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It's High Time The Government Takes Responsibility For Sukma

Passing the buck and spouting platitudes won’t do any longer.

27/04/2017 12:04 PM IST | Updated 29/04/2017 10:32 AM IST
NARINDER NANU via Getty Images
Baljit Kaur (3R) and her son Amritbir Singh (2R) carry the coffin of her husband Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel Raghbir Singh, at his funeral in Sathiala village, some 45km from Amritsar, on April 25, 2017.

The entire country is seething in anger after the brutal murders of 26 CRPF soldiers in one of the biggest Naxal attacks since the Dantewada killings. This anger is due to the usual self-serving political response of finger-pointing. Sambit Patra of the BJP, for example, said on one a TV debate that the government is constantly kept on the back foot by Supreme Court lawyers like Prashant Bhushan who immediately start screaming human rights the moment the government takes some tough measures.

What sort of a government is this? Is the government answerable to the Prashant Bhushans and other such intellectuals of the country or to the people? It's not these intellectuals who are being massacred, it's our jawans and our tribals, whose cause these intellectuals pretend to espouse.

What is the meaning of saying that the sacrifice of our soldiers won't go in vain? Is the government planning retribution? Is the government planning to spruce up intelligence and security?

If the government can't face these terror sympathisers, how is it expected to face real terrorists and extremists?

The government desperately needs to formulate a consistent strategy and once this strategy is put into motion it should stick to it no matter what these lawyers and activists say. If the experts think that the people of the country must be taken into confidence then sure, make your overall strategy public so that there is a widespread consensus on what the government is going to do and where it is going to draw a line. If we are intelligent enough to elect a government, we also have enough intelligence to know and understand how the government plans to deal with such problems.

Are the Naxals fighting a justifiable war or not? If they are fighting a justifiable war, what's the root cause and what's the government doing to address their grievances? If they are simply a force for causing trouble how does the government plan to cull them? In either case, the government needs to give a deadline.

People are furious because there appears to be no semblance of clarity from the government. They are simply condemning the attack, just like common citizens. Who cares how cowardly the attack was? They wanted to kill our soldiers and they did. What is the meaning of saying that the sacrifice of our soldiers won't go in vain? Is the government planning retribution? Is the government planning to spruce up intelligence and security? If that's the case, why does it take a big massacre for the government to wake up? Despite Chhattisgarh being one of the worst Naxal-affected areas, isn't it a criminal act of negligence that the CRPF over there had no chief for two months? Shouldn't the Chief Minister be taken to task? Shouldn't he have to pay a price for such a mistake?

If we can have statues and monuments costing ₹2000-3000 crores, we can surely have enough money to keep our soldiers from dying.

A very big problem in our country is, no matter how big a tragedy is, no heads roll even when it's proven that it was a human mistake.

Up till now no senior minister has come forward and acknowledged that it was a big intelligence and administrative failure. How could 300 Naxals mount such an attack without the intelligence mechanism getting a whiff of it? Even if the jawans were about to have lunch, why hadn't they been trained enough to keep a vigil even during breaks?

A former CRPF chief commented that the CRPF personnel are not supposed to provide round the clock security to construction workers. When a road is being laid and when security is to be provided to man and material, the exact coordinates of the forces are known to even the kids of the area. Isn't it an open invitation to such attacks?

With all his faults, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had once said that the biggest threat that the country faces is from Naxals and Maoists who have established themselves in widespread areas in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. The country can deal with external terror attacks but it's very difficult to deal with internal forces of the extreme Left ideology. In the jungles and tribal areas the ground level comrades rule the roost and in urban and elite circles, their intellectual apologists constantly keep the pressure on the government.

But you can't just blame Naxals and their intellectual sympathisers. The government's laxity is also a problem. In a shocking revelation, in a Parliamentary Committee report, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was quoted as saying that the government doesn't have enough money to provide mine resistant vehicles (MRVs) for the soldiers fighting Naxals and Maoists. Can you believe that?

According to recommendations, one battalion must have 7-10 MRVs but the government has to "stretch" its budget to provide even one-two such vehicles to the jawans who constantly walk into the death traps laid by the Naxals. How outrageous can this get? Action should be taken against these people even for uttering such nonsense. While precious lives are at stake, these people are worried about costs.

Does the question of money ever arise when it comes to providing state-of-the-art security to our ministers? If we can have statues and monuments costing ₹2000-3000 crores, we can surely have enough money to keep our soldiers from dying.

A minister very proudly said that the jawans have been provided with bullet-proof vests, as if these are a luxury.

In such a vast country, and one that has been kept backward by a corrupt and demotivated political system, such attacks cannot be immediately stopped and they are bound to happen again. But at least there should be a well-defined response instead of just either passing the buck or crying like mohalla aunties.

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