The deadly attack on the security forces leading to the death of 23 jawans on Saturday occurred in the Maoist hotbed – Chhattisgarh. While casualties during such encounters are likely, our jawans have put up a really brave fight. Whenever one gets into a conflict situation, there can be casualties, but the fact that our security forces know that they are heading into a serious encounter and are likely to face death, and still take on this threat in the interest of the nation shows the courage of our men in uniform.
Also, one cannot say that the forces are failing in countering the menace. The anti-Naxal strategy has worked in most places and the issue has been contained to a large extent and is limited only to some pockets of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. It has virtually been eliminated from other areas like Andhra Pradesh. Also, the so-called Red corridor is no longer functional. It marks a gradual ascendency of the security forces over the Maoists. Once in a while confrontations take place and there are losses on both sides, just as it happened this time. But this does not mean we are failing in any way in our effort, rather we have actually been quite successful in our endeavour.
As far as the high-end arms and explosives being used in these attacks are concerned, the ultras are not getting them from outside, but from within the country. To accumulate their weaponry, they loot police stations and jails, like they did in Bihar. Earlier, they used to rob rich farmers and take away their arms. Also, some of the weapons are looted from the security forces during encounters. The other thing they use very effectively in these attacks are the IEDs that they get from the local miners.
The author is former DG of the CRPF.
As told to Sohini Goswami