News Analysis |
Indian militant Maoists known as Naxalites attacked a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) election convoy in Dantewada district in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, killing party leader Bhima Mandavi and four state police personnel. The attack took place just two days before Bastar goes to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections and five days after four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed in a bomb blast in Kanker district, which goes to polls in the second phase on 18 April.
Tuesday’s attack is a chilling reminder of the deadly 2013 attack, in which heavily-armed Naxalites ambushed a convoy of Congress workers, killing senior leaders, including Mahendra Karma, V.C. Shukla and state party chief Nandkumar Patel.
Naxalism incorporates the principles of Stalinism and Maoism and believes that armed struggle and people’s revolution are the only way to ensure socialism and achieve the ultimate goal of communism.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said Tuesday’s attack had taken place on a convoy of BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Mandavi from Dantewada, while he was returning from campaigning in the evening. The convoy was travelling between Kuakonta and Shyamgiri in Dantewada, according to a report by news agency PTI.
“The Naxalites carried out an IED blast and followed this up by firing on the security personnel for half an hour. The CRPF said the escort vehicle bore the brunt of the IED blast. Security forces have been rushed to the area”, police said.
Dantewada superintendent of police Abhishek Pallav said Mandavi had been advised by the state police against campaigning in the area.
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“Strongly condemn the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh. My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain.” “Shri Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated karyakarta (worker) of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporter,” Indian Prime Minister and BJP head Narendra Modi tweeted in two separate tweets.
Strongly condemn the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh. My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 9, 2019
Shri Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 9, 2019
What is Naxalism
Naxalism is a radical communist ideology that views the Indian political system as an infected system of capitalism controlled by the elite and analyses India as a semi-feudal country. Naxalism incorporates the principles of Stalinism and Maoism and believes that armed struggle and people’s revolution are the only way to ensure socialism and achieve the ultimate goal of communism. Since its beginning, Naxalism poses a great security threat to the dominance of New Delhi.
It can be asserted that the low projection of Naxal violence and disproportionate mention of Occupied Kashmir has to do with the policy and control of the Indian government.
According to analysts, Naxals are a more serious challenge to India today because they seem to enjoy a measure of popular support particularly among the tribal people because they have taken up the tribal cause and tribal discontent — tribal peoples in India’s heartland feel that they have not adequately benefited from the mineral wealth being extracted from their “land”; and that they have been generally neglected by the government which has not been providing them with governance and civic amenities; etc.
Popular support has enabled Naxals to expand their armed cadre, given them the advantage of operating more freely in tribal-dominated areas and to gather adequate intelligence about the movements of the security forces. If the Naxals manage to consolidate their presence and entrench themselves in these areas, then it will be natural for them to seek to expand the areas under their influence.
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While it may be too early to say whether the Naxals will be able to expand thus, what can be said with greater assurance is that a Naxal consolidation in tribal areas will prolong the insurgency, militaries the people of the area, and generally, hold back the region’s and the country’s progress.
Indian Media’s Silence
The Indian media does not project the threat or the violence of the Naxal movement proportionately as it does to the armed liberation struggle in Kashmir. It can be asserted that the low projection of Naxal violence and disproportionate mention of Occupied Kashmir has to do with the policy and control of the Indian government.
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Kashmiri resistance fighters are portrayed as equivalents of Daesh and Al Qaeda and terrorism is crafted as a phenomenon only linked to Islam and Muslims. This allows Indian leaders from both the BJP and Congress to gain votes on political and religious division.
The article had input by Jawad Falak and edited by Sana Mushtaq.