Need to defeat extremism of all sorts

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The dastardly killing of AJSU leader Tileshwar Sahu in Barahi by suspected extremists of People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) has come as a big shocker for everyone in the state who has belief and trust in Indian democracy. PLFI has allegedly claimed responsibility for killing Tileshwar Sahu and this underscores the vulnerability of political leaders in the state.

The fact that the police and security agencies in the state were well aware of the threat and risk that Tileshwar Sahu was facing from the naxal outfits makes it all the more scary. It means that even if the police are aware of someone being vulnerable to naxal violence, they may not be able to ensure his or her safety. It is a sad comment on the state of affairs in Jharkhand.

Tileshwar Sahu’s killing has come as a dampener for the entire political class in the state, which has already started warming up to the electoral battle coming up. This nefarious killing just two days after the announcement of elections will only demoralize the political class.

While the Indian elections have rightly been described as the biggest carnival of democracy on this planet, the sad fact is that with elections ahead, the country also faces a possibility of violence and blood-shed.

With time, the nature of violence has varied and ebbed, but elections do create friction and resentment across the country and the state machinery has to be alert to scotch any sign of things going out of hand.

Indian democracy has grown stronger with time and Election Commission of India has been doing a marvellous job of conducting free and fair elections in a country, which is known for its contradictions and complexities.

And despite all the shortcomings, India has remained largely a democratic and free society because of these elections and the inbuilt democratic spirit of the people.

Our democracy will continue to face internal threats and there would be some forces who would try their best to subvert democracy in India. Such forces would continue to cite imagined injustices and inequality as reason enough to subvert democracy.

However, they would not be able to suggest any alternative system which would guarantee universal freedom, political rights and freedom of expression to the people. It is foolish to listen to those who don’t have an alternative system to suggest before abusing the present system.

It has taken decades of struggle and hard work before we could achieve and learn to sustain this democracy. The chimera and misconceived notions of some misguided people or some organizations cannot be allowed to subvert everything that we have achieved so far. Despite all the shortcomings, Indian elections still give us a pride of place among league of democratic nations. No Maoist outfit can dream of providing such a democracy to its supposed people.

The oncoming elections would be a big test for the state administration and the police. Violence-free and fair elections are essential for any democracy. And to strengthen our democracy we must ensure that extremist outfits are not allowed to interfere in the democratic process. Extremism of every kind is harmful for our democracy. But, Maoist extremism is perhaps most inimical to democracy, because it completely rejects everything that democracy stands for.

Vimal Agrawal

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