Left Wing Extremism(LWE) Situation in India

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    In News 

    • Ten personnel of the Chhattisgarh Police’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) were reported killed in an IED attack by Maoists in the state’s Dantewada district.

    Reasons for recent attacks 

    • The timing of the attack fits with the Maoist strategy of heightened military activity and more attacks on security forces every summer.
    •  The CPI(Maoist) carries out Tactical Counter Offensive Campaigns (TCOCs) between February and June every year, in which the focus of its military wing is to inflict casualties on security forces.
    • This period is chosen because, with the onset of the monsoon in July, it becomes difficult to conduct offensive operations in the jungles. 
      • There are overflowing nullahs that can’t be crossed. 
    • There is tall grass and shrubs everywhere, which reduces visibility. 
      • With the onset of the monsoon, both the Maoists and the security forces return to their camps

    LWE situation in the country

    • Background: Left-wing extremists, popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites/Naxalism in India, have been a major threat to India since the 1960s. 
      • 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.
    • Ideology:  The Maoist insurgency doctrine glorifies violence as the primary means to overwhelm the existing socio-economic and political structures
      • The CPI (Maoist) Party, is the major Left Wing Extremist outfit responsible for a majority of incidents of violence and killing of civilians and security forces.
      • the main LWE outfit in India aims to overthrow the existing democratic state structure with violence as their primary weapon, and mass mobilization and strategic united fronts as complementary components and plans to usher in the so-called ‘New Democratic Revolution’ in India.
    •  Affected Areas 
      • The presence of Naxals is said to be minimal to zero in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Bihar, which were at one time their strongholds.
        • Chhattisgarh is the only state in the country where Maoists continue to have a significant presence and retain the capability to mount big attacks.
    • Present Status 
      • The influence of Maoists and associated violence has been falling consistently in the country because of multiple factors, including a stronger push by security forces in Maoist strongholds, roads and civic amenities reaching the interiors to a greater extent than earlier, and a general disenchantment with the Maoist ideology among the youth, which has deprived the insurgent movement of new leadership.
    • Data Analysis: According to the government, Maoist violence in the country has gone down by 77% since 2010.
      •  The number of resultant deaths (security forces + civilians) has come down by 90 % from the all-time high of 1,005 in 2010 to 98 in 2022

    Issues and Concerns 

    • Security forces have the numbers and the training, but they have no local knowledge or intelligence.
      • they lack the sharp combat capabilities
    • Lack of infrastructure developments: There are no proper roads, no proper schools, and proper no hospitals.
      • Infrastructural problems, for instance, some villages are not yet connected properly with any communication network.
    • The terrain and demography are different.
    • The minimal presence of the administration in the interiors of Some regions has ensured that Maoists continue to have influence in the region and enjoy local support through a mix of fear and goodwill.

    Governments Response

    • The Centre has maintained a massive presence of the CRPF in the affected states for almost two decades.
    • In Chhattisgarh, the CRPF has been consistently enlarging its footprint by opening new camps deeper into the jungles of South Bastar. 
    • the CRPF raised a Bastariya Battalion the recruits for which were taken from the local population, who knew the language and terrain and could generate intelligence
    • Centre is pushing for the erection of mobile towers in the interiors, which would help the local people connect with the mainstream, and also generate technical intelligence.
      •  Since 2014, as many as 2,343 mobile towers have been erected in LWE zones.
    • The Centre has also unleashed the Counter-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate on CPI(Maoist) cadres, leaders, and sympathisers with the aim of choking their funding. 
    • The government of India (GoI) approved a ‘National Policy and Action Plan to address LWE’ in 2015 to address the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) menace holistically.
    • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) focuses on equipping security forces to fight Maoists.
    • the Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) aims to strengthen local police and intelligence setups.
    • Special Central Assistance for building infrastructure such as roads in LWE districts
    • The Border Security Force’s air wing has been strengthened with the induction of new pilots and engineers in the past one year to aid the anti-LWE operations and the MHA has also taken initiatives to choke the funding to banned outfits
    • It was through the active involvement of local police in the leading role that states such as Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand were able to end their Maoist problem. 
      • All these states formed special units of their police forces with personnel and officers drawn from the state, gave them special training, and won the battle with concerted security and development efforts.
        • The Greyhounds force was formed in 1989 by K.S. Vyas, an IPS officer, to combat the growing Maoist threat in Andhra Pradesh. 
    • Other steps 

    Suggestions 

    • It is a widely accepted principle in counter-Maoist strategy that the war against Left Wing Extremism can be won by the state police and not central forces.
      • This is because the state police have local knowledge, understand the language, and have local networks that are essential for the generation of intelligence.
    • 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.
      • Civil society and the media need to build pressure on the Left Wing Extremists to eschew violence and join the mainstream.
    • It is the belief of the Government of India that through a holistic approach focusing on development and security-related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled. 

    Source: IE