Internal Security Issues 103 – Naxalism | Part 3

In the third part of the Naxalism series, we focus on the security threats posed by Naxalism and the challenges faced in dealing with it. (The first part of the series on the history and evolution of Naxalismis is here. The second part on the factors responsible for the rise of Naxalism is here.)

Security dangers are aptly described by a former Pakistani Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence and his description of India’s foreign affairs. He equated India being busy with internal security problems to having two extra divisions in the Pakistani army for free.

Naxalite movement: the biggest internal security threat to India:

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Naxalism as the most significant threat to internal security being faced by the country. This proposition is true as it highlights India’s interior weaknesses, which make India vulnerable to external threats. It affects several areas including the economy, security and foreign affairs, its citizens and the rule of law:

1. Impact on security and foreign affairs: Links with other terrorist organisations and foreign countries:

The CPI(Maoist) has frequently expressed solidarity with the Jammu and Kashmir terrorist groups and north-east insurgent groups. The CPI(Maoist) has also had close links with foreign Maoist organisations like Turkey, Phillipines,South asian countries     etc.

2. Impact on economy: More the Maoists concentrate in the poor and marginalised regions of India, the more the economic development (which is imperative to improving these regions) will be hampered. The Naxalite activities are using up scarce resources on defence and internal security when it should be spent on areas such as social development.

3. Impact on citizens and the rule of law: Not only has there been a great loss of life since the conflict between the guerrillas and the military, but addressing the problem through violence risks polarizing people further and driving them to subservience.

Guerrilla warfare is a threat not only to citizens’ lives but also to their property. Too impatient and desperate to wait for government intervention, civilians such as landlords are taking matters into their own hands.

As writer Navlakha noted , by portraying the Maoists as a ‘menace’ and separating the movement from socio-economic causes, it “allows the rich and poor divide to impose itself on a formal democratic structure”. Navlakha gives the example of Bihar where Naxalite groups are banned under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act, yet a majority of the massacre were committed by landlord armies which were not considered an act of terror under the law. Such treatment for the upper class only serves to threaten the rule of law, state legitimacy and democracy as the political norm.

Challenges in dealing with Naxalites:

 1. Expansion in adjoining areas due to hard combat:

Hard combat against the Naxals pushes them out temporarily but they use other states to regroup and rearm. This can be associated with the Andhra Pradesh model, where the intensive use of Greyhounds had led to a lot of spillover to other states.

2. Expansion due to increasing association with Anti-state forces:

New territory in new states may result in a corridor for Naxals to collaborate with other insurgent groups who are essentially ideologically different but are anti-state. There has been increasing collaboration between the naxals and the pro-Azadi leaders in J&K and ULFA training  the naxal cadres.

3. Expansion of Naxal activities due to international collaboration:

The likely collaboration with international maoist movements, may give it a much more dangerous dimension, to tackle which India seems to be unprepared. There is also an increasing threat of rising terror outfits’ support to the naxal operations in India.

 4. Administrative hurdles in dealing with LWE:

  • Poor infrastructure, lack of communication and shortage of manpower
  • A virtual parallel government run by Maoists in Dandakaranya region
  • Poor coordination among various state police forces
  • Lack of proper understanding between the central and state forces

5. Intellectual support to naxalism:

Top intellectuals like Arundhati Roy and Binayak Sen regularly support naxalism, advocating an egalitarian society, human rights and tribal rights. But use of violent means cannot be supported to achieve a noble cause in a democratic setup. Rather than a blind support, the intellectuals should also encourage Naxals to eschew violence, fight elections, join mainstream society and learn the art of give and take of democratic bargaining without aggression.

Thats it for this part! The next part in this series will analyse the Government’s strategy in tackling Naxalism and the way ahead.(Click here for part 4). This is supposed to be one of the most comprehensive series in Internal Security related Issues. Your feedback is welcome ?

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