Don’t expect the UPA government to take the fight to the Naxalites
How can an official intelligence report that says Left-wing terrorism has spread to 182 districts across the country be headline news? Everyone knows that. It has been a long time since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called it the “gravest threat to national security” and promptly did nothing about it. This week Naxalites massacred more than 50 police and para-policemen in Chattisgarh’s Bastar area. It is no longer sufficient to question the UPA government’s competency to fight this war. It is necessary to question its intent. Does the UPA government really want to defeat the Naxalites at all?
It does not look like it.
The battle against Naxalism must be fought on two fronts: first, by promoting a development narrative that is different from that of the Naxalites. The UPA can’t even fight on this front because there is little to distinguish its own rhetoric of “social justice” from that of the Naxalites.
Second, by nationally co-ordinated counter-insurgency operations. Even without accounting for partisan politics, the level of co-ordination required to fight Naxalism is unprecedented. Capturing Veerappan—a trivial exercise in comparison—took decades even when his activities were primarily restricted to two (relatively more developed) states. The UPA government has been content to treat the war against Naxalism as a state subject, leaving states to their own devices. Even the best planned state-level anti-insurgency initiatives will fail to deliver anything more than tactical results when Naxalites can easily operate across state boundaries.
None of this is rocket-science. Officials in the home ministry would probably realise this in their first week at work. That they have failed to develop and implement a half-sensible national anti-insurgency policy indicates that their political masters don’t want them to do so.
Related Post: Offstumped on what the brawling Communist party MPs, trigger-happy Communist policemen, and ruthless Communist terrorists have in common.