April 07, 2010

life in general&financial markets: extremism on both sides -- maoists & government

The tragedy that struck the families of the 74 Centre Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men who were killed in a attack by Maoists is distressing. These CRPF men, coming from non-affluent backgrounds and in their jobs primarily for a little bit of financial security, are the victims of not just the Maoist extremists who deserve no empathy for their indiscriminate violent methods but also of the machinations, apathy and inefficiencies of the powers-that-be in the central government of India as well as several state governments in the country.

P. Chidambaram, the Home Minister, was earlier the Finance Minister. There have been several cases of companies, bureaucrats and politicians colluding to brutally oust the remote people of India living in tribal and forest areas where the companies want to set up their mining and other industrial projects on the back of huge governement subsidies (that you and me as India's taxpayers ultimately bear).

There was a genuine resistance from the people and this got support from some concerned citizen groups all over the country. Hiding behind this genuine resistance, the Maoists took to violence against government forces and agents in those areas. The companies started complaining to the Finance Minister (Chidambaram then) and the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. They (along with Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Kamal Nath and other members of the coterie that turns a blind eye to the extreme violations taking place of human rights and environmental laws in those remote regions of India) must have decided on a strategy.

The first step was to transfer Chidambaram from the Finance Ministry to the Home Ministry as the latter is in charge of internal security matters of the country. Chidambaram would get the companies to provide him with details of which areas they want to set up their projects in (whether or not they are in genuine compliance of ecology laws and human rights clauses of Indian laws) and then use the paramilitary force (such as CRPF) to suppress the genuine resistance of the affected people using the Maoist violence as a convenient excuse.

So it has been a war by the Indian government, supposedly against Maoists, in the last few months. Maoists receive their arms from international arms suppliers (mostly private extremist organisations but sometimes quasi-government arms manufacturing companies). That the Maoist violence should be put a halt to is a given but at least it can be done without endangering the lives of poor paramilitary force troops on whom the government and Chidambaram does not wish to spend adequately on their salaries and training. Read the full text of the news story (that I am giving below) about how stupid it was for CRPF men to be blindly asked to enter a forest at dawn and how they were sitting ducks.

Simultaneously, the government of India should do away with its nefarious intentions behind the reckless and blind approvals it is granting to companies in the remote areas of India for mining and other projects. 

The newsreport:


Operation Green Hunt is flawed: Experts
New Delhi: The gruesome killing of 75 security personnel by Maoists in the jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh brought the faultlines of Operation Green Hunt, the massive mobilisation of forces against Naxals, into the open.

Leading security experts like former Punjab Director General of Police KPS Gill and Ajai Sahni of Institute of Conflict Studies questioned the merit of sending policemen to battle the Maoists without any intelligence or preparation.

“What is the objective of these operations? How can they send a company of 120 men into the jungle - roaming, hunting for Naxals without any back-up or support? What were they expected to do? These men were sitting ducks. They are not IIT graduates or men of high intelligence,” said Singh.

Singh was adviser to Chhattisgarh Government in 2003-04 for tackling Naxals.

According to Singh, there was no point in walking into the Naxal territory and attacking them without precisely assessing their strike capacity.

“You will launch an attack after which they disperse into the jungles and regroup to mount a counter. They did it in Dantedwada, in Lalgarh before that and a number of other places. We must have the intelligence otherwise we will simply lose our uniformed men to such attacks,” Singh said.

Sahni pointed that the political class suffers from the problem of continuously doing things without any planning or strategy.

“When they do not have a strategy they call it an Operation. Do you know the total central forces deployed for the entire anti-Naxal operation is 57 battalions - each battalion will have 400 men,” he said, adding, “That means altogether about 22-23,000 central forces are battling a vast army of Maoists spread across six states against whom they will never be to dominate.

This is what we say outright adventurous.” Sahni said the jawans were being thrown to their death because of lack of any planning by the Government.

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