The tragic death of 15 security personnel with a civilian who were killed in a massive IED blast allegedly carried out by Maoist naxals in Gadchiroli on 1st May is a reminder of Indian state’s continued failure to crush Naxalism. The security personnel were part of the C-60 Quick Response Team, the most elite commando force of Maharashtra police which was specifically set up in 1990 to tackle the Naxal violence predominant in the area. The violent attack has been undertaken exactly after a year Maharashtra police carried out its most successful operation to eliminate 40 insurgents in the same region. This is the testimony to the fact that this attack was carried out to demonstrate the power over the region. The fact that C-60 is the finest anti-maoist organization that was created in Gadchiroli with 60 commandos recruited from the same region where the naxals had enlisted their own fighters and they have always been successful in their operations. The CRPF trained themselves with C60 and with their train craft, intelligence and technology being incontestable. And if such a well-built force can be hit and such causality can be imposed upon then it is a subject of worry. While Prime Minister Modi condemned the incident, assuring that “the perpetrators would not be spared”. The question is that were the Maoists actually capable of inflicting such damage or is it another intelligence and tactical lapse that could have been foreseen?
At the tactical level, the police forces have made fundamental mistakes as the Quick Response Team was going down the road to Dadpur in Kurkheda to reinforce the police station when the extremists had set fire to 27 vehicles of Road Construction Company earlier that day, which is a classic example of naxal bait which the security forces fell for. Also, Gadchiroli; a trijunction of Maharashtra, Telengana and Chhattisgarh is an active Maoist area where insurgencies have taken place. In 2010, 76 CRPF jawans were massacred in a naxal attack in Dantewada and the death of 25 CRPF jawans who were killed in an ambush by Naxal forces in Sukhma where the modus operandi was eerily similar to the one used in Dantewada and again in the Gadchiroli attack where they had contacts with the local villagers to set a trap for security soldiers. So, why did security forces reacted in such a predictably manner which raises the questions that have we learnt nothing from our past? As, the Maharashtra police DGP said “We shall not let this pass” the question of accountability arises. Is there anyone to be held accountable for this tactical and intelligence lapse?
Usually nation’s security top officials and ministers over such an administrative failure resign but Indian authorities remain in state of denial. With 1086 naxals attacks 391 security forces casualties and 582 civilians’ dead in last five years the words accountability, answerability and responsibility are missing from national government’s lexicon on national security. Where is the system in this country that studies these attacks and learns its lesson in an institutional manner? For example the Intelligence Bureau one of the finest institution hasn’t changed even a pin from 1920’s as the world has changed the nature of terrorism has changed but no reforms has been brought in the institution that deal with them. As a result what we get is attack after attack, the attack in Chandel, Manipur in 2015 where NSCN (K) ambushed military convoy resulting into loss of life of 18 Dogra soldiers of Indian Army which Indian Intelligence believed that they had defeated. Instances like these make it urgent that there should be a necessary change in the way our administration and accountability works. The politisation of these issues seems to be the best solution as to blame the problem from government to government with no actual institutional reform to take place. It is high time that there should be a uniform, focused and coordinated effort by security agencies to deal with this violent run.
- “THE MAOIST CHALLENGE.” The Indian Express.com. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/maoist-attack-gadchiroli-blast-maharashtra-5707660/(accessed May 02, 2019).
- “LOST LIVES: ON GDCHIROLI NAXAL ATTACK.” The Hindu.com. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/lost-lives/article27016125.ece (accessed May 03, 2019).
- C-60 FORCE: THE ‘CRACK COMMANDOS’ WHO ARE TASKED TO COUNTER MOIST VIOLENCE IN GADCHIROLI. The Indian Express.com. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/gadchiroli-naxal-attack-who-are-the-c-60-commandos-5707615/. (Accessed May02, 2019).
- “FROM DANTEWADA 2010 TO SUKHMA 2017: HOW THE NAXAL ATTACK NARRATIVE HAS NOT CHANGED IN 7 YEARS”. The India Today.com. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/from-dantewada-to-sukma-naxal-attack-narrative-has-not-changed-in-seven-years-973481-2017-04-25. (Accessed May 03, 2017).