This is with reference to the reports regarding the Maoists' attack on a private bus in Dantewada (May 18). The inhuman and brutal attack is condemnable. There may be a hundred reasons for the Maoists to carry out such attacks. But who are these people to kill innocent civilians and police officers? One is indeed shocked to learn that the civilians who came under attack were returning after a constabulary examination. We should support the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's call for a review of the anti-Naxal strategy. The present strategy may be effective in the long term, but we cannot wait for its dividends while sacrificing hundreds of lives.
What exactly is the Home Ministry waiting for? An attack on Parliament? The whole country to be engulfed in the fire of home-grown terrorists? Its pathetic response sends out twin signals: that India cries only when terrorist activities are directed from other countries towards it and that it has no control over internal disturbances.
The attacks in quick succession only go on to prove that neither the State nor the Central government is serious about tackling the menace with a firm resolve. Even after such attacks on civilians and police resulting in the killing of a number of people, the Centre's reluctance to deploy the Army to eliminate them is deplorable.
The unlawful activities of the Maoists have been going on for quite some time now. Unless this is dealt with firmly, we will be helpless and mute spectators to the killing and harassment of more innocent people. Hope political considerations do not come in the way of launching a military offensive against the Maoists. Rather than making empty statements, it is time to act with a firm hand.
It is clear that naxals are taking advantage of the absence of a sound counter-insurgency policy, the difference of opinion between the Centre and some State governments on the strategy to be followed and the differences within the Congress. The Cabinet should give the go-ahead to the Home Minister for using the armed forces for routing out the Maoists.
By choosing to unleash terror even on unemployed youth, the Maoists exhibited their penchant for waging a psychological war. In their urge to re-establish themselves, they have started going on the rampage. The Union Home Minister and the States affected by the Maoist violence should consider every possible way, including taking the Army's assistance, to make Dantewada a naxal-free area. Side by side, development programmes in backward areas require faster implementation to enlist peoples' support.
The Maoists should immediately stop their senseless killings and join the mainstream.
The violence unleashed across the States is unacceptable. Civil rights groups and the so-called intellectuals justify the violence indulged in by deprived sections, which is the same argument put forward by disparate groups across the world. Once a group wages a war against a democratic State, the latter has no choice but to retaliate. At the same time, in country like India where politics and corruption are so closely intertwined, this should send an alert to the political class and the bureaucrats to get their acts together and start addressing governance issues.