Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Maoists are coming! Ajai Sahni

21 April 2010 In the past year and a half since the Mumbai attacks, after scandalous assessments of the bulletproof jackets issued to Mumbai Police personnel, it is still the case that not a single bulletproof jacket has been purchased for the force.
So, trust me, we will be Ethelred the Unready for a long time to come. On the other hand, of course, the Mumbai Police has acquired several armoured cars, which look very intimidating with their jungle camouflage in the city streets, and will surely scare off all evildoers.

As for the Maoists and when this will happen again, it depends on what you mean by ‘this’. Maoist attacks on security forces are a near-daily occurrence. I don’t believe that it only counts when 76 are killed off at once, but we are tight and secure if they’re regularly murdered in smaller numbers.

I had written earlier that it was strategically insignificant whether 76 men are killed in a single incident or cut down in the twos and threes, or the tens and twenties. There has been a steady and mounting stream of such incidents over the past years, and the where and when of such attacks is entirely decided by the Maoists, since the forces are so badly dispersed, located and networked that they can be targeted with impunity almost anywhere in the affected areas. The brave response of SRP Kalluri, DIG, anti-Naxalite Operations, Dantewada, was revealing. “We had cleared that area,” he told a TV channel, referring to the stretch where a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) company had been ambushed to devastating effect, “Now we will sanitise it again.”

Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, narrating the great successes of the Centre’s ‘coordinated operations’, disclosed that 5,000 square kilometers had been ‘recovered’ from the Maoists in Rajnandgaon and Kanker Districts over the past four months, and that ‘civil administration had been restored’ there.

These two statements encapsulate everything that is wrong with the current anti-Maoist operational ‘strategy’.

Both officials, in their respective capacities, are evidently fighting a very different war from the one the Maoists see themselves as engaged in. The Maoist, at the present stage, seeks disruptive dominance, not territorial or administrative control.

As long as the Maoists are able to retain and expand operational capacities, state initiatives against them are failing. The Indian state and its agencies, on the other hand, appear to be fighting to ‘recover’ territories that are simply not held or controlled by the Maoist in any meaningful sense of the word.

The Home Secretary may feel some satisfaction over having ‘restored’ civil governance in Rajnandgaon and Kanker, but the moment the situation is seen to have stabilised and Force presence is diluted, the Maoists will, in turn, ‘restore’ their disruptive dominance by executing just a few attacks.

In the interim, while the security forces’ (SFs’) operational capacities are concentrated in these Districts, the Maoists will simply walk away without a fight, and strike elsewhere – as in Dantewada. As the DIG Dantewada rightly notes, areas ‘cleared’ by him are quickly ‘infected’ once again, and have to be ‘sanitised’ anew.

A simple lesson of the much-cited and highly successful ‘Andhra Pradesh model’ (which is much more than the Greyhounds) is that every inch of the State’s jurisdiction has to be simultaneously dominated to neutralise the shifting guerilla strategy of the Maoists. Of course, the Maoists who were ‘squeezed out’ of Andhra Pradesh are now just someone else’s headache – but they are still a headache, and one that is growing.

Ajai Sahni is an author and expert on counter-terrorism, and serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

USA’s Dantewada by Chudamani Ratnam

Following is compiled by me from the Internet about some events in the history of the USA in their dealings with their own adivasis.Many famous movies have been made on these two so called battles.
We are, more than a hundred years later, following the same path.Little Bighorn is Dantewada. Revenge is the call of the day and sympathy for the tribals is tantamount to treason We can now wait for our Wounded Knee.We will never learn but quite possibly Bollywood will rise to the occasion.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876
also known as Custer's Last Stand—was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota and Northern Cheyenne against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. In late 1875, Sioux and Cheyenne Indians defiantly left their reservations, outraged over the continued intrusions of whites into their sacred lands in the Black Hills. They gathered in Montana with the great warrior Sitting Bull to fight for their lands. It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, led by Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including a force of 700 men led by George Armstrong Custer, suffered a severe defeat. Five of the Seventh's companies were annihilated;Little Bighorn was the pinnacle of the Indians' power. They had achieved their greatest victory yet, but soon their tenuous union fell apart in the face of the white onslaught. Outraged over the death of a popular Civil War hero on the eve of the Centennial, the nation demanded and received harsh retribution.
Massacre At Wounded Knee, 1890
On the morning of December 29, 1890, the Sioux chief Big Foot and some 350 of his followers camped on the banks of Wounded Knee creek. Surrounding their camp was a force of U.S. troops charged with the responsibility of arresting Big Foot and disarming his warriors. The scene was tense. Trouble had been brewing for months The order went out to arrest Chief Sitting Bull at the Standing Rock Reservation. Sitting Bull was killed in the attempt on December 15. Chief Big Foot was next on the list. When the smoke cleared and the shooting stopped, approximately 300 Sioux were dead, Big Foot among them Scattered fighting continued, but the massacre at Wounded Knee effectively ended the Indian Wars.
By the end of the 20th century, there was more recognition among citizens that the US government had mistreated the various Plains Indian tribes in the settling of the American West. With understanding the role of the U.S. Cavalry and Army in enforcing European-American goals, many people have come to understand the Battle of the Little Bighorn as that of a confrontation between relentless U.S. westward expansion and Native Americans' defending their traditional lands and way of life
Appeal from US Churches. We call upon our people for recognition of and respect for your traditional ways of life and for protection of your sacred places and ceremonial objects. We have frequently been unconscious and insensitive and not come to your aid when you have been victimized by unjust Federal policies and practices. In many other circumstances we reflected the rampant racism and prejudice of the dominant culture with which we too willingly identified.