Naxals Ruling The Roost
Blackmail has become a paying industry, not only for kidnappers, abductors and criminals but also for terrorists and other groups like Maoists Naxalites. They are emboldened by the fact, that both in the past and now they have succeeded in making the governments bend on their knees, through kidnapping tacticts. In fact by this approach, they have discovered that killing the security force personnel does not produce the same effect, as kidnapping can do.
In the latest strike of abducting Italian foreigners and an Odisha MLA, they have struck gold literally. Instead of admitting to any abject submission, the Odisha Government claims that it is willing to release two dozen Maoists on humanitarian grounds. However it is unfair, only to single out the Government of Odisha only. This is almost a Universal Policy adopted by the Government of India, which started in Kashmir, when the daughter of the then Union Home was abducted on December 08, 1989 in Srinagar, She was released five days later, after prolonged negotiations This event was a turning point in the history of Kashmir, as the terrorists realised that they could get any demands conceded. During the negotiations, the Government agreed dismally to sumit to all the demands of the kidnappers and released five terrorists in exchange.
The result was the terrorist almost took over Srinagar and Kashmir valley. I can testify to it, as I was the Inspector General of Police, ( CRPF in Srinagar at that time) that it went down hill, It gave an aura of invincibility to the terrorists, as it has given to Maoists, on the strength of their guns and force. Since then, an abduction spree started in J& K of which some details are as under; Terrorists in J& K abducted a French engineer working on a power project in Kishtwar in 1992..
In August 1993, five JKLF militants were released in exchange of release of a Deputy Inspector General. In 1994 two British nationals were kidnapped from Pahalgam by Harkatul Ansar, but were released safely after two weeks.
Terrorists and Naxalites have one objective, that is to cow down the State. If anyone is under the illusion that the Naxals are entirely driven by concern for the poor, they better perish the thought.
Infact, there is hardly any difference left between the ordinary criminals and such groups. Maharashtra Home Minister himself has admitted and had alleged that corporates have been funding the Naxals. However, He added, that action cannot be taken against them as there is no evidence According one report the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), puts the extortion racket of the Maosits at Rs 1,400 crore annually. Anything is good enough to extort money by the Naxalite, whether it is for the Tendu leaves sale, or taking a cut from the road contractors who have to pay them, as they either threaten to stall construction of roads or set their machinery on fire. Apart from the above , businessmen, transporters and other high income categories targeted including mobile service operators.The official figures, of both the MHA and state governments, are products of the guesswork.
Hence, such variations are expected, as Naxalites do not pay income tax nor the persons paying to them reports the figures to anybody. However, it is undeniable that the amount such outfit manages to extract from the regions under its domination is substantial and sufficient to keep their activities going on.
The biggest sufferer in all this, is they the police, who have borne and will continue to bear the brunt of extremist violence, in the country. Till this piece, going to the press, the Maoists were seeking further clarifications from the Government and they wanted everything in writing about the release of 27 of their colleagues.
Second Italian Released
NAVEEN KOWTOWS TO NAXALS
Mr Bosusco, 54, was abducted on 14 March, along with fellow Italian Claudio Colangelo, 61, while trekking in a tribal area of Odisha state. Mr Colangelo was released on 25 March. The exact terms of the release are not known but on Tuesday a court freed the wife of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda. She was one of several jailed rebels whose release the Maoists had demanded. State legislator Jhina Hikaka, who was seized on March 23 by another group of Maoists, remains in custody.
After his release, Mr Bosusco told a local television channel in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, that he had been treated well by the rebels. “I’m in good health. There’s nothing to worry about. I love Odisha and its people,” he said.
Bosusco, 54, was handed over by the Maoists to their mediator Dandapani Mohanty and some journalists in the forest of tribal-dominated Kandhamal district bordering Gajapati and Ganjam, official sources said.
His release came two days after top Maoist leader of Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC) Sabyasachi Panda’s wife Subhashree Panda alias Mili Panda was released from jail following her acquittal by a Gunupur court in an encounter case of 2004.
Subhashree was one of the seven persons whose release the Maoists had demanded as one of the conditions to set free the Italian, who had spent the last 19 years in Puri running a travel agency.
The state government had also agreed to release five persons, including Subhashree, in order to secure the freedom of Bosusco unharmed and in good health.
This bleak step is only another step down the hill, in the stupendous task of eradicating terrorism from the state. This may buy a temporary solution to the problem of getting the abducted MLA and Italian out of the clutches of the Naxalites, but it is not going to be any solution at all.
Succumbing to Maoist blackmail will and has emboldened others to adopt this model to have their demands conceded by the government. As a country, we seem to be headed for a bigger trouble ahead, thanks to, our National Policy of Apeasement, especially in front of the power of the gun, and threats. Police records show Odisha, as third after Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in incidents of abduction by Maoists. In the past four years,
Naxlaites and Maoists have abducted nearly 140 people and killed 15 of them. But the trend of kidnapping high profile people and forcing government to release their cadres from jail began in February 2011 when they abducted the then Malkangiri Collector at gunpoint. The step enabled them to succeed in getting half a doxen of their people released from police custody .
They had done this in 1987 in Andhra Pradesh by kidnapping 11 government officials, including seven IAS officers and released them after the government freed some hardcore cadres. Unfortunately, we have no National Policy in dealing with any problem including Maosism and Naxalism,except to capitulate even if it means giving in, even to the most atrocious demands, and compromises so that the problem which Prime Minister has called the most serious security problem faced by the country, is solved temporarily.
There is no long term and no short term plan to deal with Maoism and Naxalism, except meaningless bold statements of the powers that be , but never followed up by any action. Even the Union Home Minister has admitted that India which is facing serious terror and Naxal threats has an ill-equipped police machinery, especially at its lower ranks.”Police system is outdated. Police are ill-trained, ill-equipped and ill-paid,” The Minister further said the Police constable, “who works for 12-14 hours a day throughout year is most abused” part of the machinery. “Everyone believes that he (constable) can be bullied, or cajoled or bribed… he is the most reviled public servant,” “Self-esteem of average policeman is very low.”
Forget about the training and weaponary, which is the least priority of any State Government, all the labour done by the Police, to catch Naxals is undone at the altar of convenience. In 26/11 in 2008 terrorists attacks,, ten armed men played havoc and mayhem in Mumbai. ISI and disruptive forces like Naxalis and Maoists and other terrorists can strike in India at will.
At the best some Ministers , resign , but soon come back in saddles of power, may be in better positions, in months and not in years. At the same time, security around politicians is increased after every attack and kindnapping. I can only about myself, that if were to be taken as hostage, I would neither expect, nor plead to the Government, to accept the terrorists demands. I would rather be sacrificed in the National Intersests This approach should be followed and given lead by the political leaders, Government officials and other celebrities. If this was gone, terrorists would know that there is no gain in taking any hostage. On the contrary, it will rouse the common man against them. It is rather over due to show such elements their place. But there is a big Interrogation Mark, will the Politicians be willing to give the lead, in any aspect.” Live with no excuses, live with no regrets, when life gives You a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile.
By Joginder Singh
(The author is former Director, CBI)