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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     14 April 2010


What happened on April 6 at Dantewada was the most daring and the biggest single-strike massacre by naxalites during the past 50 years. In October 2006, Jaswinder Singh, DIG, Anti-Naxal Operations, Orissa, was killed in a blast caused by naxalites. Immediately the state government nominated a successor, who equally promptly reported sick. The next nominee too evaded the posting and so on.


In fact, comfort-loving IPS officers routinely refuse postings to naxalite-infested areas. Hence, the leadership passes to support-cadre officers of the state armed police. On February 15 this year, naxalites hit an Eastern Frontier Rifle (EFR) camp at Silda, West Bengal, killed 24 of the 51 jawans there and decamped with all the weapons and ammunition. A senior EFR officer "explained" that the jawans were taken completely by surprise, being busy in the langar or "whiling away their time". These incidents highlight the glaring deficiencies in the police leadership and professionalism. While the naxalites have demonstrated their ability to increase hit and run strikes and attack company-strength targets, the police has displayed inexplicable incapacity to learn from blood-soaked experience.


Feeding on alienation caused by socio-economic deprivation and police atrocities, naxalism afflicts some 230 of our 610 districts. Despite Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram stating that "we do not make war on our own people", the ground reality is vastly different with the police brutalising the hapless tribal people. Therefore, any successful counter-naxalite strategy needs to address the root cause of the problem.


Naxalism was launched as a movement by Majumdar and Sanyal in Kolkata in 1967. Rejecting the communists' embrace of parliamentary democracy, naxalism holds that communist goals can only be attained through a violent class struggle, as is believed by the adherents of classic Marxism-Leninism. After a brief success among radical Kolkata students, they were driven from the city into rural Naxalbari. However, soon the violent movement splintered into 30-odd groups. The Nagi-Reddy group established a strong base in the jungles of Andhra Pradesh and Satyanarayan Singh set up another powerful base in Bihar.


As these groups jostled for dominance, the administrations of the affected states became somnolent. However, since the late 1990s the police intelligence network has been warning of impending unity among the naxalites, resulting in their gaining greater strength. These were taken seriously only when in 2000 they brazenly annihilated several police posts and seized large booties of arms and ammunition. By the time the governments of Bihar and MP woke up to the emerging ugly reality, the factions had already united.


Then in 2001, these states were reorganised, leading to the formation of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The new states were the most naxal-afflicted areas whereas the parent states retained all the anti-naxal information. This took the anti-naxal drive back by a decade, leaving the insurgents firmly in control of a forest corridor, spanning North AP, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and W. Bengal. Later, some areas were seized by them in Bihar and UP, connecting the red sickle with Maoist-dominated Nepal and linking it with Bangladesh. This ensured increased foreign support for the naxalites.


What enabled the naxalites to achieve such success? The truth is ruthless exploitation of tribal populations by rapacious forest contractors and mining mafias, abetted by a corrupt politician-babu nexus. Inept, desk-bound district administrations and brutal police repression complete the picture. Helpless tribals, thus exploited by human hyenas, have no basic amenities. They are deprived of all that is required for leading a dignified life even by rural India's extremely standards.


The naxalite masterminds exploit the administration's unhelpful attitude towards the tribal people to fan their anger and use them to launch attacks against what they call state-oppressors. They replace an indifferent administration with ruthless governance, savage justice and enforced compliance. The tribals, caught thus in a cleft stick, prefer to side with the naxalites as a lesser evil compared to the khaki-clad symbols of non-governance.


Here is a five-fold strategy to successfully countering the naxalite menace:


One, there is need for a comprehensive police reform, specially concerning the training and motivation of the state police personnel and the central paramilitary forces. This must include civilising the police dealings with hapless citizens instead of remaining the lathi-wielding henchmen of unscrupulous politicians.


The Centre should provide incentives to the states to implement the September 2006 Supreme Court judgement on police reforms. The forces engaged in counter-naxalism operations must get the latest weapons, equipment and communication gadgets. Lateral induction of Army officers and JCOs at various command levels can bolster the morale of those assigned the task of fighting the naxalites. If air power is envisaged, we must ensure that the naxalites have no idea of it.


Two, carve out and then defend the "island sanctuaries" comprising a cluster of villages and hamlets within the naxalite-held areas. Using these as bases, we should launch operations to disrupt their logistics and transit corridors. Operations should include penetrating "abuj marh", the deep-jungle sanctuary where naxalites train and manufacture their weapons.


A Chinese think-tank has advocated dismembering India by stoking internal fires. Thus, the naxalites may be getting material support from Chinese surrogates in Nepal and Bangladesh even as their tie-up with the LTTE has withered. Such linkages must be exposed, using covert means, if need be.


