SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DYNAMICS
IN EXTREMIST AFFECTED AREAS

A National WORKSHOP

17 FEBRUARY 2011, GUWAHATI

a report

(For Executive Summary, click HERE)

 

  Shri Radhakrishna Kini A., Director (Research), BPR&D addressing the delegates while Mr Wasbir Hussain, Director, CDPS and Shri Shankar Baruah, DGP, Assam are seen on the dias (sitting from right)
 

A National Workshop was held at Guwahati on 17 February 2011 on the topic “Social, Economic and Political Dynamics in Extremist Affected Areas” as a part of a national study on the same topic. The study was commissioned by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi. The study was carried out in eight states of the country covering twenty six districts. Out of these, five states were from the Northeast and the other three were Left Wing Extremism-hit states.

The Workshop was attended by senior officers of the BPR&D, senior police officers from all over the country (both serving and retired), officers from the army and para-military, academics, senior media persons and NGO activists. There were three sessions in the Workshop. The inaugural session was chaired by Shri Shankar Baruah, IPS, DGP, Assam. The session started with the inaugural address by Wasbir Hussain, Director, CDPS, where he elaborated about the study that was being carried out. It was followed by addresses by Shri Shankar Baruah and Shri Radhakrishna Kini A., Director (Research), BPR&D. After that two presentations were made by the CDPS team on the various findings and recommendations of the study. The first presentation covered the northeastern region and the second presentation covered the Left Wing Extremism-hit region.

The second session was chaired by Mr E N Rammohan, IPS (retd.), former DG, BSF. The session had two focus speakers, one Mr Rammohan and the other, Mr Subir Bhaumik, Author & Analyst and BBC Eastern India correspondent. Mr Bhaumik addressed the topic on India's Counter Insurgency and Peacemaking Policy. He said that India's counter-insurgency policy suffers a strong conventional war bias. He called for a change in India's counter-insurgency and conflict resolution strategy and provided a few recommendations. Mr Rammohan focused on the issue of Left Wing Extremism (Naxalism) in the country. He explained that the root causes of extremism have to be identified and taken care of; only then the problem of extremism will be solved. He also stressed on land reforms in the Left Wing Extremism-hit areas and of giving of forest rights to the tribals.

The third and final session was chaired by Shri G M Srivastava, IPS (retd), Former DGP & Security Adviser to CM, Assam. The session started with introductory remarks by H K Deka, IPS (retd.), former DGP & the Project Coordinator. He presented his observations on the study as the coordinator. It was followed by open discussion on the presentations on the study made in the first session. All the participants shared their views on the topic and gave forward their opinions and recommendations. Quite a few issues were raised during the discussion. After the discussion, the chairperson gave his remarks, discussing the various points raised. The Project Coordinator, H K Deka then wrapped up the session with his concluding remarks. The vote of thanks was offered by Wasbir Hussain, Director, CDPS.

 
  A view of the delegates during the Workshop
 

The various issues that were raised during the workshop were:

• There is a need for sensitization of police officers coming from an area not hit by left-wing extremism to an area hit by left-wing extremism. As those officers are not much aware of the actual ground situation in such areas, so sensitization becomes very necessary to make them able to handle the situation and tackle it effectively.

• There is a need for creation of a mechanism for redressing grievances of the common people as well as of the security forces.

• The Union government should advice the state governments on taking immediate steps for bringing out land reforms. Though land reforms are a state subject, still the centre can play the advisory role.

• Land reforms need to be area specific and community specific and the existing land ceiling laws should be taken into account while bringing out the reforms.

• Whenever people are displaced from their lands for setting up of some industrial projects, it should be ensured that the land-losing people are provided with some means of livelihood.

• The emotional, cultural and religious sentiments of the people should be assessed before they are resettled and rehabilitated in some other place.

• SPOs are doing good work in most of the left-wing extremism-hit states. As such their use to curb extremism should be continued. Also it provides employment to the local youths. If these youths are not recruited as SPOs and they remain unemployed, they will join the extremists’ ranks. As such it is very much necessary to keep them on the side of the government.

• Once the problem of extremism problem is solved, the SPOs should not be discharged from service. They should be made a part of the police force and their job be regularized.

• The word “Naxalism” can be replaced with the term “Left Wing Extremism”.

• The effect of extremism on national highways needs to be addressed.

• The states, districts, police stations and various agencies dealing with the extremism issue need to be strengthened.

• The police needs to be sensitized on gender issues. For this, cases involving abuse of women could be given priority and prompt investigations should follow.

• The leadership should be fair, level and without political connotations. This will help in establishing good governance. Need for good governance was emphasised again and again by the participants.

• A humane approach towards solving extremism has to be taken. It has to be ensured that the security forces don’t abuse human rights during counter-insurgency operations.

• Atrocities and rights violence committed by non-state actors are not much highlighted. Rights groups should be sensitized to take up these issues.

• The recruitment process of the police force has to be monitored. There have been cases where police personnel are found to be indulging in criminal activities. As such, steps for a proper, fair and transparent recruitment process for the police force is very much necessary.

• Petty crimes need to be dealt with in the extremist affected areas. Police in such areas give more priority to Naxal-related incidents and the petty crimes remain unchecked. This has to change.

• The data relating to the number of respondents (majority /minority) need to be quantified.

• There is a need for sensitization of all law-enforcing agencies including the judiciary.

• The basic needs of the police personnel needs to be met. This would boost the morale of the policemen and would increase their dedication to their work.