Time to act and give peace a chance

Policy-makers should adopt an honest approach
Since the Dantewada incident in which brave CRPF jawans laid down their lives, many articles have been published discussing how the jawans of the paramilitary forces should be trained. Questions like whether we should use our army and air force to tackle the Naxals, how the flow of money to them can be stopped, is it a law and order problem or should leaders talk less and work more and where does the buck stop have been raised.
Politicians and the government machinery are well aware of the genesis of the problem. Still, the situation is not being dealt with the way it should be.
When any community is ill- treated for years and their survival threatened, they are left with no choice but to take up arms.
In Assam, insurgency started three decades back. Despite Assam being the main oil producing state in those days, it was still ignored with regard to economic uplift. Influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh threatened the demography of the state. Enough indicators were given but no heed was paid, resulting in a peaceful movement, which, however, took the shape of a violent agitation and then to insurgency. Many lives were lost.
Today, the situation is under control, yet peace, in the true sense of the term, has not been achieved. The government’s stubborn attitude is also proving to be a stumbling block.
Insurgency in Nagaland started in the sixties. In 1997, the suspension of operations agreement was signed between the NSCN’s Isak-Muivah and Khaplang factions and security forces. In the last 13 years, peace has not been achieved. Worse is the situation in Manipur where the number of insurgent groups exceeds that of the state’s districts. In 2005-06, about 15 Kuki insurgent groups signed the suspension of operations agreement, thanks to the initiative of the then Chief of Army Staff Gen. J.J. Singh. With this development, the situation in Manipur should have changed, but it has not.
Internal security threat to our country will not reduce till our policy makers and controllers have an honest approach to solve the problem whether in areas inhabited by indigenous communities or in the mainstream areas. Whether the CRPF jawans in Dantewada were trained or not is immaterial, they had laid down their lives fighting the Naxals to maintain integrity of our nation.
Let us value their sacrifices by forgetting the mistakes made in the past and take logical and honest steps toward peace.
• Operation Sadbhavana (welfare measures) must be launched in the affected areas and if it is difficult then it should be launched in the least affected areas. Local elderly and respected personalities should be involved in it to have more accountability.
• Illegal activities of the mafia threatening the livelihood of the local population need to be stopped.
• There is a need to provide medical facilities. Regular medical camps will change the minds of the disillusioned population.
• Time-bound development in affected/less affected districts will send the correct signals.
• The need of the hour is to win the hearts and minds of the people. A regular meeting with them will pay dividends. The grievances of the people need to be addressed to isolate Naxals from the population.
• Development of human intelligence is a key step while intelligence assets need to be looked after. *Intelligence-based operations as against aimless patrols are required.
• Time to show superiority in training, physical/mental fitness and weaponry.
• Naxal leaders need to be targeted. Head must be separated from body.
• Well-planned and hard operations have to be launched yet not with an aim of vindictiveness.