On 22 June 2009, the Government of India banned the Communist Party of India (Maoist) through a notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Branding the CPI (Maoist) as a terrorist organization, the Government invoked Section 41 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against it. This is a special act which enables the Central Government to declare an association as unlawful.
It is too early to speculate on the impact of the ban; however, with this notification, the Naxal movement in India has entered yet another phase of revolution and counter-revolution. While the birth of the CPI (Maoist) in September 2004 proved to be a milestone in the history of left wing extremism, the ban is bound to have large-scale implications. Since its inception in 1967, the Naxal movement has presented a dilemma for Indian society, wherein policy makers, scholars and others are widely divided over the issue of the use of violence by Naxals as a political tactic. While detractors have labeled it as just another form of terrorism, Naxal groups have never dropped their slogan of ‘People’s War for People’s Government’.
Today, as Naxalism looms large over at least twelve Indian states with Chhatishgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh being the worst affected, the following questions need to be addressed: What does the ban mean? Is it required? What are the major policy changes expected to follow from the ban? How will the CPI (Maoist) respond, under the changed circumstances?
Naxalite Movements of India: A Profile
Rajat Kumar Kujur