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November 27, 2010 / subramanyam

Maoists and Lankans — A Discussion


              “So , what’s the topic today ? ”Professor Rao asked the students as he walked in to the class. The Friday class was usually reserved for learnings from current (read burning )issues in the country.

                Sir, there was a ballot this time and the topic that prevailed is “Sri Lankan lessons for handling the Maoist violence In India”. The Class Representative Vijaya reported.            

                “So What are we waiting for I declare the floor is open “the professor quipped ,in his authoritative voice .

                “I think we should be using the Sri Lankan Model , get in the army and get the Maoists out , this is as simple as that. We should take a leaf out of Mahenda Rajapakse’s book . He crushed the LTTE and got peace in Sri Lanka ,I think adopting that model would deliver results in India also .” CharanPreet Sahani opined.

                “Excuse me , but what happened in Sri Lanka was a genocide , the  government has crushed the Tamil Movement with an Iron hand  and that doesn’t mean that the problem is solved .No democratic country can ever accept what the Sri Lankan Government did  and please don’t eulogize what Rajpakse did  ” an angry Anjani srinivasan shot back .

                “But Madam , peace has been brought into the country and a number of leaders are queuing up to learn from Rajpakse and the Sri Lankan Model. We have had leaders from Burma, Bangladesh and Thailand visiting the Island nation to learn a lesson or two  from the Sri Lankan Victory over terrorism ”.CharanPreet  tried to substantiate.

                “A mere visit by heads of two or three states will not make a model really great or correct. For that matter many western powers have been extremely critical of his military actions .It’s a genocide and I stand by it  ” Anjani was in no mood to relent .              

                “I think our esteemed friend is more worried because Tamils are involved, incidents of this sort ask for impartial analysis” Shrikant Deshpande came to the aid of Charan Preet.

                “People are people and unleashing military would bring in more harm than good , you would understand the pain when  one from your community gets affected” Ranjith Nair joined Anjani’s side.

“You have the least concern for the human rights ”………… “Human rights … you talk of human rights when there is a threat to the country’s unity itself , these human right activists are all maoist symapthisers ”……..  “come what may….no internal wars  and no Army , it’s against the Gandhian priniciples ” ………“That would make us cowards ..the red army would advance ”……………

The arguments continued…..

                As the arguments proceeded, the rationality was slowly disappearing and the original objective of handling the Maoist ‘s in India was getting sidelined.

                “Friends, I have been trying to get in for the last 30 minutes and was cut down every time please let me share my point” Gayathri was at the top of her voice. The class calmed down seeing their best student literally yelling at them.

                “Please understand Sri Lankan army did defeat Prabhakaran’s LTTE, but the civilian government there did not solve the wider problem of Lankan Tamils. This is still a problem and will live for some considerable amount of time in  Lankan politics. Yes, today the problem appears subdued but this is going to come back and haunt the Lawmakers of the Island nation if proper steps are not taken .The Sri Lankan Government needs to  understand that the claims and pleas  of Tamilians  for fair play are legitimate . two,  Prabhakaran was an  extremist , he believed in violence and no other path. It’s said that he himself eliminated some moderate Tamil Leaders. If I am not wrong, some sections of Tamil population would have welcomed Prabhakaran’s death . There is a chance now for Tamils in the island to have a moderate leader leading them . That’s the issue with Sri Lanka .

                Using Sri Lankan Model in India , I am sure  it’s very very tough .first the powers Rajpakse has, ever cared to look who’s who in Sri Lanka? Well let me tell that for you. Rajpakse is the president  and has about 15 portfolios directly under him. If I am not wrong , the all important Defence and finance portfolios are there in the 15. Then his son is an M.P. He has two brothers in the cabinet and another is the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament. Brother Gotopaya who is the defence secretary has the direct control over the armed forces and immigration. This explains Rajpakse’s hold on Lankan Politics and governance. In a country like ours, such a control over the portfolios is practically un imaginable.Well even if one had such a control , we should  think twice before using the army .Any sovereign State, when it chooses to use its armed forces on any  internal insurgency should abide by the international treaties on Human rights .Then there is always the issue of this being treated as a civil war or an internal armed struggle by the UN. These would be extremely detrimental steps for a developing country like India . O.k., even if we are ready to live with all this and use military , after the entire fight and elimination of Naxals, after enduring all this, the government would still be facing the problem which was the root cause of Naxal movement,poverty ,classes ,exploitation of the poor to name a few.

                So there should be a two pronged strategy , on one hand start concentrating on development measures in the naxal affected areas, go ahead with special packages if required , create opportunities  and get youth on your side ,see to it that Maoists do not have any local support to bank on . on the other hand keep your police and coombing activities alive, add additional police forces if required, use army only to provide guidance to the police operations , provide opportunities for naxals to surrender . To me this makes sense and I believe this would work at least 10 times better than the Sri Lankan model .

                Thanks for listening to me patiently” with this Gayathri ended her speech and spell-bound class clapped in unison to appreciate the best speaker of the day.

                “I am proud of you my child , you spoke what I planned to speak as a conclusion to this topic , India would be lucky to have your name on the ballot one day “Professor Rao said as he shook hands with his favorite student .  

[The class , the students ,the professor are all fictitious , I used them to drive a concept in another manner .]

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