In August 2013, the Jharkhand police announced that it may soon set up an anti-Naxalite cell to address Left-wing extremism on the lines of the Centre’s Naxal management under the supervision of the ministry of home affairs. The cell will gather intelligence inputs and executing anti-Maoist operations in coordination with the central and state forces. It will operate in all district police headquarters. However, is this move enough to prevent the increasing number of Maoist attacks in the state given the fact that rebels have strengthened and expanded their base in the recent years?
India has been battling with domestic violence by Naxalites who were initially militant peasants fighting against rich landowners. The movement is based on the Maoist-Leninist ideology has links with criminal gangs across the border. Undoubtedly, the spread of this movement within India and escalating civilian casualties is one of the major internal security threats to India today.
State security and failure have become an increasingly frequent phenomenon in the last few decades. With the end of the Cold War, the superpower rivalry which had been played out in many Third World states also ended and thus many regimes lost the financial and political support they had come to depend on to survive. It is in this context that state security must be understood and most cases of state failure have occurred in Asia and Africa. The reason for this failure might be found in the way in which these states were originally formed and subsequent state building produced weak states with little chance of fulfilling the criteria for effective statehood. Contingency, insurgency and country-specific factors also play a very important role in the destiny of states, which lessens the weight of the long-term security and stability. There is also another aspect to consider, which is that our conception of state failure and collapse is derived from our expectation of what a state should be. In the current security scenario in the northeast states especially in Jharkhand, it is possible to argue that state insecurity is inevitable given the increasing attacks by Maoists, political divides and unrealistic demands to follow the ‘ideal’ form of state building. It is necessary to understand that we need to prevent a situation where the structure, authority (legitimate power), law, and political order can fall apart. It is important for the state government and security forces to fulfil its key functions of providing welfare, security and representation to its citizens.
Since 2004, the Maoist Communist Centre of India and People’s War Group has grown rapidly and split into 18 groups. As per recent news reports the state has 19 outfits, which includes CPI Maoist, People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) and Tritiya Prastuti Committee. Is it impossible then to calculate the amount the Maoists can make through acts such as extortion from various industries and construction companies operating in Jharkhand?
The lack of a well integrated security system was shown clearly in recent act in July 2013 when joint police forces undertook an operation in Latehar’s Kumundih. They claimed that they surrounded 250 rebels including top leaders of the outfit. However, no one was arrested and the rebels managed to escape. In this scenario, how long can the state guarantee its civilians safety and security?
Thus it is important to focus on internal factors like the lack of linkages between state and society, the excessive concentration of power and institutional mismanagement. In fact what is crucial is the interplay between internal and external causes of state security and failure. In case of India and its relationship with neighbours like China, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan are relevant too. So, the structuring of political forces, societal divisions and resource endowments are all pertinent factors which determine how the external situation will impact on the national state. The historical contexts must be adequately analysed and understood.
Studying more about armed forces regular and irregular and their role in politics and state formation is important. Knowledge of various uses of coercion is important to understand the political conditions in the state. Further research on the role of the army and police forces in irregular warfare, will lead to a greater understanding of their role in simultaneously containing or encouraging violence and the role of fissiparous forces today.
Even though in 2012, the Jharkhand police promised to implement a long term policing programme to determine exact locations of the crimes and extremist attacks, a consistent anti-Maoist strategy still remains unclear. It is in this context, that the Anti Naxal cell will have to prove that it can successfully monitor Left-wing extremism to counter increasing threats in the state and beyond. Can it bridge the gap between urgency, stability and sustainability of state security is yet to be seen.
Priyashree Andley: An independent analyst and focuses on International Relations, Foreign Policy and Current Affairs. She has several years of experience working in both the public and private sector. Her research has taken her across India with publications appearing in national as well as international media. Priyashree is a Felix Scholar from SOAS, London and has degrees from JNU and St. Stephens College, Delhi.
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