Need a coordinated development and battle strategy to take on the Maoists in India

As long as it is the police officers and others, then Maoist attack victims get mentioned in the press and depending on the scale of the massacre, there can be comments, or not. For example, everyday you can read in the papers about some type of Maoist activity in their strongholds, and sometimes there are reports of battles with the Maoists, including when police or security forces die in their confrontation. However, when the battle results in large scale casualties is when there is some promise of action, but nothing more than that. But any activity that threatens politicians catches the attention of everybody, including the media; and so, there would never have been this kind of attention paid to the problems caused by Maoist activity as in the aftermath of the attack by the Maoists in Chattisgarh, an event that led to a number of casualties, including those of top level Congress politicians, policemen, and Congress workers.
There is a wide spread understanding of what causes people to support extremist groups such as the Maoists, and this understanding is common between those who have some form of support for the Maoists, and those who detest them and want to get rid of them. And, if you consider the areas in which the Maoists are powerful, there are many common elements – these include lack of development, forest area, hilly area, and in fact, a good definition is areas which have been neglected by the state (the Government of India and those of the various states). In addition to lack of development, the compounding factor was about the local bureaucracy and the police forces not acting to enforce the rights of the people of the area, and in most cases, exploiting those rights. As a result, when these extremist forces reach an area and claim that they are fighting to overturn this sort of exploitation, they find a reasonable amount of support in the local population, and this local reach is what gives them their power. They have a number of people in their ranks who know the local area, and this knowledge of the local area is a multiplier effect in terms of their fight against the security forces.
And along with this understanding, there is also an understanding about what it takes to weaken the Maoist movement, and it is a great threat to the integrity of the country. The areas under Maoist influence constitutes a sizable portion of the land area of India, and also contains great riches in terms of minerals (and which is another problem, since the money involved in seeking such minerals ensures a high level of corruption, which means that very little of this money flows into the local population). There needs to be a concentrated and strong movement against these Maoists, but which does not only mean military might. There is a need to wean away the support they get from the local people, and the way to do is get these people involved with the economic growth of the country and show the benefits of development. However, this means that money that is meant to be spent in an area actually gets spent there in a productive fashion, and ensuring a leakage free development takes a lot of effort, effort that Governments did not seem to be want to spend. During the time when Chidambaram was the Home Minister, there was an integrated plan that was proposed in the media, which seemed to be a plan written by those who knew something about this – the plan emphasized development followed by an increased security push. It also meant that there would be a security push that would keep the Maoists and their leaders on the move, ensuring that they are always under pressure and hence likely to grow weaker. But this was later denied by the Government, and then with the arrival of Mr. Shinde as the Home Minister, any intelligent strategy against the Maoists seems to have vanished. The official line became that this was a state matter since law and order was a state matter, and states should handle the Maoist issue.
And there is the question of short-charging the security forces. There are a number of articles that describe the deplorable conditions of the camps in which the security forces live in, with no effort being made to show to them that their Government cares for their lives and for their well-being, and hence morale is also an issue. There is the issue about support being provided by the Air Force and the army, but with the poor levels of coordination, it might be better for them not to be involved. And there are the tools that could be used, but are not. The Americans are now experts on how to deal with improvised explosive devices, and so are the Israelis, and a lot of this knowledge could have been used to reduce the losses being suffered by the security forces, but this would only be possible if the Government cares for the lives of these security personnel. Further, there are a vast array of UAV’s being used by many Governments the world over, and many of them don’t require much in the nature of infrastructure, but for the past several years, there is only talk about UAV’s being used against the Maoists, but no action. A combination of these steps can ensure that the Maoists will not be in a position to make decisive strikes, and will also lose the element of surprise, but whether somebody in the Government who can take action is also thinking of this area is not a certainty.

1 comment to Need a coordinated development and battle strategy to take on the Maoists in India

  • sahiti

    The present strategy of governments against maoists is completely flawed. Yes , I understand that violence by no means is acceptable. But one needs to understand the level of frustration the locals and tribals must be facing. There is no difference between the GOI and the way british treated the tribals. The whole issue revolves around the forest rights and the mining rights the corporates want. People talk about the New Economic Policy , LPG reforms etc etc.. But what is the ground reality. May be the middle class benefited from these so called reforms. But what about the poor and the tribals. Who are there to care for them.
    When I am denied of job , i may not think about acting against the state in violent means. But when I am denied my land for which i dont have any compensation and when i dont get justice in courts ( here i need to wait for decades for the final justice to be arrived.) , but meanwhile what about my livelihood, my dreams about future. No one will opt violence when they have a choice. They dont have a choice to lead a better life.Sp obviously the locals tend to support these cadres. Instead of repressing this movement and thinking that they are successful the state should retrospect what it is doing and how it is denying the rights of the indigenous tribals. What the british policy towards Indians is similar to what the present state policy towards tribals. And the state which is capitalistic is unable understand this.

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