Important Articles & Blogs

Ancient and Medieval History
Art and Culture
Modern History
Post Independence History
World History
Indian Society
Physical Geography
Indian Geography
World Geography
Indian Polity
Social Justice
International Relations
Economics and Economic Development
Science and Technology
Environment and Biodiversity
Disaster Management
Daily Updates

left wing extremism in india

Left Wing Extremism in India

What is Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)Left-wing terrorism or far-left terrorism, sometimes called Marxist–Leninist terrorism or revolutionary left-wing terrorism, is terrorism committed with the aim of overthrowing capitalist systems and replacing them with socialist structures. Left-wing terrorism can also occur within already socialist states as criminal action against the ruling government. Left-wing terrorism has its roots in the 19th and early 20th century.  The ideological basis for this kind of terrorism was provided by the writings of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx and was later advocated by Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. A Marxist believes that the bourgeoisie (who owns the means of production) oppresses the proletariat (the lower working class).     Modern left-wing terrorism developed in the context of the political unrest of 1968. In Western Europe, notable groups included the West German Red Army Faction (RAF), the Italian Red Brigades (BR), the French Action Directe (AD), and the Belgian Communist Combatant Cells (CCC). Asian groups have included the Japanese Red Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, although the latter organization later adopted nationalist terrorism.  Roots of Naxalism in IndiaThe name Naxalite is derived from the town of Naxalbari in northern West Bengal in northeastern India, which was the centre of a tribal peasant uprising against local landlords in 1967. Under the British imperial system, indigenous landlords were granted pieces of land in return for their collection of tax revenue and as in Medieval European feudal systems, these landlords subleased their land to peasants for half their yield. As shown by the 1971 census, nearly 60% of the population was landless, the share of land being owned by the richest 4%. Although the rebellion was suppressed, it became the focus of a number of communist-led separatist movements that sprung up in remote, often tribal areas in India. The rise of Naxalism corresponded to the growth of militant communism in India, particularly the creation of the Communist Party of India–Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) in 1969, and to the emergence of such rebel groups as the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and the Peoples’ War Group (PWG).[ Note - Communism (from Latin communis, 'common, universal') is a far-left sociopolitical, philosophical, and economic ideology and current within the socialist movement whose goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order centered around common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange- allocating products to everyone in the society. It also involves the absence of social classes, money and the state.] Naxalite groups generally have claimed to represent the poorest and most socially marginalized members of Indian society (notably tribal peoples and Dalits, and to adhere to the Maoist doctrine of sustained peasant-led revolution. For decades they have waged guerrilla warfare against such targets as landlords, business people, politicians, and security forces, and have disrupted infrastructure by damaging transportation, communication, and power lines. In the process, they often have been able to establish bases of operation in remote forested areas. Naxalite groups exercise strong control over large territories in many of the states of eastern India, viz Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal. Often Naxalite groups have taken over governing functions and provided social services within areas under their control, although they also have been accused of using harsh enforcement tactics.[ Note - Maoism originated in China as a form of Communist theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong. It was widely applied as the political and military guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China till 1977-78. It emphasised the advancement of people’s social and economic life by establishing a classless society through armed revolution. It was rooted in the anti-imperialist struggle and supported armed revolution in order to achieve political transformation. Naxalism is   based on the principles of Maoism to achieve a similar transformation in India.] Origins of DiscontentExtreme poverty, exploitation of lower and backward castes by the upper classes and denial of social justice and opportunity to the exploited classes were the main reasons of simmering discontent among the masses.Since Independence, the government has focused on improving agricultural output without simultaneously addressing social disparity that was actually widening as a result of improved agricultural returns. This was not a problem restricted to Bengal but all across India. Once the government abolished the Zamindari system, large landowners took to stage who rapidly prospered, while the masses remained mostly landless and without any means of livelihood.The gap between the landowners and the landless had begun to widen, while the government has continued to focus on improving agriculture at the cost of equitable social development. In several parts of India, the poverty levels are as high as 95.8%, while several tribal areas in central, east and south east India still remain underdeveloped. These areas have, therefore, attracted the masses to leftist ideology with many actively joining the Naxalite movement.  