Tackling the Maoists: On left-wing extremism

What is the news? 

In a recent meeting, Union home minister noted that the geographical influence of the Maoists has reduced from 96 districts in 10 States in 2010 to 41 now. Two major Naxalite groups got merged into the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist). The organization is limited to the remote and densely forested terrains of central and east-central India. 

What strategy Maoists use to incite violence? 

Maoists don’t show dissatisfaction with Indian states. They don’t project their weakness and don’t show willingness for inclusion and welfare. They prefer armed struggle. Furthermore, they use states’ suppression to recruit partners and incite violence. 

This strategy has led to some of India’s poorest people, the tribals in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, being caught up in endless violence. It also caused severe losses to the Maoists as well as anti-insurgent security forces. In Philippines and Peru, the same strategy has been followed. 

Maoists have flawed understanding of the nature of the Indian state and democracy. They are unwilling to accept that the poor people, whom they claim to represent, seek greater engagement with the electoral and welfare system. 

What are some suggestions to weaken the Maoists? 

First, the Maoist insurgency still has potency in South Bastar in Chhattisgarh, the Andhra-Odisha border and in some districts in Jharkhand. These States must focus on expansive welfare and infrastructure building.  

Second, frequent fighting and attacks have not only affected the security forces but also left many tribal civilians caught in the crossfire. A purely security-driven approach fraught with human rights’ violations has only added to the alienation among the poor in these areas.  

The Maoists must be compelled to give up their armed struggle and this can only happen if the tribal people and civil society activists promoting peace are also empowered.  

The central government should not be satisfied with the mere weakening of the Maoist insurgency and the commitments made to weaken the Maoist hold should not be reduced after it has delivered intended results.

The Union government and the States must continue to learn from successes such as the expansion of welfare and rights paradigms in limiting the movement and failures that have led to the continuing spiral of violence in select districts. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Tackling the Maoists” published in The Hindu on 29th Sep 2021. 

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