Current Status of Naxalites in India
Naxalism in India began in a small village in West Bengal called Naxalbadi in the year 1967. It began when a group of tribal people known as the Santhals started agitation against the landlords they were working for. The landlords did not share the produce from the hard work of the tribal people and thus the Santhals started protesting. This movement was given a direction when leaders of Communist Party of India like Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal formed the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and spread the ideology of Mao Zedong to the tribal people. The ideology of Mao Zedong demands the overthrowing of the government and the upper class by force.
Today Naxalism is spread over vast areas in India including the states of Bihar, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
The Naxalism movement in India gained momentum because of the following reasons:
- The struggle started even before India gained independence from the British because the Britishers forced the tribal people into agriculture.
- After independence, as per the 5th and 6th Schedule, the government of India became the custodian of all forest and tribal lands, ending the autonomy of the tribal.
- This feeling of alienation led the tribal people to launch attacks on security forces. The most recent attack being in Sukma of Chhattisgarh in 2017 when 25 CRPF soldiers were martyred. The point to be noted here is that most of the attacks launched have been in areas where the literacy rate is very low.
- The tribal do not have a proper electoral representation alienating them further from the government.
The Current Situation
The NDA government launched the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ in 2015 and claims that there have been tangible benefits in its efforts against Maoists. This action plan covers security and development aspects.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the influence of Naxalism has shrunk from 106 to 90 districts spread over 11 states. MHA has drawn up a new Red Corridor. The ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ aims at addressing the Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
As of 2018, the situation of Naxalism is as follows:
- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Bihar are still the hotbeds of Naxalism.
- West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh are now in the list of partially affected.
- Naxalites are trying to make inroads into Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh.
The government as per the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ has proceeded to implement projects related to the development of infrastructure.
- According to MHA, 2,329 mobile towers have been installed in the affected areas to improve cellphone connectivity.
- Another 4,072 mobile towers are to be installed.
- 4,544 kilometers of road has been built.
- The second phase of constructing 5,411 kilometers of road will begin soon.
- All the affected areas previously had no Kendriya Vidhyalaya. Now all of them have functional KVs. Three more KVs are being planned.
- Eight bridges have been constructed to improve the connectivity with remote areas in the LWE-affected areas.