Pragmatic | The four districts of Jharkhand

Maoists can’t be allowed to take control of these districts.

While ghastly Maoist activity in Chattisgarh has been making news this week, this piece of news from Jharkhand should raise our eyebrows.

The Maoists for the past couple of years are trying hard to bring four districts Dumka, Pakur, Godda and Sahebganj under their control, which could give them access to West Bengal, Bihar and Bangladesh, which is barely 50km from Sahebganj.

Intelligence sources said the Maoists are keen to develop the Santhal Parganas division as their gateway to northeast, where they are teaming up with other rebel outfits for smuggled weapons and sophisticated training.

The Maoists are taking the advantage of administrative vacuum in these four districts and capitalizing on traditional rift between the Santhals and indigenous Paharia people to establish their control in the area.[ToI]

Jharkhand is unique in the sense that it is bound on all four sides by states that are also affected by Maoism. This is the reason why except a small portion in the north-eastern part of the state, most of Jharkhand is afflicted with Naxalism. There are only five districts — Devghar, Dumka, Pakur, Godda and Sahebganj — which are not Maoist afflicted.

Why are these four districts so important?

Because these are border districts. As Police is a state subject according to the 7th schedule of the Constitution, it has resulted in a decentralised, incoherent set of responses that range from inaction to the haphazard deployment of paramilitary units. Lack of coordination among states has been exemplified by the lack of joint operations and as a result, the Maoists can indulge in violence in one state and then cross the borders into another state for safety reasons. The control of these four districts gives the Maoists a free access to a neighbouring state.

Moreover, the Maoist movement’s programmes and activities are based on the objective of capture of state power through ‘physical annihilation of class enemies’, and creation of ‘liberated zones’ which act as bases of resistance. These zones would subsequently go on to establish the ‘Maoist State’ or a communist regime under proletariat leadership. These areas are referred to as the “Red Corridor” or ‘Compact Revolutionary Zone’ (CRZ), signifying an uninterrupted land mass connecting Andhra Pradesh with Nepal. The CRZ is actually meant to be crystallizing linkages with other Maoist groups operating in South Asia including the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and the Communist Party of Bhutan-Maoist (CPB-M).

It is a threat which both the Jharkhand state government and the Union Home Ministry must remain alive to. The Maoists’ plan to take control of these four districts has to be thwarted at any cost. With the consequences being so scary, there is simply no other choice.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.