GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
The deadly counter-attack on the security forces in the Minpa forest range of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma has come after a lull. While Naxalism in the neighbouring Telangana, which bore the maximum Naxal brunt not so long ago under the undivided Andhra Pradesh, has been controlled, and is a thing of the past in other Naxal-dominated states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Odisha, it is baffling that Chhattisgarh continues to reel under the Naxal onslaught. Difficult terrains in Bastar and adjacent tribal-dominated districts have ensured constant reversals for the anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh. Over the years, the governments have displayed a firm resolve, and a steady commitment, in fighting the Maoists. The Centre and the state appear to have struck a perfect chord till an ambush of the Minpa forests-type happens. Centre and the state cannot let their guard down in the intense internal security challenge. Governments frequently have vowed to ‘eliminate’ the Maoists in Chhattisgarh but the Maoists have deftly turned the tables on the security forces. Naxals’ intent is clear: destruction of development and creation of parallel states. There is also no ambiguity on the huge support enjoyed by the Maoists among the local tribals by will or by force. The government has to take the tribals in the Naxal-dominated Sukma-Dantewada-Bastar district belt into confidence through education and awareness. Expertise and experience at all levels of policing, strict maintenance of the standard operating procedures, letting the jawans do what they are best at, arming them with more refined weapons and a high degree of anticipation should all go together.