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Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: Why no CRPF jawan from Delhi, Mumbai upscale area?

By Aviral Anand* 
A jawan from Tripura about to get married. Another, from a village in Bilaspur, looking forward to a new home. A recent father... The stories of martyred jawans are almost always the same, and the scenes of mourning too similar, set as they are overwhelmingly in rural or mofussil India. Has one ever heard of someone from, say, the preposterously-named residential complexes like "Maple Gardens Society" in the posh outskirts of the national capital, for example, ever falling victim to an ambush in Bastar?
No jawan from upscale areas and gated colonies of Delhi, Gurgaon or Mumbai, or even Lucknow is ever in such tragedies.
The victims, from mostly peasant backgrounds, choose careers in police, paramilitary and other armed forces in good faith, out of a vague sense of pride in "serving the nation" and, in most cases, out of economic necessity. Only to be mowed down by the bullets of a variety of actors who are fighting the very exploitative state that the jawans unwittingly end up serving.
The CRPF's record in confronting Left-wing extremism is beyond pathetic, with failure after failure, ambush after ambush, often on account shockingly poor planning and execution of their operations. According to a piece on the South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP) site, there have been at least 18 attacks against the security forces by the Maoists since April of 2017. The same piece quotes IPS officer KPS Gill noting after a 2017 ambush that, 
"…it is abundantly clear, even from what is publicly known, that flagging discipline, poor training and bad leadership will have contributed directly to the debacle. Suffice it to say that even the most rudimentary imperatives of self-preservation appear to have been ignored by the targeted unit."
Another retired IPS-officer NC Asthana penned an article recently in The Quint titled, in no uncertain terms, "What Went Wrong in Chhattisgarh? Same Old Mistakes, Nothing New." He writes about the shoddy and corrupt CRPF-leadership as follows:
"It has been observed since long that the nexus of the police leadership and their masters in the government go out of the way to hush things up so that the guilty IPS officers are saved and eventually the blame is passed on to the poor men for not having followed the mythical, non-existent SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)."
So, it is these "poor men" -- the CRPF jawans -- who pay with their lives for so-called security operations which are flawed in their very conception and whose planners probably know that they have no chance against a better prepared and more dedicated rebel group.
Yet, government funds for such operations must continue flowing, especially to safeguard the myth of development in those areas.
As adivasi activist Hidme Markam's arrest demonstrates, protesting against the various projects that seek to exploit the rich resources of that part of Chattisgarh can lead to false charges and incarceration. Hidme was active in an anti-mining campaign protesting a new mega-project in the region's Bailadila mountains. 
The Bailadila -- "ox's hump" -- range has long held some of the largest and best ore deposits in India. Not for nothing did the Shipping Corporation of India name one of its ships after the hill range. The state-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NDMC) has been active in that area for decades now.
In 2018, the Adani group set up the subsidiary Bailadila Iron Ore Mining Private Ltd which is supposed to act as a contract miner for a new iron ore mine in the region ("Deposit #13"). The Bailadila range is sacred to the adivasis in that region.
The conflict over resources in the name of development of the region -- and the routine harassment of adivasis who stand in the way -- is a long-standing one. The UPA government launched its infamous Operation Green Hunt to tackle this so-called insurgency. As the continuing encounters with the Maoists demonstrates, the state's efforts -- whether one constituted by the UPA or the NDA --  often using disproportionate force, has yielded no substantial results.
On the contrary, the security forces have routinely suffered heavy casualties in situations that bespeak extremely dubious circumstances. Yet, no fact-finding report, even if successfully carried out, has indicted any senior-level staff of any misdeeds and faulty planning.
CRPF's record in confronting Left-wing extremism is beyond pathetic, with failure after failure, ambush after ambush
It is as though it is an open secret that the foot-soldiers will always be available for being the cannon-fodder in an effort to tackle the rebels. So, their lives are casually played with by sending them out on ridiculously planned operations, straight into traps supposedly set by the Maoists. 
The facade of the government tackling the state's -- and its development policies' -- enemies continues unabated, no matter which government is in power. And meanwhile the state keeps handing out contracts to the capitalists for exploitation and despoliation of the region's precious natural resources.
While the state keeps losing the real battle with the Naxalites/Maoists, it oppresses the adivasi population of the region by slapping false charges on them and accusing them of being Naxalites. And to remove any other voices and opposition to its collusion with the capitalist class, it plays the "Urban Naxalite" card by accusing and arresting those who object to the predatory model of development it pursues.
All the while, the jawans of the security forces are lambs to the slaughter for the pleasures of the ruling classes' games. The myth of nation and nationalism is kept alive by carefully orchestrated theaters like that at Pulwama, where the death of the CRPF jawans became a spectacle and an egregiously chauvinistic rallying-point for nationalism and patriotism.
Such instances bolster the appearances of a fighting force dedicated to national security and artificially prop up illusions of valor and bravado. But the reality of the jawans' conditions, morale and spirits is always far removed from this artificial portrayal. Back in 2010 after the death-by-ambush of 76 CRPF jawans in Chintalnar in Dantewada, a reporter visiting a CRPF camp in the area had written about the fear and desperation of the jawans in a piece titled, "Save us from this hell, beg CRPF jawans."
The hell is an ongoing one for the CRPF jawans -- Q -- they know that they are being condemned to death by their posting in areas where the Naxalites range. The greater tragedy is that all such death and devastation is totally avoidable. Just as is the victimization of the adivasis and the stealing of their resources to feed the whims and comforts of the upper classes.
---
*Writer based in Delhi NCR

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