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Editorials/Opinions Analyses For UPSC 15 November 2021

Contents

  1. A lost cause: On the Gadchiroli encounter and Maoists
  2. Creating safe digital spaces: Violence and Bullying at School

A lost cause: On the Gadchiroli encounter and Maoists

Context:

26 Maoists were killed in a fierce encounter with security forces in a dense forest in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism, Left-Wing Extremism)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Gadchiroli and Maoist influence
  2. Left Wing Extremism (LWE)
  3. Trend in Maoist / Naxalite insurrection
  4. MHA on Maoist influence reducing
  5. What is Naxalism in India?
  6. Causes of Naxalism in India
  7. Government Initiatives to fight LWE

Gadchiroli and Maoist influence

  • Gadchiroli has dense forests, rivers and sparse population, and has long been a difficult terrain for security personnel to control and operate. Since it is difficult to operate in this region due to Gadchiroli’s location at the trijunction of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Telanagana, The Maoists would be able to shift bases easily.
  • With the coordination among state forces not always at optimal levels, Gadchiroli offers both a corridor for passage, as well as a mostly safe holding area for Maoists.
  • It is among Maharashtra’s poorest and the Maoists have sought to expand their presence extending from neighbouring Chhattisgarh.

Left Wing Extremism (LWE)

  • Left Wing Extremism (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 and try to misguide the people by keeping them ignorant of current happenings.
  • Left Wing Extremists are popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites in India.

Trend in Maoist / Naxalite insurrection

  • The Maoist insurrection which began first as the Naxalite movement in the 1970s and then intensified since 2004, following the merger of two prominent insurgent groups, remains a mindless guerrilla-driven militant movement that has failed to gain adherents beyond those living in remote tribal areas either untouched by welfare or are discontents due to state repression.
  • The Maoists are now considerably weaker than a decade ago, with several senior leaders either dead or incarcerated, but their core insurgent force in south Bastar remains intact.
  • The recourse to violence is now little more than a ploy to invite state repression which furthers their aim of gaining new adherents.
  • While the Indian state has long since realised that there cannot only be a military end to the conflict, the Chhattisgarh government’s inability to reach out to those living in the Maoist strongholds remains a major hurdle, which has resulted in a protracted but violent stalemate in the area.

MHA on Maoist influence reducing

  • According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the geographical influence of Maoists has contracted to only 41 districts in the country.
  • Earlier, in 2010, 96 such districts in 10 States accounted for Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
  • The Chief Ministers of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Maharashtra and Odisha were present, while Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Kerala were represented by Directors-General of Police and Chief Secretaries. Andhra Pradesh was represented by its Home Minister.
  • The LWE-affected districts in the State can avail ₹33 crore under the Special Central Assistance (SCA) and Security Related Expenditure (SRA) scheme for infrastructure-related projects. Security Related Expenditure Scheme is under implementation since 1996. The objective of the scheme is to supplement the efforts of the States to deal with the Naxalite problem effectively.
  • As per norms, State governments have to reimburse the amount incurred on the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in a State.

What is Naxalism in India?

  • A Naxal or Naxalite is a member of any political organisation that claims the legacy of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist), founded in Calcutta in 1969. The term Naxal derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the Naxalite peasant revolt took place in 1967.
  • It creates conditions for non-functioning of the government and actively seeks disruption of development activities as a means to achieve its objective of ‘wresting control’. It spreads fear among the law-abiding citizens.
  • Naxalism is considered to be one of the biggest internal security threats India faces.
  • The conflict is concentrated the Eastern part of the country, particularly an area known as the Red Corridor spread across the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. o Some districts of Kerala, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh etc are impacted by Naxalism.
  • Naxal violence is related to the intensity of the feeling of people of their deprivation and their commitment to take revenge against those who are believed to be responsible for such denial.
  • Currently, the main supporters of the movement are marginalized groups of India including Dalits and Adivasis, who believe they have been neglected by the government.
  • Further, Naxals support Maoist political sentiments and ideology.

Causes of Naxalism in India

  • Mismanagement of Forests: It is one of the main reasons for the spread of Naxalism. It started with the British government. The monopolization of the forest started with the enactment of various forest laws. The integration with the wider world led to an influx of a new class like moneylenders. The administrative machinery became more exploitative and extortionate at functional level.
  • Tribal policies not implemented well: Even during the post-Independence era, the government was not able to stop the process of the tribal alienation and their displacement caused by large projects. Even the issues of food security were not fully sorted out. Consequently, Naxalism made inroads in Orissa and other states.
  • The Growing inter and intra-regional disparities: Naxalism attract people who have poor livelihood like fishermen, farmers, daily labourers and bamboo cutters. The government policies have failed to stem the growing inter and intra-regional disparities. The poor people think that Naxalism can provide solutions to their problems.
  • Absence of proper Industrialization and lack of land reforms: The half-hearted implementation of land reforms by the government has yielded negative results. The agrarian set up has not been defined in the absence of proper implementation of survey and settlement. This further damaged the agriculture production and the rural economy. Absence of proper industrialization has failed to generate employment for rural people leading to dissatisfaction with the government. It is also one of the causes behind Naxalism.
  • Geographical Terrain: Naxalism thrives in areas covered with forests. It helps them fight against the police and the army by waging Guerrilla warfare.
  • Middle Class Youth: The educated youths have been the largest supporters of the Naxalist movement as the maximum of the youths involved in the movement are medical and engineering graduates. Universities have turned up to be a pitch for the creation of radical ideologies.

