Introduction to Naxalism

The term ‘Naxalism’ derives its name from the village Naxalbari of district Darjeeling in West Bengal, where the movement originated in 1967 under the leadership of Charu Majumdar and his close associates, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal. Here the movement was at it’s peak when the peasants, landless labourers and Adivasis raided the granaries of a landlord in the Naxalbari village in West Bengal.

The term Naxalism, use to define violent activities on behalf of landless labourers and tribal people against landlords and others by some individuals and groups. The common theme among all of the groups is that they are anti-government, and desire a violent mass struggle. They try to get the support of the marginalized people in rural areas by espousing their cause and projecting their real and perceived grievances.


  • The aim of the Naxalites is to destroy the legitimacy of the state and to create a mass base, with a certain degree of acceptability.
  • The Naxalites predominantly attack the police and their establishments.
  • They also attack certain types of infrastructure, like rail and road transport and power transmission, and also forcibly oppose execution of development works, like critical road construction.
  • Naxalite activity is also manifesting itself through various civil society and front organizations on issues such as SEZ policy, land reforms, land acquisition, displacement etc., with the objective of expanding their mass base and acquiring support of some intellectual elite.
  • They routinely indulge in the killing of elected representatives at the local levels, in panchayat, etc. to desist people from taking part in the democratic process.
  • Their fresh strategy is to expand outside forests into urban area, win over non-peasant classes and other social groups, seize leadership of ongoing local struggles, intensify mine warfare, force the dispersal of police resources by launching attacks outside its strongholds and harden its stance downtrodden on abductions.


It is ironical that even after 77 years of Independence, many remote areas which are otherwise rich in mineral resources are yet to see any sign of development. Whereby this situation combined with many other socio-economic problems, has contributed towards the rise of naxalism in India. These factors can be broadly categorize as follows-


From there ideology, it appears that Naxalites are fighting for the rights of poor people and want to establish a people’s government, while the facts are quite contrary. Where social uplifting of downtrodden is not their real aim, rather it is political power. They study the local problems and issues and use them as fodder to foster their end game which is clearly the seizure of power through violent means.

Where the local population very soon realizes that they have been use by the Naxalites and their social and economic issues take a back seat while the battle of supremacy emerges as the prime motto of the Maoists. But at times it is too late and the locals are force to support them.



Naxalites have been a strain on the country’s security forces and a barrier to the development in the vast mineral rich region in eastern India known as the “Red Corridor”. It is a narrow but contiguous strip passing through Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. In fact, at the peak of Maoist movement in Nepal, Naxal influence was seen spreading from ‘Tirupati to Pashupati’.


The government has authorized a national policy and action plan to address LWE as part of a multifaceted approach encompassing security-related measures in order to address the issue and eliminate naxalism holistically. These measures include:

  • While on security front, the central government assists the LWE affected state governments by providing central armed police forces battalion, training, provision of funds through schemes like security related expenditure (SRE) and special infrastructure scheme (SIS), funds for modernization of state police forces, equipment and arms etc.
  • On development side the government has taken various measures including construction of roads, installation of mobile towers, improving network of banks, post offices, health and education facilities in the LWE areas.
  • Under security related expenditure (SRE) scheme funds are provided to LWE affected states for capacity building of the states through provisions of ex-gratia to the family of civilian/security forces killed in LWE violence.
  • On development front, apart from flagship schemes of government of India (GOI), several specific initiatives have been taken in LWE affected states, with special thrust on expansion of road network, improving telecom connectivity, skill development and financial inclusion.

However, the steadfast implementation of this policy has resulted in consistent decline in LWE violence across the nation. The number of LWE related violent incidents have come down by 76% in 2022 in comparison of high of 2010. The number of resultant deaths (security forces + civilians) have also reduced by 90% from all time high of 1005 in 2010 to 98 in 2022.


Naxalism is not the problem; rather it is the symptom of problem. Why doesn’t naxalism flourish in the markets of Gujrat, the fields of Punjab or in the IT parks of Gurgaon and Hyderabad? Why is Maoist ideology succeeding in Nepal when it is failing in china? The answer is obvious. In the places that left-wing extremism succeeds, people are relatively poor, they face oppression from various segments of society, and the government is indifferent to their plight with little prospects of things getting better in the future.

Therefore, naxalism must be eradicated along with its cause in order to be genuinely exterminated. Thus, there is an urgent need to prioritize political security and promote socioeconomic growth in a comprehensive way. Furthermore, individuals who are fervently committed to radical ideologies with the sole intention of toppling the government must be dealt with harshly according to the bullet-for-bullet approach. The hardline Naxalites must therefore be gradually weaned from the peace-loving common people, as they are opposed to any advancements that serve as a means to their self-serving ends.