GS-2 & GS-3 Mains QUESTION : It is good news that the menace of Left-wing extremism is on a decline but at the same time the Maoist threat remains a potent challenge to be overcome. Critically analyse
The Hindu Editorial Topic : A LOST CAUSE
Gadchiroli encounter a ‘severe blow’ to Maoists’ networks
WHY IN NEWS ?
The Gadchiroli encounter in which 26 members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), including key fugitive Milind Teltumbde, were ‘neutralised’ was a severe blow to the Naxals’ urban and jungle networks in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, authorities have said.
LEFT -WING EXTREMISM (LWE) IN INDIA :
- LWE situation is the most serious internal threat facing the country.
- The ideology of left-wing extremism is deeply influenced by Marxist and other communist and socialist practices.
- The naxal movement came to Andhra Pradesh with the peasants’ revolt in tribal dominated Srikakulam region in December 1968.
- It soon spread to coastal areas and later to Telangana and Rayalaseema districts.
- LWE organizations are the groups that try to bring change through violent revolution. They are against democratic institutions and use violence to subvert the democratic processes at ground level.
- These groups prevent the developmental processes in the least developed regions of the country & try to misguide the people by keeping them ignorant of current happenings.
- A significant change came about with the merger of the People’s War Group and the MCC to form the CPI (Maoist) in 2004.
- Thus, there had been a fusion of the ideology with the armed groups, both coming together for the first time.
LWE AFFECTED STATES OF INDIA :
- As many as nine Indian states are bearing the brunt of naxalism.
- Of these, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are worst-affected while Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are partially affected.
- Andhra Pradesh and Bihar remain the hot-bed of PWG and MCC operations.
- The ultra-leftist groups active in Bihar are – The most dreaded ‘Maoist Communist Centre’, CPI(ML) Liberation, CPI (ML) Peoples War, Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti, CPI(ML) Janashakti, CPI(ML) Towards New Democracy and small groups like Santosh Rana group, Shantipal group, Kanu Sanyal group and Jeetender group.
- The People’s War Group, formed by Kondapalli Seetharamaiah (KS) on April 22, 1980, is the most dominant naxalite force in Andhra Pradesh.
A DECLINING TREND IN VIOLENCE :
- In the past few years, Maoist violence is receding.
- The government has, in fact, had some major successes in the form of arrests and surrender of important Maoist leaders.
- But this drop could be the result of a “tactical withdrawal” by the Maoists.
- The attack should thus serve as a wake-up call to those who had begun to get complacent about the Maoist threat.
KEY STRENGTHS OF MAOISTS :
- The Maoist strategy is that not only do they oppose development, development as they see it, development in a parliamentary democracy, but also they take advantage of this feeling of neglect in remote underdeveloped areas
- It appears that Maoists continue to hold on to their key strengths which include:
- a robust and efficient intelligence network;
- the devolution of authority to local commanders;
- an ability to quickly readjust their strategy;
- extensive support from local tribes and the ability to organise them into a tribal militia for short-term tactical purposes and
- domination of the local landscape.
ABOUT MAOISM :
- It is a form of communism developed by Mao Tse Tung.
- It is a doctrine to capture State power through a combination of an armed insurgency, mass mobilization, and strategic alliances.
- Maoists want to bring about a New Democratic Revolution in India as part of the world proletarian revolution.
- They use violence and believe in adopting the military line to capture power.
- These extremists attack the symbols of the country’s power such as the police, schools, and other government institutions.
CAUSES BEHIND SUSTENANCE OF LWE IN INDIA :
- Tribal discontent: The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 deprives tribals of the authority to use forest produce.
o Further, there has been a huge displacement of the tribal population in the Naxalism-affected states due to development projects, mining operations, and other reasons.
o It is apprehended that the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill,2021 will bring more misery to the tribals.
- Gullible Targets: A huge chunk of the tribal population lives below the poverty line. They are also devoid of basic education and health facilities. Thus, Maoists are easily able to persuade them by offering to take up monetary incentives and a better future.
- Absence of strong technical intelligence: There is poor technical intelligence when it comes to tackling Naxalism. For instance, some villages are not yet connected properly with any communication network which hinders action against Naxalites.
o According to some reports, the recent attack on security forces was also a result of wrong intelligence. The source of Intelligence is still the method of phone tapping the conversation of Maoists. They are aware of the tapping and sometimes lure security forces into a trap by providing wrong information.
- No Follow-Up from the administration: It is seen that even after the police take hold of a region, the administration fails to provide essential services to the people of that region.
- Police Atrocities: The tribals are sometimes harassed by the security forces in the mistaken belief that they may be Maoists. Such instances create hatred against security forces and boost recruitment in Maoist camps.
- Ideological Boost: Mao was able to oust the Chinese government and establish communism in China. To date, Communists are ruling the country, it gives a strong ideological boost to Maoist movements across the world.
- Support from other actors: They are connected to various internal and external insurgent groups that provide them weapons, shelter, and finance. For instance, as per few reports, CPI Maoists may have links with foreign Maoist organizations in the Philippines, Turkey, etc.
