General V K Singh sounded like a statesman when he said “ Army should not be used against our own people”. It is great to see a consensus in political and defense establishments on not deploying army against Maoists, despite Maoists carrying out regular massacre of paramilitary personnel.
Though we do not discuss much, the Maoists ideology is not unknown. The Maoists do not accept the Indian constitution and they want to overthrow the current government structure. So it is a war against the state.
The restraint shown in acting against Maoists is unique and similar restraint was totally missing when
- Battle tanks moved on the street of Punjab and Indian army shelled holy shrines of Sikhs during operation Bluestar.
- Aizawl was bombed by Indain Air Force in March 1966.
- Army is given a free hand to contain militancy in Kashmir.
Perhaps militarily there was no choice for the government but to resort to such extreme measures. But why army is repeatedly called out to fight insurgency in Assam is a mystery. Though I am not a military expert, I can tell with conviction that Assam insurgency was never a military threat. The first Assam based anti India militant outfit ULFA was largely involved in political killings and extortions. The Bodo militancy was initially nurtured by the intelligence agencies of Govt of India to counter the ULFA-AGP nexus.
The Indian state must not be a cruel state, but it has to be a fair state also.