Maoists feed on crony capitalism
A quick audit of the integrated action plan for development of infrastructure in the Left Wing Terrorism (LWT)-affected districts is imperative in the wake of the Maoist attack on a convoy that wiped out the Congress’s state leadership in Chhattisgarh.
Left wing extremism cannot be fought without denying the attackers the geographical and socio-economic topography that gives them advantage over the security forces and the political class. Alienation on account of denial of rights can only be neutralized by creating road connectivity to reach the tribal and other marginalized communities a quality of life in areas under Naxal/Maoist influence or control.
Vast tracts in the Left wing-dominated areas across Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are mineral rich. Human dislocation and destruction of forests and environment in these parts by mining companies and cartels have heaped untold miseries on the tribal populations constituting the Naxal cadres and support-base.
The near-criminal exercise of what’s known as the doctrine of pre-eminent domain (affording the state the first right on land and resources) is the major reason for the spread of left wing extremism. The cycle of dispossession and hunger without any hope of justice has been quite pronounced in Chhattisgarh and other Naxal-plagued States.
Civil libertarians such as Binayak Sen (slapped with cases and jailed for his views) have maintained for long that the domain doctrine devised to serve public interest was actually serving the interests of affiliates of international capital. The poor in the affected areas were getting poorer. Forest officials did their own bit to victimize forest dwellers in cahoots with the timber mafia.
An enlightened mining policy and recognition of tribal rights over forest produce were to move had-in-hand with the IAP. But the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act is still in the pipeline. There are serious questions as well about the enforcement of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006 that recognizes tribal communities’ right over forest land. There have been reports in recent years of large scale denial of land deeds to rightful claimants among tribal communities.
Maoists feed on crony capitalism. So besides the passage and honest implementation of fair and equitable laws, parties in power in different states need to sit down and sort out their differences that have prevented robust legislation-making to check federal crimes such as terrorism in varied hue— Jehadists or Maoists. The Congress has taken the bullet this time. Who knows who’s next in the line?