[Model Answer QP2022 GS3] Naxalism is a social, economic and developmental issue manifesting as a violent internal security threat. In this context, discuss the emerging issues and suggest a multilayered strategy to tackle the menace of Naxalism.

The term Naxalism derives its name from the village Naxalbari of West Bengal. It originated as rebellion against local landlords who bashed a peasant over a land dispute. The rebellion was initiated in 1967, with an objective of rightful redistribution of the land to working peasants under the leadership of Kanu Sanyal and Jagan Santhal.
Started in West Bengal, the movement has spread across the Eastern India; in less developed areas of states such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. 
Naxals support Maoist political sentiments and ideology which is a form of communism developed by Mao Tse Tung. It is a doctrine to capture State power through a combination of armed insurgency, mass mobilisation and strategic alliances.

Naxalism is a social, economic and developmental issue

  1. Discontent among tribal population: The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 deprives tribals, who depend on forest produce for their living, from even cutting a bark. This further adds to the problem of inefficient implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006.: 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.
  2. Massive displacement population in the naxalism-affected states due to development projects, mining operations and other reasons.
  3. Administrative hurdles in dealing with LWE: Poor infrastructure, lack of communication and shortage of trained workforce are key problems to fight Maoists.

Multilayered strategy to tackle the menace of Naxalism

  1. Security Strategy 
    1. Operation Green Hunt: It was started in 2010 and massive deployment of security forces was done in the Naxal-affected areas. From 223 districts that were affected due to Naxalism in the year 2010, the number has come down to 90 in nine years.
  2. Developmental Strategy 
    1. The government even started ‘Relief and Rehabilitation Policy’ for bringing Naxalites into the mainstream.
    2. Aspirational Districts Programme: Launched in 2018, it aims to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas. 
    3. Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RCPLWE) is implemented for further improving road connectivity in LWE affected States.

Suggestions to tackle Naxalism

  1. Coordination of armed forces with local police: Local Police know the language and topography of a region; it can fight naxalism better than the armed forces.
  2. Coordination between centre and states: State governments need to understand that naxalism is their problem also and only they can tackle it effectively. They can take help from the central government if required. 
  3. Basic Services: Providing access to the basic resources such as forests, education, sanitation, and food. There is a need to emphasise on rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected population.
Government needs to ensure two things – security of the peace-loving people and the development of the naxalism-affected regions.

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