Tuesday, October 20, 2009

‘Do We Want Our Troops To Get Stuck Like The Americans In Afghanistan?’

  • ‘Do We Want Our Troops To Get Stuck Like The Americans In Afghanistan?’


    tags: no_tag

    • Arms and the man Gill receiving weapons from a surrendered militant in Punjab
    • You are known as the man who sorted out Punjab. What, in your view, is the best way to tackle Naxalism? Is a security-centric response — where the State actually ends up battling its own people — the only solution?
      You cannot reduce it to such simple terms, that ‘you are battling your own people’. The Naxalite ideologues feel that they have an alternative political model for the country. That they will help the oppressed and the dispossessed find a voice. Unfortunately, the truth is entirely different. The Naxalites are one of the biggest extortion mafias in the country, probably bigger than Dawood.
    • The Planning Commission is not geared to target a certain community or a certain area. It takes an overall view. I remember we had this situation in Punjab when we found out that 125 villages alone accounted for 75 percent of the terrorists. I said address the villages, why can’t you address the villages? The Planning Commission said it can’t.
    • In Chhattisgarh, it is about the Baniya-tribal relationship. It is as exploitative as was the Jat Sikh-Baniya relationship in Punjab. You need protection laws.
    • You haven’t answered my question. Why is the man accused of severe human rights violations speaking a totally different language today – one of non-violence?
      Punjab and Chhattisgarh are very different. Punjab was a developed society even then. In Chhattisgarh, we are talking about a society that is in the process of development. You know, Punjab has been a settled state for many many years and even during the insurgency, was the second most industrialised state.
    • What do the tribals in Chhattisgarh want? They want education, they want good drinking water, two square meals a day and protection from diseases like malaria and proper ownership rights. They don’t want Operation Green Hunt. Governments should not be falling into intellectual traps devised by the Naxals. The government should be spending time devising a proper development model for the tribals. Till then, the Naxals will be in a position to expand their areas of influence and operation. If there was any compelling ideology, the Naxals wouldn’t have to use violence to convince their subjects that they are right.
    • But you don’t think Kashmir’s answer may lie in greater autonomy?
      I don’t know whether you will publish this or not. Jaswant Singh held a meeting recently where I was present and so were others like [former IB chief] AK Doval. [Chief Information Commissioner] Wajahat Habibullah came and addressed us and told us that while the Jammu situation is a law and order problem, Kashmir is a political problem and has to be addressed politically. The next day we had someone else — I forget his name, he was a Hindu — who said that the Srinagar situation is a law and order situation and the Jammu situation is a political one. So when you have such extreme thoughts, how do you find a solution?
    • Why can’t New Delhi look at greater autonomy for Kashmir just as you want the tribal to be the ultimate stakeholder in Chhattisgarh?
      In Kashmir, India should do what China has done. Settle non-Kashmiris in Kashmir. In Chhattisgarh, the tribal has to become a stakeholder in a big way. Even now, don’t think the Naxalite has got hold of his mind. The tribal is totally scared. They have some armed cadres, but that is not how you create a revolution.