Maoists in India

What began as a small revolt by a bunch of oppressed farmers in a place called Naxalbari in West Bengal has now grown into the biggest armed insurrection that the State has witnessed since its inception over sixty years ago. In the words of Home Minister, Mr P.C. Chidambaram, the Maoist movement is the biggest threat to national stability and security, even more so than the Kashmir insurgency. Encompassing eleven states across the breadth of India, the Maoists have declared war on India. Lately, it seems they have shed their earlier inhibitions of targeting civilians and are now targeting them with equal fervour. They strike at will, seemingly immune to the massive amount of men and material that the nation is pumping into the affected areas to contain and combat them. The Home Ministry, belatedly recognising the total absence of civilian administration in the affected areas, has devised a two pronged strategy to tackle Maoists. As per this, the armed wing of the State first ‘flush’ the area clear of Maoists. This is then followed by the civilian administration which tries to bring in some semblance of normalcy and development into the region. On face value, it seems to be a good strategy, similar to the ‘clear, build, hold’ strategy followed by U.S. troops in their own war in Afghanistan. However, the strategy has clearly failed here.. The reasons are of course different and need to be looked into. Firstly, what needs to be seen is whether the same standards of development that we have applied nationwide are applicable here. Do the tribals really want wide roads, industries, McDonald’s restaurants and Big Bazaars? Are we not being extremely ethnocentric when we assume that they crave for the same material culture that we work towards? Of course, even if they do, the State has failed to provide them . We need to give the tribals a chance at explaining exactly what they want, and then working towards fulfilling those demands. Isn’t that what democracy is all about? The nation stands divided on the question of dealing with the Maoists. Should we intensify the war against them? Or should it be treated as a social issue and a total failure of the State machinery to deliver? What we need is a symbiotic approach of the measures suggested above. Yes, wrongs were done which need to be addressed and compensated for. At the same time it needs to be understood, that violence will have to be resorted to quell some of the more hardliner Maoists. It is imperative that we resolve the Maoist issue as soon as possible. If the situation is allowed to fester anymore we may soon be looking at an all out civil war between the State and the Naxals. The nation needs to unite and end this issue once and for all. Then and only then we can hold our heads up high and claim ourselves to be a true democratic Country.


Maoists in India

As I pass through certain “red alert” areas of Jharkhand, I see signs and banners intimating “People’s War”. Walking along, I wonder how this unethical and ridiculous claims of those who themselves are involved in taking thousands of lives indicate that they are

It is currently proscribed as a Terrorist Organization by the Indian government for organizing mass killings in furtherance of their ideology. 2010: At least 26 CRPF personnel were killed when the Maoists attacked a road opening party in Narayanpur district. 2010 : Maoists killed a village guard by slitting his throat. extortion and by setting up unofficial administrations to collect taxes in rural areas where official government appears absent. through the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCC). On May 24. That region contains deposits of minerals which are of interest to mining companies like Tata and Essar. the Siliguri Kishan Sabha. 2010 : Twelve villagers were killed and 9 injured in indiscriminate firing by the Maoists in Jamui district of Bihar. The funding for the Maoists come from abductions. February 20. with a heavy emphasis on political transformation through mass involvement of the lower classes of society. • • • • • • June 29. 1967. The guerrilla warfare tactics focused on surrounding the cities from the countryside. initiated a violent uprising in 1967. Maoism's political orientation emphasizes the "revolutionary struggle of the vast majority of people against the exploiting classes and their state structures". This is the picture of the “Maoists” or more famously the “Naxalites” who have been making strong headlines recently in our country. May 27. Just looking at the history of Maoism. a small village in West Bengal. 2010: 35 killed after Maoist rebels blow up bus in the Dantewada district April 6. when a police team arrived to arrest the peasant leaders. a share cropper near Naxalbari village was attacked by the landlord's men over a land dispute. the term “People’s war” was a strategic line developed by Mao Zedong during the phase of guerrilla warfare of the Communist party of China.“People’s Power”. This way the movement which was started for equal power of all sections had turned into a brutal killing spree. February 18. 2004. of which Jangal was the president. The term “Naxalites”comes from Naxalbari. The merger was announced to the public on October 14 the same year.they have killed more than 300 people. Another major source of funding for Maoists allegedly comes from poppy cultivation in the Ghagra area of Gumla district in Jharkhand and in parts of . 2010: At least 145 people were killed after a train derailed in an apparent Maoist attack in West Bengal. May 17. The Communist Party of India (Maoists) is a Maoist political party in India which aims to overthrow the government of India. declared their readiness to adopt armed struggle to redistribute land to the landless. meaning there must have been circumstances which led them to lead such a activities. It was founded on September 21. 2010 : At least 76 CRPF and district force personell killed in Mukrana forest of Chattisgarh. This event encouraged many Santhal tribals and other poor people to join the movement and to start attacking local landlords. and a police inspector was killed in a hail of arrows. Just in 2010. Its not that the problem is new but there has been a recent resurgence in their acts which has led to mass killing and they being termed as the most vivid “Internal Threat” to our nation. The Maoists claim to be fighting for the rights of the tribes in the forest belt around central India. On May 18. Now there are people who contradict this by saying that there is never smoke without fire. where a section of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) led by Charu Majumdar. The following week. they were ambushed by a group of tribals led by Jangal Santhal.

