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Neeraj Kapoor asked: Keeping in mind that the naxals are Indians with guns and naxalism is a result of government apathy, what should be the right strategy against Naxalism?

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  • Kishalay Bhattacharjee replies: Naxalism, to begin with is not only the result of government apathy; that is just one approach to understanding Naxalism. Naxalism or Left Wing Extremism in India is an ideological war as much as an armed insurgency. Therefore it is imperative to counter the ideology that helps mobilise their support. The apathy feeds into this extremism. Therefore it is essential to address the apathy as well. But most importantly the authorities must be seized of the gravity of the Maoist problem. Maoists haven't struck in the cities yet and that could be one reason for the Government to have not responded to it immediately. Development must be all round and not concentrated only in Maoist dominated areas. Police reforms must be implemented immediately. The state and the centre must agree on the threat perception and follow a clear policy which is currently absent. The Government must choke funding of these organisations. Tactical negotiations must follow arrests of leaders to allow them to participate in the democratic process as proof that change is possible. Crucially, there has to be a genuine will to address the grievances of the people which in turn feed into these movements.