Recent Naxal attacks and Government approach to LWE

  • Category
    Internal Security
  • Published
    20th Nov, 2018

There has been increase in Maoists attacks in Chhattisgarh during elections, around one lakh security personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of elections even as Maoists have asked voters to boycott the assembly elections.

Issue

Context

  • There has been increase in Maoists attacks in Chhattisgarh during elections, around one lakh security personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of elections even as Maoists have asked voters to boycott the assembly elections.
  • PM Modi in election campaign in Chhattisgarh said “Urban Naxals” were “remote controlling” Naxalites in Chhattisgarh—a state with large tribal populations living in mineral-rich and forested regions.

Background                              

History of Naxalism in India:

  • First phase (1967-72): The movement had strong ideological moorings, receiving guidance from leaders like Charu Majumdar, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, Nagabhushan Patnaik and others. Between its first phase and today’s Maoist movement, vast changes have occurred in the taxonomy of Naxalism.
  • Since 2004: In a significant development, the People’s War (then operating in Andhra Pradesh) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (then operating in Bihar and adjoining areas) merged to form the CPI (Maoist) Party.

    CPI (Maoist) Party

    It is the major Left Wing Extremist outfit responsible for majority of incidents of violence and killing of civilians and security forces and has been included in the Schedule of Terrorist Organizations along with all its formations and front organizations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.  Its philosophy of armed insurgency to overthrow the Government is unacceptable under the Indian Constitution and the founding principles of the Indian State. Currently, the central committee of CPI (Maoist), the highest decision making body, has instructed the front organizations to intensify their activities and mobilize people over issues related to Dalits and minorities.
  • Today, the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are considered LWE affected, although in varying degrees.

    About

    Urban Naxals: In an intelligence report titled “Urban Naxalism: Growing Menace and Remedies,” Ministry of Home Affairs described Urban Naxalism as an old Maoists strategy to focus on urban centers for leadership, organize masses in urban areas through democratic means, build a united front and engage in military tasks such as providing personnel, material and infrastructure.

    • Most of these organizations are led by well-educated intellectuals with a firm belief in the Maoist insurgency doctrine.
    • They form propaganda/disinformation machinery of the party.
    • The important functions of these organizations include the recruitment of 'professional revolutionaries', raising funds for the insurgency, creating urban shelters for underground cadres and providing legal assistance to arrested cadres.

    Gravity of the situation:

    • According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, at least 122 Maoists have been killed across the country in the first six months of 2018, highest number over the same period in last 8 years.
    • The geographical area of naxal influence has significantly reduced after the review brought down the number of affected districts from 126 to 90 by exclusion of 44 districts.
    • A number of central committee and politburo members have been neutralized.

    Analysis

    Misuse of the term: Urban Naxalism

    • It curbs dissent and criminalizes it.
    • It mobilizes the society on ideological lines.
    • Any opponents can be arrested under the name or Urban naxals.

    Government approach to left wing extremism:

    The GOI’s National Policy and Action Plan emphasises on security and development.

    Security Aspect:

    • Reports on spread and trends of Left Wing Extremist violence have highlighted that 90 districts in eleven States have been taken up for special attention with regard to planning, implementation and monitoring various interventions.
    • The Central Government closely monitors the situation and supplements and coordinates their efforts in several ways. These include:
    • providing Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs);
    • sanction of India Reserve (IR) battalions, setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti Terrorism (CIAT) schools;
    • modernisation and upgradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus;
    • re-imbursement of security related expenditure under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme;
    • providing helicopters for anti-LWE operations, assistance in training of State Police through the Ministry of Defence, the Central Police Organisations and the Bureau of Police Research and Development;
    • sharing of Intelligence & facilitating inter-State coordination;
    • assistance in community policing and civic action programmes

    The underlying philosophy is to enhance the capacity of the State Governments to tackle the Maoist menace in a concerted manner.

    Development

    • Education is progressing through setting up Kendriya Vidyalayas.
    • In terms of infrastructure development, about 3,000 kms of road and bridge construction is underway in Bastar. There is increased road and rail connectivity. Example all villages in Bastar district is electrified.
    • Poverty Reduction by help of developed PDS system of states like Chhattisgarh like distributing rice for the poor at ?1 per kilo.
    • Improving incomes of local people by help of MSP like farmers cultivating tendu leaves are being given MSP (minimum support price) of ?2,500 per quintal, up from ?400 per quintal.
    • The Chattisgarh government has set up business process outsourcing units in Bijapur and Dantewada and completed work at the Nagarnar steel plant.
    • Launch of various central schemes, such as the Ujjwala Yojana and Ayushman Bharat.

    Limitations:

    • Development Paradigm: It was pointed out by the Expert Group of the Planning Commission back in 2008 that “the benefits of this paradigm have been disproportionately cornered by the dominant section at the expense of the poor, who have borne most of the costs.”
    • Inequality: According to the World Inequality Report, 22 per cent of India’s national income is cornered by the top one per cent. Such disparities give rise to discontent, which have the potential to explode into a rebellion.
    • Corruption: It is at the root of several factors which cause popular dissatisfaction. This is also supported by Transparency International, as shown in the index released by it. India has recently slipped by two positions in the ranking of the most corrupt nations.
    • Agrarian unrest: It continues to cause serious concern for example in March 2018, the farmers undertook a long march from Nashik to Mumbai.
    • Spread: There are reports that the Maoists have made a dent in the Northeast and are also active at the tri-junction of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

    Ways to curb Naxalism:

    Central and state government should try to bring good governance, make dialogue with naxal leaders, generate more employment and increase wages, prevent environmental degradation to help their livelihood and local tourism and make proper rehabilitation and resettlement.

    Implementation of schemes like

    • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme, under which the central Govt. reimburses to the State Governments of 11 LWE affected States SRE of 90 districts relating to training and operational needs of security forces, ex-gratia payment to the family of civilians/security forces killed in LWE violence etc.
    • Special Infrastructure Scheme, along with Construction of Fortified Police Stations in the LWE affected States
    • Aspirational District: The Ministry of Home Affairs has been tasked with the monitoring of program in 35 LWE affected districts.
    • LWE Mobile Tower Project
    • Media Plan- Under this, activities like Tribal Youth Exchange programs organized by NYKS, radio jingles, documentaries, pamphlets etc. are being conducted.

    Other development initiatives like construct a food processing unit in every district in Chhattisgarh where farmers can sell their products directly can be helpful in aiding income.

    Learning Aid

    1. Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country. Briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenge posed by LWE. (UPSC 2018 GS3)

    Approach-

    • Introduction with data or evidence showing that LWE has reduced
    • Area still having red corridor districts.
    • Governments of India’s approach to counter Naxalism
    • Limitation of approach.
    • Way Forward

    2. As per Ministry of Home Affairs, the naxalism in India is on its last leg as seen by reduction in number of Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected districts. Critically analyse the factors behind it and its limitations.

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