Political parties campaigning in Jharkhand for the upcoming assembly elections are offering their vision and action plan for the state. Some of them are in tune with the track record of the respective parties and many are evidently a hollow promise. An example of the promise without a track record can be found in the promise of Congress that claims to provide 24 hours electricity to every household of Jharkhand despite the fact that both the 100% rural electrification and household electrification completed under the Modi government. The BJP, among other things, speaking extensively on ending violence in the tribal state. Considering that in the five years both the state and the centre were having BJP governments, what the track record really says about bringing down the Naxal violence in the state?
BJP’s Pitch on Security in Jharkhand
On November 28, addressing a public rally in Jharkhand’s Garhwa, Home Minister Amit Shah said that BJP government has ensured that the Naxalism has been buried 20-feet beneath the ground and they are committed to completely uproot Naxalism once they come back in the state.
While campaigning in the state PM Modi said that previous ‘unstable’ governments are responsible for Naxalism in Jharkhand and appreciated the efforts of Raghubar Das government in tackling Naxal violence.
In an interview to The Hindu, Chief Minister Raghubar Das also counted curbing violence is the major achievement of his government.
What the Numbers Say
The over-all progress under Narendra Modi government with regard to curbing Naxalism or Maoist violence and the insurgency-related violence has been showing a positive trend nation-wide. Jharkhand is not an exception which has seen a reduction in Naxalism related incidents in recent years.
A Lok Sabha reply on July 2, 2019, shows that Left Wing Extremism related violence in Jharkhand has significantly declined. The numbers of LWE related incidents and resultant deaths over the last three years have shown the reduction.
Breaking the Bone of Naxalism As Seen Through Headlines
The newspaper reports are increasingly of either Naxals getting shot down or prominent Naxal heads surrendering. As HM Amit Shah himself acknowledged in his speech, there are causalities from the Police side as well, but the state is winning the battle against Maoists/Naxals in Jharkhand is a writing on the wall.
Combating Naxals- A Pre-condition for Development
It is a basic understanding that the region needs to be violence-free in order to carry out any kind of development. Has the reduction in Naxal violence in Jharkhand paved the way for development?
A Lok Sabha reply by the Ministry of Home Affairs on November 19, 2019, has laid out some figures that speaks for the progress that is taking place in the areas that are coming out of Left-Wing Extremists hold. Among various funds and developmental projects meant for LWE affected area, Jharkhand benefitted majorly.
- Under the ‘Special Central Assistance’ programme meant for LWE affected areas, Rs 1775 crore has been released to States under the scheme in last three years, of which Rs 773.33 crore have been released to Jharkhand. It means more than 40% of funds given to Jharkhand.
- Under Road Requirement Plan-1, 4833 km roads have been completed of which 707 km roads are in Jharkhand. In RRP-2, 1062 km roads, including 184 km roads in Jharkhand, have been completed.
- 816 mobile towers in Jharkhand have been installed in Phase-1 of the Mobile Tower Project and 1054 towers sanctioned for the state in phase-2.
- In the last 4 and half years, the Naxal affected areas of Jharkhand have seen 654 Post Offices, 294 bank branches, 319 ATMs and 2875 bank correspondents.
You may also read our previous article PM Modi in Jharkhand – A Development Guide to Put the Neglected States on the Growth Front
Back in September 2018, The Sunday Guardian published a ground report titled Jharkhand’s Maoist affected districts gradually returning to mainstream. It quoted a woman saying, “Government has fulfilled out basic needs like cooking gas, schools and electricity connection. This has primarily resulted in the villagers supporting the government. However, a lot needs to be done. We are still deprived of proper irrigation facilities, while our youths need good jobs.”
Perhaps, the words of this woman reflect the journey of Jharkhand from a politically instable, violence-affected state to developmental path and also its aspiration of the future.