Monday, February 28, 2011
Discourse on India’s Maoist conflict is suffused with black and white images and interpretations. Since 2004, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly described the Maoist insurgency as the “gravest internal security challenge” facing the country. The conflict is variously looked upon as a law and order problem by some, as a “fight for social justice, equality, protection, security and local development” by others. While some perceive the State as protector and the Maoists as terrorists, others view the State as oppressor and the Maoists as savior. However, the picture on the ground reveals shades of grey. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-Maoist), the main Maoist organization active today and the focus of this study, was declared a terrorist organization by the Government of India in June 2009. Indeed, it does use violence against civilians that is aimed at terrorizing the larger population. However, comparable tactics have been used by other parties to the conflict as well. Vigilante groups like the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh that were set up or supported by the government have carried out similar attacks. The impact of the armed conflict has been mixed too. While violence, which has reached unprecedented levels in recent years, has caused immense suffering, it has drawn attention to the situation of India’s tribals and other marginalized groups, forcing the government to deal with the conflict’s underlying causes.
The Maoists are active to varying degrees across the country. This study focuses on the armed conflict in the Dandakaranya region. A thickly forested and hilly area, Dandakaranya includes the districts of Bastar, Dantewada and Kanker in Chhattisgarh; Gadchiroli and Chandrapur in Maharashtra; Koraput and Malkangiri in Orissa; and Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam and East Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh (see map below). The Dandakaranya region is mineral-rich. However, its people – predominantly from tribal communities - live in conditions of abject poverty. Referred to by the Maoists as the Dandakaranya Special Zone, this area is currently the focus of Operation Green Hunt, a military operation launched by the government to eliminate the Maoists.
This study seeks to capture some of the complexities of the Maoist conflict, especially its impact. It begins with a brief overview of the nature of the Maoist conflict and goes on to trace its evolution over the past several decades. This is followed by an examination of the roots of the conflict and the way the conflict is being waged by some of the main actors. Finally, the study explores the conflict’s impact on people, policies and institutions. It draws attention to the human toll and the devastation it has wrought on lives and livelihoods of millions of people. It also looks at how the conflict has shaped the government’s response, forcing it to prioritize socio-economic development of backward districts and look into issues like tribal land alienation and the mining policy. The study argues that the waging of violent conflict by the main adversaries – the State and the Maoists – is deepening the conflict and making it intractable and protracted.
Understanding the Maoist Conflict
India’s Maoist conflict is often described as one between the Maoists and the State, wherein the Maoists are seeking to capture State power. According to the Constitution of the CPI (Maoist), “The ultimate aim or maximum program of the party is the establishment of a communist society. This New Democratic Revolution will be carried out and completed through armed agrarian revolutionary war i.e. the Protracted People’s War with area-wise seizure of power remaining as its central task.” This goal is seen to be incompatible with India’s parliamentary democracy. Several ministerial statements and government reports stress that the Maoists’ goal is unacceptable and call for the need to curb their armed struggle “at any cost.”
Analyzing conflict in terms of conflicting goals of the adversaries fails to capture its complexity. Goals are maximalist positions articulated in public statements and documents. An understanding of underlying interests, however, provides insights into what is keeping the conflict alive or driving the violence. A deeper delving into the Maoist conflict reveals powerful economic interests, not always admitted to by the various actors. Activists have accused the State of acting on behalf of mining companies and other vested interests. They allege that the motive behind the government’s launch of military operations in mineral-rich tribal areas is to drive the inhabitants out. Once the area’s tribal population is driven out, their argument goes, the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, which designates the area as tribal land and thus rules out its sale to non-tribals, would no longer apply, freeing it for sale to mining companies. Others have drawn links between corruption and conflict. With the government allocating vast sums of money for counter-insurgency operations and infrastructure-building in conflict zones, officials, politicians and contractors have a vested interest in keeping the conflict alive or magnifying the magnitude of the Maoist threat. After all, for many of them more funds mean more money available to divert to their personal pockets. Similarly, it has been argued that economic interests rather than lofty revolutionary ambitions could be driving the Maoists’ pursuit of armed struggle as well. They are said to be extorting huge amounts as ‘protection fee’ from mining companies and contractors in areas under their control. This ‘revenue’ is believed to be an important factor behind the leadership’s reluctance to give up arms and negotiate an end to the conflict.
The Maoist conflict is often described as one pitting the rebels against the State, a conflict with only two actors. While the Maoists and the State are the two main adversaries, there are several other actors who are influencing the conflict’s evolution and have a stake in its outcome. Tribals play a central role in the conflict in Dandakaranya. It is the structural violence that they experience that is driving the conflict. It is among them that much of the armed confrontation is unfolding. It is on their behalf that the Maoists claim to be waging war against the State and it is they who are bearing the brunt of the violence. Maoist cadres are overwhelmingly tribal but not all tribals are Maoist. Many prefer mass politics. While some tribals would like to keep their distance from the Maoists, others see them as a useful ally. There are tribals too who are anti-Maoist and work with the State.
There are other parties, too, such as mining companies, landlords, liquor mafias, etc., who have a vested interest in the conflict. Mining companies are anxious to extract minerals and are worried that the growing clout of the Maoists will hamper their business ambitions. They are said to be funding anti-Maoist militias. Some of these like the State-sponsored Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh have unleashed horrific levels of violence, escalating the conflict and militarizing tribal society in Dantewada to unprecedented levels.
There are civil society activists and organizations too, whose work is affecting and being affected by the conflict. While some are neutral, others are providing support to one side or the other. There are public intellectuals and activists who are drawing attention to human rights violations by the adversaries. Their interventions have served to put pressure on the Maoists, militias and the State to refrain from targeting civilians. There is the corporate media too, which has endorsed the government’s position and strategy, prejudicing the public against the Maoists.
None of the parties to the conflict is a homogenous entity. Sharp differences on strategy are evident at the highest levels of government and between the central and various state governments. There are tensions and contradictions too between the largely urban, educated middle-class Maoist leadership and the rank and file, which is tribal or low caste/Dalit, on strategy and tactics as well as objectives. Lower-level commanders and fighters are said to be keen on land reforms and livelihood security rather than the overthrow of the State.
The Maoist conflict is an armed conflict, although the government has denied that it is one under international law. According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, “armed conflict is a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in one calendar year.” By this definition, the Maoist conflict qualifies to be called an armed conflict, the fatalities having crossed the annual armed conflict benchmark of 25 every year over the past four decades. According to official data, the number of fatalities in 2009 was 908. Data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal puts the figure at 998 fatalities, just short of the high-intensity conflict benchmark of 1,000 fatalities per year. Thus, the conflict is not just an armed conflict but one that is on the brink of becoming a high intensity conflict. In fact, some analysts describe the conflict as a civil war.
Evolution of the Conflict
Conflicts pass through various phases. Broadly, these include the latent phase, conflict emergence, escalation, hurting stalemate, de-escalation, settlement/resolution, post-conflict peace-building and reconciliation. However, rarely do conflicts move in a linear fashion from one phase to another. Phases are skipped; an escalating conflict could de-escalate without passing through a stalemate. While de-escalation must precede conflict resolution, it need not necessarily lead to the latter. Reversions to an earlier phase are not uncommon. A period of de-escalation, when negotiations or even a resolution seem in sight, may be followed by a sudden escalation in the conflict.
The Maoist conflict has persisted for several decades. It has escalated and de-escalated, waxed and waned over time. The present escalation phase, the focus of this study, is the most intense so far.
The origins of the Indian Maoist movement can be traced back to the 1946-51 period, when Indian Communists, inspired by Chairman Mao’s ‘people’s war’, took up armed struggle in rural Telangana to free peasants from feudal rule. Led by the Communist Party of India (CPI), the agrarian uprising was initially organized around simple demands against eviction of peasants from their land. When met with the combined repression by landlords and the Nizam’s administrative machinery, it quickly expanded into a movement for overthrow of Nizam’s rule. With India sending its troops into Hyderabad, Nizam’s rule ended and the princely state came under Indian rule. The movement then went underground and the Communists found refuge in the thick forests of northern Andhra. It was during this period that the revolutionaries began working with the tribals, laying the foundation for the subsequent focus of the Maoists on tribal deprivation. The armed conflict de-escalated thereafter, although the issues underlying it remained unresolved. Meanwhile, the government of Prime Minister Jawaharalal Nehru abolished the zamindari system and promised to undertake a series of land reforms, leading to the CPI joining mainstream parliamentary politics in 1951.
In 1967, the conflict erupted in an armed uprising in Naxalbari in West Bengal, when the henchmen of local landlords assaulted a tribal sharecropper. The tribals retaliated by attacking the landlords and claiming their land. The uprising in Naxalbari was crushed quickly by the State through use of force but it spread to other parts of West Bengal, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. In 1969, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI(ML)] was set up, giving the insurgency a command structure. It made rapid gains initially but began weakening on account of tactical errors by its leaders. Brutal police and paramilitary operations too contributed to undermining it and by 1975, it had all but collapsed. Most of its leaders were killed or in jail and thousands of sympathizers – many of them students and intellectuals - were in custody. The remnants were scattered around the country. The setbacks prompted the surviving leaders to review their strategy. While some advocated mass politics and participation in parliamentary elections, others gave primacy to armed struggle.
The Maoist conflict escalated again a few years later. In 1980, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah formed the People’s War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh. The Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) emerged in Bihar a few years later. These two groups dominated the armed struggle in the decades that followed. In the early years of its existence, the PWG built mass organizations among youth, peasants and women but soon it moved exclusively to armed struggle and expanded its area of operation beyond Andhra to include parts of northern Karnataka, eastern Maharashtra, southern Chhattisgarh and Orissa. It started the Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (DAKMS) and the Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan (KAMS) in Dantewada in the early 1980s. DAKMS raised issues like access to land and forests, fair wages for tendubeedis or handmade cigarettes smoked widely in South Asia) pickers and better prices for non-timber forest produce – issues that struck a chord with the tribals. This helped the PWG build a support base across Dandakaranya. Sanghams were set up to replace the traditional structures of authority at the village level and gram rajya committees to settle village disputes and delegate developmental work. Guerrilla squads or dalams too emerged. Even as the PWG’s influence and presence in the Dandakaranya forest was being consolidated, the movement was weakened by fratricidal warfare. leaf (used in rolling
The latest phase of escalation in the Maoist conflict began in the late 1990s. It received a substantial boost in 2004 with the merger of the PWG and the MCC to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The PWG had been working on bringing various Maoist groups under its umbrella right from the early 1980s but it was only in the late 1990s that these efforts began paying off. In 1998, CPI-ML (Party Unity) merged with the PWG, strengthening the latter’s presence in Bihar and thus providing it with links to the Nepali Maoists. In 2001, nine South Asian Maoist groups including the PWG, the MCC and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) formed the Coordinating Committee of Maoist Parties of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), giving a fillip to the creation of a “Compact Revolutionary Zone” extending from Andhra to Nepal, and enabling logistical co-operation and tactical co-ordination among them.
The merger of the PWG and the MCC gave the hitherto deeply divided Indian Maoist movement a semblance of unity. As a result of the merger, there is a unified command structure in place today and although the Maoists are spread out over several states, they have an all-India character and perspective. There is far more co-ordination and co-operation between Maoists in different parts of the country than ever before. If in the past, much of their energy was consumed by fratricidal fighting and turf wars, the merger has enabled them to focus their firepower on the State. The coming together of the PWG and the MCC, which until their merger accounted for 88 percent of the countrywide Maoist violence and 89 percent of the resultant deaths, created “a formidable threat and challenge [to the government]”.  It gave a boost to Maoist logistics, facilitating movement of fighters, weapons and funds along a stretch of territory running from Karnataka to Bihar and beyond to Nepal.
The merger has contributed to a sharp increase in Maoist capacity in recent years. Their numbers have increased manifold as has the sophistication of their weaponry. Attacks have grown in frequency and magnitude.
Number of Maoist-related Incidents, 2002-2009
Number of Maoist-related Incidents, 2002-2009
Number of Incidents
Source: Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report, 2005-06; Annual Report, 2008-09; Annual Report, 2009-10.
