“Deep Intelligence” in Bastar: Mapping The Maoists From The Skies
By Trevor Selvam
07 July, 2012
The Chiefs of the Indian Police Paramilitary Forces have repeatedly stated that their operations against Maoists guerillas in the Bastar/Dantewada area are reinforced by “deep intelligence.” Initially, I had glossed over the expression and did not pay much attention. Then I noticed it a second and a third time. And something rang a bell or rather hit a warm spot, as you shall soon see. It was as if something was being held up by the Para military Police Chiefs as “irrefutable evidence” which they were not prepared to discuss any further. They had confidently emphasized that there was no way the 20 villagers who were killed were not Maoists. Because, again, they had “deep intelligence.”
My curiosity had by now peaked. What was this “deep intelligence” that they had repeatedly cited? Did they have plants amongst the villagers who were the eyes and ears of the police? Did they have plain clothes Selwa Judum types who had been operating in the outskirts of the jungle areas, where the Maoists have their strongholds? Are there tribal folks whom they have promised land and other benefits in exchange for information on the wily Naxalites/Maoists?
For the love of deep intelligence, a term used once upon a time in the computer world, for embedded intelligence in microchips, I was deeply intrigued by the repetition of this term. Mr. Chidambaram, the depressing, lugubrious Indian Home Minister has also used similar terminology in asserting the authenticity of the now totally discredited news that “hardcore Maoists” were killed in this spat. He also said that he had absolute authoritative evidence that hardcore elements had been eliminated. Mr. Chidambaram, normally, judiciously avoids commentary on such situations. He waits for investigations to reach his desk, before he delivers his Harvardian mulch-chewing manifests. Turns out that even the names of the hardcore elements were disclosed to ensure that the public understood that there was hard work done by the sleuths before they opened up with their Galils and Tavors on the villagers. They knew who they were targeting! They went after their kill with method and precision. These were 11-year old girls, some seventeen year old “toppers” in the local high school, majority of them teenagers. Hellfire visited them at 10 pm that night as they sat in a circle to discuss sowing. Of course there must have been Maoists around. Of course the Maoists are close to them. And as one of the villagers clearly stated, “We have no problems with Maoists. They help us.”
I was at a total loss. Where was this confidence about this lethal attack coming from? So my mind wandered away. And then it hit me like summer lightning! I remembered the term being used by the Israelis, once in a while. They use it after carrying out some of their brutal massacres in Gaza, from the skies, using drones. When “collateral damage” starts going out of style and it is beyond a pale of doubt that Palestinian civilians have been butchered, the Israeli spokespeople would say two things: One, that their intelligence is DEEP; and they cannot go wrong and two, they knew that the Palestinians use their women and children as “human shields.” It is the latter statement that suddenly made things clear to me. One of the CRP Police Chiefs in Bastar had said “What can we do if they use children as human shields! Our bullets are not gender or age neutral!”
It is then that I realized where this deep intelligence term comes from. The Indian State has deployed Israeli drones over Bastar. Rather than make their way into the jungles with food, medicines, clothes and books (they have not stepped foot in some of these areas for 62 years, since the British left) they have deployed thermal imaging to detect warm bodies in the forests from the skies. When a mass of warm bodies are seen on the thermal scope and their GPS positions are relayed to the command station, the deeply intelligent CRPF officers decide that “if there is a group of them huddled together” they must be Maoists. In Jenin and Gaza, entire Palestinian families have been wiped out using drones, while they sat together in their home, having dinner. India’s tribals, of course don’t know what “meetings” are. They never sit around in circles, around a fire, and perhaps sing their incredibly powerful songs. They do it all as individuals in their mud huts. A well-known drummer (dholak player) was also among those who had 9mm bullets enter and exit through his body. Collateral damage. Or hard core Maoist. Either way acceptable! Tribals don’t ever discuss things as a group. They do not plan their harvesting season as a collective. They simply walk around as individuals in a daze and then when harvest or sowing season comes about, a cock crows and they all individually troop into the fields like automatons and start the job of sowing or harvesting. There is no collectivity in their lives. Only Maoists are “collective.” That dreaded communist notion of putting your heads together to decide what is best for the community. The thermal image is so deep and intelligent that it even sees hammers and sickles on the heads of the tribal bodies.
You see, all materials above 0 degree Kelvin(-273C) emit infrared energy. Such energy is then transferred into electrical impulses which can be seen in a scope as a thermal image. Of course a human body is invariably at a higher temperature than the leafy surroundings all around. So if you see a mass of high temperature --- Voila! Maoists! Or, Voila! Palestinian terrorists! Time to unleash the 9mm full metal jackets or the missiles…..
In any other country in the world, when such a massacre takes place, a government with an iota of morality would ask the local Police Chief and the Chief Minister to step down. Now we are not asking for the resignation of Mr. Chidambaram. We are not asking for Mr. Singh to express some apology (he would probably nod off during such a try). All we are saying is, let there be some acceptance of responsibility.
Trevor Selvam comments occasionally on India's Operation Green Hunt
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