Red Terror Sprawling Its Hood Again
There were two reasons behind the attacks: firstly, the leadership of the Maoists was alarmed over the rate of surrender by the cadre in last 8 to 10 months. For boosting the morale of their cadre it was imperative for them to execute such attacks so that they can prove that they havenâ€™t lost their attacking power. Secondly, they had to activate those cadres who were involved in agriculture
The centre stage of all Maoist activities Bastar has once again saw bloodshed. Between 10 and 13th April, security forces were attacked thrice, in which 13 personnel were killed and almost same number were injured. Possibilities of these guerilla attacks were always there. Intelligence Bureau warned the state government about these attacks. Police and paramilitary forces became alert, but the Maoists were successful in getting the news of their activities through their own networks. Governmentâ€™s intelligence establishment, once again, failed miserably. People monitoring the activities of Maoists were hinting towards impending attacks by the left extremists.
There were two reasons behind these attacks: firstly, the leadership of the Maoists was alarmed over the rate of surrender by the cadre in last 8 to 10 months. For boosting the morale of their cadre it was imperative for them to execute such attacks so that they can prove that they havenâ€™t lost their attacking power. Secondly, they had to activate those cadres who were involved in agriculture. Bastarâ€™s natural resources are the major source of income for the Maoists and losing it will be suicidal for them. That is a main reason for the increase in attacks by Maoists till the monsoon sets its foot in.
For the last three- four years, pressure over the Maoists by the police and paramilitary forces has increased in these areas. Security forces were successful in driving them out from their area of domination. If the local administration and political establishment had helped them, then security forces would have succeeded in gaining the confidence of the adivasis.Â Â This becomes bane for the security forces and boon for the Maoists. Without gaining the confidence of the adivasis, security forces would fail to establish their intelligence structure. But saying that security forces donâ€™t have the confidence of the adivasis is not fair. They also get right information and based on this information they succeed in capturing or killing the extremists. Many examples of this success were seen in last three- four months. Apart from this, one very important factor that has come to light is that even during the attacks of these extremists; security forces are not losing their morale.Â During an attack in South Bastar, when 49 police personnel were cornered from three sides, they didnâ€™t lose their morale and retaliated with full force. Even after seven members of their team were killed, they were successful in holding their ground. The retaliation from the police forces caused heavy casualty to the extremists. Police and local media claimed that around 25-30 Maoists were also killed in the ambush. One cannot reject these claims outright.
For boosting the morale of the security forces, government also showcased their patience and valour. On April 14th Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh, along with Chief Secretary and other senior officers visited the same place, which is considered to be the den of the Naxalites. He started his governments Lok Suraaj campaign from BIjapur of Bastar, which is considered to be the hotbed of the red terror. He also had food with the personnel of the CRPF and a lively chat with them. These things look very simple but it has a lasting effect on the psychology of the forces.
Today country is replete with bloodshed due to left- wing extremism. Number of people killed in violence in Kashmir and North- eastern states is much lesser than the number of security forces and adivasis killed in Bastar and its bordering four states. The major concern in these areas is that even the works of development, which can gain confidence of adivasis, are hampered in the
Maoist violence. Along with attack on police, Maoists have repeatedly indulged in destroying buildings and machinery used for making roads in these undeveloped areas.
Central intelligence agencies have appraised the paramilitary forces in all states about the new strategy devised and used by the Maoist leadership. K. Durga Prasad, DG (Spl.), CRPF, issued new directives to his forces after scanning all the security measures. He also gave inputs for devising new strategy to counter these kinds of attacks. For tracking the movement of the Maoists in the summer season, drones are also being deployed. The directives issued by the Central command of the forces resulted in minimum loss to the security forces and extremists were not able to loot arms and ammunition from the police personnel in these recent attacks. National security agencies are keeping an eye over increasing military and strategic power of the Maoists.
The strategy of the Maoists for attacks on forces before the Monsoon sets in has been appraised to all the leadership of the forces, which are posted in this region. The new initiative to incorporate the security apparatus along with the policies of both Central and state governments, points to the fact that they are ready with a new offensive strategy to counter the left-wing extremism. However, intelligence agencies are getting reports that even Maoists are arming themselves with arms having more destructive powers. This makes it clear that struggle will become more intense in coming days. This will hugely impact the local population. In this power struggle, government should focus on gaining confidence of the people. In this respect former Chief of Army Gen. V. K. Singhâ€™s remarks are very important. In fact it is the opportune time for the implementation of the rights of the deprived adivasis.
During a programme in Raipur, Minister of State, for External Affair, GoI, Gen. V. K. Singh, while talking to reporters, revealed that when he was chief of army, then a proposal came that army should be deployed in Maoist infested areas, after a attack on a camp of CRPF in which 76 jawans were killed in 2010. The proposal was dropped as civilians would also have been killed along with the left-wing extremists. Gen. Singh opined that to end the red terror in Bastar, it is imperative to give adivasis their rights over the land, water and forests and if this happens then people will automatically leave violence. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr. Raman Singh has already said adivasis have the first right over the natural resources of Bastar and for the last four-five years his government is trying to find out a way to dole out the Forestland Rights Letter to people.
But it cannot be gainsaid that adivasis were oppressed both before and after Independence. People from all walks of lifeâ€”politics, business, and administrationâ€”have oppressed them. People who have lived among the adivasis of Bastar and saw the oppression of these poor people have always written about their plight. The erstwhile Commissioner of Raipur and later Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh, R. P. Noronha wrote four decades back: My relation with adivasis is from 1940â€¦ I have lived with them in Sagar, Mandla, Raipur and Bilaspur. I tried to understand them. My relation with them continued for 30 years. They always infuse a sense of guilt into me. We have taken away their living area too. While the Britishers took away their forests as it gave wood for buildings, independent India took their mountains, as it had minerals. When East Bengalâ€™s refugees started settling in Dandkaranya, then I had asked H. M. Patel what will happen to adivasis? Patel was very optimistic about the â€˜civilisationalâ€™ benefits. But I asked doubtfully, â€˜but, what will happen to their land? Not now, but when their population will rise, where will they do farming? He didnâ€™t have any answer to this. A non- adivasi or for that matter even I canâ€™t understand, what land means to adivasis. Their lives are attached to their land. It is this Dharti Devi who gave birth to everyone. So, this is their land, land is their mother and they are attached to it like umbilical cord, and they canâ€™t be cut away from it.â€ (Pg 77, A Tale Told by an Idiot, Vikas Publishing House, 1976). The late Noronhaâ€™s ideas are relevant in todayâ€™s time also and government should take note of it.
Â (Translated by Nilabh Krishna)
By Ramesh Nayar from Raipur