The Chhattisgarh police are still trying to make sense out of Saturday’s deadly naxalite attack on a convoy of Congress leaders. The state police have a daunting task ahead but are finding it hard to cope with the situation despite the presence of so many central agencies in the state.
The Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh, Ram Niwas, is confident of finding a solution to the Naxal menace. In an interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Niwas says that there is no misunderstanding between the state police and the central agencies, and that each one is working in tandem to solve the problem.
What went wrong on Saturday which led to such a dastardly and audacious attack by the naxals?
It would be too early for me to say what exactly went wrong. It is a long stretch and was deserted. The naxals had picked their spot. Something definitely has gone wrong and we are looking into it. Our chief minister has ordered a judicial inquiry into the matter and the details will soon emerge. We are all looking into it.
Lack of security has been blamed for this attack. Do you agree?
As I pointed out earlier, it is a very long stretch. You should understand that in such long stretches no matter how many police personnel are provided it won’t be good enough. There has been an incident and something has gone wrong, and it is being looked into. The situation was analysed and depending on the situation the local superintendent of police provided the man force. However, in such stretches, as I pointed out, no amount of security can be enough.
What needs to be done? There is talk that there is no unity between the local police and the Central agencies such as the CRPF, which gives these naxals an advantage.
It is incorrect to say there is no unity. The CRPF and the Chhattisgarh police work together to solve the problem. There have been no issues between us. In fact we welcomed the Central agencies who have been of great help to us. We will continue to work together and look for a permanent solution.
Do you think the attack was planned only to target Mahendra Karma, the founder of the Salwa Judum movement?
I would not say only target, but yes, he was the primary target.
Do you think this problem, at least in Chhattisgarh, will ever be solved?
It will be solved, no doubt. However, it is tough to say how long it would take. These naxals do not believe in democracy. But we are hopeful of a solution.
There is talk of public support to this movement which is toughening your cause.
The public of this country will finally be the ones who will help us solve the problem. We are hopeful they will realise that the naxals do not believe in democracy. God will give them the wisdom and I am confident of that.
What is being done at the moment to address the issue?
Both the Central and state governments are working on this. The police force of Chhattisgarh is constantly undergoing training to upgrade its skills. There is also a lot of effort that is being made to educate the people in the naxal affected areas. They are being called upon to take the benefits of the government schemes and also join the mainstream. The job is not easy. The police and other agencies work under very difficult circumstances and need a lot of support.
It is said that only the use of force will solve the problem. Do you agree?
I would not like to comment on this. It is a collective decision that needs to be taken by the various forces and the governments.
Image: Physical training at The Jungle Warfare College, Kanker.
Photograph: Sanjeev Nayyar