ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Beyond the 'Security-Centric' Approach

When will the State be forced to go beyond its "security-centric" approach in dealing with the Maoist rebellion?

Most “encounters” of the police with the Maoists are concocted as a cover-up for the killing of the latter in cold blood, but on 1 February, 15 policemen were killed in an ambush by the rebels at Markegaon in Gadhchiroli district of Maharashtra. The official response has been predictable – a massive combing of the area by the security forces, arrests of local sympathisers, sensational media coverage claiming mutilation of the dead bodies thereby suggesting savagery on the part of the rebels (denied the next day by then state Director General of Police, A N Roy), plans to construct more roads to ensure better movement of the security forces to and in the “Naxal-infested areas”, and the Union Home Ministry asking Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Orissa to launch joint counter-offensive operations. In an o fficial milieu blinded by a “security-centric” approach to dealing with the Maoist movement, what else can one expect?

Last year, the report of an expert group set up by the Planning Commission on how to deal with the causes of discontent, unrest and extremism associated with the movement recommended a “multi pronged approach” – instituting ameliorative/protective measures and strengthening the law and order machinery, but with a ban on extrajudicial/“encounter” killings. However, the centre and the affected states seem hell-bent on persisting with their “security-centric” approach. After all, the prime minister himself views “left-wing extremism” as the single biggest internal security challenge, and has underlined the imperative to “choke” and “cripple” it. But that is exactly what has been attempted, not once, but many times over with limited success, for the Maoist movement is led by a political party with a strong base among the landless, the poor peasantry and the tribal communities in the central and eastern parts of the country. The movement is now more than 40 years old. The May 1967 peasant uprising in Naxalbari was crushed by the security forces in a few months. But soon there followed a succession of militant struggles of the rural poor led by the Naxalites, reaching a peak in the early 1970s, which were crushed again by ruthless state repression, only to rise Phoenix-like once more.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top