Sunday, October 27, 2013

World View:

1.       the Red Army Faction or BaaderMeinhof Gang in the     former West Germany
2.       the Red Brigades in Italy,
3.       the 17 November Movement in Greece,
4.       the Shining Path of Peru,
5.       People’s  Revolutionary Army and the Motoneros of Argentina.
6.       The Maoist groups in India and Nepal


1.       PM calls it as "India's single largest internal security Problem"
2.       8,000 people have been killed between 2001 and 2012.
3.       Govt estimates of Maoist forces : 15000-20000 army, atleast 40% of them are women; avg age in high teens and low twenties.
4.       Various estimates suggest Maoist rebels could number up to 40,000. Of these, thousands may be armed with weapons ranging from AK-47s to light machine-guns raided from police stations or bought from dealers in Nepal. The cadre mostly comprises farmers, landless labourers, tribals and the extremely poor, including women and children.
5.       The Indian government, led by the United Progressive Alliance, banned the CPI (Maoist) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as a terrorist organisation
6.       Naxalites have been charged by the government with running an extortion economy in the guise of a popular revolution, extorting vast amounts of money from local branches of mining companies and other businesses


1.       The peasant movement in Andhra Pradesh just after India’s independence was a precursor to the rise of Maoist thought. But it was an attack on a tribal man in the Naxalbari village of West Bengal on March 2, 1967 that sparked the violent, extremist left-wing movement.The Communist Party of China hailed the movement as the “Spring Thunder of India”.

2.       The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is an ultra-leftist political party in India which aims to overthrow the government of India through people's war and to establish a class-less society; ‘seizure of power’ through an agrarian revolution. Eight articles written by Charu Majumdar  at this time—known as the Historic Eight Documents—have been seen as providing their ideological foundation: arguing that revolution must take the path of armed struggle on the pattern of the Chinese revolution.

3.       Groups occupied vacant lands in parts of Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa police station areas of Siliguri sub-division on the plea that such lands were in excess of the permissible ceiling on land holdings

4.       The Naxalite movement spread in the West Bengal State as a wildfire and particularly the urban elite youth and the bhadralok class got attracted to it.

5.       the extremist faction could not mobilise people for further organised militant activities because govt. arranged redressal of the long-standing grievances, especially in respect of the hapless and poor tea garden labourers and landless or marginal farmers.

6.       1972 : Death of Charu Majumdar

7.       A police research paper says the movement was subdued for two decades till 1991.

8.       Various splinter groups of Naxalites started resurfacing in various parts of India during the early 1980s. Thus, the Naxalites of Andhra Pradesh regrouped as the CPI-ML (Peoples’ War Group/ PWG); likewise the Bihar Naxalites rechristened themselves as the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). Of all the newly organised Naxalite groups, the CPI-ML (PWG) turned out to be the most active not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in Orissa, in the tribal belt (Bastar-Dandakaranya) of Madhya Pradesh (now mostly in the State of Chhattisgarh) and Maharashtra, causing considerable violence in these States.

9.       In Bihar : greatest adversary was not so much the administration and the police but the armed gangs (senas) of the landlord class - the RanbirSena, the BhumiharSena; instead of assuming the characteristics of class struggle as propagated by Maoist ideologues, the skirmishes took the shape of caste warfare.

10.   Later reincarnated as the Maoist movement since 2004 : barring a few splinter groups, Naxalites have largely completed their process of merger and consolidation with the formation of the CPI (Maoist) on 21 September 2004


1.  What is India's Maoist challenge all about?--

     Ideological challenge to the very foundation of Indian state.-challenges the very edifice of Parliamentary democracy and constitutionalism

2.  How are the objectives of Maoist challenge to be accomplished? 

    They hope to accomplish these objectives not through Gandhian methods or Ideological debates, but by the stride of violence and terror as fundamental instruments

3.  Where is this challenge most visible?

1.       It started off in a small village called Naxalbhari;
2.       70s saw Maoist challenge in Urban areas; Today it is predominantly and overwhelmingly rural.
3.       Geography of this challenge : Mostly Central India; Mineral Rich areas, Forest Rich Areas and Tribal dominated areas with Bihar (everything is related to caste-lower castes and under-classes have been mobilised) as an exception;
4.       88/620 districts are classified as LW extremism affected. {8 in AP, 2 in MH, 10 in MP, 10 in CH,17 in JK 18 in OR, 3 in UP, 11 in Bihar and 3 in WB}  500-600 Gram panchayats are badly affected

