Current Extent of Red Corridor and Trends in LWE in India

Currently, Left Wing Extremism has been identified as the gravest internal security threat to India, surpassing terrorist movements in Kashmir and the North-eastern insurgencies in overall impact.

Red Corridor

The Naxalites have created or are in the process of creating an alternative state structure in India in the so called “red corridor”, which refers to the entire Naxal-infested region in India and corresponds to a contiguous region from Nepal to northern fringes of Tamil Nadu (except some parts of coastal Odisha). It is spread in at least 10 states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and some northern fringes of Tamil Nadu.

Red Corridor is almost contiguous from India’s border with Nepal to the northern fringes of Tamil Nadu except some parts in Coastal Odisha, where there is comparatively better development. {This is called Odisha Gap}.

In three states viz. Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand, Naxals are able to get popular support, easy movement and safe passage. They are formidable around Odisha’s heavily-forested Naupada district, while have reasonable support base among the local population along the Chhattisgarh-Odisha border, right up to Jharkhand’s Gumla district.

Further, the Naxalites have been making close links with the insurgents in North East in recent times.

The CPI (Maoist) aims to consolidate its power in this area and establish a Compact Revolutionary Zone from which to advance the people’s war in other parts of India

The strength of insurgents includes 15000 armed cadre and 2 Lakh unarmed cadre. More than half of the armed contingent of the Naxalites is in Northern Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The Current Trends in Naxalite Movement include

  • Increased spatial spread (however, since 2013, the area seems to have decreased rather)
  • Increasing militarization
    • Synchronised large-scale attacks on multiple targets
    • Chilling massacres of security forces
    • Looting weapons and ammunition, at times in large numbers
    • Qualitative increase in armed struggle
    • Infrastructure attacks
  • Mobilisation and propaganda
  • Urban penetration
    • Penetration of working class movement
    • Founding various front organizations / activities
  • Mobilisation of masses against land acquisition and tribal land alienation, and against SEZs
  • Use of technology, including the Internet

Frontal Organizations

The frontal organizations of Maoists include bodies such as Revolutionary Democratic Front; Peoples Democratic Front of India; Democratic Student Union and other student groups from universities (including JNU). It is supported by left leaning civil society groups, human rights groups, national and international media and other students groups for mass mobilization. They have a  powerful propaganda machinery which is active in all major towns as well as in the national capital.

Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC)

Maoists carry out violent activities called “Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign” (TCOC) which runs from March to early Monsoon in July. Maoists usually resort to TCOC every year to put the security forces in disarray so that they can go on a recruitment drive. The aim of “TCOC” is to exhibit and consolidate their (Maoists) strength, by carrying out violent operations. Going by the past experience, the rebels have launched a number of deadly attacks against security forces during the TCOC period.

Internal and External Links of Maoists

The CPI (Maoist) has close fraternal ties with some north-east insurgent groups including NSCN. It has The CPI (Maoist) has also frequently expressed their solidarity with the Jammu and Kashmir terrorist groups. CPI(Maoist) is also a member of ‘Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia’ (CCOMPOSA), which includes ten Maoist groups from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Sources of Funding and Linkages with Organized Crime

The main source of funding is extortion from government projects as well as from corporate companies working in their areas of influence. Most of the time, it is in the form of protection money. Sometimes they resort to kidnapping and killings also to terrorize the rich people so that they give financial help easily. Left wing extremism is most intense precisely in areas which are rich in natural mineral resources, i.e. where coal, iron, bauxite, manganese, nickel, and copper are found in abundance.

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