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In India rampant rebellious and subversive activities of Naxalites are casting slur upon the image of world’s biggest democracy. In recent months naxalites attacks on passenger trains, mining companies and decapitating of police personnel are challenging national prestige and dignity. The growing influence of Naxalites and glorious-luscious Indian image delineate the dichotomy of Indian democratic government. Such conundrum is hampering India to become a regional power. Owing to unbridled heinous and atrocious insurgency by Naxals in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006 called Naxalites, “the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”. In September 2009, he also said the country was “losing the battle against Maoist rebel” and added; now dealing with left-wing extremism requires a nuanced strategy- a holistic approach.
In order to grasp the essence of Naxalite- Maoist Insurgency/Naxalism, let’s take into account the answers of the following questions.
Who are Naxalites, what they want and despite the ideological affinity are Indian-Maoists different form Nepalese-Maoists?
What factors account for the genesis of Naxalite-Maoist Movement?
What is the quantum of their socio-political, geographical and military strength?
Is Naxalite really a secessionist movement or has anti-government stance?
What are the level of ramifications of insurgencies over Indian national cohesion and how will India move towards with East (impoverish region) West (enrich region) syndrome?
Is this insurgency aided and abetted by xenon-forces?
Did Indian government chalk out any counter-insurgency plan?
The word Naxalites is stem from the village of West Bengal “Naxalbari”. Geographically naxalites wield their influence in North-Eastern states Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and South-Eastern states Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Impoverishment, scarcity of basic necessities of life and absence of governmental reforms are the dominant themes of these regions. Naxalite demand effective and applicable land reforms, level playing fields and resource management between East (impoverished regions) and West (enriched regions). The nomenclature of this insurgency is two-fold. One is geographical i.e. Naxalites and the other is ideological i.e. Maoist. Maoist ideology gave an impetus to Naxals for their up rising. As Hindustan Times wrote down that, “The naxal movement, which was inspired by Chinese leader Mao Zedong, took its root in tribal dominated Srikakulam agency in Andhra Pradesh in December 1968.” Affinity between Nepalese Maoists and Indian Maoists is a natural phenomenon, but the means of both Maoists to achieve ends are totally different. Nepalese Maoists are ‘moderate’ and adhere the policy of joining a democratic coalition government. On the other hand Indian Maoists are ‘radicals’ and staunch follower of Mao’s ideology of revolution. They argue that only revolution can wipe out the social evils and purify the society. Naxalites project guerrilla warfare as propounded by Mao-ze-Dung. They consider parliamentary politics is futile and advocate continued armed struggle and people’s war to seize the state affairs.
Naxalite-Maoist insurgency is the outcome of dichotomy in the policies of Indian government. India, who is beating the drum of eradicating the feudalism and harbinger of democratic system in South Asia, can’t keep the compliances with her acts. Jawahar Lal Nehru propounded that ‘abolition of Zimindar system’ is the prerequisite for the consolidation and culmination of parliamentary democracy, but Nehru’s policy was not implemented in its letter and spirit, consequently the land lords of north east regions stonewalled the land reforms which infuriated locals e.g. Dalits and Adivasis. Even today in Andhra Pradesh there are landlords who owned between 1000 to 1500 acres of land, these landlords have political kinship and mostly are politicians who always denounce land reforms. Negligence of governmental authorities, sense of alienation, deprivation and exploitation of poor class -Dalits and Adivasis- by industrialist and feudal lords gave birth to Naxalite-Maoist Movement who picked up the guns to fight for their rights.
Naxalite movement came to light as a ‘peasant uprising’ in 1967 in the village of Naxalbari. Charu Mazumdar was the main force behind this uprising who wanted to overthrow feudal order by launching agrarian revolution. In this tumultuous scenario the death of Mazumdar in police custody added fuel to fire and gave a momentum and pace for the uprising of this movement. Later government’s juvenile and atrocious policies further strengthen their anti-government stance. The movement which started as a peasant uprising now exerts its influence over more than 180 Indian districts out of 630. Along with the aforesaid affected regions Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are also becoming the epicenter of Naxalite insurgencies. These all regions are known as Red Corridors. Naxalites has controlled over 92 square kilometer land. In the first half of 2009, 56 Maoist attacks have been reported. According to the Indian intelligence agencies the movement has 22000 armed cadre and over 50000 regular members. Politically Naxalites got momentum in 2004. Maoist rebel organization People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Center of India merged and formed a single coherent body i.e. Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Within 40 years unbridled social, geographical and political proliferation of naxalites is imposing severe challenges to national integration. Naxalites are acting as the state. To say otherwise would mean to admit the possibility of imperium in imperio, a state within a state or a government within a government. Now intelligentsia perceives rampant influence of Naxalites in India as a secessionist movement. The fact is that, Naxalite Movement is an insurgency and has anti-government stance. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) defines insurgency as “An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.” In a secret interview to weekly magazine ‘Open’, Naxalite leader Ganpathi vehemently stated, “the people will rise up like a tornado under our party leadership to wipe-out the reactionary blood sucking vampires ruling our country”. At another point Ganpathi titled government as ‘sharks’ who want to ransack the wealth and drive the tribal people of the region to further impoverishment.