IMPACTS OF RISING LWE IN INDIA :
- Hampering Democracy: They threaten the locals before the conduct of elections and prevent them from voting. It violates the principle of participative democracy.
o They resort to violence through their guerrilla tactics and attempt to set up their own government in the local villages.
- Infrastructural Damage: They destroy the roads, transport system, and government resources. Thereby they create hindrance in governance and last mile connectivity.
- Illegal Activities: They resort to extortion, abduction of important personalities like Politicians, bureaucrats, police, etc. They are also engaged in drug trafficking cartels.
- Undermines Credibility of Government: The survival of LWE shows a failure of governance thereby eroding the faith of masses in governance set up and impacting the unity of the nation.
- Isolating Tribal Villages: These extremist movements have disconnected several tribal villages from the national mainstream.
- Security threats: Extremism causes threats to the security of the nation and assets of the country. It threatens the unity and diversity of the nation. Radicalization of youth poses a threat to internal security. It has impacted the development of the affected region leading to many people still living in poverty.
COUNTER-INSURGENCY (COIN) STRATEGY OF INDIA :
- India began using the COIN strategy with its first full-blown insurgency in Nagaland in the 1950s.
- People-centric approach: One strategy says that given the Maoist insurgency posturing itself as a “people’s war”, the mandate is for a people-centric approach of “winning hearts and minds” that is built on the notions of competitive state-building to address economic and governance deficiencies.
- Enemy-centric approach: The other strategy argues that an enemy-centric approach predicated on kinetic operations is best suited for the Maoist insurgency, where the fear of the population seceding from India is remote.
o Most of the states have raised special forces on the lines of Greyhounds, and are being given rigorous training in “counter-guerrilla” tactics and jungle warfare.
o Greyhounds: It was raised in 1989 as an elite anti-naxal force.
- Mixed strategy: But the Andhra government based its COIN strategy on a judicious mix of the enemy-centric and population-centric approaches.
o The successes achieved by the Greyhounds, Andhra’s elite special forces, could only be consolidated through the robust implementation of short-gestation-period developmental works in the Maoist-affected rural areas.
o Moreover, the erstwhile state is also the first state to have a comprehensive surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy.
- Surrender and rehabilitation policies: After the 2014 guidelines of the central government were brought out, many states have crafted attractive surrender and rehabilitation policies.
o A surrender and rehabilitation policy only works when there is sustained military pressure on the Maoists.
- SAMADHAN: It stands for
o S- Smart Leadership,
o A- Aggressive Strategy,
o M- Motivation and Training,
o A- Actionable Intelligence,
o D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas)
o H- Harnessing Technology,
o A- Action plan for each Theatre, and
o N- No access to Financing.
- This doctrine is the one-stop solution for the LWE problem. It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels.
ISSUES IN GOVERNMENT MEASURES :
- Intelligence inputs: The traditional method of gathering intelligence through police receivers placed on hills is not delivering optimum results. The recent April attack exposed this lacuna as maoists deliberately gave false information over it.
- Large troop operations: It is believed that larger forces give better protection but the recent attack exposed their vulnerability. The 1000 personnel movement wasn’t able to maneuver secretly and hence exposed themselves to the maoist.
- Existence of Trust Deficit: The common masses don’t trust the forces/administrative authorities due to varied cultures and external appearance. This automatically reduces the impact of tribal friendly measures.
- Lacunas in protecting state informers: The people who give information to security forces are often tortured and killed by maoists. The state has not done enough to protect them.
- Approach in Tackling: More emphasis is placed on looking at LWE as a security problem. However, in reality, it is more of a socio-economic and political issue.
- Lack of Conviction: Some local politicians covertly support the conduct of naxals that impairs the intensity of anti LWE operations.
WAY FORWARD / SUGGESTIONS TO TACKLE LWE :
- Government of India and the Maoists should try to sign Peace agreements that would be a win-win situation for all. In this regard, learnings from Mizo Accord can be taken that have delivered desired results.
- Ensure all-round development of the Naxal-affected areas. It would involve strengthening the rights of local communities, improving governance, and augmenting public perception management.
- Employ more local people in the administrative process which can act as a bridge to curtail the trust deficit. Further support of civil society can be taken for awaring tribals.
o Eg- A peace march was organised in March 2021 where about 150 tribals from Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana participated under the slogan of ‘Bastar maange hinsa se azadi’.
- The forces should be used in small groups for maintaining greater efficiency. For instance, one of the most successful operations (the Greyhounds) involved the use of small teams that operate on solid human intelligence.
- Policy measures that provide indirect benefits should be implemented with due care. For instance, effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act can ensure better control of local communities over Minor Forest Produce. This can reduce their attraction towards LWE.
- Superior state guerilla: A Maoist guerrilla can only be countered by a state guerrilla.
- Synergy between states: States must do more to synergise their efforts by launching coordinated operations, thereby denying Maoists any space for manoeuvrability.
