The Big Picture - Fighting Naxalism Four BSF personnel were killed and 2 injured in an encounter with Naxals in the Kanker district of Chhatisgarh. A few hours later one CRPF jawan was also killed and one of his colleagues injured in a gun battle with naxals in Dhamtari district. According to Security forces Naxals have also suffered heavy casualties in these atttacks. Naxal affected Bastar Lok Sabha constituency is all set to go for polls in the first phase on 11th April. Security forces are making all efforts to ensure any threat of Naxal attack is kept at bay during the polls. Approximately 60000 security personnel will be on duty in the state of Chhatisgarh during the polling. So what is the current situation in terms of containing the naxal threat and how can it be tackled effectively? How Naxalism Prevails?

  • The tribals are dependent on the forests for their living.
  • After the Forest conservation amendment act, tribals were curtailed from the daily use of the forests.
  • There has been massive displacement of tribal population in the affected states due to development projects, mining, deforestation etc.
  • The displaced people found it hard to find a means of livelihood.
  • Naxalites then influenced these people by giving them arms and money required for a living.
  • They were easily able to wean off tribal people who were illiterate.
  • Naxalites make use of the fault lines in society to influence people to take up arms while the government counts the number of increasing violence due to naxalism in the state.
Governments actions
  • Red corridor has shrunk from 166 districts to 90 districts which is a significant achievement.
  • Operation Green Hunt was started in 2010 where central armed forces were deployed massively in naxal affected districts.
  • The government had devised a policy of “Clear, Hold and Develop” which meant clearing an area of Maoists, Holding the area and bringing in administrative development.
  • As a result, maoist affected districts have come down from 223 to 90 districts.
  • Violence also decreased greatly in the past few years.
  • Central committee politburo members were killed. The committee has even admitted that it is in a state of tactical retreat as they are bearing the brunt of security forces.
Challenges in tackling Naxalism
  • Naxalites move in forest areas without being able to be trapped by anyone whereas central forces move in official uniform on the road which can be traced by anyone.
  • Technical intelligence is weak.
  • Technological support to internal security is also very weak.
  • Communication is another challenge as Naxalites block towers and disrupt the communication lines in the region.
  • Though security forces clear an area of Maoists, the government is not able to fill the vacuum left by the Maoists to bring in development and deliver essential services to the people which in turn gives a chance for Maoists to flourish again.
  • State police forces do not shoulder the responsibility of tackling naxalism. The centre and the states consider it a national problem leaving the responsibility entirely to the centre to tackle the problem through central armed forces.
Way forward
  • Naxalism can be fought better by the local police forces with the help of local people who have better knowledge of the topography, understand the ethos and know the language.
  • Lessons can learnt from the Andhra Pradesh police who raised a dedicated team called Grey Hounds for fighting naxalism.
  • The government should reach out to the people, bring them forward to the mainstream, provide them a vocation and develop the region to counter naxalism.
  • The government should deal with the problems of poverty, unemployment, tribal discontent and forests rights.
  • Naxalism should be the problem of state primarily and then the central government secondarily.
  • The capabilities of the state police forces should be enhanced to deal with the problem effectively.
  • The central and state police forces have to work hand in hand to deal with the problem of naxalism.
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