Saturday, February 12, 2005

Naxalite problem in Karnataka

For the first time, there was a major terrorist attack in Karnataka yesterday. An army of some 200 odd Naxalites (armed revolutionary extremists who believe in a violent means for change) swooped down on Venkatammanahalli village in Pavagada taluk in Tumkur district. They attacked a school which was functioning as a camp for Karnataka State Reserve Police personnel with AK 47s and grenades leaving six policemen and a civilian dead.

India's Naxal problems, which in a vague sense is linked to pan-Asian Maoist ideology, is a problem which our governments haven't been serious about. Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are the states most affected. A part of Karnataka is also infested, but there hasn't been violence to this extent till now.

We don't need a degree in political science or sociology to see that such movements are most rampant in areas where there has been no development. Poor roads, no communication, no good water supply or electricity; lack of good shelter, schools, and hospitals -- these areas are pathetic. At the same time, these inadequacies are no justification for taking to arms.

That's precisely the point of confusion. Is this a law and order problem or a socio-economic problem? The fact is it is both. But sadly it is not being viewed as either. Neither the umpteen developement schemes of the goverment running into crores of rupees not taken off nor the police given adequate equipment to fight the Naxals.

If the Naxals are accused of using the wrong methodology to solve a genuine problem, the government stands equally guilty of just not doing anything to solve the problems.

Isn't all this so scary when there is hardly any governance now-a-days?

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