Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeAsiaRise of Naxalism in India

Rise of Naxalism in India

Afia Ambreen

Recently, Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon, 32-year-old IAS officer of 2006 batch, was abducted by the Maoists and free after being held hostage for twelve days. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appealed to the Naxals to release Alex Paul Menon for the sake of humanity which exposed the weak security link in the naxal affected state of Chhattisgarh The Maoists have also objected to the Collector being projected as a heroic figure. They have alleged that the Collector is responsible for “atrocities” and anti-naxal operations. Interestingly, just a day after Collector’s abduction, parliamentary secretary of BJP Mahesh Gagra was attacked by the Maoists leading to the death of two BJP leaders.
Earlier, Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister Kedar Kashyap also had a narrow escape in one such Maoist attack. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram had already admitted that Naxal problem graver than Kashmir and Northeast insurgency. Indian establishment underestimated the challenge and took it as a law and order problem and then tried to counter it through force. Force is not a solution to any problem. Some times using force becomes counter-productive and enhances any movement. Same thing happened in the case of Naxal violence. Instead of looking into the reasons and factors which brewed Naxalism, every Indian government took it as a rebel movement and tried to curb it through force. As violence begets violence, use of force against Naxals increased the gravity of situation. Ever since 2005, India has been witness to an average of 1,500 incidents of Naxal violence, resulting in the death of over 750 people i.e. five incidents of Naxal violence every day and sixty killings every month. Naxal movement is gaining momentum with the passing time. It has spread to both urban and rural areas, ranging 160 districts of India. Indian Home Minister wants to raise 26,000 men to curb the Naxal violence. It is quite surprising that no other way except force is foreseen by Indian administration. Naxal movement is a result of failure of governance.
According to ShankkerAiyar, “Each of the 80 worst Naxal affected districts have no schools, poor heath care, exploitative feudalism, no employment opportunities, pathetic social infrastructure”. Over three lakh villages have no road connectivity. For example Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh is on the list of 100 worst districts list for the past two decades. So despite well aware of the reasons that are behind the rise of Naxalism Indian government is only depending upon force to end that problem. It is paying no heed to the problems that gave rise to Naxalism. In fact in the mind of Indian administration Naxalism is a war that has to be tackled through force. It most of the time forgot that Naxals are alienated Indian citizens and once their grievances will overcome Naxal movement will come to an end.
The question that arises is why the Naxals have been able to extend their area of influence over the years to become a serious threat to the country’s internal security. This is due to different factors. The failure of the administration to make sure that the benefits of development percolate down to the common man, especially tribals is a main factor. The Naxal infested states have large tribal populations with poor infrastructure. Corruption, displacement due to large scale projects, inability to avail of benefits from mining of mineral resources, and exploitation by local officials add to increased resentment and increased reception to Naxal ideology. Another thing is that Naxals have become more organized rather than a scattered force. Naxals in India model themselves on the Indian army, from training manuals to undercover training. The manuals translated into Hindi from Telugu by the security forces give a chilling insight into People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) planning military skills and motives.
This is very similar to the training of a Jawan or even a JCO. The PLGA’s basic military courses begin with handling automatic weapons, compass and map reading, defensive and attack formations. The manual analyses Naxal operations since 1997 and suggests means to increase enemy casualty. It discusses how to collect intelligence, stalk the enemy, and lay an ambush and attack. It also instructs how to retreat when attacked, regroup later using coded communication and how to raid protection installations.
The fighting forces of Naxals are divided into three categories. The primary force is of extremely well trained personnel who spearhead any attack with superior weapons. The secondary force forms the bulk of a large group with less sophisticated weapons. Finally, the people’s militia comprising farmers, labourers and others. Naxals have over 80 training camps, each training between 200 to 300 people at any point of time. There are 84 training camps which are operating in several states such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand.
In a nutshell, the Indian government is tackling the issue as a law and order problem. As the Naxal issue is deeply rooted in the social and economic disparities in the remote and tribal areas so using force is only aggravating the problem. These areas are deprived of fruits of development which the rest of India is enjoying. So the sentiments of these people are hurt as they see others enjoying the luxuries of life and they deprived of basic necessities. In such circumstances supporting Naxals is far better option for them.
Indian government can not stop the growth of Naxalites through police, Salwa Judum or army. It can only do so by erasing the reasons of Naxal movement. The Naxal belt is trapped in a vicious cycle of underdevelopment and violence. The foot soldiers of the movement believe that the Naxalite movement will bring about development and prosperity. So the government can reduce people’s appeal for the movement by providing opportunities to the people of Naxal belt through sound economic and infrastructural development programmes.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular