The following report-- released by the United News of India news agency on August 27, 2010 -- is for your kind perusal and the fourth in a series.
Adopt carrot and stick policy against naxals: expert by Abhijit C Chandra
Bhopal, Aug 27 (UNI) An Indian Army veteran with extensive combat experience against Northeast rebels advocates adoption of a carrot and stick policy for tackling the naxalism menace.
"There is always the human element that simply cannot be ignored. Besides, the Maoists are Indian citizens with a divergent ideology and certainly not imported terrorists to be crushed with an iron heel," Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement Vice-Chairman Major-General (Retd) Satbir Singh, Sena Medal, told UNI over telephone.
Reminiscing his tenure as Brigadier in Assam (now Asom), the veteran narrated an example to prove his point that struggle-truce-struggle is the golden mean for eventually terminating the scourge of militancy.
"In 1997, I was stationed at Tezpur performing duties as Administrator of the Unified Command in a heavily insurgency-affected area. It was well past midnight when the telephone rang," he narrated.
The man on the line mentioned that he was calling from a village about 40 km away where an acute shortage of water was the root cause of misery. "Please supply water Sir. There are women and children here," the caller lamented.
"Though I was well aware that the village was a den of ultras I did not reject the request right away. I informed the caller that I will arrange for the water but if a single shot was fired at my boys I will give the order to massacre the entire village," the Maj-General recalled.
In the succeeding minutes, 15 tankers were mobilised and filled prior to undertaking the hazardous journey. Atop the tankers were positioned soldiers cradling light machine-guns.
"My officers and men were in constant radio contact with me. They reached the village, supplied the water and returned sans incident," the veteran said. What happened the following day seems to prove the Maj-General's point.
"A speeding motorbike carrying two masked youths shot past my camp and one of them lobbed a stone with a piece of paper wrapped around it. On reading the message we found the words 'Thank you Brigadier Singh'. When I was eventually sent to a new posting, a teeming multitude saw me off at the airport," he said.
Emphasising that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act must not be diluted under any circumstance, the veteran went on to state that as the Army is authorised to employ deadly force in achieving its objectives, collateral damage is inevitable.
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