Thursday, April 24, 2008

Haryana, Punjab’s new worry is naxals

Chandigarh: The increasing influence of naxalites in Punjab and Haryana has become a cause for serious concern.

As many as 30 organisations propagating Left-wing extremism are reported to have sprouted in these states in the last about two years, spreading their tentacles mostly in rural areas, official sources said.

The extremists mushroomed especially after economic activity in these states increased due to the setting up of SEZs.

Sources said their target was not just exploiting the sentiment of farmers whose land was acquired for the zones, but also mustering support in other sections such as students and labourers highlighting administrative lapses.

CPI (Maoist), CPML (Party Unity), CPML (New Democracy) and CPML (Liberation), alien to the political set-up in the two states so far, are serving as umbrella organisations for the purpose.

Officials say while in Punjab, radical Left units could spring up in a big way as the state still has remnants of the naxalism that struck it in the sixties, their widespread growth in Haryana has baffled government agencies.

"More than Punjab, Left-wing extremism seems to have become rampant in Haryana where economic activity is on a high swing," said a senior security official.

Haryana's proximity to Delhi has been exploited by leaders of these organisations to strengthen their foothold in the state, he said. The large number of farmer protests held in areas adjacent to Delhi has been attributed to them.

In Haryana, there have been over a dozen demos in the last about a year in which left radicals played a key role, said the official.

In Punjab, a similar situation was observed a few months ago when the Leftists took over a protest against an industrial group in Sangrur after the state government allotted it agriculture land at much lower than the market price.

Initially, farmers had raised a feeble voice to demand market price for their land, but as soon as the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugraha) joined the fray, they changed the tone of their protest and refused to part with the 300 acres required for the project. They continued to be on a war path and threatened to scuttle the project.

Punjab intelligence agencies have warned the state government to be careful as more such protests are likely to follow against the other big projects being planned in the state.

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