Not My Job
Maj Gen Mrinal Suman
The policy and methodology required to counter the Naxalite threat have been subjects of intense debate recently, and the Army`s reluctance to get embroiled has been questioned in some government quarters.
Sadly, the opinions being expressed, both by military and non-military experts, are mostly short term fire-fighting solutions rather than well analysed long term strategy.
It requires no crystal gazing to foresee increasing unrest amongst various sections of Indian society. Growing awareness has fired the urge of the people for a higher standard of living and enhanced opportunities for advancement.
As the country fails to ensure that fruits of development get equitably and evenly distributed across the complete spectrum of society, disadvantaged segments lose confidence in the fairness of governance. They resort to violent means to wrest their perceived share of resources from an apathetic government.
The Naxalite unrest is a manifestation of the same challenge to the lawful authority of the state. Needless to say, in addition to effective use of force, convincing measures have to be initiated at political, economical, social and cultural levels to restore credibility of governance amongst the aggrieved people.
This article restricts itself to the nature and type of force that should be employed to counter Naxalites. As the alienated populace is highly motivated and possesses intimate knowledge of the local terrain, a well equipped and suitably trained force becomes an absolute necessity.
India has three broad options open to it - employment of an existing central police force (CPO) with additional training and equipment; deployment of the army to crush armed resistance; and raising of a special force for the assignment. Each of these have been analysed to identify the most suitable option
Image: CRPF personnel wrap the Indian flag on the coffins of 27 colleagues killed in a Naxal ambush in Narayanpur on June 29. Picture copyright Associated press. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited