Patna, Oct 2 (IANS) In the last few weeks, the activities of Naxal groups in Bihar have reduced significantly.
The Naxal or Maoist groups are either surrendering or being arrested. Now, it is a talking point in Bihar -- whether the groups are surrendering on their own or are they sensing that the new government would address the issues of poor living in the affected areas.
The current Bihar government is a coalition of seven parties, including three left parties CPI, CPI-M and CPI(ML) having 16 MLAs and all of them are representing the constituencies which comes under the Naxal affected areas of Aurangabad, Bhojpur, Arwal, Rohtas, and some other districts.
Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar is currently making efforts to unite the opposition parties in the country against the BJP. He has pointed out the importance of the Left parties in the government.
During the rally in Fatehabad, Haryana to celebrate the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Devi Lal, the Late deputy prime minister, Nitish Kumar said the importance of the Left parties, including CPI(ML) was not lesser than any other party in the country.
The political pundits of Bihar are analysing the statement of Nitish Kumar which is giving an indication of addressing the issues of Naxalism in the state seriously.
"The battle with the naxal groups cannot be won only with the weapons. We need to go in the deep route to address the issues of naxal sympathizers and believe that the government is serious about their concerns. It is working well for the government. It manages to give an impression among the people living in the Naxal-hit areas that they have participation in the government and it will address their issues," said Bharat Sharma, a political observer of the Naxal affected Bhojpur district living in Arrah city.
Chitranjan Gagan, the state spokesperson of the RJD told IANS: "People generally are attracted towards the Naxal activities only after they realise that the government would not listen to their issues. Over the years, the government policies are not reaching them. As a result, they are heading towards the Naxal activities or providing logistical support to the Naxal groups."
"After the formation of the new government, the people standing in the last line of the society are sensing that the development works and the policies will reach them as well. Hence, they believe in this government and its results are coming before us. The Naxal activities are reducing in Bihar and it is becoming a Naxal free zone in the country," Gagan said.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Kuldeep Singh also claimed that Bihar has become a Naxal free zone in the country.
"Our security forces have achieved great success in Bihar and Jharkhand. Bihar is almost free from Naxalism. There is no such place in Bihar where Naxali groups are dominating at the moment. We have managed to win the battle of Budha Pahar in Jharkhand. The place was ruled by Naxal groups for the last 32 years," Singh said.
He also added that there are a few Naxal groups involved in extortion. "Our security forces will deal with them soon," he said.
According to the data of CRPF, 14 Naxals were killed in encounters, including seven in Chhattisgarh, four in Jharkhand and three in Madhya Pradesh. Besides, 578 Naxals and Maoists have been arrested since April 2022 till now. 36 Naxal have surrendered in Bihar, 414 in Chhattisgarh, 110 in Jharkhand and 18 in Maharashtra.
Naxalism has been one of the biggest challenges for all governments in Bihar. Under the leadership of Jagdish Mahto of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), it saw an upsurge in Bhojpur district in 1960. During the Rabri Devi government, a number of caste-based massacres took place -- in Bhojpur, Jahanabad, Gaya and other districts. As many as 21 persons belonging to the Dalit community were killed by Ranvir Sena, an extremist group of upper caste of Bhumihar and Rajput in Bhojpur and Jahanabad, in Bathani Tola in Bhojpur district.
In Laxmanpur Bathe 57 Dalits were killed by upper caste extremist group Ranvir Sena in Jahanabad in 1997; 32 upper caste Bhumihar were killed by Maoist Communist Center group in Senari village in 1999 in Jahanabad; and 23 Dalits were assassinated by Ranvir Sena in Shankar Bigha in Jahanabad in 1999.
Due to the frequent massacres in Bihar under the Rabri Devi government, the BJP termed her reign as 'jungle raj'.
After the formation of Mahagathbandhan in 2022, the BJP leaders have again started saying that the jungle raj has returned in Bihar.
Leader of opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha on Friday said that the state was heading towards a similar situation when massacres were frequently taking place. He blamed the lawlessness in the state to bureaucratic anarchism also.
The statement of Sinha came a day after firing in Bihta in Patna district between groups fighting for the supremacy of sand mining in Sone river. Four persons were reportedly killed in this violent clash.
"The bureaucracy has completely failed in Bihar and it is happening after the formation of Mahagathbandhan. The bureaucrats fail to execute the operations on the ground. As a result, the crime graph is continuously rising in the state. It is alarming and the state is heading towards lawlessness," Sinha said.
Nitish Kumar is well aware that a small negligence may demolish the image of his good governance. At the same time, he is also sensing that this is the right time to address the naxal issues in the state as the Left parties are in the government.
Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav are also facing the challenges to attract investors and industrialists to the state and not give any room to the BJP to criticize this government over law and order. Setting up industries will help the unemployed youths of Bihar to get jobs and it may also become earning sources for the government.
Over the years, industrialists have had the issue of security in Bihar. That was the reason why big industrialists maintained a distance from the state. As a result, Bihar has turned into a labour providing state in the country and not a production state.
Keeping this in view, the Nitish-Tejashwi government is trying to attract industrialists and investors to Bihar.
The Bihar government organised an investor summit in Patna on September 29 where a number of industrialists raised concerns over the law and order situation. The representatives of 100 companies participated in the summit and they appreciated the investor policies of the state government.
Rajesh Agrawal, the director of Micromax bio-fuel and electronics said during the summit: "We are coming from outside of Bihar and need special focus on our security. My well-wishers and family members ask questions about why Bihar. I said that the state is changing now and need not to worry about security."
Vikram Jay Sighania, the MD and CEO of Adani logistic said: "When we started the project in Darbhanga and Samastipur, there was a law and order problem. We faced difficulties in our securities but the state government handled it well."
Bihar Director General of Police S.K. Singhal during the summit assured industrialists that the law and order situation was improving on all parameters. Investors would not feel scared here. "Our police are committed to facilitate a safe and secure atmosphere in the state. We have special focus on law and order and improving it on all parameters," Singhal said.
Even Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav assured the industrialists of providing a safe environment in Bihar. The former had directed the DM and SPs of all the districts that the security and problems of investors need to be addressed on a priority basis. Tejashwi Yadav said that this government will open police posts according to the needs and demand of investors in case a trouble zone develops for them.
The biggest threats for the industrialists are Naxalism and gangsters involved in organised crime. They were involved in kidnapping and killings of industrialists in the past. Kidnapping for ransom and extortion were the main source of earning for the Naxal groups and gangsters.
At present, Naxalism is almost at the lower level and cases of organised crimes have not emerged in the last few years.
If the Nitish-Tejashwai combine is able to address the challenge of reducing Naxal and organised crime incidents followed by the growth of industries, it will be in a formidable position in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.