While it is a fact that the Maoists have been on the back foot for some time, to dismiss their capability to strike at will, especially in their stronghold, would be a mistake.
Shashank Ranjan, Adjunct faculty, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
On April 26, 10 personnel of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and a civilian driver were killed in a blast, which the police said was caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by Maoists, near Aranpur village in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh. The blast occurred some six months before the Assembly elections, and amid claims by the government that the Maoist insurgency has waned. The DRG personnel were returning in a van after carrying out an anti-Maoist operation based on a tip-off, which could have been a trap. The IED was planted underneath the metalled surface of the road. It is not clear whether it was deployed the night before the attack or months earlier, when the road was under construction.
While it is a fact that the Maoists have been on the back foot for some time, to dismiss their capability to strike at will, especially in their stronghold, would be a mistake. A strike such as the one carried out on April 26 cannot be the brainchild of a local Maoist unit; it is highly likely that this was a trap laid out under the directions of the Maoist Central Committee, indicating the sustained hierarchy of the Maoists. The primary motive seems to be to send out a message of ‘continued control’ by the guerrillas.
Published in: The Hindu
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