NTRO station set-up in Naxal affected Chhatisgarh: Is it a long term solution to the 45-year-old movement?

On 31st October, 2012 National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) was established, to contain the Naxalite movement by tracing naxal cadres’ movement and sending UAVs to get their location for security forces operations, in the heavily naxal-affected state of Chhattisgarh.

The infrastructure set up by NTRO consists of five satellite-linked terminal stations at its respective location in the Chhattisgarh state with assistance from paramilitary force CRPF. This force is a specially constituted 75000 member strong force for taking charge in anti-naxal operations.

The CRPF has linked the satellite to 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and these UAVs can now stream live data all through the day and night from these areas. The role of NTRO is limited to receiving the data from these areas and spread across the same to patrolling vehicles in the specified areas.

NTRO can do all this and also analyze the geographical characteristics, weather situation, backup troops and logistics available to the security forces before embarking upon an operation. The NTRO trained CRPF officials that will be running this base will also be sharing intelligence and geography related bytes with its New Delhi Headquarters.

Source of News daily “The Statesman” have said, “The activation of the five V-SAT terminals for NTRO is expected to provide an edge to security force operations in difficult terrains where Maoist ambushes and IED blasts are a major threat to the troops. The UAVs can be given real time satellite information through the centre,”

If you want more information on the Naxalite Movement, here is a brief summary for you:

What is the Naxalite Movement?

To understand the magnitude of this news, you shall first need a few facts upfront to absorb the subject matter entirely. The “Naxalite Movement of India” is an uprising of tribal people of India in order to get their basic rights which were denied to them citing reasons like “in the interest of nation” or “development goals” of the Indian government, under whose jurisdiction these people fell.

The Indian society has based itself upon notions of caste system under which the profession practiced by a person determined his reputation in the society. The tribals that we are talking about here are not even part of the mainstream society and lived in far off locations on subsistence farming and livestock.

What we know as the Naxalite movement today, it begun in Naxalbari district of West Bengal, where poor peasants who were peacefully protesting for their rights over the land upon which they would work for low wages. They used the slogan of “Land to the tiller” and took hard-line military stance at the government in 1967 after the police opened fire on these peaceful protesters and killed 9 Adults and 2 Children. In 2012, the movement has spread to 10 states of India including Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh namely.

These protestors have control over vast areas of land in several states and have halted development or any other state sponsored activity in their region of control. Government has tried to tame the beast by use of force and negotiations but none of them have succeeded in appeasing the Naxalites.

Civil Society activists like Prof. Hargopal, Swami Agnivesh and Gautam Navalkha etc. are of the view that force cannot resolve the issue and could even worsen the situation, if not dealt with empathy. Prof. Hargopal for example has always tried to bring the attention of those in power corridors towards giving these people their rightful share like ample employment opportunities and a share in the economic development that is taking place in the country. Sadly, only a small or nearly negligible share of that development has reached these places letting the income inequality to rise further.

Source: The Statesman, Wikipedia

Photos: Marxist Leninist, Understanding Society, World Sikh News

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