AIR MARSHAL ASHOK GOEL (Retd.)
PVSM AVSM VM 11, Silver Estate,
P.O. Rohilkhand University,
Naxalism-Maoist and the Massacre at Dantewada
Naxalism erupted in the year 1967 in a village called Naxalbari. However, the same was nearly brought under control because of wisdom of the political class, duly supported by the bureaucracy and the security forces. The same further reemerged as Maoist in the eighties and remained dormant till beginning of nineties.
However declining standards of polity, infested with criminal elements casteism, communalism and corruption political masters lost site of development & governance, (to remain on power), kept in the background. Undesirable, unlawful, elements gathered momentum and this lead to further isolation deprivation of the people of these areas.
Today the situation has reached that in 12 states more than 160 districts are under the influence of Maoism. The prime minister of the country in 2007 boldly declared that the Maoism is the biggest internal security threat to India. With this background we launched a very big antimaoist program in the state of Chattisgarh as Operation Green Hunt. And before even the operation could have been anywhere near its real launch 76 CRPF personnel were massacred on the early hours of 6 April 2010
Why did that happen?
Firstly CRPF as a force was created and has been employed for crowd control, mob control during large scale agitation against unarmed people.
Secondly CRPF is highly stressed in their deployment and their basic comfort zones are very low.
Thirdly the quality of leadership is poor for fighting insurgency environment. The leadership is to be leading from the front i.e. should be pulling the force and not pushing.
Fourthly lack of coordination with the state police and the intelligence agencies was totality in adequate.
Fifthly even the political leadership has been lacking in there stewardship, statesman like qualities and connectivity with the people. It was only India Gandhi the prime minister who ever visited the tribal areas in early eighties. Since then no political leader worth the name has made even an effort of that kind.
Sixthly very hard hitting and bold statements by the people in position become retaliatory by such an organization as Maoist.
Seventhly there appears to be mismatch between the state government and the central government. The state government has snubbed the recommendation of the Ram Mohan Committee.
Eighthly the recent revelation of police personnel supplying arms to Maoist is very alarming. The possibility of ex-serviceman joining the rank and file of Maoist can not be ruled out. The reason they remain (ex-serviceman) isolated deprived and neglected.
What do we do?
Firstly it has to be a stick and carrot policy to be adopted.
Secondly lines of communication with the adversaries should be opened and maintained.
Thirdly fast & committed development process should be initiated.
Fourthly we should infiltrate into the core groups of the Maoist to slowly weaken them. Superior human intelligence force to be developed.
Fifthly at the same time we should train some paramilitary forces Bn like (CRPF, BSF, and SSB) as Special Operation Groups. Which has to be on the lines of commando units of the Indian Army, RR Bn (deployed in J&K) Assam Rifles (in the North East).
Naxalism and Maoism has been result of decades of perpetuated social order in which the inherent structural violence subjugates exploits, displaces tortures and destroys the poor and the weak to benefit the rich and the powerful. It’s from this indictment of the state that the Maoist combatants claim legitimacy for their armed struggle for the over throw of such a state. Naxalism is a political challenge that is in the hearts and mind of the people. Ultimately it is not superior violence but the superior politics that will win the day for one of the adversaries.
The problem is serious and grave but certainly not insurmountable the political leadership has to rise above low quality standard to bring up the bureaucracy and the security forces to very high level of leadership.