In previous escalatory phases, Maoist operations were largely hit-and-run attacks, targeting ‘class enemies’ i.e. landlords, moneylenders and police informers. In the present phase, their attacks are far more sophisticated and deadly. They have targeted several high-profile personalities. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, among the most tightly guarded politicians in the country, escaped a landmine attack near Tirupati in 2003. They have executed several meticulously planned jailbreaks, including the one at Jehanabad in Bihar in 2005 when they freed 350 of their jailed comrades. They have raided armories and camps of the police and paramilitary forces. The Maoists have repeatedly signaled their capacity to stand and fight the security forces. In 2009, they stormed the government-owned National Aluminum Company Ltd. (NALCO) in Koraput and battled paramilitary forces for nine hours before retreating. In April 2010, in what is among the deadliest of Maoist attacks in terms of fatalities, 76 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in an ambush at Chintalnar in Dantewada. The Maoists are believed to have massed around 600 cadres at the site of the attack. That they were able to mass such a large number of fighters in an area where the security forces were present, without arousing the suspicions of the latter signals their formidable capacity for planning and executing major operations today.
The scale of the State’s anti-Maoist operations too has grown enormously during the present period of escalation. In previous escalatory phases, it was the state police that was at the forefront of anti-Maoist operations. There was little inter-state co-ordination, allowing Maoists to flee across state borders when pursued. That has changed with the central government launching Operation Green Hunt simultaneously in several states. Paramilitary forces have been deployed. The magnitude of this operation is unprecedented. In Bastar zone alone, a 40,000 square kilometer area, 14 battalions of the CRPF – each made up of around 1,000 men – besides five battalions of the Border Security Force have been inducted. In addition, there are some 5,000 police and seven battalions of armed police in Bastar. Calls for deployment of the Indian Army in the Maoist areas are growing. This demand has been turned down by the government for now, although army officers will be involved in strategizing operations. Helicopters of the Indian Air Force are providing logistical support but the possibility of their use in combat against Maoists in the near future cannot be ruled out. Already they have been granted permission “to fire in self-defense.” This has the potential of seriously escalating the conflict.
In the earlier phases of conflict escalation too, Maoists did target civilians. Landlords and money lenders who were seen to be exploiting the poor were killed. Villagers thought to be police informers were labeled ‘traitors’ and executed. However, the Maoists refrained from carrying out attacks that would result in high civilian casualties. That has now changed with the frequency and magnitude of attacks on ‘soft targets’ escalating in recent years. In May 2010, a private passenger bus was blown up by Maoists at Chingawaram in Dantewada, killing 31 people, mainly civilians. The Maoists, subsequently, sought to justify this attack by claiming that 11 Special Police Officers (SPOs) were travelling in the bus and that the government was using civilians as human shields. A senior Maoist leader in the south Dandakaranya region said civilian deaths “could not be helped”, signaling that the Maoists now see civilian casualties as inevitable and acceptable collateral damage in their war against the State.
As for the State, in previous phases of escalation it did arrest or kill civilians thought to be Maoist sympathizers. Many villagers and students were killed in the course of anti-Maoist operations and many civilians in Maoist areas were drawn into the battle as police informers. However, in recent years, the State has been arming civilians as part of a planned strategy to fight the Maoists. This has taken the armed conflict to a new, higher level. In June 2005, a supposedly spontaneous uprising against Maoists called Salwa Judum emerged in Bastar and Dantewada. Subsequent events revealed that there was little spontaneous about Salwa Judum; it was a government-sponsored strategy that involved arming tribal youth, including children, and surrendered Maoists to fight the Maoists. Government forces and Salwa Judum activists jointly raided villages. They unleashed violence on an unprecedented scale, torturing, raping and killing villagers, looting their homes and burning down entire villages.
As the above discussion indicates, the Maoist conflict has persisted for several decades, de-escalating from time to time, only to re-emerge and escalate subsequently. Every escalation seems to be of a greater magnitude than the one before. The protracted nature of the conflict and its intensity in the present phase indicates that this is not a mere ‘law and order’ problem. The conflict has its roots in socio-economic and political grievances, which have not been addressed. This explains its repeated escalation and intractability.
Roots of the Conflict
Human needs theorists have drawn attention to the central role that unmet human needs play in triggering conflict. According to them, conflict is generated when people feel their basic needs for security, identity, well-being, self-determination and so on are being denied or under threat. When social, political and economic structures, institutions and policies prevent people from meeting these needs, they are being subjected to structural violence, writes peace psychologist Daniel Christie. Structural violence provokes resistance, “violent resistance if necessary,” points out human needs theorist John Burton. Drawing attention to the link between unmet human needs, structural violence and violent conflict, he observes that “individuals are prepared to go to extreme lengths to defy systems in order to pursue their deeply felt needs, even death by suicide bombing or hunger strikes.”
Structural violence lies at the heart of India’s Maoist conflict. Structural violence is said to have occurred when people have been systematically deprived of material and non-material resources necessary for humans to reach their potential. In Dandakaranya, institutions and policies are not just standing in the way of tribals tapping their potential but worse, their most basic needs such as those for food, security and survival are not being met. So severe is the structural violence that has been unleashed on the tribals in this region that people here are dying of poverty, starvation and treatable illnesses.
It is to the tribals’ loss of land and thus of their homes, livelihood and means of survival that the grievances fuelling the conflict can be traced. The Nehruvian development paradigm envisaged rapid industrialization of the country. The building of big dams and setting up of heavy industries was given priority, a policy best encapsulated by Nehru’s description of dams as “the temples of modern India”. Millions of tribals were displaced by big dams, hydroelectric projects and public sector mining activity in this period. Besides, legislation restricted their access to forests and common property resources.  This displacement has accelerated under economic liberalization, with tribals being displaced to enable mineral extraction, and the setting up of industries and Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
India’s adoption of neo-liberal economic policies from the early 1990s onwards has accelerated the country’s economic growth rate, increased the number of millionaires and expanded the size of the middle class in the country. However, it has worsened the condition of the rural poor. With the government cutting back on investment in the social sector, the deprivation suffered by the rural poor has intensified over the past two decades. Particularly devastating has been the impact of neo-liberal policies on tribals living in mineral-rich areas. An examination of India’s mining policy and its impact on tribals is essential to understand why the condition of tribals in mineral-rich Dandakaranya is so wretched.
Prior to liberalization, extraction and refining of minerals was largely undertaken by the government. This changed with the National Mineral Policy of March 1993, which opened the doors to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the mining sector. The process for FDI was eased in 1997 and since 2006, 100 percent FDI is being permitted in mining. Liberalization of investment in the mining sector has opened the floodgates to mining companies especially in mineral-rich Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand. With investment pouring in, permits are being issued for mineral extraction on tribal land in violation of legislations and court judgments that forbid sale of tribal land to non-tribals.
Since the opening up of the mining sector to FDI, thousands of acres of forest land have been diverted for non-forest use. Such diversion shot up from 789 hectares at the end of 1993-94 to 28,769 hectares a decade later, an average annual increase of 43 percent. A third of this diversion was for mining activity. Much of the mineral-rich land in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand is tribal land, land guaranteed to them under the Constitution’s Fifth Schedule. Yet, in violation of the Fifth Schedule and of a historic Supreme Court judgment in 1997, often referred to as the Samata judgment, several thousands of acres of tribal land is being handed over to mining companies. This grabbing of tribal land also violates the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996, a landmark legislation that requires consultation with gram sabhas There are scores of instances of tribal land being taken over by the State and handed over to mining companies. In Lohandiguda in Bastar, some 2,000 hectares of Fifth Schedule Area belonging to 10 villages was acquired by the government on behalf of Tata Group’s Rs 1,000-crore steel plant. Tribal land in Dhurli and Bhansi villages in Dantewada district too are being acquired for the Essar Group’s proposed steel plant. before development projects in these areas can be undertaken.
Economist C. P. Chandrashekar uses the term “carpetbagger capitalism” to describe the neo-liberal economic reforms that are devastating tribal areas. “Outsiders” are coming into tribal areas and reaping the profits of mining activity even as the area’s indigenous inhabitants are bearing the enormous environmental, social and human costs, he says. Indeed, mining activity has left tribals bearing all the costs. They are losing their land, which not only means loss of places of habitation but also their livelihood. This in turn has severely affected their access to food, water and way of life.
Tribals figure disproportionately among India’s internally displaced. While they constitute 8.08 percent of India’s population, they account for 40 percent of the 60 million persons displaced or affected by development projects between 1947 and 2000. This means that “a tribal is five times as likely as a non-tribal to be forced to sacrifice his home and hearth by the claims and demands of development and/or conservation,” writes anthropologist and historian, Ramachandra Guha.
In the context of the displacement caused by the Sardar Sarovar Project in western India, P Routledge has described the multiple erasures – economic, ecological and cultural - that tribals in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have suffered. In Dandakaranya too, tribals are suffering similar erasures. In 1982, when NALCO set up its bauxite extraction and refinery unit in Damanjodi in Koraput, 26 villages were affected directly and over 690 villages indirectly. Most of these were tribal villages. Several families were provided rehabilitation packages; some got financial compensation, others were provided land. NALCO officials claim that of the roughly 600 families that were displaced, 597 were provided with housing in rehabilitation colonies at Analabadi and Kontaguda. Besides, one able person from each displaced family was provided employment at NALCO. Walter Fernandes, an expert on displacement, says that 60 percent of the land that was acquired by NALCO at Damanjodi was tribal common property resources and no compensation was paid for it. For the little private land they owned, tribal families were paid a paltry Rs 6,700 per hectare, “a totally inadequate sum to start a new life.”  According to Damodar Jani, a NALCO displacee and former sarpanch of Littiguda, the land given as compensation “was uncultivable.” Employment that NALCO promised the displaced “benefited only non-tribals as Adivasis were found to be lacking in the skills the company required.” Some tribals got jobs but only one member per family benefited. When he died, the family was left with nothing. For most tribals, NALCO spelt economic disaster as loss of land brought loss of livelihood and sustenance to entire families.
NALCO’s dynamiting of the Panchapatmalli hills has destroyed the forests. Bauxite extraction dries streams. It has turned the land into a near desert making agriculture, even living there impossible. Although the NALCO factory has an ash pond and a red-mud pond, toxic effluents are being discharged into the Kolab River regularly, polluting and poisoning the water available to villages downstream. Jani says that their crops and cattle are dying and the air, which is thick with flyash, is afflicting tribals with respiratory diseases. This has forced tribals to move out of Damanjodi. Some have gone to Andhra Pradesh, others have moved to nearby villages around the Mali Parbat. But they will have to move soon from Mali Parbat as mining giant Hindustan Aluminum Company (HINDALCO) has acquired rights to extract bauxite from the mountain. HINDALCO is pressuring the Paroja tribe that lives in Maliguda, Tentuliguda and surrounding areas to give up land for construction of a road to the hill.
Besides economic and ecological erasure, mining activity and displacement are causing erasure of tribal culture. This is the fear of the Dongria Kondh. They believe that if Niyam Dongar Hill is dynamited to facilitate bauxite extraction by UK mining giant Vedanta Resources, the home of their deity will be destroyed. The Dongria Kondhs consider the Niyam Dongar Hill to be the abode of their presiding deity, Niyam Raja (literally, the King of Law or the Universal Lawgiver). The dynamiting of their mountains will destroy their culture, their way of life, perhaps their survival as a distinct people.
The experience of tribals living in the Chitrakonda in Malkangiri provides insights on the link between displacement, development and Maoism. Displaced by Machkund Hydel Project in Koraput back in the late 1940s, the tribals moved to Chitrakonda, only to be displaced yet again when the Balimela Hydel Project came up in 1964. Since then their villages have remained water-locked by the Chitrakonda reservoir and are accessible only by boat. No rehabilitation or socio-economic development has taken place here for decades. There are no roads, water supply or electricity. No official visits these villages. Only the Maoists bother to come to these villages and listen to the peoples’ grievances. It is not surprising then that this hilly, forested region, which the rest of India has forgotten, has been a Maoist hotbed for decades.
While exploitation and poverty are common themes across tribal areas, there are differences in how this exploitation takes place. In Orissa, displacement by government and private industrial and development projects has plunged tribals in poverty. In Andhra Pradesh, feudal exploitation of the landless has impoverished them. In Gadchiroli, tribals own land but those who engage in picking tendu leaves, cutting bamboo or collecting minor forest produce, are paid very low wages by the contractors or are harassed by forest officials.
