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Exclusive Report by special correspondent with inputs from Chikmagalur

Chikamagalur, Feb 7: This is indeed a good example for the efficiency or otherwise of the police force and a mirror to their way of working.  Though they were boasting of having enforced watertight security to avoid any intrusion by the Naxalites, the latter came and erected a memorial overnight in memory of their leader Saket Rajan between Sunday February 5 evening and Monday February 6 morning.

It was on February 6, 2005 that top Naxal leader and the 'super brain' behind the Naxal operation in the state, Saket Rajan, was killed in an encounter at Menasinahadya near here along with his comrade Shivalingam.  However, the Naxalites had avenged his death by blasting a police camp and killing 7 police personnel in Tumkur district within 7 days of police encounter.

One can recall that Saket Rajan and Shivalingam were shot dead by the Anti Naxal Squad at the Balige Gudda of Menasinahadya while they were returning to their camp in the early hours of February 6.  Saket Rajan, a scholar and professor, was the leader of Naxalite movement in the state.  It was he who had given a base for the Naxal movement and made them formidable.  His sharp brain coupled with a tongue as sharp as a double-edged sword, coupled with close contacts with the locals, had enabled the Naxal movement to take deep roots in the Western Ghat areas.

With his death, the police as well as the politicians expected the Naxal movement to die a gradual death.  But they have been proven wrong.  Leave alone dying, the Naxal movement has gained more support from the locals in the last one year or so.  Their continued fight with the landlords has brought them close to the hearts of poor people who have been exploited by these landlords.  Though violence cannot be supported at any cost and any level, the locals perhaps feel more comfortable in the presence of the Naxalites than being under the landlords.

Though the government had promised to view Naxalite problem as a socio-economic problem, it has done precious little to justify that.  On the other hand, with a series of encounters it seems that government has seen this as a law and order problem.  Now with the incumbency of a new government too the inhabitants cannot expect anything better since BJP has always been urging the authorities to view the Naxal problem as law and order problem rather than a socio-economic problem. 

Now it is quite clear that Naxal movement has not only gained ground but has even covered a quite good distance in convincing the people that in the present system, they are left with no option than fight vehemently to assert their rights.  The bottomline is that if the landlords and others can exploit them through torture and violence, what wrong there is if they hit back in the same manner.

It is indeed a crunch time now.  Unless the government takes a right decision to solve the problem, Naxalite movement will surely spread wings fast and wide just as it has happened in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.  If the government still continues with its policy, surely it may not have any other option than to walk through a pool of blood.

The Sunday night incident is a mirror to our administration and the law and order system.  People who had passed through the Balige Gudda till Sunday evening had not seen anything on the spot where the encounter had taken place.  But when some women went into the forest on Monday morning, they saw a memorial on the spot built with bricks and cement.  It is written "Prem Amar Rahe" (Saket Rajan was also known as 'Prem') on the memorial.  His photo too has been hung on the memorial.  Along with this, hundreds of handbills containing obituary to their slain leader too have been left on the place.

There are also indications that the Naxalites have offered a 'Lal Salam' (Red Salute) to their leader on the spot before vacating the spot.  Here one can be sure that such a strong memorial cannot be built with 4-5 people.  Surely a big band of Naxalites has come to the place with sufficient raw material such as bricks andcement and has erected the memorial.  Here one point that stands out clearly that they could not have carried out their mission unless they have received support from the people.

It is here that the police and the administration have to think deep as to why people cooperate with the Naxalites and not with them?  It is the human tendency that he/she feels close to one who understands him/her and feels one with him/her.  It is here that the administration has failed whereas the Naxalites have succeeded to a great extent.

So the bottomline is that if the government still persists with encounters and killings, they would unknowingly assist in nurturing the Naxal movement rather than curbing it since each blood cell of a martyr can give birth to thousands of revolutionaries.

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