Plausible dimensions of naxalite surrender
The news of a naxalite couple surrendering before Balaghat police ran for two days, in HT Live, Bhopal dated July 05 and July 06, 2010. The story said ‘disillusioned’ naxalite couple surrendered to police. Interestingly, the reason quoted for the man to join naxalite cadre was simple- disgruntled over misbehavior by an educational caretaker, followed by failed redressal at home. The man was a child, only 13, when he was inducted into the ranks of insurgents. On trying to read between the lines and analyzing the whole story, we can discern following dimensions.
First, the age of recruitment is alarming. It indicates the presence of child soldiers. The presence of child soldiers has been conspicuous in LTTE cadre, amongst Jihadis in Afghanistan, Liberia and many African countries, and other places, but not much mentioned about presence in Naxalites. Not that there has never been a concern, but to what extent is worrying. The recruitment of child soldiers in naxalite cadre may be basically through three methods. One- children are forcefully picked (can have trafficking perspective also) and trained to wage war against the State. Perhaps, through proper brain washing mechanism Stockholm syndrome is developed in these victims converting them into hardliners, and astute soldiers. Second- a well organized, planned campaign is resorted to with the help of well-wishing, sympathizing organizations, agencies and individuals having presence in tribal belts. They become the recruiting agencies or at the least counselors for recruitment. This is by selling the ideology. And, the last- a disgruntled child may run haywire due to falling system and try to find solace under their umbrella, which has already become a symbol of power and resource (as has been reported in this surrender case). Now it becomes important to ascertain the magnitude of hapless children within the rank and file of naxalites. At least the story has pointed at the tip of the iceberg. What method of engaging children is prevalent in a particular area depends on socio-economic conditions and availability of support system to the recruiting agency.
Second dimension of the story is that there are fissures in that dreaded organization. All is not well on that side. The disillusionment must be more in intensity than realized. Can that be exploited by the State agency for their benefit. Quite obviously, the naxalite set up must be having strict rules and regulations to follow. Already few reasons resulting in disenchanted was exposed in the story, like vasectomy, continuous living hardship, high threat perception etc. Can this daring act of the couple be replicated? The aspect of rehabilitation and publicizing the benefits on the other side of fence to the alienating members can make some inroads.
Third is the strength in our system of protecting the whistle blowers and witnesses. This case can be a litmus test for other rank holders to emulate. If the system gears up well and prepares a fool proof method to guarantee their safety, natural fallout will be increase in numbers of grounding weapons.
Fourth dimension, is a challenge to the local development agencies to take a cue and adopt corrective measures to stop drain of children. The story clearly depicts that running to their shelter is cake walk. They with open arms are welcoming into their cadres. One very important aspect in the story, which cannot be ignored is that leader of Dalam had counseled and given the option to carry on studies and join them later. This vividly reflects that they are exhibiting that humane part to win over mentally. Negligence of the State system will drift the community towards them more easily. It is and always was a struggle between the easy local influence and difficult government reach. It is simple to alienate from the State, for there are hundred loopholes, and if not can be projected as being there. Hence, the development agencies have double the task than their counterparts to grab attention and keep the humble tribals at their side.