Internal Security

How India’s Maoist counter-insurgency is being undone by a flawed security strategy

By The Print

The Maoist ambush of a joint counter-insurgency task force of the CRPF and the Chhattisgarh Police on 3 April resulted in 22 personnel being killed and 31 wounded apart from the loss of a large quantity of arms and ammunition.

The column of 450 personnel was part of a larger search-and-destroy operation launched by 1,700-2,000 personnel organised in counter-insurgency task forces. Inputs from the Special Intelligence Branch indicated the presence of notorious Maoist leader Madvi Hidma and his Battalion Number 1 of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army.

The disproportionate casualties suffered in the ambush once again brought the national focus back on the Maoist insurgency — the 21st-century avatar of the Communism-inspired insurgencies that have been waged in various parts of India beginning with Telangana (1946-51). The ambush also highlighted what is wrong with the Indian government’s political and military strategy.

A waning but resilient insurgency
Communism-inspired insurgencies have displayed phenomenal resilience and still appeal to the poorest of the poor who have been deprived of the benefits of welfare in a democratic system. There have been four phases of such insurgencies in India.

Telangana insurgency, organised by the Communist Party of India (CPI),began in 1946 as a peasant struggle against the zamindars and was brought under control by 1951. The CPI gave up armed struggle and embraced electoral politics soon thereafter.

In the second phase, the radicals from the CPI broke away in 1964 to form CPI (Marxist). When the CPI-M also embraced electoral politics, the more radical elements

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