Factors responsible for the growth of Naxalism(1) Mismanagement of Forests: Monopolization of forests started with the enactment of various forest laws during British government. This led to create a new class of  moneylenders. The administrative machinery became exploitative and extortionate.(2) Lacunae in tribal policies and faulty implementation  (3) Growing inter and intra regional disparities: Naxalism attract people who have poor livelihood like fishermen, farmers, daily labourers and bamboo cutters. The government policies have failed to address the growing inter and intra regional disparities. The poor people resort to Naxalism as a solution.(4) Absence of proper Industrialisation and lack of land reforms: The agrarian set up has not been defined in the absence of proper implementation of survey and settlement. This has damaged the agricultural production and the rural economy. Absence of proper industrialization has failed to generate employment for rural people leading to dissatisfaction with the government. It is also one of the causes behind Naxalism.(5) Middle Class Youth: Many educated youths have been the largest supporters of the Naxal movement and have propagated radical ideologies.  Left Wing Politics Took Up the Cause of the ExploitedIt was Mao Zedong’s success in organising and leading the ordinary and exploited people of rural China to overthrow the ruling elite that formed the basis of inspiration for Charu Mazumdar, who then began his own interpretation of how the class and caste struggle was to be taken forward. His ‘Historic Eight Documents’ propounded the Naxalite ideology that found many takers, in rural and urban areas.During this period, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI-M was a part of the ruling United Front government and therefore, it opposed the concept of armed struggle. Several party cadres rebelled against their party high command and in November 1967, they broke away to form the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) under the leadership of Sushital Ray Chowdhury to pursue armed struggle against the ruling class.They organised several armed actions in many parts of India, all the while gaining more sympathisers to join the movement. By 22 April 1969, AICCCR transformed into Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) – CPI-ML with Charu Mazumdar at the head. Over the years, groups like Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) emerged, which later merged with People’s War Group (PWG), to subsequently evolve as the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2004The CPI(ML) was totally opposed to the electoral process and advocated violent revolution as the only means of realizing its political objectives. While Naxalite activity and violence during this period were reported from across the country, it mostly remained confined to West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. By 1972, concerted and determined action by the central and state governments put an end to what can be described as the first phase of naxalite violence. Naxalism remained subdued during 1972-1991. It was repeatedly fragmented on ideological grounds, strategies and personality clashes. This period was followed by a second phase of naxalite violence whose origin can be traced to two factions of naxalites, namely, the People’s War Group (PWG) of Andhra Pradesh and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) of Bihar.Some interesting facts - Charu Majumdar, the CPI-ML head, and other leaders, came up with the idea of the ‘annihilation line’, which means to kill those who you have disagreements with or who are a threat to the people, which means landlords, businessmen, civil servants and policemen. Due to this, a lot of the killings occurred in urban areas of Bengal and eventually spread to other states.As this problem escalated during 1970s, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to crush this movement. A covert operation by the name ‘Operation Steeplechase’ was worked out under the leadership of then Lt General Manekshaw. The operation was said to be so discreet that there were no written instructions for it. This operation is said to have broken the back of the naxal movement at the time.Over the years, the increased vigil by the Indian government led the naxalites to take refuge in regions where it would be difficult to access, such as the Dandakaranya forest of Chhattisgarh.Some of the Deadliest Naxal Attacks(1) Sukma, Chhattisgarh (April 24, 2017) - Twenty-five CRPF personnel killed and  seven injured. In retaliatory fire, 10 to 12 Maoists were shot dead. The attack took place when a team of around 100 men, belonging to the 74th battalion of the CRPF, based at the Burkapal camp on the Dornapal-Jagargunda road in south Sukma, was out to provide protection for road construction work in the area.(2) Sukma, Chhattisgarh (March 11, 2017) - Twelve CRPF personnel were killed in an ambush laid by Maoists in Sukma. The incident took place when more than hundred CRPF personnel were on way to provide security to a road construction party. The troops first came under heavy fire and when they moved to take defensive positions they tripped on IEDs, which led to serial explosions.(3) Koraput, Odisha (Feb 2, 2017) - Seven personnel of the Odisha police were killed when their vehicle was blown up by Maoists in a landmine blast on NH 26 near Sunki in Koraput district. The vehicle was transporting a few assistant drivers of the police department to Cuttack for training.  (4) Aurangabad, Bihar (July 19, 2016) - Ten CRPF commandos belonging to its Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) were killed in an IED blast by Naxalites in the forests of Bihar’s Aurangabad district. Four Naxals were also killed in the encounter that lasted for nearly eight hours.(5) Sukma, Chhattisgarh (December 1, 2014) - Maoists killed 14 CRPF personnel, including two officers, in Sukma. The ambush took place near Kasalpara village. Six Maoists were reportedly killed in the encounter.(6) Malkangiri, Odisha (August 26, 2015) - Three Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and six jawans seriously injured in a Maoist ambush in Malkangiri district of Odisha.   (7) Dantewada, Chhatisgarh (April 10-13, 2015) - In less than 72 hours, Maoists struck Dantewada thrice killing seven jawans and blowing up an Anti-Landmine Vehicle of the Chhattisgarh police.(8) Gadchiroli, Maharashtra (May 11, 2014) - Seven policemen were killed and two injured when Maoists blew up a police vehicle in the Chamorshi division of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. The incident came two days after the arrest of G.N. Saibaba, a Delhi University Professor, by the Gadchiroli police over his alleged Maoist links.(9) Sukma, Chhattisgarh (March 11, 2014) - Fifteen security personnel were killed in a Maoist ambush in Sukma. One civilian also died in the crossfire. The incident took place when a joint team of the CRPF and the police — about 50 personnel divided into two platoons — were moving from Tongpal village to Jeeram Ghati. About 100 Maoists surrounded them and opened fire.(10) Dharba Valley, Chhattisgarh (May 25, 2013) - In one of the deadliest attack targeting political leaders, a battalion of Naxalites attacked the motorcade of the Congress workers and leaders in the hilly areas of Darbha while they were returning from Sukma after an election rally. Mahendra Karma, who founded Salwa Judum to combat Maoists, senior Congress leaders V.C. Shukla, Uday Mudaliar, and Nand Kumar Patel, and 18 party workers died in the ambush.(11) Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh (June 29, 2010) - Twenty-six personnel of the 39 Battalion of the CRPF were killed in a Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district. The attack took place near a hilly stretch of Jhadha Ghati, three km from Dhudhai, when soldiers were returning from their patrol.(12) Sukma, Chhattisgarh (April 6, 2010) - Seventy-five CRPF men and a police constable were killed near Tadmetla village in Sukma district of South Chhattisgarh in the deadliest Maoist attack till date . The attack took place in the Mukrana forest, about 540 km southeast of the State capital Raipur. Seven injured personnel were evacuated by helicopter to the Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur. Four years later the CRPF unfurled the tricolour in the area to symbolically announce it as 'Maoists’ Liberated Zone.'(13) Chitrakonda, Odisha (June 29, 2008) - Maoists ambushed a boat carrying Greyhound jawans in the reservoir at Alampaka, near the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh (now part of Telangana) border. Thirty-eight persons, including 35 Greyhound jawans from Andhra Pradesh, died in this attack. The elite Greyhound was engaged in wiping out Maoists from Andhra Pradesh.  (14) Bijapur, Chhattisgarh (April 3, 2021) - At least 22 security personnel were killed and 31 sustained injuries in the encounter with Naxals along the Sukma-Bijapur border in 2021. The operation was launched based on the intelligence inputs about the presence of Maoists of PLGA (Peoples' Liberation Guerilla Army) Battalion No. 1 led by Hidma,  a Naxal commander involved in many deadly attacks on security forces.  Red CorridorThe red corridor, also called the red zone, is the region in the eastern, central and the southern parts of India having the strongest presence of Naxalite–Maoist insurgency. This was contiguous from India’s border with Nepal to the modern fringes of Tamil Nadu except some parts in coastal Odisha, where there has been comparatively better development- thus the region is referred as “Odisha gap”.In 2004, nearly 156 districts in 13 states were affected by naxalism.It has been steadily diminishing in terms of geographical coverage and number of violent incidences, and in 2021 it was confined to 25 "most affected" districts (accounting for 85% of LWE violence), and 70 "total affected" districts (down from 180 in 2009), across 10 states in two coal rich, remote, forested hilly clusters in and around Dandakaranya-Chhattisgarh-Odisha region and tri-junction area of Jharkhand-Bihar and-West Bengal. Economic conditionThe districts that make up the red corridor are among the poorest in the country. A key characteristic of this region is non-diversified economies that are solely primary sector based. Agriculture, sometimes supplemented with mining or forestry, is the backbone of the economy, which is often unable to support rapid increases in population. The region has significant natural resources, including mineral, forestry and potential hydroelectric generation capacity.  Social conditionThe red corridor areas have stratified societies, with caste and feudal divisions. Much of the area has high tribal populations (or adivasis), including Santhal and Gond.  