By Surabhi Singh:
Repeated massacres in the Naxal dominated area of Raipur and the phenomenal ambush of innocent lives have posed a challenge for the media to hunt for new meanings that would define politics here. While leaders cutting across the party lines remain devoted to the cause of grabbing power ruthlessly predominated by their individual lust and greed, young men run out of options to read meanings into their existence blurred by the gun powder and explosives at both sides of the line.
As DIG (SIB) Dipanshu Kaabra put it so eloquently following the Takabada massacre, “We are yet to gauge the extent of casualties in the entire conundrums of events. But, I would not deem it as a failure of intelligence. We are meeting the Head of the state to get further input into the crucial event.” The eloquence and the unabashed denial of any intelligence failure come really easy to those who have been stripped off of any accountability in our society that is increasingly getting tolerant of this raging bloodbath.
Former Director General of BSF, EM Rammohan Rao has been in the war for too long to overlook the extent of damage it does to innocent people on both sides of the line. He asserts that the state government needs to delve deeper into the idea of Naxalism, rather than pump armed forces into the veins of the forests. In a recent interview to a noted electronic media platform he had stated, “A common man only takes up arms after he has been pushed too hard against the wall.” And this comes from a senior officer who has seen it all, heard it all and has understood the root cause – albeit without a political career ahead of him.
Even the entire security operation in the state is complicit and ignorant of the basic structure of a defence operation. The preliminary assessment may read routine statements of ‘Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) were ignored and forces had poor intelligence inputs.’ But shocker is that no IPS officer is commandant of the CRPF battalion, which has deployed over 20 battalions for Anti Naxal Operations in Chhattisgarh. IPS officers join the force only at the level of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and upwards. Commandants are junior and are drawn from the CRPF’s own cadre.
It’s a brazen and glaring fact that corroborates well with the advice of senior officer from the Army Head Quarters, who bluntly had asked the former Union Home Secretary R K Singh, “Get your IPS officer to command the battalions and lead from the front instead of making them ‘babus’ behind their air-conditioned offices.”
In an ironical coincidence, the three CRPF DIGs deployed in Maoists-infested districts of Chhattisgarh, which include Komal Singh, Dinesh Upadhyay and Pradeep Chandra, are not IPS officers.
Unwilling to be quoted, sources in Chhattisgarh Odisha Sub Area (COSA), one of the off-shoot of Indian Army Central Command which is involved in training central and state police forces for counter-Maoist operations in Bastar, pointed out that the CRPF and the central police organisations are not suitably trained and lack leadership skills at the tactical level.
The army’s advice also reflected in paper presented by a former army officer Brigadier (Retired) Rumel Dahiya, in 2012. Also Advisor (Net Assessment and Defence Studies) at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, Dahiya — the army backed think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) had wrote:
“Presently the CRPF is employed in company and platoon lots and often attached to police stations or to the district police. There is no specific area of operations assigned to CRPF battalions under the command of their commanding officer. Companies are often commanded by inspectors (in case of today’s incident, one Inspector Subhash Kumar was leading team of 50) in their 50s who neither have the energy and stamina nor motivation to fight an invisible opponent with thorough knowledge of terrain and enjoying local support.” This then is the bleak picture of State Government’s boisterous fight against its own marginalised lot.
While the state machinery continues to remain in a self inflicted “Glory of Development”, schools come crumbling down, tribal girls are raped, their lands pillaged and their resources smuggled. At this time, a young villager finishes school and stares at an empty future lying ahead of him. After he fails to pay up the bribes at all the buffer levels of a white collar existence, he takes up arms to annihilate a whole bunch of youth who have finished schools and are staring at a dark future ahead of them – in a forest situated in the far corner of the country. They die and we count the bodies before we move on with our lives.