Red Ter­ror Strikes at Sukma: 25 CRPF Men Mar­tyred

Libertatem Magazine - - Contents - by Vaib­hav Sharma

The na­tion is gal­lop­ing with a myr­iad of prob­lems in the con­tem­po­rary times. While the colos­sal is­sues of poverty, il­lit­er­acy and un­em­ploy­ment con­tinue to rat­tle the na­tion there have been move­ments as­so­ci­ated with re­gional im­bal­ances and back­ward­ness in devel­op­ment. Such sit­u­a­tions have been wit­nessed in North-east­ern parts and the ill fa­mous ‘Red Cor­ri­dor’ of the na­tion. The ‘Red Cor­ri­dor’ con­sists of the 100 dis­tricts across states like Ch­hat­tis­garh, Jhark­hand, Odisha, West Ben­gal, Andhra Pradesh, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Kar­nataka, Bi­har and Te­lan­gana which have seen the Maoists vi­o­lence. The re­cent at­tack of Maoists at Kala Pathar in Sukma dis­trict of Ch­hat­tis­garh which led to the death of 25 CRPF per­son­nel has served as a grim re­minder for the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion. The Maoists at­tacks have been a reg­u­lar phe­nom­e­non in the re­cent past with mem­o­ries of dread­ful am­bush at Dan­de­wada last year still afresh. The prob­lem of Maoist ter­ror­ism is one of the most gru­elling ques­tion which con­tin­ues to ques­tion both the pol­icy of Cen­tral as well as the State gov­ern­ments, as re­gards the so­lu­tion to this re­gional cause. The task of the administration of law and or­der in these dis­tricts have been that of state po­lice along with Cen­tral paramil­i­tary forces in the times of trou­ble. The at­tacks which pri­mar­ily stems from the acute back­ward­ness of these ar­eas have seen large toll of the lives of se­cu­rity forces in the at­tacks. While a vast ma­jor­ity of the mar­tyrs are as­so­ci­ated with the CRPF 74th Bat­tal­ion, which was at­tacked on 24th April.

The his­tory of the Maoists move­ment is connected with the Nax­al­bari Rev­o­lu­tion of 1967 which saw the seeds of the Maoist phi­los­o­phy of class con­flict sown in In­dia. It frowned upon the state es­tab­lish­ment as per­pet­u­a­tors of class ex­ploita­tion and anti-poor sys­tems. While the first phase of the move­ment saw the spread of this can­cer across the na­tion, care­ful plan­ning and a spate of de­vel­op­men­tal schemes tar­get­ing these ar­eas saw the re­stric­tion of the ma­jor por­tion of the men­ace to states of Ch­hat­tis­garh, Jhark­hand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Over the years, the state gov­ern­ments es­pe­cially in Andhra Pradesh have learnt to uti­lize funds in an ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner and en­sure the in­clu­sion of the poor trib­als in the de­vel­op­men­tal process as well. It has been com­ple­mented with zero tol­er­ance to­wards the Maoist at­tacks and set­ting up spe­cialised teams of the state po­lice to tackle the new age ter­ror­ism. The ‘Grey­hounds’ of Andhra Pradesh have been highly suc­cess­ful in their anti-maoist op­er­a­tions of push­ing the in­sur­gents deeper into the forested ar­eas. There is a vis­i­ble change in the level of in­fras­truc­tural devel­op­ment and sup­ply of ba­sic ameni­ties when one en­ters Andhra Pradesh from the state of Jhark­hand. It is ironic that the cre­ation of the states of Jhark­hand and Ch­hat­tis­garh was done on the pre­text of re­gional up­lift­ment, but the same has failed

