Introduction Indiabeing the most populous democratic country is one of the fastest growingeconomies in the world. India has a great potential of becoming a superpower inthe near future. Even with the increase in the globalised environment Indiafaces threats to its security internally through the Naxalites. The weakness inIndia’s governance, political institutions and socio-economic structure ishighlighted by the Naxal movement and it speaks volume about the threat toIndia’s future.
Naxal orNaxalite are the terms used to refer to the various militant communist groupsoperating in different parts of India. Naxalism being the biggest threat affectsvarious areas such as economy, security and foreign affairs, its citizens andrule of law in a country. Naxalism being a multi-dimensional problem a balancebetween military forces, social and economic development and dialogue betweenthe parties are some of the approaches to deal with this threat. Therefore itis important to understand the root cause of the Naxal problem and what can bethe possible solution.Theideology behind Naxalism is based on the ideologies of Marxism and Maoism.Marxism had emerged as a reaction against capitalism and the negative effectsof Industrial Revolution. Industrial Revolution divided the society of Europeinto two classes i.
e. the bourgeoisie (the owners of factories or owners of themeans of production) and Proletariats (the working class or means of productionsuch as farmers or factory workers). The Capitalists suppressed the workingclass as there were no labour laws at the time. Therefore Karl Marx advocatedthe ideology that there should be a classless society so that there are noconflicts and the political power should be hijacked by the proletariats fromthe bourgeoisie. The use of force or violence to get the political power is notfrowned upon by this ideology. Later Maoism developed which is the Chineseversion of Marxism.
Maoism talks about the dictatorship of the agriculturallabourers and rural peasants. Though there were a few differences betweenMaoism and Marxism the end goal sought by both the ideologies was the same i.e.a classless society. Naxalism is based on the principles of Marxism, Maoism. Originof NaxalismTheNaxalite movement can be said to have started in the 1960s.
The Naxalitemovement was an uprising from the impulse of revolutionary idealism. Thepeasants uprising of the 18th and 19th centuries and theorganized armed struggles of the peasants led by Communists in Telangan in the1940s paved way for the Naxal leaders. Socio-economic problems, missadministration, unaccountability and perceived injustice and growing agrariantension have led to advent of Naxalism. The argument of the Naxalites is thatthe exisiting government and the system is corrupt and it can be tackled withviolence only. The reason for this movement was to liberate the poor throughland and social reforms.
The Naxalites feel it is justified to use violence toachieve radical reforms. The aim of the Naxalites was noble but the methodopted to achieve the goal was misguided and unlawful. The Naxalite movement hasquickly strayed away from its noble goal of social justice and has become anextremist force to create internal disturbance in India. Naxalism grew from atiny movement of Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal in the village of Naxalbari inthe foothills of Himalayas in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Mazumdar wasa great admirer of Mao Zedong (Chinese Communist leader) and advocated the teachingsof Mao and said that lower castes must overthrow the government and the upperclasses. The movement was named as Communist Party of India (Marxist). Anothersimilar group called the Marxist Communist Centre (MCC) was active in South.
Bothof them merged and became CPI (Maoist), following Maoist doctrine. They wereseeking power through armed violence. Naxalism has been a threat to the statefor the past forty years. The ideology of Naxalites appeals to the downtroddenand deprived strata of people. The members of the organisation are ready tosacrifice themselves for the cause of seizing political power through armedviolence.
Oneof the main factors of Naxalism is India’s failure to develop the trial areasdue to which the Maoist have spawned in these areas and created havoc. Thegovernment needs to listen to the grievances of the tribal people and solvethem. Naxalism has been deeply rooted due to the negligence of the tribal andlandless people by the government.
Naxalism is in the states of West Bengal,Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh basically states whichare hugely dominated by tribal people. Historically the tribal people arefreedom minded as they are deeply attached to their land, forest. The lack ofbasic governance in the tribal areas is a big problem. Lack of communication,basic health care, education, banking services, etc in the tribal areas is ahuge problem.
Government machinery has failed and the government officials arescared to be posted in the tribal areas. The decentralization of the localgovernment is not fulfilled in these areas which leads to alienation of theseareas from the country. This vacuum is filled by the Maoists in the area.Therefore Maoists can be tackled only by modernizing and strengthening therural policies and intelligence agencies need to be present in these areas. Politicaland economic factors also lead to Naxalism. Economically, the problem ofpoverty and economic stratification has helped increase the Naxalism movement. Majorityof the downtrodden people comprises of tribal, dalits and landless poor. Theyare deprived of the basic necessaries of the human life.
The fruit of economicgrowths has not reached to them. In addition, a contractor-politician nexuscontrols the wealth of the forests and pushes tribal’s to the margins. Arepressive state apparatus, represented by the police and the black laws they useto their advantage, helps keep this exploitative system going.Thesituation has further worsened by the opening up of the Indian economy to tradeand investment; the entry of the multinational companies in Odisha andChhattisgarh poses a threat to the livelihoods of tribal and their way of life.These MNCs are eyeing on the vast natural resources like minerals, forestproducts etc. The demand of raw materials for the industrial development hasput pressure on forest and mining areas. But the then govt law regarding miningetc has underestimated the interests of the tribal.
Large scale displacement hasbeen taken place due to establishment of large-scale mineral based industriesand hydel dams. Thus economic exploitation of the tribal, a problem that isunattended by the political system, creates a fertile soul for the Naxals toplay an important role. Impactof Naxalism in IndiaTheeconomy of the country is affected by the Naxalite movement and severely impactsthe development of the country. The effects of the Naxal movement over macro-economicsare- 1.Reduction in per capita GDP growth.2.Higher inflation rates3.
