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  • COVID-19: Impact on Left Wing Extremism in India

    Although initially the Maoists suffered some setbacks due to the lockdown, their indulgence in violent incidents over the past one month indicates that they are exploiting the situation to have an upper hand vis-à-vis security forces.

    April 28, 2020

    Athul asked: What is the history of the use of IEDs by Northeast militant groups and which group uses the most sophisticated IEDs?

    D.P.K. Pillay replies: To know the history of the use of IEDs in the Northeast, one needs to understand the history of insurgent groups in this region. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) is the mother of all insurgent groups that sprang up in the Northeast in the 1950s. Nearly around the same time (the 1960s), the left-wing extremism too took roots in Naxalbari. This is where the line blurs between “East” and “North East” of India.

    IEDs and the Maoist insurgency

    Are the Maoists focusing more on IED-based blasts and in the process minimizing their own casualties instead of attempting to win a war of attrition by inflicting tactical and psychological blows to the security forces?

    May 07, 2019

    Goutham asked: What is the core difference between Marxism and Maoism, and how both are different from Gandhian Socialism?

    Adil Rasheed replies: There is no core difference between Marxism and Maoism and the latter has more to do with the revolutionary strategy and practical applicability of Marxist ideas, particularly in the Third World countries.

    Prateek Goyal asked: What is ‘Urban Naxalism’?

    P.V. Ramana replies: The presence of, and activities carried out by, Naxalites, or the CPI (Maoist), in urban areas –– towns and cities –– are together termed as Urban Naxalism.

    Vivek Singh asked: What is the current state of Maoist movement in Bihar?

    P.V. Ramana replies: The Maoist movement is spread across 90 districts in 11 States of the country.

    In Bihar, the Maoists have a presence in 16 districts, of which four districts –– Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui, Lakhisarai –– are most affected. However, keeping in tune with the over-all trend across the country, Maoist violence in Bihar has been declining over the past few years, notwithstanding minor fluctuations (see table below).

    Maoist Finances

    This article shows that the Maoists have been collecting not less than Rs 140 crore annually from a variety of sources: businesses—big and small—industry; contractors engaged in various trades; corrupt government officials; and political leaders. The largest and principal sources of income for the Maoists are the mining industry, PWD works, and collection of tendu leaves. They have been able to put in place a well-organised mechanism to extort money on a regular basis. Besides, they have conceived ingenious ways to store money and ensure its safety.

    April-June 2018

    Hemant Kumar asked: What can be done to minimise casualties among the CRPF personnel engaged in anti-Naxal operations and how Naxalism can be eradicated from Chhattisgarh?

    P.V. Ramana replies: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and all other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) deployed in Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) would need to adhere to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in order to minimise casualties.

    Calibrated security response together with vigorous development measures would help to meet the Naxalite challenge in Chhattisgarh. These would include health, education and connectivity.

    For more on the subject, please refer to the following IDSA publications:

    Nishant asked: Why Chhattisgarh has become the core of Naxal-related violence specifically in the last one decade?

    P.V. Ramana replies: The Maoists started entering Bastar in present-day southern Chhattisgarh in 1982. In terms of geographical area, Bastar is a little larger than Kerala and slightly smaller than Haryana. At that time, Bastar was a single district, but now comprises seven districts.

    Sambit Ratha asked: What are the substantiations behind Indian Maoists' alleged foreign (China, Pakistan, Corporates and NGOs) links? Is it arguable that Maoists are being/can be used as mercenaries in corporate rivalries?

    P.V. Ramana replies: The Maoists have a range of linkages –– internal and external. Internal linkages include ties with fraternal groups. The Maoists do not have linkages with corporate groups. They extort money from a variety of sources which also includes contractors, businesses –– big and small –– and industry. The annual extortion by the Maoists is anywhere between Rs. 140 – 160 cr. It is erroneous to think, let alone argue, that the Maoists are being used, or are likely to be used in corporate rivalries.