Muscle misfires

  • Editorial | New Delhi

    April 27, 2017 | 02:01 AM
Representational Image

Representational Image (PHOTO: TWITTER)

On the ground there would be few linkages between the raging insurgencies in the “Red Corridor” across central India and the unrest ~ some deem it an “uprising” ~ in the Kashmir Valley. The commonality lies in the approach of government to focus on the “military aspect” of counter-measures, rather than seek any resolution of core issues that have cemented public resentment of the state.

The present NDA government cannot explain away the deteriorating situations as “inherited problems”: it is about to celebrate its third year in office ~ time enough to have taken initiatives to reverse the ground-situation and restore the credibility of the administration. That kind of credibility will not be established by merely reinforcing the might of the state and “breaking the back” of the insurgencies: if there is a single lesson for Modi sarkar to learn from the last three years, it is that “muscle” will not suffice. It could actually misfire and prove counter-productive, highlighting the validity of the old saying “it is easier to wage war than fight for peace”.

There is a sickening familiarity to the ambush and killing of 25 men of the CRPF in Sukma. Having tracked the movement of the paramilitary squad on duty to facilitate the construction of a road through the Maoist heartland, over 300 insurgents “trapped” one section of jawans, fired at them from all directions, possibly having set up booby-traps in spots where the troopers might seek cover. The “reds” made off with the communications apparatus, so that when the other squad of troopers sought out their “mates” they walked into a firestorm.

There was little coordination with the local police, which is presumed to have intelligence on the terrain. All that the CRPF could say for itself was that it responded robustly, inflicting heavy casualties ~ small comfort that. The real tragedy is that from the Prime Minister downwards all talk centres around making the Maoists “pay”, but there are no signs of efforts at choking off their supply of weapons and munitions. And not even a stray thought on addressing the basic issue of alienation of tribal lands. The violence is cyclical: the troopers strive for area-domination, than an ambush like Sukma or Dantewada tilts the scales in the other direction.

It is not insignificant that in her latest interaction with Mr Narendra Modi, the chief minister of J&K called for a revival of the policy favoured by the other NDA Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee: the present government regurgitates his words but is diffident about emulating his actions. The prevailing set-up condemns the pacifist approach, projects it as a sign of being “soft”. Yet whose government had the guts to defy international pressure and exercise the nuclear option?

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