Although, modern day India is highly capitalist in nature, it wasn’t so until before 1991 when socialism prevailed. However, India’s socialism never really took off as lives of peasants and landless labourers were nothing less than nightmares. Under the erstwhile government, India’s peasantry suffered. This led to formation of hardcore communist parties under Mao Zedong’s ideologies. Ultimately, giving rise to what is today known as the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency.
This movement originated and took a violent turn in West Bengal’s village Naxalbari. The militants fought for rights of landless and tribal farmers who were exploited frequently. Various factions of Communist Party of India were formed with a huge support base among villagers and peasants. They ambushed policemen, government servants and anyone and everyone who exploited the landless locals.
Slowly and steadily, they grew in number and the movement became violent. The Naxal movement originated in West Bengal but soon spread to nearby states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chattisgarh and even as far as Andhra Pradesh and Karantaka. Naxals demanded right for the farmers, through violent methods. Some of their deadliest attacks include the slaughter of 76 CRPF jawans in 2010 and their daring attack on the Congress leaders of Chattisgarh in 2013. One of their most recent attacks was on March 11, 2014 when they ambushed and killed around 15 CRPF men.
What has the government done to tackle this situation? It introduced the ‘Integrated Plan of Action’ to fight the Naxals, which was successfully implemented in Karantaka. It included proper development and police funding in backward areas of the state. The government has also announced pardons to Naxal cadre who surrender. However, this hasn’t taken off as the fight of the Naxals is for equality and development, which cannot be guaranteed by surrendering. Naxalite movement is still quite strong in Chattisgarh. Naxals engage in guerilla warfare and the backward and forest regions of Chattisgarh provide them perfect cover. Government has deployed the CRPF to fight this insurgency however, success has been limited. India has alleged that neighbouring Pakistan and China have supported this movement by provision of arms and ammo.
So far, government’s success on the Naxals has been quite limited and requires sustained efforts. The slaughter of CRPF men in ambushes is nothing new. The country is reeling with caste discrimination and inequality. Tribal farmers are neglected and exploited often. The aim of the government must not be to fight and kill the insurgents; it should be to provide social development and upliftment of these sections of the society. India’s progress would be deterred unless it is inclusive in nature. Unrelenting efforts must be made to engage the Naxals in peace-talks and to ensure and promise growth in regions like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar to tackle the insurgents. The onus is on the government to solve the problem non-violently.