Op-Ed: Maoists Try To Disrupt Polls But Long Live Democracy!

By Ashutosh Mishra

Bhubaneswar: Maoist rebels have tried their best to disrupt the ongoing polls. On the eve of voting for the second phase of elections they had shot dead a polling official in Kandhmal. The victim, Sanjukta Digal, was on her way to her designated polling booth when the ultras triggered a blast targeting the vehicle she was travelling in along with other colleagues. The vehicle, however, managed to negotiate the stretch safely. Frustrated the rebels opened fire at the vehicle killing Digal.

In another incident in the same district the Maoists had set a bike and two SUVs on fire. The vehicles were carrying polling materials like EVMs and VVPATs. Now nearly two weeks after the killing of Digal the radicals have gunned down a businessman in Kandhmal district suspecting him to be a police informer. The victim was dragged out of his house and shot at point blank range.

The latest killing by the Maoists is an attempt to trigger panic among people ahead of final round of polling in the state tomorrow. Among the Lok Sabha constituencies going to the polls in the final round the ultras are active in parts of Mayurbhanj that borders West Bengal where, too, the Red menace has been a cause of concern.

Maoists don’t believe in democracy and elections. Their ideology is at complete variance with the values that a modern democratic country like India stands for. Worse they believe in the use of violence to achieve their objectives. Each time there is an election in the country they trigger violence in a bid to disrupt the polling process.

Neighbouring Chhatisgarh has been the worst victim of Maoist violence. Earlier this month the ultras killed four BSF men deployed on election duty in the state which in 2013 had witnessed one of the biggest attacks by the Maoists who had targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying senior Congress leaders in Darbha valley. The attack wiped out almost the entire senior Congress leadership of the state.

Significantly, Maoists active in Odisha districts like Koraput and Malkangiri had taken part in the Darbha valley ambush the memory of which still sends shivers down the spine of politicians. It is common knowledge now that rebels from Odisha frequently cross over to the Chhatisgarh side and vice-versa to carry out major operations.

In fact, Maoist cadres from Chhatisgarh had a major role to play in the Nayagarh attack of 2008 in which the town’s police armoury was looted and 14 persons including a dozen policemen were gunned down. Red cadres from Andhra Pradesh have also been taking part in operations in Odisha and Chhatisgarh.

In all these states the Maoists have been trying their best to subvert the elections by resorting to violence. But one must congratulate the security forces and the polling personnel of these states for fighting the Red terror with extreme courage, making great sacrifices in the process. It is their bravery and commitment to duty that reinforces our faith in elected democracy which has survived so many challenges in the past.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)