Naxalism

Naxalism:

Use of violence to destablise the state or to overthrow the government through communist guerillas warfare activities and pretracted peoples' war. Its main purpose is to install peoples' government.

Red corridor 

A region in the east of India that experiences considerable Naxalite–Maoist insurgency. The Naxalite group mainly consists of the armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

 

Maoist movement

  • It can be traced to the Telangana Uprising (1946- 1951), an armed peasant uprising
  • After, Indo-China war (1962), serious differences emerged within the CPI as to whether support India or China (a socialist country).
  • This ideological tussle culminated into a major split within the Party, giving birth to CPI (Marxist). The CPI came to be known as pro-Soviet Party and the CPI (M) as a pro-Chinese party. The CPI (M) decided to participate in the election.
  • The Maoist insurgency doctrine glorifies violence as the primary means to overwhelm the existing socio-economic and political structures. The Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), the armed wing of CPI (Maoist), has been created with this purpose in mind.

Naxalism–

  • Naxalism originated in May 1967, as an armed peasant uprising led by Kanu Sanyal of CPI (M) , 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 having no clear ideology, a mix of Marxism, Maoism, Leninism.
  • 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).
  • In the beginning, This movement was basically a revolt of the peasants, workers and tribals against centuries of oppression
  • The Naxal movement now is centered around overthrowing the state and imposing New Democratic Revolution by creating a “red corridor” in Naxalite-affected states, stretching from the border of Nepal to central India to Karnataka in the south through violent struggle.

CPI (Maoist)

  • Two major Maoist blocks of that time were the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) of Bihar and the CPI (ML) People’s War Group of Andhra Pradesh , merged to form a new unified Maoist group, CPI (Maoist) in 2004.
  • CPI(Maoist) aims to overthrow the government of India through people’s war.
  • CPI (Maoist) is the most dominant and violent LWE group, accounting for more than 80% of violence and the killings

There are still 23 officially identified LWE groups currently active in the country

source: satp.org


View from the Maoist side:

The Maoist movement is a conflict over the development model adopted by the Indian state, say Maoist ideologues. Despite the setbacks, the ‘fight for a better model of progress’ will go on, they vow. They admit they have recently suffered frequent losses. But, the death of comrades, or being uprooted from the erstwhile united A.P. are not seen as defeats.

Maoists run the Janatana Sarkar (People’s Government) in Dandakaranya forest, across Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra. “Nearly a crore people live in Dandakaranya and Maoists are showing an alternative model of development to them.

 

The police were never the real enemy of the Maoists. Before 1980s, it was the feudalists with vast tracts of land in Telangana who targeted the revolutionaries fighting to protect the people’s interests. Eventually, they asked the state to intervene and took cover behind the police. This transformed the ‘development conflict’ into a war between the police and the Naxalites. They lost on the Telangana plains, but rose again in Dandakaranya.

the interests of the Adivasis are at stake and the State is throwing the forest wealth to private companies.

Maoists were criticised for killing security personnel in Chhattisgarh near the National Mineral Development Corporation mines three years ago, but nobody asks who benefits from NMDC’s mining, say, Maoist ideologues. For instance, even in the Sheshachalam forest incident in Andhra Pradesh recently, it was Red Sander wealth that was the source of conflict. Maoist supporters say the government watched mutely while smugglers plundered the forest and woodcutters were killed.

The Maoists say that World Bank-driven development models don’t help forest dwellers. The ‘success’ of the Janatana Sarkar in Dandakaranya, vindicates their ‘justified’ battle, and despite the periodic defeats, they will win the ultimate goal of power.

Naxals strategy

Strategy

Their Strategy as per writings of Mao Zedong should be –

  1. Organization, consolidation, and preservation of regional base areas situated in isolated and difficult terrain.
  2. Progressive expansion, which includes attacks on police stations, sabotage, terror tactics, elimination of persons with alternate viewpoints.
  3. Destruction of the enemy through conventional battles and capture of power.
The only copybook seasonality is perhaps offered by the words of Mao Zedong whose early chutzpah and brilliant generalship the rebels respect—as do establishment forces the world over—and adapt to suit local needs. Take three often-touted precepts of Mao’s guerrilla approach:

  1. “The enemy advances we retreat”;
  2. “the enemy camps we harass”;
  3. “the enemy tires we attack”.