4.    Who are the foot soldiers of this Movt.?

1.  Leadership is 99% from AP; Telugu is Lingua-Franca of Maoist Leadership
2.  Majority of Foot soldiers are tribals but few exceptions.
3.  Tribal participation b/c of 4Ds tribal Displacement(from their land), Deprivation(of their rights), Disconnect(from the mainstream) and Discontent(with the Govt.)

5.       Why has this grown?

1.  Once it was confined to 6-7 districts(of AP) in 70s and 80s after demise of Urban oriented Naxalbhari movt.

2.  factors : (Way our Political economy and Administration works)

1.  Political Neglect of this issue 

     (Eg: No political party in India can afford to ignore Dalit issues; They are central to India's electoral fortunes (300 constituencies). Similarly Muslim populations(can affect 200 constituencies). Tribals no more than 50 constituencies). Tribal vote is not central to electoral performance.Dalits and Muslims live with other communities which is not the case of Tribals. This has affected the nature of political mobilization of political parties. Sankaran Committee. condemns Maoist violence for its focus on military actions rather than on the mobilization of people for social transformation.

2.  Mining contributed to misery of Tribals. Tribal areas to the policy makers are simply mineral rich areas. (Ecological unsustainability & Social devastation has contributed to their discontent). Poor regions in the world are invariably mineral rich regions(Eg: Applachian mountains, Russia, Australia, China). The way extraction industry operates environmentally or socially doesn't lead to prosperity of the locals but it certainly leads to prosperity of outsiders. 40% of the total population displaced post-independence due to development have been tribalsie nearly 10-15 Million. At times they are subjected to not just one displacement but to multiple displacements.Our track record of land acquisition, Rehabilitation is pathetic.

3.  Insensitive Forest Administration : 

    First symbol of Government in Forest Areas is Forest Guard. Forest Guard is armed with Indian Forest Act of 1927. 1000s of tribals in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh are jailed on flimsy charges of collecting items of daily existence. 2006 : Forest Rights Act was enacted. But Forest Bureaucracy continued its hostility towards it.

6.       What are we doing to deal with this?

1.  Our first and instinctive response was to expand our security operations; Today 70000 para-military forces in 88 districts, 30000 local police

2.  Lately from Security only approach(Security Response) to Security Plus approach (+Development Response)

3.  Some security successes to integrate these areas with mainstream societies.

7.       Missing pieces of our strategy and what needs to be done?

1. We end up having Half-hearted responses if we don't recognize this as an ideological challenge & Development Challenge

2.  Fundamental requirement is Political response(Where Political parties are weak, Maoists are strong and vice-versa).  There is a political impasse (classic case of "immovable object" meeting "irresistable force")

1.  India's Response to Maoists(P.Chidhambaram): "Do not give up arms, Do not give up Ideology, Do not disband your cadres, Come for Dialogue";

2.  Political conditions that Maoists want(Comrade Ganapati gave his 3 conditions in an interview ) : All out war has to be withdrawn, For any kind of democratic work the ban on party and mass organization has to be lifted, illegal detention & torture of comrades has to be stopped and released. If these demands are met, then the same leaders who are released would lead and represent the party in talks.

3.  Ultimate solution to Maoist problem is political. We defeated militancy in Punjab politically. We defeated insurgency in Mizoram,Tripura politically(insurgent PuLaldenga now is CM of Mizoram; Similarly Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of AGP(AsomGanaParishad)). 155 militants belonging to four groups surrendered in Manipur boosting the peace initiative

3.  Restitution and Reconciliation on past injustices. The facts that injustices have been perpetrated is undenial.

4.  Expansion of institutional space for other organizations (ie engaging Civil Society). Constitution of Peace seekers and Gandhian organizations. Multiple tracks of engagement and find out via-media

8. Conclusion : The tragedy of our society is it required Maoists to wake India up to Tribal predicament.


1.       On Security Front

1.  1908s in AP : Police operations created a sense of insecurity among sections of the Maoist cadres which prompted them to resort to brutal murders and tortures of villagers on the slightest suspicion of being police informers. This created alienation of Naxalites from locals. Victories of Greyhounds against Naxals with substantial support from locals in Nallamala forest areas.

