Fight against the Maoists – need a unified strategy (2)

The first version of this article talked about why the Maoist problem has grown to such a large degree, and how the lack of development, and percolating of the forward movement of the Indian economy to backward and tribal areas is important. In the second part, we address how serious the issue is, and what needs to be done.
The Maoist problem is indeed a massive problem, especially when you consider that the Maoist occupy huge chunks of the land area of the country, and are now emerging in a position to hold hostage many of the crucial economic links that the country depends upon. What are these ? The Maoists have given a good example of what all they can do. In the past, they have shown that they attack police stations in many areas of the country, sometimes in masses of 100’s. They over-run smaller towns and habitations, destroy police stations, loot these stations of their weapons, and also loot banks of money. They do targeted attacks of police and para-military companies, killing patrolling parties through a combination of land-mines, direct attacks and sneaking attacks, and then attacking the reinforcements. Further, many of these encounters take place in remote areas where sending reinforcements take time, while the Maoists know the jungle.

They are also attacking more symbols of development, such as mobile towers, attacking mines, and very recently hijacked a prestigious train, the Rajdhani. Now, trains between the various cities in India do pass through areas that are more Maoist infected, and this is a risk that must be scaring the authorities. Recently, they also enacted a hostage drama, by forcing the West Bengal Government to release some suspects in exchange for an abducted policeman. The success of this hostage drama must have given them enough incentive to try this again.
The Government (and by this, I mean both the Central and State Governments) need to have a strategy to deal with the Red menace, a coordinated plan. For this, they need to ensure that anti-naxal measures do not turn the tribals and poor against the authorities (apparently as an example, the police action in Lalgarh in West Bengal turned a number of people into Naxal sympathizers). The measures need to be accompanies by some short term development measures along with a laid out plan for how to accomplish development of the entire backward areas. These need to be accompanies with social audits and other measures to ensure that the development aid reaches the intended, and that the siphoning does not reach historic measures.
And then the Government should use the stick. Die hard Naxal leaders are busy in setting up training camps to get more people trained in warfare and how to attack economic and security targets, and these need to be disrupted. If these are constraints in using the army in such measures, then using para-military measures and specific forces trained such as the Andhra Pradesh Greyhounds would go a long way in reducing the terrorist potential of the Naxals. Finally, the Government needs to sustain the Public Relations campaign that is it is carrying out, in order to stop Naxal sympathizers in the population to grow.

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