Governance 2009 – Lalgarh, Ramgarh, Naxals, Maoists And National Security

One of the first challenges that Home Minister Chidambaram has had to deal with was the shot across the bows from the Maoists in West Bengal.

There’s a lot of take out from this single incident – a form of ringing reminder of the clear and present danger to our country – an issue that should’ve been debated during these elections, but unfortunately National security was reduced to sound bites about Kandahar, 26/11 and a general partisan blame game that neither shed light on the issues nor provoked any thinking!

I have been a fan of some of the leaders of the left for some years – even being awarded the sobriquet of socialist entrepreneur by some colleagues in Parliament – admiring them for their moral integrity and a sense of frugality that’s missing in almost all other political parties. However their recent political and governance performances in Kerala and West Bengal have convinced me that the Left (in its current form) is not part of the solution to the challenges facing us.

The response of the West Bengal government – that of being in active freeze mode (that’s a phrase I made up!) on being confronted by a open challenge to rule of State is disconcerting and in a lot of ways summarizing the extent of politics having crept into normal routine law and order functions and responsibilities of the state.! After a few torturous days of convoluted political posturing (E.g.: We want the centre to decide to send the forces, the responsibility is centers etc… etc…), it took a decisive Chidambaram to send forces in to drive out the Maoists. This is admirable because this was done despite the alleged links between Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool and the Maoists and the seeming pressure from her on the Government to in turn put pressure on the WB Government!

As hapless Para military personnel and Police forces go into clean the mess of generations of Politicians, it took one a senior Para Military Officer to say what should’ve been said by the CM of the state from the start. He said “that their mission is to establish the law of the land and rule of the state and to throw all those who violate that into jail – goons or Maoists!” Simple enough statement and it astounds me that we are surprised and elated when someone in Government actually says it!

Predictably, the liberals are out seeking a ceasefire and safe passage for Maoists! And almost unashamedly similar calls from the Ruling left government as well! I hope this effort by the Paramilitary forces of cleaning up the political mess and fighting the violence of the Maoists is not again thwarted! While growth of Maoism and Naxalism may have social causes, it’s important for us to realize that any movement that has violence and armed conflict in its doctrine and continues to have it– must be defeated militarily, before political discussions can ever be successful!

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