Since late 1960s virtually no general elections have gone by which have not witnessed the bloody massacre orchestrated by the Red Brigade of the Maoists.
Ideologically, Communist Party of India (Maoists) also simply called Maoists, are opposed to any democratic functions, even the elections. Despite precautions and a high alert during elections, Maoists are experts in targeting the security forces, politicians and state machinery.
Coinciding with Labour Day on May 1, Maoists in election bound Maharashtra used an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Maharashtra’s North Gadchiroli that killed 15 security personnel and a driver. The operation is likely to be the handiwork of Maoist cadres from neighbouring Chhattisgarh’s South Bastar region. The attack scene – Dadapur Road – borders Dandakaranya and the Maoists’ Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh (MMC) zone. Border areas for all states which fall in the “Red Corridor” are the most vulnerable areas for Maoists attacks as it is easier for the perpetrators to commit a crime and slip-in to other neighbouring state to escape from the police.
According to the Government of India estimates, at present, out of 602 districts, 160 (77 till December 2004) districts in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are badly affected by Maoists. These districts contain about 450 police stations from where incidents of Maoist violence have been reported. There are another 50-odd districts where Maoist groups have extended their influence/activity, but not violence as yet. These districts fall in the above nine states as well as Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In all, Maoist activities have been reported from 1,200 police stations in India. In the past two decades, nearly 12,000 people, of which 2,700 security personnel, have been killed in Maoist violence in India. Over the last five years there have been at least 942 Maoists attacks and this year alone about 110 people have been killed in Maoist violence.
Tracing their ideology to China's Mao Zedong's theory of peasant insurrection and subscribing to the notion that "power flows from the barrel of a gun," People's War (PW) and the Maoist Communist Center (MCC) were the two largest and most potent Maoist organisations. On September 21, 2004 both these organizations merged to form Communist Party of India (Maoist). In fact, this merger was a marriage of two powerful extreme Left militant organisations which came together to share their expertise and become a stronger group. While MCC were great in ambush strikes, PW were experts in laying of landmines which they learnt during the LTTE crisis in Sri Lanka.
In the age of information, it is unfortunate that the trap which is laid by the Maoists against the security forces have been largely successful. In fact, in October 2018 the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had mentioned that Left Wing extremism will be eliminated within 2-3 years. Former Home Minister P Chidambaram had also claimed in 2010 that Left Wing extremism will be crushed within three years. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also termed Maoist violence as the biggest threat within India. In 2015 the Union government had launched a “National Policy and Action Plan” for the security and development of the Maoist affected areas of the country. However, very little effect to such measures can be seen on the ground as the spree of killing by the Maoists continues unabated. It seems there is a lack of willingness to take on this problem head-on.
What is required to stem this menace is a concerted effort by all political parties and governments, both the state as well as the Central government to ensure that such elements are not allowed free movement in their so called “Red Corridors”. This can also be done by empowering the Panchayat and local self government by launching of development programmes in under-developed parts of the country.Wherever poverty prevails that will remain a green pasture for the Maoists to hide and prosper.