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Extremism and Development


Although global policy emphasises "inclusive development," factions in every country feel excluded from development efforts. Ineffective and corrupt governance breeds extremism and militancy.

Injustice, misgovernance, and the system's unwillingness to engage the marginalised,pull people to violence and extremism. Extremist operations are vast, and their acts threaten social, economic, and political growth. Political theorists say extremism ranges from defending one's ideals and principles to employing violence for spite. Extremism is a multidimensional phenomenon. Without growth, discontent, unrest, and extremism will persist. Together, development and security build lasting peace.

Theoretically, practically, they create a triangle with justice. Denials are neither futuristic nor reversible.

Regardless of severity, the issues must be acknowledged. All the potential for socio-economic corrections live in and with time; therefore, development plans, resources, and efforts should go through space and time in all directions and seek for a balance between economic growth and social protection, making any extremism-affected area the convergence zone for development.

In West Bengal, the Naxalite movement began in the Naxalbari region in 1967. Naxals initially snatched away land from the wealthy landowners and gave it to the landless poor. Violent retaliation against the state and its citizens was their final resort in their quest to get revenge for injustice.

The Dynamics of Maoists’ Insurgency

Some segments of society have romanticised the Maoists due to an incomplete understanding of their ideology. Maoist ideology revolves around violence. The Maoist insurgency doctrine employs violence as the primary means of destroying existing socioeconomic and political structures.

The Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), the armed wing of the CPI (Maoist), was formed for this purpose. The PLGA uses guerrilla warfare in the early stages of the insurgency to create a vacuum at the grass-roots level of the existing governance structures. This is accomplished by killing lower-level government officials, police officers from local police stations, workers from mainstream political parties, and people's representatives from the Panchayati Raj system. They coerce the local population to join the movement after creating a political and governance vacuum. A fervent propaganda campaign is also waged against the alleged and real shortcomings of the existing state structure.

They stridently take up issues like ‘displacement of tribals’, ‘corporate exploitation’, ‘human rights violations’ by security forces etc. and often make fantastic claims in this regard which get reported even by the mainstream media.

Way Forward

Violent extremist groups frequently seek to provoke state overreaction in the hope that repressive responses will add to the justification for their violence and galvanise recruitment. Countries facing significant threats from violent extremism must be able to respond to attacks and ongoing threats from violent extremists in a measured and proportionate manner.

Efforts to combat violent extremism must go beyond security and focus on empowering and enabling civil society/communities. There is a need to ensure development parity; the feeling of being left behind exacerbates the problem. The government must ensure equality and justice, and make people an integral part of inclusive development.

  • Social integration

  • Skill development

  • Confidence Building

The Government’s approach is to deal with Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management. After several high-level deliberations and interactions with the State Governments involved, it was determined that an integrated approach aimed at the relatively more affected areas would yield results in dealing with this decades-old problem.


The Government of India believes that the LWE problem can be successfully addressed through a holistic approach focusing on development and security-related interventions. However, it is clear that the Left Wing Extremists do not want root causes such as underdevelopment to be addressed meaningfully, as evidenced by their constant targeting of school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure, communication facilities, and so on. They want to keep the people in their spheres of influence marginalised in order to perpetuate their outmoded and failed ideology.

Consequently, the process of development has received a set back in many parts of the country that are under Left Wing Extremists influence. Civil society and the media must recognise this in order to put pressure on the Left Wing Extremists to abandon violence, join the mainstream, and recognise that the socioeconomic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st Century India are far removed from the Maoist world-view. Furthermore, in a democracy that provides legitimate forums for grievance redressal, an ideology based on violence and annihilation is doomed to fail.


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