Three-year deadline to free Chhattisgarh from Maoist menace

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Left Wing Extremism (LWE)?
  • What are the reasons for the spread of LWE?
  • Current LWE situation in India
  • Why does Chhattisgarh continue to remain troubled?
  • Response by Centre

Why in news?

  • At a review meeting of Chhattisgarh’s Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) situation held in Raipur, Union Home Minister emphasised the need to free the affected pockets of the State within the next three years.
  • The minister highlighted that the problem was confined only to certain pockets of Chhattisgarh.
    • In the past couple of months, the number of anti-Naxal operations have been on the rise in Bastar and other LWE-affected areas of the State.

Left Wing Extremism (LWE)

  • Left-wing extremism is the single internal security threat that affects the largest number of States in India.
  • LWE aims to overthrow the existing democratic state structure with violence as their primary weapon, and mass mobilization and strategic united fronts as complementary components.
    • They plan to usher in So-called ‘New Democratic Revolution’ in India.
  • Left-wing extremists are popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites in India.

Reasons for the spread of LWE

  • Land Related Factors:
    • Encroachment and occupation of Government and Community lands (even the water-bodies) by powerful sections of society.
    • Lack of title to public land cultivated by the landless poor.
    • Poor implementation of laws prohibiting the transfer of tribal land to non-tribals in the Fifth Schedule areas.
    • Non-regularisation of traditional land rights.
  • Displacement and Forced Evictions:
    • Eviction from lands traditionally used by tribals.
    • Displacements caused by irrigation and power projects without adequate arrangements for rehabilitation.
    • Large scale land acquisition for ‘public purposes’ without appropriate compensation or rehabilitation.
  • Livelihood Related Causes:
    • Lack of food security – corruption in the Public Distribution System
    • Disruption of traditional occupations and lack of alternative work opportunities.
    • Deprivation of traditional rights in common property resources.
  • Social Exclusion:
    • Denial of dignity.
    • Continued practice, in some areas, of untouchability in various forms.
    • Poor implementation of special laws on prevention of atrocities, protection of civil rights and the abolition of bonded labour etc.
  • Governance Related Factors:
    • Corruption and inadequate provision/non-provision of essential public services including primary health care and education.
    • Misuse of powers by the police and violations of the norms of law.
    • Perversion of electoral politics and unsatisfactory working of local government institutions.

Current LWE situation in India

  • Maoist violence came down
    • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs:
      • 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.
  • Number of districts declared to be Naxal-affected
    • The government has cut the number of districts declared to be Naxal-affected from over 200 in the early 2000s to just 90 now.
    • It claims that the geographical spread of violence is actually restricted to just 45 districts.
      • According to the MHA, the arc of violence has been considerably restricted with just 25 districts accounting for 90% of the LWE violence.
    • 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.

Why does Chhattisgarh continue to remain troubled?

  • Late involvement of State Police in counter-Maoist operations
    • It is a widely accepted principle in counter-Maoist strategy that the war against Left Wing Extremism can only be won by the state police and not central forces.
      • This is because the state police have local knowledge and have local networks that are essential for the generation of intelligence.
    • 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.
    • This process, security establishment sources say, started late in Chhattisgarh.
    • By this time, police of neighbouring states had pushed Maoists from their states to Chhattisgarh, making it a concentrated zone of Maoist influence.
  • Absence of roads in the interiors of Bastar
    • The absence of roads in the interiors of Bastar has stymied the operations of security forces.
    • Minimal presence of the administration in the interiors of South Bastar has ensured that Maoists continue to have influence in the region.

Response by Centre

  • Different schemes to support LWE states
    • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) - focuses on equipping security forces to fight Maoists;
    • The Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) - aims to strengthen local police and intelligence set ups;
    • Special Central Assistance for building infrastructure such as roads in LWE districts.
  • Massive presence of the CRPF
    • The Centre has maintained a massive presence of the CRPF in the affected states for almost two decades.
  • Erection of mobile towers
    • 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.
  • Maoists sympathisers on the radar of Centre
    • The Centre has also unleashed the counter-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate on CPI(Maoist) cadres, leaders, and 

Q1) What is Maoism? 

Maoism is a political and ideological doctrine that was developed by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong. It is a form of Marxist-Leninist theory that emphasizes the importance of peasant-led revolutions and guerrilla warfare, and emphasizes the role of the masses in revolutionary struggles.

Q2) What is District Reserve Guard (DRG)?

The District Reserve Guard (DRG) is a specialized unit of the police force in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. It was established in 2008 to combat left-wing extremist (Maoist) violence in the state, which has been a longstanding problem in the region.

Source: Amit Shah sets three-year deadline to free Chhattisgarh from Maoist menace| Indian Express