Home Contact Us  
   

Naxal - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4657, 15 September 2014
 

Red Affairs

Six Thousand Plus Killed: The Naxal Ideology of Violence
Bibhu Prasad Routray
Visiting Fellow, IPCS
 

How does one analyse the killings of 6105 civilians and security forces in incidents related to left-wing extremism between 2005 and 2013? 

Given that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), since its formation in 2004, has been responsible for majority of these killings, conventional analyses have mostly focused on big and small incidents that produced these victims. While such methods are useful in terms of attempting to grasp the growing or declining capacity of the outfit, it is also useful to analyse the unceasing violence as upshot of an ideology that has for decades underlined the necessity to shed the enemy's blood to bring about a change in social and political order. 

Three leaders – Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Kondapalli Seetharamaiah – dominate the discourse on Naxalism, which began in the 1960s. Mazumdar, in his ‘Eight Documents’ in 1965, exhorted the workers of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) to take up armed struggle against the state. He underlined that action and not politics was the need of the hour. Such calls resulted in a number of incidents in which the CPI-M workers started seizing arms and acquiring land forcibly on behalf of the peasants from the big landholders in Darjeeling. These incidents went on to provide the spark for the 1967 peasant uprising. 

Following the formation of the All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries (AICCR), that emerged out of the CPI-M in November 1967 and was renamed as All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) in May 1968, Mazumdar further reiterated his idea of khatam or annihilation of class enemies. Although incidents of individual assassinations influenced by khatam resulted in repressive state action targeting the naxalite cadres, the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML), which was formed in 1969 breaking away from the CPI-Marxist, continued professing violence as the key tool of revolution.

While Mazumdar's preference for using violence to overthrow existing social order and seizing state power remained the CPI-ML's mode of operation till 1972, a counter ideology with a stress on agrarian consolidation preceding an armed struggle was reiterated by Kanu Sanyal following Mazumdar's death. Sanyal was not against the idea of an armed struggle per se. However, he opposed Mazumdar's advocacy of targeted assassination. 

In the subsequent years, the CPI-ML split into several factions. Although Sanyal himself headed a faction, he gradually grew redundant to the extreme left movement and committed suicide in 2010. Towards the last years of his life, Sanyal maintained that the CPI-Maoist's reliance on excessive violence does not conform to original revolutionary objectives of the Naxalite movement. On more than one occasion, Sanyal denounced the “wanton killing of innocent villagers”. In a 2009 interview, Sanyal accused the CPI-Maoist of exploiting the situation in West Bengal's Lalgarh "by using the Adivasis as stooges to carry forward their agenda of individual terrorism."

In Andhra Pradesh, since the 'Spring Thunder' of Srikakulam in 1970, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, was responsible for the growth of the Naxalite movement under the aegis of the CPI-ML. After leading a faction of the CPI-ML and forming the People's War Group (PWG) in 1980 Seetharamaiah oversaw a regime of intense violence, thus, earning the outfit the description of "the deadliest of all Naxal groups". Even after the expulsion of Seetharamaiah in 1991, the PWG and its factions remained the source of extreme violence targeting politicians and security forces in the state. 

Kanu Sanyal's reluctant support for armed violence was, thus, somewhat an aberration. Playing down the importance of mindless bloodshed remained a peripheral of the Naxalite movement. Each transformation of the movement thereafter in terms of splits, mergers, and formation of new identities escalated the ingrained proclivity to use violence as an instrument of expansion and influence. The CPI-Maoist represented a natural progression of this trend. And as the fatalities data reveal, each passing year, since its 2004 formation through a merger of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and the PWG, it became more and more reliant on violence, rationalising the strategy as a defensive mechanism essential to its existence.  

In 2009 Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji, who led the outfit in West Bengal termed the violence as a "struggle for independence". Ganapathy, the CPI-Maoist general secretary, reiterated in his February 2010 interview that the violence is only a "war of self-defence" or a "counter-violence" in response to a "brutal military campaign unleashed by the state". Maoist Spokesperson Azad, who was later killed in controversial circumstances, rejected the appeal for abjuring violence by then Home Minister P Chidambaram in April 2010 indicating that such a move would allow the "lawless" security forces "continue their rampage". Azad also maintained that while the outfit generally avoids attacking the non-combatants, "the intelligence officials and police informers who cause immense damage to the movement" can not be spared. 

Thus understood, few conclusions can be drawn, in contrast to beliefs that a peaceful resolution of the conflict could be possible. Its current frailty notwithstanding, regaining capacities to maximise violence would be a priority for the CPI-Maoist. It will continue to reject other methods of social and political change and maintain an unwavering faith in the utility of violence. Even while realising that a total victory vis-a-vis the state is unattainable, the outfit would remain an agent of extreme violence in its own spheres of influence.  

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?

Indo-Pacific
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?
Indus-tan
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


 
Related Articles
Bibhu Prasad Routray,
"Tackling Naxal Violence: An Agenda for the New Indian Government," 16 June 2014
N Manoharan,
"Left-wing Extremism 2013: The Threat Continues," 26 January 2014
Deepak Kumar Nayak,
"Naxal Violence: Is the CPI (Maoist) Fading?," 22 November 2013
Deepak Kumar Nayak,
"Naxal Violence: Progressive Consolidation," 22 August 2013
Bibhu Prasad Routray,
"Naxal Violence: New Structures and Old Woes in Jharkhand," 21 August 2013

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Dealing with Left Wing Extremism: No Permanent Solution?

Rumour of Triumph

Goa: Staging Post of the Resourceful

Forecast 2017: LWE Still Holding On

A Bridge Over River Gurupriya

Annihilation of the Marginalised: The New Normal in Myanmar

Rise of the Vainglorious Policeman

End Game: Fractured and Scarred Tribal Communities

The Dream that the State Sells

Development and Maoists

Maoists Vs Former Maoists: A Peep into Jharkhand's Counter-LWE Policy

The Re-cleansing of Nallamala

Forecast 2016: Shrinking Space for Left-wing Extremism

Anti-Maoist Operations in Chhattisgarh: Successes and Claims of Successes

Myanmar: A Long Road After the Grand Triumph

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

IPCS Forecast: Left-wing Extremism in 2015

Maoist Attack on the CRPF: Time for New Counter-strategies

Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls

Naxalites and the Might of a Fragile Revolution

Anti-Naxal Operations: Seeking Refuge in Symbolism

A 'New' Counter-Naxal Action Plan

Tackling Naxal Violence: An Agenda for the New Indian Government

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 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 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.