Home Minister Chidambaram is fighting the Maoists. The government is attempting a two-pronged strategy. It hopes to improve the economic conditions of Maoist infected areas. It attempts to neutraize Maoist fire power through effective police action. The latter includes identifying and blocking foreign sources of arms and funds for all insurgents which undoubtedly do exist.
However there is a third prong required to fight not only the Maoists but many other dormant insurgencies across India waiting to be ignited among aggrieved citizens. The third prong relates to proper police conduct by providing professional police training. The present dreadful image of the police is not a minor factor in the arousal of public anger and protest.
To get an idea of how the public must be perceiving the custodians of law and order just watch TV. There have been innumerable occasions of police brutality in almost all states of the Union that have been captured on camera and telecast. The latest is an incident in Patna last Saturday. One woman was allegedly molested by an SHO when she went to the police station to register a complaint. She went to report a crime against a woman. Women sypathizers organized a protest against the police officer. Male policemen cane charged the women pounding blows mercilessly. The women appeared poor and frail. The cops were uniformed and burly. The pounding was savage and brutal.
If Maoists or any other insurgent group approached the friends, neighbours and relatives of the many victims of this police brutality for recruitment, how would they react?Ordinary people express anger through violence. Their anger can provide a rich harvest for powers with vested interests to destabilize and weaken India. It is so much easier to cash in on public anger to foment violence and chaos. It is so much more difficult to channelize that anger through a peaceful mass movement and genuine revolution. That is why change eludes us and chaos overwhelms us. Has Home Minister Chidambaram reflected on this aspect? For a start he could watch more TV.