Conflict & Justice

Maoists' vasectomy record beats India's

India's Maoist rebels have a better track record in convincing men to get vasectomies than the government, news coming out of Chhattisgarh suggests.

Half a dozen surrendered Maoists from the epicenter of the simmering rebellion said their leaders agreed to let them marry -- but only if they first got themselves snipped, according to CNN/IBN.

This press event with ex-Maoists sounds like a good opportunity for propaganda.  But okay, I'll bite.  Infants don't make very good guerrillas.  Still it's interesting that this item made headlines in several different newspapers.

The government has tried virtually everything to convince men to go under the knife, including offering cash payments and even gun licenses.  (If you're going to be shooting blanks, the logic runs....)  Yet dangerous female sterilization operations remain far more common -- a good reason for supporting the injectable vasectomy project I wrote about last year for GlobalPost.

In case you've been sleeping on this issue -- Maoists, not vasectomies -- the rebels are active along a forested “red corridor” of central and eastern India. With some 20,000 active members, last year the Maoists killed 1,180 people, more than all other insurgent and terrorist groups in India combined, according to the Economist.  But the revolutionaries are in decline:

Three years ago they were active in 223 districts, a third of all India. In November a home affairs minister said that had fallen to 182 districts, and in many that merely signified “early mobilisation”. Other officials in July pinpointed only 83 districts as badly affected