The Narendra Modi government went all out against leftwing extremist groups and despite some setbacks, it has been able to keep the morale of the cadres down. The home ministry claims to be following a holistic approach by combining the crackdown on leftwing extremist elements with empowering the local population, improving governance and encouraging communities.
The government is working in 106 districts in 10 states for the implementation of this holistic approach. The centre intervenes through Central Armed Police Forces and the commando battalions of CoBRA. The Reserve Battalions, a counter insurgency and anti terrorism schools, are also being used in the fight.
The modernisation of the police forces is at the centre of any strategy to deal with leftwing extremism. The centre launched a Security Related Expenditure policy in September last year under which the police modernisation plan is being pursued.
The modernisation is backed by massive infrastructure development of the police set up. This includes setting up of fortified police stations. The union home ministry had planned to set up 400 police stations in LWE areas out of which 386 are already complete.
Another major thrust area is strengthening of the road infrastructure in the 34 most affected districts in eight states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pra-desh. Under the plan, 5,422 km long roads are being built along with 8 critical bridges. Out of this 4,523 km-long roads and two bridges have been constructed.
Connectivity is also being improved through setting up of mobile towers. Close to 500 mobile towers have been set up in Chhattisgarh alone and 782 in Jharkhand. The government plans to install around 2,400 mobile towers.
“It is the belief of the Government of India that through a holistic approach focussing on development and security related interventions, the LWE (leftwing extremism) problem can be successfully tackled. However, it is clear that the Maoists do not want root causes like underdevelopment to be addressed in a meaningful manner since they resort to targeting school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure, communication facilities etc in a major way,” said a home ministry background paper on leftwing extremism.
“They wish to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalized to perpetuate their outdated ideology. Consequently, the process of development has been set back by decades in many parts of the country under LWE influence,” the paper said.