In addition. It is also reported that Maoists have taken off the food grains provided to schools. railway tracks and police stations. India’s growth has not been able to alleviate the regional disparities but eventually worsened it. Maoists have somehow distracted from their ideology and instead of fighting for the poor in a democratic manner. under Midday Meal program. the most popular face of Chinese communist movement that overthrew the monarchy in China few decades ago. Their prime target has been various communication networks like mobile towers and state establishments like railway stations. However many mining industries have tried to make use of its huge reserves of mineral resources. The Naxals are also believed to be patronizing hemp cultivation to fund their activities as reported from Debagarh district in Orissa. There is little doubt that the Maoist movement is one such mass struggle. These mining activities have mostly encroached upon the social systems of the original inhabitants. various social and economic program of the government fail to reach them due to high level of redtapism. they gather their finance. tribal dominant. They establish an autocratic style of rule for the same. most of the time outnumbering the personnel on the target. Whatever may be the cause of this movement. Maoists in India Maoist in literal terms means the followers of Mao Je Dang. Kishanganj and Purnia districts in Bihar. the deprived people turn to using force against the state citing the reason of years of injustice and inefficient grievance redress system. They often attack in groups. Originally started a popular peasant movement in the state of West Bengal during 1970’s. Maoists in India have a similar intention to defy the democratically elected government and establish an autocratic state based on communist ideologies.Gumla. it gradually turned into a violent struggle and spread to almost a third of country’s geographical area mainly covering less developed. Maoist movement is often argued as a reactionary rebellion of capitalist exploitation and government apathy. Over the time. corruption and inefficiency. Chhattisgarh. They collect arms by attacking local police arsenals and possibly through some foreign consignments. the hilly forested areas. has been torn apart. They declare the area of their influence as the so called “Liberated Zone”. They justify the violent public killing of innocent . inaccessible hilly and forested areas of West Bengal. Their lands have been forcefully taken over in exchange of some inadequate compensation. they are on a killing spree eliminating anybody who they suspect to be against them. Security forces claim that opium fields are screened and hidden behind peripheral maize cultivation. it is definitely fuelled by the industrial repression and government inaction. At last I would say the government now must show greater resolve in controlling this rebel otherwise soon it would blow up into an intangible problem and the ones who would suffer the most would be the people of this country. With the availability of arms and plenty of landmines mainly used for mining activities in the area. Andhra Pradesh. By blackmailing and threatening the local wealthy property owners and industrialists. As a result. Maoists have their base camps deep inside dense forests. situated in their controlled areas. The capitalist oriented industrial economy couple with the inaccessibility of the hostile topography and lack of political will has left the central part of India far behind its other parts. Odisha and Maharashtra. 3. After independence. and leave posters with their messages. The lifeline of their economic and religious activity. this struggle takes the form of a violent armed revolt. But some also argue it to be a foreign aided internal conflict to destabilize the country.

Government response to the Maoist movement has been that of double standard. . In states like Chhattisgarh. Maoists follow communism and its reflected in their organizing structure. But our mainstream society is far from being egalitarian with the caste ghosts and power hierarchy still looming large. All the cadres are treated as equals and only the decision making lies with the cadre up the hierarchy. Andhra Pradesh has built a specialized commando force named “Grey Hound” and has met with some success in tackling the growing insurgency. Maoist sympathizers have rightly awakened the government to its inefficient regional policies and failure to integrate the poor tribal populace with the mainstream. The railway track damages often lead to derailment like accidents killing many innocent lives. The Dantewada Massacre of 72 policemen by around a thousand Maoists in April this year is the worse ever setback faced. difficult terrain. However the brutal and animistic killing of innocent lives by Maoists in retaliation can never be justified. Security forces and sometimes civilians are routinely getting killed by landmine blasts and collective attack by an overwhelmingly large number of armed cadres. At the same time it needs to guard against any human rights violation and provide adequate social and economic incentives to all sections across the length and breadth of the country. lack of jungle warfare expertise and sometimes hostile local population has limited the success rate heavily. Booker Prize winning writer Arundhanti Roy has termed the forceful government suppression as a war raged against its own citizens. An operation named “Operation Greenhunt” has been executed by the paramilitary forces like CRPF and CoBRA. On one hand it declares to take on the armed revolt with force but on the other it backtracks due to the protests by human right activists. Government needs to step up its police actions and if needed to take the military assistance to make the Maoists abjure violence. Overall. Reports of beheading of a government employee also speak about the barbarism and fearlessness of Maoists. Some scholars advocate to look at the crisis from an ideological angle. The Maoist menace is now treated as single biggest internal threat to the security and integrity of India. But this has been severely criticized for its human right abuses and worsening state’s credibility as a guardian of law and order. The head even shares the same cigar with the fellow cadres. A significant social transformation is required to solve it ideologically. government sponsored militant outfits like Salwa Judum are fighting the Maoists in their very own way. However this has met with marginal success and there has been many life losses of the security personnel. The result has been a delay in military deployment.civilians by charges of police sympathy or exploitation of local people. the acute scarcity of policemen in comparison to the Maoists.