Rama Krishna Sangem
Even 19 years after the Centre has launched a hunt of CPI (Maoists), the ground situation at best can be called a failure. The killing of 10 jawans of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh on April 26, Wednesday is a latest example of repeat action and reaction series we are very used to. No one knows how and when this problem ends.
Maoists triggered a landmine under a convoy of CRPF which encircled them a while ago causing the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who chaired a Cabinet meeting in Delhi condemned it, Home Minister Amit Shah joined many in his ministry – Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) – describing the violence as an act of cowardice.
What followed the mine blast reminds us of what we have been seeing since CPI- Maoist party has been formed after CPI-ML (Marxist-Leninist) – People’s War merged with other ultra groups Maoist Communist Centre of India and another CPI-ML) group in Bihar in September 2004. Broadly they are called Naxalies with Maoist ideology.
In 2006, then PM Manmohan Singh declared that Maoists are the single biggest internal threat to India and the party was banned under UAPA – Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) in 2009. The same year, then Home Minister Chidambaram declared Operation Green Hunt against Maoists, spread over 75 districts of central and eastern India.
At one stage, the UPA government planned to use army against Naxalites, but differences at the top level, both within the government and from the army stalled the proposal. However, one or the other form of counter-insurgency strategies have been used against Maoists, who never stopped killing central forces, through guerrilla methods. Killings in the form of encounters have become in these forests.
MHA’s Bureaucratic Approach
After Modi became PM in 2014, then Home Minister Rajnath Singh vowed to end Naxalism within five years. But, he failed. Even present HM Amit Shah too made similar statements and is nowhere near his goal –of wiping Maoists out from their strongholds. MHA as always, maintains a bureaucratic approach to the problem. Or like a CEO talks about the financial performance of his company- with the help of figures and graphs.
What surprises us is the response of MHA which relies on statistical charts to- show that Naxal violence is decreasing year by year. In their annual meetings, senior bureaucrats from Delhi reel out figures and claim that the number of affect districts have come down or the number of violence incidents has gone down over the previous years.
Fresh numbers of violence incidents are given to us, to say that there is a drastic decrease in them in percentages. How can any government talk about the loss of lives in terms of percentages? Why cannot they admit their gross failure in handling the issue? Even one single landmine blast is enough to tarnish the image of India at global level. Even those in civil society who support Naxalites too are mum – even on the killing of Naxals except blaming the Centre.
What matters is the lives of people on the ground. Even if one jawn or a civilian is killed, it is a grave concern for all. But, in our Home Ministry’s language, the situation always shows improvement. The officials always try to project a picture of improvement and situation coming to normalcy. Deadlines keep extending.
Rs 1 lakh crore spent in the name of LWE
India has spent, according to sources, close to Rs 1 lakh crore over the years on what the MHA says, LWE (Left Wing Extremism), under various heads – right from laying of roads to equipping security forces with modern weapons etc. But, the situation remains where it was a few years ago. We don’t know who got benefited out of these huge money and what results the amounts yielded.
Now, the intensity of Maoists may be in Chhattisgarh, but we cannot say, they are not there elsewhere. There has been a blame game between BJP and Congress over who is responsible for the violence. The Centre and State governments are alternately headed by these two parties over the last two decades.
All methods have been used to tackle Maoists. Salwa Judum and tribal home guards etc, have experimented to curb Naxalism. Some governments say they view this as a social-economic problem, while the others say, it is just a law and order issue. However, neither of them succeeded in their objectives.
Meanwhile, bleeding continues in the forests of Dandakaranya.