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Naxalite-Maoist insurgency
The Red Corridor ver 1.PNG
Map showing the districts where the Naxalite movement is active (2007)
Date 1967– present
Location Red corridor
Result Conflict ongoing.
 India [1] South Asian Communist Banner.png Communist Party of India (Maoist)
South Asian Communist Banner.png Muppala Lakshmana Rao
South Asian Communist Banner.png Kishenji

1,800,000 in reserve [2]

~10,000 - 20,000 (2009)[3]
Casualties and losses
6,000+[4] (death toll given since the year 2000[5])

The Naxalite-Maoist insurgency is a low-level[6] war of Maoists against the Indian government.[7] The insurgency started as a peasant rebellion in the eastern Indian village of Naxalbari in 1967 and has now spread to a large swath in the central and eastern parts of the country.[8] In 2004 the Maoist rebel organisation People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre of India merged to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist).[7] In 2006 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites "The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country."[7] In 2009 Manmohan Singh said the country was "losing the battle against Maoist rebels".[9]

Naxalites claim to be supported by the poorest rural populations, especially Dalits and Adivasis.[10] They have frequently targeted tribals, police and government workers in what they say is a fight for improved land rights and more jobs for neglected agricultural labourers and the poor[11] and follow a strategy of rural rebellion similar to that of protracted people's war against the government.[12] Furthermore Home secretary G K Pillai ,said that 'They are very highly motivated, highly trained. I am quite certain that there are some, may be some ex-army 'Pillai said.He furthermore went on to say the Maoists planning to established an Indian Marxist Nation between 2050-60.[13]


Region affected

The rebels claim to operate in 182 districts in India, mainly in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.[14] The area affected by Naxalism stretches from the border with Nepal to Karnataka in the South (2006).[6] In West Bengal areas west of Howrah are affected by the insurgency.[15] Chhattisgarh is the epicentre of the conflict (2007).[16]

Areas governed by the elected Communist Party of India (Marxist) in India such as West Bengal, specifically those of Jangalmahal and Lalgarh, are some of the worst affected by anti-state violence by maoist terrorists who cite the accumulation of unaccounted wealth in hands of CPI-M leaders and specific failure to counter problems they were elected to address such as caste discrimination and poverty.[17]

There is a correlation between areas with extensive coal resources and impact of the insurgency.[18] Naxalites conduct detailed socio-economic surveys before starting operations in a target area.[6]

There exists the pro-democratic and anti-Maoist Salwa Judum, which is a government sponsored self defense force which was constituted after the maoists unleashed a campaign of violence against the tribals of Chhattisgarh.[6] The Ranvir Sena, a caste-supremacist paramilitary of the upper-caste landlords and proscribed terrorist organisation by the Indian government, is anti-communist and has been known to kill Dalit civilians in retaliation to Naxalite activity.[19]

Similar self-defense groups have emerged in Andhra Pradesh during the last decade. Some of these groups are Fear Vikas, Green Tigers, Nalladandu, Red Tigers, Tirumala Tigers, Palnadu Tigers, Kakatiya Cobras, Narsa Cobras, Nallamalla Nallatrachu (Cobras) and Kranthi Sena. Over ground activists of maoists were axed to death by the Nayeem gang in 1998 and 2000. On 24 August 2005, alleged members of the self-styled Narsi Cobras killed a maoist activist in Mahbubnagar district.[20]


The Naxalite movement started when a militant section of CPI(M) led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal attacked the police on May 25, 1967 in Naxalbari village in North Bengal after a farmer was killed over a land dispute. The same year the Naxalites organised the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR), and later broke away from CPI(M).[21]

In the 2000s there were peace talks with the state government of Andhra Pradesh.[7]

In November 2007 reports emerged that anti-SEZ (Special Economic Zone) movements such as the Bhoomi Uchched Pratirodh Committee in Nandigram in West Bengal, which have arisen after the land appropriation and human displacement following the SEZ Act of 2005, have joined forces with the Naxalites since February to keep the police out; the reports quoted unnamed intelligence sources.[22] Recently, police found weapons belonging to Maoists near Nandigram.

In September 2009 India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that the Maoists had growing appeal among a large section of Indian society, including tribal communities, the rural poor as well as sections of the intelligentsia and the youth. He added that "Dealing with left-wing extremism requires a nuanced strategy - a holistic approach. It cannot be treated simply as a law and order problem." In the first half of 2009, 56 Maoist attacks have been reported.[23]

Human toll

The first combat deaths of the insurgency were in 1980.[7] The highest number of incidents of violence has taken place in four worst-affected states -- Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa -- where 2,212 people lost their lives from January 2006 to August 2009.[24] Around 1,100 people are known to have died during 2009. The number includes 600 civilians, 300 security personnel and 200 rebels.[25]

There were more than 40,000 displaced people in 2006.[26]

According to the Institute of Peace and Conflict studies, Naxal groups have recruited children in different capacities and exposed them to injury and death however the same accusation has been levelled at the state-sponsored Salwa Judum anti-Maoist group, and Special Police officers (SPOs) assisting the government security forces.[27]


Deaths related to violence

From the Ministry of Home Affairs it has been stated that:

  • 1996: 156 deaths [28]
  • 1997: 428 deaths[28]
  • 1998: 270 deaths[28]
  • 1999: 363 deaths[28]
  • 2000: 50 deaths[28]
  • 2001: 100+ deaths[28]
  • 2002: 140 deaths[28]
  • 2003: 451 deaths[28]
  • 2004: 500+ deaths[28]
  • 2005: 700+ deaths[28]
  • 2006: 750 deaths[28]
  • 2007: 650 deaths[28]
  • 2008: 794 deaths[28]
  • 2009: 1,134 deaths[29]

According to the BBC, more than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight.[30]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "South Asia | India police die in Maoist clash". BBC News. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d "India's Naxalites: A spectre haunting India". The Economist. 2006-04-12. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Armed Conflicts Report - India-Andhra Pradesh". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  8. ^ By FRANCE 24 (with wires)  (text). "Indian Maoists briefly hijack train during national elections". France 24. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Primer: Who are the Naxalites?: news". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  11. ^ "CENTRAL/S. ASIA - 'Maoist attacks' kill Indian police". Al Jazeera English. 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  12. ^ "Communists Fight in India « Notes & Commentaries". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^
  15. ^ "West Bengal: Districts Affected by Naxalite Activity". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  16. ^ "Asian Centre for Human Rights". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Aug 9, 2006 (2006-08-09). "Asia Times Online :: South Asia news - Hidden civil war drains India's energy". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  19. ^ "Carnage in Narayanpur". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Reports see Maoist Hand in Nandigram", Monideepa Bannerjie, New Delhi Television, November 8, 2007.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Reuters AlertNet - Indian Maoist violence". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  27. ^ "Articles #2738 , Child Soldiers of the Naxal Movement". 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Armed Conflicts Report - India-Andhra Pradesh". Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  29. ^ 600 civilians, 317 members of security forces and 217 rebels died in Maoist-related violence.
  30. ^

External links


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