Socio-economic indicators provide a glimpse of the impact of structural violence that tribals are subjected to. Poverty is severe and widespread in Dandakaranya. In Dantewada, which is the epicenter of the conflict, education, health and transport infrastructure is in a shambles. Seventy-eight percent of its population is tribal. Around 52.28 percent of its people live below the poverty line and 70 percent are illiterate. Of its 1,220 villages, 1,161 have no medical facilities and 214 do not even have primary schools. A similar situation of deprivation is evident in Koraput, the country’s poorest district. Poverty is alarming here with four out of every five persons living below the poverty line. As for Gadchiroli, more than 55 percent of its population lives below the poverty line. Its child mortality rate is 144 per 1000, far higher than Maharashtra’s average of 91. On the Human Development Index, the district stands last in the state. 
Poverty manifests itself in high rates of hunger and malnutrition, which in turn make people vulnerable to illness. It causes starvation deaths. Often hunger and starvation in tribal areas is blamed on drought or on the collapse of the public distribution system (PDS) in these areas. But the roots of the problem are more deep-seated. They lie in the structural changes that Adivasi economy has undergone over the last several decades as a result of which traditional livelihoods and food systems have been destroyed. Denied access to forests and displaced from land, their capacity to sustain their lives and livelihoods has been severely undermined.
Tribals are also victims of atrocities and rarely get justice. The police are seldom willing to register their complaints. Data compiled by the National Dalit Movement for Justice show that from 2002 to 2008, only around 20,000 cases of atrocities against tribals reached the courts every year, out of which only around 30 percent were registered under the stringent Prevention of Atrocities Act, the rest being pursued under the milder Indian Penal Code or Protection of Civil Rights Act. Around 81 percent of the cases filed by tribals are still pending.
Police harassment creates Maoists; it pushes sympathizers to go underground. In the words of a tribal in Gadchiroli, “Once there is even a minor case against you, the police arrest you every time there is a violent incident. Many Adivasis have had to sell their land or cattle to pay for the court cases against them. When they run out of money, they join the Naxalites or they go underground to escape police harassment.”  “The police act on behalf of the exploiting class and slap us with serious charges to drive us out of our land,” says Gana Nayak of Damapada village in Malkangiri district. Several in his village have been charged with sedition when all they did was protest the illegal land grabbing of tribal land by non-tribals.
Acute and worsening poverty together with frustration with poor governance and the failure of the police and judiciary to deliver justice has deepened tribal alienation from the Indian State. It has encouraged tribal protest, largely democratic and peaceful but increasingly violent.
Parties to the Maoist conflict have resorted to peaceful and political means as well as coercive and violent methods. The strategy adopted depends on several factors, such as the goal, resources, the relationship between the parties, efficacy of a strategy in achieving objectives and so on. Thus for instance, the goal of overthrowing the State has determined the Maoist leadership’s choice of armed struggle. For many tribals committed to peaceful means, mass struggle is preferred over ballot box politics as the latter has not delivered them results. Every party to the conflict uses a mix of methods to pursue its goals.
Tribals and Mass Protests
While the bulk of the Maoist cadres are tribal and the Maoists do enjoy some support among the tribals, armed struggle is not the dominant way in which tribals are protesting their condition. For several decades now, they have been articulating their frustration through non-violent mass protests. Since the 1970s, hundreds of tribal mass organizations have emerged to protest displacement by dams and mining projects, press for better rehabilitation and demand access to forest resources. These organizations block roads, form human chains around proposed mining sites, sit on dharnas (sit-ins) and go on long marches to focus attention on their grievances and pressure their adversary.
Since 1993, when the Orissa government granted a lease to Utkal Alumina International Ltd (UAIL) for extraction of bauxite from the Baphilimali hills in Kashipur, the tribal mass organization Prakrutik Sampad Suraksya Parishad (PSSP) has been protesting the bauxite mining and refining plant. The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), which is active in Koraput, has been asserting rights over tribal land that was illegally grabbed by non-tribal landlords. For over two decades, it has been campaigning on the land issue and against consumption and sale of liquor in the area, which is a major reason for land alienation and tribal indebtedness. Among the mass organizations, the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, which has been protesting Vedanta’s proposed mining project at Niyamgiri, has met with some success. Its sustained campaign, which enjoyed international support, drew attention to Vedanta’s violation of environmental norms, paving the way for the government refusing Vedanta permission to mine at Niyamgiri.
Tribals seem to prefer mass organizational activity over ballot box politics to address their grievances. This could be because electoral politics has not benefited them much. Given their demographic distribution – tribals are concentrated in a few pockets country-wide – their capacity to influence the outcome of elections is limited. Guha points out that in parliamentary elections, for instance, the tribal vote matters in 50 to 60 constituencies, compared with around 300 constituencies in the case of Dalits. Tribals are often not allowed to vote freely. Since the electoral route to shape government policy on issues affecting their lives has not worked for them, they prefer the other democratic option - mass mobilization and protests - to pursue their goals.
However, the appeal of armed struggle is growing. The State’s use of force to quell mass struggle and peaceful forms of protest, its banning of several mass organizations for their alleged links with Maoists is denying tribals the democratic avenue of protest, leaving the space open for violent waging of conflict. “We want villagers to be aware of their rights and protest peacefully if their rights are violated, not become extreme or adopt violence,” a civil rights worker in Dantewada says. “But the government treats anyone who protests like an insurgent, and this only pushes people towards extremism.” In Orissa, Shanti Committees have been set up by landlords and mining companies and they are unleashing violence on tribals asserting their rights over land. Local police support such vigilantism. This has prompted tribal youth to counter violence with violence. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that tribals are drawn to Maoist ideology and praxis and are turning to the gun to usher in a just order.
Maoists and Armed Struggle
The ultimate objective of the CPI-Maoist rebels is to capture political power through protracted ‘people’s war’. They do not subscribe to parliamentary politics. They believe India’s democracy is a sham and that “the real problems of the people can never be addressed by the Parliament and Assemblies, not to speak of solving them.” They want to overthrow the current “bourgeois order” and establish in its place a “genuine people’s democracy”. They believe that only systemic change can end poverty and exploitation of the poor and dispossessed and while peaceful movements through mass protests can usher in regime change, these cannot bring systemic change. “A section of the ruling classes might give up power to another section of the same class without the need for a violent upheaval but the same is not the case when one ruling class is replaced by another with diametrically opposing class interests,” ‘Azad’, the recently slain former spokesperson of the Maoists said. Since systemic change is their goal, Maoists believe that this necessitates armed struggle.
Besides armed struggle, the Maoists engage in political work among the tribals, which includes their indoctrination in Maoist ideology and strategy but also development work in the villages. In areas under their control, Naxalites are said to be running janatana sarkars or ‘parallel governments’. They hold jan adalats (informal public courts) that dispense quick and often ruthless justice. They take up development activities, such as digging wells and canals and put pressure on State functionaries to perform better.
Maoists say they have taken up armed struggle to overthrow the State and put in its place an egalitarian system, one that will provide India’s poorest and most marginalized sections with distributive justice. It is not surprising then that their call to arms strikes a chord with tribals and other dispossessed communities.
State Response to Tribal Alienation and Maoist Violence
What is the government’s strategy to tackle tribal alienation and Maoism? Over the decades, the government has adopted a multi-pronged approach to deal with the Maoist conflict. To address tribal grievances that underlie their growing alienation from the State and consequent support for the Maoists, it has implemented an array of poverty alleviation programs and enacted legislation to protect tribal rights and interests. To deal with the Maoists, it has pursued negotiations, albeit half-heartedly, even as its strategy has focused on military operations against them.
The Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution designates districts in nine states as tribal areas. Most of the land in the districts that fall under the Dandakaranya region are Fifth Schedule Areas. The Fifth Schedule guarantees tribals rights over the land they live in. It gives governors of the states in question extensive powers to prevent or amend any law enacted in the parliament or the state assembly that could harm tribals’ interests. PESA, which was enacted in 1996, goes further to protect tribal rights by providing for tribal self-governance and recognizing the traditional rights of tribal communities over their natural resources. PESA provides for the setting up of gram sabhas and gram panchayats to enable tribals to take control of their destinies. It empower them to protect community resources, control social sector functionaries, own minor forest produce, manage water bodies, give recommendations for mining lease, be consulted for land acquisition, enforce prohibition, identify beneficiaries for poverty alleviation and other government programs, and have a decisive say in all development projects in the villages.
Besides, the government has taken steps to strengthen the livelihood security of tribals and other rural poor through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005, and the more tribal-specific Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, better known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA). MGNREGA guarantees a hundred days of wage employment in a year to a rural household. Manual work carried out under MNREGA not only provides jobs and wages but also, it contributes to building economic and social infrastructure in rural areas. As for the FRA, this landmark legislation recognizes the forest rights of tribal communities, including the right to live in the forest, to self-cultivate, and to use minor forest produce. It empowers the gram sabha to initiate the process of determining the extent of forest rights that may be given to each eligible individual or family and gives forest communities primacy in forest management.
In the wake of growing protest over land acquisition and consequent displacement, the government has formulated the National Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy, 2007. The stated aim of the policy is striking “a balance between the need for land for developmental activities and, at the same time, protecting the interests of the land owners, and others…. whose livelihood depends on the land involved.” It seeks to minimize displacement and to promote, “as far as possible, non-displacing or least-displacing alternatives; to ensure adequate rehabilitation package and expeditious implementation of the rehabilitation process with the active participation of the affected families; to ensure that special care is taken for protecting the rights of the weaker sections especially members of tribal and Dalit communities.” In the event of a large number of families being affected, the policy makes mandatory social impact assessments and provision of infrastructure and amenities in the resettlement areas. Where tribals “are being displaced in sizeable numbers, a well thought out Tribal Development Plan must be put in place,” the policy says. 
To reduce the crushing impact of poverty, the government has implemented several programs aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition, improving literacy and so on. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), for instance, aims at ensuring food and health security of children under the age of six years. The PDS aims at providing those below the poverty line with food grains at subsidized rates. Tribal children are among those groups that are the prime focus of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a literacy program that aims at achieving universal elementary education through opening new schools in areas that do not have schooling facilities, strengthening existing school infrastructure and so on.
An important component of the government’s approach to development of tribal areas is to encourage investment in the extraction and refining of the immense mineral wealth of the Dandakaranya region, the argument being that this ‘development’ will provide tribals with jobs, even as it spurs India’s economic growth. As discussed earlier, extraction and refining of minerals was the prerogative of the government up to the 1990s. Since liberalization of the economy, a number of private companies, Indian and multi-national, have entered tribal areas.
Besides seeking to address tribal poverty and discontent in a bid to reduce their alienation with the Indian State and to draw them away from the Maoists, the government is also taking steps to tackle the Maoists. The Andhra Pradesh government, for instance, engaged in talks with the Maoists in 2004. The peace process collapsed within a few months.
The government has also used the legislative route to tackle the Maoists. On June 22, 2009, the CPI (Maoist) was listed as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The CPI (Maoist)’s naming in the list made little difference on the ground as the ban on the organization was already in effect by virtue of the fact that its constituents, the PWG, MCC and their front organizations were already outlawed under the UAPA and its earlier incarnation, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Barring brief periods in 1995 and 2004-05 when the ban on it was lifted, the PWG has functioned as an outlawed group for much of the time since it was first banned in 1992 in Andhra. Several suspected front organizations of the Maoists have also been banned.
The government’s approach to tackling the Maoists has leaned on coercive means. Right from the 1940s, it has used extreme force to suppress the Maoists. As discussed in an earlier section, the scale and nature of anti-Maoist operations have escalated over the decades. Besides police and paramilitary forces, special commando units are being deployed in districts worst hit by Maoist violence. Use of extra-legal groups like Salwa Judum has been an important part of the government’s strategy.
