by Brig Arun Bajpai

Whatever the yesteryear Indian leaders like Nehru and Indira Gandhi had done or not done, one thing stands out loud and clear that they never went soft on insurgency, they employed Army as at that time paramilitary forces were available in very less strength, resolutely and insurgencies in Mizoram, Phizos Nagaland, Assam, etc were finished off. However, the same cannot be said of current Indian Netas. Mr Bhupesh Baghel of Congress has taken over as CM of Naxal insurgency prone Chhattisgarh, after 15-year rule of Dr Raman Singh of BJP. Within two days of his taking over as CM, he is now saying that “he is not interested in figures of encounters and body counts of Naxals “but is interested in holding talks with all stake holders.

Our Baghel Sahib says that if problem was to be solved by blazing guns, it would have been solved during Dr Raman Singh rule of 15 years. He says policy of bullet for bullet has failed miserably and it is time to give new thought to the issue. He said it would be a mistake to assume that deployment of more forces, intensifying encounters and counting of bodies are indications of successfully countering the rebel problem. Instead he says he would look for solutions with involvement of all those affected. He says he does not want records of body counts. These statements of this great new CM of Chhattisgarh, Mr Baghel, must have sounded as music to Naxal ears and dearth to all those Paramilitary forces, police forces, underground workers who have been fighting this menace assiduously even at the cost of their life for last 15 years. The entire sacrifices made by these people in last 15 years in fighting this Naxal insurgency at the cost of their life and limb has been nullified by this Neta Ji with drop of a hat. For these Neta’s the loss of life and limb of our security forces do not matter. What matters is their vote bank. After Baghel Sahib will ruin all the gains of last 15 years of fighting against Naxals, then again, these operations will start from scratch and once again the security forces will be forced to lose their life and limb because once again Neta ji has failed. Why our Baghel Sahib is suddenly so against blazing guns with security forces taking upper hand ? Hope he is not thinking of general elections to be held 4-5 months from now?

Before we go any further let us appreciate what does insurgency means? In any democracy or otherwise insurgency only starts when the government in power fails to satisfy all subjects it governs and some disgruntled subjects take to arms. This happens only when the Government in power’s management of its subjects is extremely poor and they take to arms. An insurgency can only survive when it is supported by fairly large section of disgruntled population and an out-side country which makes available arms and money. In the case of Naxals this outside country is Pakistan and now China also. When this Naxal insurgency started, the paramilitary forces and police use to be martyred in bulk. In Bastar only 40 -50 of security forces were getting martyred in one go. Since then things have improved. Now the Security forces, after so many sacrifices are hitting back. They have established their own intelligence grid which is vital for successes for any counter insurgency operation. Intelligence is coming to our security forces fast and quick which is the sure shot sign that Naxal Insurgency is dying down. Large number of Naxals are surrendering with their arms. Roads are getting built which are getting deeper and deeper into Naxal prone areas. Development is also keeping pace.

Recently our Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that finish of Naxal insurgency is just around the corner. At this juncture this idea of Baghel Sahib of talks is really funny? Yes, talks are also necessary in any insurgency but that must be carried out with the position of strength, when the insurgents are on the run and security forces are dictating terms. For this stage to come in Chhattisgarh it will still take a few more years of relentless operations by security forces. So why this Neta ji Baghel Sahib is hell bent on spoiling the show ? it is very important here that if we want to save India from perpetual insurgency we must change our election system. Currently all that Neta ji needs to do is to flash his caste credentials in any state where his caste has good percentage, add another caste for flavour which our Netas call social engineering, and with first past the post system currently followed in country, win the election even though he may be supported by just 10% of voting public with 90% against him. Why can we not follow the French system followed by so many countries where the round of polling continues till the candidate gets 50% share of votes. This will also force political parties to select candidates who are universally acceptable. If Baghel sahib refuses to listen to centre, then may be imposing of President rule in the state is the answer. We can not allow sacrifices of large number of paramilitary forces as martyred go to waste just because Netaji wants.

The problem with our Netas is that they have no knowledge matters military. They are also rather poor in strategy. They take their advice from policemen who are themselves clueless of fighting insurgency or jungle warfare. Recently Parliamentary committee on Internal security has rightly pointed out that why IPS cadre officers are holding all top jobs in Paramilitary forces when their basic job of paramilitary forces is military, fighting insurgency and jungle warfare? Why the own cadre officers of these organisations like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, are not given the top jobs? This is nothing but Empire building by IPS who keep on mis advising our political masters for their own gains. Need of the hour is that now with the arrival of paramilitary forces, whose strength have surpassed even of Army, fresh rules must be enacted for them. They must be out of the clutches of IPS cadre of Police whose expertise lie in writing FIRs and Challans. fighting Insurgency and jungle warfare are not writing FIRs. This is pure war and it should be handled as such. These can not be fought by IPS cadre officers of police who are not trained for it. Similarly, responsibility of dealing with the insurgency can not be left with the same set of Neta’s whose basic inefficiency was the reason for the start of this insurgency. The internal security and insurgency must be handled by the police and paramilitary forces. only when they advise that they have done their job and now Neta’s should take on, our Neta’s should step in.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same