April 05, 2020
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Lessons From Andhra

Chhattisgarh could take a few tips from the neighbourhood cops

Lessons From Andhra

In its effort to hunt down Maoists in a hurry, the Chhattisgarh government is making the same mistakes Andhra Pradesh did in the ’80s, say police officials from the state. These included mass raids on villages, targeting Naxal sympathisers and those sheltering Naxals. But then, realisation dawned that an intelligence wing and a special task force trained in guerrilla warfare would be a more focused way of dealing with the problem. “Hence, AP’s Greyhounds trained in jungle warfare succeeded where others failed,” says a top intelligence official.

When Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy took over as CM in 2004 and invited the Maoists for talks, the police sniffed a great opportunity. When all the top leaders came out of the interior Nallamala forest, AP’s intelligence wing lost no time in entering the forests and gathering information about their style of functioning and understanding their network. Most major encounters in AP took place in Nallamala after that. YSR also concluded that instead of lower-rung cadre, it was time to target top leaders. The tactical retreat by Maoists from North Telangana and Nallamala to Dantewada in 2007 was mainly due to AP’s success in pushing the Maoist leaders into a corner and the inability of the inexperienced Chhattisgarh government in dealing with them. The latest attack on CRPF personnel is said to have been masterminded by Maoist leaders from AP now in Dantewada.

Discussing the Chhattisgarh ambush, Nalgonda SP Rajesh Kumar says that the CRPF being unaware about 200-300 Maoist cadre being in one place indicates the failure of its communication network. “In AP, even if 10-20 cadre gather at an area, police get immediate information,” he says. Kumar, who earlier headed Naxal operations in Warangal, says that the local intelligence network in Chhattisgarh is abysmal. “AP’s spent huge sums on developing communication networks in Maoist-dominated areas. Cultivating sources takes time and money. Community policing like solving minor theft cases, building a house for a source, distributing clothes, utensils help enormously. In the forest areas of Chhattisgarh, there are no new police stations, schools, hospitals. So people there are totally cut off and don’t want to give police assistance,” says Kumar. The result shows.

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