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SYNOPSIS [26th April,2021] Day 91: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. Comment upon the philosophical basis and objectives of left wing extremism?
Candidates are expected to write about Left wing extremism and comment on their objectives and philosophical basis.
In the review meeting on LWE, the Union Home Minister has termed Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) as one of the major internal security threats faced by the nation. However, events of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) violence came down from 2258 in 2009 to 833 in 2018.
LWE Origins –
- Tebhaga movement it was the first communist movement which started in West Bengal in 1946. Telangana movement which was led by the people of Telangana in the period of 1946-51 against the atrocities of the Nizam rule also acquired radical dimensions as it progressed.
- The origins of the LWE can be traced back to 1967 in the three areas of Naxalbari (from which the term Naxal originates), Phansidewa and Khoribari in West Bengal’s Darjeeling District.
- The initial uprising was led by Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal, who were members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The initial uprising was in the form of a peasant revolt. Two years later in 1969, the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) was formed.
- Although originated in West Bengal, the movement spread to the less-developed rural regions of southern and eastern India, in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
- The Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) was formed in 1975. This group merged with the People’s War Group in 2004, to form the CPI (Maoist).
Philosophical basis of Left wing extremism –
- Naxalism in India, like any other leftist movement around the globe draws its ideological basis from the Russian revolution wherein Lenin successfully fought against the Czar through a combination of peasant movement and an armed struggle. The prime intent was to bestow power in the hands of the exploited and marginalized and enforce societal control over governance and nation building.
- After the success of the Lenin-led revolution in Russia, the intellectual class in many countries started thinking of ushering in a change in their respective nations. Prominent amongst them were Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong. In China, Mao Zedong used this philosophy successfully which led to the origin of ‘Maoism’. Maoism is a doctrine that teaches to capture State power through a combination of armed insurgency, mass mobilisation and strategic alliances. Mao called this process, the ‘Protracted People’s War’. ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’ is the key slogan of the Maoists.
- Naxalites are far-left radical communists who derive their political ideology from the teachings of Mao Zedong.
Objectives of the LWE –
- The objective of the Naxalites is to wage an armed revolution, modeled on the lines of the Chinese Revolution, which they call New Democratic Revolution (NDR), and usher in their own form of government.
- The Naxalites state their main political purpose as establishing an alternative state structure in India by creating a “red corridor” in Naxalite-affected states, stretching from the border of Nepal to central India to Karnataka in the south through violent struggle.
- The LWE organisations, in pursuit of their stated goal of overthrowing the government, resort to armed violence against anyone they perceive to be their enemy, and this includes innocent civilians also.
- In many instances, they carry out high-profile murders and kidnappings to instil fear in their opponents and civilians.
- In many cases, they get the support of the tribal population in an area since they are seen as deliverers, in a situation where the authorities have failed to provide the basic amenities.
Way forward –
- The D Bandopadhyay Committee (2006) highlighted the lack of governance, economic, socio-political and cultural discrimination against the tribals as the chief reason for the spread of Naxalism. The Committee recommended tribal-friendly land acquisition and rehabilitation as a means to counter this issue.
- Operation SAMADHAN The policy was initiated in 2015 as a multidimensional approach to tackle LWE.
- States also need to adopt a focused time-bound approach to completely eliminate LWE groups and ensure all-round development of the affected regions.
Naxalism is an internal security matter and is not just a law and order problem also – it has grown into a big headache for both people and government. But its roots lie in deep discontent that apathy of government bred towards poor tribes of these regions. Only through addressing those problems it is possible to stop the further spread of left wing extremism. Whenever naxals indulge in violence, and obstruct development works being implemented, government must deal with sternly but as home ministry warned officials, without violating standard operation methods.
2. What are the key challenges faced by the government in tackling left wing extremism? Analyse.
Question straight forward. Candidate can outline the challenges faced by government in tackling the left wing extremism and then in the second half way forward can be given.
Left Wing Extremism or Naxal Movement has been the source of extreme violence in some parts of the country. These extremists are internally waging wars against the state. It is considered to be the most important security concern. These extremist movements have disconnected several tribal villages from the national main stream. They want abolition of state to establish the rule of people.
LWE has its genesis in poor governance, lack of development in the tribal belt, and an oppressive/exploitative hierarchy of the state and society that has pushed the tribal population, the landless, to the margins of survival.
Challenges faced by government in tackling LWE –
- Leadership Issue: In the current scenario, barring a few exceptions, many of the senior police officers (IPS cadre) who are parachuted into the central police forces at senior ranks have little or no platoon/battalion experience.
