War against Naxals here is much more complex than the war at borders. This prolonged war is bleeding our country from within, challenging the very foundation of freedom. Some sections of the society, especially the younger generation, have romantic illusions about the Maoists, arising out of an incomplete understanding of their ideology. The central theme of Maoist ideology is violence [MHA]. The Maoist insurgency doctrine glorifies violence as the primary means to overwhelm the existing socio-economic and political structures. Speaking to surrendered naxals reveals that the young boys and girls who have joined hands with naxals have no idea what they are fighting for. They are misguided in the name of revolution and glorified violence.
The violence, intimidation and killings by Maoists in the countryside have kept the people away from the comforts of life that we all have seen in other parts of this great country. In the remote areas of Gadchiroli which are under Maoist domination, the absence of governance and difficulties in extending public service delivery systems have worsened the situation further. In the areas where police forces have flushed out naxals, people have just begun to live the life they deserve. There are villages here still out of electricity and without mobile coverage, yet to be connected to external world.
When I interact with children from remote areas, I ask them what they would like to become in future. I have not seen any child saying, “I would like to become a doctor, engineer, civil servant, etc”. But these innocent boys and girls say, “I would like to become police constable, teacher, Nurse, etc”. These jobs are greatest luxury they have seen so far. Most of these children have never seen a city in their life, not even a train! It will take at least a generation to take them out of the clutches of underdevelopment.
I keep hearing stories from my constables which are beyond my imagination. They spent their precious childhood under the threat of violence, destruction, killing. These boys who were fortunate to get some schooling have become police constables today and some of their friends who didn’t have the good fortune to have schooling have joined hands with naxals. The children who spent their childhood playing together have become enemies and are now fighting a war which they can’t comprehend fully! Education or absence of it has defined which side they are fighting in this war.
Majority of the boys and girls who have joined police force in Gadchiroli are from tribal community. They are fighting naxals not because it is their job, but because they want to get rid of the violence they have been seeing from their childhood. In the interior parts of Gadchiroli, their families still suffer the threat and violence from Naxals. Naxals target not only the families of police but also the families of those who wish to join police. Between 2010 to 2015 (upto 31.12.2015) around 2162 civilians and 802 security force personnel have been killed by the Maoists in different parts of India. The majority of the civilians killed are tribals, often branded as ‘Police informers’ before being brutally tortured and killed [MHA].
The Government’s approach is to deal with Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management. Despite the development measures, use of force against naxals is inevitable here. Unfortunately this war is dragging us. As responsible citizens of this great country we must understand and accept the fact that, when you are in war, you are in a professional business of killing the enemy. No matter who the enemy is. If you don’t kill the enemy, the enemy will kill you. It is better not to show any mercy on your enemy unless he is willing to surrender. Wiping out naxal formations in the affected area is the only way to extend development and public service delivery systems.
Some sections of the society have romantic illusions about the Maoists, arising out of an incomplete understanding of their ideology. These confused lot works under various banners. They are known as frontal organizations of Naxals and they keep us busy in courts with ridiculous allegations and protecting naxal cadres from legal actions. Thus exploiting the loopholes of our judicial machinery to help Naxals. They also work as Naxal propaganda agencies and mobilize the people against the government. These frontal organizations and pseudo human right activists are real obstacles in the war against naxals.
Because of Guerilla tactics of naxals and support from frontal organizations, the war against naxals is prolonging. Naxals call it “Protracted People’s War”. In the “Art of War”, Sun Tzu says, “I have heard of military campaigns that were clumsy and swift, but I have never seen military campaigns that were skilled but protracted. No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare”. Heated political rhetoric may get people into war, but when the words and emotions fade away and the conflict drags on, the nation grows weary of the economic and human toll of war, and wants out. War against naxals has already taken its toll. This has to end. The sooner it ends, better it is for this country. We all have a role to play.