Nation First: Lesson From DanteWada
While We, the people of India, and the nation as such with painful hearts pay our homage to the martyrs of Dantewada, Chattisgarh, it is also time to contemplate and think what has gone wrong with our polity. What is wrong in the land of Mahatma Gandhi whose ‘Truthfulness and Non violence’ were so effective tools against the mighty British Power at that time.
On 6th of April 75 CRPF personnel of 62nd Batallion Alfa Company and one District Police Head Constable were ambushed by Naxals at around 5.25 A.M, who surrounded them and showered bullets, lobbed grenades and Petro-chemical bombs over the sleeping personnel. Just 6 Kms from their base camp at Chintalnar. These brave but helpless soldiers had returned after 34 hours’ Continuous patrolling in the Dantewada forests and were so tired and exhausted after the Area Dominance Exercise that they were caught unawares and even could not retaliate. They were also outnumbered by Naxals who were approximately 220 in number, well equipped, alert and strategically located. In fact only an one sided ambush. So meticulously planned that even the rescue vehicle which tried to reach the place was blownup under pressure mines. The naxals also took away with them 6 Light machine guns, Several 2 inch mortars with High Explosive ammunition, 70 AK-47 Riffles and Indians Small Arms (INSAS). A tragic loss of men and material. In fact it will be treated as one of the biggest blows to our democracy byNaxalism ever since independence. Most of the personnel who laid their lives belonged to only lower & lower middle class people socially & economically. How are the families going to bear the loss. How long and how far we as a nation will remain Concerned for their families remains to be seen.
And in continuation of their offensive, at Dantewada on 17th of May they blasted a passenger bus carrying Policemen and Common Citizens in which approximately 50 persons lost their lives including the policemen.
The government had perceived the magnitude and potential of the problem 6 years ago also when the Prime Minister in November 2004 had addressed the issue by projecting it “as a gravest security threat to India”; And the governments have tried to tackle the problem too but it is reported that approximately 7000 incidents and 5000 killings could not be avoided. That the Maoists have also brought down and wrecked 1700 schools in last two years as part of their strategy is another input.
The Adivasi marginalization has also increased. The alienation graph keeps on rising. The government presence is increasingly declining in those areas. So much so that out of 600 districts in the country 220 are under Maoists influence, out of which 83 districts have severe Naxal problem. At the same time it is worth noting that approximately 400 million people in the country are living below poverty line, that means, every third Indian. Against these stark realities we all have to join hands and form strategies to keep our country intact, preserve its ‘unity in diversity’, and let the fruits of independence and democracy be shared by each and every citizen equitably. To tackle such a gigantic problem we have to have a holistic approach. Asperthe principle of “First think and then Act”, first of all we should diagnose the problem without any biases and prejudices and look into its all angles like politically, Militarily, economically and then arrive at a conceptual framework and a Road Map to implement the same. Politically the Naxals have the backing of Mao-Lenin ideology and its Cadre. The Armed action is taken care of by raising the organization of Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), Infiltration in sections of Intelligentsia, thus subverting the Intelligentsia itself is part of their strategy. They have also created circumstances so that developmental work can not be carried out by the government. Coercion and Extortion to fund their activities is also resorted to. Slightest doubt for being informers or association with any governmental agency is strictly taken up and such ‘informers’ are done away with.
It is really a great challenge to our democracy. As they want to usurp the power through armed rebellion and terrorism. To control this ‘menace’ The Police and the Para Military forces need to be properly trained, briefed, equipped and the leadership should not fail. Apart from modernising them proper care of soldiers like double the pay from normal policing, an assured job, house, full pension and other incentives to the deceased person’s family should also be ensured. New recruits in all ranks must serve in the elite force for a certain period of say three to four years before moving to normal policing – thus augmenting the fighting capability of the whole force.
Any success on this front would be unthinkable if this “Problem” solving does not have peoples’ participation as an important component. To win over people the “Force Action” should combine with centrally planned and drafted welfare schemes for the affected villages in the field of education, water, sanitaition, food, medical needs etc. as part of government schemes or with the help of NGOs. The corporates can also join and adapt villages as part of their social responsibility concern. Even for “quitters” who leave naxalism a proper Rehabilitation scheme should be planned and implemented. All this will also go a long way in generating the required timely intelligence.
Thus we should be able to reclaim not only the landscape but mindspace also. All this will become possible if we are able to implement it in letter and spirit. For this individual as well as national will has to be formed. The need of the hour is to rise above our self interests and place the national interest above the self i.e, Nation first, everything after wards. Hope we all come out with this mindset and make us feel proud of ourselves and also being true patrot indians.