Offensive against Maoists will be a failure: K.P.S. Gill


New Delhi: The biggest coordinated offensive planned against Maoist guerrillas, codenamed Operation Green Hunt, is going to be a “big failure”, says former police chief K.P.S. Gill, and advises the government to do a rethink on the operation.

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“This is not the way to do operations. Operation Green Hunt is going to be a big failure. Who is the state hunting? And once an operation fails, it is a very difficult task to repeat it. This is what the American forces are facing in Afghanistan. We need to consider: do we want to be in a similar situation?” Gill told Tehelka magazine in an interview.

Credited with wiping out terrorism in the border state of Punjab in the early 1990s, Gill even questioned the nomenclature of the offensive.

“First of all, the nomenclature is wrong. There is no hunt. I’m sorry; it should not be referred to as a hunt. Who are you hunting? The human beings living there? That’s why people start talking about human rights violations. It’s a vicious cycle. Whether it’s the Naxalite response or the state response, both are equally stupid. And it’s only the tribal who is suffering and he is suffering very badly. The responses have been absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Some 75,000 federal paramilitary forces along with personnel drawn from the state police are expected to carry out the offensive against the Maoists. It is likely to be launched in November, according to home ministry officials.

Six districts in the worst hit states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra will be the focus of the operations initially.

Gill, who had served as security advisor to the Chhattisgarh government in 2006, said the state government had done little to improve policing and initiate development works. This, in his view, had led to the rapid influence of the Maoist rebels.

“I was there for one year as an advisor and after three or four days, Chief Minister Raman Singh told me to relax and enjoy my stay. I wanted to strengthen the police station. The first responder is always the police station. Now, if the first respondent is weak and doesn’t have the manpower or the equipment, how is he going to respond?

“I remember calling for a meeting in Chhattisgarh – not in the headquarters but in the interiors – and many officers came in civvies and in unmarked vehicles. They were trying to pass off as civilians. This is not a response that is going to raise the confidence of the people. Policemen can only die in such a situation,” he said.

Gill also mentions in the interview that Home Minister P. Chidambaram was not on the right track in this planned offensive.

“Delhi has a large number of theorists. I don’t know who is advising Home Minister P. Chidambaram but he is clearly not on the right track. He should read Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson to understand Chhattisgarh. Delhi cannot tailor a response while sitting thousands of miles away.”