The Prime Minister has said more than once, and for the first time in October 2004, that the Maoist problem is the most serious internal security challenge that the country is faced with. Indeed, the seriousness of this challenge has been increasing every year.
There has been steady rise in the spatial spread of the rebels, over the years. Even as they have been making fervent attempts to retain, consolidate and extend their spread and influence in some areas, including urban centres, they have also been constantly working to regain lost territories. Also, the increased belligerence of the Maoists and their sinister design to impede and roll-back development can be gauged by the numerous attacks they have launched on the infrastructure in the past few years causing large-scale destruction.
The achievement of the state (government) in dealing with the Maoist challenge has been a mixed-bag. Andhra Pradesh is the one State that has displayed the best result in almost near totally wiping out rebel presence from the State, except in North Coastal Andhra.
The assertions by the Ministry of Home Affairs that the Maoist challenge could be dealt with in three years seems to be ambitious, given present-day the ground realities. If coordinated action is taken, perhaps, their challenge could be defeated in approximately seven to 10 years. A welcome development is that the various state governments and the Union Government have begun to evince willingness to deal with the issue. Also, The Union government has initiated efforts to build a consensus among the affected states. At the same time, capacities of state police forces need to built up, among other things, which cannot be accomplished within a short period.
Besides weakening the Maoists’ lethal capacities and reducing violence, it is also essential to ensure that governance is improved; development schemes and programmes are implemented effectively; and their implementation is monitored rigorously, so that those prone to sympathising with, or supporting, the Maoists would, in the long run, realize the needlessness and futility of doing so.
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