Is CPI M good for Indian democracy

The Naxalites. A threat to Indian democracy?

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. The history of the Naxalites
2.1 Origin: The Naxalbari Uprising
2.2 Organizational background and further development
2.3 The failure of the first phase
2.4 The Naxalite Movement According to Mazumdar

3. Dieldeology

4. The Ruckher of the Naxalites
4.1 The hustle and bustle
4.2 The spread
4.3 The resistance
4.4 The terrorist classification

5. Government of India Actions
5.1 First nationwide approach
5.2 Anti-Terrorism Laws
5.3 Approaches to the conflict
5.4 Government strategy 2014-15

6. Outlook

7. Conclusion


1 Introduction

With a population of more than a billion, India is the largest democracy in the world. After almost a century under British colonial rule, the country succeeded in achieving independence in 1947 in a lengthy, non-violent struggle for freedom, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. So in 1950 a democracy, the Federal Republic of India, came into being.[1]

But today armed groups are active outside the parliamentary system in some regions in the north and north-east of India, which for various reasons are fighting against the existing state order. A terrorist group shaped by Maoism are the Naxalites, who are particularly active in some areas of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.[2]

After the terrorist activities of the Naxalites peaked between 1967-1971, they gained new strength at the turn of the century. Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Naxalism as the "greatest challenge for the internal security of our country"[3]. Yet they are largely unknown in the western world.

If they are the greatest challenge to internal security, are the Naxalites a threat to Indian democracy? This question will be examined in the following.

First follows the story of the Naxalites from the origin of the movement, through the first failure to the reawakening. In the third chapter there is a short overview of the Naxalitic ideological and then in the fourth chapter the reawakening of the movement is sketched. It also explains how the Naxalites act, how far their influence extends and why they are classified as a terrorist group. How the Indian government deals with them and what approaches are available are examined in the fifth and sixth chapters. All findings are brought together in the conclusion.

2. The history of the Naxalites

2.1 Origin: The Naxalbari Uprising

The story of the Naxalites begins with a relatively insignificant attack by poor, landless farmers on police officers in 1967 in the north of West Bengal, at the foot of the Himalayas, in the so-called Terai region. The village in which the attack took place was called "Naxalbari" and gave the movement its name.

At that time the large landowners called the police into the village because grain and weapons had been stolen from them. When the head of the police unit tried to question the farmers and approached them, they killed him. As soon as there was reinforcement, the farmers did not surrender and the rebellion began (Gupka 2008, p.117).

Most of the poor landless peasants belonged to the native Indian population, the Adivasi. They lived mostly as day laborers and worked in the fields of the rich landowners, who kept a large part of the harvest for themselves. Thus it was hardly possible for the Adivasi to support their own families. Therefore, conflicts over the distribution of crops were the order of the day and the main motivation for the uprising.[4] Although the Naxalbari uprising was ended by force of arms by the police on behalf of the government, it started the fight of the oppressed against feudalism, poverty, underdevelopment and all kinds of socio-economic exploitation (Reddy 2008, p.40).

2.2 Organizational background and further development

It is important to know that as a result of the resulting ideological conflict between the Soviet Union and China, which was even fought militarily on the Siberian border in 1964, a group of the Communist Party of India (CPI) split off. The "old" members of the CPI remained loyal to the Soviet Union, while the "young" more radical members turned to China and called themselves CPI / Marxists (CPI / M). They worked with the landless farmers in West Bengal. However, even in this more radical group, not all members were completely satisfied.

Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal were middle-level party officials in the CPI / M. Mazumdar was a staunch Maoist. In the works that he published, he made clear with two theses what his goal was for the communist movement. On the one hand, he says that China's Communist Party under Mao Zedong followed the only true path of workers' revolution. And secondly, that the revolution in India does not have to come from the cities, but from the interior, the peasants. He and Sanyal agreed. So they launched the call that the towns should be encircled from the villages and led the rebellion in Naxalbari.

When the war between India and Pakistan broke out in 1965, which lasted two weeks and in which China stood on Pakistan's side, there was another conflict in the already split off CPI / M. The ideological differences between the CPI / M and its more radical members came to a head when they decided to take part in the upcoming elections (Gupka2008, pp. 117 and 141ff).

