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The term ‘Maoist’ has now become part of the Indian lexicon. A Naxal or Naxalites is a member of any of the Communist guerrilla groups in India, mostly associated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Maoist movement in India has a long history, dating back almost 40 years. The birth of the Naxalite movement in India took place in a remote village in West Bengal called Naxalbari in the year 1967.
A tribal youth named Bimal Kissan obtained a judicial order permitting him to plough his land. The local landlords with the support of their goons and musclemen attacked him. This event infuriated the local Tribal population and led to a violent retaliation by the tribal community to recapture their lands. The events in Naxalbari took shape of a giant rebellion and gained visibility and support across regions including West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The movement, primarily led by Jongol Saothal, Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal, CPI (M) dissidents, made a revolutionary impact amongst the students and youth, especially within college and university campuses. Civil disobedience and violent protests then began in earnest, as Indians sympathetic to the Naxalites began to see a pattern of events.
Charu Majumdar, a die-hard follower of Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung, became the undisputed leader of the CPI (M-L) and played an instrumental role in energizing the cadres and providing impetus to the larger movement. His exhortation as contained in the ‘Historic Eight Documents’, expresses the Naxalite ideology. From a Rebellion to a socio-political movement to a problem involving the country’s internal security; the Naxal Movement has indeed come a long way. This Maoist journey has been the most unusual one as it traveled from an unknown village of Naxalbari in West Bengal, to reach 509 Police stations comprising of 7000 villages in II states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamilnadu, _Karnataka and Kerala. The level of violence is significant in the affected districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra and Orissa. Naxal outfits have laid special emphasis on militarization of their fighting formations by acquiring new technology, particularly relating to fabrication and firing mechanism for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and weapons.
The naxal outfits continue to augment their armed strength by embarking on extensive induction of misguided youth into their formation. The naxalist targeting the police posts, railway stations, forest checkpoints and other private/Government properties. The attacks on railway/other properties have been more prominent in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. aggression continues to cause a serious challenge to internal security in the country. Presently India facing Naxalism threat in 170 districts in 15 states prominently being Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal. Naxalist activities have spread to newer areas as they have been detected to the North of India in Uttarakhand in Nainital, Almora, Pittoragarh, Champawat and Udham Singh Nagar; and down South of India in Tamil Nadu in Dharmapuri, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, Theni, and Kodaikanal, as well as Bellary, Shimoga, Udupi, Chikmaglur, Dakshin Kannada and Kolar in Karnataka.
The growing transnational phenomenon requires multi prolonged strategy to combat this internal war. Apart from the other measures this menace needs to be tackled from socio-legal point of view. The complex and structural causes of the problem support this proposition. The Naxal movement also presents the greatest overall threat to India in the future, as it highlights various underlying weaknesses of India’s governance, political institutions and socio-economic structure. Naxalism is the biggest threat because it affects several areas including the economy, security and foreign affairs, its citizens and rule of law. Because of the multidimensional aspect of the Naxal problem, a three-pronged approach should be taken in dealing with the threat. It calls for a balance between military forces, social and economic development, as well as dialogue between all parties.