Sukma Naxal Attack: Did intelligence failure lead to death of 25 CRPF Jawans?
The 24 April 2017 ambush against the Indian Paramilitary forces in Sukma, Chhattisgarh, by the Naxalites was the largest ambush after 2010. The ambush by reportedly 300 Maoists took away the lives of 25 CRPF Jawans.
The recent Sukma Naxal Attack in which 25 CRPF Jawans sacrificed their lives has broken the silent ceasefire that existed between the Naxalites and Paramilitary Forces.
The Sukma Maoist Attack of 24th April is the bloodiest since 2010 and raised some serious questions regarding the policy, perspective and the direction that Anti-Naxal operations have been given in the last two years by the Modi Government.
Was it an intelligence failure, policy change or any other loophole that caused the death of our Jawans is a question that is on the minds of every Indian. Here’ we shall try to analyse this questions while also looking at possible reactionary measures that are at hand for the Modi Government to react to it.
About the attack
The attack took place on personnel of the 74th Battalion of the CRPF. At the time of the attack, the soldiers were guarding road workers in the Sukma district, which is located at a distance of 400km from Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. Reports suggest that the Naxals fired from hilltops at the group of soldiers. The jawans tried to retaliate but didn’t succeed because the Naxals were using residents of Burkapal village as human shields.
What went wrong?
The question that arises is was it the lack of coordination between the locals of the area and the central police as well as the intelligence which led to this attack. Or did the union government’s claim that Maoists problem will end in half a decade instigate the attack.
The answer for the two questions lies in the in-depth analysis of the Sukma Naxal attack.
The answer to the first question can be seen in the non-cooperation by the villagers of the area, mainly Burkapal hamlet, who once shared a friendly relationship with the CRPF Jawans. Earlier, the villagers were acting as informers for CRPF’s anti-Naxal operations.
Reports suggest that the villagers, who once acted as informers for the security forces, had distanced themselves from the forces after their village head Madhvi, who was acting as a helping hand for CRPF, was killed two months back by the Naxalites.
Answer of the second question lies in the massive attack where the rebels or the Maoists reacted with full capacity to prove their existence and strength.
Reports suggest that earlier, Home Minister Rajnath Singh in his statement in the Parliament informed that due to operations of the security forces around 135 Maoists were killed and about 700 were arrested in 2016. He also said that nearly 1200 rebels had surrendered to the forces.
In response to this, the Sukma attack was orchestrated by the Maoists putting their full strength on display. With this, they have sent a strong message to the government that they may be weaker than the forces but their resolve to fight against them will never die.
Maoists and the reason for their fight
The left-aligned Maoists or rebels who have been fighting against the union/state government for more than three decades say that they are fighting for the rights of tribal people as well as landless farmers. Their fight is against the mining in the mineral-rich region. In short, their fight is for a greater share of wealth as well as jobs for Adivasis - the indigenous people.
Currently, it is believed that Maoists are present in about 19 to 20 states of India and are most active in few states like Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar.
Maoist attacks and its timeline during the decade
• March 2017: Maoist rebels killed 11 paramilitary policemen in Chhattisgarh.
• May 2013: About 30 people, including tribal leader Mahendra Karma, were killed in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
• April 2010: At least 76 CRPF personnel killed in Dantewada region of Sukma
• May 2010: About 36 security personnel were killed near Dantewada
• June 2010: At least 27 soldiers killed in Narayanpur district
• March and July 2007: 55 security personnel killed in Bastar and other 23 policemen were killed in the region respectively
The ambush of the security personnel has drawn condemnation from different sections of the society including the politicians, public as well as different countries like Israel.
The Indian National Congress (INC) has termed the incident as an unfortunate event and has asked the union government led by Narendra Modi to initiate appropriate counter action.
Besides, Israel has condemned the Naxalite attack and emphasised on deepening cooperation with India to combat terrorism. While delivering a lecture on 'India-Israel- Enduring Partnership' at the Nehru Memorial Museum in New Delhi, Israeli envoy, Daniel Carmon said terrorism is one of the challenges India and Israel are facing. He added there is a new battlefield, an asymmetric warfare which the security forces have to face.
What can be done?
Instead of the actions or attempts by the security forces or talks at the political level, the government should come up with the real solution under which they (the underprivileged sections including Adivasis) are made a part of the development and provided jobs.