Maoists capitalising on poverty: Pillai

GUWAHATI, Feb 14 – Former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai on Tuesday said that the Maoist rebellion in the country needs a wake up call for the Indian democracy. “Not enough action has been undertaken to improve the lot of the poorer segment and it is this gap that the Maoists are trying to capitalise on, rather than ideology”, Pillai said. He was chairing a session at a two-day national seminar on “Sustaining Peace in Northeast India: Changing Dimensions” that concluded today.

The seminar was organised by the Guwahati based Centre for Development and Peace Studies (CDPS) in collaboration with the British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata.

Pillai said that the presence of Maoist in the region has to be monitored closely and it is the time for all the democratic civil society groups to wake up and act accordingly. “A series of action plans have to be taken up. The main difficulty is that such groups have justified by some intellectuals who stay underground. Therefore the civil society needs to be proactive”, he added.

Presenting his paper titled “Maoism, the new threat in Northeast India: An Overview”, Wasbir Hussain, Director of CDPS said, “Now, it is official that Maoists or Naxalites have managed to extend the ‘red corridor’ to North East India and have linked up with a number of insurgent groups in the region, adding an entirely new dimension to the area’s security situation, besides forcing the authorities to take a re-look at their counter-terror strategies.” He said that the threat has turned into a reality—Maoists have actually made its foray into Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere in the North East.

In his paper titled “The Pull Factor for a Maoist Rebellion in the North East”, Dr Samir Das, Prof and Chair, Dept of Political Science, Calcutta University stated mainly two pull factors: one is tactical alliance, ie, alliance of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) with the other leading insurgent groups of the region; and the other is strategic alliance, ie, penetration of Maoist to the civil society.

Dr Alka Acharya, Prof of Chinese Studies, JNU, Delhi in her paper on “India’s Look East Policy and China: Can a Trade or Business Initiative succeed in reducing conflict in North East India?” said that neighbouring Southeast Asia has been dramatically changed with China’s role specially in the context of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. “These developments only serve to highlight the backwardness and underdevelopment of India’s Northeast. While the prospects of China’s intervention in the violence ridden areas are highly unlikely, implications of continuing violence and underdevelopment on the overall strategic scenario of India’s relation to China needs to be carefully examined”, she explained.

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