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The Naxalites (Naksalvadis) are a Left Wing extremist Maoist communist group in India. The name is derived from the place of origin, a village named Naxalbari in West Bengal. Their origin can be traced to 1967 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), leading to the formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist). Initially the movement originated in West Bengal and spread into rural central and eastern India such as Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

As of 2009, Naxalites are active across approximately 220 districts. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared them as the most serious internal threat to National security. In February 2009, Central government announced its plans for broad, coordinated operations in all affected states (Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal).

The ideological leadership for the Naxalbari movement was provided by Charu Majumdar in 1967 who was inspired by the doctrines of Mao Zedong, and advocated that Indian peasants and lower class tribals overthrow the government and upper classes through the barrel of the gun. Majumdar’s writings, particularly the ‘Historic Eight Documents’ formed the basis of Naxalite ideology.

In 1967 ‘Naxalites’ organized the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR), which gave birth to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI(ML)]. Practically all Naxalite groups trace their origin to the CPI(ML). A second tendency from the beginning was the Maoist Communist Centre. MCC later fused with People’s War Group to form Communist Party of India (Maoist).

During the 1970s the movement was fragmented into several disputing factions. By 1980 it was estimated that around 30 Naxalite groups were active, with a combined membership of 30,000. India’s Research and Analysis Wing believed in 2006 that 20,000 Naxals are currently controlling one fifth of India’s forests.

Today some groups have become legal organisations participating in parliamentary elections, such as Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. Others, such as Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Janashakti, are engaged in armed struggles.

On 6 April, 2010 Naxalites launched the biggest assault in the history of the Naxalite movement by killing over 75 security personnel. The attacked was launched by 1000 naxalites in a planned attack, killing 76 CRPF policemen in two ambushes and wounded 50 in the jungles of Chattisgarh’s Dantewada district.

Naxalism in Bengal in 70s

During early years, the Naxalites gained a strong presence amongst the students in Calcutta. Throughout Calcutta, schools were shut down. Naxalites took over Jadavpur University & used the machine shop facilities to make pipe guns to attack the police. The West Bengal police fought back & the Naxal violence was stopped. In 1972, Majumdar was arrested by the police and subsequently he died in Jail.

Lalgarh, May 2009

Lalgarh, West Bengal completely came under control of the Naxalites after the group threw out the local police and staged random attacks against ruling government in late May 2009 aimed at creating a ‘liberated zone’ against “oppression of the establishment. The state government started a huge operation with paramilitary forces and state armed police to retake Lalgarh in early June.

In a major Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh, 26 police personnel, including a Superintendent of Police were killed when Maoists ambushed the team.

Jharkhand Police Officer Beheading, Oct 2009

In Oct 6 2009, Naxalites in Jharkhand beheaded a kidnapped police inspector to avenge the arrest of top Maoist Ideology leader, Kobad Ghandy. Jharkhand Police said that they had found the decapitated body of Inspector Francis Induwar. Maoists demanded the release of party leader Ghandy & Chatradhar Mahato, who were arrested by the police.

Jharkhand Blasts, November 29, 2009

On Nov 29, 2009, A series of Maoists attacks had been reported from Jharkhand on the day of the bandh called by Naxals in the state. Maoists blew up the railway in Jharkhand. A school building was also blown up in the Pipra village and another railway track was also blown up on the Dhanbad Howrah line.

The Silda Camp attack, Feb 2010

On February 15, 2010, dozens of Naxalites ambushed Indian security forces in West Bengal. 24 paramilitary personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles died and several were abducted.

Dantewada, Chattisgarh, April 2010

On 6 April 2010, 1000 Naxals killed 76 CRPF jawans in Dantewada forest stronghold of Chhatisgarh who were part of a govt operation against the naxals, “Operation Green Hunt”. The CRPF team was camping in the Tarmetla jungles for the last three days as part of a combing operation The incident took place between 6 am and 7 am when nearly 100 CRPF and state police were entering the forest. A deputy, an assistant commandant & a head constable were among those killed police. The Naxals had planted IEDs which blew up an anti-mine vehicle killing the CRPF personnel. Immediately after the blast, the CRPF personnel and a few police personnel tried to take cover when they came under heavy fire from hundreds of Naxals, well entrenched on the adjacent hillock.

Gyaneshwari Express Derailment, May 2010

The Gyaneshwari Express derailment occurred on 28 May 2010 in Midnapore district of WB. It was disputed as to whether sabotage or a bomb caused damage on the railway track, which in turn led to a train’s derailment before an oncoming goods train hit the loose carriages killing at least 141 passengers & injuring 180 others.

Naxalites removed a 46-centimetre (18 in) length of railway track. At 01:30 local time, a train with 13 carriages derailed. The Howrah – Mumbai Gyaneshwari Express was then struck by a goods train travelling in the opposite direction. A section of the rail track was found to be missing and fishplates were loosened, suggesting sabotage.

Midnapore, WB, Landmine blast

Just days after their latest massacre in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district and the subsequent offer for talks by the Centre, the Naxals struck again, this time in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district, where they blew up a CRPF patrol vehicle on Wednesday.

The attack took place when jawans led by a Deputy Commandant were on a routine patrol aboard a Bolero near the Naxal-infested Bhalukbasa forest. The explosion left a five-feet-deep crater on the road. Four jawans died on the spot, while two, including the Deputy Commandant, were severely injured.

Naxal Attacks in Orissa

The Dantewada attack came two days after Maoists triggered a land mine blast in Orissa’s Koraput district, killing 11 security personnel of the elite anti-Naxal Special Operations Group.

On February 15, 24 personnel of Eastern Frontier Rifles were killed in a Maoist attack on their camp in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district.

In earlier major attacks, Naxalites killed 38 Greyhound commandos of the Andhra Pradesh Police on June 2008 in Orissa while 16 policemen were killed in jungles of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra in last June.

Gadchiroli, Maharashtra Ambush

Naxals have repeatedly ambushed Policemen at Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra. The major incidents being in the year 2009: May 22 and October 8th when 16 policemen and 17 policemen were killed respectively.