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Left Wing Extremism in India

  • 29 Jul 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: National Policy and Action Plan to address Left Wing Extremism 2015, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, SAMADHAN Initiative.

For Mains: Issues Associated with Left Wing Extremism in India.

Source: PIB

Why in News?

In a recent announcement, the Ministry for Home Affairs revealed that starting from 2022, India is maintaining separate data for incidents involving Left Wing Extremists.

  • LWE has been a significant security challenge in India for several decades, particularly in regions affected by civil unrest and armed conflicts.

What is Left Wing Extremism?

  • About:
    • Left-wing extremism, also known as left-wing terrorism or radical left-wing movements, refers to political ideologies and groups that advocate for significant societal and political change through revolutionary means.
    • LWE groups may target government institutions, law enforcement agencies, or private property to further their agenda.
    • The LWE movement in India originated in a 1967 uprising in Naxalbari, West Bengal.
  • Status in India:
    • Union Home Ministry has stated that violence related to LWE had come down by 76% in 2022 as compared to 2010
      • Also, there has been a decrease in the geographical spread of violence as only 46 districts reported LWE-related violence in 2021, compared to 96 districts in 2010.

  • Responsible Factors for LWE: The 2006 D Bandopadhyay Committee identified governance gaps and extensive discrimination against tribals in economic, socio-political, and cultural spheres as the primary causes of Naxalism's proliferation.
    • Socio-economic Disparities: India has significant socio-economic disparities, with large sections of the population living in poverty and facing issues such as, unemployment, and lack of access to basic amenities.
      • Left-wing extremist groups have historically capitalized on these grievances and used them to gain support among the marginalized communities.
    • Land Alienation and Displacement: The issue of land rights and land alienation has been a major concern for many rural communities in India.
      • The development projects and acquisition of land for industrial purposes have sometimes led to the displacement of local communities without adequate compensation or rehabilitation.
        • This has been a focal point of Naxalite agitation.
    • Adivasi Rights: India is home to a significant number of Adivasis, who are indigenous communities with their distinct cultures and traditions.
      • Left-wing extremist groups often advocate for Adivasi rights and resist perceived exploitation of their resources and displacement from their ancestral lands.
  • Government Initiatives:
    • 'National Policy and Action Plan to address Left Wing Extremism 2015: The plan adopted a comprehensive approach that involved various facets of governance, security, and development.
      • It aims to enhance the capabilities of security forces to combat LWE and contain its spread.
      • It ensures that the rights and entitlements of local communities are safeguarded, thereby reducing grievances that fuel extremist ideologies.
      • It also focuses on socio-economic development in affected regions to address the root causes of extremism and improve the lives of local communities.
    • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015: The Juvenile Justice Act, enacted in 2015, plays a crucial role in protecting children affected by LWE, particularly those in distress situations, including:
      • Children in Conflict with Law (CCL): Children involved in illegal activities related to LWE are provided with care and protection through this act.
      • Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP): Children who are victims of or affected by armed conflicts, civil unrest, or natural calamities are recognized as needing care and protection under this act.
      • Criminal Prosecution: The act makes it clear that any non-state, self-styled militant group or outfit recruiting or using children for any purpose will face criminal prosecution.
    • SAMADHAN: It is the one-stop solution for the LWE problem. It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels. SAMADHAN stands for-
      • S- Smart Leadership,
      • A- Aggressive Strategy,
      • M- Motivation and Training,
      • A- Actionable Intelligence,
      • D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas),
      • H- Harnessing Technology,
      • A- Action plan for each Theatre,
      • N- No access to Financing.

Way Forward

  • Community Engagement and Dialogue: There is a need to foster open channels of communication between the government, security forces, and affected communities.
    • Also, there is a need to encourage community leaders, NGOs, and religious institutions to play a role in mediating conflicts and addressing local issues.
  • Youth Entrepreneurship and Startup Incubation: Establish entrepreneurship and startup incubation centers in affected regions to encourage young people to channel their energy and creativity into business ventures.
    • This can provide an alternative path to economic growth and self-sufficiency.
  • Ecological and Sustainable Development Initiatives: Introduce projects that focus on sustainable development and conservation of natural resources in areas affected by extremism.
    • By involving local communities in environmental protection efforts, a sense of ownership and responsibility can be fostered, leading to reduced extremism.
  • Empowering Local Peace Ambassadors: Identify and empower influential individuals within communities who are committed to promoting peace and countering extremist narratives.
    • Provide them with resources and support to spread messages of harmony and understanding.
  • Social Impact Bonding: Introduce social impact bonds to attract private investments in social initiatives focused on countering extremism.
    • Investors will receive returns based on the success of these initiatives, creating incentives for impactful programs.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. The persisting drives of the government for development of large industries in backward areas have resulted in isolating the tribal population and the farmers who face multiple displacements. With Malkangiri and Naxalbari foci, discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) doctrine that affected citizens back into the mainstream of social and economic growth. (2015)

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