Monday, July 13, 2009

Editorial by DNA :Maoist menace

Monday, July 13, 2009 20:14 IST Email


It has become a story of depressing familiarity, especially in Chhattisgarh. Maoist groups there have unerringly targeted the police time and again and got away with spectacular and bloody results. The Sunday attack in which 36 policemen were killed, including a superintendent of police, should therefore not come as a surprise though it remains shocking.

The attack does not necessarily prove that the Maoists are a creditable fighting force, only that the police have once again been caught off-guard. The sustained fire power of the Maoists however shows that ammunition available with the extremist group is ample and deadly.

Neither the state's BJP government nor the UPA government at the Centre have as yet evolved a credible plan to check the Maoist menace. The BJP is a determinedly anti-Maoist party in ideological terms. But its response has been flatfooted to say the least.

The Salwa Judum,a counter-militia group was a bad idea in terms of strategy as well as political wisdom. The state government needed to organise its police force in a more efficient way and that it has failed to do. For a party that believes in a strong state, the local government has not translated it into any decisive or result-oriented action.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram look upon the leftist extremists as a serious security threat to the country.But they haven't been able to put in place a credible counter-strategy to tackle the Maoists, despite all the tall statements they have made.

For a few years now the Maoist menace has grown worse. The impunity with which these groups virtually took over parts of rural Bengal showed that they are no longer content with random attacks -- there seems to be a larger strategy to take on the administration. Killing policemen, especially in Chattisgarh, seems to be part of that strategy.

The much vaunted coordination between the state governments and the Centre has yet to take off effectively. The states are not prepared to cede control of law and order to the Centre. But the governments -- central and states -- have to get their act together to counter the Maoists who are now bent on creating a large state within a state. Local administrations and state policies may have created a lot of discontent and there can be many arguments about the economic models that governments are following, but ruthless violence cannot be the answer. Fighting and ultimately neutralising the Maoists can be the only long-term solution.

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