Snowball reverberations of Naxalite insurgencies are hindering India’s growth to become a regional power. The ramifications of Naxalites-Maoist movement can be summed up as follows:-
Naxals main targets are security forces, telecommunication towers, railways and power transmission centers. Now educational institutions e.g. schools are becoming the prey of rebel fighting. At least 30 schools have been attacked in the remote state of Jharkand and 12 in Bihar since November 2008. School children are more prone to traumatic disorder. According to statistics tabled in the Lok Sabha, on December 16, 2008, a total of 62 telecommunication towers have been damaged in Maoist blasts between 2005 and November 30, 2008, in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Orissa.
India is facing the massive level Human Rights violation. Both unbridled naxalites activities and offensive atrocious strategies by government sponsored self-defense groups e.g. Salwa Judum & The Ranvir Sena and counter-insurgency military forces are responsible for gross human rights violation. In 2008, the state worst hit by Maoist violence is Chattishgarh, where rebels killed 241 people security forces. The causalities and collateral damage in other areas depict parlous and acute picture of violation of human rights. “More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels’ decades-long fight for a communist state in parts of India.” (BBC News, December 19, 2007)
Another alarming situation for India is energy and mineral sector. The areas where Naxals have sway are energy El-Dorado regions. The rebellion is strongest in states that have abundant reserves of natural resources specially ‘coal’. As reported by the Indian media “India’s electricity generation is predominantly coal- based and the five states in which the movement is strongest account for 85% of India’s coal deposits”. Notwithstanding this Indian defense expenditures are shooting up like a rocket. M.L.Kumawat special secretary of Internal Security and Chief of the Bureau Security Forces (BSF) told Reuters in an interview that, “1.7 billion dollars would be spent over the next five years to increase deployment along Pakistan and Bangladesh borders and modernize the force”. This whole scenario is hampering the economic boom of India who is competing global economy race with China.
Naxalites access to Indian nuclear arsenals is the most alarming and perturbing situation not only for Indian but for the whole world as well. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that, most of India’s top nuclear and missile facilities are located in the extremely Naxal terrorists struck districts of India, located deep down in the “Red Corridor”. The whole world criticizing Pakistan that its nuclear arsenals are not in safe hands but no one shedding light upon a frightening situation in India, comparatively naxalites in India has more momentum and pace than Talibans in Pakistan.
To leash the unbridled guerrilla activities of naxals Indian Government has decided to deal them with iron handed. According to Home Ministry officials, some 75,000 federal paramilitary forces along with personnel drawn from the state police will carry out the offensive against the Maoists. Six districts in the worst hit states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra will be the focus of the operations initially. The offensive has been launched on December 3, 2009. This operation is codenamed as Operation Green Hunt. This offensive, Green Hunt, was launched against insurgents in Chhattisgarh, the epicenter of violence between Maoist fighters and security forces.
Invisible hands and foreign assistance in the rampant influence of naxalites is a matter of grave concern for Indian government. Maoists triumph in Nepal in 2008 is a clear indication of domino-effects for India. Recently Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram mentioned about a possible supply of arms form Nepal. His apprehension came true when a senior Standing Committee member of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) CP Gajurel aptly remarked that “We have extended our full support and cooperation to the Indian Maoists, who are launching armed revolt.” He also added that “They are doing what they think is right”. He further pointed out that “The Maoists are launching their movement in India and we are launching ours here, there is no need to oppose the movement launched by them”. What type of support and cooperation they have extended towards Indian Maoists is still debatable and intelligentsia is mooting upon it. The fact is there is no ambiguity in recognizing a datum of greater natural affinity between Chinese-Nepalese Maoist and Indian Maoists, but it doesn’t mean to perceive such ideological kinship as aid and abet form Nepal or China.
The fact is Naxalites still want massive level reforms for the commonweal of Dalits and Adivasis. If Indian democratic government launches offensive strategies, continues torture and extra judicial killings, deals them with ‘sticks’ and gives no ‘carrots’, then there will start a bloody revolution in India which exacerbate the situation and generations would heal the wounds.
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