Mumbai: The government is determined to take “effective measures” against Maoist guerrillas but won’t use the military against them, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday.
Singh, at a press conference in Mumbai, said the Naxals were the biggest internal security threat but the government is willing to hold talks with them if they abjured violence.
“They (Naxals) are banned organisations and are covered under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” he said when asked if the government proposed to declare the ultra-left groups as terrorist organisations.
“We are not in favour of using the armed forces against the Naxalites. The para-military forces and police are adequate (for operations against Naxals),” he said.
Asked about the beheading of a police officer by the rebels in Jharkhand, Singh said the “evil designs” of the Maoists were well known. “The government is aware of their evil designs. We will take effective measures to counter them.”
The Prime Minister said there was no credible information that the Maoists were linked to external forces. “There are always rumours afloat. But there is no credible intelligence pointing in that direction.”
Singh said that the government is taking all steps to deal with the menace of Naxalism. “Naxalism is the greatest internal threat. In months to come, there will be positive results on the Naxal front.”
“Why the Naxalites alone, the government is prepared to have a dialogue with even the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir if they abjure violence,” he said.
Although the ruling classes collectively have been calling for the destruction of the Naxalite movement there remain differences within the Indian ruling classes about how to do so. There remains a section of the ruling classes (which includes many news sources like CNN-IBN which have insinuated that the Naxalites have been receiving support from the enemy of the week whether it be the Chinese or the Pakistanis) that have been demanding two things: 1) that the Naxalites be placed on the terrorism list and; 2) that the Central Government of India launch a military offensive against the Naxalites; and a section of the ruling classes, which includes class collaborationist parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), that see the Naxalites as law-and-order problem and believe that through 1) social and economic development and; 2) a coordinated offensive of para-military and State police forces to undermine the movement. Indeed, as a spokesperson of the CPI(Maoist) noted in the September 19th issue of Economic and Political Weekly that the media and the ruling classes have been putting out sensationalist stories to provoke the ruling classes into a full-fledged military offensive which would result in the slaughter of hundreds, if not thousands, of indigenous tribals and Adivasis who are involved in the movement because of basic social and economic concerns like the unequal distribution of land, the consistent harassment and ‘fake encounters’ that they experience from CPM goondas and CPRF forces, and the basic incapacity and disinterest of the Central Governments and the State Governments to the quality of their everyday lives.
It seems that due to Indian and international pressure, by social movement forces like Sanhati, Arundhati Roy and many others, the second section of the ruling classes has won out. The Manmohan Singh government has decided to organize an offensive against the Maoists, at least according to this public statement, that will be of para-military and police forces and will not include military forces. The Naxalites remain the greatest threat to the internal security of the Indian state, as Manmohan Singh suggests, not due to brainwashing or forcing the local populations into actions (as many bourgeois sources have suggested), but rather due to their capacity to link the economic and political demands of the people and express their desires. They are able to actually solve problems that the population’s experience. In sharp contradistinction to the ruling classes that continue to treat the Adivasis and indigenous tribals like children incapable of making informed decisions, with concrete dreams and desires, the Naxalites have treated the people with love and care and have become the expression of those peoples anger against the exploitation that they have faced.