AA Edit | Time for zero tolerance against Naxalite terror

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

India must be as intolerant of domestic terrorism as it is of cross-border terror

Rescue team members carry the body of a security personnel who was killed in a blast carried out by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, Wednesday, April 26, 2023. At least ten police personnel and a driver were killed in the Naxal ambush.(Photo: PTI)

In a dastardly attack, which was a classic redux of several previous such attacks, Maoist terrorists ambushed and killed 10 cops and a driver in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada on Wednesday, an act so heinous that the entire country must come together to re-state and reaffirm our collective resolve to eradicate this menace.

In this attack on their vehicle, the Red terrorists blew up a minivan using an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Bastar district notorious for being the epicentre of Maoists terrorism. Ironically, the police troop attacked in the afternoon when it was coming back after conducting an anti-Maoist operation.

The aftermath of the blast and its impact on the vehicle, and the area, demonstrates that the banned Maoists are both properly funded, and well trained. The irony is the policemen killed in this attack, and in earlier ones too, are often drawn from poorer and backward sections of society, in whose name these Maoist terrorist operate.

Most Indians who have watched the visuals from the crime scene would have little doubt that the barbaric act was aimed at maximising human loss, with little to no care or concern for life, rights or civilised behaviour. The blast was so impactful it created a 10-odd feet deep crater in the road, besides destroying the vehicle beyond recognition.

The brave policemen in uniform who belonged to the District Reserve Guard and were on duty at that time were trying to protect society from these very domestically honed terrorists. They lost their lives almost immediately and had little chance. They were mostly local tribals trained to combat these killers.

There is little scope for political difference on this issue any more and Wednesday’s attack is just another stern reminder on the need for a no-nonsense approach to eradicating this scourge. Thankfully, there seems to be a political consensus, or at least a lot of agreement, among all key stakeholders.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack immediately, besides paying homage to the bravehearts and expressing condolences to their family members. Union home minister Amit Shah spoke to Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and promised all assistance possible and needed from the Central government.

For too long, some political and social groups have tried to mislead people and portray the violence in the tribal areas and jungles of India as if it were a social issue. These closet supporters of the Maoists have tried to influence the people, policymakers, governments and leaders to conduct peace talks with them. It is they who have kept the forces on a leash.

Such abetment by omission must end, once and for all. Too many policemen, decent Indian citizens and innocent bystanders have died at the hands of the Maoists, whose bloodlust will never end.

India must be as intolerant of domestic terrorism as it is of cross-border terror. There can be no let-up in the fight against the Maoists. Let us make India free of this scourge, no matter what it takes.