Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Aug 2018 14:57:27

THE withdrawal of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalions from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar and their redeployment in regions of south Bastar in Chhattisgarh points to a dip in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in major parts of the country and the Central Government’s final war against Naxalism in their last remaining hotbed in Chhattisgarh. Over 7,000 CRPF personnel will be manning the region of south Bastar that borders Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. That the security forces have zeroed in on this area for a rigorous combat challenge is an indication of their supreme intelligence network and the CRPF’s confidence in its cadre to wipe out LWE from the region.

May this be the final crackdown against the extremists. It will be a welcome riddance from an age-old problem and can help Bastar and adjoining regions walk the path of development instead of living under constant terror of Naxalites. Intelligence inputs have flagged the districts of Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker and Kondagaon for maximum movement and activity of the armed Maoist cadres. The outlaws use the difficult terrain and dense forests in the region to their advantage to launch covert offensives against the police and CRPF jawans. Recognising the need for more boots in these areas the Centre has already started deploying more units with a clear roadmap of cleansing the region of Naxal problem. Only a fortnight ago the security forces gunned down 15 Maoists in the jungles of Sukma.

The good part of this almost last phase against Left Wing Extremism is that the Centre and affected States are on the same page. Both are working on a clear carrot and stick policy and there is no second thought on carrying out armed offensives against the extremists. In the past, such efforts by the governments of the day were always met with stern opposition from the suddenly sprouting human rights activities and people with clandestine support to the Maoist movement.

The hard approach the forces are determined to adopt against the outlaws was visible from the encounters in the last few months in Bastar as well as Gadchiroli region of Maharashtra. In both the encounters that caused serious damage to the Maoist cadres, the security forces took great care to come up with clinching evidences that punctured the arguments of a few agencies supporting Naxalism. These coordinated efforts have started bearing fruits in many Naxal-affected regions of the country that have been rid of the menace. As per the latest data LWE is on the wane in many areas with a drop of as much as forty per cent. This is a certificate to the security forces’ valour as well as solid backing from the Centre.

The south Bastar region is, perhaps, the only Naxal hotbed left in central India. A coordinated command of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh backing the CRPF units would be the perfect foil to penetrate into core Naxal interior areas. Anti-Naxal Operation units in all these States have already put in place measures that include dissuading villagers in the affected areas from joining extremist outfits by way of awareness campaigns and also keeping their forces ready for any combat challenge.

By opening up more CRPF camps and deploying additional battalions and providing them adequate logistics and accommodation the Central Government would serve the final reminder to the extremists to either surrender or get annihilated. Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Mr. Raman Singh have been making ardent appeals to the extremist elements to give up the path of violence. It may or may not bear fruits but the message here is clear from the Centre -- time is running out for Naxalites.