There is hullabaloo yet again over the killing of naxals. In Chhattisgarh, the CRPF killed 20 naxalites in a mid-night operation overnight on 28-29 June. Some para military personnel were also injured in the encounter, clearly indicating that it was not a ‘peaceful’ gathering of villagers as was being claimed by some.
Director General, CRPF, K Vijay Kumar has categorically denied that the forces fired on unarmed villagers. The villagers do not gather at the dead of the night in the middle of the forest to discuss forthcoming festival arrangements. Mr. Vijay Kumar said people from four villages were present and they were part of the ‘Jan Militia’ the naxalites are organising to launch a major offensive against the CRPF, which is at the forefront of the anti-Red operation. He added that the first firing came from the naxal gathering, to which the CRPF men could not, but retaliate. At least six personnel were injured and four of them received bullet injuries. The Maoist sympathisers had earlier claimed that the men in uniform were injured in ‘friendly fire’ indulged in deliberately to create evidence for an encounter.
The very fact that the socalled human rights activists and left-desperadoes have condemned the killings gives credence to the police version, that it was a genuine operation. For, going by the past track record, these arm-chair bourgeoisie-anarchists, stationed in their cozy air-conditioned rooms, venture out to voice their concern only when the Maoists are injured or killed. They unfailingly keep quiet when convoys of security forces are blown up or when the poor tribals are tortured, maimed or killed by the terrorists on suspicion of being ‘informers.’ The names that have issued a statement this round asking for judicial probe are the same as before, their number limited to half a dozen.
The Congress, in its true characteristic style is speaking with a forked tongue. Either its Home Minister is right or its Tribal Affairs Minister. While P Chidambaram accepted and supported the report of the CRPF, Kishore Chandra Deo, the Union Tribal Affairs Minister claimed that the victims were innocent villagers. He supported his stand by saying that among those killed were teenagers and children. The state government had already pointed out that the naxals were using the tribals as human shields, as they have done in the past and they do not hesitate to put the children in the line of fire to save their own lives.
While Maoist sympathisers point to the lack of development as the root cause of naxalism in tribal areas, they are overlooking another crucial aspect. That, these so-called naxalites and Maoists are the front for anti-India elements within and outside the country that want to keep the society simmering. It is a moot point that the internal security in the country is troubled and disturbed the most in areas where there is abundance of natural resource—North-east, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa. Andhra Pradesh is their pivot. Separatism grew in Punjab when it was the success story of Green Revolution. One of the signature actions of the naxalite groups is that they do not allow developmental activity in their area. They blow up schools, burn down hospitals and now they are trying to shut down mines as these would offer employment, succour and much needed resources for the state and central government. Interestingly, the evangelical activities are the most brisk in these areas.
It would be for the good of the country if the security forces are allowed to function without political interference. There are bound to be casualties of innocent people in a pitched fight in darkness. It is not cold-blooded murder, as the naxals indulge in. And such victims should be adequately compensated and helped by the state government. Politicians and pro-Maoist activists cannot be allowed to be the certifiers for the men in uniform. Those who are out in the jungle, fighting with their lives at stake are the best judges of their action, in the given circumstance. Let us not demoralise them, after every successful operation, after every small victory.