LINKAGES BETWEEN EXTREMISM AND  DEVELOPMENT

 LINKAGES BETWEEN EXTREMISM AND  DEVELOPMENT

Developmental issues which pertain to the spread of extremism are linked to lack of access to basic resources to sustain livelihood. However, development is a useful tool against extremism but it must operate in tandem with the security forces.

 

Factors that lead to extremism:

  • Forest policy: In the name of development, habitat of Adivasi communities were declared reserve forests and in accordance with forest conservation act 1980. Rights of primitive forest dwellers were restricted resulting in losing access to land. This gave rise to extremist activities.
  • Land alienation: 40% of rural households have no land or less than half of acre of land, increased marginal land holdings, no land reforms, insecurity and exploitation of tenants and unrest leading to extremism.
  • SEZ: Land acquisition for SEZ again deprived poor of their lands. Also led to loss of revenue in the form of taxes. Loss of food production as huge block of productive lands acquired for SEZ; major impact in livelihood resource, leading to conflict.
  • Common property resources (CPR): CPR’s contributes effectively to the rural economy and provides sustenance to local communities. CPR includes such as community pasture, watershed drainages, village tanks etc. But due to industrialisation, privatisation and development projects, the CPRs area is shrinking and govt. never look in to this matter.
  • Delayed process of adjudication: Considerable frustration gets built up in the society when conflicts and disputes are not settled in time because of formal and slow judicial system which ends up with illegal extremist mind framework.
  • Rehabilitation: Displacement or forced eviction of people occur due to developmental projects. Tribal people are most prone to displacement because tribal areas are rich in mineral resources such as Orissa, Jharkhand. This impacts multidimensional trauma on them leading to serious consequences.
  • Unemployment: High poverty, unemployment and insecurity of livelihood which lead to anger, dissatisfaction amongst youth of extremist affected area.
  • Environment degradation: Land targeted for mineral extraction, agriculture land getting barren, water and air pollution degrade the quality of life.
  • Moreover, tourism industry in this development scenario is posing a great threat to the existing tribal life which is interwoven with ecology. The introduction of foreign influence and commercialisation is triggering the process of disintegration of tribal society leading to extremist activities.

 

Developmental solutions to problem of extremism:

  • PESA, MNREGA, Scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers acts must be to the spirit of the law. Gram Sabhas must be granted more powers.
  • Land tribunals or fast track courts must be set up for speedy disposal of land ceiling cases. The loopholes in the respective state ceiling laws must be corrected.
  • Government should strengthen the subsidiary and supportive activities in horticulture, poultry, fisheries, animal husbandry under the strict guidelines of ministry of agriculture through establishment of quality infrastructure and efficient market linkages at the village level.
  • Universalise basic social services to standards amongst the people of extremist affected areas so that the discriminatory manifestations of governance can be removed.
  • Since problems in formulating a counter-extremist policy as well as in dealing with the issue on a day-to-day basis are sourced to the lack of centre-state cooperation, a permanent institutional mechanism in the form of a coordination centre can be established to thrash out emerging differences.

 

Other measures required to curb extremism:

  • Increased developmental expenditure and activities, creation of infrastructure resources and employment generation through development of industries and tourism. Steps from both the public and private sector are required for the desired results.
  • With nearly 99 per cent of its borders shared with other countries, the Northeast can be a bridge to a most dynamic neighbourhood beyond the meeting point of South and Southeast Asia. So, we need to liberalise the cross border trade.
  • Improved political representation in India’s Parliament. The collective strength of the Northeast States in the Lok sabha is 24 in a 543 member house, and this has led to a neglect of issues relating to this region. Bringing the extremists into mainstream can be done as Rajiv Gandhi Govt did it in case of Mizo National front in Mizoram.
  • Restoration and strengthening of institutions of local self-governance, including strong village and tribal councils. Restoration of the integrity of governance, and the various institutions of civil governance, including justice administration.
  • Disruption of the underground economy of terrorism. The lucrative regime of collusion between terrorists and various overground entities, including political parties, the bureaucracy and business organisations must be challenged and dismantled.
  • Better surrender policy should be adopted. Better coordination with neighbouring countries and information exchange regarding extremist’s activities is very crucial.
  • Use of satellite imaging and drone technology can help in monitoring the extremist activities.
  • There must be active promotion of a culture of peace that rejects and de-legitimises political violence as a means to the resolution of political problems or grievances.

 

The most important aspect of fight against naxalism is defeating their ideology and stop their frontal organisation to build tempo or spread propaganda in the country. Winning the hearts and minds of the tribal population and other marginalised groups will lie at the core of the counter-insurgency strategy.