ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Prose of Counter-Insurgency

The spectre of the Naxalite movement has been haunting the Indian state in recent years. The editorial (‘Widening Debate on Naxalite Movement’, May 10) has summed up the socio-economic roots of Naxalism identified in the report of the expert group (EG), set up by the Planning Commission. The apprehension expressed in the editorial as to whether the Indian state will accept the EG’s “fervent plea in favour of development and redressal measures over repressive ones” is worthy of serious attention.

The recommendations made in the EG report for fighting Naxalism may be termed as a strategy of “hegemony” identified for the Indian state. But state power in India has a tradition of circulating liberal discourse in the public domain and following repressive measures in everyday practices. In February 2007, Yojana, a development monthly of the ministry of information and broadcasting, published a special issue on Naxalism. It was stated in its editorial that the Naxal violence increased “in Chhattisgarh mainly owing to greater offensive by Naxalites to derail Salwa Judum, a voluntary and peaceful anti-Naxalite movement by local people”. Very recently, a member of the EG, Prakash Singh, argued in the media “in defence of Salwa Judum”. But, it is an open truth that Salwa Judum has performed countless atrocities in the tribal land of Chhattisgarh.

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