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“The conventional armed forces lose if they do not win but a guerrilla wins if he does not lose”.

–         Henry Kissinger remarked on the guerrilla warfare

In the recent ambush of the Cobra commandoes we lost 22 Jawans and the equal number of Maoist cadres were killed. The video of the hostage jawan release shows a sizeable crowd of the support cadres these Naxals have. The security forces will do whatever possible to contain and eliminate this decades old insurgency. Equally important is to explore solutions to get to the root of the grievances on which these Naxals thrive.

WE ALL KNOW INSURGENCY IS A BATTLE OF WITS TO WIN THE HEART AND NINDS OF THE PEOPLE BY BOTH THE OPPOSING PARTIES. Armed forces want to wean away support to guerrillas and Guerrillas on the other hand want the active and passive support of the local population to thrive and survive. Some years back a DG CRPF has made a statement saying that the Naxals are our own people, they are not from outside and CRPF is operating within the country and not facing the enemy as a border guarding force.

So that is why we have to be selective in our action against Maoists. He meant to home on to the point that these are our own misguided people and thus the strategy to conduct operations against our own people has to be different. In a sense we keep talking to them to find solutions to their purported grievances while at the same time deal with their armed cadres firmly to contain and defeat them thus bringing them to the negotiating table when our   forces have an upper hand. This is normal strategy.

Naxalism is not a challenge only for the present day governments at center and state  alone but for our entire polity.  There is no doubt that the tactics of these groups to grab maximum attention they resort to very barbaric tactics which are not only inhuman which deserve the maximum condemnation.

It is well known that they have no respect for human and democratic values and they needed to be tackled with all the might at our command. But at the same time since they are so well entrenched in their areas of operations it is obvious that naxals cannot be merely treated as a law and order problem alone.


Therefore force is not the only answer but surely more concerted efforts are required to eradicate reasons for growth and proliferation of the naxalite ideology. The need is to hit at its support base and thus reduce the breeding grounds of their cadre. Taking this argument to an actionable scale is the key to solution and which may ultimate game changer in our fight against Naxals.

The solution is initiating a new process which is dynamic and gets results in quick time frames. This solution has to be two pronged instead of not the usual immediate hit back as hard response. The one of the two prongs will be an effort to eradicate the causes and build confidence in new programmes to solve problems faced by locals  by being proactive all the time and the second prong will be to  contain and corner them so that they come to the negotiating table.

The major reason for the disgruntled elements to form these groups to militarily challenge the lawfully established and elected governments is our skewed development model of distributing development goodies inequitably. This model started by our leaders with all good intentions actually failed to be flexible enough to meet the emerging challenges. This model was never challenged or audited by independent bodies so as to bring its fault lines to anybody notice.

If at all any auditing of the development model has been  done- it has been  actually done by the promoters of this very model hence there is  always a tendency not to find fault and let the  same system carry on with minor cosmetic changes. The system has been  allowed to continue because the persons operating have  a premeditated thought process that it is not required to  change the established system.

About the author:
Col. Jasjeet Singh Gill

Col. Jasjeet Singh Gill The writer, Col (retd) Jasjeet Singh Gill, took premature retirement from the Indian army in 2001. He was a founder member of the Aam Aadmi party in Punjab AS its media incharge. An environmentalist from the past two decades he left politics and was nominated as Member State Task Force of Buddha Darya Rejuvenation Project. He is an avid Sikh military historian, has keen interest in writing about people’s welfare and offers talks on radio, TV and YouTube channels on social and environmental issues besides being a member of the Public Action Committee of Punjab.

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