History of Naxalite movement
The word Naxal stems from a small village called ‘Naxalbari’ in West Bengal where a movement took place in 1967, lifting the topic of exploitation of the peasants, in collaboration with communist activists, had its origin of Naxalism. The violence created during this movement rooted the most important initiative towards Naxalism. Their origins can be traced back in the year 1967 when The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had split leading to the formation of The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). These people are supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideologies and are considered as far-left radical communists. Initially, this moment had its foundation at West Bengal but eventually, its circle spread into the less developed areas of rural southern and eastern India like Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Naxalites, according to their opinion, are fighting against the exploitation of the tribal communities by the major Indian corporations.
Naxal, Naxalite, Naxalvadi are the generic terms used for these militant Communist groups operating under different organizational envelop in different parts of India. According to Home Ministry, more than 3000 people have died in the Maoist conflict since 2008 and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of India (1967), this group has been declared as a terrorist organization. The presence of Maoists is significant in the states of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal and marginal in Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Then Indian Prime Dr Minister Manmohan Singh, On April 21, 2010, mentioned Naxalism as ‘India’s biggest internal security problem’, after the Naxalite attack, where 76 security men were killed in an ambush in Dantewada District of Chhattisgarh. India is still dealing with this internal problem even after five decades since the origin.
The title is asking to tackle the Naxalism. To tackle the Naxalism, we must first understand the causes which gave birth to Naxalism, working on which we could be able to find the solutions. Until and unless we understand the problem to its depth and find the causes of the same, it is difficult to cope up with this and find a solution.
Causes of Naxalism
The causes of the Naxalism movement in India are structural and interrelated to several factors in society. Economic growth, political elites and asserts and cultural values are the pillars of the issues Naxalism is based on.
- Economic Growth
Areas, where the guerrillas are located are mostly undeveloped areas which are lacking in the educational values, economic growth and the availability of the basic needs of people living in the region. This ultimately resulted in their separation from the mainstream of growth. On account of this detachment, youth from these areas are always kept behind the flow of education. They are not able to match up with the urban culture which forces them to return to rural areas, still aspiring for urban facilities. This has to lead to a low degree of employment in these regions and the youth is now falling to the false attractions and impressions created by the Naxalites in these regions.
It can be seen that their strongest bases are in the poorest areas of India. According to some researchers, it was found that Naxalists provide uniforms and salaries to those working with them. This proves that these poor people are none but the army source and the fuel to the Naxalites. Naxalites have a large impact on the lives of the tribal communities as authorities have lacked in gaining trust in the tribal community.
- Political elites and asserts
The main problem is the failure in the formulation and implementation of the right schemes at the right time and targeting the right people. Due to the underground existence of Naxalites in the rural areas of the affected states, they never connected with the authorities of the respective states. So the laws which were built to overcome this internal security problem had a very less possibility that they were conveyed to them with the proper contextual meaning leading to extreme misunderstandings between these organizations and the state government. Also, the states are attempting to increase their influence in these areas which is resulting in the repression of inhabitants by the state-government authorities which has destroyed their traditional social bond.
The negligence of the government in terms of the improvisation of the poor conditions at these places has resulted in support to Naxalists by the locals. This support made these guerrillas the saviours and hence the tribal community is accepting the Maoist ideology. Some argue that Naxalites are not concerned about the social or economic welfare of these people and are simply using them as a means to its goal of seizing political power.
- Cultural values
The states believe that forest areas must be utilized to build major projects and this is leading to the evacuation of the tribal people from their land. The conflict between economic progress and the forest land rights continues to fuel the Naxalite’s activities. There are many issues which could be discussed under this apart from what is mentioned above. After looking at the causes, the remedies to be done are quite clear. The government has made various laws like Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy (2007), Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (2006), Forest Rights Act (2006), which could help the tribal communities and could reduce their sufferings but instead, these laws were the reason behind the chaos created between the tribal community.
How to tackle Naxalism?
After knowing the causes and the flaws in the government services, it’s time to understand the possible solutions. The complexity in the laws and the negligence at these regions from decades, it has become a must to solve this internal security issue. This has its reflections on external security too. Among these groups persists low degree of employment and qualification, new forest policies with restriction for their livelihoods, cultural humiliation, weak access to health care, education and electricity, restricted and limited access to natural resources, multifaceted forms of exploitation, social atrocities, displacement and deficient rehabilitation programs, political marginalization and suppression of protests. If at this moment, we lack in finding the solutions to the problems mentioned above and resolving the issue, the repercussions of the same would be hazardous to the state and ultimately to the country.
The problem seeks solutions in the following terms:
- Social and economic development:
The disparity between the poor people in the tribal communities in rural areas and rich people in the urban areas is what fuelled the Naxalites. Attempts must be made to grow these areas concerning its economy to reduce the barrier between the people in the society. Along with this, health, education, social welfare and rural development should be encouraged at these places. A good percentage of the national budget must be allocated addressing the needs of these regions. When introducing the strategies for the economic growth of the nation, the government must always keep in mind the possible effects of fast growth for all socio-economic groups in India. If the social needs of these marginalized people are properly addressed, there will be no discontent to fuel the Naxalite’s movements anymore.
- Proper dialogue:
Lack of proper communication with the Naxalites is one of the reasons that this issue, being internal, is still unresolved. Therefore, the government should initiate sincere dialogues with the state leaders, the discontent and marginalized tribal community and the Naxalites to get this issue resolved. With this approach, the rebels could be given a way to come into the mainstream and opening the discussions between the government and these people would lead to finding the solutions together.
- Proper governance:
At this stage, if the state government is finding difficulty to resolve this, the Central government and the state government in collaboration with each other should get to the roots of the problem and find the solutions. Though there are laws to resolve this problem, the problem is not yet solved. This means that the laws need to be properly reformed and this time, considering the tribal community’s benefits.
Observing the current situation, the government is using the military as the only option to the violence created by the Naxalites. Some military interruptions must be there to control the violence in these regions but military forces should not be the only solution. Handling these issues with forces may lead to many severe repercussions in the future.
In the end, it should be understood that the Naxalite movement could also be challenged politically where better alternatives to the Maoists’ approach should be introduced to the tribal community which will fulfil their basic needs at first with proper communication with them. At the same time, sincere dialogues should be carried out with the Naxalites to abstain any human rights violation with the help of forces wherever necessary.
By Sahil Pravin Patil, 21 years old , Alibag, Maharashtra, India