Murari Lal Meena
Bokaro, Jan. 1: North Chotanagpur inspector-general (IG) of police M.L. Meena has termed 2012 a satisfactory year for security personnel engaged in combating Naxalites though more efforts and expertise are required to keep the menace in check.
Meena said the major successes of the police and paramilitary forces in the bygone year included arrests of top Maoists including zonal commander Naveen Manjhi.
However, the CPI(Maoist) was still a big force to reckon with in the state, Meena said, adding that the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) — a principal armed wing of the rebel outfit — had a significant presence.
The PLGA rebels, equipped with arms, had fanned out in several areas in Parasnath hills, Jhumra, Ranchi, Khunti and Saranda.
The IG, who has served as the superintendent of police in Giridih, sent a report to the Union home ministry, the state DGP and senior officers, in the third week of last month in this regard.
In his report, Meena suggested that the state police needed rigorous training in jungle warfare and guerrilla attack on the lines of the Greyhounds in Andhra — an elite commando force — to take on the Maoists.
“Despite getting alienated and losing ground in rural areas, the rebels have definitely strengthened its PLGA, equipping it with sophisticated arms,” he told The Telegraph.
Meena also opined that the arrests of top Maoists were not military success of the district police forces, but intelligence success.
“The police have not yet been able to check the movement of PLGA rebels, who move at will and never fail to attack security forces strongly unless they are forced to retreat when confronted with CRPF, Cobra and Jaguar jawans,” he said.
Asked whether the Maoists were preparing to take on the security forces in Jharkhand after reportedly joining hands with anti-national forces such as the United Liberation Front of Assam, Nagaland rebels and separatist elements in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the police were prepared for any eventuality.
The IG stressed that the state police were also not sitting idle but adding to its arsenal with the latest arms and conducting better warfare training for the personnel.
“The biggest problem being faced by the Maoists is that they are now losing their rural support base, as villagers have started questioning what did they have achieved after 45 years of bloodshed that had claimed the lives of policemen, rebels and innocent civilians including teenagers.”
He argued that the Maoists had failed in their agenda to bring the proletariat to the forefront in society.
“Maoists do not want development but blow up school buildings, bridges, etc. So, the rural populace remains deprived of the benefits of development. Now, villagers are questioning and opposing Naxalites, while tipping off police.”
Meena also contended that Maoist-sponsored bandhs were effective only because of fear among the people. “People do not respond spontaneously to bandh calls but are fed up of them. The popularity of the rebels in the rural belt has gone down and it has led to internal bickering,” said the IG.
Asked why police was not succeeding in rooting out Naxalism from Jharkhand despite spending hundreds of crores, the IG said there were several reasons including a tough terrain comprising dense forests and hilly zones.
Lack of immaculate training for cops in forest and guerrilla warfare, besides better intelligence networking akin to the Greyhound force of Andhra Pradesh also were significant factors, he added.
“All said and done, security forces met with great success against Maoists in 2012. But much more is needed to stamp out Naxalism from Jharkhand,” signed off the senior IPS.