Indian Defence

Naxalism: Why We Are Not Able To Eliminate It Even After 50 years?

The recent naxal attack in Chhattisgarh, in which 22 security personnel attained Veergati, has once again made us to think that, why a small revolt from Naxalbari village has taken such a bloodiest shape. Why still after 50 years, the government is not able to eliminate the violent ideology of Naxalism.

Today in this article we will discuss the various factors and reasons due to which, even after 50 years of naxalite activities, the government is not able to get a hold on their violent activities.

If you want to know about the details of Naxalism in India like their origin, ideology, history, causes and various phases of Naxalism in India……Read here for part 1 and read here for part 2…

Before discussing the various factors, due to which the government is not able to eliminate the naxals, first let’s discuss about some of the central government development programs for reducing Naxalite activities in tribal areas…….

Government Efforts In Eliminating Naxalism

Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme: Under this scheme, the central Govt. reimburses expenditure relating to training and operational needs of security forces, ex-gratia payment to the family of civilians/security forces killed/injured in LWE violence, compensation to Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrendered in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the concerned State Government. The SRE Scheme aims at strengthening of the capacity of the LWE affected States to fight the LWE menace effectively. Under the scheme, Rs. 304.49 crore was released in 2020-21.

Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 30 most LWE affected districts: The main objective of the Scheme is to fill the critical gaps in Public infrastructure and Services, which are of emergent nature. Rs. 2598.24 crore have been released to the States during last 4 years.

Scheme of Fortified Police stations: Ministry had sanctioned construction of 400 Fortified Police Stations in 10 LWE affected States. Of these 399 of PSs have been completed.

Assistance to Central Agencies for LWE management Scheme: Under the Scheme, assistance is provided to Central Agencies (CAPFs/IAF etc) for strengthening of infrastructure and hiring charges for Helicopters.

Civic Action Programme (CAP): CAP in LWE affected areas is being implemented since 2010-11 to bridge the gaps between Security Forces and local people through personal interaction to the local population by for conducting various civic activities for the welfare of the local people. 7.22 crore was released to CAPFs in the financial year 2020-21.

Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I) for LWE affected areas: This Scheme is being implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for improving road connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts of 8 States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. This scheme envisaged construction of 5,362 km roads lengths in LWE affected States, of which 4,980 km roads have been completed.

Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II): Under this scheme 9286 km of roads and 389 bridges are sanctioned. Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal Ministry for this project. The roads included under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies. 3452 km roads and 78 bridges have been constructed so far.

LWE Mobile Tower Project: To improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas, the Government on 20.08.2014 approved installation of mobile towers in LWE affected States and 2335 mobile towers have been installed in Phase-I. Phase-II of the project has been approved by the Government of India, under which 4072 mobile towers, involving an expenditure of Rs. 7330 crore, has been approved by the Government of India.

Apart from these development programmes, the Central Government has also started various military operations against them like Operation Green Hunt.

Now let’s discuss the reasons why after so much efforts by government to tackle the Naxalism are not successful and why still the naxals have strong holds in naxalite activities…………….

Local / Tribal Support

Tribal people supporting Naxalism
Tribal people supporting Naxalism

Naxals enjoys fairly good amount of tribal support. These people provide them food, shelter and act as a shield against any offensive operations by defence forces. These people who are living a normal life as a villager is actually working as a agent to them providing them various intelligence inputs.

Tribal people consider them as their saviour. They are trapped in the false claims of the naxals that development comes through means of violence. Naxals often use various propaganda and have changed their perception, that the state is against their development. These people consider naxals superior to the government and are always ready to die for them.

The tribal people living under constant threat of being alienated from their land and livelihood, while the government has completely failed to reach out to them, the naxals succeeded in connecting to the section of the people. The innocent youth of these areas get their hands on guns before books.

Their constant exploitation by elite class have forced them to take guns. Nationalisation of coal mines during 1970’s, the Forest (conservation) Act, 1980, had deprived their rights, as they were mainly dependent on forest produce, had led to forced displacement of their population. Even after living in such a mineral rich areas, their development is decimal. Till now they have not any proper access to education, health and livelihood. Many instances of brutality by police and by elite class are known. All these factors have cut off their faith on government’s administration and had forced them to favor naxalism.

Naxals have successfully expanded their bases with a strategy of brainwashing poor villagers, who are victims of police and government harassment, socially backward and economically deprived. Naxals promise development and upliftment to them, poor villagers fall prey to their propaganda and considers state as their enemy. Any attempts of government to reach to the tribal, by means of awareness and development are opposed by these naxals. They have formed Bal Dastas of children of age just 7-10 years. These children get brainwashed and training for Naxalite activities and are working for them from such small age.

The shelters provided by local people to the naxals have created a serious problem in differentiating who is a naxal and who is not. In the red belt areas the normal people and naxals are actually living with each other in the same locality. They are not hiding in underground bunkers or in jungles like the terrorists do in Kashmir. So, before arresting anyone or firing any bullet, the person has to be verified 100 times, and it actually give them the required time to plan and execute their next move.

