Naxalism in India

By Hemant Kumar|Updated : November 27th, 2019

Historical Background

 Left-Wing Extremism, another name of Naxalism erupted in underdeveloped areas where people were discontented due to many problematic situations including low wage rates, land tenancy, lingering feudal practices, etc. existing over there. These situations had a severe impact on the rural poor, thus, making them active participants in violent activities. Land related factors, displacement and forced evictions, Livelihood related cause Social Exclusion and Government related factors are some of the causes behind the spread of LWE.

One of the major reasons is the Land Reforms which were introduced after Independence including- Estate Acquisition Act, 1953 and Land Reforms Act (Land Ceilings), 1955. But the legislation introduced by Government had a little impact at the ground level due to tardy implementation. This enabled the extremists to exploit the discontented population especially in the areas where there were more landless labourers along with share-croppers. Another reason is government interference in the age-old relationship existing between the tribal people and the forests. It can be traced by the fact that the tribal people were well integrated with their forests life and thus, forests became an integral part of their living. The government disrupted this by introducing- The Forest Act, 1927 and Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and converting the forests areas into restricted areas for the tribal people, thus, accelerating the discontentment further.

Its origin lies in the Communist Party of India, which was founded in 1925 and were inspired by the October Revolution of Russia. A split in the CPI emerged during 1964 when it got divided into CPI and CPI (M). The latter one was based on Marxist Ideology.

It was on 25th May, 1967 when the Naxalbari uprising, first incidence of political violence in India, took place when one of the party worker of CPI (M), Charu Majumdar, revolted against his party due to the reason that CPI (M) participated in polls in 1967, as participating in democratic elections were against their ideology. The Naxalbari incident was a Peasants’ uprising in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, the reason behind this was that a tribal was attacked by the local landlords’ goons. This movement was named as “Spring Thunder of India” by the Communist Party of China.

Thus, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was formed by the Naxalites in 1969. It marks the first phase of Leftism in India.  Its cadre also started spreading in west Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, U.P., Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. The party decided to carry out annihilation of Class enemies through the use of conventional weapons, along with a strategy of Guerilla warfare.

It was in May 1969, when the party decided to replicate Naxalbari activity in Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) as the poor tribal people living over there constitutes 90% of the total population and were being exploited by the rest of 10% population of Zamindars. In this scenario, V.Satyanarayan emerged as the popular leader among the Girijans, the peasant community. Moreover, a violent programme was introduced having a code name as “Immediate Programme” under his leadership, and a four-point strategy was adopted to execute the plan including-

  • To Build Armed revolutionary Bases,
  • Carry out an armed struggle,
  • to offer resistance to the police forces and
  • to seize the property from the landlords.

As the programme began during May 1969 but it was the time when the public suppression was taking place side by side, it was during December 1969, when Satyanarayan was encountered by the police and thus, this marked the end of movement in Srikakulam.

This incident has bought despair among the members of CPI (ML) and thus, to motivate the members of this party, a Cultural Revolution was introduced by Charu in January 1970. This revolution was determined to take the entire ideology to the urban areas. Eventually, it was a complete failure as Charu was not successful in convincing the urban workers.

It was in May 1971, when again, contradictions erupted among the party members. Also, the defiance against Charu got momentum when the party leaders supported Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation Struggle. Eventually, he was arrested during his hideout in Calicut during July 1972, where he died in custody.

This was followed by many fragmentations among the party including the Naxalites of Andhra Pradesh named themselves as the CPI-ML and The Bihar Naxalites who renamed as The Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). Among all the newly organized Naxalite groups, CPI-ML is the most active one not only in Andhra Pradesh, but also in Orissa, Bastar-Dandakaranya belt of Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, thus, causing instabilities along with violence in these states as 8161 people have been killed by the LWE between 2004-2019.