Government Initiatives to fight LWE

  • Greyhounds was raised in 1989 as an elite anti-naxal force.
  • Operation Green Hunt was started in 2009-10 and massive deployment of security forces was done in the naxal-affected areas. It decreased Naxal affected areas from 223 to 90 districts in 9 years.
  • LWE Mobile Tower Project envisioned to improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas, the Government in 2014, approved installation of mobile towers in LWE affected States.
  • Aspirational Districts Programme was launched in 2018, it aims to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.
  • Police Modernization Scheme plus fortification of police station in areas affected by Naxal movements. Assistance in training of State Police through the Ministry of Defence.
  • National Policy and Action Plan 2015 is a multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc
  • Special Infrastructure Scheme for funds to the States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha to raise Special Task Force to combat LWE.
  • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme: Under this the central Govt. reimburses security related expenditure to the LWE affected state Governments.
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 has been amended to strengthen the punitive measures.

SAMADHAN Doctrine

SAMADHAN 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.

  • S- Smart Leadership,
  • Aggressive Strategy,
  • M- Motivation and Training,
  • Actionable Intelligence,
  • D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas),
  • H- Harnessing Technology,
  • Action plan for each Theatre, and
  • N- No access to Financing.

-Source: The Hindu


Creating safe digital spaces: Violence and Bullying at School

Context:

Recognising that school-related violence is an infringement of children’s right to education and to health and well-being, UNESCO Member States have declared the first Thursday of November as the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including cyberbullying.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. International Day against Violence and Bullying at School
  2. What is cyberbullying and how prevalent is it in India?
  3. Impact of Cyberbullying and the effect of Covid-19
  4. Way forward

International Day against Violence and Bullying at School

  • School violence and bullying including cyberbullying is widespread and affects a significant number of children and adolescents.
  • It is infringement of children’s right to education and to health and well-being
  • To raise awareness among students, parents, members of the school community, education authorities and others about the problem of online violence and cyberbullying, UNESCO Member States declared the first Thursday of November as the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School

What is cyberbullying and how prevalent is it in India?

  • Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies.
  • It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones.
  • It is repeated behaviour, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted – which includes acts of:
    • spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media
    • sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms
    • impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.

Prevalence of Cyberbullying

  • A 2020 study by Plan International, involving 14,000 women aged 15-25 from across 22 countries, revealed that 58% of girls in the Asia-Pacific region reported online harassment.
  • Globally, of the girls who were harassed, 14% who self-identified as having a disability and 37% who identified themselves as from an ethnic minority said they get harassed because of it.
  • 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.
  • It should also be noted that two-thirds of Internet users in India are in the age group of 12-29 years.

Impact of Cyberbullying and the effect of Covid-19

  • Online violence including cyber bullying has a negative effect on academic achievement, mental health, and quality of life of students.
  • Children who are frequently bullied are nearly three times as likely to feel left out at school as those who are not.
  • They are also twice as likely to miss out on school and have a higher tendency to leave formal education after finishing secondary school.
  • 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.
  • Covid-19 had resulted in closure of Schools and offline classes, leading to students attending classes on the online mode. This meant unprecedented rise in unsupervised screen time for children and young people
  • Reports have now indicated that children were exposed to online violence, cyberbullying and instances of child sexual exploitation

Way forward

  • Efforts must be made to explain children about cyberbullying by giving them examples in a way they understand so that they can protect themselves from its different forms, whether perpetrated by peers or adults.
  • Schools should establish a school safety committee that will control and discuss the problems of online bullying.
  • Teachers should teach students how to use digital media in respectful and safe ways.
  • Information booklet brought out by UNESCO in partnership with NCERT on Safe Online Learning in Times of COVID-19 can be a useful reference for schools to start with. It supports the creation of safe digital spaces and addresses the nuances of security.
  • Similarly, to prevent the adverse effect of online gaming and the psycho-emotional stress that children could be undergoing, the Department of School Education and Literacy has circulated exhaustive guidelines to raise children and parental awareness.

-Source: The Hindu

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