In the last few years, the Government of India led an all-out attack against Naxals. During Rajnath Singh’s tenure as Home Minister, the Naxal problem was dying a slow death. However, just like the Khalistani insurgency was believed to have ended in the 1990s but came back to life during the farm protest, the Naxal problem is also rising again in Chattishgarh due to the lax attitude of the Congress government in the state and lax focus by the Union government.
In the Sukma district – the hub of Naxalims – of Chattishgrah, 22 jawans of paramilitary forces were martyred and 31 sustained injuries in a Naxal attack. On the Naxal side, 15 were killed and 20 got injured.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the Special Task Force (STF) have launched an operation against Naxals from five places – Tarrem, Usoor, and Pamed (Bijapur) and Minpa and Narsapuram (Sukma) to wipe out them completely from the state.
“Around noon on Saturday, an encounter broke out between the patrolling team that was dispatched from Tarrem and ultras belonging PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) battalion of Maoists near Jonaguda village under Jagargunda police station area (in Sukma),” said state’s Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) OP Pal.
In December last year, the Home Ministry took many steps to clean up the Sukma-Bijapur border area, where the attack on paramilitary forces took place (the Naxal forces are strongest in this area).
ThePrint had reported that the Modi government and the MHA had decided to go after the security blanket that surrounds Naxal leadership. The Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) is protected by an entity called the Central Regional Command (CRC), and five new CRPF battalions have been posted in the Sukma and Bijapur districts by the MHA, where the CRC is most active.
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The report also added that the new battalion camps will hold 30 CRPF companies, which will be stationed at gaps of five to six kilometres, thus being able to spread out over 150 km between Sukma and Bijapur. The plan is to bring around 1,500 square kilometres of the Maoist-stronghold territory under their control.
If the Modi government wants to fight against Naxals, it needs to focus on Naxals as well as urban Naxals. Naxals have their own arms factories, a Research and Development wing, propaganda wing and a recruitment branch. Naxalism is far more organised than one could imagine, and there is greater involvement from urban centres though it is almost invisible. They have a dedicated network that functions as the propaganda wing concentrated in the urban areas. This wing includes lawyers, former judges, activists and students.
These urban comrades not only act as propaganda machinery evoking sympathy for Naxals as ‘victims’ and portraying the establishment as oppressors, but also aid the movement of men, funds and ammunition in Naxal-controlled areas. In 2008, Chhattisgarh police had discovered that a travel agency had been helping the Naxals in moving their arms and men.
It is important to understand how “urban Naxals” have facilitated the rise of the toxic ideology in the far-flung areas of India. In fact, even the architects of the Naxalbari revolt, Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal came from an affluent and urban background. It was this Naxalbari revolt that ultimately led to the spread of Naxalism across several states.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah needs to go with a two-pronged strategy in the fight against the Naxals with the first being the aggressive approach towards Naxals being continued and the other being a renewed focus on urban Naxals.
The Khalistan separatism was revived during the farm protests because of the intellectual and financial backing by urban Khalistanis who are based in countries like UK and Canada, and similarly, unless the intellectual aid and financial support by Urban Naxals are cut down, the problem will continue to fester.