These mantras are honed, adapted, applied. The first of the three is perhaps most portentous: it can also mean a time for rebel recruitment and training, and preparing the ground wherever that ground may expeditiously be. There is a reason for a concentration of casualties in Chhattisgarh. It contains the greatest number of armed Maoist rebels in the country along with a few contiguous areas of Odisha and Maharashtra—and the greatest number of security forces arrayed against the rebels. Southern Bihar and northern Jharkhand come in second. These two conflict geographies naturally account for the largest number of attacks and counter-attacks.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have eased off the total combat grid because of the decimation of Maoist rebels there. So has West Bengal.

the tri-junction area of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is on the active propaganda and recruitment radar of Maoist rebels on account of

  1. the area’s poverty,
  2. caste-based ill-treatment,
  3. issues of tribal dignity—and
  4. Convenient forest cover.

A Maoist weapons and ammunition pipeline via north-east India is under interdiction (military impede or prohibit).

The meat of the approach was to inflict casualties for the primary reason of gathering weapons and ammunition to augment a squeezed supply line—and, two-birds-with-one-stone: underscore a statement of purpose.

Hours of daylight or dark, foliage and terrain to be leveraged for attack or defence; the strength or weakness of information and misinformation; the strength or weakness of numbers, network, ingenuity and fortitude, will drive such cat and Maoist forays. Troops on the ground, of the rebels and the state alike, know this well.

Recruitments by Naxals

Naxals often use coercion for employing new cadres. They introduced compulsory service of one member from every Adivasi family. This caused much resentment in Adivasis which decreased their influence. Once on rebellion by people against this practice, 70 villagers were killed by Maoists.

Apart from this they use every possible mean including political indoctrination, promises of better future, remuneration, alliances with other violent groups etc.

Ethnical, tribal and religious identities also propel recruitment. Shared identities and social networks work to a great extent in collaborative efforts. Also some rich recruits who are highly committed to ideology become financer of their operations.


Solution and Way forward:

The five-pronged strategy includes:
  1. Taking up development programmes in the Naxal-affected areas. i.e. Inclusive development
  2. Creating awareness among the communities in the Naxal-affected areas against taking to the path of violence being adopted by the LWE groups. Use of social media, mobiles to send messages, awareness about the scheme
  3. Utilisation of modern technologies such as drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  4. Procuring modern helicopters for the use of armed forces engaged in the task to prevent loss of property and personnel.
  5. Development of the LWE-affected areas in the fields of education, health, communication and others. Building of fortified police stations in such areas.

There are also plans to set up 2,100 BSNL towers to provide mobile phone network. The cell towers would be constructed in CRPF camps, which would also have ATMs.

Naxalism is the biggest threat because it affects several areas including the economy, security and foreign affairs, its citizens and rule of law.

The Maoist problem requires a comprehensive approach with emphasis on the following aspects: 

i. The development paradigm pursued since independence, the benefits of which have been disproportionately cornered by the dominant sections at the expense of the poor and which has aggravated the prevailing discontent among marginalised sections of society, deserves to be given a second look and reviewed. 

ii. The PLGA will have to be neutralised through sustained counter-insurgency operations. It must, however, be ensured that there is minimum collateral damage. ii. Socio-economic development of the areas affected will need to be ensured through sincere implementation of the plans. 

iii. The grievance redressal machinery will need to be activated at different levels. Justice must be seen to be delivered. 

iv. Land alienated from tribals must be restored to them. 

v. Tribals’ rights over forests must be recognized. The provisions of the Forest Rights Act should be enforced. 

vi. There should be genuine attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people. 

vii. The door for peace talks should always be kept open


Others Approaches:

Gondi is the lingua franca of the Maoist movement today, but All India Radio does not broadcast even a single new bulletin in the language

We should strive to create a bottom-up media which is more participatory. We need Adivasi broadcasting cooperatives. We need democratic and real social media. India is the world’s largest democracy but it has not allowed radio for public use yet. One can launch a newspaper and a television channel but not a radio station. This needs to change. Radio must be regulated as any other media but a free radio, including medium wave and short wave, linked with mobile phone and Internet, can solve the Maoist problem.