- By training, the police officer is expected to be a competent Superintendent and to maintain law and order. This is not the skill-set that is relevant when an officer has to “command” and lead his men into insurgency operations. This led to armed personnel casualties. In the last three decades, around 15000 people have lost their lives owing to LWE.
- Recruiting Tribal Youths: It is not ideology and revolutionary zeal that is driving people who are engaged in LWE. Their main activity is extortion. For many, joining these groups is the only way to survive.
- Further, these organizations hire vulnerable people who have low literacy levels, unemployed or low income, particularly the tribals, building up their cadre. This creates a positive feedback loop of recruitment of youth into LWE.
- Threatening Democracy: They resort to violence through their guerrilla tactics and attempt to set up their own government in the local villages. They threaten the locals before the conduct of elections and prevent them from voting. This violates the principle of participative democracy.
- Earlier operations such as Salwa Judum have benefitted Naxalites as the violence intensified and the advantage was taken by Maoists to build positive image against the state led violence.
- Para-Military Reforms: The Kargil Review Committee (KRC) report noted that in wake of Internal security challenges that the country faces, the role and the tasks of the paramilitary forces have to be restructured particularly with reference to command and control and leadership functions. This recommendation has not been implemented.
- Modernizing Police: States play a vital role in maintaining law and order. So, emphasis should be laid on the capacity-building and modernization of the local police forces. Local forces can efficiently and effectively neutralize the LWE organizations. Due to lack of reforms, we witness low morale of forces on ground.
What can be done?
- The Government of India in 2017 announced a new doctrine, SAMADHAN. The doctrine was announced during the Review Meeting of Left Wing Extremism affected States.
- S– Smart Leadership, A– Aggressive Strategy, M– Motivation and Training, A– Actionable Intelligence, D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas), H– Harnessing Technology, A– Action plan for each Theatre, and N- No access to Financing.
- Marginalization of LWE Groups: States also need to adopt a focused time-bound approach to completely eliminate LWE groups and ensure all-around development of the affected regions.
- States should rationalize their surrender policy in order to bring innocent individuals caught in the trap of LWE into the mainstream. Given the complexities involved in India’s national-security architecture, it is crucial to improve coordination between various federal and state security agencies.
- It is clear that the Maoists do not want development to take place, which is clear by their targeting schools and communication channels. Whatever their goals, they are now armed insurgency groups intended only to capture power to serve their own interests.
- Along with these, sufficient and speedy development should be brought about in the worst-affected areas as only this will render the Maoists insignificant. As long as there is disillusionment with the authorities, such elements will always find sympathizers among sections of the people.
States play a vital role in maintaining law and order. So, emphasis should be laid on the capacity-building and modernization of the local police forces. Local forces can efficiently and effectively neutralize the LWE organizations. For the holistic last-mile development of “New India”, it is necessary to get rid of the menace of such radicalized groups, & the synergized efforts of the Centre and the States are crucial in achieving the same.
3. Discuss the strategy adopted by the government to address the security threats emanating from external state and non-state actors.
Since the question is asking you to discuss hence it necessitates a debate where reasoning is backed up with evidence to make a case for and against an argument and finally arriving at a conclusion.
External vulnerabilities that pose challenges to India’s national security can be by either by state or non-state actors. ‘State actor’ is used in the context where one government supports an actor in the performance of an act or acts of terrorism against the other often deemed as a state sponsor. Organizations and individuals not connected with, directed by, or funded through the government are non-state actors.
THE STRATEGY ADOPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS THE SECURITY THREATS EMANATING FROM EXTERNAL STATE AND NON-STATE ACTORS –
- A lesson from our ancient history, oft-forgotten, is the imperative of internal unity in the country. The government believe that external challenges can be handled adequately when the nation retains internal cohesiveness and that remain the part of strategy.
- That most of India’s internal security challenges have an external dimension to it is well known, government is trying to factor in the linkages between the two to shape our response.
- In dealing with the situation in J&K, in Naxalism affected areas and the Northeast, the government is using the correct amalgam between sound security measures and exhibiting compassion cum sensitivity to the local populace.
- In a democracy, legitimate protests are normal and thus governments at the Centre and states are trying not to get unduly perturbed over these and deal with dissent sympathetically and not treat those who differ from the establishment’s views as anti-nationals.
- The government is trying to make the DRDO and the many ordnance factories it has under its ambit far more accountable and effective.
