Dealing with Naxalism

India is facing a serious security threat, both from external as well as internal forces. The brutal attacks by the Naxalites in the recent months like have put a pressure on the Government to rethink about its strategy to tackle this domestic menace. Violence in Lalgarh, West Bengal in June, killing of Francis Induwar, Inspector, Special Branch Jharkhand Police on Oct 6, seventeen Maharashtra policemen in Gadichiroli in Maharashtra on Oct 8, three policemen of the West Bengal police on October 20 bear a testimony to their open war against the state. They even forced the West Bengal Government to bow down to their demands for release of Maoists in exchange of Atindranath Dutta, officer in-charge of the Sankrail police station. The CPI (Maoist) along with People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) held the Bhubhaneshwar – New Delhi Rajdhani express hostage for five hours on October 27. Owing to the killings of police personnel, the latter refuse to go to the naxal affected areas. Violence is the most potent tool used by the Maoists to get attention.

The movement is not new. In 1964, CPM separated from CPI, participated in elections in 1967, and formed a coalition Government in West Bengal. The peasant uprising occurred in Naxalbari the same year in district of Darjeeling in West Bengal after the landlords attacked the tribals and the latter retaliated and took away their land from the former. The leader Charu Majumdar was inspired by the Maoist ideology and saw the Indian state as oppressive bourgeoisie. He formed “Eight Documents” that form the base of the Naxalite movement. CPI (M-L) was established in 1969 and Naxalites entered in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. In 1970 CPI (M-L), went underground. Majumdar’s death in 1972 brought a setback to the movement. In 1973, they made a fresh entry in Bihar and Telengana. In 1980, People’s War Group (PWG) was formed. In 2001, the Naxalites joined Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA).
The PWG merged with the CPI (M-L) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in 2004 to form the CPI (Maoist). Today, it exists in Orissa, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and is now trying to get a foothold in the rest of India. The Maoists leaders openly declare that they will continue to strive for the goals mentioned in the circular drafted in June 2 by Kobad Ghandy that aims to mobilize the masses, the party and the PLGA [People’s Liberation Guerilla Army] against the enemy, inflict heavy losses upon them and forge links with other struggling organisations to form a United Front. The intelligence agencies have reported links between Maoists and LTTE, which is a serious cause of concern.
The question is, why do these violent outfits get support? The Maoists claim that the arms are for the defence of the people and their slogan is “land to the tiller.” That is why they refuse to accept the offer of Home Minister P.C Chidambaram to give up violence and engage in a fruitful dialogue on the issue of land, industry, and forest rights. The administrative officials have also failed to address the problems of the poor. So, these dejected poor get influenced by the Naxal ideology that promises justice. The Maoists claim to represent the displaced and exploited but the truth is this that they disrupt all sorts of development measures, as development would mean losing their base. The forests and undeveloped regions have been their major areas of operation. They have also made their presence in Haryana to mobilize the people against SEZ. The Naxalites get the support of several human rights groups because the basic issues raised by them are right. However, there can be no excuse for the use of violence.