CHURUMURI POLL: Are Maoists “terrorists”?

In theory, the motivation for the upsurge in Maoism in the second term of the UPA is said to be the hand over of vast tracts of tribal land to industrial and mining groups. In theory, the Maoists are said to be battling on behalf of the voiceless tribals who have suffered due to decades of neglect.

In theory, the Maoists are said to be smart, bright chaps who have sacrificed the good life to fight on behalf of tribals who are raped, kidnapped, and killed, and whose resources exploited, pillaged and robbed etc, without justice from the systems and processes that independent India has put in place.

In theory, from Arundhati Roy to Sonia Gandhi, and Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar in between, tackling the naxals is all about addressing the “root cause”. Which means, building schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, facilities that the rest of the country, or at least vast chunks of it, enjoys.

In practise, though, are the Naxals merely rebels without a cause? Is the plight of the tribals merely a figleaf for those who do not believe in the Constitution of India? In killing civilians, in Dantewada (Chhatisgarh) ten days ago and in West Midnapore (Bengal) today, have the Naxals exposed themselves as brutal, cold-blooded killers hiding using ideology for their own (or their masters’) selfish ends?

Are they “misguided ideologues”, or just plain terrorists who are now blinded by their recent “successes” that they cannot even spot their “class enemies”? Are the Maoists brutalising the masses in much the same way they accuse the State of doing? Are the Maoists any different from Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, LTTE or any terror outfit you can name?

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