Since 2009, the Centre has been working on a two-pronged strategy that includes coordinated military operations to eliminate Maoists from districts that are the worst affected by Maoist violence, followed by developmental activity. A senior Home Ministry official has described this as “a comprehensive operational strategy that would first seek to clear an area of Maoists, occupy it militarily and follow it up with socio-economic development activity.” In a statement in Parliament, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that “the two pillars of the policy are calibrated police action and development. Central paramilitary forces have been provided to the affected states, including Chhattisgarh, to help the state governments carry out counter-insurgency operations, regain control of areas dominated by the Naxalites, restore the civil administration, and restart development work.” While the government has described its policy towards Maoists as one that is as much about development as it is about elimination of Maoists, it is clearly more preoccupied with the latter at present. Some have drawn parallels between the violence of the Salwa Judum strategy and that of Operation Green Hunt, the only difference being that “Operation Green Hunt is being conducted under the official mandate of the State, rather than under the fig leaf of a so-called ‘people’s movement’.”
Security analysts have often argued that the government has been compelled to use military means against the Maoists as the political and constitutional means have not worked with them. They often point to the failed talks in 2004-05 to allege that the Maoists used this period to regroup rather than find a negotiated solution. However, a close examination of how events unfolded during this period reveals that negotiations failed because they were not pursued by either side seriously or in a way that would result in a constructive outcome. Furthermore, while the government has put in place several projects to address poverty and hunger in tribal areas, implementation of these has been half-hearted. Funds have benefited contractors and middlemen rather than the tribals. Besides, the government’s approach to economic development of tribal areas, which consists of encouraging investment in mining and other extractive activity, is deepening structural violence and inequity.
Thus, while the main parties are using a range of political, legislative, developmental and military measures to pursue their goals, they have pursued the political and constitutional means less assiduously than they have the military ones. What is the impact of the violent waging of conflict? The following paragraphs turn to this examination.
Impact of the Maoist Conflict
The previous section explored the various ways in which the conflict is being waged. It drew attention to the predominantly violent way that it is being waged. An important point that was discussed is the State’s use of illegal violence and its violation of the Constitution. What have been its consequences for India’s democracy? What has been the impact of the armed conflict on people living there? What kind of governance have Maoists provided in areas under their control? This section will explore some of these questions.
Spiral of Violence
Experience in armed conflicts across the world indicates that violence that is employed to quell violence often intensifies it. Attacks trigger counter-attacks and each violent action prompts a reaction that is more severe. Each side aggresses against the other in response to the other’s hostility. This results in a spiral of violence. Such spirals are fed by movement from light to heavier tactics.
The Maoist conflict is caught in a spiral of violence. An attack by one side prompts retaliation by the other. Such retaliation by the security forces, for instance, takes the form of not just intensified search operations to hunt out Maoists but collective punishment that is meted out to villagers who are thought to have supported the rebels. This is turn triggers a heavier Maoist response. With both sides engaging in punishment and revenge, each is seeking to retaliate with deadlier violence. Not only is the level of violence intensifying but also the list of grievances and issues of conflict are growing.
The Maoists claim that their ambush of CRPF personnel at Chintalnar in April 2010 was in response to the government’s bid to reclaim areas they controlled for years. The Chintalnar ambush became the harbinger of more violence and bloodletting. Fearing police wrath and reprisals, hundreds of tribals from the surrounding villages of Mukram, Tarmetla, Rehadgatta, Pamra, Karigundam, Kodapalli, Rengam, Murpalli and Jadka fled to neighboring Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Those who stayed back have had to bear the brunt of police intimidation and/or Maoist punishment. The village of Mukram has been the worst affected. One of the Maoist commanders, Rukhmati, who participated in the ambush, was from this village and it was in Mukram too that the CRPF personnel rested the night before the ambush. For these ‘links’ with the Maoists, Mukram’s residents have become the focus of its search operations and the target of the punishment being meted out by the CRPF. Aimla Rane, wife of Mukram’s sarpanch, says that the CRPF spared no one in her village. They “beat every man, woman and child they could find and they took away my husband, Aimla Nanda,” she recalls. The CRPF has reportedly detained him and several others in its camp at Chintalnar. Girls from the village are alleged to have been raped at the CRPF camp nearby. Not surprisingly, Mukram is “turning into a ghost village.”
This is a brief summary of what Mukram’s residents have suffered over a few weeks. For those living in zones of armed conflict like Dantewada, this cycle of violence is a familiar experience. An attack or offensive by one side leads to reprisals by the other, which in turn prompts more intimidation, punishment and violence.
Human Costs of the Conflict
Ordinary civilians are getting caught in the crossfire between the security forces and the Maoists. The experience of Shyamal Pojamma, a resident of Koras village in Chhattisgarh, provides insights into the multiple implications that conflict has for people living in the conflict zone. They suffer the impact of loss of kin, trauma and the unending pain of displacement. Pojammma fled to Andhra Pradesh to escape the Salwa Judum. But insecurity dogs her. Here is her account:
My 18-year old son, Shyamal Admaiya, was killed by the Salwa Judum and the police in a fake encounter in Singaram village on January 8, 2009. I saw his body. He was shot between the eyes. In addition to this, they had used a sickle to cut open his head. I can’t erase the images from my mind. Admaiya was my youngest son.
For two months after this, we lived in the forest, terrified that the Salwa Judum would come back and kill the rest of us. My two older sons and their families decided to walk to Andhra Pradesh since they were tired of constantly living in fear. I refused to leave. I wanted to die in my village. If I left, there would be nobody to remember the place where my son was killed.
Two weeks ago, the Salwa Judum returned to my village. My husband and I escaped again to the forest. When my two sons heard of this, they came to the village and brought us here. We walked for an entire day but that is of no consequence. If I could bring back Admaiya, I would walk for a year.
There is no food here, no lands to cultivate. For me, this is alien land since none of my ancestors are buried here. Come back and talk to me in a year and I will tell you so even then. Back home we were kings. Now all we can afford is one portion of rice gruel a day. The Naxals are safe, the Salwa Judum is safe. We are the only ones dying in the middle.
Pojamma’s experience of the conflict is not an isolated one. Many tribals in Chhattisgarh have undergone similar tragedies. The death of loved ones, dealing with trauma and ‘disappearances’, shattered livelihoods, displacement – these are just a few ways in which armed conflict devastates people’s lives. Combatants – whether Maoist or security forces - and their families too pay a heavy price. If caught by the adversary, combatants are often tortured, even executed. The homes of Maoist fighters are routinely searched and ransacked by the security forces. The families are tortured for information.
There are innumerable allegations of rape and ‘disappearance’ of civilians in the conflict zone. “Those who participate in protests over land are ‘disappearing’,” says a Koya youth in Tentuliguda in Malkangiri, referring to 50-year-old Indromadi who went missing in August 2008. Indromadi was part of the Malkangiri Zilla Adivasi Sangha and following up on the disappearance of another person from the village.
The armed conflict has left thousands dead. With the main adversaries opting for military means, the number of fatalities has grown sharply over the years, particularly in the current phase of escalation. Table 2 indicates that the number of fatalities has almost doubled between 2002 and 2009.
Number of Fatalities in the Maoist Conflict, 2002-2009
Number of Fatalities in the Maoist Conflict, 2002-2009
Number of Fatalities
Source: Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report, 2005-06; Annual Report, 2008-09; Annual Report, 2009-10.
The number injured is far higher; many are dealing with lifelong physical disabilities, and mental and psychological conditions. The Maoists’ increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is taking a heavy toll on the security forces. IEDs account for about 40 percent of the 408 troop fatalities in Chhattisgarh since 2007 and nearly 70 percent of all injuries sustained by security forces from January 2008 to March 2010. IEDs cause death and injuries. Their psychological impact is devastating.
With the main adversaries adopting tactics that result in civilian casualties, an increasing number of civilians are being killed in the conflict. Civil liberties and rights organizations have long alleged that many of so-called ‘Maoists’ the police claim to have eliminated are in fact innocent civilians.
In October 2009, 11 Adivasis of Gompad village in Chhattisgarh were killed by a composite force including SPOs and police. The area is one that is frequented by Maoists and security forces but those who were killed in the massacre were civilians. Madivi Muthi, who lost several members of her family in that killing, recalls:
The men either shot them [those who stayed back in the village when the attack happened] or hacked them down - inside their houses. I lost my uncle, Madivi Bajar, my aunt, Madivi Subbi and another family member, Madivi Venkaiah. Two others in the village, Soyan Subbaiah and Soyan Jogi, were also killed. The men looted their house as well – I heard that they took away all the money in the house. I don’t know if the men who attacked our village were people from the Salwa Judum or the police…. I was told that the police claim that the people who were killed in Gompad were Naxals. The people they killed were not Naxals - they lived in our village. I knew them my entire life. They killed innocent people sleeping in their houses and called them Naxals. Were they afraid to catch the real ones?
Often it is civilians who bear the brunt of Maoist attacks, even those that target the security forces. The Maoists attack the security forces, then melt into the forests and leave civilians to face the ire of the security forces. Many civilians have faced the wrath of the Maoists and the security forces. Aimla Nanda, who has been in CRPF custody since the Chintalnar ambush was the target of Maoist ire in 2004. He was tied to a tree for criticizing their destruction of a village school.
The impact of the conflict has been particularly harsh on children. Children’s education has been severely affected as many schools have been occupied by the security forces. Maoists too have blown up several schools.
More worrying is the recruitment of children by the State, the Salwa Judum and the Maoists in Chhattisgarh. The Maoists organize children in the 6-12 age group into bal sanghams, where they are indoctrinated on Maoist ideology and prepared for later dalam activity. Those above 12 years of age are deployed as fighters, to engage in hostilities against the security forces and the Salwa Judum, to make and plant landmines and bombs, to gather intelligence and for sentry duty. Children have been recruited by the Salwa Judum for similar purposes. What is more, the State is recruiting children as SPOs. 
Tarrem Kosa’s experience as a child soldier with the Maoists and then as an SPO lays bare the tragic lives of children living in the conflict zone. A student of class eight when he was recruited into a Maoist dalam, Tarrem Kosa was trained with bows and arrows, then bombs. He participated in several encounters. Recalling his years in a dalam he says: “I used to think of home a lot. I worried I would never be able to contact my parents. I used to read magazines to kill time … Sometimes I would sit and cry. I never had the opportunity to contact my parents. I thought of home a lot, but never had a way to get back.” He paid a heavy price when he left the Maoists. They killed both his younger brothers, beat his mother and broke her arm, took all their belongings, and burned their house. After his surrender to the police – he was not an adult then - Tarrem Kosa began to work for them as an informer, and then became an SPO. He now accompanies security forces on anti-Maoist combing operations. He is wanted by the Maoists and says he has seen posters with his photograph that say he should be killed. For many in the conflict zone - civilians or combatants - there appears to be no escape from a life of violence.
Geographical Expansion of Conflict
There has been a phenomenal expansion in the area of Maoist activity over the decades and especially over the past decade. In the early 1990s, 15 districts in four states were reported to be affected by Maoist violence. In November 2003, 55 districts of nine states were described as ‘Maoist-affected’. The figure jumped to 156 districts in 13 states within ten months. In September 2009, Home Minister Chidambaram said that 223 districts across 20 states (of a total 626 districts and 28 states) were hit by Maoist activity. Terrorism analyst Ajai Sahni argues that areas of ‘Maoist activity’ or those that are ‘Maoist-affected’ include not only areas hit by violence but also those that are in “the early stages of ‘revolutionary mobilization’ - the creation of basic networks, the establishment of underground and ‘overground’ organizations, and the opportunistic harnessing of local grievances for radical political activity.” Thus, not all the 223 districts are convulsed in violence. However, the Home Minister also disclosed that violence “has been consistently witnessed in about 400 police station areas of around 90 districts in 13 states.” Ninety districts experiencing consistent violence is “by far greater than the total of 55 variously affected districts in 2003,” Sahni points out. The present decade has witnessed not only an expansion in the area of Maoist influence and activity of varying degrees but in the area experiencing consistent violence.
The expansion of areas of consistent violence is the result of both the Maoists’ expansion strategy and the State’s military operations. Anti-Maoist operations by the Greyhounds, a special anti-Maoist unit, in Andhra Pradesh since the 1990s forced hundreds of Maoist fighters to escape to ‘safe havens’ in the Dandakaranya forests of neighboring Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra. Chhattisgarh was an area of low-key Maoist activity in the 1990s and Maoist attacks consisted of strikes on police outposts in remote areas. The flight of Maoists from Andhra made it the prime focus of Maoist attention from the late 1990s. Its emergence as the epicenter of the conflict is as much the result of the Salwa Judum as it is of Greyhound operations in Andhra. Besides, the government’s strategy of arming villagers to ‘defend themselves’ against the Maoists is being implemented in more areas. This is drawing more areas into the zone of violent conflict.