Thus there was another split, led by Mazumdar and Sanyal, called the CPI Marxist-Leninist (CPI / ML). After the formation of the CPI / ML, which has since been the organizational network of the Naxalites, the movement spread throughout the state of West Bengal. Also early on they began to establish permanent prasens in the state of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

The violence of the Naxalites reached its temporary peak in 1971. In that year, 3,650 violent attacks with around 850 deaths took place, most of whom were large landowners, moneylenders, political activists, police informants or policemen. With the intervention of combined police and army forces on the borders of West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, the number of attacks in 1973 was extremely reduced. (Singh 2008, S.lOf)

2.3 Failure of the first phase

The efforts of the Naxalites were therefore only briefly successful. When police and army operations began, the movement was brought to a relatively abrupt end. There were several reasons for this. Since the Naxalite troops lacked adequate combat training and because of their ideology they insisted on using only homemade weapons, such as pipe guns, axes and sickles, they were inferior to the military troops. In addition, the internal disagreements stirred up unrest, which led to Charu Mazumdar as General Secretary of the CPI / ML by S.N. Singh was replaced. In addition, their rhetorical skills were poor. Slogans such as “China's chairman is our chairman” were not very popular with Indian nationalists and tended to put people off. In West Bengal, where the first phase of the movement mainly took place, they faced CPI / M troops with whom they had dramatic ideological differences. Ultimately, the movement suffered a severe setback following the arrest and subsequent death of Charu Mazumdar in July 1972. Even his supporters, who are still under the leadership of S.N. Singhs supported, failed to stay together after his death. (Singh 2008, p.12f)

2.4 The Naxalite Movement According to Mazumdar

After Mazumdar died there were renewed disagreements within the Naxalite movement. Even Kanu Sanyal gave up the armed struggle against the class enemy and from 1977 went the parliamentary route of a revolution. Before that, in 1974, an influential group led by Johar (Subrata Dutt), Nagbhushan Pattnaik and Vinod Mishra tackled the course correction. They were called CPI / ML Liberation. They advocated a reduction in the armed military struggle and put the emphasis again on peasant uprisings to be a "real" Indian version of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. However, there were further breaks within the group. As a result, N. Prasad (Bihar) founded the CPI M / L Unity Organization in 1980 and Kondapalli Seetharamaiah (Andrah Pradesh) the People's War Group (PWG). The PWG also advocated curbing the "extermination of the class enemy", but its main focus was on forming mass organizations and not a democratic front.

The main difference of opinion in the Naxalite movement is that between the thinkers and the actionists. The CPI M / L Liberation describes the PWG as “left adventurers”, while the PWG labels the Liberals as “revisionists” who only imitate the old traitor CPI / M.

After another heavily armed group, the Maoist Communist Center (MCC), grew very large in the same region, there were again several organizational conflicts between the Naxalite groups. When the Liberal Communists celebrated their first electoral victory in Bihar in 1989, new Naxalite factions formed again, such as the CPI M / L New Democracy, the CPI M / L S.R. Bhajjee Gruop and the CPI M / L Unity Initiative in the same state.

In the 1990s the conflicts reached such a level that the various groups began to fight one another, killing many fighters. But despite these violent clashes, there was always a strand that strived for Naxalite unity. The government registered a significant increase in violent incidents in the affected state, while at the same time there was a significant change in the way the government dealt with the Naxalites. Because the Naxalites are characterized by fragmented groups and innumerable divisions, it was not possible for the government to maintain a uniform approach in dealing with Naxalism (Chakrabarty and Kujur 2010, p.46f).

Despite the constant divisions, the movement grew in strength. With each split, the number of individual groups increased rather than decreasing. This resulted from the fact that each group that had split was trying to recruit new members in order to regain their original strength. Accordingly, the divisions led to organizational progress and not to setbacks (Singh 2008, p.14).

3. The Ideologic

As already mentioned, the Naxalites are a group shaped by Maoism. This communism-inspired political philosophic arose from Mao Zedong's own interpretation and transformation of the writings of Marx and Lenin.[5] Marxism is a social doctrine founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the core points of which are derived from Marx's criticism of the production conditions of his time, the time of the industrial revolution. According to Marx, the social division of labor is increasing. In this way the proletariat creates economic wealth, but only the few capitalists reap its fruits. Only through a revolutionary uprising of the proletariat can this class difference be eliminated. It follows the expropriation of the capitalists and

Conversion of goods into company property. The aim is to achieve a classless, communist society.[6]

The Maoists always refer to the prevailing injustice in their position. For example, one of the policemen who was deployed in Naxalbari describes that it is not just a question of problems with the law, but above all of socio-economic problems. The region has lagged a long way behind and the feudal system is very much consolidated. Both of these had so far received little political attention, which helped Maoism gain a foothold. The fact that the state was not in a position to guarantee the survival needs of the country's population contributed a large part to the fact that the original population could be mobilized for the goal of the Maoists. The aim was:

,, to carry on and complete the already ongoing and advancing New Democratic Revolution in India as part of the world proletarian revolution by overthrowing the semi-colonial, semi-feudal system under the neo-colonial form of indirect rule, exploitation and control.

The revolt will be carried out an completed through armed agrarian and revolutionary war, protracetd people's war with the armed seizure of power remaining as its central principal task, encircle the cities from the countryside and thereby finally capture them. Hence the countryside as well as the Protraced People's War will remain as center of gravity 'of the party's work while urban work will be complemantary to it. "(Chakrabarty and Kujur 2010, p.29f)

By “indirect rule, exploitation and control” the Naxalites mean foreign corporations that employ locals in India as agents through whom they then indirectly exercise exploitation and control. Accordingly, they want to abolish feudalism, economic imperialism and capitalism through armed revolutionary war of the farmers. This new democratic revolution causes the mutually hostile classes to form a unity in order to jointly eliminate feudalism and imperialism. There should be reforms and high investments in the agricultural sector so that the soil that was destroyed by the Green Revolution can recover. In addition, the Maoists have made it their business to fight against social oppression, especially against untouchability, the caste system and gender discrimination. (Chakrabarty and Kujur 2010, p.29f)

The rebels claim to fight for the rights of the Indian people of origin, the Adivasi, the Scheduled Castes and other "backward" classes. The caste system in India is an extremely complex and complicated matter, and difficult for an outsider to understand. In short: The caste system is a complex hierarchical system of social organization, based on layered roles that are determined at birth. A distinction is made between social classes or races and also leads to caste discrimination. (Morrison 2012, p.57)

4. The return of the Naxalites

In September 2004 the leading Naxalite groups MCC and PWG merged to form the CPI / Maoist. As reported in "War Events 2009", around 15,000 fighting and 40,000 non-fighting members are organized in the CPI / Maoist at this time (Wojczewski 2011, p.52f). The two groups together are responsible for about 90% of the acts of violence caused by Naxalites, including those with fatal results. The union marked the beginning of a new phase of the Naxalite movement (Jha 2008, p.62).

4.1 The hustle and bustle

Since the revival in the 1990s, more than 500 targeted murders of "class enemies" were reported annually up to 2008. The class enemies are leaders of society, such as politicians or social activists, who have other goals than the Naxalites. Also police officers and police informants. In 2008 it was said that around 1,500 incidents a year were associated with the Naxalites. Including the murder of 500 class enemies. 100 landmine explosions annually are attributed to the Naxalites. The target of this type of attack are mostly police officers who are traveling in vehicles. The police are a popular target for the Naxalites. They either attack police stations or ambush police patrols. This is how they get weapons. It has been estimated that up to 2008 they would have stolen around 250 to 300 weapons annually from the police, large landowners and others.

The Naxalites immediately put their conception of justice into practice by carrying out jan adalats, which means litigation for life. They hold these processes immediately after committing the "crime" and usually in front of an audience of up to 5,000 village people. The jan adalats even prefer these to the normal burger dishes, since their problems are dealt with immediately, whereas the state institution took years. (Singh 2008, p.14f) Calls for boycotts in the agricultural sector and explosive attacks on infrastructure facilities are also part of the rebel program. (Wojczewski 2011, p.53) They also recruit children as soldiers. They are increasing their use of improvised explosive devices, coordinating their attacks and improving their secret network. In this way, you can plan raids more carefully and increase the choice of attack targets. So far the Naxalites have avoided attacking urban areas, but they have already reached some peripheral areas. (Morrison 2012, p.63)


[1] The CIA World Factbook:, last accessed on May 27, 2015.

[2] Foreign Office: http://www.auswaertiges-, last accessed on May 27, 2015.

[3] The Federal Agency for Civic Education: p = all, last accessed on May 27, 2015.

[4] Federal Agency for Civic Education, Stefan Mentschel,, last checked: May 21, 2015

[5] Federal Agency for Civic Education:, last accessed: May 29, 2015.

[6] Federal Agency for Civic Education: / 20092 / marxismus, last accessed: May 30, 2015.

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