Naxalism
Case Study Orissa
Orissa has felt the nerves of naxal movement since 1968 when it was led by Nagbhushan Pattnaik there. But in the last twenty years or so the state has witnessed a strong naxalite movement. Earlier, it was Peoples' War Group (PWG) that was a dominant force in different parts with Maoist Communist Party (MCC) playing a lesser role in the progress of the movement. PWG was very influential in Gajapati, Ganjam, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangapur and Rayagada districts. While, MCC's activities were restricted to Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh districts of Orissa. But the formation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has proved to be big boost for naxalite movement in Orissa in particular and east India in general.

Now the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has spread the movement to different parts of Angul, Deogarh, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kandhmal and Sambalpur. CPI (M) has formed three zonal committees to carry its activities or what they call as their administrative functions. The three zonal committees are, Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), Jharkhand-Bihar-Orissa Special Zonal Committee (JBOBSZC) and Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC). They are said to have some extremely dedicated cadre to look after their executive programmes.



Several reasons are responsible for growth and expansion of naxalism in Orissa but the singlemost reason is poverty. It is generally viewed that such a volatile phase of naxalism in Orissa is basically a product of the continuous process of underdevelopment. When other parts of India were developing the leaders and the harbingers of modern India overlooked Orissa, which has otherwise been rich in minerals, and other natural resources. The result has been obvious, the poverty at large scale in Orissa. According to the Planning Commission and Census reports Orissa is the poorest state in India, with about 48% of its population below poverty line. This means that approximately 17-28 million people in Orissa itself are officially living under BPL category. The area with larger population under BPL and the areas under greater influence of the naxalites corroborate each other.

It is not as if government has not tried to sort out the problem but the lacunae are that these efforts were not well directed, that is why all the government efforts have failed to produce the desired results. The Naxal strongholds of Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, and Nabarangpur fall under the KBK region where a number of special programmes are in operation but poverty refuses to subside. A sum of Rs. 500 crores was released during 2003-04 and 2004-05 for KBK region as Special Central Assistance. Even the official documents suggest that a good amount of money has been spent in these regions. In spite of this the above-mentioned districts do figure among 150 of the most backward districts of India.

Similarly, Sundagarh and Keonjhar are among the poorest districts of India despite having very high concentration of mining resources and sponge iron units and despite having made significant contribution in the industrial development of the country. The region itself has in return got pollution and poverty. The state of development in such regions defies all logic of geography and economics. In such a situation naxal movement finds a very fertile ground, as dissatisfaction among the poor local populace is the commonest feeling here. The rise of mining and construction mafia has just added to the woes.

Orissa is one of those gifted landscape of the world, which is richly endowed with mines and minerals. Of the total mineral resources of India, Orissa has 99 per cent Chromate ore, 92 per cent of Nickel ore, 65 per cent of Graphite and Pyrophylite, 66 per cent of Bauxite, 31 per cent of Mineral sand, 32 per cent of Manganese, 28 per cent of Iron ore and 24 per cent of coal within its geographical boundary. Even then Orissa is the poorest state of the nation. Incidentally, the storehouse of the mineral resources in Orissa, that is, western and southern parts of the state are the most naxal-infested areas in the state.

The development strategy of the government with regard to Orissa has not been a success story by popular measure. Though, many small and big industries were established and irrigation projects were laid down, the local population is still among the poorest ones. And, the cruel reality of the ill thought out development strategy in resettlement operations owing to construction of mining, industry and irrigation project sites in Orissa resulted in the majority of inhabitants ending up with lower incomes, less land than before, less work opportunities, inferior housing, less access to the resources of the commons such as fuel-wood and fodder; and worse nutrition and physical and mental health.

Like everywhere else the Naxal movement has survived and sustained itself in Orissa because it revolves around the life of marginalized people of the state. The naxals have shown the poor people a dream of a society based on equality. Taking advantage of the acute poverty and rampant corruption in these remote corners of Orissa, the Naxals have shown them the dream of a revolution. On the other hand, the Orissa government has not come out with any concrete programme to deal with the Naxal menace. It is high time that the government realizes that the Naxals have come to represent a serious internal security problem.
Case Study Andhra Pradesh
Although the naxal movement originated in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh is the real naxal fortress and is the red cradle that has kept the movement alive and stood as the main base of naxalism in India. The Naxal movement started in Andhra Pradesh almost at the same time as in West Bengal but it was not a fertile ground for naxalites till as late as 1980. The movement started from the so-called 'Agency Area' in the forests of Srikakulam district. But it was only after the emergence of K Seetharamaiah and the formation of the People's War Group (PWG) in April 1980 that the state of Andhra Pradesh became the naxal hub of India. However, the merger of PWG and MCC in 2004 to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is seen as a significant development in the armed rebellion within the country. This merger marks a new phase in the naxal movement. Right now 19 of the 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh are under declared naxal infested areas. In these areas the organizational structure of the CPI (Maoist) includes six military platoons, 28 area committees, 66 local guerilla squads, and 16 action teams. There are three Special Zonal Committees in Andhra Pradesh. On the top of these administrative committees there is a governing body called the CPI (Maoist) State Committee.

Naxal movement since its inception has claimed 5-7 thousand lives in Andhra Pradesh alone. 2005 is considered as the bloodiest year in terms of casualties, as about 325 people died in the state due to naxal violence.

The government policies have also been responsible for the phenomenal growth of the naxalites in Andhra Pradesh. The election of 2004 was a proof of the politicians' interest in the power game instead of the plight of the people.

The governments in Andhra Pradesh have used naxalism as a poll plank. Every time the incumbent government starts things on positive note with the hope that naxal problem would be addressed adequately and that land reforms and other measures would be taken up to improve the situation and solve this continuously aggravating problem. But nothing is practically done on that front leaving the gentry dissatisfied. The successive governments have done just one thing that is to contain the naxal menace by means of force, and, this strategy has not proved to be a successful one.

Rajasekhar Reddy achieved power by harping on the slogans of economic development but he too has been using force only to counter the naxal problems. Such measures and attitute are not welocome in the present political and socio-economic scenario. His predecessor, Chandrababu Naidu was badly obsessed with the world bank's model of development and this resulted in large scale resentment among the peasants and rural and poor people. Everyone now knows that such policies were behind the large-scale suicides of farmers suffering from extreme distress. This has provided the Naxals with favourable conditions to consolidate and expand their movement.

As it has been said earlier, the naxal politics revolves around rural and land related issues. Hence, a streamlined strategy and a national agenda are immediately required to deal with the problem. Without any straw of doubt Land, Forest and Tribal development hold the key. Regrettably, Andhra Pradesh suffers from a dismal record of land reforms.

The chief minister of the state, Rajashekhar Reddy has recently formed a Land Commission. A separate department called 'Remote and Interior Area Development' has also been created. These are welcome beginnings and could become very effective provided the government carry them forward them till it regains the confidence of the poor and marginalized, because these measures attempt at dealing with the basic problems of naxalite movement at present. Under-development, poverty and unemployment have been the breeding ground for the naxal movement. So, if and when these genuine problems are addressed adequately the problems of naxalite movement would automatically start vanishing.