It was in 2004 that the conflict between the Indian government and the Maoist groups, infamously known as Naxalits or Naxals, was initiated. It began with the formation of the CPI (Maoist), a rebel group composed of PWG (People’s War Group) and the MCC (Maoist Communist Centre). In January 2005, talks between the Andhra Pradesh state government and CPI-Maoists broke down and the rebels accused authorities of not addressing their demands for a written truce, release of prisoners and redistribution of land.
The ongoing conflict has taken place over a vast territory, with hundreds of people being killed annually in clashes between the CPI-Maoists and the government every year since 2005.
The Naxalites are supported by the poorest of the population, demanding for improved land rights and more jobs for neglected agricultural laborers and the poor. It is a rural rebellion with an aim to protect the rights of the neglected by fighting off with the government and their Centre-sent troops.
The event of clashes between CRPF personnel and the Naxals is not new, and is quite a recurrent process. Recently, 10 commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in Bihar, sending a grim reminder to the security forces. Though the number of attacks have reduced in last few years, the capability and resources to cause extensive damage still looms over the head of the Forces.
It was in February 2009 that the Indian central government announced a new nationwide initiative, to be called the “Integrated Action Plan” (IAP) for broad, coordinated operations aimed at dealing with the Naxalite problem in all affected states, namely Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. This plan included funding for grass-roots economic development projects in Naxalite-affected areas, as well as increased special police funding for better containment and reduction of Naxalite influence.
Ever since the Centre troops came into the picture, there is a considerable downfall of Naxalite violent attacks. Apparently, superior violence did curb the guerilla inspired one. Thus, fighting for their rights and greater opportunities for the impoverished, the Naxalite movement has been a great root of stress for the Central Government. The use of paramilitary and local-funded armed resistance movements, such as Peace March, have been put into action to control the rebels.
The number of people killed by Maoists has come down from 1,005 in 2010 to 167 in 2015.
Thus, marching ahead with the threatened-induced-peace, recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved 12 India Reserve battalions for Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected states. While four of these India Reserve battalions will be raised in Chhattisgarh, three each will be raised in Jharkhand and Odisha, and two in Maharashtra.
Also, the Centre plans to remove around 20 of the 106 Maoist-affected districts that are part of the Red Corridor. The Red Corridor area is under the influence of Left Wing Extremists (LWE) or Maoists. The names of the 20 districts haven’t been disclosed because of the sensitivities of the States which fear that once a district from the Corridor is removed, the financial aid granted will dry up.
Thinking rebels to be the cause for such disharmony and as an obstruction for further development, the Government is further solidifying its paramilitary stance.
However, maybe the cause for disharmony isn’t the violence, maybe it is the poverty and lack of provisions and opportunities that is plaguing them. Also, who protects the rights demanded by the tribal people (Adivasi); who protects the groups whose lands have endured the burn of commercial forestry and intensive agriculture?
They all struggle to attain and sustain liberty, maybe some land in the remotest forests for livelihood, or some better job opportunities than just fighting for their rights with paramilitary forces. After all, we all want to thrive, don’t we?