Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Learning from Maoists

RB SreekumarSunday, April 25, 2010 22:48 IST

The official rhetoric on the security forces’ anti-Maoist operations is not of much use. The shortcomings were exposed dramatically by the Dantewada killings in Chhattisgarh. Abysmal intelligence failure at the macro and micro levels left the Centre and state administrations in a quagmire of confusion about the strategy, tactics and ground methodology of Maoists, resulting in politicisation of the problem and endless blame games. At the ground level, security personnel have had to bear the brunt of the dangers.

Ancient wisdom on war strategy by Sun-Tzu (in his book, The Art of War) and our own Chanakyaniti would have told us that “to win a war (one should) learn from one’s enemy”. Do our intelligence and security functionaries have a proper perception of the ground situation about the inception, growth and sustenance of Maoists in an area and the process of establishment of a parallel Maoist government? The gestation period and stages of Maoist-Naxalite domination in a location needs to be studied before launching matching police operations.

The Maoists do a lot of home work and proceed meticulously before selecting a territory for their activity and deputing their grassroot-level pioneers. The naxalisation of an area has various stages, beginning from the survey stage, when the identification of contradictions in the form of the exploiter (class enemy) and the exploited is done.

In the second stage of indoctrination, covert fraternisation is practiced with the most down-trodden and agonised victims of violence and injustice by the wealthy and powerful in society and government. In the third stage of grievance redressal, action to bring relief and solace to ‘the wretched of the earth’ is done through the activation of administration and mobilisation of the aggrieved through Maoist over-ground front organisations.

In the fourth stage of enrolment, the training of a militia of indoctrinated and committed activists of underground armed bands is achieved. In the fifth stage, efforts are made to enforce ‘people’s justice’. In this stage, landlords, government functionaries, anti-Maoist leaders and so on are punished and/or intimidated through physical violence and extortion. Police informers and those who resist the Maoists are usually killed or maimed.

At this stage, many “class collaborators” from the affluent sections escape punishments by paying regular ‘protection money’. The contractors and agencies engaged in industrial, productive and economic activities pay ransoms to the Maoists, who, in turn, utilise the funds to procure fire arms and explosives, apart from maintaining their infrastructure.

In the sixth stage of Maoist domination, called class war, armed squads (Dalams) are used by the Maoists to pulverise and neutralise governmental presence in the area. Once the suzerainty of the Maoists becomes unchallengeable it will be called a “Liberated Zone”. This stage will, in the long run, usher in the establishment of a ‘people’s revolutionary government’.

As admitted by the government, over 50 districts in six states are under the total supremacy of Maoists, where any effort to exorcise the evil would result in full-scale conflict. Perhaps the CRPF personnel who lost their lives in Dantewada did not gauge the armed hardware of the insurgents in this liberated zone properly. Hence, the huge casualities.

The government should decide on a multi-dimensional strategy through multi-agency involvement for ensuring a purposeful response system that is suited to the socio-economic terrain of the area and the degree of Maoist subversion of the system.

Merely calling the Maoists to join the mainstream of party politics, whose perversions and corruption created the political and administrative vacuum in the first place, is of no use. The government should be people-oriented rather than Maoist-centric in its counter strategy. By implementing existing welfare schemes, devoid of corruption, it can impede the flow of people to the Maoist camp.

The policy of treating the Maoist insurgency as a law and order problem emanates from ignorance about the dimensions of the Maoist support base among the people and the chemistry between them. Plans to confront the Maoists head-on can only lead to more innocent civilian casualties. The Salwa Judum experiment was counter-productive and the Maoists have succeeded in projecting the security forces engaged in Operation Green Hunt as an invading force.

The government should opt for a strategy that first involves obtaining information from micro level functionaries, NGOs and social workers before it gets into action mode. This will enable it to customise its counter-strategy based on ground-level realities. In place of conceptual skills, the authorities should invoke their human and situational skills to achieve success in war against the Maoists.

1 comment:

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