The brutal attack by the Maoists on civilians and security personnel in Dantewada (Chhatisgarh) yesterday has re-emphasised the sad reality that Maoists continue to gain dominance in several regions of the country. The efforts of the central government, the state governments and our security forces to recapture the secluded areas of Maoists influence has certainly suffered a temporary setback. India cannot accept the logic that Maoists are merely ‘misguided ideologues’. They are a violent and brutal organization who with the use of force want to overthrow India’s parliamentary democracy. They wish to replace India’s parliamentary democracy with an ideological dictatorship where civility, democracy, constitutionalism, fundamental rights, freedom and growth will have no place. There will be no space for ideological dissent. Elimination of opponents and dissenters will be the rule.
How can under these circumstances anyone committed to India’s democratic process weaken this fight against the Maoists? The statement made last evening by Shri P. Chidambaram, the union home minister on this issue is a cause of concern. Shri Chidambaram appeared to be an injured martyr. He looked dis-heartened. “What can I do with the limited mandate?” was his response to the questions about government taking decisive steps to recapture the secluded islands of Maoism. He claimed that he had only a limited mandate from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) as against a larger mandate that he desired.
How can the fight against Maoism be crippled by the CCS’s inability to give a larger mandate to eliminate Maoism? A limited mandate effectively means that our security apparatus must fight Maoists with one hand tied. The half- battle against Maoism can never succeed. A half battle is a losing battle. India cannot afford to lose this battle against the Maoists.
It is intriguing that whereas the opposition is willing to give full support to an effective strategy by the government to eradicate Maoism, it is the Congress and the UPA, which is involved in demoralizing the entire security apparatus of this country in this battle. It is no longer peripheral leaders who want a soft stand against the Maoists. It is the centre-stage leadership of the Congress party, which has now supported that stand. The recent letter by the UPA Chairperson, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, to the Congress workers published in the party journal lends support to the softline on the Maoists. There can be no two views on the multi-pronged approach to fight the Maoists. If development alone could solve the problem, the entire nation would welcome it. But in order to ensure development and poverty eradication, the secluded Maoists- dominated areas must first be entered and, in order to establish the rule and governance of the civilian administration, arms have to be flushed out. This certainly requires the security apparatus to support this operation. Those who believe in templates rather than action, can shy away from this real debate. Development of the most backward districts must take place as a priority. But development can take place only when the government is in control of these areas. Currently it appears that the UPA government is in power, it is not in control.
All these statements about weakening the security battle against the Maoists are coming from non-governmental political leaders of the UPA. They are not accountable to the country. They are only accountable to their party. It is the Prime Minister of India who is constitutionally answerable to both the Parliament and the people. What is the governmental stand on the issue? Why is the country’s home minister feeling crippled in the fight against Maoists? Why is the Cabinet Committee on Security scared to mount a security offensive? It is time that the Prime Minister stood up and spoke on the issue and told the Nation what his views on the subject are. Is he only in favour of a limited mandate to fight the Maoists? Is India going to see half a battle against Maoists or will we use all our national security resources to eradicate this menace?
Also read: The home minister's response