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Hans Raj Singh asked: Why has India failed to tackle the problem of Naxalism despite so many policies in place?

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  • Anil Kamboj replies: The reason lies in the government’s inability to properly implement policies on the ground. Some of the key inhibiting factors in this regard are:

    a) Terrain: The areas where the Naxals operate are thickly forested, hilly, remote, and have limited roads and tracks. There are no proper detailed maps available as some of these areas have not been surveyed properly.

    b) Location of villages: The villages are located in remote areas separated by thick jungles. There are no good roads or tracks connecting these villages, with the result that there is lack of communication. Generally the local people move on foot. To approach these people living in such remote areas from the district/tehsil headquarters takes considerable time. A determined government machinery is the only device to approach the people in the region.

    c) Poverty: Most of the people live in extreme economic conditions as there are hardly any employment avenues available. Therefore, they are easily motivated and lured to join the Naxalite organisations.

    d) No Presence of Government Machinery: There is no presence of state government in these remote areas with the result neither these poor people are aware about the policies of the government and their benefits, nor the government has shown any interest to know about the needs of these tribal people. This has been taken advantage of by the Naxals to endear themselves to the local people.

    e) Deployment of Security Forces: There is no presence of police in some of these remote areas. Even if it is there, they are not effective. The Central Forces i.e. BSF, CRPF and the ITBP are thinly deployed as compared to the requirement. Moreover, the area has been heavily mined by the Naxals and therefore the security forces have not been able to dominate these areas.

    f) Lack of Proper Training: To operate against the Naxals, no proper training was imparted to the security forces at the time of their induction, and therefore, they initially suffered heavy causalities. Besides this, the central armed forces also do not enjoy special powers like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in these states. In addition, the fear of human rights violations has made the security forces adopt a defensive posture.

    g) No Development: The affected areas have been neglected by the state governments. These areas remain economically deprived and backward as the local government never tried to approach or communicate with the common people. Now several efforts are being made, but the development progress has been very slow.

    h) Political Attitude: The most important aspect is the political attitude of the state governments when it comes to implementing the programmes and taking necessary effective measures to deal with the Naxalite problem. While Andhra Pradesh has largely succeeded in controlling the situation, other States have failed to view and acknowledge the prevailing situation in the correct prospective.

    The Naxalites are well entrenched and are spreading their wings to larger areas. Their movement has so far been well planned and organised. Pro-Naxal activists have been placed at all strategically important locations to counter government plans. These activists not only agitate against government policies but also effectively resist the implementation of developmental policies. To neutralise the Naxalite movement, constant, determined and well- coordinated efforts are required on all fronts. There is an urgent need to ensure that the policies and programmes of the government reach the people. However, all this would take time may be a minimum of five to six years.