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Shubham Muskawar asked: How effective is 'community policing' in Naxal-affected areas? Are there any case studies available on it?

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  • P.V. Ramana replies: In order to defeat the Naxalites, it is essential that the people are involved. ‘People’ are like ‘water’ to fish. Once the people turn against the Naxalites, the latter would automatically, and naturally, become irrelevant. This strategy of involving the people was, for instance, successfully implemented in undivided Karimnagar District of what is now Telangana State.

    With a little motivation and logistic support from the authorities, families of underground cadres took to the streets demanding their wards to surrender. In many cases, the entire village joined as one-man and sat on hunger strike for a full day. This sudden development sent shock waves through Naxalite leaders and cadres. Consequently, those Naxalites who were already rattled by the military offensive and those leading a marital life while underground chose to surrender to the authorities and join the mainstream.

    At the same time, the families of victims of Naxalite violence were encouraged to demand public apology from the Naxalites for their mindless acts of violence and murder.

    Meanwhile, the police had undertaken Civic Action Programmes such as construction of roads, school buildings, pucca houses for tribal groups, and renovation of tanks, etc. with the help of surrendered extremists in order to win over the confidence of the people.
    Also, the people were encouraged to form themselves into committees and offer peaceful resistance to the guerrillas whenever they come and attack the government buildings and installations. There were many instances in which the entire village stood as one-man and warned the Naxalites to never enter their village in future.

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

    Posted on October 18, 2019