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A Critical Evaluation of Andhra Pradesh’s Response to the Naxal Challenge

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  • December 19, 2008
    Fellows' Seminar
    Only by Invitation
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    Chair: G. D Bakshi
    Discussants: D. K. Karthikeyan and J. N. Roy

    Andhra Pradesh has been dealing with the Naxalite challenge for a long time and the way in which it has dealt with this challenge has evolved over this time. The Union Government has been suggesting to other Naxal-affected States that they should adopt the Andhra Model in responding to the Naxalite challenge. The objective of this paper is to discern the constituents of what is popularly referred to as the Andhra Model – in other words Andhra Pradesh’s experience in addressing the Naxalite challenge.

    In sum, what is popularly referred to as the Andhra Model comprises of Security Response, Political Response and Development Response.

    Security Response: Some of the core elements of the Security Response are: Surrender and Rehabilitation, Intelligence-based Operations, Victim Reassurance Policy such as civilian rehabilitation, and police rehabilitation, and Development Works and Mass Mobilisation.

    Political Response: There exists, now, a consensus among the major political formations in the State on the approach to dealing with the Naxalites. They understand that the challenge is, indeed, real and has to be addressed. It is this realisation that has manifested in a response which comprises three essential elements, viz. tough security response, development response, and conducting limited periods of peace process.

    Development Response: Twice, development programmes have been launched in the State with the particular objective of bringing in rapid socio-economic development in Naxalite-affected areas. The first initiative was known as Remote Areas Development Programme; and the second is known as Remote and Interior Areas Development Programme. Other development programmes such as Jalayagnam and Indiramma were also initiated.

    The political leadership was initially not sensitive enough to the impending Naxalite challenge. This changed and a consensus had emerged among the political formations by about 1996-97 that the rebels had to be taken headlong, in all possible ways. Thus, the political will and commitment displayed by the leadership played a significant role in crafting Andhra Pradesh’s response to the challenge posed by the Naxalites. The other affected States have with them the advantage of the experience of the Andhra Pradesh in dealing with the Naxalite issue. They would have to clearly recognise that the Andhra Pradesh model is much more than deploying the elite Greyhounds. It involves years of painstakingly building-up the fighting capabilities of the State police, their training, logistics and intelligence.

    To sum up, it might not be appropriate to suggest a near total replication of the experiences of Andhra Pradesh in dealing with the rebels. At best, it could serve as a relevant reference point for the other Naxalite-affected States to craft their respective strategies.

    Major points raised during the discussion were:

    • Development funds are often diverted to the Naxalites. The political parties/ political leaderships too pay ‘protection money’ to the Naxalites.
    • Poor governance has led to increase in Naxalites subversive activities.
    • To counter Naxalite challenge, the root cause will have to be attended to. And, the state’s delivery mechanism has to be revamped. The state has to penetrate into remote tribal areas.
    • Talks with Naxalite should be initiated.
    • Andhra Pradesh’s experience in addressing the Naxalite challenge is a unique example, and is successful. It is important to understand the model by other Naxal -affected States.
    • Andhra Pradesh Model is successful because of the ‘accessibility’, and it evolved over a long period of time.
    • Andhra Pradesh Model, however, has failed to implement Land Reforms.

    Prepared by Dr. Amarjeet Singh, Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi