H C Singh

Red Sun- Travels in Naxalite Country By Sundeep Chakarvarti- Brief Review and Comments

In the outset, it must be said that title of the book is not appropriate and appealing. For instance, “Red Sun’ is imitation of Red Star over China. The sub-title ‘Travels in Naxalite Country, too, is not befitting. It gives wrong impression as if Naxalites already have their own country. Country is a sovereign state. India is a country, so is USA, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia and Pakistan, to name the few. Naxalite, in India are spread over in the forest areas of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, MP, and Andhra. They are fighting and killing hundreds of innocent people, men women and Children and the Security forces of these areas. When the majority of armed Naxalites upto 10,000, as the author himself says “are largely secreted in the forests and remote villages, how can this unconnected forest area can be called Naxalite Country. These are simply terrorists or Naxalites hideouts.

Some of the major terrorists attacks before Dantewada massacre of 76 security personnel, almost all of them belonging to CRPF, were massacred while asleep are described by the author, as here under. Naxalites, in 2004 and 2005, imitating Mao Tse Tungs long March in China, hundreds of Armed Naxalites entrenched themselves in the nearby forest areas of Koraput district of Orissa and simultaneously attacked Distt headquarters and armoury, unexpected by Koraput administration and police and captured 400 to 500 weapons, including self loading ,as well as: 303 rifles, light machine guns and other machine guns, hand grenades, revolvers, pistols plus huge amount of ammunition. A similar attack by armed Naxalites took place in November 2005 in Jharkhand. They had targeted a prison and got freed 140 or more their jailed fellows. Yet another attack in Feb 2006, Naxalites captured and took away more than 20 tons of explosives to manufacture their own bombs. Process of making bombs some of Naxalites of South India had learnt from Tamil Tigers.

In June-July 2006, as pointed out in book under review, Karnataka home minister announced in the assembly that “members of 5000 families in Bangalore alone were in one way or another involved in Naxalites activities.” This seems to be an exaggeration to conceal his failure in administration of the state. Yet it is true that Naxalites have sympathizers, out of fear or conviction, in areas near their hideouts and adjoining areas, mostly because of fear and poverty to give them information about the presence of Security forces.

West Bengal CM Buddhadeb claimed that West Bengal does not have Maoist or Naxalite problem. The Naxalite Maoists from adjoining States of Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar that create problem off and on, which are being locally handled effectively. Maoists have hardly “200 cadres” in West Bengal. Dalma squad comes from the industrial city of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand which creates trouble. Otherwise West Bengal is comparatively far from Maoist activities of jail break and killing. The author in his visits found that CPI (Maoist) and CPI (ML) had often quarreled. One of the ML cadre senior (Kavita) told him that Maoists had been killing their people. She says “The fact is they have killed ML cadre. Our office was attacked in Paliganj in the dead of night. Five people were killed….there was lot of demand for retaliation. But our leader, Dipanka Bhattacharya, kept requesting our cadre to not retaliate but work politically to isolate these people.

As pointed out above there have been many instances of attacks and loot of arms and killing in Jharkhand, in Koraput district of Orissa and Uttrakhand, which are going on more vigorously in 2007 to 2010. There does not seem to be end of these killings by Maoists, Naxalites despite loss of hundreds of Maoists, hundreds of Civilians and hundreds of security personnel every year. What is the solution? Can the Maoists and Naxalites be eliminated by our security forces? Recently four police officers of Bihar were captured by Maoists, one of them killed, while the other were got released without accepting their condition of freeing 8 Maoists from Bihar jails, though negotiations went on for a week with Bihar CM Nitish kumar. There is no regret from either side and no assurance that such a capture of police or security officers will not occur again. In his book ‘Red Sun’ Sundeep Chakarvarti has only described at length about the Maoists activities but has not suggested a solution.

Few years back Govt of India decided to offer paid job and accommodation to those Maoists who surrender unconditionally. But none or very few have come forward. Government, in collaboration with affected 6-7 state governments has to find out a new and lasting solution to this menace. Even on 12th Sept 2010 there has been a massive attack by Maoists, as reported. Maoists or Naxalites are Indian citizens. India has to understand their problems and solve them with patience.

For permanent peace and development, it seems essential that there should be unconditional negotiations between government of India’s representatives and Maoists leaders, offering all the adivasi tribals full equality with Indian citizens, free education by establishing many schools in Adivasi area, their right to vote, employment facilities,by setting up small industries employing most of adivasis and those ousted from their areas near forests and mines. If the government takes steps to provide all these facilities to ousted adivasis it is likely that Maoists will reciprocate and surrender arms and become peaceful citizens.

September 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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