- India has a vibrant private sector too with some having a reasonably good record in defence production. The government is giving the private sector a level playing field and an assurance of purchasing their output to give a fillip to indigenous defence production.
- In addition, the government is trying to ensure that as it pays huge amounts to foreign military entrepreneurs while importing state-of-the art equipment, it insist upon transfer of critical technologies, and ultimately production of the same platforms, weapons, ammunition, spares etc., within the country. With many security challenges confronting the nation, there is no alternative to indigenous defence production.
Apart from the strategy, India must also carry out an institutional, periodic holistic review of the many security organisations and structures it has to ensure their greater effectiveness. The Chief of Defence Staff appointment, now a year old since its inception, must prevail upon the government to issue a comprehensive National Strategic Security Document which lays down a roadmap prioritization of India’s short, medium and long-term perspective plans.
As India rises to confront all challenges to its well-being and security in 2021, the need of the hour is restoring India’s economic health, ensuring unfailing internal cohesion, fidelity to the Constitution and overall security preparedness with greater vigor and planning.
4. Can lack of development be attributed as the most significant contributor towards the spread of left wing extremism in India? Critically comment.
As the directive is critically comment students are expected to write both the aspects of the lack of development as the significant factor towards the spread of left wing extremism in India.
Left-wing extremism, also known by various other names such as Naxalism and Maoism, is a form of armed insurgency against the State motivated by leftist ideologies. Left-wing extremists are also known as Maoists globally and as Naxalites in India. There are several left-wing extremist organizations in the country operating in many areas. They reject parliamentary democracy and are aiming at waging an armed revolution against the government. They follow extreme violence and also harm innocent civilians in many cases. Some groups also engage in parliamentary politics while at the same time, maintain underground cadres. Examples of such groups: Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Janashakti.
Lack of development and spread of left wing extremism in India –
- Naxalbari, a village near Siliguri North West Bengal, became infamous in 1967 as it revived left wing extremism in India. Charu Mazumdar was active leader of the area and was mobilizing peasants against state for an armed conflict. On the other hand there were repetitive incidences of Class conflicts between peasants and zamindars. One such conflict escalated and zamindar was expelled from his land. After this police came to his rescue and was surrounded by about thousand peasants armed with bows, arrows, lathis etc. this became the tipping point for the rise of naxalite movement in India.
- Heavy state response kept violent incidents under control in 1970’s but it got push in 1980’s. This time it was from Andhra Pradesh. Actually, in 1967 itself movement also started in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh. Here revolutionaries tried to mobilize tribals into armed militias called ‘dalams’, by inciting them against landlords, money lenders and government.
- They resorted to ‘annihilation of class enemy’ under which people those represented state i.e. government servants, Forest officials and other oppressive characters such as money lenders and landlords, were to be identified and killed.
- Heavy state response kept violent incidents under control in 1970’s but it got push in 1980’s. This time it was from Andhra Pradesh. Actually, in 1967 itself movement also started in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh. Here revolutionaries tried to mobilize tribals into armed militias called ‘dalams’, by inciting them against landlords, money lenders and government. They resorted to ‘annihilation of class enemy’ under which people those represented state i.e. government servants, Forest officials and other oppressive characters such as money lenders and landlords, were to be identified and killed.
- Naxalism is spread in the most backward areas of the country this backwardness becomes breeding ground to motivate and recruit the people into their own folds exploitation by money lenders and faulty land reforms amplified the backwardness and hence became the significant reasons for the spread of naxalism in India.
However lack of development is not the only reason for the spread of Naxalism in India, there are other reasons which lead to the spread which are as follows –
- Forest mismanagement was one of the main causes of the spread of Naxalism. It originated during the time of British administration when new laws were passed to ensure the monopolization of the forest resources. Following the globalization in the 1990s, the situation worsened when the government increased the exploitation of the forest resources. This led the traditional forest dwellers to fight for their aspirations against the government through violence.
- Haphazard tribal policy implementation, marginalization, and displacement of the tribal communities worsened the situation of Naxalism.
- The increase in the interregional and intraregional differences and inequalities led to people choosing Naxalism. Naxal-groups mostly consist of the poor and the deprived like the anglers, small farmers, daily labourers, etc. The government policies have failed to address this issue.
- The poor implementation of the land reforms has not yielded the necessary results. India’s agrarian set up is characterised by the absence of proper surveys and other details. Due to this reason, it has greatly damaged the rural economy and anti-government sentiments were high among those who were deprived and exploited by the local landowners.