Guerrilla Warfare Tactics

Guerrilla tactics
Guerrilla tactics, taking advantage of height

Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants use military tactics like ambushes, raid, hit-and-run tactics and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Their tactics focus on avoiding head-on confrontation with enemy armies, instead of engaging in limited skirmishes with the goal of exhausting adversaries and forcing them to withdraw. These Guerrilla focus on mobility, secrecy, and surprise, organizing in a small unit and take advantage of terrain that it difficult for a traditional army to use.

Naxals have their bases in jungle areas, they have good knowledge of terrain and geography, ample forest cover and tribal support for defence. They never attack defence personnel from the front, wait for the opportunity and on right time inflict heavy damages to the security personnel. They rely on sudden attack using devices like Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and subsequent firing.

Naxals follows principle of Mao Zedong, that “Military action is a method used to attain political goal”. Mao’s military tactics during the second Sino-Japanese war, focused on using of guerrilla tactics, and in his leadership his army had successfully inflicted heavy damages to the Japanese. Naxals uses his principal that to expel an army that has more arms, equipment’s and troops, they have to be quick, avoid defensive tactics, focus on attack and retreat. Their tactics could be summed up as “The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue”.

History records that from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj victory against Mughal, to Hitler’s tactic of “Blitzkrieg” (lightning war), from Mao’s victory in Chinese civil war to Americans defeat in Vietnam war, the guerrilla warfare tactics proved to be successful at many fronts.

To sum up why naxals still have a strong position against our defence personnel? We can conclude that because :-

  • they have better knowledge of geography and terrain.
  • tribal people provides them shelter, act as a shield and inform them in advance in case of any offensive operations.
  • their principal lies in quick and offensive operations, and avoiding defensive positions.
  • they dictate the timing of conflicts with our security personnel.
  • they are prepared to flee from the fighting site in case of any eventuality, unlike traditional army.
  • they never attack from front, wait for right time and then inflict heavy damages to the security personnel.

Continuous Funding

Illegal money supply to naxals

According to various reports, the net worth of naxals is around 1500 crore. The naxals have a corporate style organisation, they have their own arms factory, research and development wing and recruitment bureau. They spend their money on weapon procurement, propaganda, recruitment and training.

They have various sources of getting funding. They run many parallel government in areas which are out of reach of state government. They collect taxes like land tax, agriculture tax and custom duty from the local people. Throughout the country many ideologically motivated people sympathize with Maoists politics. They get funding from these Maoist sympathizers and also receive donations from wealthy extreme lefties people.

They are also involved in poaching, trafficking and illegal mining. The naxals have most of their bases either in forest areas or in mineral rich areas. It provides them good ground of getting continuous supply of money. Like in forest areas they are involved in poaching of animals and illegal trafficking of its body parts. In mineral rich areas they are involved in illegal mining of minerals like coal, iron, graphite etc.

Kidnapping and extortion are another source of their income. Naxals are involved in kidnapping of high profile persons like political leaders, wealthy businessman, security personnel and bureaucrats, in demand of money. They also get their share of funding through the various infrastructure project of government, that are passed for these tribal belt. Many political leaders also fund them for their political gains. Many instances of foreign funding from Nepal and China are also known.

Extensive Weapon Supply

Illegal weapons supply to naxals

The naxals procure weapons from different sources and by different methods.

They loot arms and ammunition from the local police station. During ambush with police or security personnel they snatch their arms, ammunition and equipment’s like bulletproof vests, night vision devices and communication sets. Like during the recent naxal attack, they have looted boots, weapons and rifles of the martyred security personnel. They also bribe the security forces for getting arms and ammunition.

It is a known fact that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had provided them the training in handling of weapons, mines and grenade. The Nepalese maoists had also conducted many strategic exercises with these naxal. With the help of LTTE and Nepalese maoists, the naxal have successfully built factories, that supplied them arms, ammunition, motor and IED.

These naxals have also links with the north-east separatist groups of India like National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) and United Liberation Front Army (ULFA) of Assam. These groups help them in procuring weapons through Myanmar and Bangladesh border. These groups also help them in getting funds from China.

They have also contact with mining contractors operating in the Naxalite-controlled areas. They get explosives, blasting caps, detonators, land mines and IED’s from these contractors.

Apart from these factors, there are also other factors like the naxals mostly operate from the areas that lies near interstate border areas. It provides them a safe ground to hide, as they can continuously change their position from one state to another. Police forces of two states lacks in real time data sharing and coordination, which makes difficult for them to catch these naxals.

Naxals hideout

Like the Bastar and Dantewada region of Chhattisgarh, considered to be one of the most deadliest Maoist epicenter, actually it share border with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Due to its strategic location the naxals continuously keep on changing their position from one state to another.

All these factors make it difficult for government to crackdown on the naxals.

So far, central and various state governments, have done a commendable job in restricting their expansion. Still, there is a lot to be done. Govt. should take every measure to reduce regional imbalance.

There are mainly two possible solutions to the naxalite activities either development in tribal areas or using tough military stance to wipe out these naxals.

In some other articles we will discuss about various possible solutions to eliminate Naxalism.

Thank you


Aniket Kumar

A defence aspirant, desiring to gain as much knowledge as possible by writing blogs because knowledge increases by sharing.

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