Historical Aspect

  • The term Naxalites comes from Naxalbari, a small village in West Bengal, where a section of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) led by Charu Majumdar, KanuSanyal, and Jangal Santhal initiated an uprising in 1967. On 18 May 1967, the Siliguri Kishan Sabha, of which Jangal was the president, declared their support for the movement initiated by KanuSanyal, and their readiness to adopt armed struggle to redistribute land to the landless.

 

 

  • The following week, a sharecropper near Naxalbari village was attacked by the landlord’s men over a land dispute. On 24 May, when a police team arrived to arrest the peasant leaders, it was ambushed by a group of tribal led by Jangal Santhal, and a police inspector was killed in a hail of arrows. This event encouraged many Santhal tribal and other poor people to join the movement and to start attacking local landlords.
  • These conflicts go back to the failure to implement the 5th and 6th Schedules of the Constitution of India. In theory these Schedules provide for a limited form of tribal autonomy with regard to exploiting natural resources on their lands, e.g. pharmaceutical and mining, and ‘land ceiling laws’, limiting the land to be possessed by landlords and distribution of excess land to landless farmers and labourers. disputes related to illegal distribution of ST land to non-tribal people, still common, gave rise to the Naxalite movement.
  • In the eyes of political scientists, socialism is the first step towards communism. Naxalism is an ideology based on extreme communist ideology.

 

What is Maoism?

  • Maoism is a form of communism developed by Mao TseTung (1949-76). He believed that “power flows through the barrel of gun”. It is the military strategy economic policy and administrative principle followed by chairman MAO during his rule in china.

A) Difference between Maoism and Naxalism

  • Naxalism originated as a rebellion against lack of development and poverty at the local level in the rural parts of eastern India.
  • The term ‘Naxal’ derives its name from a village called Naxalbari in the State of West Bengal where the movement had its origin. The Naxals are considered far left radical communists who support Maoist political ideology.
    • Their origin can be traced to the split that took place in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1967. It led to the formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist and Leninist). Initially the movement had its centre in West Bengal.
    • Thereafter, it spread into less developed areas of rural central and eastern India, such as, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
  • Maoism originated in China as a form of Communist theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong.
    • It was widely applied as the political and military guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China till 1977-78. It emphasised the advancement of people’s social and economic life by establishing a classless society through armed revolution.
    • It was rooted in the anti-imperialist struggle and supported armed revolution in order to achieve political transformation. Naxalism is actually based on the principles of Maoism to achieve a similar transformation in India.

 

Strategy of the Naxal Movement

The theory and practice of revolutionary warfare has three distinctive phases. These are:

  • First, organization, consolidation, and preservation of regional base areas situated in isolated and difficult terrain;
  • Second, progressive expansion, which includes attacks on police stations, sabotage, terror tactics, elimination of persons with alternate viewpoints, and procurement of arms and ammunition from the enemy, and
  • Third, destruction of the enemy through conventional battles including mobile warfare, protracted conflicts, negotiations, and unified command and control structures.

 

Factors responsible for the spread of Left extremism in India

A) Land Related Factors

  • Evasion of land ceiling laws.
  • Existence of special land tenures (enjoying exemptions under ceiling laws).
  • Encroachment and occupation of Government and Community lands (even the water-bodies) by powerful sections of society.
  • Lack of title to public land cultivated by the landless poor.
  • Poor implementation of laws prohibiting transfer of tribal land to non-tribal in the Fifth Schedule areas
  • Non-regularisation of traditional land rights

B) Governance Related Factors

  • Corruption and poor provision/non-provision of essential public services including primary health care and education.
  • Incompetent, ill-trained and poorly motivated public personnel who are mostly absent from their place of posting.
  • Misuse of powers by the police and violations of the norms of law.
  • Perversion of electoral politics and unsatisfactory working of local government institutions.
  • In 2006, Forest Rights Act was enacted. But Forest Bureaucracy continued its hostility towards it.

