Police set-up need to be overhauled to fight naxalism: Experts
As naxalism continues to be the biggest threat to internal security, experts believe that the local police dealing with Maoists are ill-equipped and need proper training, intelligence support and re-orientation.delhi Updated: Jun 01, 2009 13:12 IST
As naxalism continues to be the biggest threat to internal security, experts believe that the local police dealing with Maoists are ill-equipped and need proper training, intelligence support and re-orientation.
"Its high time steps are taken for proper training and infrastructure to the local police, who are ill-equipped to deal with the naxals operating in areas difficult to reach. We have to deal to with naxalism on par with terrorism," says former CBI director Joginder Singh.
A very recent research report by Asian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) states that more lives were lost in naxal violence in the country during the past four years than in the armed conflicts in the North-East or Jammu and Kashmir.
"The current security driven responses are not working and indeed they are counter-productive," the report says.
During General Elections as many as 65 people, most of them security personnel, lost their lives in different acts of violence.
Arun Bhagat, former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director, says that apart from equipment, state police need to be re-oriented to fight naxalism.
"Local police should first learn the military tactics of attack and defence because its a 'Guerrilla' war situation. And hot pursuit against naxals are required so that they don't get away easily," he says.
For the former CBI director "A better co-ordination between central and states agencies is the need of the hour."
"Currently the areas infested by naxals are very dense and there is very little intelligence in place. Security agencies depend on satellite imageries," he says.
On the source of funding of the naxal movement, Bhagat does not see any foreign link and says, "Funds come from extortions from contractors, businessmen, mill-owners, transporters and the communities under their influence."
Naxalism keeps raring its head from time to time in the most uglier ways than one can imagine. Last month sixteen policemen were killed in Naxal attack in Maharashtra. In April, a train with nearly 75 passengers on board was hijacked by Naxals in Latehar district of Jharkhand.
Officers like V D Ram, DGP, Jharkhand, who have been involved in tackling the menace advocate for central government assistance to strengthen the local police.
"They are ruthless and getting bolder by the day. So we have recently purchased AK-47 for the local police to give more teeth to our fire power. If we leave some incidents during polls, the attacks on the police stations have drastically come down in the last six months," Ram says.
DGP Jharkahnd while pointing out the need for intelligence sharing by states to minimise naxal activities, says, "We are giving special training to the police to tackle naxals. Special Task force (STF) has also been raised and given special powers."
The Union Home Ministry has chalked out a 100-day Action Plan following a directive of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to specifically deal with security threat emanating from naxal menace, according to home ministry sources.
However, some security experts say that main problem lies with the basic issues, like poverty and unemployment.
"Police is actively fighting the naxals but there are socio-economic problems that need to be addressed first. Naxals allure unemployed youth to join them. The other reason for growing naxal influence is land disputes, where naxals use their might for final settlement," says a senior IPS officer.
"It's not a border problem where you know who your enemy are," he says.
The seven naxal affected states in the country are Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
According to the ACHR report, while the number of security forces killed in Jammu and Kashmir decreased from 189 in 2005 to 75 in 2008 and those killed in the North-East went from 71 in 2005 to 46 in 2008, the number of forces killed in the Naxal conflict increased from 153 in 2005 to 231 in 2008.