental process. This neglect provided the desired space to the naxalites who have been having roller coaster ride since 1967, the tribals were convinced that democratic form of Government is not suitble for them.” He stressed that the Naxalite problem, which has been kept under the carpet under the garb of socio-economic problem and a law and order problem of a specific State, one day will become a serious challenge to Indian democracy.

Shri EN Rammohan, IPS (Retd), while sharing his views during the Panel Discussion, identified Cste as the main root causes of the Naxalite Maoist Insurgency in India. Since history, the ownership of land is restricted to upper cstes, the deprivation of the lower cste generates bitterness and a sense of inequality in them. He termed Government’s action illegal and unlawful in acquiring the land of the Adivasis in the name of economic development. Sharing the potential solution to the problem, Sri E N Rammohan proposed the enforcement of Land Ceiling Act in all the States of India which aims to put end to the disparity as far as land ownership is concerned and called upon the States to give Adivasis the right to administer their own lives.

Giving pragmatic view of the problem of Naxalism in India, Ms Shoma Chaudhury, Social Activist termed the problem as “Greatest Internal Crisis” with a need to articulate the problem properly. She stressed, “Naxalites are not “terrorists” but they are “political offenders”, therefore, Army should not be brought to deal with them. Indian States have no place for them and they indulge in such acts out of fear and sometimes, to get their voice heard. They want justice, relief, rehabilitation, consensus, consultation and an assurance that they would not be turned out of their own place.”

The discussion saw the humungous participation by over 500 Serving and Retired Armed Force Officials from highest ranks including Lt. Gen P K Singh- PVSM, AVSM (Retd.) and Director USI, Senior Officials from UP Government and other States and Senior members from Management, Directors, Head of the Intuitions, faculty members and students of Amity University.

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