In the most crucial time when the whole country was focused to prevent COVID-19. The Maoist attack on 22 March on the Security Personnel in Chhattisgarh ’s Sukma district of which 17 personnel were found dead. It has been reported as a massive death toll among the forces in Chhattisgarh. Sukma district is located in the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh and comes under the red corridor. The red corridor is assigned to those districts which are affected by left-wing extremism mainly where there is a great influence of Naxals. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also categorized Chhattisgarh as a severely affected state. And curbing this is the biggest internal security challenge.
Maoist includes those people who are influenced by late Chinese philosopher Mao Zedong’s ideology and following him several groups have been made in India. Which turned up to form the Communist Party of India which is left-wing extremist but is banned in India. Left-wing extremism here does not mean leftist with respect to the ruling party and rightist when your party rules, here it means against any ruling party. Naxalism, Terrorist, and Maoist are interrelated words and have the same meaning but the actual legal meaning has not been defined. Naxalism initially started in West Bengal in the village of Naxalbari.
The basic cause of their origination is to retaliate government against the oppression caused to them by introducing The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 (herein referred to as Act) which deprives them of hunting animals and cutting trees in the forest. According to Section 2(ii) of the Act, the state government with the approval of the central government can make use of forest land or any portion for non-forest purposes. By this particular act, they think that their rights have been curbed. And as India is a developing country. So there is a massive displacement of tribal population in the Naxalism affected states is due to the development projects, mining operations, and other reasons. The people living in the forest area do not have any source of living so they get into Naxalism. As it will provide them with arms and ammunition, money, and food.
Mao started to fund Naxalites to destabilize India and after his death, the Chinese government refused to fund them so Pakistan and ISI started to provide funding to them. Some of them basically enter through borders. And mainly they enter from India Nepal border as this is an open border. They also get funds through extortion.
Provision governing Maoist attack
The first law that came up to govern these activities like the Maoist attack was the Terrorist Act and Disruptive Activities (TADA), 1987 but was lapsed in 1995 due to its misuse. The basic drawback of this Act is that the confession before the police officer will be admissible as evidence.
The next provision that came was the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA), 2002. This act came after the incident of 1999 in which IC-9k airline got hijacked and the incident of attack in parliament in 2001. Provision of this act basically includes the detention of a suspect for 180 days by a special court, fundraising for the purpose of terrorism will be considered as a terrorism act. The basic drawback of this Act was that the government has the power to declare an organization. As a terrorist organization and sometimes the government may misuse its power. It has been seen that several states misused their power given under this act due to political gains so in 2004 this act got repealed.
One of the predominant anti-terror laws in India is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). After this act, many other acts were also enacted but they got repealed, such as TADA and POTA. So the government thought to strengthen this particular act, for that various amendments also took place. First in 2008 and second in 2012 and certain provisions were added. Certain activities have been incorporated into criminal activities which include. Raising funds for terrorists, holding of the proceeds of terrorism, membership of the terrorist organization. And the police have been given a time period of 6 months from 3 months to file a charge sheet in court. The 2012 amendment incorporated a wide definition of ‘terrorist act’. Which included offenses that threaten economic security, counterfeiting, Indian currency, and pronouncement of weapons, etc. And the act of the Naxals in Chhattisgarh got its true meaning as their offenses include threatening economic security.
Steps taken by Government
In 2009, the Chhattisgarh government coined the term ‘Operation Green Hunt’ by which they meant action by paramilitary force against Maoist residing in the red corridor area. The central government also introduced Relief and Rehabilitation Policy. By which respective state and central government should provide food, potable water, clothing, shelter, basic health care, education, etc. to the people who have been displaced by the red corridor region. The displaced person will have the right to an adequate standard of livelihood without any discrimination. In 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Aspirational District Programme in those districts which are affected by poor living conditions. The basic aim of this program is to improve the socio-economic conditions of the district which would ultimately improve human development. It will improve such conditions by providing improvement in water resources, agriculture resources, health, and nutrition, etc.
Basically, the reason for doing such an unlawful Maoist attack is because they are deprived of their right which they had before. The Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and if provided them with more rights. Then they may not indulge in such activities and may not get deceived by left-wing extremists. And the police should deploy more satellites to trace such Maoist prominently in the red corridor area.
This Article on Maoist Attack is written by our Campus Leader Ashutosh Rajput- A student of 1st year at Hidayatullah National Law University Raipur.
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