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Tackling Naxal Threat (5 April 2021)

Tackling Naxal Threat (5 April 2021)

Context:

  • Twenty-three security personnel were killed and 33 injured on 3rd April in one of the deadliest Maoist ambush ever in Bastar.

Background:

  • This was the second major Maoist incident in the state in the last 10 days.

  • On March 23, 2021, five DRG personnel were killed when Maoist blew up a bus carrying the security personnel with an IED in Narayanpur district.

  • On March 21, 2021, 17 security personnel, including 12 from DRG, were killed in a Maoist ambush in Minpa area of Sukma district.

Summary of the Debate

Naxalite Movement in India:

  • The Naxalite movement came to the forefront in the late 1960s, when Naxalbari became famous for the left-wing revolt that took place in West Bengal.

  • It originated as a rebellion against local landlords who bashed a peasant over a land dispute. Since then, it is perceived as the greatest threat to law and order within Indian.

  • Over the years, the trajectory of the movement, as also its character, changed and it became more brutal and sanguinary.

  • The movement has spread across the Eastern India in less developed areas of states such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

  • Around 8 states, with more than 150 districts are believed to be under its direct influence.

  • In Chhattisgarh, Dantewada, Bastar, Bijapur and Sukma are the main centres of Maoist activity currently.

Major reasons of the Maoist attacks:

  • Poverty and economic inequality in the naxal affected regions: Naxals have exploited the poverty of the illiterate tribals and given them guns and given them money to fight for them.

  • Displacement: The development projects and mining operations have led to huge displacement of tribal population in the naxal-affected states.

  • Social backwardness: The socially backward tribals form the major support base for Naxalites.

  • Lack of strong technical intelligence: There is need to follow their tactics and the key lies in a tactical pinpointed intelligence regarding their movement which is very difficult given the circumstances in that terrain.

The present state of the challenges posed by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE):

  • Across the country, according to the MHA, 90 districts are affected by Maoist violence.

  • Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha to some extent are the core states where the Naxals are operating for the moment where there is violence visible.

  • Since the past few days attempts are being made to start some peace process in Chhattisgarh. With this attack, the Maoist is of unequivocally conveyed that they are not interested in any dialogue.

  • This problem is of guerilla warfare and it is difficult to go out in thousands to look for hidden gorillas.

  • The central police forces cannot alone tackle this problem, they lack the local terrain knowledge, language.

  • The Maoist leadership is ageing, besides the Maoist have suffered severe attrition both in leadership as well as in cadre, there have been feeble attempts at recruitment but they have not been successful.

Steps taken by the Government to counter LWE:

  • Greyhounds (1989): An anti-naxal force raised in Andhra Pradesh were successful because they learned the state crafts of Guerilla warfare very well, they also taught other police forces including the Chhattisgarh police and the CRPF greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh.

  • Operation Green Hunt (2009-10): Massive deployment of security forces was done in the naxal-affected areas.

  • LWE Mobile Tower Project (2014): Installation of mobile towers to improve mobile connectivity in LWE affected State.

  • National Policy and Action Plan (2015): To address LWE in the country.

  • Aspirational Districts Programme (2018): To rapidly transform the districts that has shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

What more with changing times can be done?

  • Decline in the number of incidents or violence is never a true indicator of the decline in the influence of the Maoists.

  • It is important to bring villagers on our side by bringing in development, by giving them jobs, by providing some rehabilitation programs.

  • It is not simply fighting these people, reaching out to them and also bringing in development to these areas is what is more important.

  • There should be better coordination between the various ministries and various agencies.

  • The security forces are doing their best, there's enough penetration, and at the same time leadership and training certainly need to be improved.

  • The agency which is building the road should be in sync with the security forces guarding that track.

  • Implementing is one part of it but monitoring its implementation is more important in order that the development actually reaches the people.

  • We should have people from different agencies meeting on the ground to put their heads together and their resources together and fight this menace together.

  • The state and the central government putting aside their party differences have come together and they have said we will unitedly fight this till the end.

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