Twenty-three security personnel were killed and 33 injured on 3rd April in one of the deadliest Maoist ambush ever in Bastar.
Naxalism is considered to be one of the biggest internal security threats India faces. Naxal violence is related to the intensity of the feeling of people of their deprivation and their commitment to take revenge against those who are believed to be responsible for such denial. Currently, the main supporters of the movement are marginalised groups of India including Dalits and Adivasi’s, who believe they have been neglected by the government. The presence of Naxals in the country reveals the loopholes in the law and order of the country which has failed to curb the menace.
Naxal Movement in India:
- In its initial stages, the movement had strong ideological moorings, receiving guidance from leaders like Charu Majumdar, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, Nagabhushan Patnaik and others.
- Over the years, the trajectory of the movement, as also its character, changed and it became more brutal and sanguinary.
- It still maintained a veneer of being true supporters of the poor and the downtrodden, especially the tribal people.
- It did lose some of the support of the urban intelligentsia, but Maoism still resonates with some of the more ideologically oriented elements in universities and colleges.
- In Chhattisgarh, Dantewada, Bastar, Bijapur and Sukma are the main centres of Maoist activity currently.
- Between the first phase of Naxalism (1967 to 1972) and today’s Maoist movement, vast changes have occurred in the taxonomy of Naxalism.
- Today, it has metamorphosed into a highly rigid and militaristic movement, more intent on terrorising segments of population than on supporting people’s causes.
- Communist Party of India (Maoist) lost around 30 of its cadres in a covert operation jointly organised by the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and the Special Operations Group of Odisha.
- Many claim that it marked the beginning of the end of the Naxalite movement in the country.
- Nature and apathy of the political system towards tribals remained one of the most important factors that led to such uprisings.
- Inability of political authority in India to provide avenues for structural uplift to the deprived sections of society in the affected states.
- Lack of political participation by the tribal community
- Poverty and economic inequality and underdevelopment in the naxal affected regions.
- Entry of mining companies in Tribal lands and forests, posing threat to the livelihood of the tribals.
- Indigenous tribal population deprived of their lands, uprooted from their traditional source of livelihood.
- The benefits of the resource exploitation are not passed on the tribals.
- Environmental degradation in the form of destruction of land and water resources due to mining and industrial activates.
Lack of basic facilities
- Lack of basic facilities like education, freedom, sanitation and food.
- The socially backward tribals form the major support base for Naxalites because of inequality, illiteracy and lack of opportunities.
Reasons for the reversals faced by CRPF in fight against Naxals
- Lack of a common plan across the states
- Lack of coordination between state police and Central forces.
- Inadequate training and combat capability of forces in Maoism affected states.
- Lack of institutionalized intelligence sharing between states and regions.
- Naxalites are well versed with terrain which gives them a substantial upper hand in armed struggle.
- Operation Green Hunt: started in 2010 and massive deployment of security forces was done in the naxal-affected areas. From 223 districts that were affected due to naxalism in the year 2010, the number has come down to 90 in nine years.
- Aspirational Districts Programme
- The Government’s approach is to deal with Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management
- ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ being State subjects, action on maintenance of law and order lies primarily in the domain of the State Governments.
- Filling up critical infrastructure gaps under the Scheme for Special Infrastructure in Left Wing Extremism affected States.
- Assistance in training of State Police through the Ministry of Defence.
- Assistance in community policing and civic action programmes.
- ‘National Policy and Action Plan to address Left Wing Extremism’, aimed at eliminating the menace in the shortest possible timeframe.
- Anti-left-wing extremism (LWE) policy to enhance the deployment of central forces in the Naxal infested areas in the state.
Ways to end Naxalism in India
- Good governance
- The presence of Naxals in the country also reveals the loopholes in the law and order of the country which has failed to curb the menace.
- Central government needs to implement a coherent national strategy to end Naxalism.
- a) Dialogues between the Naxal leaders, and the government officials can be a way work out a solution.
- b) The government should initiate sincere dialogue with Naxalites.
- Generate more employment and increase wages
- a) Insecure livelihood and unemployment in the areas have left the people with no option but to join the Naxals.
- b) If we are actually thinking of ways to end Naxalism, we’ll first have to provide the people of the area with proper employment opportunities with increased wages
- Rehabilitation and resettlement
- a) mining grounds, irrigation areas, industries, etc., in the area without any provision for the resettlement of the displaced people has only added to the woes of the poor
- b) There needs to be more emphasis on rehabilitation of these affected population
- Prevent environmental degradation
- a) Environmental degradation in the form of destruction of land and water resources due to mining and industrial activates
- b) The locals are left with disrupted lives and adversely affecting tourism
- Stop the political marginalization of weaker sections
- a) Weaker sections of the society, the schedule castes and schedule tribes still face discrimination from the upper class.
- b) These downtrodden sections don’t enjoy equal participation in casting and contesting politically, making them soft targets of Naxals.
- Remove disparity
- a) Economic disparity and the growing distance between rich and the poor is one of the main problems that has contributed to the growth of Naxalism
- b) This distance needs to be filled to an extent hastily to stop Naxalism
- Let ordinary citizens have access to basic resources
- a) One of the major reasons for unrest is the exploitation of forest and lands of the tribal people for industrial purposes.
- b) The loss of land and the lack of basic facilities like education, freedom, sanitation and food
- Take steps for welfare of the tribals
- a) The socially backward tribals form the major support base for Naxalites because of inequality, illiteracy and lack of opportunities.
- b) It’s important to prevent these people from falling in the Naxal trap.
- Modernize law enforcement agencies
- a) the major policing lies in the hands of the state governments
- b) At federal level, many agencies are under the command of Union Ministry of Home Affairs
- c) Central government must inroads into these disturbed states with their agencies well-equipped with modern artillery and assist the usually poorly-equipped agencies of the state.
Need of the Hour:
- Central and State governments, the administration and the security establishment need to recognise that the movement cannot be approached from a purely law and order point of view.
- The process of improving the conditions of the poor and the tribals clearly need to be speeded up if the movement is to be effectively checked.
- Winning the hearts and minds of the tribal population and other marginalised groups will lie at the core of the counter-insurgency strategy
- Development of road and rail infrastructure will not only enhance economic growth and development but will also help in countering Maoist propaganda
- The improved road connectivity will also have a multiplier effect on the effectiveness of the security forces in carrying out operations.
- Providing incentives and alternate life support system to those surrendered
- Through a holistic approach focusing on development and security related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled.
- Civil society and the media should build pressure on the Maoists to eschew violence, join the mainstream and recognise the fact that the socio-economic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st Century India are far removed from the Maoist world-view.
- An ideology based on violence and annihilation is doomed to fail in a democracy which offers legitimate forums of grievance redressal.