Land alienation, poverty amongst scheduled tribes and dalits and lack of access to basic forest resources have contributed to the growth of naxalism, says the Planning Commission. Its report, Development challenges in extremist affected areas, indicts Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh. The report also critiques sezs and the complete failure of instruments like the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
In 2006, the Planning Commission set up an expert group headed by D Bandopadhyay, a retired ias officer experienced in dealing with naxalites in West Bengal in the 1970s, to look into the phenomenon of naxalism.Its terms of reference included "identification of processes and causes contributing to continued tensions and alienation in the areas of unrest and discontent, such as widespread displacement, forest issues, insecured tenancies and other forms of exploitation like usury, land alienation, etc'. It also included "special measures to be taken for strengthening the implementation of pesa'. The committee comprised Prakash Singh, former up dgp; Ajit Doval, former director of the Intelligence Bureau; B D Sharma, retired bureaucrat and activist; Sukhdeo Thorat, ugc chairperson and K Balagopal, human rights lawyer.
First of its kind
"This report is a first of its kind in the last 22 years by the Centre. We have tried an open approach rather than a security-centric one,' informs a senior member of the expert group. Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal
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