Even as the Government of India has been resting on its supposed laurels of having incarcerated sixteen prominent activists, intellectuals, social workers, lawyers, cultural artists, dubbing them as ‘Urban Naxals’ three years back in the controversial Bhima Koregaon case, the ‘real’ Naxals killed 22, injured 31 and abducted one personnel (since released) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Sukma-Bijapur border in Chhattisgarh on April 3, 2021.
Obviously, despite the elimination of their leaders and masterminds Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad (July 1, 2010) and Mallojula Koteshwara Rao alias Kishenji (November 24, 2011) and in the midst of an organisational crisis facing them since suffering their biggest setback in Ramguda (Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border) in a strike by Telangna’s anti- Naxal special police Greyhounds (on October 24, 2016) that wiped out 30 of their cadres and the entire leadership (at least twenty of them) of the Malkangiri- Koraput-Vishakhapatnam border, the Naxal leadership has been able to rebuild itself in Chhattisgarh, this time under tribal leader Madvi Hidma.
In his late 40s or early 50s (his real age is a matter of speculation), Hidma is the youngest member of the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist). A master strategist, he was responsible for several attacks on security forces, including the 2013 attack in Darbha valley in which Congress leader V C Shukla and Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma were killed.
Even though Naxal-affected districts have drastically reduced from over 200 in early 2000s to just 90 now, the Maoist ‘revolutionary’ politics still survives in the country 75 years since it first appeared in Telangana. How has this Marxist-Leninist-Maoist militancy been surviving since 1946 (the Telangana Movement) and the 1967 upsurge in Naxalbari (West Bengal), from which it still derives its name ‘Naxalism’, despite the counterinsurgency operations of the Indian state? How does it continue to be a serious security threat? A bigger question is that why India’s democratic politics has not been able to neutralise this ‘nowhere revolution’. At the recent Chhatisgarh episode, how has a lethal Maoist Naxal group under Madvi Hidma survived and consolidated to pose such a challenge to the Indian security forces?
Equally significant is the rise of Hidma, a local tribal from Chhattisgarh, in CPI (Maoist), which has been dominated since inception by leaders from Telangana/Andhra Pradesh. The answer to these questions can be sought in historical perspective. But first we take stock of what happened at Ramguda, Chhattisgarh.
What happened at Bijapur?
The latest episode at Sukma-Bijapur border in Chhatisgarh is an evidence of perfection the Maoists groups have achieved in guerrilla tactics. It also shows local support the rebels enjoy. On intelligence inputs that elusive Madvi Hidma, along with a large number of his foot-soldiers, was present at a village on the site of the incident, the CRPF planned and executed the operation. However, when the team reached the village, the Naxals were nowhere to be found. Dismayed, as they were returning, they came under heavy fire from the Maoists, who were heavily armed with grenade launchers and Light Machine Guns. Taken aback with this surprise attack, the CRPF party suffered heavy casualties. The security forces returned the fire and claimed to have inflicted similar casualties on the rebels. However, body of one female guerilla was recovered from the site and the Maoists acknowledged the death of four of their cadre.
In case we accept the number of the Maoist casualties given by the CRPF, it goes against the counter-insurgency ratio. While 22:22 gives a ratio of 1:1, the counter-insurgency operation given by experts is 8:1, i.e., eight insurgents and one security personnel. Obviously, this operation went terribly wrong. First, there was an appalling intelligence failure. Second, the security forces suffered heavy loss, while casualty they inflicted remains contested. Third, a trap was laid for the CRPF by sending wrong input shows that local villagers to a large extent provide support to the rebels. The security forces, and central paramilitary forces such as the CRPF in any case outsiders to the area, have not been able to build bridges with the local population, from where they can get actionable intelligence regarding the Maoists.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
INTERVENTION OPERATIONS & RAPID RESPONSE CAPABILITY
Given India’s established expertise and military capability, there can be little doubt that it will be called upon by the international community to deploy Indian forces, writes SATISH NAMBIAR
SAFETY MEASURES IMPLEMENTED AT KUDANKULAM NPP
After the completion, the Kudankulam NPP will become not only the largest nuclear power plant in India, but also the largest clean energy production facility in the entire region as well, writes ALEXANDER NAKHABOV
UGVS: THE WHAT, THE WHY, AND THE HOW
Given the deteriorating security landscape in the neighbourhood, India must fast forward the development of autonomous weapons that can be force multipliers for the nation’s armed forces, writes COL. ANDREW FERNANDES (RETD)
NAXALISM CONFOUNDS THE INDIAN STATE
AJAY K MEHRA discusses why and how the Maoist menace is alive and kicking
LEASING MILITARY EQUIPMENT
There is no way that India can replace many of its military requirements with leased equipment. The environment, the risk of loss and damage may impose prohibitive lease terms on any contract. However, there is scope in the logistics, coastal policing, search and rescue and training spheres, argues
Why Military Relationship With Russia Still Matters For India
After the Galwan confrontation between India and China two trends have become apparent in Indian defence policy: there has been a perceptible shift towards the United States and its allies in New Delhi’s security relationships; and the country, as it usually does when it is faced by a crisis, is beginning to think proactively and creatively about weapons production and acquisition.
THE TEJAS AND TEJAS MK1A: HAL HAS TO DELIVER
The Tejas project is a litmus test of the ability of Indian designers and production agencies to produce a viable combat aircraft, argues SANJAY BADRI-MAHARAJ
THE QUAD AND BEYOND
Given the potentials as well as the contradictions within the QUAD, India has to maximise its options in order to participate successfully in the great game that is emerging in the Indo-Pacific, writes NINAD D SHETH
SIGHT AT NIGHT ENHANCING NIGHT VISION CAPABILITIES OF THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES
With challenges persisting at the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control, the Indian Army is on a modernisation spree. The army requires third and fourth generation NVDs which have a reduced halo effect, better picture clarity, more panoramic view and longer battery life, explains DHIRENDER SINGH JAMWAL
UAVS: INDIA HAS TO MOVE FORWARD
India has made some significant use of UAVs in its internal security operations and considerable use for military surveillance. However, its own development projects are still limited and have not yielded major products for military use. This is rapidly changing, explains SANJAY BADRI-MAHARAJ
Sometimes, an idea needs time to incubate until it’s ready to grow. That was the case with Sujata Massey’s series about Perveen Mistry, a woman attorney practicing in India during the 1920s.
THIRTEEN FASCINATING 4X4S from the2020 Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Recap of the 39th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Klara Landrat & Her Journey with Endometriosis
Klara Landrat is an American-Israeli actress of Polish origin, producer, a writer known for her talent worldwide. She is starring in the Irish TV series – “Gods & Fighting Men” due for release in 2021.
HER MAJESTY PEDDLING HOMEMADE HOOCH!
QUEEN ELIZABETH looks like a dowdy, straitlaced granny, but she’s turned into a heck of a bartender — serving up her own brands of homemade hooch!
The Winter of Discontent
Even though america is preparing for a summer reopening, the Coronavirus will still be around to dog us when the temperatures fall.
India thought it had the virus beat. The virus had other ideas
Governments around the world keep repeating the same mistakes. In a country of 1.4 billion, the consequences are on a whole new scale
Reincarnation And Realpolitik
China, India, and the U.S. are vying to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama
An Exclusive Interview With Nandakumar Narasimhan
The Little Red Train
A Room for Dad
Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her