Beauty needs admiration; skills need recognition; talent needs appreciation. All these desires reach the climax if the desirer is sagacious educated and sensible. But there is always a very obvious difference between recognition and separatism. For the last few months the people of the southern Punjab in Pakistan have been raising their voices for the division of Punjab on administrative grounds. They claim that they have to face a lot of difficulties while seeking for the solution of their problems. People from the far-flung areas like Rajanpur and Bahawalpur have to travel a long distance to reach the provincial head quarter Lahore. They say that by this division the newly established province would be in a better position to take care of the financial matters of this area.
Unluckily as per tradition, the Indian media-men have started portraying this movement as a separatist movement but still they have got no valid argument to support their misconception. The fact is that not even a single fraction in Pakistan is striving for independence from the federation. Be it the Balochistan or the Southern Punjab, the demand is purely on administrative grounds confining to the federation. At the time of independence India had 12 provinces from which it moved to 28 states. But Pakistan remained a composite of four. In fact Pakistan is one of the very few federations of the world in which such a big population is represented by mere four entities. This has created numerous problems over the last sixty years; as a result few have been proposing the idea of creation of newer provinces. Further division and sub-division of Punjab would never be an unwise decision if it is taken at a proper time. Smaller administrative units are always easier to handle with. But a division on the basis of ethnic or racial grounds must never be appreciated.
When we look at India we find a lot of racial and ethnic groups striving for a separate identity. Usually these groups belong to the crushed segments of society and mostly they are the outcome of the horrible caste-system of Indian society. Naxalites, Maoists, Salwa Judum, ULFA, NSCN and so many other separatist are operating successfully in the region. According to the reports some groups like Salwa Judum are state sponsored. They were created to counter some rival groups but with the passage of time such groups got out of the government control and started operating at their own. Asian Center for Human Rights on India reported that Indian Security Forces and state sponsored civilian militia Salwa Judum cadres were involved in gross human rights violations in the name of counter insurgency operations.
The growing influence of all these terrorist groups has prompted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare them as the most serious threat to India’s national security According to India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, 20,000 insurgents are currently in operation. The area of Northeast is considered the most troubled one with respect to these separatist groups. ULFA, the United Liberation Front of Assam and NSCN [-IM] the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) are the most active among such groups. They are striving for the independence of Assam and Nagaland respectively. These two organisations have been continuously trying to extend the spheres of their influence in the Northeast region through violence as well as by training and arming a large number of other terrorist and proxy groups. According to the reports the Naxal Movement is the most horrible of all terrorist groups in India. Naxalite or Naxalism is an informal name given to communist groups that were born out of the Sino-Soviet split in the communist movement in India. Ideologically they belong to various trends of Maoism. Initially the movement had its centre in West Bengal. In recent years, they have spread into less developed areas of rural central and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India. They are conducting an insurgency, typically called the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency. They now have a presence in 40 percent of India’s geographical area and are especially concentrated in an area known as the “Naxal Belt,” comprising 92,000 square kilometers. The Naxal insurgency has become the biggest threat to India, surpassing Indian Held Kashmir and insurgency-hit northeastern states. Out of 630 districts the Indian government has declared 220 districts as Maoist affected areas.
India is facing a high casualty rate of security personnel in Naxal affected states. According to government sources in the past five months more than 181 Security Personnel have been killed. On 16th June 2009 about 400 Moist guerillas entered Lalgarh in Medinapore district of West Bengal and captured it including Police Station, destroying all symbols of administrative authority. The State government ordered Security Forces to control the situation. The Security Forces launched a full scale military operation using two companies of BSF, one company from CRPF, a platoon of Kolkatta Police Rapid Action Battalion, a company from west Bengal Armed Police and a platoon of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB). The Maoists enjoy considerable influence in Lalgarh and are still in control of the district. The Maoist leaders say that their movement is a protest against oppression and exploitation of neglected tribes and landless farmers. They claim to fight for India’s poorest. The Naxalites now operate in at least 11 of the country’s 28 states and are thought to boast some 22,000 fighters.
It is nothing but an irony that a country like India who is bringing up so many terrorist and separatist groups is worried about the movements like the Saraiki movement in the Southern Punjab of Pakistan. India must pay attention to its own society where life has become a blob for the untouchables. The Saraiki movement is not a separatist movement. It is a struggle for the division of Punjab simply on administrative grounds.