Breakdown of Rule of Law
A breakdown of the rule of law is evident across large stretches of territory that are roiled in violence and conflict. This breakdown is as much the outcome of Maoist activity as it is of the State and its functionaries. In areas under Maoist control it is Maoist ‘laws’, not those laid down by the Indian Constitution that are in effect. It is often reported that in districts like Malkangiri, tribal mass organizations and Maoists are grabbing land illegally and taking the law into their hands. Indeed, these organizations have taken control of thousands of acres of agricultural land from non-tribals. However, more often than not they are wresting control of land that is theirs under Indian laws. As discussed earlier, land in Fifth Schedule areas is recognized as tribal land and its alienation to non-tribals is illegal. If tribals are ‘grabbing land’ they are doing so to take back what belongs to them. They are asserting their constitutional rights. Tribal activists say that with the police and courts supporting non-tribals, they have been pushed to take the law into their hands to enforce what is due to them under the Constitution and various legislations.
Officials help non-tribals take possession of tribal land. They are aiding the violating of laws. Worse, the State is itself showing scant regard for laws. Legislations like PESA have been “observed in the breach by the state governments” that govern Fifth Schedule areas. The laws enacted by state governments to implement PESA militate against its spirit.
The State’s acquisition of tribal land for development and mining activity is a gross violation of laws it has formulated. Under PESA, the State cannot acquire land or issue mining rights on tribal lands without the permission of the gram sabha. However, state functionaries are acquiring tribal land, ignoring the opposition of gram sabhas. There have been many instances of police intimidating gram sabhas to give their consent. This was the case with land acquisition by the Tata Group and Essar Steel in Chhattisgarh. In 2006, the villages of Sirisguda, Belar, Takraguda, Kumli, Dhuragaon, Chindgaon, Bhadeparoda and Dabpal in Bastar were subjected to repeated pressure from police and civil administration officials to compel them to hand over their land to Tata’s steel project in Bastar. Officials imposed ban orders and tight security cordons around the venue of gram sabha meetings. Hundreds of police were deployed in the area to intimidate the tribals, even as administration and company officials pressured gram sabha members to agree to hand over their land.
In Andhra Pradesh, work on the Polavaram dam project across the River Godavari is going on despite the opposition of tribals. The project is located in Fifth Schedule area and will displace at a minimum around 276 villages, all them situated in Fifth Schedule area. Under PESA, gram sabhas have to be consulted but not one of the nine mandal praja parishads, which are the “panchayat of the appropriate level” that should be consulted under PESA rules, has been consulted. Yet the project is steaming ahead.
The violation of the Constitution by the State, the intervention of the State on behalf of private business interests and its nurturing of vigilante groups have undermined the credibility of the Indian Constitution. The State cannot absolve itself of responsibility for the breakdown of law and order in the tribal areas as it is the “principal violator of the very laws it is meant to uphold.”
Civil War Situation
More disturbing is the use of extra-judicial violence by the State. Captured Maoists are executed instead of putting them through the due process of justice. They are eliminated in fake encounters. In Andhra Pradesh, the police armed surrendered Maoists not only to fight the Maoists but also eliminate civil society activists who were critical of the police. Killer gangs with names like Nallamalla Black Cobras, Kakatiya Cobras, Naxalite Victims Association and Narsa Cobras that targeted dozens of human rights activists were nurtured by the police.
The State took its extra-legal violence to a new level through the setting up of the Salwa Judum and the arming of tribals in the name of fighting Maoists. This has militarized society. Salwa Judum has divided tribal society into pro-Maoist and anti-Maoist villages. It has turned brother against brother, and village against village. It has pitted tribal society against itself. Salwa Judum has turned the conflict in Dantewada into a near civil war.
When it was set up, tribals were forced to attend Salwa Judum rallies, express support for the Salwa Judum and oppose the Maoists. Many village heads, whose authority was usurped by sangham leaders, saw Salwa Judum as an opportunity to wrest back their lost power. They decided on behalf of their villages to support the Salwa Judum. Those who refused were killed. Villages that refused to join the Salwa Judum were deemed ‘Maoist villages’ and attacked. Entire villages were burned down. Over 600 villages were thus emptied out and the land then became ‘Salwa Judum land,’ which was sold to mining companies and other vested interests. Land which wasn’t under Salwa Judum control was looked upon as ‘Maoist land’ and blockaded. Thus Salwa Judum divided the people and the land. There was no scope for neutrality in this war. Villagers could not anymore remain aloof from the fighting.
Researcher Jason Miklian has described how Salwa Judum has “altered the conflict landscape in Dantewada.” He says that Salwa Judum has resulted in “warlordization of the region.” Local Salwa Judum leaders control the relief camps set up for the displaced. They ‘protect’ them from the Maoists and in return receive funding, food and weapons from the Chhattisgarh government. “The leaders meet monthly to demarcate Dantewada territory among themselves, consolidate efforts to increase monetary and arms support from the state, and strategically plan to ensure that Salwa Judum continues to thrive.” Increasingly, the Salwa Judum warlords seem to be functioning autonomously. It is the Salwa Judum warlords and camp leaders who ‘police’ roads in parts of Dantewada and stop and search vehicles plying on ‘their territory.’ It is the Salwa Judum, not the police - not even its higher echelons - that call the shots in places like Dornapal, Miklian points out.
Whatever authority the government exercised over the villages and small towns in Dantewada seem to have been ceded to the Salwa Judum.
The violent conflict and especially the Salwa Judum have triggered an exodus of tribals from the conflict zone. The Salwa Judum alone is said to have displaced people from around 600 villages in south Chhattisgarh. Caught in the violence and counter-violence of the Salwa Judum and the Maoists, thousands of tribals fled their homes. The Salwa Judum is reported to have forced tribals to leave their villages. Some of them were sent to relief camps run by the Salwa Judum. Others fled to neighboring Andhra and Orissa. Those who stayed back in the villages or escaped to the forests were labeled Maoists and attacked.
Life in the camps has not been easy. Tribals living here were held as virtual prisoners and not allowed to return to their homes or to cultivate their land. They, including children, have been recruited into the Salwa Judum. In 2008, the NHRC reported that those in the relief camps were “the leaders/activists of Salwa Judum, ordinary villagers who support Salwa Judum, and SPO’s family members.” 
Those who returned to their villages have not been provided rehabilitation support. “Affected villagers have no access to health care, government services, or markets to buy and sell goods. These villages have no PDS, handpumps, schools, health workers or anganwadi [government-run child care centers to address malnutrition] workers, and the administration has completely withdrawn from the area. These services have been diverted to the camps.” By denying villagers basic facilities and diverting these to the camps, “the government is providing rehabilitation only to Salwa Judum members and SPOs and not to victims of Salwa Judum.”
As for those who’ve crossed to neighboring states, they are “eking a living on the margins of existence.” Although the areas they have fled to like Khammam and Malkangiri are Fifth Schedule areas, the displaced tribal groups are not always classified as Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the host state. Thus, while Telugu-speaking Koyas such as the Dora Koya have ST status in Andhra, the Gondi-speaking Gothikoyas are not recognized as STs here. Displacement to Andhra deprives the Gothikoyas of their ST entitlements. Moreover, they are denied even their entitlements under the PDS or the MGNREGA, as they do not originally belong to the state. They are treated “as non-citizens at best, or Maoist supporters at worst”. 
Gothikoya tribals fleeing Salwa Judum and Maoist terror in Dantewada continue to live in terror in Khammam. The tribals have put up huts in the forests here and have been careful not to cultivate land. Still their huts and belongings are burnt by forest department officials. “The forest officials of Khammam district attack our makeshift dwellings in the forests asking us to vacate the forest land. With cops, Salwa Judum men targeting us on one side and Maoists on the other, we are caught in a no man’s land,” Madakam Bira, a tribal from Kunta area, said. Sarivela-Kothuru and Sunnam Matka are among the habitations that have been set on fire several times by the officials. 
Khammam district alone has an estimated 16,024 displaced living in some 203 settlements. Besides the violence of the Salwa Judum, the Maoists and forest officials, there is the conflict over scarce resources between villages. This has manifested itself in more violence for the tribals. Ramachandrapuram was attacked by the Maoists. Soon after, its residents gave the police an erroneous tip-off that led to the latter killing one tribal and arresting two others from Kamantome on the suspicion that they are Maoists. While the two were subsequently freed, they remain traumatized. Madvi Hidme recalls how after tying his hands behind his back, police hung him from the ceiling and interrogated him at the Bhadrachalam police station.
Hunger, malnutrition and water scarcity are rampant among the displaced in Andhra. Sociologist Nandini Sundar describes their condition as “alarming”. A survey of 482 children in refugee settlements conducted by NGOs in Andhra revealed that 76.6 percent of them are in various stages of malnutrition with 27.2 percent suffering from third grade or severe malnutrition. Diseases like malaria, diarrhea and cholera, always rampant in these jungle areas, have increased in intensity in the settlements for the displaced. Lack of access to drinking water has triggered outbreaks of epidemics like scabies.
The State claims to be fighting the Maoists in defense of India’s parliamentary democracy and the Maoists say their goal is to replace India’s sham democracy with a genuine democracy, a people’s democracy. Yet experience on the ground shows that the actions of both adversaries has weakened democracy.
The State is criminalizing dissent. Critics of its counterinsurgency policy are dubbed as Maoist. In fact, in the conflict zone any protest or criticism of government actions is labeled ‘Maoist’. “We protest about anything – the corruption in NREGA, the takeover of our land, and we are immediately dubbed Maoist,” a sarpanch in Koraput says. “Basically, if we raise our voice against something the government is doing, no matter how illegal or unfair we feel it might be to us, we become Naxals and Maoists.” Those who work amidst tribals are also labeled Maoist. This was the fate of Binayak Sen, a doctor cum civil rights activist, who was in custody for two years before he was let out on bail. A health worker who used to visit villages of the Bonda tribe in Malkangiri “where no government doctor, nurse or government official would ever care to go,” received a letter from the Collector ordering her to leave the district. The reason behind the order was that since she was working in villages in the Maoist zone, she “must be a Maoist.” 
In May 2010, the Home Ministry warned civil society groups, NGOs, intellectuals and the general public that supporting the Maoist ideology would attract action under UAPA.  It has drawn up a list of 57 organizations it says are working “for the cause of the Maoists”. While some of the organizations in this list do indeed have Maoist links, many do not. Organizations like the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) that figure in the list have condemned the State’s use of extrajudicial methods even as they are critical of human rights violations by Maoists. Several of the listed organizations engage in democratic activity in the public domain, even contesting elections. Rights activists have pointed out that the government’s definition of a rebel sympathizer is so “open-ended”, that “anyone working for tribal rights will get branded as pro-Maoist”.
Several draconian laws aid the State in its undermining of democracy. These include the UAPA and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), 2005, which empower police to arrest anyone without hard evidence and imprison him without due process. In the name of fighting Maoists the CSPSA has led to increased repression and suppression of people’s rights. It criminalizes even peaceful protest, declaring it “a danger or menace to public order, peace and tranquility” because it might interfere with or “tends to interfere with the maintenance of public order [or] the administration of law.”
The Maoists display a similar “if you are not for us, you are against us” perception of the world. In response to a 2006 letter by the Independent Citizens Initiative (ICI) calling on the government and the Maoists to give up armed warfare and initiate dialogue, they described those like the ICI, which condemn the violence of both sides, as “apologists for the oppressors, in spite of their good intentions and sincere attitude.”
The Maoists claim to be fighting for socio-economic betterment of the tribals. But they are uneasy with NGOS that are working among the tribals. The Maoists resent the activists as they advocate a path different from their own to achieve socio-economic change. They are uneasy too with tribal organizations that pursue mass struggle to address grievances. They are known to undermine these struggles by infiltrating these organizations or their campaigns and provoking violence.
The intolerance of the State and the Maoists to peaceful, democratic ways of waging conflict is amply demonstrated by their attacks on non-violent activists. Himanshu Kumar, a Gandhian, has been working in Dantewada among tribals for two decades. The Vanavasi Chetna Ashram, which he founded to provide legal aid to victims of violence, has experienced the wrath of the Salwa Judum, the security forces and Maoists. In 2009, the headquarters of his NGO in Kanwalnar in Dantewada was destroyed by CRPF and Chhattisgarh police personnel.
