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How Delhi failed to elliminate Naxal problem

how bands of young resorting to violent means are able to run a parallel administration in 159 districts in eight states and have successfully elicited cooperation from poor in those districts

Author Vijay Sanghavi
The Naxalites, breed of young depending on violent means to correct social and economic injustice of three thousand years in India, have recently again delivered a severe blow to the authorities in India. They caught in trap of their violent attack the contingent of the Central Reserve Police in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. In less than 45 days, they had caught in their trap second CRPF contingent. Earlier in March they had killed 12 jawans and this time their haul was much larger. More than that they were able to empty arsenal of the CRPF and take away lethal weapons. Perhaps armament with the CRPF contingent on a road sanitation mission in the hot bed district of the Naxalite activities was their main objective.
The CRPF Party with 76 jawans, some officers and other attendants forming a squad of 99 personnel had set out early morning from their camp to security of road under construction between Dornapal and Jagargunda, a 56 kms stretch. They came under attack from two ends, with Naxalites keeping villagers in front as their shield. Jawans were caught in a trap with heavy fire is obvious though details are being collected to detail the picture of attack.
However failure of seniors, particularly in Home ministry is obvious. The former Director General of CRPF has nailed it grossly by pointing out that the Home Ministry failed to find a suitable person to head the force even though the DGL Prasad retired on 11 th February this year. The Force is at present operation for more than two months under acting DG. New DG would not have picked up AK 47 rifle to go in Sukma district to fire at the Naxalites but his appointment immediately given a confidence to jawans that the Home Ministry accords importance to their work.
The CRPF has been pressed in task for eliminating the active Naxalites in the region which has earned as its reputation as a hot bed of the Naxalites activities. However use of the CRPF denotes the mentality of the officials who believe that Naxalism is a law and order problem and can be dealt with heavy muscle power. Only seven years ago, several politicians including the former union minister Vidhya Charan Shukla were done to death in a similar kind of attack. Yet officialdom continues to deal with it as if it were not a political issue but merely a law and order problem. They condemn Naxalites as a bunch of criminals who resort to criminal activities such as extortion of money, smuggling and attacks on the administrative structure.
Their concept is unable to explain how bands of young resorting to violent means are able to run a parallel administration in 159 districts in eight states and have successfully elicited cooperation from poor in those districts. As former DG of CRPF Prakash Singh said, officers on duty in the area have been making suggestions for improving the strategies to deal with the spreading menace but their recommendations were thrown in to waste paper baskets in the North Block, seat of Home Ministry.
CRPF officers make recommendations from their experience of ground realities that they confront every day. Officers in the Home Ministry believe they do not need inputs of ground realities as they know how such forces operate and how criminals can be and should be dealt with. Their indifference is reflected in keeping the office of the Director General vacant for more than ten weeks. Obviously officers think they can directly run the force.
The chief minister Raman Singh rushed back from where he was attending the meeting of the governing Council of the Niti Ayog. His contribution was merely to visit the injured jawans in the Raipur hospital and assured all medical help. The union home minister attended the ceremony to pay homage to dead when their bodies were brought to Delhi. The chief minister also assured that the National Highway 36 under the construction for the past five years would facilitate movement of security forces when it is completed. The highway has been under construction for five years. The jawans were attacked only when they were on mission to secure construction. It would clearly indicate that neither the Naxalites nor villagers are enamoured with the project and have attacked to halt construction.
However more surprising element is the total lack of the intelligence in pout. According to one of the injured jawans, their contingent came under attack from two sides with 300 young articipating in heavy fire. There were seven women also firing. He estimated involvement on more than 300 men and women in firing squad with few in apparels as villagers. There could not have been such a huge contingent stationed at one location and they would have taken at least two weeks to organize the firing squad on this proportion. Messages must have been flying to and fourth. Yet the state intelligence had no clue nor did it warn the CRPF on any possible attack. The failure of the state to build up the intelligence net work is too obvious to be ignored and yet the state has been fighting the menace for more than seven years. Was the chief minister not aware of the lack of the intelligence net work?
The special cell in the union Home ministry has also been dealing with the problem for seven years at least. Did it not ever occur to it that the state government even though a partner in this war of muscle power has failed to build a net work so that it can be regularly feeding what goes on in the enemy camp. How can any force fight a battle without at least idea of what the other side has? But then the Indian bureaucracy is habituated to evolve plans for development without asking the locals what their needs are and what do they need. They decide in Delhi what people should have and deliver.
Similarly the cell in home ministry also decided sitting in safety of Delhi how the war with Naxalites be fought. They could not feel the need to know strength, intent and cause of the opponents. Jawans were sacrificed. Now they are to be paid rich tributes as martyrs.
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