It started from the second year of my college life. Everything was going fine, good friends, books, marks and teachers, until i fell in love with a cute, charming, sweet, and attractive deep eyed girl named “xyz”. It took me few weeks to finally drew up all the courage in the world to propose her. And guess what she accepted. Life had never been so beautiful. From cafe to class, from computer lab to library, from movies to dinners, from studies to bunks, from cell phones to chats, she was always there with me. But one black Wednesday i found out she was cheating on me, and not only me she was cheating one other guy also. I was broken, torn, cheated, humiliated and cast off. I decided to take revenge. I took a pistol and fired at her. She died instantaneously. My revenge didn’t end here. I vowed to kill each and every girl named “xyz”. Why only “xyz”, I swear to kill every women in this world. I became a NAXALITE. Yes this is what naxalism says and this is what in true sense is naxal ideology.
Nowadays from morning to evening, all I could see and think of is books. From history to geography, from Pratiyogita Darpan to Chronicle, from Economics to International Affairs, from Lokpal to Sri Lankan Human Rights sanction; my dad could very well sense my condition and so he planned a trip for my refreshment, and guess what next day I was in Saranda, the forest of 700 hills, that’s where it got its name from – a forest that is said to be the largest in Asia. Now this is the way to lessen the mental strain of your son – bring him to place with physical strains. What else can you expect from your policeman father – a trip to Mcleodganj. (I remember accompanying my dad to City Park for evening walks only to find him shouting at the love birds hiding themselves behind the bushes – policemen can never understand testosterones and estrogens ).
Saranda is perhaps the most beautiful forest I have ever seen, (however I have seen only couple of National Parks), but this one for sure is the place to remember. There are hills, hills and hills, with dense forest cover. Sometimes you are at the height to 13000 ft, other minute you are down hundred feet below the sea level (iron mines). There are several civilizations residing in these dense forests, some of them are educated and speak hindi too. Even tourism has started its wings here. A very good sign indeed. A year before one cannot even think of wandering around this place. There were no roads, no transport, no electricity, no schools and no hospital. Perhaps the blame can be put on the government of the state from 1947-1960. However after 1960’s the blame is only on the Mukherjees, Banerjees, Sanyals, Basus, Majumdars etc. These people with their so called revolutionary ideas never let the government do development works in these areas so that they can fool the local poor and uneducated people about the indifferent attitude of the government towards their welfare. Whenever a contractor took up a contract to build roads, they killed him, only to show the poor tribals that government is not interested in building roads in their village, whenever government tried to set up schools and hospitals, they blew up the building only to isolate the local inhabitants from the government’s welfare plans. From past 50 years these propagators of Mao Tse Tung have never let government develop railways and electricity in these areas. They haven’t even let these local inhabitants to study science, history and geography, instead at the age they should be studying mathematical tables, they were made to study Karl Marx, Communism, romances of bloody revolution, overthrow of democratic government and establishment of communist (so called people’s) government. At the time they should be taught to look forward to modern scientific era, they were taught of atrocities committed by security forces during British era. And guess they succeeded in making these tribals believe their side of story. They now believe that government is their enemy which does nothing for their benefit and these people wearing khaki kurtas, western educated, with huge bank balances, going for leave only during navratris are their true friends.
Saranda Forest shares the area with Odisha and Chhattisgarh, so one moment we were in Jharkhand and the other moment we were having our tea in an Odisha government guest house. In the evening we went to see the Sunset point just behind our guest house in Kiru Buru (Chaibasa, Jharkhand) and the next day in Odisha to see Sunrise point. However this was not the real reason (don’t tell my dad) why I was here. A year before this was the place feared most by the security forces. Conquering Saranda had remained a dream for British, a failed mission for Indira Gandhi’s army and unsuccessful operation for CRPF. But this time they have decided to not let it go. Somewhere in Ranchi, inside an air-conditioned hall, the honchos of Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh Police were busy scratching their heads to make a fool proof plan. The BSF, CRPF and ITBP officers were busy appropriating the arsenal. Supporting them were some of the unnamed Indian army Infantry officers (expert in jungle warfare). So the plan ready – surround the Forest from Odisha and Jharkhand side and push the naxalites deep inside Chhattisgarh where thousands of security forces would be already waiting for them. The BSF brought its artillery, Indian Air Force its Dhruva. After ten days of continuous fighting, the security forces now claim to have broken the spine of the naxals. And indeed, visit saranda and you can see their claim to be justified. The roads say the half of story, we have a guest house deep inside the forest, and yo the electricity too. Nothing was there last year. The ideal villages have been developed for the inhabitants where no one is allowed to go without permission (tribals prefer to remain aloof). There they have continuous water supply through a nearby river, which has been made to flow in a reservoir by the security forces. The state transport buses can be seen running around and a first class metalled road.
