ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Makes an Urban Naxal?

Bernard D’Mello writes about his former colleague, “urban Naxal” Gautam Navlakha.


The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government and the Hindutvavadi “nationalist” movement’s demonic drive for cultural orthodoxy seems to know no bounds. What is alarming is the former’s support for and complicity in the acts of the latter, as also the Indian state’s control of its “necessary” enemies through the use of state terror, with the category “urban Naxals” singled out in the latest of such drives (in June and August 2018) that otherwise routinely target Muslims, militant oppressed nationalities, and “Maoists.” In the government’s categorisation, the “urban Naxals,” at least so far, are lawyers, rights activists, poets, writers, journalists, and professors, deemed to be “active members” of the Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist).

The five people arrested in August are charged under, among other criminal laws, sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The residential/office premises of these “urban Naxals” and some others, whom the government also wanted to harass and intimidate, were raided. The intention to malign and discredit was particularly evident when sections of India’s “embedded” media brought the charges against some of them in blatant acts of intimidation on prime-time TV. Some of the “guilty” were publicly castigated as “desh drohis” (betrayers of the nation), “invisible enemies of the nation,” and “serious threats to Indian democracy” for “aiding the CPI (Maoist).”

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Updated On : 9th Oct, 2018
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