Over 200 districts in nine States are in the shadow of Maoists. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls them the “gravest threat to internal security”. Home Minister P. Chidambaram wants permission for the deployment of the armed forces to combat them. Dozens of civilians have perished in the grisly crossfire. With several of their colleagues nabbed, the Naxals have resorted to Taliban-style beheading to get their message across. Etcetera.
Is the State only trying to tackle Naxalism as a law and order problem instead of treating it as a more complex socio-economic phenomenon—the result of lack of development, exploitation of tribal land, business-friendly policies, police atrocities? Are the Naxal methods right? Do they have the licence to inhumanly target civilians, all for their “cause”? Should the Army be deployed against Indians, even if they are Maoists?
Regardless, by going all out against Maoists, the Indian State has staked all. Questions: Will it win the war? And will there be peace in the countryside thereafter? Or is the State only fighting a war for big business?
Arundhati Roy: ‘Govt at war with Naxals to aid MNCs’