2.  Treat Naxalism as a national problem(the way Central government engaged themselves, with all the force and strength, in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir). Information dissemination and intelligence gathering is the Key.

3. "There should be one centre from where all information regarding naxalism should be disseminated to the States"

4.  Designing proper SOPs(Standard Operating Procedures) to avoid casualties

5. There is debate over involving the army and the air force to drive out Maoists hiding in dense forests.

6.  AP's special police force "Greyhounds" role in recent Sukhma encounter in Chattisgarh.Usage of UAV(Unmanned aerial vehicles) to track the movements of maoist cadres.

7.  Chattisgarh : the creation of resistance groups from amongst the tribal people known as the SalwaJudum or Special Police Officers(SPOs)

8.  Their arsenal now boasts of self-loading rifles (SLRs), AK series of rifles and INSAS rifles. It is believed that currently the Maoists have also gained access to the technology of fabricating rockets and rocket launchers.

2.       On Developmental Front

1.  Challenges of Naxalism can be understood in ecological terms of Forests, people and livelihoods which due to to our failure to address, have grown up to emergent state in such areas.Unless we understand the ecological basis of conflicts and evolution of local/regional terrorism we often fail to find sustainable ceasefire solutions

2.  Improving security situation through Participatory development based on inclusive governance; lapses in enforcing PESA,Forest Rights act resulted in deteriorating situation in 5th Scheduled areas

3.  AP's WHAM (Winning hearts and Minds) strategy to fight Maoist forces.

3.       Measures to preserve integrity and sovereignty

1.  strengthening of Rule of Law. Conviction rate for Terror crimes is quite low since tribals(refuse to become witnesses) are engulfed in fear.Tribals are picked up randomly and remain for four, five, six years in jail as undertrials. The judicial process is slow and families suffer, they get frustrated. Maoists campaign that innocents are kept in jail for no reason.

2.  Fostering respect for human rights and provision for reparation for violations

3.  reversing ethnic(NE insurgency), national and religious discrimination(Kashmir issue, communal riots), political exclusion(Regional movts like Telangana) and socio-economic marginalisation(backward regions).

4.  listening to people and becoming more responsive to society.

4.       Negotiation/ Peace Talks:

1.  "I would rather listen to them than fight. A lot of times, they have got legitimate grievances packaged as political positions" - Roger Fisher, Negotiation Guru

2.  Physical safety of Naxals is an impeding factor (How can a banned party negotiate without lifting the ban)

3.  Political structures need to build confidence by dialogue; Acts of terror contain the seeds of rejection of political structures.

4.  High profile Kidnaps :Sukma district collector in Chattisgarh, Italian tourists in Odisha. Capturing hostages is believed to be the only way for naxalites to the govt. to lend them their ears. Collector and tourists happened to be there when they were looking for a hostage to communicate their demands to govt.

5.  CCC(Cmt for concerned citizens) convened 1994 Andhra Peace talks
1.       earned legitimacy in dealing the issue impartially
2.       But failed to design a realistic agenda

6.  The Andhra Pradesh government initiated peace talks in 2004 but the ceasefire did not hold for long. The Maoists made an offer in 2010 but the central government rejected it.

7.  By the end of 2012 : GOI important move towards negotiations. Promise to put up CMG(Crisis mgmt. groups) - teams to negotiate hostage situation in LW Extremist states. Can CMG address the root of the problem?

1.  CMG must be prepared for two realistic issues Naxals are known to rise 

1. Release of imprisoned Maoists or the return of tribal land occupied by Non-tribals(direct and tangible demand - cost-benefit analysis can be applied)

2.  Involving underlying needs and perceived injustices that drive their movt.

2.  Such skills should be taught based on Principal negotiation techniques "Never start negotiate the demands, start with needs and wants underlying them"; Need active listening that doesn't come naturally to conflicting parties; "Give and Take based on needs not on demands"

3. CMG needs to anticipate the potential challenges to its implementation in order to avoid failed promises of the past (Eg: CCC)

8.  Imprisoned Maoist   be brought under police custody to negotiate on behalf of the party rather than roping Civil society who are removed from realities of Parties interests.

