DMPQ-Discuss the causes of recent Maoists attack in Bastar . Do you agree that it is a strategic failure of India’s Internal security management ?

The COMBING OPERATION by local and central police forces in the Tekulguda region of Bastar, Chhattisgarh,  mounted to apprehend a Maoist leader went terribly wrong and resulted in the death of 22 security personnel and many more wounded. This tragic incident is a major and embarrassing setback to the IS (internal security) capability of India at many levels and highlights the challenge that LWE (left-wing extremism) continues to pose.

The tactical/operational strand first. Preliminary reports suggest that as many as 2,000 security personnel drawn from different organisations (CRPF, Cobra commandos, local police, et al) had been assembled to find a local Maoist rebel leader — Madvi Hidma — and that this large force was lured into a trap and then attacked.

Media reports indicate that this force of police and para-military personnel panicked and fled – leaving their dead and wounded behind. This is a very poor reflection of the leadership that was entrusted with this operation and what is even more distressing is that at the time of writing this comment, one commando is allegedly being held captive by the Maoists.

Now for the strategic inadequacies that bedevil India and its management of the IS challenge. India has been dealing with three variants of the IS challenge for decades and each has its own complexities — a proxy war and terrorism in Kashmir, sub-national separatist movements in the Northeast and the Naxal-Maoist insurgency (aka LWE) in the Red Corridor — and have warranted different responses. The first two strands have been reasonably contained.

LWE and the current Maoist movement has its genesis in poor governance, lack of development in the tribal belt and an oppressive/exploitative hierarchy of the state and society that has pushed the tribal population, the landless and the socio-economically backward sections to the margins of survival.

The onus for this sorry state of affairs apropos capacity building to address India’s complex internal security challenge lies with the political leadership of the country, which has abdicated and allowed this kind of stasis to fester – one where the loss of precious lives could have been avoided. In all likelihood, Tekulguda will soon recede from the collective radar, as have many other similar setbacks.

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