In this alternation, we will delve into the meaning of Naxalism and its evolution into India’s most threatening internal security issue.
What is Naxalism or Left-wing Extremism (LWE)?
Naxalism is a movement led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal in Naxalbari village in the district of Darjeeling in West Bengal in 1967 and propagates the use of violence through guerrilla communist groups with the aim to destabilize the state.
History and Evolution of Naxalism in India
● 1946- Thebalga movement started in West Bengal against landlords to cut land revenue from half to one-third.
● 1946_1951- People of Telangana started a Radical movement against oppression by Nizam rule.
● 1959- KisanSabhas was started by CPI (Communist Party of India) to find solutions for farmer’s problems.
● 1964- The CPI split due to a rift because the party was diverting towards the democratic state which was opposite to the communist principle and formed a new party called Communist Party of India (Marxist).
● 1967- After the CPI (Marxist) formed a coalition government in West Bengal, Charu Majumdar accused the CPM of betraying the revolution.
● 25th May 1967-An uprising was led by Charu Majumdar along with rebel cadres in Naxalbari, Darjeeling in West Bengal and within 72 days of the rebellion, a police sub-inspector, and nine tribals were killed leading to the downfall of the CPI(M) led United Front government resulting in the birth of Naxalism.
Phases of Naxalism:
1969- After the downfall of the government, a new party, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was formed by Charu Majumdar.
1974- The party was reborn as CPI (M-L) Liberation after the death of Charu Majumdar and the subsequent denial of any political power in Centre.
1975- Approximately 40,000 cadres were imprisoned during an emergency degrading the movement.
After the emergency, the movement rose to grow from West Bengal to Bihar, Odisha, Andra Pradesh and Chattisgarh as per their strategy of ‘Protracted war’.
1980- CPI (ML) converted into People’s War Group (PWG), based in Andhra Pradesh and created huge casualties among police personnel.
2004- Andra Pradesh’s PWG and Bihar’s MCCI merged to form CPI (Maoist) and are unlawful under the Schedule of Terrorist Organizations under the Lawful Prevention Act, 1967. The ideology of Maoist has spread through Chil and Gond tribes who dominate the ‘Golden Corridor’, from Pune to Ahmedabad.
Since 2016- The government recognizes that 106 districts in 10 states with approximately 40,000 people mainly in Dandarkaranya region support Naxalism and plan to reduce these numbers to one-fifth.
Naxalite Movement: the biggest internal security threat to India:
1. Impact on security and foreign affairs: CPI (Maoist) has conveyed that they have alliances with Jammu and Kashmir terrorist groups, northeastern insurgent groups and Maoists organizations in other countries.
2. Impact on the economy:Maoists use scarce resources which can be used for social development thus suppressing economy.
3. Impact on citizens and rule of law: writer Navlakha has noted that the dismissal of the massacre committed by landlord armies’and upper class in desperate defence as an act of terror will threaten the legitimacy of the state and polarize people even more.
The Government’s strategy to address Left Wing Extremism (LWE)
1. According to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, all CPI Maoist formations and front organizations are banned.
2. The central government assists the state police in controlling LWE states by providing CAPFs, Cobras and CIATs.
3. A 24*7 agency for intelligence sharing among multi-agency center (MAC) at the central level and State Multi-agency center (SMAC) at the state level.
4. Incorporate media to educate people about the LWE violence, rights and entitlements of the target people along with giving ideas to offend them tactically.
5. A surrender and rehabilitation policy for LWE cadres who decide to surrender.
6. Roshani scheme (ministry of rural development) emphasizes on particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) and aims to provide them a place in skill development.
A few success stories in the fight against Naxalism
1. Sandesh (Bihar): Panchayat elections held in Bihar helped to create a rift between the Naxal leader and the local community and forced many Naxalite to leave Naxal association and join farming under social pressure which gradually eliminated naxals in this area.
2. Aasdwar project in Jehanabad (Bihar): Five Naxalite affected panchayats of Jehanabad district of Bihar were freed by embracing the development activities such as construction of roads and other infrastructure thus promoting infrastructure development.
3. AP greyhounds’ model: This model included greyhound Naxal force which is aimed at providing a better idea about the aim, hideouts and implementation of naxalism which often rewards for good service.
The government needs to adopt and successfully implement a composite strategy to overcome the Naxalites aimed at destroying their existential reasons. Firstly, the government should focus on infrastructure and socio-economic development, better execution of government schemes, promote participative democracy and improve political security and footing in Naxal areas. Secondly, Security should be improved by strengthening local intelligence units, controlling explosives, modernization of police infrastructure and types of equipment, Forming Special Forces and employing professionally dominant security forces. Thirdly, Government should aim to restore the public’s faith in the system through civil society, NGO’s and media perception management. Fourthly, other measures include convenient peace talks, effective surrender and rehabilitation programmes and ensuring the safety of families, time-bound conviction of arrested cadre and ensuring that law is adhered to in case of protection and development of tribal. Fifthly, Understanding the psychology of tribals and solving their concerns and including them in decision-making process and educate them of the benefits of the growth, thereby helping them to lose inhibitions relating to parting from their land and participating in an unfamiliar alien environment for work. Lastly, local communities should be allowed to take decisions on forest resources and the environment and gain economically. All these would require drastic policy changes from the top and could help in the participation of tribal in development and growth of economically resurgent India.