The recent setback to anti-Naxal operations (ANO) in Chhattisgarh, where 22 personnel of Central para-military forces (CPMFs) were killed in an encounter with Maoists in the Dandakaranya forest of Bastar region, is undoubtedly a grim reminder of our security forces’ repeated failure to measure up to the challenges posed by the guerrillas. It must force the ANO strategists, particularly in Chhattisgarh, to rethink their approach to the battle.
As rightly said by senior RSS leader Ram Madhav (‘Meet the doctrinal challenge’, IE, April 13), the battle doesn’t have only a military solution but a counter-ideological one. There is no denying that the Maoists indoctrinate their captive audience, mostly poor and illiterate tribals who have remained on the fringes of socio-economic changes and are hardly able to make informed choices about their worldview. Madhav, however, doesn’t stop at this claim and suggests that the government should involve civil society, that is Gandhians and the RSS, to free the Maoist supporters from the clutches of their ideological masters.
Involving civil society is a good idea but to suggest in the same breath involvement of two diametrically opposite ideologies to woo the people in Maoist influence areas not only defies logic but is also deeply problematic.