C) Displacement and Forced Evictions

  • Eviction from lands traditionally used by tribal.
  • Displacements caused by mining, irrigation and power projects without adequate arrangements for rehabilitation.
  • Large scale land acquisition for ‘public purposes’ without appropriate compensation or rehabilitation

D) Livelihood Related Causes

  • Lack of food security – corruption in the Public Distribution System (which are often non-functional).
  • Disruption of traditional occupations and lack of alternative work opportunities.
  • Deprivation of traditional rights in common property resources.
  • Poor implementation of Land reforms in different parts in post -independence India.
  • Land acquisition policy of the government in the name of development.
  • The government has not been able to protect the interests of all the stake holders. Low compensation was given to land holders, whose livelihood was lost due to land acquisition. Also, the compensation was not given properly and corruption ate most part of it.
  • The government strategy related with development in tribal areas have not been successful in protecting tribal rights, culture and identity.
  • For wild life protection, core areas have been formed in the jungles where forest dwellers have no right over the produce and these people have been living in these areas since time immemorial.
  • Continuation of caste-based discrimination in independent India, even when constitution declared an end to it. And it created a breeding ground for the spread of Naxalism.
  • Corruption particularly in government welfare schemes, poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes.
  • Poverty, illiteracy, lack of awareness among people.
  • When the problem started, initial response of the police was poor and inadequate.when problem acquired the shape of internal security threat, in the name of dealing firmly with the problem, on some occasions police and security forces exceeded the quantum of force then required, these atrocities of the police force led to the spread of Naxalism.

 

Red corridor belt

 

  • It is the areas worst affected with naxalism, contiguous belt from Andhra Pradesh in the south until Nepal border in the north. It is spanning across 106 districts in 10 States, namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

A) Number of people associated with naxalism

  • As per MHA(GOI) there are about 9000 armed cadres associated with the movement and there are more than 90 lakh non-Naxal sympathisers. So, firmness with highest order of sympathy is required to deal with them.

 

Economic and Emotional losses caused by Naxalism

  • As many as 12,000 people have lost their lives in Maoist violence over the last two decades, including 2,700 personnel of the security forces.
  • According to a statistic prepared by the home ministry, those killed include 9,300 civilians who were either murdered by the Naxals, after being labelledas `police informers’, or were caught in the crossfire and became victims.
  • The menace of naxalism is proving very expensive to our country in terms of development and providing government services to the masses. Maoist regularly blow schools thereby restricting people living in LWE affected areas to get education. A lot of minerals are located in the areas affected by LWE, which the govt is unable to exploit, thereby unable to provide jobs in the areas.
  • Prior to 2004, different naxal outfits were operating in different parts with different set of goals and with only regional presenceBut in 2004, three most prominent naxal outfits decided to merge.

 

 

  • 90% of naxal violence and 95% of the killings associated with naxal violence is carried out by CPI (maoist). Therefore CPI(maoist) and all its formations, both political and military(People’s Guerrilla Liberation Army) were declared as terrorist organisations under U.A.P.A(1967) in 2009.

 

Salwa Judum

  • Gondi dialect which is used by southern part of chattisgarh by local people, salwajudum means peace march, purification, peace campaign. Because of the episodic resentment among masses against naxal violence and bloodshed a peaceful campaign started in southern part of chattisgarh in 2005. Which was the brainchild of MAHENDRA KARMU, a congress leader, local MLA and then the leader of opposition in the chasttishgarh assembly.
  • Under the campaign, the common people in the form of activist campaigned door to door to tell people about miseries and sufferings which are being caused by naxal violence and naxal movement.
  • Within no time movement became strong and campaign gained strength and momentum. The government of chattisgarh after seeing the poularity of campaign decided to make it an integral part of the counter naxal strategy and started providing all possible support to the campaign and activists associated with it.
  • Naxals first reacted by first threatening and thereafter attacking salwajudum activists.
  • Then the state government reacted by providing weapons to young salwajudum activists in the name of RIGHT TO SELF DEFENCE. These young salwajudum activists who were provided weapons by state were designated as SPOs (Special Police Officers) and were asked to protect themselves and fellow citizens in case of a naxal attack.
  • Ultimately, because of this decision and policy of state government a civil war kind of situation got created in the southern part of Chhattisgarh.
  • In 2011, a historic and landmark judgement was pronounced by Supreme Court of India in which it declared SALWA JUDUM to be illegal and unconstitutional and asked Chhattisgarh govt to disarm SPOs.

