Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dantewada and Questions

On April 6, 2010, three events occurred. Ministry Of Home Affairs, Govt Of India, published an advertisement to lure the Maoist to surrender, I wrote a pile of gibberish about this ad, and finally, the same Maoists, which Ministry of Home Affairs and I were talking about, executed 76 CRPF men. It was shocking. A group of insurgents with mostly arms and ammunition looted from police, no discernible source of funding, and malnourished bodies wipes out the whole battalion of well-trained (?), well-armed (?), well-fed (?), jawans!

It was big news. And lots of other pieces of news followed in succession. Here are few of them and the questions they would raise in any inquisitive mind.

Question 1: Was't CRPF created to tackle situations related to internal security? Or they have been trained just on disruption of peaceful demonstrations/protests, dispersion of crowd, keep people locked in home (curfew), guard the temples and mosques. It seems they can at most deal with enraged civilians. I wanted to find more about the duties and roles of CRPF and henced peeped in their website. Interestingly, most of the links are nonfunctional and you cannot find anything about them except that this was CRPF's website! Does the condition of the website give any insight into the condition of the organization?

CRPF Website: http://crpf.nic.in

Question 2: The ease with which religious fanatics and socioeconomic insurgents operate, it makes us feel that the citizens of India are at the mercy of their mood swings. Anybody suffering from mania can put a bomb together and explode to get a kick out of it. On November 26, 2008, ten individuals parade in the high-security Mumbai with guns and grenades killing 173 people and injuring 308 and it takes 3 days to stop them. And this was the case when creme de la creme of Indian security, National Security Guards, was in action. Imagine, what would have happened if only police were to deal with them. Given the dismal performance of security forces in combat situations, is India capable of protecting its citizen?

“Everyone is terrified that the police will take revenge by attacking the village,” said a villager who came out of the forest to check on his house, “They have already killed one person.”

Question: It is not an easy decision like going for a holiday. There needs to be good enough reason to abandon all the belongings and possessions and depart. There can be two reasons for the villagers to flee. One, all the villagers are naxals and hence, they fled fearing arrest and execution. Two, the villagers have memories of such attack and murder by government authorities in the past.

Now, if the first assumption is true, then why CRPF had no clue about the identity of the villagers? If the second assumption is true, then how can such a barbaric government be allowed to stand?

Disclaimer: Only fools talk about issues in which s/he does not have any insight. Its one thing to read news paper seating on a blue sofa in air-conditioned office, debate about the defects in the government's policy over coffee, vomit all the thoughts molding it in a blog. And its quite another thing to be there in the field, under harsh conditions, under constant anxiety of attack and counter attack. Its another thing to make those difficult decisions which entangles the fate of countless lives. Governing a nation or running home ministry isn't the same as forwarding email about inefficient governance or blogging about human right violations.

Am I contradicting myself? Well, thats my perception, oxymoronic!
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