In a significant move, the Centre on Wednesday inducted sociologist Virginius Xaxa into the 12-member National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in the slot vacated by social activist Aruna Roy.
What seems have prompted the government to induct Xaxa, a well-known author-scholar on tribal communities in India, is the fact that he himself is an Oraon tribal from Chhattisgarh. A Deputy Director at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati, his work is primarily on various conflicts between the indigenous tribal and the non-tribal communities in post-colonial India.
His induction into the reconstituted NAC in the wake of the March 25 Naxal/Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh is therefore quite significant. The NAC most certainly will be taking his inputs to help the government fine-tune its policy towards the growing problem of Naxal dominance in the tribal belt.
Still grappling with the cause of the attack, sources said, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as Sonia Gandhi zeroed in on Xaxa to get to the bottom of the cause. He has also been closely working on the violent clashes between the Bodos and the minorities in Assam, which took place a few months ago.
At present on the Chhatisgarh crisis, once the political allegations and the blame game between the Congress and the BJP (which is in power in the state) over the security lapse dies down the grand old party would need to answer why it was targeted. This is where the new NAC inductee could be of some use, a senior Congress leader said.
Over and above the confusion within the government on how to tackle the issue (and the conspiracy theories floating around), the latest Centre-State internal security meet exposed the lack of consensus among the mainstream political parties over what needs to be done to uproot Left extremism.
While the BJP is clearly in favour of strong arm tactics to curb the rise of Naxalism in the forested tribal zone, the Congress would prefer to have a mix of force and development interventions drawing a line between the tribal population and the extremists operating in the area.
The NAC, conceived as a recommendatory body which formulates policy and provides legislative framework, has from the beginning been overtly focused on the disadvantaged groups.