 

 

A) Grounds on which SALWA JUDUM was declared unconstitutional and illegal by Supreme Court

  • Right to self defence : The supreme court while pronouncing the judgement said that chattisgarh govt has completely misinterpreted the very concept of Right to Self Defence. According to supreme court right to self-defence is available only when there is ultimate threat to self-defence and is not available even at the penultimate stage.
  • Supreme court further observed in this case there is a govt which is providing weapons to citizens under assumptions that there can be a possible naxal attack, in the name of self-defence which is neither legally or logically justified.
  • The bench further clarified that in a country with constitutional government, the govt under no circumstances can set aside its responsibility to protect citizenry (which is the prime responsibility of any government) . the supreme court in this landmark judgement concluded that decision and policy of Chhattisgarh govt related to salwajudum violates the fundamental rights of SPOs, particularly granted under article 21 ( right to life and personal liberty )
  • The court observed that the innocent uneducated and illiterate tribal youths who are becoming SPOs are not at all aware about the ultimate consequence of them becoming SPOs and then being put on the frontline in the amphitheatre of Maoist insurgency by the state amounts to violation of their right to life under article 21 and thus salwajudum is unconstitutional.
  • The Chhattisgarh government pleaded that SPOs should be seen as SUBSIDIARY POLICE FORCE or AUXILLIARY POLICE FORCE and Chhattisgarh govt is fully competent under CHATTISGARH STATE POLICE ACT,2007 (C.S.P.A) to raise subsidiary/auxiliary Police force which was outrightly rejected by supreme court.
  • The supreme court said that auxiliary- means auxiliary and under no circumstance auxiliary police force can perform the task of main police force. Which is properly trained, equipped and having proper authority to do all activities related to effective policing. The auxiliary police force can be used for crowd management, traffic management or disaster management.
  • The judgement of supreme court created a complex and challenging situation for the Chhattisgarh government. On one hand Chhattisgarh govt is now having 4900 less people with it to perform the task of security and protection, and on the other hand it now has additional burden to protect these 4900(SPOs) who are among the hit list of Naxals. Some of the SPOs after judgement, out of fear of being disarmed, have gone underground.
  • Experts are of the view that this judgement of supreme court is going to have far reaching impact on similar nature organisation existing in other Indian states.

 

Strategy for finding solutions to Naxalism

  • Left wing extremism which is the biggest threat to the internal security of country can be effectively dealt with strong political will, deep commitments and a comprehensive and integrated strategy.
  • The strategy to find permanent and peaceful solution to naxal problem will have 4 vital component.
  1. Strong police action against armed cadre associated with the movement but with sensitivity.
    • Preventive method by police instead of military action.
    • Naxalites are not allowing development to take place, in fear of losing their cadre and presence.
  1. The government will have to accelerate the pace of socio-economic and political development in the red corridor belt through people centric programme and with a focus on local resources. Integrate people in development process and revive the existing infrastructure.
  2. The central government in coordination with naxal affected states should try to establish good governance and perception management in all these states.
  3. The government should find democratic solution to naxal problem by honestly exploring earliest opportunity to start peace talks with naxal leadership.

 

IMPORTANT INITIATIVES FOR LWE AFFECTED STATES

  • ‘Police’ and ‘Public order’ being State subjects, the primary responsibility of meeting the challenge of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) lies with the State Governments. However, the MHA and other central ministries supplement the security efforts of the State Governments through various schemes such as:
  • National Policy and Action Plan implemented by MHA since 2015 is a multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc. to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
  • Major Sub –Schemes under Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for 2017-20 Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme (approved in 2017): aims at strengthening the capacity of the LWE affected States to fight against the LWE problem in an effective manner.
  • Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 35 most LWE affected districts.
  • Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) including construction of 250 Fortified Police Stations in LWE affected states.
  • Assistance to Central Agencies for LWE management Scheme o Civic Action Programme (CAP) to bridge the gaps between Security Forces and local people through personal interaction.
  • Media Plan Scheme: to counter the Maoist propaganda.

A) Infrastructure development initiatives

  • Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I) is being implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, since 2009 for improving road connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts of 8 States.
  • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II): It was approved in 2016 for further improving road connectivity in 44 districts of 9 LWE affected States. Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) is the nodal Ministry for this project.
  • LWE Mobile Tower Project to improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas.
  • Approval of Projects under Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) supported scheme to provide mobile services in 96 districts of LWE-affected states.
  • The National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) is assisting the Security Forces in anti-Naxal operations by providing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
  • Skill Development related Schemes
    • ROSHNI is a special initiative under, Pandit DeenDayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana which envisages training and placement of rural poor youth from 27 LWE affected districts. o Skill Development in 34 Districts affected by Left Wing Extremism” under implementation from 2011-12 aims to establish ITIs and Skill Development Centres in LWE affected districts.
  • Surrender and rehabilitation policies: State Governments have their own policy, while the Central Government supplements the efforts of the State Governments through the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme for LWE affected States. Additional incentives are given for surrendering with weapons/ammunition. The surrendered are also imparted vocational training with a monthly stipend for a maximum period of 36 months.

