The editorial, “Lessons from Dantewada-2” (May 19), was insightful. The ghastly incident in which Maoists killed over 30 people, including 15 civilians, is highly condemnable. The Centre and the State governments should stop passing the buck every time a naxal attack takes place.
The Army should be deployed to root out the insurgency before it gets out of hand. The emphasis should be on prevention, rather than post-attack reviews. Pre-emptive strikes are the right answer to the naxal menace.
The repeated Maoist atrocities in Chhattisgarh are not incidental. They are sinister and calculated to convince the tribal and local communities whose writ runs in the State. And UPA-II is thoroughly confused over how to retrieve the situation along the red corridor.
After the April 6 massacre, in which over 70 security personnel were killed, a massive combing operation ought to have been mounted with the support of the Army and air power, and swift, surgical strikes carried out to reinforce the state's authority. The failure to do that, probably for want of well prepared forces, has emboldened the Maoists.
The editorial should serve as a wake-up call for the government, political parties, NGOs, civil society and every citizen to join hands in rooting out Maoist insurgency. Although we claim that our democracy is strong and successful, invariably there is a conflict between the Centre and the States when it comes to security issues.
The conflict is acute when different parties are in power at the Centre and in the States.
We have a situation in which a Maoist leader claims that Monday's Dantewada killing was a revenge attack against SPOs and that the rebels are not ready to lay down arms.
And here we are debating who should take the primary responsibility of tackling naxalism — the Centre or the State government.
How long does the Centre propose to wait in the hope that the Maoists will come to the negotiating table? Is not the number of lives lost so far enough? It is time the ultras were crushed using air power. If the Sri Lankan army could defeat the LTTE, why not the Indian military crush the Maoists?
M.C. Vijai Shanker,
There is an imperative need for the government to revise its counter-insurgency strategy. Well-trained security personnel should be deployed to fight the Maoists and those at the helm should spare no effort at improving the living conditions of the poverty-stricken. People will then shun the rebels. When tiny Sri Lanka could decimate the omnipotent LTTE, it should not be difficult for our country to eliminate the naxal menace.
Although the naxal movement first started addressing the issues of the marginalised sections, its objective has changed from the welfare of the poor. It has now become a home-grown terrorist movement. The government should respond to the alarming situation by taking firm action against the Maoist outfits. At the same time, it should concentrate on people's welfare so that any misplaced support for them is neutralised.
Ravula Manish Chandra Reddy,
The media should stop calling those responsible for Monday's violence Maoists or revolutionaries. The naxals receive salaries and make huge money. Why can't they lay down roads and construct schools? Why do they blast roads and schools? It is clear that they are against development.
The repeated attacks in Dantewada are a clear pointer to the fact that the insurgents can unleash violence anywhere, any time. Any delay on the part of the government in taking firm decisions will further embolden the naxals who have been buoyed by Dantewada-2. The Centre lacks the strategy to counter the Maoists. Coordination between the Centre and the States is the need of the hour.
P. Senthil Saravana Durai,
That a country of our size and resources has not been able to end the naxal menace is unfortunate. The law-abiding people and public property are under constant threat from the Maoists. The Maoist leaders are well known although it is not clear where their hideouts are, thanks to the lack of intelligence. They communicate freely with the media and authorities. They are bent on destroying our hard-earned independence and democracy. They should be eliminated effectively.
Wg. Cdr. P.S. Venkataraman (retd.),
A serious debate is taking place on the ways of combating naxal violence. Appeals to the Maoists to abjure violence have not succeeded. It is important to go into the causes of naxal violence and the rise in the number of Maoists. The fruits of development are yet to touch the lives of the majority.
Serious introspection is required at all levels to ensure that basic necessities are made available to all and not just to the few fortunate living in better administered areas.
It is time for definitive action against the Maoist insurgency, a serious threat to internal security. A solution through dialogue seems far-fetched as Maoists have started killing innocent people for nothing. Police operations should be supported by air power.
The other way of weakening the Maoist base is to initiate development activities in rural India. The government should ensure that the benefits of development reach the poorest.
N.V. Subramania Iyer,
The landmine attacks in Dantewada remind me of similar strikes by the LTTE which the Indian Army initially experienced in Sri Lanka. But it tackled the menace successfully. How did the IPKF reduce casualties? It is worth enumerating a few tips.
Vehicular movement on roads and the rail track is essential. The absence of security forces leaves the extremists upbeat and gives them time to prepare ambushes.
Planting an IED means digging up the road surface, creation of a deep hole, laying of the IED, and putting in place a mechanism for detonation. For accuracy of attack and maximum effect, the detonation is likely to be triggered by a remote device or a battery-wire combination when a vehicle passes over the IED. While it is difficult to detect the remotely triggered mechanism, the battery and wire system can be detected visually. Therefore, constant surveillance of the road is necessary. More often than not, IEDs are laid under culverts. These can be easily detected.
Frequent patrolling of roads and adjacent areas is an excellent way of preventing the extremists from getting sufficient time and opportunity to plant IEDs.
Col. A.K. Moghe (retd.),