The red corridor is almost contiguous from India's border with Nepal to the absolute northernmost fringes of Tamil Nadu. There is, however, a significant gap consisting of coastal and some central areas in Odisha state, where Naxalite activity is low and indices of literacy and economic diversification are higher. However, the non-coastal districts of Odisha, which fall in the red corridor have significantly lower indicators, and literacy throughout the region is well below the national average. External Linkages(1) Internationally - The Indian Maoists continued their linkage with Nepalese Maoists with increased coordinated activities in areas along the India-Nepal border particularly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttaranchal. The expansion of Maoist activities in border areas has certainly facilitated the use of Indian territory by Nepalese Maoists. Many Maoist cadres and leaders hiding in India were arrested on a number of occasions and handed over to the Nepalese authorities, or detained in Indian prisons. Besides, the India-Nepal border is also being used for supplying logistics to the Maoists. The purpose of the CRZ is to facilitate easy transportation of arms across their areas of influence and quick retreat to safe havens during times of intense security force operations in any part of the CRZ.  Another dimension to the Maoist use of Indian territory is their attempt to establish a network in certain border areas and areas populated by Nepali population in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. In these areas, the Maoists already enjoy the support of a section of people of Nepal origin through outfits such as the Akhil Bhartiya Nepali Ekta Samaj (ABNES).The ISI and other Pakistan-backed entities have allegedly tried to incorporate the Maoist and Naxalite groups in their larger strategy to destabilise India. The police have unearthed Maoist links with "contacts" based in Karachi in Pakistan, from an encounter site at Kukkalagondi Thanda in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. This is further vindicated by reports of increased ISI activities in Nepal, and use of the unprotected India-Nepal border to infiltrate terrorists, arms and fake currency into India in the past.   (2) With Indian terrorist outfits - Links with the LTTE have also been reported. Quoting Coast Guard sources, media reports on June 18, 2004 said that the LTTE regularly supply cadres with guns and munitions. The landing happens on the coastline in Krishna and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh. In the past also, the LTTE supplied arms and imparted training in using IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).There have also been eports of Maoist connection with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).    The Naxal Modus OperandiNaxals ambush the enemy and once the latter are injured, they surround them and steal their equipment, like guns, bulletproof vests and boots.Forces like CRPF and BSF, deployed in anti-Maoist operations in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orrisa, have encountered IEDs hung from the branches of trees along their patrolling tracks. The IEDs are placed on trees with the intention to exploding them when security forces patrol jungle areas.Apart from their indoctrination, their training program is highly qualitative. They have learnt from past encounters and improved their policing aspects, and have developed their cadre as a professional force. The cadre operates with maps and advanced communication sets. They are intercepting the police communication network and even hacking into their system. They have excellent intelligence network. After the merger of Maoists Communist Centre of India (MCCI) and Andhra based Communist Party Maoists – Leninist or People’s War Group into Communist Party of India (Maoists), have made this group very strong. With their merger, funds have got consolidated which has increased their buying capacity. In their area of dominance,ie. The red corridors, they run parallel government complete with local courts called as Jan Adalats, taxation systems, schools, primary health centres and so on. Nobody from the government machinery can dare to enter these areas. Steps Undertaken1. Holistic approach of government to deal with Left Wing Extremism, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management through digital and mass media including advertisements, extensive screening of short anti-LWE documentaries, broadcasting Government initiatives in LWE affected states in regional languages, follow-up to distribution of essential commodities and regular conduct of medical camps, public-private partnership models and civic society participation in imparting education and sports to tribal youth. 2. National Policy and Action Plan, 2015 by Ministry of Home Affairs to contain LWE. 3. Review and monitoring mechanisms:These include intelligence sharing through Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) at the Central and State levels, and Multi Agency Centre (SMAC) at the subsidiary level on a 24x7 basis. 4. Better inter-state coordination 5. Tackling the challenge of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs):The Union Home Ministry has formulated a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on ‘Issues related to Explosives/IEDs/Landmines in naxal affected areas’ and the same has been circulated to the stakeholders for compliance. 6. Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme : funds are provided for meeting the recurring expenditure relating to insurance, training and operational needs of the security forces, rehabilitation of Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrender, community policing, security related infrastructure for village defence committees and publicity material to create awareness against violence. 7. Construction/Strengthening of Fortified Police Stations  8. Media Plan:This Scheme is being implemented as a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme ‘Modernization of Police Forces’. Under the scheme activities like Tribal Youth Exchange programmes organised by NYKS, radio jingles, documentaries, pamphlets etc. are being conducted. Rs.7.13 crore have been released in the financial year 2021-22. 