Three, the secured "islands" must immediately become the focus of purposeful development to win back the populace. File-pushing, office-bound approaches cannot work. It is vital to have fearless administrators who will verify the facts and the progress made at the ground level, and provide people-centric administrations. In addition to basic health-care and education, tribals must be unshackled from exploitation, provided avenues to earn their livelihood, taught skills for value-addition of the traditional produce and, above all, have their dignity restored.


Motivated NGOs may be coopted to boost the states' efforts. Concurrently, establishing responsive justice mechanisms is vital. Subsequent phases should seek to expand these "islands" until a pro-administration wave of goodwill is generated, ending the naxalites' influence in the affected districts.


Four, creation of a joint intelligence set-up among the affected states is vital. This should aim at revamping HUMINT and facilitate operations to penetrate and decapitate naxalite organisations. Central intelligence agencies should supplement these efforts while also focusing on cutting off foreign support through overt and covert means. Additionally, intelligence agencies must anticipate the naxalites' next escalation move in semi-urban and urban areas.


Five, the naxalites can easily undo any success achieved by taking hostages, as they did in the case of IPS officer Attindranath Datta, who was exchanged for 22 arrested naxalites. We are an emotionally-charged people and our "leaders" are all too susceptible to media-driven emotional frenzy, which precipitates such swaps. Therefore, a stringent law is needed to prohibit capitulating to terrorists' demands. Such actions should be declared anti-national, attracting heavy penalties, including disqualification from contesting elections.


The naxalite menace be successfully defeated only when the nation is prepared to take tough measures.




 5 Replies

MOHANA SUNDARAM (Advocate High court Madras. M-9840908555)     14 April 2010

I am not a supporter of naxalite movement but the medias are silent about police forces atrocities on adivasis  in the name of "operations against naxals". The government is trying to shield the interest of mines in those areas at the cost of lives of local people. It is obvious that government itself created a mercenary force in the name of  ' salva judum' to tackle naxals but ended up in killing common people.

Writer Arunthathi roy also wrote an article on this issue.

 I strongly suspect that the recent attack may be used by government to justify it's act of unleashing violence against the adivasis who oppose mines in their areas and to  suppress the voice human rights forums  under the pretext of fight against terror.

1 Like

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     14 April 2010

Yes only with corruption free, submissive Rule of law is the answer of ills.

The youth who suffers at the hand of Police and Administration join the naxals.  Recently in a small district town of Jharkhand some poor destitute tribal were taking out procession and opposing the corruption present in Centrally Sponsored welfare schemes, were beaten ruthlessly by the police force. One day I saw a driver of SDM slapping rickshaw puller of his no fault in front of the SDM. Now what is wrong if he supports naxalism. Mr. P Chidambaram is solely responsible for the massacre of Force at Dantewada.

aatma   16 April 2010

Terrorism is not a religion and Terrorists are not a new human race.  They are ordinary citizens betrayed by corrupted politicians and society.  There is no solution unless politicians, police, and judiciary behave like a honest human being.

1 Like

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     17 April 2010

"There is no solution unless politicians, police, and judiciary behave like a honest human being." is true and need of hour.  Otherwise we all will suffer and the section which will suffer most are Police, Administration and Politicians, since they have turned their guns towards these people. Recently one BDO got kidnapped, and some so called class I officers like Addl Collectors threatend.  Regarding loss of lives of policemen is well known. Recent killing of JMM MP from Jamshedpur Mr. Sunil Mahto. These are examples, lot more is waiting.

S.B.adil rahman (Legal Consultant )     01 May 2010

Until there is the significant change in the Police Act 1861, improvement in the conditions of service of the police men, arrangement for police quarters ,school and hospital which the influential policemen in cities and towns enjoy and their counterparts in villages are deprived of,there can not be any motivation for them to serve the nation. It is difficult for a police man to maintain his family at 2 places, one in village consisting of father, mother,wife and sisters and other of himself as an individual neglected  for proper food, sanitation and  shelter at his place of posting. This lot is exploited by the Politicians and erosion in the motivation to serve the people starts. The other aspect is the maltreatment of the subordinates by their superiors. It has happened that constables serving privately for the personal work in the house of the S.Ps and D.I.Gs developed illicit relations with their spouses. This degraded the morale of the superior officer and he started behaving rudely with his subordinates. A Policeman who can not put his own house in order is not supposed to ask the society to behave in orderly manner. There should be adequate education, value for the human rights, courage to speak truth and fearless execution of duty with a separate pay scale and hours of duty for the police personnel to get best out of them.

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