It is evident that the State and the Maoists are demolishing the democratic middle ground.
Besides waging armed conflict against the State and its functionaries as well as ‘class enemies,’ the Maoists have set up “parallel governments” in areas under their control. NGO activists say that in parts of rural Dandakaranya the civil administration has been absent for years, which makes the Maoist administration there not a “parallel administration” but the only one. What is the nature of governance provided by the janatana sarkar? What kind of change have they brought in the lives of the tribals?
In many villages across the Dandakaranya region, government health centers and schools do not function as doctors and teachers rarely show up for work. Clinics and school buildings remain half-built with corrupt contractors unwilling to finish work they have been paid for. Forest officials demand bribes from tribals. By virtue of the gun they wield, the Maoists have been able to evoke fear in the local administration and among teachers, doctors and contractors, forcing them to work. They have forced tendu trade contractors to pay tribals higher wages for picking tendu leaves and cutting bamboo culms. Eminent civil liberties activist K. Balagopal pointed out that it is “the substantial increase they achieved in the payment for picking tendu leaf and the end they put to the oppressive domination of the headmen and patwaris” that contributed to the Maoists’ “wide popularity…in the entire forest region abutting the Godaveri river in Telengana, Vidarbha and Chhattisgarh.” The Maoists have done much rural development work too. They have helped tribals with construction of tanks, rainwater harvesting and land conservation works. Villagers testify that these works have improved their food security situation.
However, questions have been raised about the Maoists’ commitment to the well-being of the tribals. The government accuses Maoists of obstructing development in tribal areas and standing in the way of several initiatives that would improve the livelihood security of tribals. Besides they are said to be destroying the already limited infrastructure in Dandakaranya. Indeed Maoists have destroyed railway infrastructure, telecom towers and power stations. They have blown up schools, health centers, panchayat buildings and roads, “thus destroying infrastructure needed for taking development to the rural hinterland inhabited by tribals.” They are accused of being anti-development.
In their study on the impact of MGNREGA, researchers Kaustav Banerjee and Partha Saha point to a more complex picture. They argue that the MGNREGA is doing well in districts that are among the worst-hit by the Maoist conflict, such as Bastar, for instance. People are getting better wages in these districts because of Maoist pressure. Of all the permissible works under the MGNREGA, only road construction is being blocked by the Maoists as better roads will facilitate movement of security personnel. They are not obstructing other work such as afforestation, minor irrigation, land development, etc.
Human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, who spent a fortnight with the Maoists in the Dandakaranya forests, says that the Maoists encourage education. The ‘people’s government’ has prepared books that are being used to teach mathematics, social science, politics and Hindi, and books on the history of Dandakaranya, culture, biology and general science are under preparation. Books are written in the local Gondi language. The Maoists consciously promote Gondi language and literature. According to journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, the books prepared by the Maoists emphasize the history of the tribal people with pictures of leaders like Birsa Munda. “There is also the predictable familiarization with icons like Mao and Marx and Indian leaders like Charu Mazumdar and Kanai Chatterjee,” he says. Besides ideological indoctrination, the books provide practical information that could improve tribal lives, like tips on basic health and hygiene. The books carry pictures stressing the importance of washing hands before eating, boiling water before drinking it and sleeping under a mosquito net. In a region where malaria, elephantiasis and cholera are rampant, Maoist education provides public health information too. Thus, the Maoists have stepped in to fill in the gap in public health and school facilities in tribal areas. They have acted not only to correct the government’s failure to provide tribals with education and to foster tribal culture and language but also, they are using education to get multiple messages across to the people.
With regard to tribal traditions and customs that undermine women, the Maoists appear to be acting to tackle these but treading slowly. KAMS has campaigned against forced marriage and bigamy and the custom of making menstruating women live in a separate hut in the forests. Its achievements have been mixed. Changing mindsets has not been easy. For instance, the Maoists have been trying to change the practice of not allowing women to sow seeds. At public meetings men say they should be allowed to do so. Yet they are unwilling to permit this in practice. So the Maoists allow women to sow seeds on common land belonging to the janatana sarkar. They seem reluctant to force social change that could cost them public support and hence, prefer to move slowly on these matters.
Navlakha notes the “prominent role of women in the movement” and the sharing of all work by both sexes. Women constitute 40 percent of those in administrative jobs, and the Maoists aim to make this 50 percent, he says.  While there are a significant number of women Maoists in the political as well as military wings of the Maoist movement, there role in the top decision making bodies is still marginal. Only one woman – Anuradha Ghandy – has been part of the politburo so far. Vasanth Kannabiran draws attention to the “stereotypical and hierarchical masculinities and femininities that inform the [Maoist] movement even at the highest levels.”
A worrying feature of Maoist governance is their justice system. It is swift but crude and brutal raising the question whether it can be treated as justice at all. ‘Class enemies’ are executed as are tribals who are critical of their actions or who are suspected to be informers. Jan adalats are held to punish offenders. In the words of Subba Atish, a former Maoist:
The jan adalat is organized by the commander or deputy commander of a dalam [armed squad]. They get about 15 villages together and pass a sentence. Members of the area committee, range committee head, and divisional committee will pass the sentence. They [accused] are usually supposed to be given a chance to defend themselves but generally this is how it works - first they are brought and beaten, and by the time the beating is over they are so scared that they will admit to the crime. Villagers and relatives who come to their defense are threatened and they don’t have much of a defense in these adalats. If a relative says something, the commander will say: “So you also are with him [accused]? You want the same thing to happen to you?” … [I]f they [leaders] have made up their mind in the matter they tend to ignore villagers’ opinion. They will say, “This is an enemy. If you want him punished, raise your hand.” Even if the people say “don't kill,” if they [leaders] have decided to kill, they will. And if they decide not to kill, even if the public says, “Kill, Kill,” they will not kill.
Subba Atish goes on to describe how four people were executed in two jan adalats that he witnessed. Of the four, two were found guilty of conspiring against Maoist commanders and the other two of providing the police with information about a Maoist ambush. There was no opportunity for the ‘guilty’ to appeal the punishments, which were meted out soon after the verdict was pronounced. Describing the executions, he says, that the Maoists “tie a rope around each person’s neck and two people stand on either side and pull the rope-ends till the person dies. All four were killed in the same manner.”
The Maoists commitment to prevent tribal exploitation is open to question. It is true that it was their efforts that successfully raised the wages of tendu leaf pickers in Andhra and Chhattisgarh. It is true too that they have backed tribals in their opposition to mining activity on their land. Yet, the Maoists have also acted to protect the exploiting classes. In 2005, for instance, they enforced a strike in tendu collection to thwart the government’s attempt to do away with contractors and start co-operatives. Surely the proposed co-operatives would have contributed to reducing exploitation of tribals. Why then did they oppose the setting up of co-operatives? It is well known that Maoist ‘taxes’ on the tendu trade amounts to millions of rupees annually and is an important source of funding their activities. It is believed that the Maoists opposed co-operatives in the tendu trade as this would cut out the contractors – their ‘tax payers’ - and eat into their sizeable revenue. Doing away with ‘exploitative contractors’, therefore, is not on the Maoist agenda. There is a similar relationship with mining companies. The latter are reported to be paying the Maoists massive sums as ‘protection money’. The Maoists might denounce mining activity as ‘loot of Adivasi resources’ but it is unlikely they would want the mining companies to shut down operations and leave Dandakaranya. After all, mining companies are paying them millions of rupees, which fund their military operations.
Impact on India’s Economic Growth
What impact is the extortion by Maoists and the violence in Dandakaranya having on investment and the economic climate? A 2009 report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) warns that the Maoist insurgency could “soon hurt some industrial investment plans.” It laments that at a time “when India needs to ramp up its industrial machine to lock in growth and just when foreign companies are joining the party, the Naxalites are clashing with the mining and steel companies essential for India’s long-term success.” Extraction of iron ore, coal, bauxite and other minerals are regarded as important for India to maintain its 8 percent economic growth rate.
Tribals protests and Maoist violence seem to be coming in the way of these plans. For instance, mass protests compelled the Tata Group to alter production plans for its small car project. It was forced to move out of Singur in West Bengal. Vedanta’s plans in Niyamgiri have run aground. Several mining projects such as ArcelorMittal's $9 billion steel projects in Jharkhand and Orissa, the South Korean steel giant Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO)’s $ 32 billion steel project at Jagatsinghpur in Orissa and Jindal Steel Works’ $7 billion steel plant at Salboni in West Bengal have been stalled due to Maoist violence in these states. Maoist attacks have affected production too. Bauxite production at NALCO, for instance, has fallen by 20 percent since a Maoist attack on their mines in April 2009. Attacks on mining companies have hit exports. Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal has claimed that coal production has the potential to increase by 25 percent if Maoist violence stopped. The Maoists have damaged telecom and power infrastructure. They have repeatedly targeted railway infrastructure, including freight trains. Bandhs imposed by them have paralyzed economic activity and resulted in loss of business running into crores of rupees.
Focus on Development
The multiple costs inflicted by the conflict, especially the impact on India’s economic growth, has pushed the government to take the Maoist problem seriously. Under criticism for its excessively militaristic approach and realizing the importance of addressing tribal grievances for successful tackling of the Maoist problem, the government has begun giving attention to the socio-economic development of areas worst hit by the violence. It is considering an Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 60 districts worst affected by the conflict. The plan is being implemented not only in those districts that are in the armed conflict zone but also those where Maoist activity is “incipient”. Before implementation of the IAP begins, steps will be taken to improve governance in these districts to ensure that the massive funds being pumped here do reach the intended beneficiaries. This will include measure to ensure full implementation of PESA and FRA, as well as schemes like the PDS and the MGNREGA.  It is evident that the government has finally woken up to the fact that enacting legislation, drawing up elaborate poverty-fighting schemes and allocating funds is not enough. These have to be implemented in letter and spirit to ensure that the benefits reach the poorest and most marginalized sections in this country. The first steps in this direction seem to have been taken.
The costs of the Maoist conflict have also forced the government to review its mining policy. A new legislation under consideration seeks to make tribals stakeholders in mining activities. The draft Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill 2010 provides for 26 percent partnership in the company to people living in an area over which a mining lease is granted. While this is a step in the right direction, whether the powerful mining lobby will allow it to be enacted remains to be seen.
The Way Forward
The Maoist conflict in Dandakaranya has drawn attention to the immense injustices suffered by the rural poor. It has forced the government to begin addressing the tribal grievances underlying it. Several legislations that provide for greater tribal autonomy or address the problem of tribal land dispossession have been enacted in response to the conflict. Socio-economic programs too have been put in place to reduce the crushing impact of poverty. The Maoists too have sought to bring positive socio-economic change in the areas they control.
However, the predominantly violent waging of conflict by the two main adversaries is wiping out whatever positive impact the State or the Maoists have done to address poverty. It has unleashed human suffering on a far greater scale than existed before. It is accentuating poverty and triggering new conflicts and grievances. The Maoists use of arms to secure justice for the tribals is resulting in new injustices. It is attracting more violence by the State. As for the State, its use of force to quell the conflict is worsening it. It has taken the violence to a new, higher level. Its adoption of economic policies and development paradigms that bring benefits to a few at the cost of others is worsening the distress underlying the conflict. The evolution of the conflict over the past several decades shows that the use of force has not worked for any of the main parties. It has not brought the Maoists closer to their goal. Rather thousands of their cadres, leaders and sympathizers have been consumed by the violence. The State has been able to put a lid on the violence from time to time but the conflict has re-emerged with renewed fury in a few years.
The use of force by the State and the Maoists is deepening the intractability of the conflict. It has drawn more parties and vested interests into the conflict over the decades. The complexity of the conflict has grown with violence generating more problems. If six decades ago, the conflict was one primarily over poverty generated by feudal exploitation, today there are issues such as corporate greed, rampant vigilantism, proliferation of weapons and militarization of society that have added to the conflict’s complexity. It is obvious from the conflict’s evolution over the decades that the spiral of violence that has engulfed vast stretches of the country cannot be broken with more violence.
