Homeland Security

Don't throw India to the wolves
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 22 Feb , 2011

The abduction of an IAS officer RV Krishna in Orissa and the seeming capitulation of the state has made the people of India feel vulnerable and insecure. If the swap of terrorists with the passengers of Air India IC-814 in Kandhar imparted a huge impetus to jihadi terrorism, the proposed swap of hardcore Maoist cadres with the IAS officer will compromise all the gains that the security forces have made after much of sacrifices in the Red Corridor.

Security personnel are not cannon fodder

If the swap takes place, the state would be seen as callous to the security personnel to the point of treating them as cannon fodder. This state of affairs cannot continue for long. Someday in the near future, the security forces will begin to question the government and a stage may come when there will be no security personnel willing to stake life for the writ and integrity of India. Above all, soldiers sacrifice for a cause. Political expediency of the government in power can certainly not serve as a cause.

This is the face of Maoist terrorism i.e. anti-state, anti-people, and anti-development. It is for this reason, that they do not have the guts to follow route through the ballot box.

As it is, the morale of the security forces in the Red Corridor has been plummeting. This author has been a witness to a Maoist attack recently and the response of the security elements in the area. A road construction party was attacked at 2300 hrs, intelligence for which was available with the police. As the Maoists were gathering in large numbers for the attack, more than a dozen people informed the SHO of the local police station through mobile telephones. The SHO in turn informed the CRPF company in location. The categorical stand of the CRPF company was that it would only cordon the area and the onus of apprehending the Maoists lay with the local police. The SHO developed cold feet. He only went with his police party to the location once the sun had shone, to find the entire road construction equipment worth several crores destroyed by the Maoists.

So much with regard to the development agenda of the Maoists! In fact, it was this very development project that had drawn the ire of the Maoist leaders. They intimidated the contractor and demanded ‘protection money’. It was initially given, but it became so incessant that the project was becoming economically unviable. It was then that the engineer and the contractor approached the SHO. The police and the paramilitary could do nothing.

This author met the SHO after the incident, who clearly said that why should he risk his life in fighting the Maoists when some mainstream politicians provide patronage to them. The company commander of the CRPF lamented that his men are too untrained and old to take on the Maoists in a direct firefight. He further said that one could not expect 50 year old men to take on the young Maoist cadres. The retirement age of CRPF personnel is 58 years. It may also be mentioned that this road was being remade and expanded after some three decades. The local population was ecstatic and enthusiastic about it. But when the police went on the scene of Maoist mayhem, not one of them was willing to divulge anything, terrorized as they were.

This is the face of Maoist terrorism i.e. anti-state, anti-people, and anti-development. It is for this reason, that they do not have the guts to follow route through the ballot box.

Can’t we sacrifice one IAS officer for integrity of India?

As in the case of Kandhar swap, this time too, the government seems to be floundering for response. The people of this country expected that the state would have learnt its lessons from Kandhar and have policy and response mechanisms to deal with such situations. The hope of the people has been belied. This is the fifth major hostage crisis confronting the central / state governments in past one year. As in the case of Kandhar, this time too, the state is ready to talk to terrorists.

Also read: China’s string of Pearls vs India’s Iron curtain

There is no difference between the jihadi terrorists and the Maoist terrorists. There is enough evidence to prove the linkage between the two. Both have international patrons and both want the destruction of India. Can’t we sacrifice one IAS officer for the integrity and future well-being of India?

The trading of India’s Writ

The abduction of the IAS officer indicates the pathetic internal security situation that we have arrived at. It is because the state has been increasingly conceding its writ. The writ of a state cannot be calculated in terms of percentage. It either exists or does not. In fact, the government of the day is elected and paid to enforce 100 percent writ. A 100 percent writ implies the guarantee of legitimate rights, privileges and security to all citizens. It can only happen only if public servants act like servants of the public.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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