Internal Security Architecture Shortcomings – Key Forces, NIA, IB, CCTNS, etc.

Analysis of the Maoist Attack and The Way Forward


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Local Security forces and their mandate

Mains level: Challenges for employing local tribal youth against Insurgency and solutions


Central Idea

  • The April 26 attack on District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel and a civilian driver by Maoists in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to tackling the insurgency. Despite claims of a weakened Maoist movement, the attack shows that they still have the ability to strike at will.

About District Reserve Guards (DRG)

  • District Reserve Guards (DRG) is a special unit of the police force in some Indian states, primarily in Chhattisgarh, that is trained and equipped to combat Naxalite and Maoist insurgency.
  • DRG personnel are typically drawn from local tribal communities and are familiar with the local terrain, which makes them effective in fighting the insurgency.
  • They are provided with specialized training in guerrilla warfare, jungle warfare, and use of modern weaponry.
  • The DRG is often at the forefront of anti-Naxalite operations and is considered a vital component of the Indian government’s efforts to counter the Maoist insurgency in the country.

Maoist ability to strike at will

  • Strategic planning by Maoist Central Committee: A strike such as the one carried out on April 26 cannot be the brainchild of a local Maoist unit; it is highly likely that this was a trap laid out under the directions of the Maoist Central Committee, indicating the sustained hierarchy of the Maoists.
  • Timing of attacks: The Maoists carry out maximum attacks against security forces during the tactical counter-offensive campaign which is the period between February and June every year. Out of a total of 17 major strikes in Chhattisgarh (2010-2023), six were carried out in April alone, indicating a pattern that should give the government enough leads to plan its strategy.
  • Flouting of standard operating procedures: Standard operating procedures and protocols were blatantly flouted during the unfortunate strike on April 26. It is imperative that the security forces remain extra cautious during the months of the tactical counter-offensive campaign by strictly adhering to standard operating procedures and protocols.

Challenges associated with employing local tribal youth for the DRG

  • False sense of empowerment: When armed, local tribal youth often get a false sense of empowerment, which can lead to feuds with the Maoists. This is because they are familiar with the ecosystem of the Maoists and may harbor resentment towards them.
  • Intelligence network: During the April 26 incident, the intelligence network of the DRG was outclassed by that of the Maoists. This highlights the need for better training and support for local tribal youth who are employed by the DRG.
  • Ad-hoc planning: The DRG personnel, in this case, seem to have acted independently, exposing their ad-hoc planning. This demonstrates the need for better coordination and control over the DRG by the state police.
  • Lack of discipline: Although the combat-worthiness of the DRG is beyond doubt, it is not complemented by the rigor of discipline, which is an imperative quality for troops in any protracted counter-insurgency campaign. The track record of the DRG regarding discipline is not too encouraging, with many of the cadres having been cashiered on disciplinary grounds and some having been found to be involved in crime. This highlights the need for better training and support to ensure that the DRG personnel are adequately disciplined and accountable for their actions.

Way ahead: Lasting solutions

  • Effective Policing: Effective policing in insurgency-affected regions is the function of a strong State police force. It is widely acknowledged that Central police forces should supplement and not supplant the State police.
  • Vacancies in State Police Force: According to data of the Bureau of Police Research and Development, there are many vacancies in the State police forces. Without comprehensive transformation of the State police, Central forces would achieve little beyond random and misplaced killings.
  • Control on Local Tribal Youth: Local tribal youth should be employed for the DRG in a controlled manner by the State police. Security should not be simply outsourced to them.
  • DRG Personnel Discipline: The combat-worthiness of the DRG is beyond doubt, but it is not complemented by the rigour of discipline. This is an imperative quality for troops in any protracted counter-insurgency campaign. The track record of the DRG regarding discipline is not too encouraging.
  • Deeper reflection on the discontent and dispossession of tribal people: The incident calls for a deeper reflection on the discontent and dispossession of the tribal people of central India, who are in all respects the most disadvantaged of citizens.
  • Perception management: The government needs to pay adequate attention to perception management. The government should communicate that extensive road construction projects in Bastar will ease the lives of the local population and not just enhance the reach of the security forces.
  • Weaken the Maoist ideology: The futility of the Maoist ideology in current times is not adequately exposed to weaken the insurgency. Security is no doubt necessary, but the focus needs to be beyond security and development.


  • The Dantewada attack highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to tackling the insurgency, taking into account the tactical counter-offensive campaign, the need for strong state police forces, and the controlled employment of DRG personnel. The government should focus on addressing the root causes of the insurgency, paying attention to perception management and exposing the futility of Maoist ideology

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The Maoist Insurgency: Challenges and The Way Forward

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