It is only through halting violence and engaging in dialogue that the spiral of violence can begin to be broken. The root causes need to be addressed. It requires land reform. Mere legislation will not resolve problems. These need to be implemented in letter and spirit. Similarly, socio-economic programs must be implemented in a way that benefits reach the poorest sections of our society.
While big business is concerned about tribal protests and the Maoist violence, it is not overly concerned about the escalating violence on account of the government’s military strategy. It is widely believed in business circles that Operation Green Hunt will ultimately eliminate the tribals and the Maoists, and free the mineral rich land for them to exploit. While Operation Green Hunt and other military strategies might quell the violence it will not resolve the problem. Tribal unrest will persist so long as the underlying issues are not resolved.
 “ Naxalism Biggest Threat to Internal Security: Manmohan”, The Hindu, May 24, 2010, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article436781.ece, accessed on September 10, 2010.
 Interestingly, this is a description of the Maoists in a report commissioned by the Planning Commission of the Indian government. See, Government of India, Planning Commission, Development Challenges in Extremist Affected Areas, Report of an Expert Group to Planning Commission, 2008, 59-60, available online at http://planningcommission.gov.in/reports/publications/rep_dce.pdf, accessed on July 12, 2010.
 Government of India, Press Information Bureau, “CPI (Maoist) included in list of terrorist organizations to avoid any ambiguity,” June 22, 2009, available online at
http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=49325&kwd, accessed on September 10, 2010.
 The Maoists are active mainly in a swathe of territory often referred to as the ‘Red Corridor’, which stretches from Karnataka in the south to include Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar. Other states affected by Maoist activity but to a lesser degree are Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
 Central Committee (P), CPI (Maoist), “Party Constitution,” available online at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/maoist/documents/papers/partyconstitution.htm, accessed on July 26, 2010.
 Shoma Chaudhary, “Weapons of Mass Desperation,” Tehelka, 6 no. 39, October 3, 2009, available online at http://www.tehelka.com/story_main42.asp?filename=Ne031009coverstory.asp, accessed on July 2, 2010.
 Rahul K. Bhonsle, “Naxalism: Everybody Loves a Good Insurgency,” June 26, 2010, available online at http://cms.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Blogs&sd=Blog&BlogID=151, accessed on September 14, 2010.
 Nishit Dholabhai, “Govt. Puts Credible Talks Onus on Maoists”, The Telegraph, August 26, 2010, available online at http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100826/jsp/nation/story_12857602.jsp, accessed on September 14, 2010.
 Sevanti Ninan, “Media Matters: Assembly-line news,” The Hindu, October 11, 2009, available online at http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Sevanti_Ninan/article32256.ece, accessed on September 14, 2010.
 There has been considerable opposition, for instance, to Home Minister P Chidambaram’s focus on the military approach to dealing with Maoists from others within the ruling Congress party, especially from Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh. See Singh’s article, “Rethink Counter-Maoist Strategy: Digvijay Singh to P Chidambaram,” Economic Times, April 14, 2010, available online at http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/Rethink-counter-Maoist-strategy-Digvijay-Singh-to-P-Chidambaram/articleshow/5800173.cms, accessed on September 18, 2010.
 “Naxal Problem Not an Armed Conflict, India tells UN”, Times of India, June 18, 2010, available online at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Naxal-problem-not-an-armed-conflict-India-tells-UN/articleshow/6063604.cms, accessed on June 20, 2010. Often governments deny being engaged in an armed conflict even when they obviously are because an internal armed conflict signals failure and inadequacy on their part. More importantly, “once that [armed conflict] threshold is crossed, international humanitarian law applies and domestic law is circumscribed. In international armed conflicts, the regular armed forces of a state become legitimate targets. In all armed conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) may demand the right to visit detainees and to demand that certain standards applicable to detention are maintained.” Mary Ellen O’Connell, “Defining Armed Conflict,” Journal of Conflict & Security Law, 13 (December 10, 2008), available online at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1392211, accessed on July 10, 2010.
 Uppsala University, “Conflict Definitions,” available online at http://www.pcr.uu.se/research/UCDP/data_and_publications/definitions_all.htm, accessed on July 15, 2010
 South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), “South Asia Assessment 2010,” available online at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/southasia/index.html, accessed on July 20, 2010.
 Amalendu Misra, “Subaltern and the Civil War: An Assessment of Left-wing Insurgency in South Asia,” Civil Wars, 5, no. 4 (Winter 2002): 56-58.
 Mohan Ram, “The Telengana Peasant Armed Struggle, 1946-51,” Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), 8, no. 23 (June 9, 1973): 1025-32.
 For a ringside view of the revolutionaries’ work in this period, see P. Sundarayya, Telangana People’s Struggle and its Lessons (New Delhi: Foundation Books, 2006).
 For a detailed account of the circumstances that led to the withdrawal of the armed struggle, see note 16 above.
 It is from the name ‘Naxalbari’ that the terms ‘Naxalites’ or ‘Naxals’ - as Indian Maoists are often called - are drawn. This essay will use the terms ‘Naxalite’ and ‘Maoist’ interchangeably as it will ‘tribal’, ‘Adivasi’ and ‘Scheduled Tribe’.
 Sumanta Banerjee, India’s Simmering Revolution: The Naxalite Uprising (London: Zed Books, 1984) and Biplab Dasgupta, The Naxalite Movement (Bombay: Allied Publishers, 1974). For an account of the impact of Naxalites’ armed campaign in rural India, see Biplab Dasgupta, “Naxalite Armed Struggles and the Annihilation Campaign in Rural Areas,” EPW, 8, no. 4/6 (Feb 1973): 173-75, 179, 181, 183, 185-88.
 Sumanta Banerjee, “Beyond Naxalbari,” Economic and Political Weekly (July 22-28, 2006): 3159-63.
 Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, “The Road from Naxalbari,” Frontline, 22, no, 21, Oct 8-21, 2005, available online at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2221/stories/20051021008801000.htm, accessed on July 21, 2010.
 Nandini Sundar, “Bastar, Maoism and Salwa Judum,” Economic and Political Weekly, 41, no. 29 (July 22, 2006): 3189, available online at http://www.cjpkar.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Bastar-Maoism-and-Salwa-Judum.pdf, accessed on July 21, 2010.
 Praveen Swami, “The Seduction of Maximum Force,” The Hindu, May 31, 2010, available online at http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article442994.ece?homepage=true, accessed on July 15, 2010 and Saikat Dutta, “On War Footing,” Outlook, Oct 26, 2009, available online at http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?262350, accessed on July 15, 2010.
 IAF choppers have come under fire twice so far; in Pedia in Bastar in November 2008 and then in Gadchiroli a few months later. For implications of the permission to IAF “to fire in self-defense,” see Sudha Ramachandran, “Chopper ruling raises Maoist tensions, Asia Times Online, August 17, 2010, available online at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LH17Df04.html, accessed on September 18, 2010.
 ‘Azad’ quoted in The Telegraph, May 19, 2010 available online at http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100519/jsp/nation/story_12464820.jsp, accessed on July 12, 2010.
 In 1990, an anti Naxal group called Jan Jagran Abhiyan (JJA) was set up in Chhattisgarh by MLA Mahendra Karma. The JJA threatened villagers to hand over sangham members or else face punishment. Punishment involved beating, rape and killing of villagers, looting and burning of their homes. The JJA had the moral support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the CPI. See People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), When the state makes war on its own people: A report on the violation of people’s rights during the Salwa Judum campaign in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, (New Delhi: PUCL, 2006), 11-12, available online at http://www.pucl.org/Topics/Human-rights/2006/salwa_judum.pdf, accessed on July 29, 2010. “The JJA was morally supported by BJP leadership, but there was no official funding or arms given from the state.” Jason Miklian, “The Purification Hunt: The Salwa Judum Counterinsurgency in Chhattisgarh, India,” Dialectical Anthropology, 33, nos. 3-4 (December 2009): 447.
Ramachandra Guha, Harivansh, Farah Naqvi, E. A. S. Sarma, Nandini Sundar and B. G. Verghese, “War in the Heart of India: Excerpts from the Report by the Independent Citizens’ Initiative,” Social Scientist, 34, no. 7/8 (July-August 2006): 47-61; PUCL, “When the state makes war” and Miklian, “The Purification Hunt,” 441-59
 Following the Naxalbari uprising, India’s Home Ministry compiled a report called The Causes and Nature of Current Agrarian Tensions, which acknowledged: “The basic cause of unrest, namely, the defective implementation of laws enacted to protect the interests of the tribals, remains; unless this is attended to, it would not be possible to win the confidence of the tribals whose leadership has been taken over by the extremists.” Sumanta Banerjee points out that if several decades after that report was compiled officials are still repeating the same issues at meetings, i.e. that the conflict is not a law and order issue but a socio-economic problem, “it is because the Indian state has progressed little, and learnt still less from past experiences.” Sumanta Banerjee, “Naxalbari: Between Past and Future,” EPW, 37, no. 22 (June 1-7, 2002): 2115-16.
 Daniel J. Christie, “Reducing Direct and Structural Violence: The Human Needs Theory,” Peace and Conflict: The Journal of Peace Psychology, 3 no 4 (1997): 323.
 John W. Burton, Violence Explained (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1997), 33.
 Ibid., 19.
 Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy (New Delhi: Pan Macmillan, Picador, 2008), 212-13.
 Kannan Kasturi, “Whose land is ‘wasteland’?,” InfoChange News & Features, April 2008, available online at http://infochangeindia.org/200804037059/Agenda/Battles-Over-Land/Whose-land-is-%E2%80%98wasteland%E2%80%99.html, accessed on July 14, 2010.
 Prafulla Das, “Mines of conflict,” Frontline, 22, no. 24, November 19-December 02, 2005, available online at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2224/stories/20051202002304000.htm, last accessed on July 15, 2010; Aman Sethi, “Dark side of mining,” Frontline, 24 , no. 9 , May 5-18, 2007, available online at http://www.frontline.in/fl2409/stories/20070518001604200.htm, accessed on July 15, 2010; Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, “Plunder & profit,” Frontline, 27, no. 14 , July 3-16, 2010, available online at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2714/stories/20100716271400400.htm, accessed on July 15, 2010 and Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta, “FDI vs Tribes,” Frontline, 27, no. 14, July 3-16, 2010, available online at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2714/stories/20100716271401405.htm, accessed on July 20, 2010.
 Banikanta Mishra, “Agriculture, Industry and Mining in Orissa in the Post-Liberalisation Era: An Inter-district and Inter-state Panel Analysis,” Economic and Political Weekly, 45, no. 20 (May 15, 2010).
 The Samata judgment declared null and void the transfer of land in Scheduled Areas for private mining and upheld the Forest Protection Act of 1980. See Asha Krishnakumar, “The ‘Samata judgment’,” Frontline, 21, no. 19, September 11-24, 2004, available online at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2119/stories/20040924006001200.htm, accessed on July 25, 2010.
 A 45-page chapter titled “PESA, Left-Wing Extremism and Governance: Concerns and Challenges in India’s Tribal Districts,” which is part of a larger report commissioned by the government and researched by Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), was excluded from its final publication. The chapter provides details of how PESA is being violated in Fifth Schedule areas, providing room for the growth of left-wing extremism. See Ajay Dandekar and Chitrangada Choudhury, “PESA, Left-Wing Extremism and Governance: Concerns and Challenges in India’s Tribal Districts,” available online at http://www.tehelka.com/channels/News/2010/july/10/PESAchapter.pdf, accessed on July 29, 2010.
 Aman Sethi, “New battle zones,” Frontline, 24, no.18, Sept 8-21 2007, available online at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2418/stories/20070921501101800.htm, accessed on September 18, 2010,
 C. P. Chandrashekar, “Liberalising loot,” Frontline, 27, no. 14, 3-16 July, 2010, available online at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2714/stories/20100716271400900.htm, accessed on July 15, 2010.
 Walter Fernandes, “Paying the price for someone else’s displacement,” InfoChange News & Features, July 2008, available online at http://infochangeindia.org/Agenda/Migration-Displacement/Paying-the-price-for-someone-else%E2%80%99s-displacement.html, accessed on July 12, 2010.
 Ramachandra Guha, “Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy,” Economic and Political Weekly, 42, no.32 (August 11-17, 2007): 3306.
