Q) What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in the Eastern part of India? What strategy should the Government of India, civil administration, and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas? (250 Words)
Introduction: The left wing extremism arose in the tribal areas of Siliguri. The initial outburst was followed by groups occupying vacant lands in parts of Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa areas in 1967 violation of permissible ceiling on land holdings. It spread throughout West Bengal in 1970s and then eventually spread in Bihar-Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh-MP, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, and parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. This eventually culminated into guerrilla warfare, an insurgency with a wide support by the tribals of these areas.
Determinants of Left-Wing Extremism:
1. Land Related Factors: Encroachment and occupation of Government and Community lands (even the water-bodies) by powerful sections of society. Lack of title to public land cultivated by the landless poor. Poor implementation of laws prohibiting transfer of tribal land to non-Tribals in the Fifth Schedule areas.
2. Non-Regularisation of traditional land rights: In the forest villages, land is communally owned and forest produce is individual property of the collector. Denial of this right creates tension.
3. Displacement and Forced Evictions: Eviction from lands traditionally used by Tribals. For example, displacements caused by irrigation and power projects without adequate arrangements for rehabilitation. Large scale land acquisition for ‘public purposes’ without appropriate compensation or rehabilitation.
4. Inadequate Livelihood: Lack of food security due to corruption in the Public Distribution System, disruption of traditional occupations and lack of alternative work opportunities and deprivation of traditional rights in common property resources.
5. Connectivity: The transport and communication infrastructure is limited, and thus the tribals of the local area have limited access to the fruits of development.
6. Social Exclusion: Denial of dignity, continued practice, in some areas, of untouchability in various forms. Further, poor implementation of special laws on prevention of atrocities, protection of civil rights and abolition of bonded labour etc.
7. Governance: Corruption and poor provision/non-provision of essential public services including primary health care and education. Incompetent, ill trained and poorly motivated public personnel who are mostly absent from their place of posting.
8. Response of the security forces: The intelligence gathering approach of West Bengal has worked well. In Andrha Pradesh similarly, special training of the 'Grey Hounds' Commando force worked well. Thus, effective localized response can be a big determinant.
9. Misuse of Police powers: violations of the norms of law and perversion of electoral politics and unsatisfactory working of local government institutions. For example - Salva Judum in Chhattisgarh created antipathy towards the Police.
10. Physical and Political geography: Police and security forces are bound by their jurisdiction areas, whereas Naxals can freely move across state borders.
Thus most of the reasons for the motivation to join insurgency are local and thus greater liability to control the situation lies with the local administration.
Strategy that should be followed by the Government of India, civil administration and security forces
1. Improved governance: Better health, education and public services infrastructure, to boost confidence in the system.
2. Skill Development and employment: The central schemes such as Van Dhan Vikas Yojana, Village and digital connect scheme must not remain only on paper, and must be implemented juiciously
3. Securing Traditional rights: The tribals are promised various individual and community rights under 5th Schedule, Forest rights act and Provision of Panchayat, extension to scheduled areas act(PESA). These must be effectively implemented.
4. Judicial system: Quick and effective hearing of disputes to implement rule of law.
5. Infrastructure development: Effective Implementation PM Gram Sadak Yojana etc.
1. Localized response: Experience suggests that the Central forces have the numbers and the training, but local police have knowledge or intelligence, which proves to be more effective.
2. Effective Intelligence sharing: Between cross-border police and central agencies.
3. Better Training : Training in cyber-forensics, data gathering, counter offensive operations is sine qua non.
4. Better Equipment: Such as automatic guns, mine scanners, bullet proof and comfortable uniforms.
Government of India:
1. Funding: Special Central Assistance (SCA)- for filling critical gaps in public infrastructure and services of emergent nature. For example, The centre can support the Police budget in Naxal affected states.
2. Audits, Monitoring and establishing accountability: The Union government must take the role of conducting audits of its actual implementations of schemes on ground, to prompt quick localized responses.
3. Boosting connectivity: The government has embarked upon various initiatives such as Installation of Mobile Towers, greater focus on road construction etc.
4. Ensuring fruits of development- A greater portion of revenue from mining activities must be ensured for the local development.
Conclusion: In addressing the Left wing extremism, role of government at each and every level is essential for effective response. Governance and maintenance of law and order can be effectively addressed at local level, and advisory, monitoring and supportive role can be taken up by the central government. However, due to limited capacity of the state governments, a greater portion of funding shall be required.
Submit your answer