Naxalism - The terrorism Inside: What it actually is, how it all started and why does it still exist?

NAXALISM is the biggest threat to internal security of India. It is such a serious national problem that it has cost us with valuable lives of CRPF personnel, politicians, loss of property and lives of local people of many South-Eastern states of India. The people who believe and follow Naxalism are known as NAXALS. They keep themselves active mostly by detonating IEDs and their famous Gorilla attacks. Naxalism signifies a particular kind of militant and violent armed struggle by the peasants and tribals who accept Marxist-Leninist ideology.
In this article, we are going to discuss about Naxalism and the whys and hows of of it in detail.

ORIGIN AND CAUSE

The term ‘Naxalites’, comes from a small village Naxalbari of West Bengal where a group of tribal people known as the Santhals started agitation against the landlords they were working for. The landlords did not share the produce from the hard work of the tribal people and thus the Santhals started protesting.
This movement was given a direction when leaders like Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal formed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) and spread the ideology of Mao Zedong to the tribal people. The ideology of Mao Zedong demands the overthrowing of the government and the upper class by force.
https://th.thgim.com/news/national/other-states/article18447126.ece/alternates/FREE_300/Naxalbari

EVOLUTION

The movement has now advanced to the hilly and forest regions in India including the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. Naxal violence has resulted in the death of over 10,000 civilians and displaced 12 million people since 1980s with a significant rise in the number of killings in Naxalism-hit states. Additionally, more than 200 of India’s 640 districts are indirectly under Naxal control.
Ministry of Home Affairs has drawn the Red Corridor- areas affected by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE). The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is deployed in high numbers in these areas to contain Naxal influence; however, this makes CRPF officials prime targets for the Maoists. For instance, on May 1, 15 security personnel were killed in a Naxal attack in Maharashtra’s Gadchirolli District.

Map of India depicting areas in which Naxals are prominent, with darker areas denoting a higher Naxal presence.  Source - Indian Defence Analysis

REASONS FOR GROWING

  • Lack of human development and Poor public infrastructure. Naxals exploit the weakness of the govt. which has failed to provide the basic necessities like electricity, drinking water, roads, schools, Hospitals etc.
  • Poverty and Poor economic Policies.
  • Developmental projects, mining and dam activities lead to large-scale displacement of tribals from their lands. However, there was no adequate rehabilitation.
  • Political marginalization- The tribals do not have a proper electoral representation alienating them further from the government.
  • Mismanagement of forest, forest policies with restriction for their livelihoods.
  • Government failed to reach out to people at times of crisis, maintain law and order. These made people indifferent to the democratic principles in poor tribal areas in India

STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT

  • Ministry of Home Affairs launched the ‘National policy and Action Plan’ in 2015 which executes the following projects related to the development of infrastructure.
      • According to MHA, 2,329 mobile towers have been installed in the affected areas to improve cell phone connectivity.Another 4,072 mobile towers are to be installed.4,544 kilometers of road has been built.
      • The second phase of constructing 5,411 kilometers of road will begin soon.
      • All the affected areas previously had no Kendriya Vidhyalaya. Now all of them have functional KVs.
      • Eight bridges have been constructed to improve the connectivity with remote areas in the LWE-affected areas.
  • Operation SAMADHAN which stands for Smart leadership, Aggressive strategy, Motivation and training, Actionable intelligence, Dashboard-based KPIs (key performance indicators) and KRAs (key result areas), Harnessing technology, Action plan for each theatre, No access to financing.
  • The MHA has suggested the use of trackers for weapons, and bio-metrics in smart guns.
  • Unique Identification number (UID) for Gelatin sticks and explosives.
  • At least one UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle) or Mini UAV for each of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) battalions deployed in the Maoist hotbed.
  • More helicopter support for operations. Helicopters to be used to rush in supplies and reinforcement. Increased number of flying hours.
  • Joint Task Forces for operations along inter-State boundaries to be set up. Better inter-state coordination and intelligence sharing.
  • 400 fortified police stations to be set up in Naxal belt.
  • Resumption of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) – specific schemes such as Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, Special Infrastructure Scheme, Special Central Assistance etc.
  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to be reviewed to ensure effective choking of fund flow to LWE groups.
  • Fast tracking building infrastructure, with a focus on solar lights, mobile towers with 3G connectivity, and road-rail connectivity.
  • Indian Army or specialized forces – such as Greyhounds – to train forces to take on Naxals.

CONCLUSION

Development is very necessary in today’s age but the Central and State governments should make sure that it is not done at the cost of citizens. Naxalites are powerful and effective in some areas in India because of the unresolved contradictions and issues in our society.  A mutual understanding, therefore, should prevail which can end Naxalism. Security, as well as development, has to run hand in hand.

-Tushaar (intern@thradical.in)


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