Friday, November 20, 2009

Veteran cop Mahendra Kumawat on the Naxal problem: News

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    • Sheela Bhatt in Delhi

      Mahendra Kumawat, a 1972 batch Indian Police Service officer, has a lifetime experience of dealing with the Maoists, terrorists and other militancy.

      He has contributed in increasing the police and Central Reserve Police Force's operating efficiency in the disturbed areas. He also proposed the establishment of the National Police University, which has been approved by the Union Cabinet.

    • What is needed is a uniform policy in all the states.
    • The top leaders of the country have different views on the problem.
    • Where will we end this cycle of violence, then?

We told the governments that when we put pressure on the Naxals, they take shelter in your area. We told them that when Naxals come to your area, 'please take action against them'. They said that 'Naxals are not committing any crime in our area'.

Now, all these bordering states are facing violence. Unfortunately our predictions have come true. They were not prepared for this kind of violence; their forces are not trained to fight the battle.

How is the Centre helping the states?

They have formed the COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) on the lines of the Greyhounds. It's a mirror image of the guerrilla. It is said that to fight the guerrilla, you have to be a guerrilla!

You will never find a Naxal who is 40/50 years old, they are agile people. In the police force you will find that 50 percent are above 40. How can you fight them?

So when central forces go to a Naxal-hit area, they will again require training. Now, only the COBRA is exclusively created to tackle the Naxals. Ten battalions have been sanctioned for the COBRAs. It's a good number if trained properly.

The government has made very clear that the air force will not be used. I think the air force should be used for logistic purposes. We should transport our resources and men by helicopters during special operations. It will be a force multiplier.

Nowhere in the world has bombing been successful in guerrilla warfare.

We can learn form Vietnam, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. Let us not have a Somalia or Iraq within our country.

So you say that Naxalism is an essentially a state problem?

It was, but, now it is a national problem. It should be solved in conjunction with the states and the Centre. The Centre should be a facilitator and keep an overview of the problem.

In some states, the Naxals take shelter, in some they indulge in violence, in some they keep weapons and in others their leadership stays and planning takes shape.

No state will have a complete picture of their activities. The Centre will have to act as the brain and capacity builder for the states.