Some perspective & opinion in the aftermath of the Sukma Encounter: The way forward and what can be done.
“They were around 300 & we were around 150, we kept firing. I shot 3-4 Naxals in the chest”: CRPF Braveheart Sher Mohammed injured in the Sukma encounter today.
The recent attacks by Maoists is just another witness to their barbarity. There is no doubt that these terrorists should be wiped out from our country. But to arrive at snap judgements at the effectiveness of Anti-Naxalite efforts on the basis of this single encounter is wrong. Many are opining that the Maoists should be wiped out in a snap, and that the Modi Government and the Chhattisgarh State Governments have been unable to counter these terrorists. This is just not true. While much more needs to be done, one needs to look at the bigger picture and evaluate before coming to a conclusion.
Firstly, One cannot reduce armed secessionist in a second. It takes time, effort and patience to quell such movements. One cannot just send in the armies and suspend all civility and kill indiscriminately like in a War. There needs to be a lot of planning and planned focused use of force to win against enemies that threaten us from within.
We may not have been able to completely eradicate the Naxalite menace, but over the course of the last three years, the deaths of armed forces personal have reduced significantly.
As shown in this chart: (through @nitingokhale, https://twitter.com/nitingokhale/status/856507192500826112)
Each incident and each death is an aberration that we should never accept in a civilized society, but to expect the Government to eradicate it in a second is a vision that is betrayed by reality. I am in no way condoning the death of our martyrs. They will forever be remembered for their bravery and sacrifice. But to suggest that the government is doing nothing to reduce the threat, is, as shown by this chart, wrong.
I agree, however, that a lot more can be done and must be done. Our CRPF Personnel should get better weaponry, armors and so on. The CRPF doesn’t have a regular Chief since DG K Durga Prasad retired. That position must be filled at the earliest.
Another important thing is enabling the tribals and developing the infrastructure of these areas, so as to provide an escape route to those who otherwise would have swept up into become Naxalites are able to make an honest living. The State Government of Chhattisgarh had already committed ₹10,000 crores to Sukma & Bastar. That is the way forward. Force cannot be the single paradigm upon which we base weeding out Maoists. There are many dimensions to it, and one cannot be ignored in a moment’s heat. The CRPF Jawans that died today were actually overseeing the construction of a road, which would suggest that the Maiosts are becoming desperate to stop the state from taking action that will address the underlying issues that fuel the militancy.
Along with these, one thing that needs to be taken up is the eradication of an ecosystem that actively accepts the Maoist Movement as a legitimate expression of Tribals and other disadvantaged groups, and not active secessionism and aggression financed by Bharat’s enemies. These “Urban Naxalites” so to speak, must be called out and hold to account.
I remember an incident where the General Secretary of Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) called Maoists “True Patriots” and further said:” “It is the brutal exploitative circumstances in the country that gives birth to such patriots who are concerned for other human beings”. This is the sort of “logic” that justifies Maoist violence in the country. ( I had responded to the comment here: https://www.facebook.com/ananthkrishnas/posts/1179232698824731)
It is then high time that we call these “activists” and “Human Right Activists” who justify this sort of violence into account. We cannot have people who justify violence and barbarity call themselves “Human Rights Activists” in our country. No civilized country would accept them as such, and neither should we.
There should be no way that we justify the violence of Naxalites and Maoists.
I hear a lot of anger and passion in the aftermath of these incidents, and rightly so. We should never accept this violence on our nation and our people. We should never accept the violence of these Naxalites as a routine part of our existence.
But to make snap judgements of the overall strategy based on this single incident is wrong. We cannot take this incident and explain, deduce and make opinion on it to all ends. There will be countless editorials in Newspapers, online portals and wherever about the Government’s failing strategy in countering the Maoists. But this is not true. Of course, there needs to be an enquiry, there needs to be remedial measures, this incident cannot be passed off. But to judge that the overall strategy has not paid off is wrong. The numbers indicate so.
But that won’t matter. There will be calls by some “Authors”, “Intellectuals” and “Human Right activists” to bring the Maoists to the negotiating table. False equivalencies with the Naga accord will abound. Sri.Shekar Guptaji will compare Modi to Indira Gandhi, as he has already done so. No one will talk about the lowering rate of incidents and deaths. Because that won’t fit the narrative.
This a setback, and one that needs to be investigated properly, to make sure such incidents do not occur. But when we go forward, when we assess what has happened and what we must do about it, one cannot ignore how much we’ve already achieved.
Much more has to be done, no doubt. But the State has been able to retard the growth of Naxalism. It won’t be long before they are wiped out from our country. But we can’t expect that to happen in a day. It will take time, effort and energy. And I for one, have full confidence that we can wipe them out.
धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah
Those who protect Dharma will be protected by it.