(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 25, 2010
SITARAMYECHURY IN RAJYA SABHA
‘Can You Combat Maoist Menace
When A UPA Ally Patronises Them?’
The following are the excerpts from the speech made by Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) leader in parliament on April 15, 2010 while intervening on home minister's statement on Dantewada massacre.
At the end of the statement that the home minister has made on the Dantewada massacre, he said that let us wait for the inquiry committee report to come and then we can take stock of what actually happened in this particular incident in Dantewada.
We agree with that; we shall wait for that. But the point that I would like to highlight right now is that the Dantewada incident is not an incident in isolation. This is happening as a part of a policy, as a part of developments and activities that have intensified since the UPA-II government has come. Since the general elections in 2009, according to the figures of the home ministry itself, 993 lives have been lost due to Maoist violence, of which 340 are security personnel.
point that was made
by the leader of the opposition, a point that I have been making and we
the Left have been making in this House for the last nine months or so,
there is a fundamental contradiction that is feeding the growth of such
violence in our country and that contradiction lies within the central
and the union cabinet of ministers itself. I have repeatedly stated
three occasions, the prime minister has drawn the attention of the
stating, 'Maoist violence represents the gravest threat to
is the point this
country must understand. You have the re-entry of Maoists into
Naxalbari is a village that exists in
So, this is a tactic of terror. This is politics that is being operated through terror. And it is this politics of terror that needs to be fought today. I think what is required is a combination of measures required by law and order and ideological political struggle against the Maoists and Maoism itself. Unless this combination is adopted, I don't think we can actually succeed. Therefore, I would sincerely urge the government at the centre and I sincerely urge the prime minister, the leader of the house, to please come here and explain to us how he has members in his own cabinet who think completely opposite of what he has been telling the nation as far as Maoists’ violence is concerned and do not compromise the interest of our country for the sake of continuation of your government.
You may be happy, like once Winston Churchill famously remarked during the Second World War, "Let the Communists and Fascists kill each other and then we shall enter", and he delayed the second front. If that is the thinking of the Congress Party today, I am sorry, it will only lead to a sort of devastation that the world had seen during that time. If they think that let the Maoists and the Marxists fight each other out and let them deplete themselves, and then, they will enter in order to restore the peace in that region, then they will destroy the very basis and the foundations of the parliamentary democracy in our country. So, they have to be extremely clear. In this, what is required by the central government, as I mentioned earlier, in these five states that you are talking about right now with five different governments, but unless you take on board all the political parties and that requires a complete non-partisan approach and the central government co-ordinates these activities, you cannot really solve this problem.
Mr Deputy Chairman, you come from a state that was also infamous for having bandits like Veerappan. For two decades, you could not catch him because whenever Karnataka Police moved, he would move into Tamilnadu; whenever Tamilnadu moved, he would come back into Karnataka, or go into Kerala. And, in this way, between the three states, he managed for two decades. You require a co-ordinated approach between all these states if you want to solve this problem. And, that requires a strong political will. That requires a strong political will to be able to co- ordinate between all these state governments. That is required, and my appeal would be to all other political parties also who are running governments in the states that this is not something on the basis of which, we should calculate our electoral fortunes for the future. This is a threat that needs to be met squarely. Otherwise, you will have series of actions that will continuously undermine the foundations of a modern parliamentary democracy in India.
And, that is why, when Dr Keshava Rao, was talking about the method employed in Andhra Pradesh and he was talking about negotiations or talks as the way in which the problem was solved, please remember, the biggest thing that was undertaken by the Andhra government then was Operation Grey Hound. Therefore, it is a combination that will have to be done. In fact, we have to learn from our own states which have actually tackled extremism in a very successful way, and one of those states from which we have to learn is the tiny state in the North-East called Tripura. In Tripura, they have tackled it by a combination of a political approach, a political will using the law and order measures and addressing the most important issue of development. And, addressing that issue of development can only be with a combination of this that you could actually control the growth of these extremist activities. And, the development issue is the third arm of this tripod. You require a tripod approach, and in that tripod approach, one leg is the law and order; the second leg is the political will and the political battle; and the third leg is to address the developmental concerns. Look at the area where all these activities are taking place. This is one of the richest areas in terms of mineral resources in our country. You have, through the years, successively in the government, privatised mining. And, all of us know what havoc private mines have been playing in other parts of the country. But, here, privatisation of mining activities in the areas which are predominantly inhabited by tribal people has only added to the woes of the people there. The private mafias that come with the private mines and their activities, had only caused further miseries to the tribal population there who already could not have the benefits of development reach them. Therefore, what is required is to also look into the policies, re-look into the policies, and, at least, try and understand why we oppose the privatisation of these mines. You are creating situations of over-exploitation and extra burden being imposed on the people there. That is also adding to the backwardness of the people there apart from the traditional backwardness of the tribal areas. Therefore, what is required if you really, sincerely want to tackle this problem is a combination of this tripod. You will have to address all the three - law and order, a political will and a political battle against them, and address the developmental issues of the concerned population there. Unless this holistic approach is undertaken, we cannot really tackle this problem. The home minister, in his statement, said that there are two pillars of the policies that the central government has adopted. One is that of calibrated police action, and the other is that of development.
