The lesser-known battles of Maoist women

Context: The article reflects that everything  is not well in the Communist Party of India (Maoist) which, besides waging an armed struggle to capture political power, also claims to fight for gender equality. The Maoists profess discipline and integrity, but exploitation of women in the party is a stark reality. Women who join the party in the hope of bringing about a “revolution” for the proletariat and the landless class are often subject to the same structural violence that they are supposed to fight.

Gender issues within the movement

  • Under-representation: Women constitute 35%-40% of the total party members, but their representation in the Central Committee and the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) is negligible.
  • Health issues: While jungle life is difficult for all cadres, the women have to face additional health challenges
  • The women cadres in the CPI(Maoist) don’t get even get sentry duty off and need to be alert all the time with a gun. In addition, they have to walk for miles daily to change their location.
  • Basic necessities ignored: Further Women are not permitted to liberally use water. Each cadre has to carry water in bottles for her own use. It is taboo to use water from streams or ponds for washing. Women are at the mercy of the unit commander who carries some medical necessities.
  • Lacking nutrition: Most women who are not conscious of their nutrition intake, particularly iron, become anaemic
  • Exploitation: There are instances of women cadres dying by suicide on account of ill treatment or suspicion. 

Origin of left-wing movement in India

  • Naxalite are a group of left radical communist and the supporter of Maoist political ideology. The word Naxalite derived from the word “Naxalbari” which is the name of a village of west Bengal where a peasant insurgencies took place on 1967 against the landlords. Generally the majority of people of naxalite group are belongs to labourer, adibashi, and unemployed and mostly of them are living in remote area where the development failed to reach yet.
  • In India about 8% people are adhibasi and 92% of them living in tribal areas such as forest and hills and this tribal areas are far away from development or the government failed to give them a secure or peaceful life and this are the main causes for increasing number of naxalite movement in this areas.  According shri Gadar “the revolutionary poet support Naxalism and said Naxalism is the result of failure of democracy.”
  • The left-wing movement was originated under the aegis of  Kanu Sanyal, Charu Majumdar and Jangal Santhal.
    Kanu Sanyal, who was the follower of communist ideology thought that the economic freedom will come when you fight with maximum wealth holder
  • Charu Majumdar, who were inspired by the various ideology of Mao Zedong of China. He said, “That Indian peasants and lower class tribal’s overthrow the government and upper class by force for whom he held responsible for their commitment.” A large of urban elites were also attracted to the ideology, which spread through Charu Majumdar writing particularly the “eight historic documents” which formed basis naxalite ideology. Charu Majumdar wanted a prolonged people’s war in India similar to Chinese revolution 1949.
  • The Naxalite movement first time appeared on 1967 in Naxalbari village of West Bengal by peasants against the landlords and this movement was leading by Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal, and Jangal Santhal.. Initially the Naxalite movement originated in West Bengal and had later moved to the less developed rural areas in southern and eastern India including in the state of chhatisgarh, Odisha, Andhrapradesh, and telengana. This was testified by the fact that as per 1971 census, about 60% of people of the population were landless and the major share of land were in the hands of 4% richest peoples. The peasants were exploited by the landlords raised their bow and arrows in insurgencies. And this was the primary cause of this movement.

Causes of Left-Wing Extremism

Land Related Factors

  • Evasion of land ceiling laws.
  • Existence of special land tenures (enjoying exemptions under ceiling laws).
  • Encroachment and occupation of Government and Community lands (even the waterbodies) by powerful sections of society.
  • Lack of title to public land cultivated by the landless poor.
  • Poor implementation of laws prohibiting transfer of tribal land to non-tribals in the Fifth Schedule areas.
  • Non-regularisation of traditional land rights. 

Displacement and Forced Evictions

  • Eviction from lands traditionally used by tribals.
  • Displacements caused by irrigation and power projects without adequate arrangements for rehabilitation.
  • Large scale land acquisition for ‘public purposes’ without appropriate compensation or rehabilitation.

