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What is Naxalism?


(Excerpts from ACHR's report, The Adivasis of Chhattisgarh:
Victims of the Naxalite Movement and Salwa Judum Campaign,

17 March 2006)

Charu Majumdar is considered the father of the Naxal movement, named after the peasant's armed uprising at Naxalbari in West Bengal. It became synonymous of armed insurrection influenced by Chairman Mao Tsetung of China. Naxalbari Day is celebrated on 25 May to commemorate the unprovoked killing of 11 innocent persons including 7 women and 2 children on 25 May 1967 at Naxalbari bazaar in West Bengal by the Assam Frontier Rifles. The victims were participating in a meeting. The alleged killing was in retaliation for the killing of Mr Sonam Wangdi, an enforcement inspector by a youth's arrow on 24 May 1967. Mr Wangdi was to raid the houses of those suspected of looting foodgrains, arms and taking over lands from the Zamindars.

The West Bengal government responded with unprecedented violence and unlawful measures such as torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions to crush the Naxalite movement. In 1980, another Naxalite movement was started in the impoverished and underdeveloped Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh by the Peoples War Group (PWG).

Killings of the class enemies, petty bourgeois, police informers and sentencing through its Peoples Court became key features of the PWG functioning.

The State government of Andhra Pradesh too reacted with equal lawlessness. The “Guidelines /Procedures to be followed in dealing with deaths occurring in Encounters” of the National Human Rights Commission of India were developed based on systematic extrajudicial executions perpetrated by the Andhra Pradesh Police with impunity. There has been little difference between the security forces and the Naxalites in terms of lawlessness and violations of human rights.

The Naxalite movement from Andhra Pradesh soon spread to neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

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