It doesn’t say much for the security forces’ preparedness if Maoists can blow up a vehicle in a police convoy and cause so many deaths. The dead policemen are no less martyrs than those from the CRPF slain in Pulwama. This Naxal attack comes at a time when the forces should have known an offensive was to be expected the most around election time. There must be something amiss in the movement of security convoys if vehicles can be targeted and blown up by IEDs. This can’t be due to lack of intelligence inputs as there must have been plenty, specially as the forces were drawn into an area where Maoists had torched dozens of vehicles of a road construction company. The date was also near the rebels’ observation of “Martyrs’ Week”, and it was Maharashtra Day as well as May Day.
In the continuing war against deep-rooted ideological insurgencies, lives are being lost on both sides — a national tragedy of a high magnitude. Unlike action against terrorism in the north and Northeast, security can’t be ensured by using the Army everywhere. Years of work lie ahead in convincing people their lot is not being ignored or that the natural resources that abound in their areas are being exploited only to satisfy corporate greed. It’s a long and hard struggle for the establishment in winning over disenchanted people, who are easily exploited by the extreme left. Politicisation of attacks at election time will serve no purpose, but politicians anyway keep taking potshots at the government for the losses suffered by the police due to militancy. What is expected of a state is action against rampaging armed insurgents.