India Shuffle: Maoist / Naxalite Overload

Lots of stuff about the Naxalites in today’s news. Here’s a round-up:

MAOISTS DEFEATED IN 3-7 YEARS – Home Secretary GK Pillai says the Naxalites will be defeated in 3 to 7 years, which sounds pretty arbitrary, but then he explains that’s how long it will take to raise the extra 350,000 police they need and 30 extra battalions of paramilitaries. Of course, that makes the deadline even more arbitrary since there is little mention of a strategy by which these extra troops are supposed to operate. Pillai added that there are currently 34 districts highly affected districts, 83 partially affected and 220 with some Naxalite activity.

CRPF WANT OUT – It’s no surprise that the Central Reserve Police Force want to withdraw from the Naxal-infested area of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, having taken the brunt of the fighting there. It has emerged that during the Maoist ambush that lost them 27 men, their SOS call was ignored by another CRPF contingent who felt their safety was compromised. There is talking of doubling their presence in interior camps in Bastar to 200, but morale is clearly at rock bottom.

RAMMOHAN INTERVIEW – An excellent overview of the Maoist problem from the man who investigated the Dantewada massacre of 8 April. Reassuring to know this view is being heard at the highest levels. Interesting, too, to hear a caste-based evaluation, if a bit generalising:

In Chhattisgarh, it’s mostly to do with rights over forests. The Adivasis have been pushed into the forests over thousands of years by caste domination, and are now almost entirely confined to it. They have no land and can only collect forest produce. But they still have to sell it and when they come out of the forest to the market place, they have to find a buyer. And who’s the buyer? The Vaishya trader. At the root of this trouble, I say, is this trio — the wily Brahmin, the arrogant Kshatriya, the avaricious Vaishya.

POLICE REFORM CHAOS – An admirable attempt to reform the way police officers are promoted in Karnataka proves complicated. The basic effect is that no one is getting promoted, so unsure is everyone about how to proceed when there isn’t some money to grease the wheels.

And here’s a pretty decent round-up of the left-wing perspective (essentially spot-on, but downplaying the momentum of violence triggered by the Maoist reaction) from Tehelka’s editor:

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