mis­er­ably to solve the prob­lem. Though the state of Ch­hat­tis­garh, since its 17 years of his­tory has seen a rul­ing dis­pen­sa­tion gov­ern for a vast ma­jor­ity of 12 years, the po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity has not helped the cause ei­ther. The ma­jor fac­tor re­spon­si­ble for the fail­ure of the state to solve the men­ace of Maoist vi­o­lence has been the lack of the po­lit­i­cal will of the state gov­ern­ments to search for any am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion to this crit­i­cal prob­lems. The state govern­ment has not only failed to cor­rect the lop­sided devel­op­ment of the se­lected ar­eas, but has also not been un­able to in­clude the poor and tribal in the am­bit of devel­op­ment. They have only re­lied on the Cen­tral govern­ment for the vast gamut of funds in the name of devel­op­ment, a ma­jor­ity of which falls vic­tim to the wide­spread cor­rup­tion and is un­able to have much im­pact on the grass­root level.

Changed Char­ac­ter of Maoist Move­ment

The tenants of the Maoist move­ment which be­gan in the late six­ties have un­der­gone a sea change from its ear­lier char­ac­ter of be­ing phi­los­o­phy driven. The na­ture of the move­ment and the cause of Mao­ism aris­ing from the so­cial phi­los­o­phy of class ex­ploita­tion has re­ceded in its ide­o­log­i­cal moor­ings. The fo­cus of the move­ment in the mod­ern times, has been more on blood­shed and at­tacks on state es­tab­lish­ments than, ear­lier fo­cus on in­tel­lec­tual learn­ings. The fact can also be the re­sult of the demise of the stal­warts like Kanu Sanyal, Charu Majumdar, etc. who di­rected the move­ment in the neb­u­lous years. The present creed of lead­ers don’t have that depth nei­ther in phi­los­o­phy nor has the pa­tience to build up the mass mo­men­tum for the de­sired so­cial change. The re­sult has been the fo­cus on killing more peo­ple rather than cre­at­ing aware­ness among the masses for the need to re­volt. The bru­tal killings of the in­no­cent vil­lagers on the fear on be­ing in­form­ers and the loot­ings of vil­lagers to finance the move­ment of smacks of ban­ditry rather than so­cial up­lift­ment of the peo­ple. The thrust of the govern­ment on tar­geted devel­op­ment of the Maoist af­fected re­gions have eroded the so­cial base of the move­ment with vil­lagers and trib­als re­al­is­ing the im­por­tance of be­ing the part of the main­stream and are dis­il­lu­sioned by the utopian strug­gle of Maoist for the cre­ation of a class­less so­ci­ety. The frus­tra­tion of the Maoists could be gauged from the fact that the 24th April at­tack at Sukma was con­ducted by more than 300 in­sur­gents at bat­tal­ion of 150 CRPF men. They have also re­alised that the end of the move­ment is near andthus, have re­sorted to mass at­tacks rather than ear­lier tac­tics of guer­rilla war­fare.

Many Di­men­sion of ‘Maoist Prob­lem’

The en­tire prob­lem of Mao­ism in In­dia has mul­ti­tude of lay­ers to it and must be looked at, in com­bi­na­tion of these forces. From the point of view of pol­i­tics, it is a re­flec­tion of long term state in­abil­ity to align a vast ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple to the main­stream to pro­vide them ad­e­quate ben­e­fits for the over­all devel­op­ment. It is also a re­sponse of the in­no­cent trib­als whose lands have been taken away by the state govern­ment on the pre­text of in­fra­struc­ture projects and min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with­out ad­e­quate pro­vi­sions for their com­pen­sa­tions. An­other facet to the same has been the sly brain­wash­ing of the gullible peas­ants by the Maoist lead­ers to pro­voke them to take up arms against the state and fight an im­pos­si­ble war. The acute cor­rup­tion and the po­lice atroc­i­ties in these ar­eas have only

ac­cen­tu­ated the am­pli­tude of the prob­lem. The in­abil­ity of the state to pro­vide even the ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties of pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, health­care and Pub­lic Distri­bu­tion Sys­tem (PDS) for the food grains has been chief fac­tor in forc­ing the poor to take part in this vi­o­lent strug­gle for sur­vival. It is a blot on the en­tire na­tion that in spite of the fact In­dia is one of the big­gest economies in the world, some ci­ti­zens are still tempted to re­sort to weapons (al­beit un­der the in­flu­ence of un­scrupu­lous lead­ers and for­eign fund­ing) in or­der to at­tain their just share in the phe­nom­e­non of devel­op­ment.

