Current Situation Of Naxalism

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05/05/17 History Reference this

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1. The Naxalite movement has come a long way since its birth and continues to persist in terms of spatial spread, intensity of violence, militarisation and increased efforts to draw out mass support. Naxal influence is spread over a large land area and it has to be conceded that Naxalism has come a long way in these forty plus years. It is no longer an agrarian driven movement. Land for the tiller is not the only war cry. Naxalites have improved in training and are increasingly taking recourse to high-end technology. They have become more aggressive and have resorted to attacking economic infrastructure. Their method of operation revolves around stealth, speed and surprise. They often target unprepared and lethargic police establishments by overwhelming them in large numbers.

Naxalism is spreading its base across the country. Naxals today are very well organised and have a very clear strategy of engaging in anti-State operations in various states. Naxal cadres are drawn from across class and caste barriers, with even educated unemployed youth joining them. Their source of finance is the local extortion economy and their support base is in areas that lie in the remote interiors. Mis-governance and poor socio-economic profile as well unstructured, top-down state response are factors that facilitate their sustenance. Nexus with politicians is also a factor that provides impetus to the Naxal movement. [2] 

Naxalism remains an area of concern to the government today. According to Govt., as of today, 20 states of India and 223 districts, feel the heat of its progress in a big or small way. [3] Chhattisgarh remains the most seriously affected State by Naxalite violence followed by Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar. 76 districts across various States are highly affected by Naxalite violence. Naxal cadres have also been arrested in Haryana and Delhi. Naxalites operate in vacuum created by functional inadequacies of field level governance structures, espouse local demands, and take advantage of the prevailing dissatisfaction. [4] Simultaneously, they make systematic efforts to prevent execution and implementation of development works, to keep the remote and background areas in a state of inaccessibility and deprivation. Naxalites continue to focus on fresh recruitment and militarization of their cadres. Training camps to impart training in arms and explosives handling to fresh and old cadres are being held mainly in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

Several naxalite groups have been operating in various parts of the country for decades now. The CPI (Maoist) continues to remain the most active among the naxalite groups, accounting for about 88% of total incidents of violence and 89% of resultant killings. The coming together of the major groups under a single banner has been accompanied by growing militarization in their organization and tactics, thus posing a challenge to the state machinery. In macro terms, the number of incidents has remained broadly at the same level during the past few years. With 1,591 incidents and 721 casualties reported in 2008 compared to 1,565 incidents and 696 casualties in 2007, LWE violence registered an increase of 1.2%, while naxal casualties registered an increase of about 3.4% in 2008 over previous year. The intensity of violence also increased marginally from 0.44 to 0.45. Countrywide, LWE violence was reported from 400 Police Stations in 87 districts of 13 States in 2008 as compared to 371 Police Stations in 95 districts of 13 States in 2007. In the first eight months of 2009 alone, naxalite violence claimed 405 lives against 348 during the same period in 2008. The level of violence remains high in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra. [5] Together, these five States accounted for 86.39% of the total incidents of naxal violence during 2008. The State-wise profile of naxalite violence is indicated in the Statement at Appendix A. [6] 

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Present Situation. Naxalite activities remain of acute concern in the state. The extent of violence has remained almost unchanged in the last few years. 19 out of the 38 districts of Bihar are affected by Naxalism. Naxals have targeted the forest reserves in Bihar’s Gaya district and approximately 70 % of the area in under their control. The Maoists have also carried out acts of economic subversion targeting State, public and private properties. As many as 30 incidents of destruction and damage of property were reported in 2009, including several in which infrastructure building machinery was destroyed. Railway tracks, school buildings and Government offices have also been blown up on several occasions. Extortion and looting by the Maoists remained widespread in Bihar, undermining developmental works as well as the law-and-order situation.

6. Private Armies. Another point of concern in the state is the influence of the private armies. Most of these private armies emerged in late 1970s and 1980s as a feudal response to the growth of Naxalite groups, the most popular being the Ranvir Sena. Bihar has been well-known for the caste wars between the Maoists and the Ranvir Sena. In the past 15 years, an estimated 1,000 people have been killed by Ranvir Sena in over 300 incidents.

West Bengal

7. Present Situation. The naxalite movement in the state today is mostly confined to three districts – West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. These are strategically important areas for the Communist Party of India (Maoist) to operate from. Apart from the rugged terrain and forest cover, these districts share borders with Jharkhand and Orissa, which enables naxalites to slip into the other states when the situation gets too hot in one. A section of local population is still dependent on the forest for its livelihood. The Maoists are trying to penetrate into this section and take advantage of its discontent. Fatalities in naxal related incidents in 2009 have increased fivefold as compared to the previous year. The state has recorded the highest civilian fatalities amongst all LWE affected states in 2009.

8. Effect of Industrialisation. With Singur and Nandigram coming into focus, the Naxalites are taking advantage of the agrarian revolution. The motive for reverting to the older agenda is the temptation to capitalize on the controversy regarding the proposed conversion of farmlands into industrial areas. The Naxalites have cashed in on the popular resistance to the proposed land acquisitions in Singur and Nandigram.


