India (Naxalites)


Conflict Summary

India’s Maoist or ‘Naxalite’ insurgency originated in West Bengal State, where a peasant uprising occurred in Naxalbari in 1968. The movement eventually spread throughout large swathes of eastern and central India, though the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh State became the traditional heartland of the ’Red Corridor‘. The insurgency escalated in 2004, after the People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Center, the two largest Naxalite groups in the 1990s, merged to form the Communist Party of India–Maoist. Like its antecedent groups, CPI–Maoist has set up parallel governments and legal systems designed to benefit poor tribal and low-caste agricultural peoples, at the expense of landholders and upper castes. CPI–Maoist and other Naxalite groups have made extensive use of violence and executions to enforce their policies and to extract resources from civilians and organised crime groups. Although CPI–Maoist attacked security forces and civilians with near impunity in 2010–12, violence levels began to decline sharply after the central government increased its counter-insurgency efforts in 2013, deploying more paramilitary forces and funding more economic-development projects throughout the Red Corridor. Since then, hundreds of Naxalite militants and sympathisers have surrendered to security forces in order to take advantage of amnesty and rehabilitation packages. In 2016, security forces from state and federal agencies killed at least 193 CPI–Maoist militants, while suffering only 57 fatalities. Although CPI–Maoist has lost a great deal of influence since 2014, it has moved to shore up local civilian support by challenging government-backed mining projects throughout central India, which are often fiercely opposed by tribal populations. Maoists have also attempted to cultivate civilian support in remote regions previously free of Naxal influence.