War Against Left Wing Terror Involves Fighting And Winning Many Battles At Once
It is imperative that a comprehensive fight against Maoist insurgency be fought not only in the jungles of 'red corridor' but also in Colleges and Universities.
While government of the day fights the menace on operational turf with considerable success in last few years, civil society from all walks must also come forward to discredit the ultra Left ideology in their respective ways.
The killing of twenty five security personnel in Sukma has outraged the nation. Just a fortnight back another attack in Narayanpura district had also claimed the lives of five jawans.
Eyewitness accounts and other emerging details of the tragedy show that the security forces fell to a well laid Maoist trap. In all likelihood, messages were relayed about Maoist presence in Teklagudem and Jhiragaon villages of Sukma district by Maoists themselves.
Security personnel which included the elite COBRA unit of CRPF on reaching the villages found them to be empty. Back on their way, they were ambushed from three sides by a massive contingent of Maoists in a plain terrain.
Quite rightly and as expected, a number of analysts and political commentators have started analysing as to what went wrong with the operational plan. Such analysis will surely be of great help in handling the future operations. Also, in a country which is acutely divided on political lines, the opportunity has been used to trade barbs and throw political accusations.
Politics after Rahul Gandhi's ascension in Congress has become reckless and vicious. His reaction to the Sukma carnage was predictable and callous.
Congress party's shenanigans have surely affected the fight against Naxalism. While party leaders like Digvijay Singh have openly solicited Naxal support to fight BJP, the newly formed Congress government in Chhattisgarh buried the case against Nalini Sundar, a Professor at Delhi School of Economics.
Sundar, a known sympathiser of Maoist outfits was charged for conspiring to murder a tribal Shamnath Baghel. Similarly, the Congress supported Jharkhand government also withdrew many cases filed by the previous government against Naxals and Maoists.
But the fight against Maoist terror, to be pivotal and decisive, would mean thinking beyond operational tactics, intelligence gathering or even concern over political mischief. Maoists or Naxals aren't some criminal syndicates. Though barbaric in violence and psychotic in disposition, they are inspired by an ideology. Their bigoted, convoluted ideas of revolution give them a sense of righteousness. They think they are fighting a just war.
The fact that their ideologues receive international awards and support from a large section of media celebrities reinforces their commitments. Fighting such a motivated cadre poses problems bigger than logistics and combat operational plans.
Physical elimination of a few will only mean replacement by others, as ideological persuasion will keep a constant flow of cadre supply. Not to discount the importance of a strong anti Naxal, anti Maoist drive, care has to be taken that the larger tribal population, from which Maoists draw their recruits, doesn't get affected and start sympathising with these outfits. Which means the forces can never launch an indiscriminate war on Maoist outfits.
But that also doesn't mean we keep losing our personnel in a protacted battle hoping to wear out the Ultra Left militia some day in distant future. The ideological inspiration of Ultra Left militancy rests in posh drawing rooms of activists and intellectuals residing in metros.
Sympathy for Maoist agenda is present in newsrooms and publishing houses. A large battery of lawyers is always present to mount legal defences.
While foot soldiers for insurgency come from the tribals, most of the commanders are educated urban non tribals. Most importantly, the indoctrination of young minds who carry the flame of 'revolution' happens in top colleges and Universities.
While many of these revolutionaries don roles such as journalists, environmental activists and lawyers, the more daring like Khobad Gandhi, Kishenji, Nambala Kesavaraj and Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad hit the ground to lead armed 'revolution'.
In 2013, Maharshtra Anti Terrorism squad was keeping a close eye on the activities of students and professors in St Xavier's College, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Fergusson College. Around the same time TISS students found anywhere in Chhatisgarh were asked to leave the state. The fears of state authorities were not without basis.
They had a dubious record to be justifiably alarmed. Just a year back the arrest of Arnab Dam, an IIT, Kharagpur dropout, with an AK 47 had shocked the nation. Some time later GN Saibaba, a Delhi University Professor was arrested and sentenced with life imprisonment under Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act.
It is therefore imperative that a comprehensive fight against Maoist insurgency be fought not only in the jungles of 'red corridor' but also in Colleges and Universities. It is ironic that people who do not profess Indian constitutional values can not get elected as legislators but can teach in Colleges and Universities.
Several videos of teachers and Professors deriding Indian constitutional values and advocating sedition have been seen on social media. We cannot afford to have such dangerous people influencing young impressionable minds on our campuses.
Fighting the Maoist fire in Sukma and Gadhchiroli while allowing the constant nurturing of underground and overground operatives, apparently in deference of freedom of expression and democratic rights, makes the whole exercise a Quixotic sport. It becomes an attempt to drain a swamp while allowing the drainage to fall in it.
Combating Ultra Left terror also warrants civil soceity's contribution. The back of USSR led Communist block was broken not so much by military means but by exposing the bigoted Communist ideology.
While government of the day fights the menace on operational turf with considerable success in last few years (the number of Maoist attacks and casualties in these engagements have dropped to one tenth of the figures in 2010), civil society from all walks must also come forward to discredit the ultra Left ideology in their respective ways.
As was the case with pre ‘90s Western response to Communism, criticism and shaming of violent, anti-democratic and bigoted Left ideology must become part of popular culture.
The barbaric Maoist ways, their anti development agenda, their exploitation of the vulnerable, their kangaroo courts, their hypocritical lives must all be disseminated through videos, books, novels, lectures, documentaries and cinema.
Fighting Left terror requires focussed operational responses on ground as well as shaming the ideology which nurtures insurgency. And in this every concerned Indian must play his or her part.
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