9. The Naxals are believed to have made inroads into Chhattisgarh during early 1980s. However, their presence in the State was felt only in late 1990s having established their stronghold in most of rural belts in Surguja and Bastar where the government had little presence. Official sources estimate the number of cadres of the Naxals in Chhattisgarh to be about 3,000.

10. Present Situation. The naxalite movement affects all sixteen districts of the state. Dantewada is the worst affected area forcing the district administration to declare it as a disturbed area. The state has witnessed major naxal related incidents in the recent past which is a clear indication of growing influence of naxal movement in the state. The increase in naxal violence in Chhattisgarh was due to greater offensive by naxal outfits to derail Salwa Judum. [7] It is believed that the rise in incidents of naxalism in the state has been due to the fact that many naxalites from Andhra Pradesh have moved in the border areas of the states as they are unable to cope with the anti naxal operations launched by Andhra Pradesh.

11. A report by Ministry of Home Affairs indicates that the Naxalites could capture nearly 60 % of the land area of Chhattisgarh by 2010, if decisive operations are not carried out to dismantle their bases. Moreover, an Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) report suggested that in the year 2006, 48 per cent of the Naxalite-related killings were reported from Chhattisgarh.


12. Background. Since its inception in November 2000, Jharkhand has become a test-bed for the Naxals – a place for experimenting with the idea of establishing a parallel system of governance. The Naxal movement in Jharkhand is not limited to armed operations; its manifestations are found in a parallel system of governance that includes elected village bodies, Jan Adalats and a peoples’ police. Economic blockades and bandh calls are other examples revealing the helplessness of the state.

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13. Present Situation. By any measure, Jharkhand rates high among the States that are under naxalite influence. The Maoist outfit carries out operations in almost all 22 districts of the State. In 15 districts, large areas have been converted into guerrilla zones where the specially raised police, judiciary and administration of the CPI (Maoist) run a parallel administration.


14. Present Situation. The peasant and tribal protests in Koraput and Ganjam districts of the State and other socio-economic concerns led to the beginning of an agrarian revolution. 16 out of 30 districts of the state are affected. 22 % of Orissa’s population is tribal. The tribal-dominated districts which have mostly served as entry points for the Maoists are backward and under-developed. An indifferent administration, non-implementation of development and welfare programmes and a lack of infrastructure and health care facilities has made it possible for Maoists to make inroads into these areas.

15. Neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have imposed a ban on CPI (Maoist). The Orissa government has neither banned nor engaged the Naxals in talks. As a result of the ban in the neighbouring states, the Naxals have largely shifted their base to the southern districts of Orissa.

Andhra Pradesh

16. Present Situation. Andhra Pradesh is the red cradle that nurtured the movement and serves as the guerrilla movement’s main base. The state entered yet another phase of armed rebellion with the merger of the PWG and MCC to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2004. As many as 19 out of the state’s 23 districts have been declared as the naxal infested. Naxal violence so far in Andhra Pradesh has claimed more than 6,000 lives in the last two and a half decades. 2005 was the bloodiest year with about 320 deaths in the state. This was due to sudden escalation in violence after the ceasefire broke between PWG and the government. The naxalite used this period to regroup and expand their cadre base in the state. However, due to better trained police and special police force ‘Greyhounds’ operations and selective targeting of naxal leadership the movement has weakened. Since 2006, the level of violence in the state has reduced considerably.

17. The Andhra Pradesh government has fought naxalism since its inception by following a dual policy of effective administration and using force and at the same time making concerted efforts for undertaking development of naxal affected areas to wane away popular support enjoyed by the Maoist cadre.

Recent Trends and Development

18. Tactics. In the recent past, naxalite groups seem to lay greater focus on organising along military lines. They are also acquiring contemporary weapons. Tactics adopted by the naxal outfits are to engage in simultaneous multiple attacks in large numbers particularly against police forces and police establishments. This has led to increased casualty of police personnel mainly due to IED/ landmine blasts by the naxalites. [8] The Ninth Party Congress, held in early 2007, ‘reaffirmed the general line of New Democratic Revolution with agrarian revolution as its axis and protracted people’s war as the path of the Indian revolution’, and resolved to ‘advance the people’s war throughout the country, further strengthen the people’s army, deepen the mass base of the party and wage a broad-based militant mass movement against the neo-liberal policies of globalisation, liberalisation, privatisation.’

Violence – Statistics

19. 2009 has witnessed an increase in the level of violence. The Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on

29 July 2009 informed that a total of 1130 incidents of violence have taken place, claiming 508 lives, including 233 security force personnel, as compared to 1,591 incidents in 2008 in which 490 civilians & 231 security force men were killed. While in 2007, 460 civilians & 236 security force personnel lost their lives in over 1,560 naxal related incidents.

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