As Deputy Inspector-General of Police of Karimnagar range, Vivek Dube's task is to lead the police rank and file from the front in north Telengana, where the influence of the PWG is considerable. And he considers the Chandrababu Naidu government's decision to reimpose the ban on the PWG and its frontal organisations a moral boost. As many as 54 policemen, including an SP, have died in the past year, in the fight with the Naxals. He outlines his plans to tackle the PWG:
What’s the reason for the spurt in Naxal violence?
Frustration. After the Government reimposed the ban on the PWG, the Naxals retaliated by killing 13 policemen and a civilian in a blast at a police station in Adilabad; then, they attacked villagers of Ramareddy in Nizamabad. All acts of frustration against the government.
Do you think strong police action can counter the PWG?
What brutal force are you talking about? As far as the police is concerned, a crime is a crime. As law enforcers, all we do is register cases under the CrPC and the IPC, produce the offenders before a magistrate and allow the case to reach its logical end.
It’s difficult to tackle the PWG, whose only ideology is to capture power through the barrel of the gun. While apprehending Naxals, there is often an exchange of fire. But it’s difficult to say who opens fire first because both sides do so in self-defence. If they are called ‘fake’ encounters, I can’t help it.
What do you think of the recent high court directive to the state police to record evidence?
I have explained our difficulties. But as a strong believer in the judiciary, I shall do whatever the law says.
Did the ban on the PWG imposed by the Congress government in May 1993 help?
Of course. Such decisions help law-enforcing authorities in believing that they are not alone. In the past, Naxal violence was considered a factional war between the police and the PWG. But now the government, which is elected democratically by the people, would like to implement the "will of the people".
Is something being done to prevent the PWG from acquiring arms and extorting money from people?
No. I don’t think we have succeeded in doing that, as the PWG always fulfil their requirements from the arms bazaar. To prevent this, the Centre has to seal off the country’s borders. As for extortion, there are some who give out of fear, and others who do so out of sympathy.
Can the state police contain the PWG violence at all?
No one can fix any time-frame to weed out such movements. Take the example of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, where many felt the government could not do anything. But we all know what happened. Ultimately, it is the will of the people which prevails. Many had written off Punjab and Kashmir. But democratic governments have been installed in these terrorist-hit states. Similarly, even in the case of the PWG, the people alone can and will chase away the Naxals from their villages. That day is not far off.