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Neeraj Kapoor asked: Is there any solution possible for naxalism as what has happened in Sri Lanka with LTTE?

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  • Nihar Nayak replies: To begin with, it is essential to identify the basic differences and similarities between the two movements. The first and foremost difference is the LTTE was fighting for a sovereign and separate State. It was an ethnic conflict. On the other hand, the Naxalite/Maoists/LWE in India is fighting for equality, social justice and dignity of marginalized people, tribal rights and good governance. Second, while the LTTE was identified as a terrorist organization, this is not the case with Maoists. They have very limited trans-boundary activities. However, there are incidents of Maoists targeting civilians. These occasional incidents can not be compared with the LTTE. The Maoist movement has been thriving because of their nexus with political leaders. That was not the case with LTTE. Finally, in terms of lethality, till date, the Maoists use firearms looted from police and other security agencies. On the other hand, LTTE has been one of the dreaded organisations in the world with military might -Army/Navy and Air force and it was fighting and operating like a Rogue state. LTTE was responsible for killing of top political leaders, including former PM of India, Rajiv Gandhi.

    However, they have some basic similarities like political goal, indoctrination and training programmes, guerilla tactics, mobilization of front organizations, formation of military wings, etc.

    Considering these basic differences between these organisations/movements, only military or police action is not a viable solution to the Maoist problem. Military action could suppress the movement. However, that may not bring a permanent solution to the problem. Earlier, on two occasions (1970s and 2002-03 in Andhra Pradesh), police actions were taken against the Maoists. Interestingly, the movement revived with more vigour. There are also strong possibilities of collateral damage if military action is taken against the Maoists. Adopting the LTTE or Sri Lankan model against the Maoists in India is not advisable. Rather, this problem can be tackled through both development and police action (only in high conflict zones) depending on the local situation. There is also a need of strong political will to resolve the menace by taking appropriate action against the nexus between Maoists and some political leaders.