Re­sponse of the Govern­ment

The Cen­tral Govern­ment in its re­sponse to the re­cent at­tacks on CRPF has been both pru­dent and cal­i­brated. The govern­ment has wisely negated the need to de­ploy army for the counter Maoist op­er­a­tions in the na­tion. Though the army is bet­ter equipped both in terms of weaponry and train­ing to tackle the Maoist vi­o­lence, but the ra­tio­nal against their use is two folds. Firstly, the fact that In­dian Govern­ment has con­sis­tently termed the Maoist prob­lem to be an ‘in­ter­nal prob­lem’ calls for the use of the paramil­i­tary forces and not the penul­ti­mate state force. The in­sis­tence of it be­ing an ‘in­ter­nal dis­tur­bance’, also negates the need to point out the in­volve­ment of any for­eign power to­wards the same at the in­ter­na­tional arena. Sec­ondly, the Maoists in­sur­gents are es­sen­tially In­dian ci­ti­zens who have been dis­grun­tled to such any ex­tent that they have re­sorted to arms to at­tain jus­tice. The use of In­dian Army against its own ci­ti­zens in var­i­ous states might heighten the present prob­lem. The govern­ment has right­fully scaled up the fund­ing of the road and bridge devel­op­ment projects along with the rail­way project to con­nect the marginalised sec­tions of those ar­eas with the main­stream. The state gov­ern­ments have also been ad­vised to root out cor­rup­tion and en­sure time bound com­ple­tion of the projects. The In­dian govern­ment has since 2009 fol­lowed a pol­icy of devel­op­ment and max­i­mum pos­si­ble re­straint in or­der to win over the poor and im­pov­er­ished sec­tions of the state.

The Road Ahead…

The re­cent at­tacks have been a big set­back for the en­tire na­tion in its quest to solve the Maoist prob­lem, but the govern­ment is de­ter­mined to change the present state of af­fairs by its al­lo­ca­tion of about 3,270 crores for the devel­op­ment works in the Maoist af­fected ar­eas of Ch­hat­tis­garh. These projects have been aimed at bring­ing the peo­ple closer to the phe­nom­e­non of ‘devel­op­ment’ thereby rais­ing their stan­dard of liv­ing. The con­nec­tiv­ity with road and rail­ways will pave way for the so­cial in­fra­struc­ture like pri­mary schools, dis­pen­saries, post of­fices and banks. It will in­crease the vis­i­bil­ity of the state ma­chin­ery and reap the ben­e­fits of so­cial in­clu­sion for the peo­ple. The road projects like 56 km Dor­na­pal-ja­gar­dunda route and 78 km Sukma-bhe­jji is bound to bring about a sea change. The rail­ways has re­cently started Jag­dalpur-vishakha­p­at­man link with 24 hour work on the on­go­ing 3500 crore Jag­dalpur-raipur stretch. These projects will en­sure that, the decades of iso­la­tion is re­moved and peo­ple ben­e­fit due to in­creased trade op­por­tu­ni­ties and lower prices of goods. The Cen­tral govern­ment is also plan­ning to up­grade the train­ing and equip­ment for the paramil­i­tary forces to raise their op­er­a­tional strength. The de­mon­eti­sa­tion has struck at the ter­ror fund­ing of the Maoist prob­lem and the cadres are suf­fer­ing from cash crunches. It is hoped that the po­lit­i­cal will and holis­tic devel­op­ment of the back­ward ar­eas are able to bring them at par with the rest of the na­tion. If the poor and marginalised vil­lagers of Maoist hit ar­eas, are able to lead a life of safety and at­tain so­cial devel­op­ment through con­certed state ef­forts and trans­parency in the sys­tem, the Maoist prob­lem could be lead to rest for the per­pe­tu­ity.

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