9. Ministry of Home Affairs is supporting the State Governments for Capacity Building and strengthening of Security Apparatus by:deployment of CAPF Battalions,provision of helicopters and UAVs andsanction of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs)/ Special India Reserve Battalions (SIRBs). For development of LWE Affected States, Government of India (GoI) has taken several developmental initiatives which include:Sanction of 17,600 Kilometers of road under Road Requirement Plan-I.Installation of Mobile towers to improve telecom connectivity in LWE affected districtsOpening Post Offices, Bank Branches, ATMs and Banking Correspondents   for financial inclusion of the people in LWE affected districtsEklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) for imparting quality education to the youth in areas affected by LWE Special Central Assistance (SCA) Scheme for further impetus to development in the most affected districts Integrated Action Plan (IAP)/ Additional Central Assistance (ACA): commenced in 2010-11 covering 60 Tribal and Backward districts for accelerated development by providing public infrastructure and servicesImplementation of Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act, 2006Surrender and Rehabilitation PolicyCategorization of districts as ‘Most Affected’ for focused deployment of resources - both security and development related.To arrest the expansion plan CPI (Maoist) and also to restrict them to re-surge in the areas taken away from LWE influence, some districts have been categorized as ‘District of Concern’.  Intelligence sharing and raising of a separate 66 Indian Reserved Battalion(IRBs), CRPF battalions like COBRA battalion, Bastariya battalion etc were done by the government to curb the menace of LWE organizations.Greyhounds: raised in 1989 as an elite anti-Naxal force.Operation Green Hunt:  started in 2009-10 and massive deployment of security forces was done in the Naxal-affected areasCivic Action Programme (CAP): This Scheme is under implementation from 2010-11.Aspirational Districts Programme: Launched in 2018, it aims to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.SAMADHAN doctrine is the one-stop solution for the LWE problem. It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels. SAMADHAN stands for-S- Smart Leadership,Aggressive Strategy,M- Motivation and Training,Actionable Intelligence,D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas),H- Harnessing Technology,Action plan for each Theatre,N- No access to Financing. 17. ROSHNI is a special initiative under, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (Formerly Ajeevika Skills), launched in June 2013 for training and placement of rural poor youth from 27 LWE affected districts in 09 States. Way ForwardInnovative measures are required to be employed in preventing IED (Improvised Explosive Device) related incidents Capacity-building and modernization of the local police forces.Addressing widespread unemployment and providing constructive jobs to the youth who are the easiest targets The adverse casualty ratio in police-Naxal operations highlights the fact that insurgencies are best tackled by military forces that are trained and structured for this roleThe state police has identified some key areas and steps are being taken to improve police training. These include: commando training; intelligence training; basic induction training; specialist training; improvement of training infrastructure and facilities; joint training with CPMF; joint/collective training with CPMF; and redressing resource deficiency. Prioritising police training at all levels especially in Naxalism- affected States.Addressing budgetary constraints.Addressing manpower and leadership problems.Development of instructional staff.Developing training infrastructure.Developing a healthy training culture.Improving operational understanding between State Police Forces and CPMF through joint training and inducting CPMF instructors and leadership in armed police battalions and police training institutions. Also utilisation of retired army personnel and officers in police training can be explored. LEFT WING EXTREMISM DIVISION, MHAAbout The DivisionThis Division was created w.e.f. October 19, 2006 in the Ministry, to effectively address the Left Wing Extremist insurgency in a holistic manner. The LWE Division implements security related schemes aimed at capacity building in the LWE affected States. The Division also monitors the LWE situation and counter-measures being taken by the affected States. The LWE Division coordinates the implementation of various development schemes of the Ministries/Departments of Govt. of India in LWE affected States. The States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala are considered LWE affected, although in varying degrees. Role And Functions Of The DivisionCapacity building of States to combat LWE though schemes of Ministry of Home Affairs like Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, Special Infrastructure Scheme, Special Central Assistance etc.Deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in LWE affected States.Providing funds to the CAPFs for strengthening of infrastructure/ Helicopters/civic action etc.Reviewing the security situation in the LWE affected States and issuing advisories to the State Governments concerned.Providing assistance to State Governments for initiatives to combat LWE in the form of funds for items of emergent nature.Coordinating implementation of LWE related Schemes of other Central Ministries for LWE affected Districts.