Livelihood Related Causes

  • Lack of food security – corruption in the Public Distribution System (which is often non-functional).
  • Disruption of traditional occupations and lack of alternative work opportunities.
  • Deprivation of traditional rights in common property resources.

Social Exclusion

  • Denial of dignity.
  • Continued practice, in some areas, of untouchability in various forms.
  • Poor implementation of special laws on prevention of atrocities, protection of civil rights and abolition of bonded labour etc.

Governance Related Factors

  • Corruption and poor provision/non-provision of essential public services including primary health care and education.
  •  Incompetent, ill-trained and poorly motivated public personnel who are mostly absent from their place of posting.
  •  Misuse of powers by the police and violations of the norms of law.
  • Perversion of electoral politics and unsatisfactory working of local government institutions.
  • These causes are most glaring in forest areas predominantly inhabited by tribal populations who thus become the main instruments and victims of left extremist violence.

Sources of Funding for Naxalites

  • Financial mobilisation by Naxalites is in the form of extortion from local people and from contractors executing various projects in the affected areas. Besides, funds are also raised through forest and mining operations.
  • The extensive contractor-transporter-extremist nexus and its links with illegal mining and collection of forest produce in the entire region affected by left extremism yields a huge volume of funds for the extremists.

Government’s Approach And Action Plan To Curb Lwe

The Government of India has adopted an integrated and holistic approach to deal with the Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) insurgency by simultaneously addressing the areas of security, development and promoting good governance. To achieve this, a National Policy and Action Plan has been put in place that adopts a multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlements of Other Traditional Dwellers /Tribals etc with focused attention on 106 Districts in 10 States and particularly in 35 most affected LWE districts in 07 States.

Specific Measures taken by Central government

  • Police’ and ‘public order’ are state subjects. Central government, however, closely monitors situation and coordinates and supplements their efforts in several ways to deal with the LWE problem.
  •  Ban on CPI (Maoist): This organisation is responsible for most incidents of violence/casualties.
  • Strengthening the Intelligence Mechanism: This includes intelligence sharing through Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) at the Central level and State Multi Agency Centre (SMAC) at the State level on 24×7 basis.
  • Better Inter-State coordination: The menace of Maoists is spread across various states. Thus, Government of India has taken a number of steps to improve Inter-State coordination through periodic Inter-State meetings and facilitating interactions between the bordering districts of LWE affected States.
  • Tackling the problem of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs): Majority of casualties incurred by the Security force are attributable to IEDs. The Ministry of Home Affairs has formulated an SOP on ‘Issues related to Explosives/IEDs/Landmines in Naxal Affected Areas’ and circulated to all stakeholders concerned for compliance.
  • Deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces
  • India reserve (IR)/Specialised India Reserve Battalion (SIRB): The Left-Wing Extremism affected states have been sanctioned India Reserve (IR) battalions mainly to strengthen security apparatus at their level and to enable the States to provide gainful employment to youth, particularly in the LWE affected areas.

Development measures taken by Government 
Monitoring and Implementation of Flagship Programs:(a) Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)(b) National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)(c) Ashram School(d) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)(e) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)(f) National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP)(g) Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)(h) Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)(I) Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)(j) Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Right) Act, 2006.

Way forward

Left extremism feeds on persistent and serious shortcomings in the domain of general and

development administration, resulting in the failure of the government to address the needs of the poor in areas pertaining to land, food, water and personal security, equity, ethnic/cultural identity etc. The ‘containment’ of the problem may inter alia require consideration of the following:

  • Most of the ‘participants’ in violence perpetrated under the banner of left extremist organisations are alienated sections of society rather than perpetrators of ‘high treason’ – they must be treated as such.
  • A fortiori police action over a long period is counterproductive; it is likely to affect the innocent more than the extremists.
  • Negotiations have a definite ameliorative role under the circumstances; this is the experience the world over.
  • Faithful, fair, and just implementation of laws and programs for social justice will go a long way to remove the basic causes of resentment among aggrieved sections of society.
  • Sustained, professionally sound and sincere development initiatives suitable to local conditions along with democratic methods of conflict resolution must be developed.
Source: The Hindu

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