Affected Regions:

1.  Eastern Highlands : From "Pasupati"(Pasupathinath temple in Nepal) to "Tirupati"
2.  mostly active in what has come to be known as the “red corridor” from Andhra Pradesh in the south to West Bengal in the east. But they do have some sort of presence in 21 out of 28 states in India.
3.  In some areas, Maoists run their own people’s court (62 Jan Adalats were held last year) and levy taxes on traders.


1. 2008 : Bandhopadhyaycmt report on "Development Challenges in Extremist-affected areas"

2.  Initially, it was discrimination ,oppression, and landlordism (essentially Feudal order) that gave rise to naxalism; and now alienation of tribals from their natural habitat is driving it.

3.  The feeling of 'parentless' (Discontent with the Govt.)makes people vulnerable to anti-state ideologies(Tribals in MP eat Kesari Dal which has paralytic effect)

4.  SC made an observation " the whole issue of development appears to be so simple, logical and commonsensical. And Yet, to the millions of Indians, development is a dreadful and hateful word that is aimed at denying them even the source the sustenance. It is cynically said that on the path of 'maldevelopment' almost every step that we take seems to give rise to insurgency and political extremism"

5.  Just society cannot be created through unjust and inhuman means.. The outcomes of strategies which are built around bloodshed, vengeance, repression and hate will always ultimately be brutal and unjust, even if the violence is undertaken for lofty ideals.

Recent initiatives and case studies:

1.  central government has a Naxal Management Division that provides funds, additional security forces, logistics and coordinates between states.

2.  Integrated Action Plan(IAP) - to increase inter-state coordination

1.   in 88 identified districts.
2.  All the resources like planning, intelligence, etc., should integrate [to fight Naxalism].
3.  There should be one centre from where all information regarding Naxalism should be disseminated to the States.
4.  There should be some long-term strategy, which will be decided together. So far, there is no success in this coordination
5.  Extension for 4 more years.
6.  Physical Infra facilities like school buildings, anganwadi centers, rural roads, panchayat buildings, community halls and irrigation works were given priority where as social investment in health care, Sanitation and water supplies is very less
7.       now under consideration for merging into BRGF
8.       Is CAP part of IAP?
9.       Payment of MGNREGA wages in cash has been allowed under IAP for selected tribal and backward districts to obviate payment delays where outreach of banks/post-offices is inadequate.

3.       Implementation of IAP.

1.  Rural Development Min. wants to do that through local bodies where as Home Min. wants to carry it through District admin which will help in increasing the credibility of Govt. in tribal areas.
2.  Existing model : 30 crore/district through a 3-membered district-level cmt(District Magistrate, SP, District Forest Officer).
3.  Home and Finance ministries are in favour of existing model while PC and Rural Development ministry are advocating to spend atleast half of the amount through local bodies and representatives. Home ministry pointed out that in most villages local bodies are either missing or lying defunct, while in some places panchayat members were either cooperating with Naxals or were not helping local admin. due to fear of Maoists.

4.       Army recruitment to keep youths off Maoism.

5.  Programme "Roshini" in 24 most critical LW extremism affected districts.

1.  Provides beneficiaries aged between 18-35 years with requisite training for the trade or job chosen through public-private partnerships in the fields of tailoring, construction, mobile repairing, nursing and retail.
2.  Pro-actively covers Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTGs) on priority basis.
3.  Funded by Central and state govts. in the ratio of 75:25
4.  Similar to "Himayat" being run in J&K

6.       CAP (Civic Action Programme):

1.  allows CAPFs(Central Armed Paramilitary Forces) to carry out developmental programmes in 9 LWE affected states under the project "Winning Hearts and Minds" by spending on physical and social infrastructure.
2.  It was tweaked to make it "individual-oriented" rather than "project oriented" as this approach will help in bridging the gap b/n locals and security personnel more efficiently.

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