And, then, he goes on to say, the state governments, therefore, have a primary responsibility. I find it completely contradictory. Now, you are saying that the state governments have a primary responsibility. Yes; law and order is a state subject, and, the state governments have a primary responsibility. There is no doubt about it. But when a law and order problem spreads beyond the borders of a particular state and goes into the borders of other states, then, of course, the concerned state governments have that responsibility, but the task of the centre in coordinating these actions of the state governments becomes important.
I hope that instead of the central government standing ready and willing to assist the state governments, and, to coordinate the inter-state operations -- I am quoting it from the statement of the home minister -- this coordination of inter-state operations and willingness to assist the state governments, should come in right earnest. There is no political scoring of points. The home minister is not here; perhaps he has gone to the other House. It is very, very ironic that he said to the chief minister of West Bengal, "the buck stops with you", and, then, within 48 hours, he had to say to the country, "the buck stops with me", after the Dantewada incident took place. Today, you may try and score a political point saying that the buck stops with him. Tomorrow, the developments will tell you that the buck stops with you. Finally, as was said in the beginning, the buck stops with the country, buck stops with the nation, and the buck stops with the government, which, at the moment, is given the responsibility to run the country.
I would also want to just touch upon one point, which, in this ideological battle against these forces, we also have to understand. We have made one appeal to the naxalites since they started and formed their party in 1969. They started work in 1967; splintered into various groups; got regrouped, and, in 2004, they came together and formed this party, the Communist Party of India (Maoists), and, since then, there is this growth in violence. Since then, we have always been saying, if you have a difference of opinion, come forward and put that difference before the people; let the people decide whether we are right or you are right. That is the approach, which we will have to adopt even now; and, in that ideological battle, we have to say this very clearly.
Unfortunately, -- I wish; I don't believe in such things -- but if there is a grave and if there is a Mao, then he would be turning upside down in his grave because his name is being grossly misused by these forces, I mean, when they call themselves as Maoists. Poor Mao was the man who said, no communist can survive unless he mingles with the people like a fish takes to water. It was Mao, who said, let a hundred flower bloom, let a thousand thoughts contend, and, it is only then that you know what truth is. You have to seek the truth from the facts, and, that is what Mao taught us. They misused the name of Mao; anyway, that is their democratic right, and, we can take on them ideologically. But, we have to realise that in this battle, we will have to be united in taking on them, on the basis of this tripod understanding. Finally, I would like to recollect, with some degree of anguish, the warning that Dr Ambedkar gave to all of us and the country when he presented the final draft of the Indian constitution to the Constituent Assembly for consideration and adoption.
Yesterday (April 14) was his 120th birth anniversary. When he commended the Constituent Assembly to accept it, in his speech, he said, 'but this constitution that we so laboriously have constructed, and, this structure that we so laboriously want to build, is beset with contradictions." And, he defined the contradictions, I think, very, very well. I can't find a better way of defining it. It is that the constitution provides one man with one vote, and, one vote with one value. But our social conditions have not created one man with one value, and, as long as you have this contradiction that one man does not have one value, but you have one man having one vote, and, a vote having the same value.
So, unless you create a society where all men are equal, he warned that, and I quote, "What we have so labouriously built will be blown asunder by the very people who are suffering from this contradiction". And, if you really want to tackle the problem of extremism, the problem of anarchy, you will have to have a very serious re-look on the trajectory of this neo-liberal economic reforms that we are adopting because that is generating this sort of a situation where it is easy for an unemployed, insecured youth to take to arms and take to militancy because that is the only security life offers. Therefore, finally in conclusion, while waiting for the inquiry report on this specific Dantewada massacre, we will urge upon the government to immediately inform us what is their decision with the people within their union cabinet who are providing both protection and patronage to the Maoists. Unless you take a firm, decisive step in that direction, we cannot succeed in combating this menace.