LWE in India
- A number of Left Wing Extremist (LWE) outfits have been operating in certain remote and poorly connected pockets of the country for a few decades now.
- However, LWE related violence in the country has declined by 77% from all time high of 2258 incidents in 2009 to 509 in 2021.
- Security Forces and civilian casualties due to these incidents has also declined by 85% from all time high of 1005 in 2010 to 147 in 2021.
Left vs. Right: Behind the Political Dichotomy
- In politics, left refers to people and groups that have liberal views.
- That generally means they support progressive reforms, especially those seeking greater social and economic equality.
- The far left is often used for what is considered more extreme, revolutionary views, such as communism and socialism.
- Collectively, people and groups, as well as the positions they hold, are referred to as the Left or the left wing.
Being ‘Right’ means
- The word right, in contrast, refers to people or groups that have conservative views.
- It generally means they are disposed to preserving existing conditions and institutions.
- They often want to restore traditional ones and limit change.
- The far right is often used for more extreme, nationalistic viewpoints, including fascism and some oppressive ideologies.
People and groups, as well as their positions, are collectively referred to as the Right or the right-wing.
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.
- Naxalism originated as a rebellion against marginalisation of the poor forest dwellers and gradually against the lack of development and poverty at the local level in rural parts of eastern India.
- It began in 1967 with an armed peasant uprising in Naxalbari village of Darjeeling district in West Bengal.
- The term ‘Naxal’ came from the name of the village.
- The origin of the Naxals was a result of the split that took place in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1967.
- It led to the formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist and Leninist).
- Maoism originated in China as a form of communist theory derived from the teachings of Chinese political leader Mao Zedong.
- Maoists were the loyal believers of the Chairman Mao’s philosophy that “Power flows from the barrel of the gun.”
- When the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was born out of the Naxalbari uprising, a section of communist rebels retained a distinct identity.
- Along with Marxism and Leninism, a new concept, which is of Maoism, started emerging in India.
- Around 1966, Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) was formed in West Bengal.
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.
- Oppression and HR violations by Security Forces e.g. AFSPA
- Violation of Constitutional Protections under PESA and FRA
- 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:
- Recruitment of ‘professional revolutionaries’
- Raising funds for the insurgency
- Creating urban shelters for underground cadres
- Providing legal assistance to arrested cadres and
- 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
- 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 maneuverability.
- 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.