 P Routledge, “Voices of the Dammed: Discursive Resistance amidst Erasure in the Narmada Valley, India,” Political Geography, 22 (2003): 243–70.
 Business Standard, November 25, 2009, available online at http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/nalco-saps-at-damanjodi-demand-rr-benefits/11/22/377545/, accessed on July 12, 2010.
 See note 42 above.
 Damodar Jani, interviewed by the author at Damanjodi in Orissa in December 2010.
 Author’s observations of the Damanjodi area in December 2009.
 See note 47 above.
 See note 48 above.
 Sudha Ramachandran, “The battle for bauxite,” Himal, Web Exclusive, August 15, 2010, available online at http://www.himalmag.com/The-battle-for-bauxite_fnw74.html, accessed on September 14, 2010. In the words of an elderly Dongria Kondh woman, “If there were no Dongria Kondh left in the hills, we wouldn’t be Dongria any more as our culture and identity revolve around the mountain.” “Our songs, dances, traditions are all linked to the Niyamgiri Hills. As people leave the Hills, we slowly lose our culture,” another woman says. See Amnesty International, Don’t mine us out of existence: Bauxite mine and refinery devastate lives in India (February 2010), 20, available online at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA20/001/2010/en/0a81a1bc-f50c-4426-9505-7fde6b3382ed/asa200012010en.pdf, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 Author’s observations of the Chitrakonda area in December 2009.
 2001 Census of India figures cited in Sundar, “Bastar, Maoism and Salwa Judum,” 3188.
 Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari, District Level Deprivation in the New Millennium (New Delhi: Konark, 2003), 26.
 Gadchiroli District Information, available online at http://nagpur.nic.in/divisionalcommissioner/Dist_info/GAD.html, accessed on July 29, 2010.
 Government of India, Planning Commission, Maharashtra Development Report (New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2007), 63 and 214.
 Dionne Bunsha, “Guerrilla zone,” Frontline, 22, no. 21, Oct 8-21, 2005, available online at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2221/stories/20051021008701600.htm, accessed on July 13, 2010.
 Gana Nayak, interviewed by the author at Malkangiri in Orissa in December 2009.
 Guha, “Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy,” 3308.
 The choice of the armed route to protest exploitation is not a recent development. Colonial expansion into tribal areas triggered armed uprisings against the British from the late 18th century onwards. The colonial administration deployed extreme force to quell these uprisings, using the Kondh practice of Mariah sacrifice as moral justification for their ruthless methods to put down the tribals. See Jaganath Pathy, “Colonial Ethnography of the Kandha: ‘White Man’s Burden’ or Political Expediency?” Economic and Political Weekly (January 28, 1995): 220-8. While the first decade after Independence was relatively quiet in Adivasi areas, this changed from the 1960s onwards. There was a powerful uprising in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh in 1966. The subsequent Naxalbari uprising gave a fillip to armed struggle in tribal areas in Andhra and Bihar.
 See note 39 above.
 Sudha Ramachandran, “India drives tribals into Maoist arms,” Asia Times Online, January 16, 2010, available online at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LA16Df03.html, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 Comrade Ganapathy, “Interview with Comrade Ganapathy,” Revolution in South Asia: An Internationalist Info Project, available online at http://southasiarev.wordpress.com/nepal-worker-11/the-worker-11-interview-with-com-ganapathy/, accessed on July 21, 2010.
 The Maoists first identify the local grievances – genuine and perceived, then work on drawing attention of the people to government policies that underlie their poverty and problems, and on convincing them that working with the Moaists will end their exploitation. Once they have local support, they work on weakening the structures of civil governance and through a systematic campaign of threats and terror, remove representatives of the State that are opposed to them. They infiltrate local representative bodies. Their objective is to throw out State institutions from the area so that they can occupy the political space and set up their janatana sarkar.
 For an overview of constitutional/legislative safeguards and developmental programs and measures adopted by the government, see Ram Babu Mallavarapu, “Development, Displacement and Rehabilitation: An Action Anthropological Study on Kovvada Reservoir in West Godavari Agency of Andhra Pradesh, India,” International Journal of Social Sciences, 1, no. 1 (Winter 2006), available online at http://www.waset.org/journals/ijss/v1/v1-1-7.pdf, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 For text of the policy see, Government of India, Ministry of Rural Development, National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, available online at http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/NRRP2007.pdf, accessed on July 6, 2010.
 Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, “Flawed operation,” Frontline, 27, no. 9, April 9-May 24, 2009, available online at http://flonnet.com/fl2709/stories/20100507270900400.htm, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 Nandini Sundar, “Pleading for Justice,” Seminar, 607, March 2010, available online at http://www.india-seminar.com/2010/607/607_nandini_sundar.htm, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 K Balagopal, “Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh: Have We Heard the Last of the Peace Talks?” Economic and Political Weekly, 40, no 13 (March 26-April 1, 2005): 1323-9.
 The Hindu, May 29, 2010, available online at http://beta.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article440889.ece, accessed on July 12, 2010.
 Shyamal Pojamma, ‘We are the only ones dying,” Tehelka, 7, no. 6, February 13, 2010, available online at http://www.tehelka.com/story_main43.asp?filename=Ne130210JT08.asp, accessed on July 14, 2010.
 Koya youth interviewed by the author at Tentuliguda in Orissa in December 2009.
 Aman Sethi, “Troop fatality figures show changing Maoist strategy,” The Hindu, April 5, 2010, available online at http://www.hindu.com/2010/04/05/stories/2010040554290900.htm, accessed on July 14, 2010.
 Shivam Vij, “Vigilante State,” Tehelka, June 2, 2007, available online at http://www.tehelka.com/story_main30.asp?filename=Ne020607Vigilante_state_SR.asp, accessed on September 14, 2010.
 The Hindu, Feb 21, 2010, available online at http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article110448.ece, accessed on July11, 2010.
 Madivi Muthi, “Those killed were not Naxals,” Tehelka, 7, no. 6, February 13, 2010, available online at http://www.tehelka.com/story_main43.asp?filename=Ne130210JT07.asp, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 The Hindu, May 29, 2010, available online at http://beta.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article440889.ece, accessed on July 11, 2010.
 Human Rights Watch, Sabotaged Schooling: Naxalite Attacks and Police Occupation of Schools in India’s Bihar and Jharkhand States (New York: HRW 2009).
 Human Rights Watch, Dangerous Duty: Children and the Chhattisgarh Conflict (New York: HRW, 2008).
 Ibid., 31-32.
 Tribal activists interviewed by the author in Malkangiri in Orissa in December 2009.
 Mani Shankar Aiyar, “Government’s sheathed weapon,” Economic Times, May 20, 2010, available at http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5951556.cms, accessed on July 4, 2010.
 See note 40 above.
 K. Balagopal, “Illegal Acquisition in Tribal Areas,” Economic and Political Weekly, 42, no. 40 (October 6 - 2, 2007): 4003.
 See note 39 above.
 Maoist leader ‘Azad’ was reportedly shot at point-blank range indicating that he was executed rather than killed in an encounter. Anuradha Raman and Saikat Datta, “Shoot and Shut Up,” Outlook, September 13, 2010, available online at http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?266974, accessed on September 18, 2010.
 P. C. Vinoj Kumar, “The Cobra Fields,” Tehelka, March 4, 2006, available online at http://www.tehelka.com/story_main16.asp?filename=Ne030406The_cobra_SR.asp, accessed on July 10, 2010.
 Miklian, “The Purification Hunt,” 449-50.
 Ibid., 451.
 See note 72 above.
 See note 39 above.
 See note 39 above.
 Times of India, November 11, 2009, available online at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Tribal-influx-on-the-rise-in-Khammam/articleshow/5217384.cms, accessed on July 15, 2010.
 Balagopal, “Illegal Acquistions,” 4033.
 Javed Iqbal, “The Starving Guests of Khammam,” New Indian Express, 6 June 2010, available online at http://expressbuzz.com/search/the-starving-guests-of-khammam/178986.html, accessed on July 21, 2010.
 See note 72 above.
 Kristin Elizabeth Solberg, “ Health Crisis amid the Maoist Insurgency in India,” The Lancet, 371, no. 9261, April 19, 2008, available online at http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2808%2960577-2/fulltext, accessed on July 14, 2010.
 See note 39 above.
 Shoma Choudhury, “The Doctor, the State and, a Sinister Case,” Tehelka, 5, no. 7, February 23, 2008, available online at http://www.tehelka.com/story_main37.asp?filename=Ne230208The_Doctor.asp, accessed on July 30, 2010.
 See note 39 above.
 Sudha Ramachandran, “Delhi targets rebels with a cause,” Asia Times Online, June 8, 2010, available online at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LF08Df01.html, accessed on July 30, 2010.
 Sudha Ramachandran, “India’s War on Maoists under Attack,” Asia Times Online, May 26, 2010, available online at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LE26Df02.html, accessed on July 30, 2010.
 Praful Bidwai, “Dealing with Naxalism in Chhattisgarh,” Transnational Institute, October 2007, available online at http://www.tni.org/article/dealing-naxalism-chhattisgarh, accessed on July 30, 2010.
 V Ganapathi, Letter to Independent Citizen Initiative dated Oct 10, 2006, available online at http://naxalrevolution.wordpress.com/2006/11/25/maoist-reply-to-independent-citizen-initiative-on-dantewada/, accessed on July 25, 2010
 An NGO worker interviewed by the author at Khammam in Andhra Pradesh in June 2006.
 K. Balagopal, “Chhattisgarh: Physiognomy of Violence,” Economic and Political Weekly, 41, no. 22 (June 3-9, 2006): 2185.
 See not 39 above.
 P. V. Ramana, Maoists’ Attack on Infrastructure, IDSA Comment, February 29, 2009, available online at http://www.idsa.in/idsastrategiccomments/MaoistsAttacksonInfrastructure_PVRamana_200209, last accessed on July 25, 2010.
 Kanchan Gupta, “ ,” The Pioneer, February 21, 2010, available online at http://www.dailypioneer.com/237428/Two-eyes-for-an-eye-the-jaw-for-a-tooth.html, accessed on July 30, 2010.
 “The Naxalites are anti-development and have targeted the very instruments of development - school buildings, roads, telephone towers etc. They know that development will wean the masses away, especially poor tribals, from the grip of Naxalites,” Chidambaram said at a Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security. The Hindu, August 17, 2009, available online at http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article4285.ece, accessed on July 30, 2010.
 Kaustav Banerjee and Partha Saha, “The NREGA, the Maoists and the Developmental Woes of the Indian State,” EPW, 45, no. 28 (July 10, 2010).
 Gautam Navlakha, “Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion,” Economic and Political Weekly, 45, no. 16 (April 17- 23, 2010).
 People’s March, 7, no. 1, January 2006, 7, cited in Sundar, “Bastar, Maoists and Salwa Judum,” 3190.
 See note 119 above.
 Vasanth Kannabiran, Scattered truth, bitter seeds,” Seminar, 607, March 2010, available online at http://www.india-seminar.com/2010/607/607_vasanth_kannabiran.htm, accessed on July 30, 2010
 Human Rights Watch, Being Neutral is our Biggest Crime: Government, Vigilante, and Naxalite Abuses in India’s Chhattisgarh State, (New York: HRW, 2008), 98-99.
 Ibid., 99.
 Ashish Kothari, “Behind the concern,” Frontline, 7, no. 4, Feb 13-26, 2010, available online at http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2704/stories/20100226270408800.htm, last accessed on July 22, 2010.
 As finance minister, Chidambaram told an audience at Harvard University that India “should mine these resources quickly and efficiently.” See his speech at the Harvard University’s South Asia Initiative, The Harish C. Mahindra 2007 Lecture on “Poor Rich Countries: The Challenges of Development,” available online at http://www.indianembassy.org/page.php?id=697, accessed on July 22, 2010.
 Ajit Kumar Singh, “Maoists: Targeting the Economy,” South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR), 8, no. 51, June 28, 2010, available online at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/sair8/8_51.htm, accessed on July 14, 2010.
 The Hindu, August 8, 2010, available online at http://www.hindu.com/2010/08/08/stories/2010080855971300.htm, last accessed on September 19, 2010.
 Sudha Ramachandran, “India digs deep to outflank Maoists,” Asia Times Online, August, 4, 2010, available online at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LH04Df04.html, accessed on September 18, 2010.