Present Scenario:

The current status of Left Wing extremism is that out of 90 affected districts in 11 states, 30 districts in 7 states are the worst affected areas. The severely affected areas include Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar. West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are partially affected areas. Moreover, slightly affected areas are U.P. and M.P. 


As the violence of Left-wing Extremism reached its peak in 2010 but in 2011 a decline has been seen since then. The reason behind the decline of this violence is due to the increased security personnel across the affected states, loss of leaders because of arrests and surrenders, regular monitoring along with the better operational strategies in the affected areas. Moreover, a holistic approach has been adopted by an Indian Government for combating LWE by ensuring entitlements to local communities along with improvement in public perception management. This has resulted in the lowering of Naxal related violence and the affected regions.




  • Lack of human development-poor access to Education, Health, food security.
  • The feeling of Cultural alienation leading to a sense of humiliation.
  • Multifaceted forms of social atrocities and exploitation.
  • distribution of income being ununiform causing inequality and furthering poverty.
  • Poor land reforms implementation and the resulting unequal distribution of land lead to rising discontent among tribals.
  • Mining activities, Developmental projects often lead to large-scale tribal displacement from their lands but adequate rehabilitation remains absent.
  • Infrastructure gaps- lack of roads, communication and Further, forested areas aided in developing guerrilla warfare.
  • Political marginalization- Lack of Tribal Representation in mainstream politics.

Governmental Efforts to deal with this:

  1. Operation Steeplechase- it was a joint Army-CRPF-Police operation launched in 1971 that lead to the crackdown of many Naxalites in the region.
  2. Operation Green-Hunt: the Government deployed the Commando Battalion for Resolute Actions (COBRA) against Naxals in the year 2009. This operation popularly later came to be known as Operation Green Hunt.
  3. Andhra Pradesh formed their own specialised Greyhound commando force to tackle LWE.
  4. Government has adopted many schemes including- a ‘four prolonged strategy’ which was adopted in 2006 to deal with LWE. Other schemes include-

a.) “Security-Related expenditure scheme”, under which the Central government repays the State Government of 11 LWE affected areas the expenditure related to the security of        the 90 districts.

b.) “Special Central Assistance (SCA)”, is provided to the 30 most-affected districts and its motive is to cover the existing gaps between Public infrastructure and services.

c.) “Scheme of fortified Police Stations”, according to which in 10 LWE affected states, 400 police stations have been sanctioned.

d.)  The other schemes include Assistance to Central Agencies for LWE management scheme, Civic Action Programme, Road Requirement Plan-I, etc.

Apart from flagship schemes of the Central Government in infrastructure, education, education, health, skill development, etc. several other initiatives have been taken for the development of LWE affected areas which includes installation of mobile towers, improving networks of banking, etc.

All such issues have impacted these areas so badly that development has been set back by decades in many parts of the country under LWE influence. This needs recognition by the civil society and the media has to build pressure on Maoists to eschew violence, join the mainstream and recognize the fact that the socio-economics and the political dynamics of 21st century of India are far removed from the Maoist world view. The government is optimistic about eradicating LWE as the last two years have witnessed a 122% increase in the elimination of armed Maoists cadres and an overall reduction in violent incidents.

Best Practice around the world: Columbia

  • The peace process in Columbia was signed between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP(Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army).
  • The basis of the peace process was comprehensive rural reform so as to ensure holistic development of the rural population, involving the victims of establishment in the actual negotiation process and further strengthening citizen participation in the govt via enhanced democratic and electoral opportunities.
  • Their approach to this peace process put an end to the tussle between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.

 More from Us:

लक्ष्य UPPSC 2019: A Crash Course to Clear GS Paper

Are you preparing for State PCS exam,

Get Unlimited Access to ALL Mock Tests with Green Card Here

Check other links also:

Previous Year Solved Papers

Monthly Current Affairs

UPSC Study Material

Gist of Yojana

Daily Practice Quizzes, Attempt Here

Prep Smart. Score Better. Go Gradeup.


write a comment

Follow us for latest updates