After dilly-dallying for a few decades India has stepped up the war on India’s left-wing Maoists who seek to bring an ultra-left communist ideals to India through violent means. Operation Greenhunt seeks to deploy 20000 paramilitary troops in the communist affected regions and smoke the terrorists out. It is probably India’s biggest anti-terror operation outside Kashmir.
India’s “revolutionists” come under the banner Naxalites named after the town Naxalbari in east India from where they originally started the movement. Though Indian government understates the problem, it affects 220 of the 450 odd districts of India apart from the neighboring nation of Nepal.
The issue partly stems from the fact that India’s development doesn’t always reach the interior which is beset by a variety of problems including faltering agriculture, encroachment from unethical corporations and greater competition for the rich mineral resources – all the problems that afflict sub-saharan Africa. There is acute poverty that politicians and bureaucrats have not always addressed.
It is a well known phenomenon worldwide that regions far away from oceans and major waterbodies will have significantly lower development, but various Indian government failed to appreciate this fact and add greater developmental measures to compensate for this handicap. The red-belt (red stands for communism) also doesn’t have a major city apart from the tech center of Hyderabad near it and that has deprived the locals from modernization and urbanization. Most of the villages don’t even have electricity and social ills like hunger, illiteracy and infant mortality is rampant.
While the problems are genuine, there are some evil elements that try to make use of the issue to implement their extemist ideals. The Naxalites are a brutal organization and have conducted many a brutal beheadings in Taliban style. Like Al-Queda they are highly decentralized and very sophisticated. This kind of barbarianism is further disconnects the region from world economy and exacerbates the poverty.
Over the decades, Indian governments have thought this as a law & order issue that must be dealt by the provincial governments. However, the provincial government lacked the resources and determination to put out the menance. So, finally Indian federal government has started this war that now has 5 batallions and 20000 paramilitary soldiers on the ground.
While brutal force must be used against the naxals, extraordinary care must be taken not to victimize those tribals who have no part in this. We don’t want to increase the ranks of the disillusioned. The federal government must also studiously monitor the excesses of the military force that is often an issue in Kashmir and the north-east. But, most importantly the root cause for the socio-economic ills have to be solved. The federal government must start a massive project to bring electricity, roads, markets and other infrastructure to these regions at war-footing. Integrate them with national & world economy at a great speed and bring substantial investments and development to this region. And anything that stands in the way of this development must be thrown out at once.
The federal government must also try to give more autonomy/separate statehood to some of the regions in the affected zone (including the creation of Vidarbha & Telengana) to prioritize the developmental issues that affects the red-belt. By separating the red-belt of Vidarba and Telengana we would free up the prosperous states like Maharashtra & Andra Pradesh to focus on issues different issues – like how to bring their regions to world standards.