LOS­ING THE PLOT

India Today - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Yet, the Govern­ment re­sponse to the Bas­tar blood­bath was knee- jerk. Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, UPA Chair­per­son So­nia Gandhi and Congress Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Rahul Gandhi flew into Raipur within hours of the strike. Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jairam Ramesh dubbed the Maoists “ter­ror­ists” and Min­is­ter of State for Home RPN Singh, stand­ing in for a hol­i­day­ing Home Min­is­ter Sushilku­mar Shinde, vowed a tough re- sponse. Ra­man Singh an­nounced a three- day state mourn­ing, and a probe by the National In­ves­ti­gat­ing Agency. “The next few months will see a step- up in vi­o­lence by the Maoists be­cause of the spate of state elec­tions cul­mi­nat­ing in the Gen­eral Elec­tions next year,” pre­dicts P. V. Ra­mana of the In­sti­tute of De­fence Stud­ies and Analy­ses.

While the Maoists have been con­stantly up­dat­ing their deadly strat­egy, the Govern­ment has no strat­egy at all. Home min­istry as­sess­ments have ca­reened from the wooly- headed to the wildly op­ti­mistic. In 2004, then home min­is­ter Shivraj Patil called them “mis­guided chil­dren”. At the In­dia To­day Con­clave in 2010, then home min­is­ter P. Chi­dambaram said: “I am con­fi­dent that be­fore UPA’s sec­ond term ends, we will be able to get rid of the Maoist men­ace.”

The facts on the ground prove oth­er­wise. In just five years, the Maoists have killed six times the cadres they have lost in five years: 1,325 se­cu­rity per­son­nel ver­sus 905 Maoists; 2,031 civil­ians have been killed in this pe­riod. In Ch­hat­tis­garh, 46 se­cu­rity per­son­nel were killed in 2012, the low­est in five years. But for­mer state DGP Vish­waran­jan says this is be­cause the num­ber of op­er­a­tions against Maoists has ac­tu­ally gone down sig­nif­i­cantly in the past two years. The Salwa Judum mili­tia was also out­lawed by the Supreme Court in 2008.

“There is ut­ter con­fu­sion in the Govern­ment as to how to deal with

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