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

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State Response to Maoist Violence in India: A Critical Assessment

Maoist violence is the consequence of increased atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (especially in the central tribal belt) and widespread tribal unrest due to commercialisation of forest resources. Ignoring such analysis and acting primarily on reports by the Intelligence Bureau, which is not equipped to study the multiple complexities of developmental conflicts, the Ministry of Home Affairs has resorted to brute police force to deal with the violence. But, as suggested by several reports, the problem should be handled politically and administratively, implementing the constitutional provisions for dalits and adivasis that have so far been ignored.

This article will argue that there is a policy crisis in relation to the handling of what is perceived as Naxalite/ Maoist violence in the country. The crisis stems from mistaking the consequence for the cause. Maoist violence in the country is the consequence of non-performance on the basic issues related to tribal development as laid out in our Constitution. It may be more accurate to say that it is state violence and structural violence that is provoking Maoist counter-violence in the country. The issues in this regard are brought out briefly and clearly in the recent letter by B D Sharma, former Commissioner for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), to the president of India (Sharma 2010). A consequent organisational, managerial and information crisis exists in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), once the nodal agency for the development and protection of SCs and STs though it is now exclusively concerned with law and order matters.

1 Constitution and Maoist Violence

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