B) Institutional measures

  • Black Panther combat force – A specialised anti-Naxal combat force for Chhattisgarh on the lines of Greyhounds unit in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • BastariyaBatallion– A newly formed batallion of CRPF with more than 534 tribal youth from four highly naxal infested districts of Chhattisgarh along with adequate female representation in sync with the Government’s policy of 33% reservation for women making it the first composite battalion in any of paramilitary forces.
  • A process has also been initiated to create a separate vertical in the NIA for investigating important cases relating to Left Wing Extremism (LWE)
  • Multi-disciplinary groups to check funding of Naxalites – Union ministry of home affairs has formed multi-disciplinary groups with officers from central agencies, including from the IB, NIA, CBI, ED and DRI, and state police to choke the financial flow to Maoists.
  • Constructively engaging youth through education: Seeing the success of educational hub and a livelihood centre in Dantewada district, the government has now opened up livelihood centres, known as Livelihood Colleges, in all the districts.
  • Other measures: More bank branches have been opened to ensure financial inclusion. All India Radio stations in the three southern districts of Bastar will now broadcast regional programmes to increase entertainment options. And a new rail service in Bastar is set to throw open a new market for wooden artefacts and bell metal

C) Priorities of government in last decade

  • Modernization of police force is one of the priority area area of the government. Modernization of the police include providing the police with modern and sophisticated arms, ammunition and weapons
    • Modern communication sets
    • Providing police, life saving gadgets, equipment and devices like Bullet proof jackets, mine proof vehicles, night vision devices etc
    • Series of affirmative action by state to bring the attraction back among talented youth towards uniform services.
    • Motivation/incentives
    • Police personnel should be motivated/incentivised to work in disturbed areas.
    • There should be further improvement in training at all the levels. Particularly the training to meet the present day needs, requirements and challenges.
    • In training the focus should be on jungle warfare guerrilla warfare and technology.
    • There is a need for functional and operational autonomy to be given to police.
    • The uniqueness of administrative-politico system is checks and balances, but it should not lead to un warranted pressure/checks.
  • COBRA-Commando Battalion for Resolute Action
    • A specialized wing with in CRPF to Carry out Anti-Naxal operations
    • They are specially equipped and trained in jungle warfare and guerrilla warfare.
    • COBRA is presently deployed in dense forest of RED CORRIDOR BELT in the naxal affected states.
  • GREY HOUNDS
    • It is a specialized Anti-Naxal wing of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana police.
    • The police force uses greyhound dogs for tracking and sniffing purposes.
    • They track down naxals in densely forested area.
    • Greyhounds have created a special reputation for itself through many successful operations against naxals in dense forest of Andhra Pradesh.
    • The central government has taken a decision that if any state is hit by naxalism, it will create a special wing within their state police on the pattern of GREYHOUNDS, the central government will provide technical and financial assistance for raising such wings with in the state police.

 

Way Forward

  • The country has to arrive at a consensus on the kind of approach it wishes to pursue against the extremists.
  • A permanent institutional mechanism in the form of a coordination centre can be established to thrash out emerging differences between the Centre and the States.
  • Augmenting the capacities of the police as the primary force against Maoist violence will be key to neutralizing the firepower of the extremists.
  • While development is a useful tool against Maoist extremism, it is imperative that a semblance of order precede injection of resources into the extremist affected areas.
  • Development must operate in tandem with the security forces. Resumption of administrative activity should immediately follow the clearing of an area by the forces.
  • It is essential that the official approach be based on an effective policy of communication that not just brandishes the extremists as essentially bad, but is also honest about its own honourable intentions.
  • Holding elections for institutions of local self-government in the affected areas followed by the strengthening of these institutions with additional financial and decision-making powers is a necessity.
  • Success of security force operations need to be based on the concept of just war that strives to do the maximum to avoid collateral damage.
  • Government needs to stay away from propagandist claims about winning the war in quick time.

 

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