 

India needs to have two strategies to solve the Maoist problem,

  1. one for Maoists and
  2. one for Maoist supporters who make it “India’s biggest internal security threat”.

There are more Maoist sympathisers in our cities but not many go on to join them; Adivasis become Maoist supporters because we do not talk to them, because we do not help them solve their problems. 

Controlling the underground arms trade , black money in the area is also required to cut their economic and financial support

The centre is planning to build the roads and bridges in Maoist-affected States. If this decision is implemented, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) may lose the responsibility of building roads and bridges in the Maoist-affected States. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the brainchild of former Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which was launched in 2004, is implemented by the Rural Development Ministry.

  • Maoist-related incidents touched a five-year low in 2015, with 1,006 incidents reported this year as compared to 1,760 in 2011.
  • The Centre is working on an ambitious plan for seamless connectivity between the 10 Naxal-affected States and is all set to launch the Road Requirement Plan-II.
SAMADHAN

The elements of this strategy are:

  • S for Smart Leadership.
  • A for Aggressive Strategy.
  • M for Motivation and Training.
  • A for Actionable Intelligence.
  • D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators.
  • H for Harnessing Technology.
  • A for Action Plan for Each Theatre.
  • N for No access to Financing.

 

Significance of this strategy:

  • Alongside aggressive operations, road construction works, setting up of telecommunication, power and railway facilities in the remote areas will be expedited. The home minister has also stressed for befitting strategies during the security operations and enhanced intelligence in tackling the Maoists.
  • Economic resources play an important role in any war — only when money is available is it possible to buy, eat, drink and possess ammunition and weapons. Therefore, choking the financial resources of the left wing extremists is the most basic mantra in this fight.

 

Need for the doctrine:

There are 10 LWE affected states- Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. As many as 12,000 citizens had lost their lives in Maoist violence over the last two decades. Of these, 2,700 were jawans of security forces and 9,300 were innocent common people.


Counter operations by Center/State government:


Maintenance of law and order is domain of state governments, yet central government has deployed troops of CRPF in these areas. These troops are attached to police station or to district police. They don’t have specific job assigned to them and hence doesn’t have autonomy. They just act as support system to state police. Also, centre has deployed there CoBRA – Commando Battalion for Resolute Actions are also deployed. These are elite forces specializing in guerrilla and jungle warfare

This has time and again created chain and command problems. There have been ego problems and confusion between operations of two forces. Further these forces are commanded by Inspectors who are in their 50’s and don’t have any experience of similar operations, knowledge of terrain and intelligence support.

Many members of CRPF were killed in Maoist attack and this was partially due to lapses on part of troops as they compromised protocol. This caused much anguish in public and there was some clamor demanding involvement of army. While army is involve in training of CRPF and State police troops, yet it is not involved in operations.

Experts are overwhelmingly against involvement of Army because of following reasons:

  1. Army is option for the last resort. Currently problem is not lack of physical capacity of our police/paramilitary forces, but intelligence support is certainly lacking. In absence of this Army will end up achieving very little and deterrent aura of Army reservoir will be lost.
  2. Further, Maoist will use this deployment and some associated developments as deliberate abuse of power by government against poor tribals. This may earn Maoist sympathy of tribals.
  3. Our Army is already over stretched and if we start using it internally, our frontiers will be quite vulnerable. This we can’t afford as we know nature of our neighbors.

It may be asked that, then why AFSPA is implemented in J&K and North East areas, but not in Maoist affected area? This is because they already are on international borders and anti-state elements there are actively being supported by foreign power.

