Extreme Left: The Naxal Movement, Explained
The Naxal movement essentially thrives on the spirit of the Naxalbari uprising of 1967, and the Maoist struggle of the group was born out of it. This struggle originated in West Bengal and spread over to nearby, less developed states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh through the several Communist Parties of India. The most prominent among these groups are the CPI-ML (Liberation), CPI-ML (Kanu), CPI-ML (Jan Shakti), CPI-ML (New Democracy) and others.
Maoism is a belief that emerged in China as a form of communist theory which was derived from the teachings of Mao Zedong. These are the believers of the philosophy "Power flows from the barrel of the gun." The followers of this philosophy rejected the existence of the Communist Party of India (Marxist and Leninist) as they do not support elections at all. Thus, a new group, stemming from the concept of Maoism emerged in India.
Due to the uprisings being constantly suppressed and those affiliated with the movement ‘disappearing’ or getting killed, the resistance towards the government only increased. Thus ,the primary demand by the Naxalites is the removal of security forces.
“Central forces have the numbers and the training, but they have no local knowledge or intelligence… Only local police can drive out Maoists. The reason we are not succeeding in Chhattisgarh is because the local police have not yet taken the leadership position, although things have improved over the years,” a Home Ministry official said.
Former Andhra Pradesh / Telangana police officer K Durga Prasad, who has fought Maoists as chief of the Greyhounds in the mid-2000s and as chief of the CRPF recently, said: “Whenever it depends on outside forces, no matter how specialised, they will never get the desired results. When it is recognised as your own baby, your commitment and motivation is higher and your learning curve sharper. Decision making is also much faster.”
Apart from this, some of their other demands include completing all pending irrigation projects and the provision of these facilities to farmers along with adequate power. Additionally they also demand the waiving of private loans in order to prevent more farmer suicides.
Another major issue that the Naxals advocate for is Implementation of the "1/70 Act", which provides protection against the alienation of land held by tribal people in scheduled areas to non-tribal people. Stop settling of non-tribal people in areas inhabited by tribal people.
In 2005, Maoist groups were subject to a major crackdown in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) states, most affected states largely dealt with the problems. The current figures state that the number of affected districts have dropped down to 90 from 200 in the early 2000s. At the moment, the state that struggles most with this insurgency is Chhattisgarh.
Between 2018 and 2020, Chhattisgarh has accounted for 45% of all incidents in the country and 70% of security personnel deaths in such incidents.
“There are no roads, no schools, no hospitals and no police stations. The existing ones are in CRPF camps. No one will approach such a set-up to provide intelligence. Until police begin to function independently and with confidence, things will continue to change at a slow pace,” a senior Home Ministry official said.
Durga Prasad said, “Chhattisgarh is a different challenge. The terrain and demography is different from Andhra. Public have more sympathy for the Maoists there. Salwa Judum turned out to be counter-productive and information sources dried up after that. Also, the enemy strength is huge in Chhattisgarh.”