Terrorism and Challenges Related To It

Left wing extremism


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Maoism, Leninism and Marxism

Mains level : LWE in India


The Maoist movement is on the ebb on the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha boundary, with its cadre and militia strength heavily depleted.

Who are the Maoists?

  • Maoism is a form of communism developed by Mao Zedong.
  • It is a doctrine to capture State power through a combination of armed insurgency, mass mobilization and strategic alliances.
  • The Maoists also use propaganda and disinformation against State institutions as other components of their insurgency doctrine.

Maoists and Maoism in India

  • The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist banned communist political party and militant organization in India.
  • It aims to overthrow the “semi-colonial and semi-feudal Indian state” through people’s war.

Confused between Maoists and Naxalities?

  • Usually, people confuse themselves over Maoists and Naxalities and cannot exactly trace the difference between the two terminologies.
  • Media seems to be confused with the terms and uses Maoists and Naxalities quite inter-changeably.
  • This creates confusion in the readers’ minds over the actual meaning of individual terms.

The actual difference between the terms is as follows:

  • The difference between Maoists struggle and the Naxalite movement is that both trace their origin to the Naxalbari uprising of 1967.
  • But while the Naxalite movement thrives on the original spirit of Naxalbari; the Maoist struggle is an outcome of the 1967 uprising.
  • Maoists work with an agenda and use weapons to achieve their aims.
  • Naxalism focuses on mass organisations while the Maoism relies mainly on arms.

History and evolution

  • Russian Revolution: Naxalism in India, like any other leftist movement around the globe draws its ideological basis from the Russian revolution.
  • Overthrowing Tsarist Regime: Lenin successfully fought against the Czarist Rule through a combination of peasant movement and an armed struggle.
  • Marxian ideology of class struggle: The prime intent was to bestow power in the hands of the exploited and marginalized and enforce societal control over governance and nation building.
  • Neo-Marxism: After the success of the Lenin-led revolution in Russia, the intellectual class in many countries got inspired. Prominent amongst them were Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong.

Root cause of origin in India

  • Corporate exploitation: Since Eastern India is rich in natural resources including forests, minerals and mines, tribal face exploitation and harassment from government and corporate bodies targeting to extract those resources.
  • Tribal alienation: Tribal communities have been systematically alienated from their traditional rights over natural resources after independence.
  • Livelihood losses: Tribal livelihood is at stake due to depletion of natural resource base.
  • Forceful displacement: Forceful displacement from their homeland destroys their traditional governance system.
  • Absence of governance: In such exploited areas, the absence of governance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since the delivery systems are extinguished through killings and intimidation.
  • Foreign provocations: Many of LWE outfits are supported by external forces inimical to India and the Maoists consider such alliances as strategic assets.

Other factors:

  1. Oppression and HR violations by Security Forces e.g. AFSPA
  2. Violation of Constitutional Protections under PESA and FRA
  3. Prevalence of Acute Poverty

Impact of LWE

  • Romanticism without a cause: Some sections of the society, especially the younger generation, have romantic illusions about the Maoists, arising out of an incomplete understanding of their ideology of Class –Struggle.
  • Extreme violence: Their doctrine glorifies violence as the primary means to overwhelm the existing socio-economic and political structures.
  • Destruction of governance mechanism: LWEs aims at creating a vacuum at the grassroots level of the existing governance structures by killing lower-level government officials, police personnel of the local police stations and the people’s representatives of the PRIs.
  • Radicalization of youths: After creating a political and governance vacuum, they coerce the local population to join the movement.
  • Urban-Maoism: Many extremists have facilitated mass-mobilization in semi-urban and urban areas through ostensibly democratic means often led by well-educated intellectuals.

Outcomes of perpetrating LWE

The Leftist organizations skilfully use state structures and legal processes to further the Maoist agenda and weaken the enforcement regime through:

  1. Recruitment of ‘professional revolutionaries’
  2. Raising funds for the insurgency
  3. Creating urban shelters for underground cadres
  4. Providing legal assistance to arrested cadres and
  5. Mass- mobilization by agitating over issues of relevance/ convenience

Govt initiatives for LWE-affected areas

  • Aspirational Districts: The MHA has been tasked with the monitoring of the Aspirational districts programme in 35 LWE affected districts.
  • HRD measures: Building of schools under the Eklavya model.
  • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II): This aims for improving road connectivity in LWE affected States. Under this, 9279 km of roads and 392 bridges are sanctioned.
  • Naxal Surrender Policy: It aims to wean away misguided youth and hardcore naxalites who have strayed into the fold of the naxal movement and cannot find a way back.
  • National Policy Action Plan: To address Left Wing Extremism approved in 2015, has development as one of the most important component.

SAMADHAN doctrine: It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels. SAMADHAN stands for-

  • S- Smart Leadership
  • A- Aggressive Strategy
  • M- Motivation and Training
  • A- Actionable Intelligence
  • D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas)
  • H- Harnessing Technology
  • A- Action plan for each Theatre
  • N- No access to Financing

Way forward

  • Indian counterinsurgency has to work with a dual objective of defeating the insurgents militarily and fully quell the insurgent impulses.
  • This will need institutional overhauls.
  • States must do more to synergize their efforts by launching coordinated operations, thereby denying Maoists any space for manoeuvrability.
  • On parallel grounds, it is also important to segregate the population from the insurgents both operationally and ideologically.
  • The conflict over the distribution of resources can be mended with economic development.


UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥FREE for 24 Hours Prelims Notes
This is default text for notification bar