The media across the world keeps highlighting inhuman attacks on the innocents, bombing on defence personnel or public property including landmark monuments, terming these as militancy assaults, however, the world is actually a much safer place to live in these day, when one talk about the armed struggle or the infamous guerrilla warfare of the past, as most of the militancy outfits have laid their arms. The ongoing attacks across the globe are more politically motivated with the support of intellectual militancy or urban naxalites.
In the past the militant outfits claimed to be battling the war on behalf of the general masses, although till date no one can say how they got the sanction or the sanat to represent the masses particularly the indigenous tribals, as most of the guerrilla warfare is community or language specific.
There was a time of blind support to such actions as the very communities were also not spared by the armed group at the end, which is one of the causes that militancy is fading.
In guerrilla warfare, combatants are normally fighting against the government in power, claiming of Red-tapism, ill-treatment towards the public or bad governance. In most cases, the outfits resort to kidnapping, extortion and assaults in order to instill a fear psychosis in the mind of the masses. But as time goes by the masses get disillusioned by the activities of the outfits, be it as the sympathisers or active over ground workers, not because of the District Administration or any of the so called anti-militancy operations.
Present day militancy is known as intellectual militancy is where the outfits is renamed as Cadres- nucleus of military personnel capable of expansion mainly in the urban sectors amongst the scholars and modern social reformers. More than using arms and ammunition, they utilize intellectual strategies, but mostly against the system while claiming to have been suppressed, due to political propaganda, religious conflicts, enforcing Law against the will of the public and worst so when the restriction is against the masses.
Many of the intellectual militants or commonly known as Urban naxalites set the strategies with in-depth research about the movement and activities of the target, and once they strike it is usually the Bull’s eye. The modern militancy activities are actually more lethal, since it is target specific; the general masses are not affected, unless some stray bullets do hit the unfortunate public.
The initial move of the Intellectual militancy is to figure out a safe transit point and also as another safe haven for them sheltering numerous ‘sleeping cell’. The sleeping cell is activists who merged into the society and act on demand, usually picking up odd jobs and some even work as vendors and hawkers. For decades, the nation, particularly the North Easter region refused to acknowledge the presence of sleeping cells of national and international militant outfits. Simply closing one’s eyes and refusing to see the undercurrent threatening the peace and tranquility of the region is damaging enough; it is futile to move after the crime has been committed.
Intellectual militancy is not confined to the urban cities or metros, the North Eastern region, by proximity is close to a few countries and as such is most vulnerable. Also, it is time for the State Police Department to encourage research and drafting a modernized Police Manual, which will not only lead to revamping the Police forces from the region to fight against terrorism, but also prepare the personnel and officers to be more equipped not just with weapons. Under such circumstances, there is a need to use “Psychological Operations” or “Psy Ops” in North East Region even as only Manipur and Assam are receiving special funds to combat militancy under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), which is part of the Psy Ops, NEPA needs to co-opt such training which cater to the Police forces from the region.
There is no denial that the existing Police Manual from almost all the states in the country, are simply co-opted from the colonial drafted manual, hence the policing too is still of the same manner. It is time for NEPA and respective state police departments to be the torch bearers in conducting research to help the forces to tackle stress, improve Police-Public relations, equip the police officers with much more modernized tools for investigation with scientific approach, and not to forget the methods of tackling cyber crime which is on the rise.
Talking about revamping the Police forces, there is no other better institute than NEPA, where the officers and personnel from the North Eastern states are being trained, who in return can assist their respective state in modernizing the department. Keeping in mind of the Central government interest while considering the nuisance and the atrocities made by the Naxals in the past two decades, the central government in February 2009 announced IAP for all the Naxalite affected areas, which is in fact part of the Psy Ops.
The operation was aimed at dealing with the Naxalite problem in all affected states, namely Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Importantly, this plan included funding for grass-roots economic development projects in Naxalite affected areas as well as increased special police funding for better containment and reduction of Naxalite influence in these areas.
The State governments in the North East must also adopt Psy Ops or Psychological Operations under IAP to tame militancy activities; by diligently understanding the emotion of not only the militant outfits so also the mind of the masses. Infusing a sense of security across the society by erasing the fear psychosis should be the first step and then only can the youth who have taken up arms be brought back to mainstream society.
Regarding the authorities, we need more transparent and accountable politicians and bureaucrats who have a political will to change the psychological attitude of the masses. The question is who will bell the cat, such that Police personnel can have more autonomy in performing their duties with improved Police – Public relations besides being intellectually able to overpower such Urban naxalites.