But the question still remains in my mind, how have the security forces been able to complete the saranda operation and how effectively are they holding the regained territories? The Police and the paramilitary forces have no doubt done a commendable job and they are still having high morals. Speaking to Asst Sub Inspector, Kiru Buru, Mr Paswan, about the difficulties faced by the police and paramilitaries, he said laughingly, “chhup ke bomb laga ke bhaag jaate hain, aamne saamne lade to hum 20 bhi 200 ko sambhal lenge” (they secretly install the land mines and run away, if they dare to fight face to face, only 20 of us will be enough for their 200). According to a report published by Ministry of Home affairs, around 200 -250 Indian Army personnel are involved in training the naxals. Many of them are retired officers. They train the naxals in warfare, whereas we train our policemen in criminal laws and forensics. They train the naxals in planting IEDs whereas we train the policemen for bandobast duties. And then their arsenals. They have weapons from China procured through NISCM (Naga Group) and we have the famous .303 rifles of World War II left by British army. However it is good to see that our police top brass have of late realized the need to train and equip our forces to fight these red terrorists neck to neck. With police and CRPF camps being set up deep inside the jungles, the hold of the naxalites are getting lose day by day. The places where naxals used to roam freely are now dared by CRPF’s LRPs (Long Range Penetration Patrols). The CISF units have been placed in control of the mining areas where naxals used to supervise mining through their own trusted men. Now we have SAIL and TATAs doing the job. There is a TATA hospital and a Kendriya Vidyalaya (Government school) as deep as in Kiru Biru, and trust me you can see children with school bags – the tribal children. Government is also helping the tribal youths take up employment. Recently Indian Air Force released 5000 vacancies through open recruitment especially for the naxalites affected districts of Jharkhand and Odisha.
The success of police force and the fear that they have created in the hearts of naxalites is evident from the fact that almost all the naxal sympathizers and journalists are in single voice demanding the stoppage of Operation Green Hunt. No other single operation has created so much fear as this one. Under this operation, police forces use the technique of Long Range Penetration Patrols and Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols which is no doubt vulnerable to skirmishes. And this is exactly what they look for. LRP – Reconnaissance are a group of 3-4 men who function deep behind the enemy lines. They act as pathfinders and generally do not engage with the enemy. Next comes the LRP – Penetration which consists of 30-40 men including sniper, RPG, medic, etc. They are able to remain and determined to move as much inside the enemy lines as possible and willing enough to get into encounters. Now at this point the world becomes the chessboard where every move is preceded with a move to counter the opponent’s third move. The offices are loaded with contour maps and toposheets with experts splitting their midnight coffees over them. The open space inside the forest is located where an outpost can be established. And the outposts are never established before a network of few other outposts are set up to make up a spider web. There have been many instances where naxalites were fooled by the presence of single CRPF outpost with 4-6 men and they thought it as their Sunday. But as soon as they opened fire on the post, they received fire from various directions. Yes the WAR IS POLITICS WITH BLOOD.
The most important drawback of the anti-naxal operations is the lack of intelligence. However the District Superintendents have been provided with sufficient funds to maintain an effective espionage system, but no one is ready to volunteer to spy for police, even for a big price. The reason, if they are caught, their whole family is brutally given death sentence by Naxalites’ Kangaroo courts. On the other hand, Naxals have an effective spy system. Every tea-stall walla, every rickshaw wallah, every auto driver, and every dhaba walla (motel owner) are naxal’s spy. They keep an eye on every CRPF camp, every Police stations and report any movement of the forces. Whenever the forces move out in numbers, they sound an alarm to their masters. The police force has not only to develop an effective intelligence network but also a counter intelligence network. They have not only to collect the data about naxals next step but also about their intelligence agency’s payrolls. Speaking to Superintendent of Police, Chaibasa, Mr Srinivas Arun Kumar regarding spy network, said, “In recent months we have been able to develop a better spy network but the biggest problem is that many of them work for both the sides… now we have decided to camouflage our own men into their ranks. This is the riskiest job in the world but we do not have alternatives. We already have many state police jawans in their ranks. This is risky, very risky. But also it is a time tested historical idea tried by almost all the rulers of all the ages. THE NATURE OF POLITICS NEVER CHANGES”.
Gone are the days when you used to fight the wars with full principles and ideologies, when you used to put down your arms as soon as sun settles down. Here you have to play dirty. Now this is what the Special Forces of the State Police do. This is what “Greyhounds” did for the Andhra Police and this is what “Jaguars” are inclined to do for Jharkhand. Their training camps are not situated at any peace place but deep inside the maoists’ dens. They are trained inside the jungles in jungle warfare. You have to raise a force which is very much ANGRY, DETERMINED, MANIPULATIVE, AMORAL, INTELLIGENT, OBSESSED, PATRIOTIC AND RUTHLESS. ‘They kill one you kill four’ is the principle here. ‘Never look back you’re definitely being followed’ is the rule here. Remember ‘Anti Land Mine Vehicle is the most unsafe against the Land Mines’. ‘Do not drink water from fresh water sources, they are poisoned’. ‘Do not enjoy the singing birds, they are not birds’. And the most important ‘DO NOT USE THE SAME ROUTE TWICE’.
Not only the forces but even the officers have to be cunning, clever, calculating and crooked. Say bye to the days when rulers were known by their virtues and rule of laws. This is the day of arousing myth and mysteries in your favour. The myth – ‘Greyhounds are cannibals’, the mystery – ‘from where are these human bones coming from, what happened to their flesh’, the command – ‘gaurding an outpost deep inside the forest surrounded by naxals’, respect – ‘bringing back home your injured friend’ and fear – ‘policemen are bad people’. Yes Indeed they are. In these conditions you cannot expect them to be Gandhi.
Note: Photos are original.