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Sharp decline in Naxal violence could benefit Bihar coalition

In recent weeks, the activities of Naxal groups in Bihar have been significantly reduced.

The Naxal or Maoist groups surrender or are arrested. Now it is a topic of conversation in Bihar – whether the groups are surrendering alone or whether they feel the new government will tackle the problems of poor living in the affected areas.

The current government of Bihar is a coalition of seven parties including three left-wing parties CPI, CPI-M and CPI(ML) with 16 MLAs and all represent the constituencies covered by the Naxal affected areas of Aurangabad, Bhojpur, Arwal, Rohtas and some other districts.

Nitish Kumar, the prime minister of Bihar, is currently making efforts to unite the country’s opposition parties against the BJP. He pointed to the importance of left-wing parties in government.

At the meeting in Fatehabad, Haryana, to celebrate the birthday of Chaudhary Devi Lal, the late Deputy Prime Minister, Nitish Kumar, said the importance of the left-wing parties, including CPI(ML), was no less than any other party in the country anyway.

Bihar’s political experts analyze Nitish Kumar’s statement which gives an indication of seriously addressing the problems of naxalism in the state.

“The battle with the naxal groups cannot be won with weapons alone. We must go the deep way to address the problems of naxal sympathizers and believe that the government is taking their concerns seriously. It works well for the government. It manages to give the impression to the people living in the Naxal-affected areas that they are participating in the government and that it will tackle their problems,” said Bharat Sharma, a political observer of the Naxal-affected Bhojpur district. who lives in the city of Arrah.

Chitranjan Gagan, the state spokesperson for the RJD, told IANS: “People are generally only attracted to the Naxal activities after realizing that the government would not listen to their problems. Over the years, government policy does not reach them. As a result, they move towards the Naxal operations or provide logistical support to the Naxal groups.”

“After the formation of the new government, the people in the last line of society feel that the development is working and that the policy will reach them. That’s why they believe in this government and its results come before us. The Naxal activities are declining in Bihar and it is becoming a Naxal free zone in the country,” said Gagan.

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 had great success in Bihar and Jharkhand. Bihar is almost free from naxalism. There is no such place in Bihar where Naxali groups currently dominate. We managed to win the battle of Budha Pahar in Jharkhand. The place has been ruled by Naxal groups for the past 32 years,” Singh said.

He also added that there are a few Naxal groups involved in extortion. “Our security forces will deal with them shortly,” he said.

According to CRPF records, 14 Naxals were killed in encounters, including seven in Chhattisgarh, four in Jharkhand and three in Madhya Pradesh. In addition, since April 2022, 578 Naxals and Maoists have been arrested so far. 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. Led by Jagdish Mahto of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), it saw a revival in the Bhojpur district in 1960. During the reign of Rabri Devi, a number of caste haemorrhages 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 upper-caste extremist group of Bhumihar and Rajput in Bhojpur and Jahanabad, in Bathani Tola in Bhojpur district.

In Laxmanpur Bathe, 57 Dalits were murdered in 1997 by the upper-caste extremist group Ranvir Sena in Jahanabad; 32 upper caste Bhumihar were killed in 1999 in Jahanabad by the Maoist communist group in the village of Senari; and 23 Dalits were murdered in 1999 by Ranvir Sena in Shankar Bigha in Jahanabad.

Due to the frequent massacres in Bihar under Rabri Devi’s government, the BJP called its reign ‘jungle raj’.

After the formation of Mahagathbandhan in 2022, BJP leaders have again started saying that the jungle raj has returned to Bihar.

Opposition leader in the Bihar assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, said on Friday the state was moving towards a similar situation as massacres occurred regularly. He also blames the lawlessness in the state on bureaucratic anarchism.

Sinha’s statement came a day after shooting in Bihta in Patna district between groups fighting for the supremacy of sand mining in the Sone River. Four people are said to have died in this violent confrontation.

“The bureaucracy has completely failed in Bihar and it happens after the formation of Mahagathbandhan. The bureaucrats fail to carry out the operations on the ground. As a result, the crime chart is constantly rising in the state. It is alarming and the state is heading for lawlessness,” Sinha said.

Nitish Kumar is well aware that a small negligence can destroy the image of his good governance. At the same time, he also feels that now is the right time to tackle the political issues in the state, as the left-wing parties are in the government.

Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav also face the challenges of attracting investors and industrialists to the state and not giving the BJP room to criticize this government for the law and order. Setting up industries will help the unemployed youth of Bihar to find a job and it can also become a source of income for the government.

Over the years, industrialists have had to deal with security in Bihar. That was why big industrialists kept their distance from the state. As a result, Bihar has become a labor-providing state in the country and not a production state.

With this in mind, the Nitish-Tejashwi government is trying to attract industrialists and investors to Bihar.

The government of Bihar hosted an investor summit in Patna on September 29, where a number of industrialists expressed concerns about public order. The representatives of 100 companies took part in the summit and they appreciated the investment policy of the state government.

Rajesh Agrawal, the director of Micromax biofuel and electronics, said at the summit: “We are from outside Bihar and need special attention for our safety. My benefactors and relatives are asking questions about why Bihar. I said the state is now changing and we don’t have to worry about security.”

Vikram Jay Sighania, the MD and CEO of Adani Logistics said: “When we started the project in Darbhanga and Samastipur, there was a public order problem. We had problems with our securities, but the state government resolved it well.”

The director-general of police in Bihar, SK Singhal, assured industrialists at the summit that public order was improving on all counts. Investors wouldn’t be scared here. “Our police is committed to a safe atmosphere in the state. We pay special attention to law and order and improving it on all parameters,” said Singhal.

Even Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav assured the industrialists of a safe environment in Bihar. The first had pointed out to the DMs and SPs of all districts that investor safety and issues should be addressed as a priority. Tejashwi Yadav said that this government will open police posts according to the needs and demand of investors in case a problem area arises for them.

The biggest threats to industrialists are naxalism and gangsters involved in organized crime. They have been involved in kidnappings and murders of industrialists in the past. Kidnapping for ransom and extortion were the main source of income for the Naxal groups and mobsters.

At the moment, naxalism is almost at the lower level and no cases of organized crime have come to light in recent years.

If the Nitish-Tejashwai combination is able to meet the challenge of reducing Naxal and organized crime incidents followed by the growth of industries, it will be in a formidable position in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections .

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