PROBLEM AREA

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Aug 2017 08:50:35

UNION Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh has very rightly said that the Maoist menace continues to be a matter of concern for the country’s internal security. Because 35 districts in seven States have been badly hit by the problem, which, though due to Government’s relentless campaign has seen some containment, remains a matter of worry for both the affected States as well as the Central Government. While the affected States have deployed their available resources, though inadequate to combat left wing extremism, the Central Government has to deal with the threat to the nation’s security on two fronts: Maoist menace and terror exported by Pakistan. Both these issues have been occupying much of the Central Government’s attention and focus for many years now. And to the credit of the security forces, the two evils have never been able to gain upper hand.

Of course the security forces have to pay very heavy price for gaining upper hand over the enemies of the country by deploying and expending huge resources and manpower, all the time courting danger to their lives. This has been possible due to greater coordination between the affected States and the Central Government as resources and manpower are being pooled together to combat the menace with much logistical support coming from the Union Government and through the help of the Indian Armed forces.

The operations have to be undertaken in so difficult locations, in almost inaccessible locales, that it is beyond the local police to deal with this situation on the strength of their meagre resources, outdated weapon systems and lack of knowledge of jungle warfare, in which the Maoists seem to have slight edge. The induction of para-military forces in the operations against the left wing extremists in recent years has made a material and qualitative difference in scaling up the success rate. As a result there has been steady decline in the incidents of killings and kidnappings, violence etc. Though there is marked improvement in the situation, as Mr. Rajnath Singh said while addressing the consultative committee of the Parliament, the left wing extremism remains an area of concern for the country.

As pointed out by some of the MPs, the Maoist issue is not a simple law and order problem. It also has socio-economic dimension to it and successive Governments at the Centre and in States have acknowledged this dimension of the problem and efforts have been made to combine security measures with development and public welfare programmes. As a result there is growing disillusionment among Maoist cadres with extremist violence. This is reflected in their periodic surrender to authorities in recent times. Security forces have also been successful in laying their hands on prized caches among the top Maoist leaders.
While these are laudable achievements, given the difficult problem facing the country for several decades now, much remains to be done to rid the nation of the internal security threat and free the tribal land from the stranglehold of the Maoists. This will enable the residents there to breathe free and join the main stream of development. This is essential to end the sense of deprivation this section of the country’s population must be nursing, not because the larger society does not want them to be part of the process of advancement the country is going through, but because the Maoists do not desire them to be part of the mainstream of the national life.

Thus the fight is two-pronged: break the backbone of the Naxal movement, snap all their supply lines, men, material, money, and simultaneously launch a sustained, vigorous campaign to wean over the people, especially the younger generation.