Left-wing extremists (LWE), popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites in India. Today, the menace of Left-wing extremism is the single internal security threat that affects the largest number of States in India. It is also a politico-socio-economic challenge.
The objective of the Naxalites is to wage an armed revolution, modelled on the lines of the Chinese Revolution, which they call New Democratic Revolution (NDR), and usher in their own form of government. As it began in 1967, LWE was limited to the three police station areas namely Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa of Darjeeling district in West Bengal. However, in recent years, the movement has assumed alarming proportions, threatening peace and security over a vast stretch of land spreading across 10 states, described as the ‘Red Corridor’. The history of LWE movement, which dates back across 50 years, has survived on some basic issues like poverty, disparity, and discontent among the masses.
Most of the LWE affected areas are rich in mineral resources which are vital for the Indian economy. 75 percent of power generation in the country comes from thermal based coal-fired power plants and five of the LWE affected states provide 85 percent of country’s coal. Apart from coal, the region is also important due to ample availability of other critical resources like copper, nickel, bauxite, manganese, iron, etc. But presence of LWE in the region adversely impacts commercial viability of any major investments in the mining sector. Naxals either obstruct inflow of developmental investments in the region or try to extort money from the companies.
The Government of India has adopted a holistic approach to address the LWE insurgency. This approach is built around simultaneous implementation of a security agenda, developmental activities and promotion of good governance. The National Policy and Action Plan to address LWE problem, formulated by the MHA in 2014, essentially incorporates four elements – an integrated multi-pronged strategy comprising security related measures; development related initiatives, ensuring rights and entitlement related measures, and management of public perception. Under the plan, the Central Government has been implementing various flagship developmental schemes which include ‘Integrated Action Plan’ (IAP) or ‘Additional Central Assistance’ (ACA) for LWE affected districts for creating public infrastructures and services in affected areas; ‘Road Requirement Plan–I’ (RRP– I) for improving road connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts; skill Development in 34 Districts of LWE under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna’ (PMKVY); ‘Fortified Police Stations’ by construction and strengthening of 400 police stations in 10 LWE affected states; and installation of mobile towers in the affected states for better communication connectivity. In coordination with the developmental outreach of the government, the Security Forces (SF) have continued to strengthen their position in the fight against LWE.
new strategy is called Samadhan, which is a compilation of short term and long term policies formulated at different levels. The meaning was well defined by the Home Minister as:
- S- Smart Leadership
- Aggressive Strategy
- M- Motivation and Training
- Actionable Intelligence
- D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas)
- H- Harnessing Technology
- Action plan for each Theatre
- N- No access to Financing
Though the number of incidents of LWE violence has come down in the recent past, continued efforts and focus are needed in eliminating such groups. States play a vital role in maintaining law and order. So, emphasis should be laid on the capacity-building and modernization of the local police forces. Local forces can efficiently and effectively neutralize the LWE organizations. Also, holistic last-mile development of “New India”, it is necessary to get rid of the menace of such radicalized groups, & the synergized efforts of the Centre and the States are crucial in achieving the same.