Home Contact Us  

Naxalite Violence - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2332, 6 July 2007
Economic Blockade: Will the Maoists' New Strategy Succeed?
Devyani Srivastava
Research Officer, IPCS
e-mail: devyani@ipcs.org

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) called a two-day economic blockade for the second successive year on 26 and 27 June, this time in parts of six states namely Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Notwithstanding the large scale disruption of public life and economic activity of these states during the blockade, it remains to be seen whether this turns out to be a successful strategy for the Maoists.

The total loss inflicted by the blockade stands at Rs.1.5 billion. The main targets included railways, road transport particularly in the mining belts, and other economic and communication infrastructure. While public transport and commercial activity in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh suffered heavy losses, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa suffered mildly. The blockade illustrates the use of a new tactic by the Maoists - to rope in villagers and tribal groups that have been forcibly displaced from their lands due to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects by capitalizing on their resentment against the government. Immediately after the violence in Nandigram, the Maoists had announced a militant struggle against the industrialisation policies of the central and state governments. On 15 March 2007, a spokesperson of the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist), called upon the oppressed masses to "transform every SEZ into a battle zone, to create Kalinga Nagars and Nandigrams everywhere and to kick out the real outsiders - the rapacious MNCs, big business houses...." Since then, there have been repeated attacks on public transport and economic infrastructure in these states. Given that so far, the Maoist attacks were mainly on police and security posts, the blockade reflects the expansion of the conflict from guerrilla warfare to urban warfare.

However, what are the chances of the dissatisfaction among the aggrieved translating into support for the armed struggle? In this light, does the immediate disruption of economic activity during the blockade guarantee the success of this new Maoist strategy? An affirmative answer to these questions might be misplaced at this point.

First, the opposition to the SEZ policy of the government by tribal groups and villagers seems to have been misconstrued. For one, a status report on Land Acquisition in Singur, District Hooghly, put up by the government of West Bengal on its website, reveals that out of the total 997.11 acres of land acquired, the government received consent from the farmers on 958.84 acres of land. A further evidence of this consent is the victory of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the 2006 State Assembly elections in West Bengal. The fact that the election manifesto of the CPI (M) clearly included the construction of SEZ for the purpose of modernizing labour-intensive industries is a pointer to the support of such plans among the masses.

Second, there have been growing instances of protests by the farmers against some of the anti-development policies of the Maoists. For instance, a kisan rally was held at Nandigram on 16 January to protest against Maoist acts such as destroying roads, attacking supporters of industrialisation and burning their houses. In this rally, the people openly supported the demand for industrialisation of Nandigram. Another example is from the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh where the Maoists attack on roads to obstruct development activities has created a stirring among the tribals. It is believed that it was partly this restiveness that led the tribals to join the anti-Maoist campaign of the Chhattisgarh government, Salwa Judum. In fact, despite an unprecedented rise of violence owing to the brutality of the campaign in Chhattisgarh, there are no reports or statistics to show that this, in effect, resulted in consolidation of support for the Maoists.

The above factors indicate that a sense of alienation among the tribal groups has not necessarily led to a sense of association with the Maoists. To this extent, it seems that the Maoists will have to offer the tribals much more than just a platform to vent their grievances against the state. The government, on the other side, must step up security at vital economic installations and railway assets across the country which faces an imminent threat of Maoist attack. Further, it must replace the 1894 Land Acquisition Act that currently governs national policy for acquisition of land for industries, and which does not include any clause for rehabilitation of those ousted from the land acquired. In order to stunt any further progress of the Maoist strategy, it is imperative for the new law for land acquisition to include a strong component of proper rehabilitation for the oustees. The suspension of nearly 23 SEZ notifications by the Union government and some seven or eight such proposed projects including Nandigram by the West Bengal government till such a national policy is evolved is noteworthy, and gives reason to believe that the Maoist strategy can be countered successfully.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
On Maoist Killings

Review of Chief Ministers' Conference on Naxalism

Maoist Violence and its Limitations

Naxal Attack in Gadchiroli: A Sign of Strength or Weakness?

Policy Options on Pakistan: What India Should Do

Elections in Maoist Heartland

Emerging Trends of Urban Terrorism

Fighting Naxals

Q&A: Terror Tentacles in Karnataka

Q&A: Karzai Threatens Pakistan

Q&A: Attack on Danish Embassy in Islamabad

Mining War in Chhattisgarh

Nayagarh Attack: Maoist Penetration in Orissa

The Swat Offensive

Web of Violence in Jharkhand

Naxals-LTTE nexus in Tamil Nadu: An Alliance in the Making?

The Gorakhpur Blasts: Symptom of a Rising Threat

Naxal Attack with a Vengeance in Chhattisgarh

Suicide Terrorism - Iraq 2006

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.