Left-Wing Extremism


    In context

    • Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated the geographical influence of Maoists has contracted to only 41 districts in the country, a sharp reduction from 96 such districts in 10 States.

    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.

    Modus Operandi

    • Naxalites operate in a vacuum created by political and administrative inadequacy. They appeal to the local people who are dissatisfied with the exploitation of the system and offer them a parallel government.

    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 Ajeevika 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 Reserved Battalion(IRBs), CRPF battalions like COBRA battalion, Bastariya battalion etc were done by the government to curb the menace of LWE organizations.

    Way Forward

    • Augmenting capacity building of Local forces:
      • States play a vital role in maintaining law and order. So, emphasis should be laid on the capacity-building and modernization of the local police forces.
    • Opting Innovative measures: 
      • In preventing IED (Improvised Explosive Device) related incidents which have caused significant casualties in recent years.
    • Rationalizing the surrender policy:
      • States should rationalize their surrender policy in order to bring innocent individuals caught in the trap of LWE into the mainstream.
      • Continued efforts and focus are needed in eliminating such groups.
    • Role of state:
      • The Centre and the States should make efforts in sync that are crucial in eliminating such radicalization amongst groups (like confidence-building measures, education, welfare schemes etc)          

    Related Terms

    Marxist ideology

    • Karl Marx says that society’s classes are the cause of struggle and that society should have no classes. An example of Marxism is replacing private ownership with cooperative ownership.
    • Marxism believes that capitalism can only thrive on the exploitation of the working class. 


    • Maoism is a form of communism developed by Mao Tse Tung. It is a doctrine to capture State power through a combination of an armed insurgency, mass mobilization and strategic alliances. The Maoists also use propaganda and disinformation against State institutions as other components of their insurgency doctrine.


    • It says it should be a dictatorship of the proletariat (the working class holds the power). It is thought to be one of the first steps towards socialism (where the workers own the factories, etc.).

    Source: IE