Sir, what do these naxal actually want? What are their demands from the government?
A1. Their demands are not directly from the government. They believe in Maoist ideology, which is equal rights for all, no discrimination and equitable distribution of resources irrespective of which strata of society you come from, no ownership rights over resources, there should be no one rich or poor, they are against centralisation, acquisition of resources by government that may infringe upon their natural habitat and alter their traditional way of life. They are looking for safeguarding tribal rights to prevent exploitation by the ‘high and mighty’, land reforms and better employment opportunities for all.
Q2. Why do these naxal ambush only government officers or CRPF personnel?
A2. The naxals find the security forces as a government’s tool to suppress their voice of dessert. The naxal leaders cash on the anti- establishment sentiments by highlighting to the simple tribals, as to how the security forces is curbing and violating their human rights.
There is a need for a change in guard and approach to fight naxalism. We must be as harsh to tackle the naxals with an iron hand, as sensitive we are in ensuring no collateral damage takes place. The local government and administration will have to take visible steps to win over the civilians in a systematic and graduated manner by reaching out to them and addressing their genuine aspirations.
Q3. Sir, such shameful incidents happened many times, why doesn’t Indian government take strict action such as aerial search with modern equipment and full power to finish naxalism from the areas? What do you think needs to be done to tackle the situation?
A3. Modern arms/ equipment, like UAVs for aerial reconnaissance, lighter communication equipment, thermal imaging devices, etc are available but not in adequate numbers to cater for the vast expanse over which insurgency has spread in our country.
Also, the naxals operate in highly inhospitable terrain, which has thick forest cover and is not easily accessible. Hence, the efficacy of the said hi-tech equipment in such hostile conditions becomes a suspect.
Besides, a weapon is only as potent as the capability of the man behind the weapon. Perhaps training, motivation and IQ level of troops also has a lot to do with their performance in the face of adversities.
Furthermore, it is very difficult to differentiate between the naxals and the tribals. Since, the naxals are intimately supported by the tribals they merge and blend in the ambient eco-system.
In most attacks by the naxals, like in the recent one where 300-400 naxals were mustered up, it clearly shows that the local tribals were definitely involved; all 300 could not have been militant cadres.
Therefore, the solution is not going to come from just killing naxals at a large scale. If we actually go all out and do that, we will surely reduce the population of the country by at least one fourth.
To my mind, the only way out is to identify and eliminate the naxal leadership, cut them off from their support base by managing local population better and go all out to develop infrastructure in these areas, even if it takes deployment of additional troops to provide security.