Resurgent Naxal Movement in Bihar

03 Oct, 2005    ·   1852

Rajat Kumar Kujur examines the patterns and causes of the reemergence of the Naxal Movement in Bihar


    The seeds of the Naxal movement in Bihar were sown as early as 1967 in Ekwari village in the Sahar Block of Bhojpur district. Jagdish Mahato, a local schoolteacher who had alleged links with naxal leaders from West Bengal, led a protracted struggle against exploitive landlords. Since then 38 years have passed and  the movement has spread to as many as 30 districts in Bihar. The worst affected area is the region known as Central Bihar. The area comprises 14 districts viz Patna, Gaya, Nalanda, Jahanabad, Aurangabad, Arwal, Nawada, Rohtas, Bhojpur, Buxar, Munger, Jamui, Shaikhpura and Lakhisarai Apart from these traditional strongholds, the CPI (Maoist) is increasingly making its presence felt in the northern districts of West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Siwan, Madhubani, Muzzaffarpur and Darbangha, neighboring Maoist-affected areas in Nepal.

    The Naxal Movement in Bihar, as in other naxal infested states in India, entered a new phase after the merger of People’s War and Maoist Communist Centre resulting in the formation of Communist Party Of India (Maoist) on October 14, 2004. Another factor responsible for the growth of naxal movement in different areas of Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Gaya and Patna is due to the weakening of Ranvir Sena particularly after the arrest of its founder Barmeswar Singh on August 29, 2002.

    As per the recent report of the Ministry of home Affairs, Government of India, in Bihar naxal violence has increased significantly by over 29 per cent. A new trend is the direct attack on the police by Naxals, which has escalated the death toll of police personnel. The following table provides a factual representation of increasing naxal violence in the state:



















 (Source: Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report 2004-2005. 2005 figures are provisional and based on media reports.)

    The year 2005 saw a violent beginning in Bihar. The naxals celebrated the New Year in a stunning fashion when they killed K.C. Surendra Babu, S.P, Munger along with five other policemen in a landmine blast. Elections in February 2005 brought about more violence. After their unification in 2004 different naxal fraction retained their operational unity and called for the boycott of Assembly and Parliamentary polls. The widespread violence during the polls only reestablishes the fact that the naxals don’t believe in parliamentary politics.

    On June 23, 2005, in the Madhuban block of East Champaran district of Bihar, a large group of Naxals attacked in a synchronized manner nine places in the area, including the police station, block office, post office, two banks and a petrol pump, besides the homes of Rashtriya Janata Dal Member of Parliament from the Sheohar constituency, Sitaram Singh, and two of his supporters. In the fierce gun-battle which followed the attack, twenty Naxalites, four security force personnel and two civilians were killed, including Moiuddin Mian, an 'area commander' of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre. Apart from the intensity of the attack, the alleged involvement of Maoists from Nepal raised serious security concerns for the whole of India.

    Unqualified lack of human development, a collapsing State administrative mechanism, and rotten infrastructure, are the primary reasons, which have facilitated the growth of naxal movement in Bihar. It is the fate of Bihar that since long it is deprived of credible governance, people in rural area continues to lead a miserable life characterized by deprivation, insecurity, strife and struggle. In the prevailing atmosphere of terror and violence development activity has come to a standstill. Naxal leadership though makes strong claims of fighting for the rights of the poor have so far remained apathetic in enhancing the quality of life in villages, arguing all reforms have to follow the revolution. To them development is adversary to revolutionary consciousness. Despite the enormous growth of naxal violence in Bihar, the government is yet to come out with a proper response.  After every major Naxal attack, the government comes up with a succession of adhoc and emergency measures which only results in worsening the situation. The political and administrative leadership in Bihar must realize that they cannot allow large-scale break down of criminal justice system in the state for long. At the same time the state must address core issues of land reforms, caste dynamics, criminalisation of politics and corrupt administrative practices. However, the good thing is there is a growing sense of tiredness among the people with regard to the excessive use of violence in the name of upliftment of the poor by the naxals. The government cannot afford to ignore this development. It has now a double responsibility of winning over the people and establish its credibility. At the same time it must prepare itself to deal with accelerated naxal violence in the wake of recent developments in Andhra Pradesh.