“Com. Kisan and [a] few other senior comrades have proposed concrete steps to end Modi-raj. We are thinking on the lines of another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident,” are the exact words of a letter that is revealed by the police investigating in Bhima-Koregaon violence and Maoist linkages. Within a few hours many articles poured in to call this letter a ‘fake’. Communism is a failed ideology world over and perhaps, even Communists have accepted this. Maoism/Naxalism is the new currency. And these are not the same Naxals who have been fighting for armed revolution in jungles but these are the people who are very much around us, providing intellectual steam to this fake idea of ‘revolution’. They use frontal organisations and manipulate ‘group’ identities against the larger Bharatiya identity. Use the resources of the State to fight against the State, is their strategy. This invisible enemy is getting exposed time and again, still creating enough fissures to further their ‘Breaking-India’ agenda. The recent arrests again remind us the wisdom of real Ambedkar who stood for democratic methods in the independent Bharat
If among the plethora of problems, plaguing the nation at large and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in particular, one thing has to be singled out as the most dreadful, that is Naxalism—both in its rural and urban manifestations—for it jeopardises the lives of the youngest and brightest.
Perhaps the first towering leader to have realised the danger of extremism jeopardising our nation is Dr Ambedkar. His famous speech on November 25, 1949 made on the onset of submission of the Constitution is a glaring testimony to this fact. In the most decisive phase when people were dedicating the Constitution to themselves, the left extremists were busy waging war against the nation. While Sardar Patel was toiling to unify Bharat, the poorest of the poor in Waril, Tebhaga and Telangana were being instigated by the Communists for a civil war. If Ambedkar had fanned these divisive designs, the future of Bharat would have regressed into an unimaginable inferno.
A great patriot and a constitutionalist, Amebdkar never allowed his serious ideological differences to impact the national unity; instead, he channelised his satvik anger for nation building. This is the precise reason why in the first General Elections held in 1952 Shripad Amrit Dange gave a vile call to the voter of Mumbai to waste their vote rather than casting it in favour of Ambedkar. However much the mainstream left would like to dissociate itself from it, Maoism or Left Extremism, indisputably, has its roots in the theories propounded and practices perpetrated by them right from the inception of the Communist Party in India.
Methodology of Urban Naxals
The urban dimension of Left Extremism or Urban Naxalism, as we know it today, too has a chequered history of many decades. It is common knowledge that a section of Communists in India has aped the Maoist strategies and tactics right from the time of ‘Long March’. When Chinese Communists were badly beaten in the urban centres of Shanghai and other Chinese cities, they started focussing on the villages. Mao gave a call for “surrounding the cities from the countryside". Mao famously propounded that in the context of the third world communist movements, the countryside would overwhelm the cities.
Mimicking this strategy, the Maoists in Bharat, in the early phases (this is prevalent even today in many parts), started instigating the rural poor, particularly, the socially disadvantaged sections such as Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the backward regions of Bharat. After initial phases of victimisation, the rural masses started ousting the Naxals from rural areas. Alongside, a section of Naxals realised that to divide and weaken the nation decisively, they need to exploit many more facets of diversity in national life viz., caste conflicts, gender inequities, urban unemployment and problems of unorganised labour in the cities.
The rapid urbanisation and unfolding of newer challenges in the cities during the early nineties in the last century unfolded newer opportunities for Urban Naxals. Demographic complexion and economic backwardness of the cosmopolitan slums was a fertile breeding ground for their ulterior designs. Large cities provide a safe haven for the Naxals for indoctrination, gather financial assistance, procure electronic equipment besides providing the unorganised labour and unemployed youth - grind for their death mills.
In April, 2011, Rakesh Maria, Chief of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (who later went on to become the Police Commissioner of Mumbai), had forewarned the Governments of a defined urban focus in Naxal activities. Furthermore, Maria had said that Naxals have formed a Golden Quadrilateral Committee, in 2008, headquartered in Pune, targeting the Surat, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Thane, to spread their ideology in urban areas, especially among labourers and students. However, for the reasons best known to them, the Union and State Governments across India, took very little interest in tackling this serious issue. Thanks to this tacit disinterest, today, the safety of nation’s Prime Minister is under serious jeopardy.
There is a growing need to impart the realisation among the policy makers and law enforcement agencies at all levels that the impetus must shift to the so called legal organisations of Urban Naxals functioning within the society right under the nose of the State. As against their usual focus on the banned organisation and their cadre, the State must largely focus on the ‘legal and democratic’ frontal organisations. It is these subtle yet overt dimensions that often escape the attention of the law makers and enforcers. A ritualistic ban, often employed as a measure to tackle Naxalism, is no solution to this bane. The Urban Naxals have found ingenuous ways to subvert the Constitutional processes. The real and imminent danger lies in this part of the problem.
Like most terrorist groups across the world, Naxalites have mastered the art and science of Entryism or the infiltration into a mainstream political party, with the intention of subverting its policies or objectives. Urban Naxalism is a glaring manifestation of this phenomenon in India, of which the political parties in India need to be extremely cautious about. Arun Jaitley in his recent social media post has succinctly said: “The ‘half Maoist’ is a serious threat to Indian democracy. Willingly or otherwise, they become over-ground face of the underground. Unfortunately, some political parties see the Maoist as their instrument in the anti-NDA cause. It’s high time that people recognise this malaise.
Keeping aside their political differences, all political parties in India must come together to collectively eradicate this malaise. The most disturbing or perhaps, the cruelest dimension of Urban Naxalism is venomous injection of its destructive doctrine into Schedule Castes and Tribes by misappropriating Ambedkar’s legacy. Ambedkar stood for all that is antithetic to Urban Naxalism. His famous speech ‘Grammar of Anarchy’ is perhaps the finest exposition of banes of extremism and the need for invocation of Constitutional remedies.
(The writer is a practising advocate and founder of Navayana Law Offices)