What is the best way to fight IEDs, like the one used in Kurkheda or the one that blew up an MPV in Sukma in March 2018?
- One way to avoid destruction and casualties caused by IEDs is to ensure that these are successfully detected through visual surveillance or using technical gadgets and defused in time.
- Second, a road opening party may dominate the surrounding area thoroughly enough to make certain that no suspicious elements are hiding around to trigger IEDs.
- Third, law-enforcement agencies can crack down on miscreants who supply explosive substances to the Maoists.
- Fourth, explosive substances and most importantly detonators can be made identifiable at the production stage using a unique number for identification. However, all these measures have their limitations. Also, the use of IEDs, being inhumane, must be condemned by all at appropriate international forums.
What is the way forward for security forces here on?
- Though, Maoists have weakened in DK, Odisha State Committee and other zones, and their expansionist policy is under check, security forces cannot afford to ignore their protracted war strategy.
- The mobile war (capability to attack at will in base areas and escape unscathed) has to be reversed and the areas of security vacuum (where there is no presence of the security forces) plugged.
- Better technologies, including Ground Penetration Radar, are required to detect and defuse IEDs.
- Security forces also need to learn from previous tactical errors and adhere to time-proven SOPs. The information network should improve with better road and telecom connectivity in far-flung areas.
- Surrender and rehabilitation policies must be implemented in letter and spirit. The administrative and political vacuum in remote areas must be filled.
- ‘The Forest Rights Act’ should be interpreted in favour of forest dwellers. The root cause of the problem that is exploited by the Maoists —socio-economic deficits — must be bridged. The human rights of the local populace must be protected by the administration and security forces if the credibility of efforts so far is to be established.