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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Why India can’t be successful against Maoists

Indian policy makers have tried various combinations in the past to tackle Maoists problem but failed miserably. A couple of more combinations are under consideration to handle the problem amicably. In a new strategy ‘A New Game,’ the Indian government in ‘Stage-I’ has again rolled the dice on the table in the shape of proposal for a separate state of Telangana.
The Indian policy makers believe that once the dice would gain momentum it is likely to attract more state to demand for state status under Indian union. Indian leaders like Rashtriya Janata Dal  chief Lalu Prasad opposed the movement to initiate a separate state of Telangana due to fear that it could lead to many other divisions. Despite opposition it seen that for the time being the Centre is going ahead with to tackle with insurgency stricken states. As a ‘Stage-II’ of this strategy, offensive has been launched against the Maoists in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra by Para Military Forces. If successful, similar operations are likely to be carried out in Jharkhand and Orissa. This would be followed by the replication of this strategy in the other insurgency stricken states.
After the failure of talks and Maoists refusal to give up arms, the Indian government decided to simultaneously start the operations in four worst-affected states: Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa but it was altered the plan in ‘Stage-II’ due to fears of tuff resistance from Maoists and heavy causalities on the side of Indian security forces.  At present small scale operation has been started in parts of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, and Manpur in Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh by Central Reserve Police Force  and Border Security Force  personnel.  It is pertinent to mention here that India’s claim that it deployed around 27000 personnel in Gadchiroli in the month of October and November 2009 appears bogy as so far they have not participated in any operation. As per the official claims around 45,000 personnel from CRPF, BSF and Indo-Tibetan Border Police  posted to Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra while another 25000 personnel are to be deployed in Jharkhand and Orissa in ‘Stage III,’ sometime after the elections are over at Jharkhand.  However, as per BSF sources at Chhattisgarh, the official figures of PMF quoted by Union Home Ministry is an eye wash and highly exaggerated as the deployment suppose to reach their location from Jammu & Kashmir state have not yet started its move. The Indian propaganda regarding reduction of 30000 troops in held Jammu & Kashmir state and their deployment in Maoist affected areas is aimed to impress upon international community that it has no nefarious designs against Pakistan. However, it is an open secret that the move aims at getting rid of PMF from Jammu & Kashmir and substituting them with regular Army troops
In fact, if we analyze from a critical angle, most of the demands Maoists seems to be genuine but the each time talks are to be held, they are asked to put down their arms in a humiliating manner. Those groups who are engaged in talks are projected as if they have surrendered before the Indian security forces. In certain cases Naxals who agreed to hold talks were either arrested by Indian intelligence agencies or killed in fake encounters. Above all, the behaviour of Indian Army and PMF with Maoists is humiliating and torturous. As regard, to ongoing operations, the PMF commanders, who are participating in the operations or have been earmarked for the same, feel handicapped because of seven reasons: 1) Majority of PMF Battalions have been pulled out from areas like Jammu & Kashmir state where operations take place in residential and public areas, whereas Maoists are confined in Jungle areas, 2) The PMF personnel do not possess experience in jungle warfare, 3) The PMF personnel lack knowledge of terrain and the forest routes, 4) Maoists have backing of local population while PMF personnel experiences lack of cooperation from locals and 5) The intelligence agencies and Field Intelligence Units do not have sources among Maoists, 6) The area is full of landmines and explosives which cannot be cleared overnight and 7) The morale of PMF personnel is not very high as military units deployed in the area are avoiding operations.
India cannot be successful in any move against Maoists unless New Delhi changes its policies of Imperialists and Capitalists, which they inherited from the out going British. India must accept that unlike Pakistan which was created on Islamic ideology, India is a subcontinent comprising of many nationalities. The basic aim of the operation should be to clear the landmines and compel the Naxal-groups to come to the negotiating table rather than eliminate them. Any operation to compel the Maoist to hold talks with centre would not be successful unless there is a joint working and ground coordination between PMF, Police and Indian Army takes place. There is also a requirement for Indian forces to be considerate towards Maoist as they too are Indian nationals who have right to be heard. Human right excess, torture, man slaughters and bans are not going to work even all the Corps of Indian Army with most modern weaponry are deployed in Naxal affected states. Talks and development in the area through local representation is the only answer to the Naxals problem. By Afshain Afzal

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