September 29, 2010

the TOI survey on public perception in naxal-hit area

Times of India has come out with a survey conducted by it through IMRB, in five districts of Andhra Pradesh where naxalism has been contained. The findings more than corroborate what the civil society has been telling us: it is the cutting edge bureaucracy and police that have alienated the people. However, fear, more than people's love for Naxals is supposed to be the reason for spread of naxalism.

Please read the report with an open mind. By TOI's own admission, the survey was carried out in districts where naxalism is no more there. On the other hand, this has the advantage as people must have responded without fear and also they could comment on naxalism and post-naxalism situations. The survey was conducted in remote towns and among low income people.

My comments are in brackets along with the queries. The main findings are given here:

  • Do you feel that your region has been neglected by the government?
yes: 50%, no:27% [Proves the point, but the question is biased against the government.]
  • Do you agree with govt's claim that Maoists are extortionists and mafia?
agree: 26%, disagree: 64%
  • Do you agree with Maoists' methods of revolt against govt apathy?
agree: 64%, disagree: 32%
  • Do you believe in govt/police's claims about Naxal encounters?
yes: 25%, no: 60%
  • Are killings of Naxals justified?
justified: 34%, unjustified: 65%
  • Was Naxalism good for development of your area, or bad?
good: 58%, bad: 21%, don't know: 21%
[About three-fourths feel it was good or not bad!]
  • Has the exploitation in your region increased after the Maoists left?
yes: 48%, no: 38%
  • Now that Naxalism has waned in your area, has life improved or worsened?
improved: 34%, worsened: 27%, no change: 38%
[Why will the people oppose the naxals if 65% feel the life has worsened or there is no change? More so, when they feel that exploitation has increased after naxals left?]

  • Did Maoists work for development or were they just armed goondas?
devp: 53%, goons: 15%, right intent but wrong methods: 32%
  • Did Maoists force the govt to focus on development in your region?
yes: 50%, no: 36% [Question biased against the government.]
  • Are the violence and killings carried out by Maoists justified or not?
justified: 52%, unjustified: 48%
  • What was the main reason for the strength of the Naxals in your area?
popularity: 9%, fear: 46%, mixed reasons: 45%

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