- Employing mixed strategy: This will need institutional overhauls.
o Opening negotiation channels and policies like surrender and rehabilitation can give such a representative sense to the rebels that the government cares for them if they (rebels) are willing to shun the violent path.
Through a holistic approach focusing on development and security-related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled. Civil society and the media should build pressure on the Maoists to give up on violence and join the mainstream.
GS-3 Mains QUESTION : Cyber bullying is the major concern confronting children and what needs to be done to tackle the menace of cyber bullying?
Editorial Topic : CREATING SAFE DIGITAL PLACES
Menace of Cyberbullying
WHY IN NEWS ?
Various reports have indicated increased incidence of cyberbullying and online child sexual exploitation by adults.
ABOUT CYBERBULLYING :
- It is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyber bullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.
- It includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyber bullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behaviour.
The most common places where cyber bullying occurs are:
- Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
- SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices.
- Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
TACKLING CYBERBULLYING :
- School closures as a response to the COVID-19 lockdowns have led to an unprecedented rise in unsupervised screen time for children and young people, which in turn exposed them to a greater risk of online violence.
- In India, an estimated 71 million children aged 5-11 years access the Internet on the devices of their family members, constituting about 14% of the country’s active Internet user base of over 500 million
- There is growing scientific evidence which suggests that cyberbullying has negative consequences on the education, health and well-being of children and young people.
- Published in 2019 and drawing on data from 144 countries, UNESCO’s report ‘Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying’ highlighted the extent of the problem, with almost one in three students worldwide reporting being bullied at least once in the preceding month.
- Therefore, cyberbullying prevention interventions should aim at tackling all types of bullying and victimisation experiences at the same time, as opposed to each in silo.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES/CONCERNS ?
Parents are proud that their children’s are on computer or mobile by thinking that their children’s are learning great knowledge. But that gives more room for exploration from children end which could lead toward pornography and other things.
Many times parents don’t accept that their children are bullying the other child.
- The language and content of Web series: The certain shows running on amazon prime or Netflix are not appropriate for teenagers. Teenagers try to adapt that language used in the TV series or shows.
- Nuclear families and isolation of children: Most of the families in India are nuclear families and parents are going to their job regularly so the children’s get neglected and isolated. Therefore many are not able to identify what the child is going through.
- Law enforcing agencies: The problem is with the desk officers who do not even relate what the problem is. That is why most of the cybercrime cases get unnoticed. Not even 10% of cybercrime cases get registered.
GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES ?
- Guidelines by NCERT: Because of lack of awareness about cyber bullying among the children’s, teachers as well as the parents, NCERT came up with three guideline booklets one for teachers one for school and one for students. For students it’s in the form of DO’s & DON’Ts.
- For case reporting: Government of India is come up with ministry of home affairs Cybercrime reporting portal gov.in.
- For creating Awareness: For generating awareness in state of Delhi, Delhi police has come up with an initiative in which Police visits school administration to get aware of cyber bullying and also engage workshops for computer teachers.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO TACKLE THIS MENACE ?
- Parental controls and checks:
Setting up some guidelines or rules to control misuse of internet.
Controlling browsing level and limiting the usage of WIFI etc.
- Net etiquettes: Child needs to tell what to watch and what not to watch.
- Children need to engage with real friends and real world instead in virtual things so that the proportion of being online gets balanced which will result in use of internet rather than misuse.
- Licencing like child licence and parents license can help restrict the content available for children.
- Knowledge sharing: Most of the people in the society don’t know about cyber bullying. So through seminars, advertisements and knowledge sharing platforms the awareness about it can be created.
- Use of Artificial intelligence:
- Tools can be developed which can analyse the behaviour of every internet user. So it can help prevent the user from falling into cyber bullying.
- Developing some mobile applications that can alert parents if the child is under threat of cyber bullying.
- Prevent malware attacks by tying up with antivirus agencies.
- The subjects related to cyber bullying and cyber security should be made mandatory instead of only guidelines.
- In school there should be cyber cell where one could report there grievances whether by its name or anonymously.
- Multipronged approach to handle cases: Need to handle the cases of cyber bullying through multipronged approach such as counselling through Psychiatrist, approaching police, etc.
WAY FORWARD :
- Although online violence is not limited to school premises, the education system plays a crucial role in addressing online safety.
- To prevent and counter cyberbullying, the information booklet brought out by UNESCO in partnership with NCERT on Safe Online Learning in Times of COVID-19 can be a useful reference.
- Effective interventions also require gender-sensitive and targeted approaches that respond to needs of learners who are most likely to be the victims of online violence.
- Concerted efforts must be made to provide children and young people with the knowledge and skills to identify online violence so that they can protect themselves from its different forms, whether perpetrated by peers or adults.
- Teachers also play a critical role by teaching students about online safety, and thus supporting parental involvement.
It is imperative that digital and social media platforms are free of cyberbullying, if learners have to access quality education. More importantly, confidential reporting and redress services must be established.