A creed of violence

A creed of violence
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First Published: Tue, May 18 2010. 08 29 PM IST
Updated: Tue, May 18 2010. 08 29 PM IST
Naxalites have struck with deadly violence in Chhattisgarh once again. In their latest attack, they have killed dozens of persons, many of them innocent civilians going about their business.
The facts are clear and simple. On Monday afternoon, Naxalites blew up a bus carrying civilians and security personnel in the troubled Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh; 35 persons were killed on the last count and many others injured.
The incident removes the last shreds of the ideological cover behind which Naxalites had been hiding. Beyond the hysterical response that has ensued, however, there are three beliefs at stake. One has to do with the claim that Naxalites are fighting a “just war” against the government of India. They aren’t. The second is another claim that there is a difference between them and terrorists who operate in other parts of India. There isn’t. And finally, there is the issue of ends. If Naxalites were to attain their goal, which is the destruction, for all times, of a legitimately constituted government of India, what would replace that?
The use of violence to attain political goals was discredited in the last century. The Russian revolution of 1917 was perhaps the last successful attempt to use violence in the hope of bringing a better and more humane order. After that no such attempt has succeeded, even if the dregs of that outlook persisted for some time. The Naxalites of India come from that tradition, if it can be called that.
Even if such violence succeeds, it never leads to a more just government. It only leads to violence becoming an end in itself. That truth has led to the discarding of such ideas. Even erstwhile terrorist groups such as the Hezbollah of Lebanon have transformed themselves into political outfits that operate within the limits of law and reason.
As a result, political violence is now the preserve of terrorists and terrorists alone. Thus, it is important that Naxalites be seen as another terrorist group and not a band of Robin Hoods working for the poor. It is lamentable that some leaders within the United Progressive Alliance have tried to make this distinction. The second Dantewada massacre should tell them that such fictions don’t tally with reality.
Are Naxalites any different from terrorists? Tell us at views@livemint.com
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First Published: Tue, May 18 2010. 08 29 PM IST