Lower tax revenues – The Naxals run a parallel government in their areaspreventing the governing agencies to collect taxes etc.4.Lower domestic investment and higher expenditure on defense at the cost oflower expenditure on education and health5.Lower exports, reduced bilateral trade flows and reduced foreign directinvestment inflows. – Due to the Naxal violence and their extortion businessforeign and domestic investment remains low. These problems are coupled withthe lack of good transportation facilities which are also a victim of Naxalviolence.Micro-economiceffects include lower tourist inflows, lower regional tourism market share,reduced usage of public transport, reduced long term investments in agricultureand other potential sectors, reduced enrollment in schools, lower jobavailability and lack of substantial opportunities. Some instances of Naxalviolence adversely affecting the trade and economy are – damaging roadconstruction machinery, shutting down and destroying bank branches, damage torailway lines, highways and telecom towers thereby inhibiting communication andtransport and destruction of the pipeline for transporting iron ore slurry inChattisgarh.
According to reports, power and steel industry projects inChattisgarh with investments of the order of Rs.130billion were stagnated dueto Naxalite disturbances. All in all it’s a very grim economic condition whichaffects all sectors of industry and all class of people.Therecent increase in militancy amongst the Naxal cadres has attracted a lot ofcriticism. The Indian Government has gone ahead and stated that Naxalites arenow the single biggest internal security threat for the country.The immediateeconomic and social problems of the masses took a back seat and the battle forthe supremacy with the state became the central theme. There have been a rangeof acts of violence which have no direct consequence on the rights of thepeople but invariably end up harming the masses. Naxalites have alwaysattempted to disrupt elections thereby not only preventing masses from choosingtheir leaders but also inhibiting them from exercising their fundamental rightto vote.
The Maoist extortion business is estimated to be around a whopping2000 crore rupees. All contractors have to pay 5-10% of the project cost to Naxalitesas ‘protection money’. There have been repeated incidents of Naxalites blowingup schools, trains and rail lines apart from government buildings which harmthe common masses more than the politburo of governance. There have beenreports that Naxals physically torture police informers by gruesome acts likebeheading, hacking of limbs and even gouging out of eyes. Another incident thathappened on 6 July 2007 when a group of armed Naxalites extorted Rs 65,000 froma farmer in Chikmagalur went on to demonstrate that the Naxals have lost theprinciples for which they fought once and are adversely affecting the lives ofthe people they once sought to help.
ConclusionThecomplexity of the causes of the Naxalite problem as well as its implicationsboth for internal and external security reflect a solution that is multi-dimensionaland calls for a synergy between the central governments and the states. In orderto comprehensively dissolve the Naxalite threat, the government has to addressits root causes. Socio-economic alienation and the dissatisfaction with thewidening economic and political inequality will not be solved by military forcealone, which seems to be the main instrument employed by the government. Theproblem calls for a three-pronged solution: social and economic development,multi-lateral dialogue and military force.Asthe Naxalites are fuelled by discontent from the marginalised and the poor, alarger percentage of the national budget must be allocated to addressing theneeds of these regions. More of the national expenditure needs to be focused ondeveloping these poorer regions through initiatives regarding health,education, social welfare and rural and urban development. Government servicedelivery should be improved in these tribal areas. Both state and governmentmust ensure that things such as statutory minimum wages, access to land and watersources initiatives are implemented.
In coming up with strategies for nationaleconomic growth, the government must always bear in mind the possible effectsof fast growth for all socio-economic groups in a country as large and diverseas India. If the social needs of these marginalised people are addressed, therewill be no discontent to fuel the Naxalite’s movements.Thegrowing Naxalite insurgency also reflects a flaw in the federal structure.Because law and order is seen as a state responsibility, the central governmentis unable to be implementing a coherent national strategy to address thethreat.
Ganguly notes that “in the absence of a near complete breakdown ofpublic order or without the express request of the afflicted state, the centralgovernment cannot… Intervene.” The government has the overall responsibilityof mobilising development, but it cannot do so without the support of thestates. The central government and the states need to cooperate together tosolve the internal security threats and coordinate the implementation of thismulti-dimensional approach. Both organisations must complement and support eachother’s initiatives and strategies. But the present economic growth models areadvocating of that type of economic growth which is not sustainable. Forexample this part of our country is mineral rich. Therefore multinationalcompanies are interested to exploit these areas at any cost. But at the cost oflower strata of the people, these people are tribal people and landless farmer.
These are the person whom has to be displaced but not gained anything inreturn. Therefore large scale dissatisfaction is arising. Governance is totallyabsent there.
Recent lethal attack of Naxalites on Congress leaders inChhattisgarh are pointer of lack of Government coordination there. Althoughgovt policy is good, if implementation is nil then serious problems arise. Thisis the main reason for rising of Maoist insurgency in these areas. Counterterrorism activity like ‘Operation green hunt’ is never a solution for thisproblem. Then what is the solution? Actually there is no quick fix solution ofthis problem. The need of the hour is good governance.
The public also do theirbit to solve this problem. We cannot criticise the establishment for each andevery problem. Here the role of public or civil society is very important.Government is making every possible effort by making all possible policies and instruments.But to implement all the policies and to create awareness among the public, therole of civil society is also very important.