Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Violence

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    • Recently, the Union Government answered that incidents of Naxal violence in the country have dropped by 77 percent between 2009 and 2021.

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    • Although such incidents have dropped, deaths of security force personnel due to Maoist violence have more than doubled in Chhattisgarh in the past three years.
    • The resultant deaths (civilians + security forces) have reduced by 85 percent from all-time high of 1,005 in 2010 to 147 in 2021.

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    • States data: 
      • In 2021, Chhattisgarh accounted for 90 percent (45 out of 50) of all security personnel deaths in the country. 
      • Jharkhand is the only state that recorded security personnel deaths (5) besides Chhattisgarh in 2021. In 2019, when 52 security force personnel deaths were recorded in the country, Chhattisgarh accounted for just 42 percent (22) of those with Maharashtra accounting for 16 deaths and Jharkhand for 12 deaths.
      • Other states for which data has been provided by the government are Bihar, Odisha and Telangana. All recorded zero deaths in 2021. In 2022, Odisha recorded three deaths while Jharkhand recorded two.

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    • Geographical Spread: The geographical spread of the violence has reduced as only 46 districts reported LWE-related violence in 2021 as compared to 96 districts in 2010.
      • Decline in geographical spread is also reflected in the reduced number of districts covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme
      • The number of SRE districts was reduced from 126 to 90 in April 2018 and further to 70 in July 2021. 
      • Similarly, the number of districts contributing approximately 90 percent of the LWE violence, categorised as ‘most LWE-affected districts’ came down to 30 from 35 in 2018 and further to 25 in 2021.

    Left-wing extremism in India

    • Left-wing extremists, popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites/Naxalism in India, has been a major threat to India since the 1960s. 
    • Genesis:
      • The term Naxalism derives from the name of the Naxalbari village in West Bengal where a peasant revolt took place against local landlords over a land dispute in 1967.
      • The origins of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in India goes back to the Telangana peasant rebellion (1946-51), the movement was at its peak in 1967, when the peasants, landless labourers, and Adivasis raided the granaries of a landlord in the Naxalbari village in West Bengal.
      • The Naxal rebellion was led by Charu Majumdar and his close associates, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal.
      • These rebels not only were assisted by the people from nearby villages but also from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Media had called this movement the “Spring Thunder”.
      • The movement initially took inspiration from China’s founding father, Mao Zedong, but had later become radically different from Maoism.

    Reasons for Left Wing Extremism

    • Tribal Discontent:
      • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 has been used to target tribals, who depend on forest produce for their living.
      • Massive displacement of tribal population in the Naxalism-affected states due to development projects, mining operations and other reasons.
      • Also poor implementation of FRA, eviction of the land ceiling.
    • Lack of Livelihood: 
      • Such people who do not have any source of living are taken into Naxalism by Maoists.
      • Maoists provide arms and ammunition and money to such people.
    • Governance related issues:
      • Government measures its success on the basis of the number of violent attacks rather than the development done in the Naxal-affected areas.
      • Absence of strong technical intelligence to fight with Naxalites.
      • Infrastructural problems, for instance, some villages are not yet connected properly with any communication network.
      • No Follow-Up from Administration: It is seen that even after police take hold of a region, the administration fails to provide essential services to the people of that region.
    • Most affected Areas:
      • The severely affected areas of India are known as ‘Red Corridor’, It is situated in the eastern part of the nation across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. (23 districts at the moment).
    • Reasons for decline in violence:
      • Greater presence of security forces across the LWE affected States.
      • Loss of leaders on account of arrests, surrender and desertions.
      • Rehabilitation programs by the governments
      • Better monitoring & shortage of funds and arms.

    Government Initiatives to Fight LWE

    • Greyhounds: It was raised in 1989 as an elite anti-Naxal force.
    • Operation Green Hunt: It was started in 2009-10 and massive deployment of security forces was done in the Naxal-affected areas
    • Aspirational Districts Programme: Launched in 2018, it aims to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.
    • SAMADHAN doctrine is the one-stop solution for the LWE problem. 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.
    • ROSHNI is a special initiative under, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (Formerly Aajeevika Skills), launched in June 2013 for training and placement of rural poor youth from 27 LWE affected districts in 09 States
    • Intelligence sharing and raising of a separate 66 Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBs), CRPF battalions like COBRA battalion, Bastariya battalion etc were done by the government to curb the menace of LWE organisations.

    Countering Measures

    • Crackdown on Maoists in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) states started mainly in 2005.
      • The number of districts declared Naxal-affected is now just 90, down from over 200 in the early 2000s. Yet, Chhattisgarh struggles.
    • In the state, the Salwa-Judum militia campaign was launched which proved to be counterproductive.
    • The DRG, a special counter-Maoist force, was raised and trained by the CRPF to take lead with support from CRPF, however, CRPF continues to be the spearhead till date in Chhattisgarh.
      • DRG has tribal recruits from Bastar and employs surrendered Maoists too, which gives it the advantages of local knowledge and intelligence gathering.
      • However, it is relatively new and lacks combat capabilities of the Greyhounds (Andhra Pradesh).
    • The elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of the CRPF, a unit specially trained for operations in areas affected by LWE.
    • Involvement and modernisation of state police forces. Successful examples,
      • Andhra Pradesh: Greyhounds.
      • Maharashtra: Local police and the C60 force.
      • West Bengal: Ingenious strategy adopted by the state police.
      • Jharkhand: Jharkhand Jaguars.
      • Odisha: Broad administrative interventions in Koraput.

    Suggestions

    • The political will of the state is of paramount importance. There should be policies and authorities to coordinate government schemes for development of these regions in a coherent manner.
      • In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the government had created a Remote and Interior Area Development Authority.
    • Development of infrastructure including schools, hospitals and most importantly roads for connectivity along with job creations and marketing of forest products.
    • More frequent joint operations between central forces and local police to avoid confusion of command and coordination and casualties.
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a document on LWE violence, has highlighted the importance of administration reaching remote areas.
    • The local police need to take up the leadership position with the help of the central forces which have the numbers and the training to strengthen the joint operations.
    • Special forces should be provided with the freedom to operate otherwise no amount of training will help.

    Source: IE