Grey Hound Police

The Greyhounds are an elite commando force of Andhra Pradesh, India created to combat left wing extremists. It is considered the best anti Naxalite force in the country, even above the CRPF’s CoBRA which has more men, budget and better arms than the Greyhounds. Greyhound is a simple but effective organization and recruits the best of the best from the Andhra Pradesh Police. The Force is also known for its guerrilla approach and its functioning in the field, which is near similar to that of the Maoists. Greyhound commandos often exclaim that their strength does not lie in them being a special force with special training, but it lies in the fact that it is more of a guerrilla force than a special force. The commandos of Greyhounds undergo rigorous training and have a strict day to day combat regime. They are highly paid, motivated and well-armed.

Operation Green Hunt

It was the name used by the Indian media to describe the “all-out offensive” by government of India’s paramilitary forces and the state’s forces against the Naxalites. The operation is believed to have begun in November 2009 along five states in the Red Corridor.

Salwa Judum

So called People’s movement was named Salwa Judum, to mean, “Peace hunt” in the local Gondi tribal dialect. The movement was launched by a few villagers angered by Naxal interference in the local trade of tendu leaves (used for making bidis).

However, later on, it was alleged that maintaining law and order in Dantewada and Bastar was outsourced to the Salwa Judum cadres, some of them as young as 15–16 years in age. Some 5000 such cadres were made Special Police Officer s (SPOs), given a rifle each and paid Rs 1500–2000 a month. Poorly trained, ill equipped and immature, some of the Salwa Judum cadres themselves looted many tribal villages. It resulted in civil war like situation in these regions. Last year, Supreme Court ruled that this movement is unconstitutional and only state has responsibility of maintaining law and order.


Government Initiatives:


As a development strategy the government has stressed on the urgent implementation of development projects/policies of the government including

  1. Backward Regions Grants Fund –  
    it is designed to redress regional imbalances in development. The fund will provide financial resources for supplementing and converging existing developmental inflows into 250 identified districts. This aims at filling local infrastructural gaps, strengthening local government institutions and building mechanisms for professional help to these local bodies.
  2. Panchayat (Extension to Schedule Areas) Act of 1996 (PESA)

    This act (PESA) exempted scheduled areas (schedule v) from certain provisions 73rd amendment. It also modified certain other provisions. Through PESA certain powers are given to gram sabha, which under 73rd amendment might not have been available to them (because of state’s discretion).

  3. National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA) and
  4. The Schedule Tribes and other traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 

    The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.

    This act recognized rights of tribals over minor forest produce. Recently, Forest Minor produce was also covered under Minimum selling price regime.

  5. New land acquisition act which includes, consent, enhanced compensation, social impact assessment and Rehabilitation & Resettlement of displaced.

With all these efforts in place, reports have indicated towards poor implementation and translation of these schemes to the grassroots, primarily due to conflict prone environment.

It should be noted that Maoist too has their agenda in form of a manifesto, which include almost all those things which State includes, such as addressing caste based discrimination, protection of religious minorities, No displacement by big projects etc.

In order to secure better co-operation, Chief Minister’s Conference on Internal Security is being held since 2009. There has been Prime Minister Rural Fellowship Scheme under Ministry of Panchayati Raj for affected areas. Also, infrastructure spending in these areas is also being promoted, for ex. by Pradhan Mantri Sadak Gram Yojna


Surrender Policy

Naxal-affected states have also announced surrender policies. The Jharkhand government offered Rs 50000 to surrendered Naxalites plus a monthly allowance of Rs.2000,one acre of agricultural land, and educational and health benefits to their children. The Chhattisgarh government offered up to Rs.3 lakh for weapon surrender. The Orissa government announced Rs. 10000 for surrender, Rs.20000 for arms surrender, and Rs 2 lakh of bank loan without interest for two years.




Conclusion:
It is obvious that there is (and should be) two pronged approach to counter it, one at ideological level and other at physical level. In former case, good governance by government and delivering good results in fields of Education, Health and overall standard of living will be instrumental.

Last modified: Sunday, 10 November 2019, 6:07 PM