India’s home minister plans to rid the country of its “greatest internal security threat” by 2021


  • On 7 October, Rajnath Singh, said that left-wing extremism would be wiped out within two to three years.
  • In 2015, the current BJP-led administration launched the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’, which focused on deploying more counter-insurgency personnel and development funds in districts affected by Naxalism.
  • As per estimates from the Ministry of Home Affairs in April 2018, the number of affected districts had fallen from 126 in 2017 to 90, while the number of worst-affected districts had declined from 36 to 30.
Roughly a decade ago, India’s then-Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, referred to “Naxalism” - a term meant to encapsulate far-left radical Communist movements, especially in the eastern part of the country - as India’s gravest threat to internal security. Singh pointed out that the movement was strongest in underdeveloped parts of the country, and that military and police action to combat the threat would have to be complemented by a spate of development schemes.

On 7 October, while speaking at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) event in Lucknow, India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh, said that left-wing extremism would be wiped out within two to three years. He explained that left-wing insurgency movements were on the decline owing in part to the efforts of the Indian paramilitary forces.

In 2015, the current BJP-led administration launched the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’, which was aimed at curtailing the operations of left wing radicals. The programme involved a greater military presence and higher funding for police forces in districts most affected by Naxal attacks. It also include a targeted investment in schools, hospitals, roads and telecommunications networks in these regions. .

In the years since the plan was implemented, the number of districts affected by Naxalism has declined considerably. As per estimates from the Ministry of Home Affairs in April 2018, the number of affected districts had fallen from 126 in 2017 to 90, while the number of worst-affected districts had declined from 36 to 30. Last week, Singh said that the movement had been further reduced to around 50 districts as the government’s two-pronged strategy - emphasising military action and development- was bearing fruit. .

The worst-affected districts are in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The government in Chhattisgarh, in particular, will be on high-alert ahead of elections to the state legislature in November. Election rallies are found to be a popular target for left-wing extremists.The Union home ministry will likely provide greater CRPF personnel to the state in the buildup to the elections.
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