What do they want?
That is the first question we should be asking when dealing with the Maoists.
Do they want basic human rights, as enshrined in our constitution?
Do they want roti, kapda, makaan?
Do they want freedom from exploitation?
Do they want their share of the economic benefits from their land?
Do they want to retain their age-old culture and way of life?
Let's take a look at the Constitution of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), as found here.
Here's what it says way up in the first paragraph:
''.....The ultimate aim or maximum programme of the party is the establishment of communist society. This New Democratic Revolution will be carried out and completed through armed agrarian revolutionary war i.e. the Protracted People's War with area wise seizure of power remaining as its central task. The Protracted People's War will be carried out by encircling the cities from the countryside and thereby finally capturing them....'
In case you missed that, here's something a bit further down:
Article - 4: Aims and Objectives:
The immediate aim of the party is to accomplish the New Democratic Revolution in India by overthrowing imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism only through the Protracted People's War and establishes the people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the proletariat. It will further fight for the establishment of socialism. The ultimate aim of the party is to bring about communism by continuing the revolution under the leadership of the proletariat and, thus, abolishing the system of exploitation of man by man from the face of earth.
In other words, the Maoists want the Red Flag over the Red Fort.
And in a classic case of 'my enemy's enemy is my friend,'they publicly endorse and sympathise with the Jihadis from our western flank, who, incidentally, want the Green Flag over the Red Fort.
But unlike the jihadis, who are fuelled and funded by our friendly western neighbour, the homegrown movement is endorsed by a sizeable chunk of our own population. A sizeable chunk of our own population which has been continuously and consistently denied the basic needs listed on top. A sizeable chunk of people who have been mercilessly exploited, abused and used by us. Yes, Us. You, me, and all those who continue to pretend that All is Well, while knowing deep down that it is not.
But if we are culpable, the state is more so, for allowing things to reach such a pass. Perhaps the tribals are not a large enough vote-bank. Perhaps they don't even vote. But it takes a lot of oppression for hundreds of thousands of our own people to start believing that the Maoists' 'democratic dictatorship' offers them a better way of life.
Image: Villagers of Dalitpur in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh district gather around a coffin carrying the body of Ranjit Yadav, one of the 76 Central Reserve Police Force personnel killed in a Naxal ambush in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, April 6. Picture copyright Associated Press. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.