- Forest cover in India is the main area of operation for these groups. The government is facing difficulties while dealing with the insurgents due to the lack of accessibility to these areas.
- The unemployed youth in India is one of the major supporters of the Naxalism movement. This group mostly consists of medical and engineering graduates. The universities have become one of the major breeding grounds for radical ideology.
The concerted effort from both the Centre and Naxal-affected states is a rare example of cooperative federalism. Comprehensive COIN strategy, encompassing both the population-centric and enemy-centric approaches has significantly reduced the Naxal footprint in many of the militant groups in the region. Yet, the Naxalites still remain a formidable force that can nevertheless be considered a threat to India’s national security. However, unlike in the 2000s, the Indian government is well prepared in addressing this issue through a comprehensive strategy that is already in place
5. Discuss the recent strategies adopted by the government to address the challenge of naxalism.
A simple and straightforward question where in the candidate needs to discuss the recent strategies adopted by the government to address the challenge of naxalism.
Naxalism can be traced backed to its origin in Naxalbari village of West Bengal state. It started as a movement to voice its concerns by landless labourers and tribals and gradually has become an internal security threat to the country. Also, Left Wing Extremism or Naxal Movement has become a source of extreme violence in many parts of the country.
LWE/Naxalism is considered to be the most important internal security concern. These extremists attack the symbols of the country’s power such as the police, schools and other government institutions. In this regard, strategies to deal with Naxalism, including the recent one’s are –
- Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division: It was created in the Home Ministry to effectively address the Left Wing Extremist insurgency in a holistic manner. It implements security related schemes aimed at capacity building in the LWE affected States.
- SAMADHAN strategy of government to frame short term and long term policies to tackle LWE. The acronym SAMADHAN stands for Smart leadership, Aggressive strategy, Motivation and training, Actionable intelligence, Dashboard Based KPIs (key performance indicators) and KRAs (key result areas), Harnessing technology, Action plan for each theatre, and No access to financing.
- Government has formulated National Policy and Action Plan adopting multipronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc. This has several sub-schemes like Security related expenditure scheme(2017-20), Special Central Assistance scheme which involves modernisation of police force, Civic action program which aims at bridging the gap between Police and locals through personal interaction.
- Media Plan: The Maoists have been misguiding and luring the innocent tribals/ local population in LWE affected areas. To deal with their false propaganda, activities like Tribal Youth Exchange programmes organised by NYKS, radio jingles, documentaries, pamphlets etc. are being conducted.
- Aspirational District: The Ministry of Home Affairs has been monitoring Aspirational districts programme in 35 LWE affected districts.
- Modernisation and upgradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus and fortification of Police stations. Further, Improvement in governance and public perception management, Better equipment of CRPF, Setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) schools, Facilitating inter-State coordination and Assistance in community policing and civic action programmes can help.
- Institutional measures like Blank Panther Combat Force (in line with the Greyhounds of Andhra and Telangana region), Bastariya battalion (locals joining as police, who are well informed of the terrain), multidisciplinary groups under MHA to check funding to the Naxalites.
- Government is aiming for capacity building and skill development of the locals, schemes like ROSHNI that aims at providing jobs to the locals, the Ekalavya model residency schools for better educational facility to tribal children.
- Government is also working on Economic Inclusion, like providing support prices for Minor forest produce (MFP), establishing Van Dhan Kendras to aid tribal income. The Surrender and Rehabilitation policy too, has seen success to some extent
2nd ARC recommendations to overcome red corridor challenges –
- For effective implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act, 2006, multidisciplinary Oversight Committees may be constituted to ensure that the implementation does not adversely affect the local ecosystems.
- Special efforts are needed to monitor the implementation of constitutional and statutory safeguards, development schemes and land reforms initiatives for containing discontent among sections vulnerable to violent left extremism.
- Performance of the States in amending their Panchayati Raj Acts (PESA) and implementing these provisions may be monitored and incentivised by the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
- Special anti-extortion and anti-money laundering cell should be established by the State police/State Government. To break the nexus between illegal mining/forest contractors and transporters and extremists which provides the financial support for the extremist movement.
For the holistic last-mile development of “New India”, it is necessary to get rid of the menace of such radicalized groups & the synergized efforts of the Centre and the States are crucial in achieving the same where both should continue to follow the two pronged strategy i.e. ensuring safety of the people in the naxal-affected regions as well as taking initiatives for the development of such regions.