Security forces are no longer reactive.
Example of Gariaband region in Chhattisgarh:
- When the Maoists decided to deepen their roots into Gariaband, the State government notified this division as a new district (in 2012). This gave a fillip to development work.
- Many new police stations and security camps were set up to prevent any major Maoist attack.
- The cadre strength of the Maoists has consequently reduced.
Example of Raigarh:
- Police action in Raigarh district eventually forced the Maoists to abandon their plan of expansion.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs, too, subsequently removed Raigarh from its Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.
Example of central India:
- When the Maoists decided to create a new zone in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, the target districts were immediately put on alert, so as not to allow them to gain ground.
- Security forces were redeployed to ensure better territorial command.
Better Inter-State coordination:
- As the Chhattisgarh police have experience in tackling Maoists in Bastar, they are now coordinating with the bordering States to strengthen intelligence and ground presence.
- Such coordinated proactive policing will dampen the Maoists’ plans.
2. Holistic Approach:
- The Maoist problem is not merely a law and order issue.
- A permanent solution lies in eliminating the root cause of the problem that led to the alienation of tribals in this area.
- Improved connectivity and communication: The focus now is to build roads and install communication towers to increase administrative and political access of the tribals, and improve the reach of government schemes.
- Enhanced income: The government has enhanced the support price of minor forest produce like imli (tamarind).
- Financial inclusion: More bank branches have been opened to ensure financial inclusion.
- Entertainment: All India Radio stations in the three southern districts of Bastar will now broadcast regional programmes to increase entertainment options.
- Improved trade: And a new rail service in Bastar is set to throw open a new market for wooden artefacts and bell metal.
Engaging youth through education and employment:
Weaning away children from Maoists and towards education:
- Maoists are providing combat training to children in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
- Despite the Maoists not wanting their children to study and get government jobs, remarkable work has been done in the field of school education and skill development.
- An educational hub and a livelihood centre in Dantewada district sprang up. Earlier, the hostel of the Ramakrishna Mission in Narainpur was the only place where children could get quality education.
- Seeing its success, the government has now opened up livelihood centres, known as Livelihood Colleges, in all the districts.
- If the youth are constructively engaged by the government, the recruitment of youth by the Maoists will slowly stop.
Role of civil society
- The government’s rehabilitation policies have helped the surrendered cadres turn their lives around.
- Indian democracy is strong enough to absorb even its adversaries if they abjure violence.
- Loopholes in implementing government schemes must not be used as a tool to strengthen the hands of the Maoists.
- Civil society must join hands with the government in realising the villagers’ right to development.
- The two-pronged policy of direct action by the security forces combined with development is showing results.
- The government has already made a dent in most of the affected districts and is determined to check the expansion of Maoists.
- The paradigm of proactive policing and holistic development should ensure more such significant results in the future.