The cynics and vested interests have been portraying Chhattisgarh as a remote, underdeveloped, violence ridden region, where tribal are exploited and live like primitive humans in sub-human conditions. There is also the impression that almost the whole state is torn by Maoist menace and is gasping under Maoist terror. If one were to read the situational map of the state, 12 out of 19 districts are depicted as Maoist impacted. The other imprint is that the state lies in the mineral rich backyard of India with meager facilities and surface communications, and is ruled by callous governments and insensitive officials ever since the state came into being in the year 2000.
The people, tribal and non-tribal,who inhabit this land are progressive and peace loving. Surface communications and infrastructure in the state, if not the best, is better that many parts of the country.
This author undertook a field trip to assess the Maoist menace as it bears on the state. It is true that parts of Chhattisgarh especially the southern and southeastern parts constitute the formidable epicentre of the Maoists. It is also true that parts of Chhattisgarh are ‘liberated zones’ as the Maoists prefer to call it. Nevertheless, it is also true that Chhattisgarh is picturesque, intrinsically tranquil state which abounds in forests and greenery. The people, tribal and non-tribal,who inhabit this land are progressive and peace loving. Surface communications and infrastructure in the state, if not the best, is better that many parts of the country.
This author traveled nearly 1500 km by day and night in the state and found thriving life, buzzing with movement and economic activity. The youth are educationally very conscious. Boys and girls attending schools on bicycles from morning to evening is ubiquitous site. On the national highways, in the Maoist affected areas, there was no sign of fear. This was as recently as the first week of July at a time when the Maoists had called for a statewide bandh over the presence of army for training purposes in the state. The story becomes increasingly scarred the farther one moves away from arterial roads. The difference between Indian rule and Maoist rule is stark.
Maoists are destroying the soul
The Maoists are destroying the tranquility, sensibilities and the rich social fabric of the state. Wherever the Maoists have made inroads, they have destroyed the very soul of that area. They have done so in parts Bihar, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand. Chhattisgarh in this regard is the greatest victim. They have introduced the culture of violence to a set of people, who were most unsuspecting and innocent. They have destroyed the social fabric in Dantewada district and are doing so in other parts of the state as well– all for an ideology which aims at violent overthrow of multiparty democracy in India and supplant it with a one party revolutionary regime.
Salwan Juddum means “˜peace march. These are camps where the victims of Maoist terrorism have found shelter.
In India, there appears to be a curse that all the regions, where nature and God has been bounteous in terms of climate and resources are condemned to suffer violence in form of insurgency and terrorism. No other state has felt the heat of Maoism as Chhattisgarh in the last decade, particularly after the Maoist were imparted a devastating blow by Andhra Pradesh government. Consequently, they established their main base and stronghold in the southern part of the state in the forested and tribal Dantewada district. Located on the border of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, this district facilitated movement and growth of the Maoists.