Union home minister Rajnath Singh has done well to spell out his strategy to deal with the Naxalites. Unlike his one-time predecessor P Chidambaram, who favoured talks with the ultras if they abjured violence, he has ruled out mediation with them. He believes that the Naxalites do not deserve any mercy because they do not believe in democracy, as violence is their main credo. Implied in such a strategy is also the realisation that the Naxalites would engage in talks only to deceive the government and to gain time to strike again with greater force. So the best policy is to annihilate them so that they would never be able to pose a threat to society.
While giving a free hand to the security forces deployed in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and erstwhile Andhra Pradesh to deal with the rebels, Singh is not oblivious of the social dimensions of Naxalism. There can be no denying the ideology appeals to a section, not because of its intrinsic worth but because of the false propaganda the Naxalites have been resorting to. Singh has, therefore, asked the state governments concerned to do everything possible to ensure that all the benefits of their development programmes reach the intended beneficiaries. In other words, there should be no complaints that the grievances of the local people are not redressed. The message has, thankfully, gone to all the 10 Naxalite-affected states.
Besides security and development, the third main component of the Modi government’s anti-Naxalite strategy is psychological warfare that can be described as perception management. Everything should be done to improve the living conditions of the people. It is also vital that the people know that the government has been doing everything possible for their welfare. The government often fails in this task, thereby failing to get benefits for its pro-people initiatives. In short, the Modi regime will showcase its work. It has also done well to tell the states that funds won’t be a constraint to meet the Naxalite threat.