India today is reeling under the combined onslaught of the Maoist attacks and Naxalite attacks on India’s police forces, state infrastructure and bleeding to death hundreds of innocent civilians caught in the cross-hairs of an ever increasing onslaught of Naxalites and Maoists emboldened by a confused Central Government unwilling to take hard decisions. The old analogy of “Nero fiddled while Rome burnt” is becoming increasingly applicable to Dr Manmohan Singh.
The Prime Minister has all the time to visit foreign countries but has no time to visit the insurgency affected States and boost the morale of the security forces and the victimized innocent civilians. In his last Press Conference the Prime Minister asserted that he had been warning the country against the Naxalite and Maoist menace for the last few years.
Mr Prime Minister, the question then that goes begging is while you have rhetorically warned the country, what have you done in all these years to conceive and implement a concerted national strategy strategy for an armed threat that is no longer a State law and order problem but a menacing national threat.
The Cabinet is divided, the UPA Coalition is divided, the Congress Party is divided and the Congress Government and the political Opposition parties are divided on what strategy the Republic should adopt to stamp out this menacing onslaught on the Indian Republic. Is this not an abdication of Prime Ministerial responsibility to provide effective leadership when the Indian Republic is besieged from within now in addition to the proxy war and terrorist attacks against India by surrogates of the Pakistan Army?
The Prime Minister has bequeathed the responsibility of meeting the Naxalite/Maoist insurgency to the Home Minister but has kept the Home Minister’s one hand tied due to political compulsions. India’s dynamic Home Minister felt so constrained to deal with this insurgency that he publicly asserted that he could not do more as he has only a ‘limited mandate’. Again the question arises as to what held back the Prime Minister from giving a ‘full mandate’ to the Home Minister to deal with this insurgency in the first place?
Yesterday when the killing of over 70 innocent civilians in a train accident engineered by the Maoists in West Bengal was reported, from within the Cabinet there were widely differing reactions and statements from the Railway Minister, the Home Minister and the Finance Minister, with all of them offering different perceptions of this gruesome incident, further reinforcing the public perception that each one of them were speaking prompted by different political perceptions. And once again one does not seem to have heard the Prime Minister on the subject at all.
The Congress Party spokespersons on national TV networks in the wake of this tragedy were pontificating that the tragedy should not be politicized while themselves politicizing the issue immediately after making this pious assertion. Is it not incumbent on the Prime Minister to have long back convened a series of all-party meetings to synthesize a bipartisan national strategy to liquidate this national threat?
The other constant refrain is that the root causes of this insurgency should be addressed and that the ignored and neglected development of tribal areas should go hand in hand with security operations. The blame here again lies with the Congress Party. With the exception of West Bengal all other Maoist insurgency affected States were under Congress rule for long years. Why did the Congress Governments neglect the development of these poor areas? Further in the last six years what has the Prime Minister done to ensure that the benefits of all the thousands of crores rupees schemes had reached the poor tribals. He may have been able to ascertain the results only if he made the effort to personally visit these underdeveloped areas.
The first Congress Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid special attention to the tribal belts and the North East regions and would personally visit these areas to ensure Government projects for their development were taking shape. As a child I vividly remember photographs of the Prime Minister’s visits. What prevents the present Prime Minister to follow the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor?
It is high time that the Prime Minister diverts his attention from his illogical fixation of ‘peace dialogues’ with Pakistan and parleys with the US President and focus entirely to “secure India” from its internal security threats by enlisting bipartisan support and thereby facilitating an integrated national strategy to deal with this threat. Any further fiddling in this direction could debilitate India from meeting external threats when internally its entrails are being eaten up by this insurgency.