Left Wing Extremists in India – Historical Snapshots

1948

Telangana Struggle: By July 1948 after independence, 2,500 villages in the south were organised into ‘communes’ as part of a peasant movement which came to be known as Telangana Struggle. Simultaneously the famous Andhra Thesis for the first time demanded that ‘Indian revolution’ follow the Chinese path of protracted people’s war. In June 1948, a leftist ideological document ‘Andhra Letter’ laid down a revolutionary strategy based on Mao Tsetung’s New Democracy.

1964

CPM splits from united CPI and decides to participate in elections, postponing armed struggle over revolutionary policies to a day when revolutionary situation prevailed in the country.

1965-66

Communist leader Charu Majumdar wrote various articles based on Marx-Lenin-Mao thought during the period, which later came to be known as ‘Historic Eight Documents’ and formed the basis of naxalite movement.

First civil liberties organisation was formed with Telugu poet Sri Sri as president following mass arrests of communists during Indo-China war.

1967

CPM participates in polls and forms a coalition United Front government in West Bengal with Bangla Congress. This leads to schism in the party with younger cadres, including the “visionary” Charu Majumdar, accusing CPM of betraying the revolution.

Naxalbari Uprising (25th May): The rebel cadres led by Charu Majumdar launch a peasants’ uprising at Naxalbari in Darjeeling district of West Bengal after a tribal youth, who had a judicial order to plough his land, was attacked by “goons” of local landlords on March 2. Tribals retaliated and started forcefully capturing back their lands. The CPI (M)-led United Front government cracked down on the uprising and in 72 days of the “rebellion” a police sub-inspector and nine tribals were killed. The Congress govt at the Centre supported the crackdown. The incident echoed throughout India and naxalism was born.
Nov 12-13: Comrades from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal met and set up All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries (AICCR) in the CPI (M).

1968

May 14: AICCR renamed All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) with Comrade S Roy Chowdhury as its convenor. The renamed body decides to boycott elections. Within AICCCR certain fundamental differences lead to the exclusion of a section of Andhra comrades led by Comrade T Nagi Reddy.

1969

April 22: As per the AICCCR’s February decision, a new party CPI (ML) was launched on the birth anniversary of Lenin. Charu Majumdar was elected as the Secretary of Central Organising Committee. AICCR dissolved itself.

May 1: Declaration of the party formation by Comrade Kanu Sanyal at a massive meeting on Shahid Minar ground, Calcutta. CPI (M) tries to disrupt the meeting resulting in armed clash between CPI (M) and CPI (ML) cadres for the first time.

1970

May 11: The first CPI (ML) congress is held in Calcutta under strict underground conditions. Comrade Charu Majumdar is elected the party general secretary.

Leading lights of literary world of Telugu like Sri Sri, R V Shastri, Khtuba Rao K V Ramana Reddy, Cherabanda Raju Varavara Rao, C Vijaylakshmi with others joined hands to form VIRASAM (Viplava Rachayithala Sangam) or Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA).

1972

July: Charu Majumdar is arrested in Calcutta on July 16. He dies in Lal Bazar police lock-up on July 28. Revolutionary struggle suffers serious debacle. CPI (ML)’s central authority collapses.

1974

July 28: The Central Organising Committee of CPI (ML) was reconstituted at Durgapur meeting in West Bengal. Comrade Jauhar (Subrata Dutt) was elected general secretary. Jauhar reorganises CPI (ML) and renames it as CPI (ML) Liberation.

1977

February: Revolutionaries organise Telangana Regional Conference in Andhra Pradesh and seeds of a peasant movement are sown in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of the state. The conference decided to hold political classes to train new cadres and to send “squads” into forest for launching armed struggle. Eight districts of Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, were divided into two regions and two regional committees were elected.

1984

CPI (ML) and other revolutionaries try to woo Sikhs towards joining peasant movement following Operation Bluestar in June and country-wide anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in Oct 31 the same year.

1985

People’s Democratic Front PDF) is launched in Karbi Anglong district of Assam to provide a “revolutionary democratic orientation to the tribal people’s aspirations for autonomy”.

PDF wins a seat in Assam Assembly elections bring about the first entry of CPI (ML) cadre in the legislative arena.

1986

Bihar govt bans PWG and MCC

1987

PDF gets transformed into the Autonomous State Demand Committee.

1988

CPI (ML) holds its fourth Congress at Hazaribagh in Bihar from January 1 to 5. The Congress “rectifies” old errors of judgment in the party’s assessment of Soviet Union. It reiterates the basic principles of revolutionary communism – defense of Marxism, absolute political independence of the Communist Party and primacy of revolutionary peasant struggles in democratic revolution.

1989

November: More than a dozen “left supporters” are shot dead by landlords in Ara Lok Sabha constituency of Bhojpur district in Bihar on the eve of polls.

CPI (ML) (Liberation) records its first electoral victory under Indian People’s Front banner. Ara sends the first “Naxalite” member to Parliament.

1990

August 9-11: All India Students Association (AISA) is launched at Allahabad. It opposes VP Singh’s implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations.

Oct 8: First all-India IPF rally is held in Delhi. CPI (ML) (Liberation) claims it to be the first-ever massive mobilization of rural poor in the capital.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chenna Reddy lifts all curbs on naxal groups. Naxalites operate freely for about a year but observers say it corrupted them and adversely affected the movement.

1992

Andhra Pradesh bans People’s War Group

CPI(ML) reorganizes the erstwhile Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Samiti in South Bihar as Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (Jhamkis).

May 21: Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy bans PWG and its seven front organizations again in Andhra Pradesh.

1993

All India Students Association (AISA)  registers impressive victories in Allahabad, Varanasi and Nainital university elections in Uttar Pradesh besides in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

CPI (ML) launches a new forum for Muslims called ‘Inquilabi Muslim Conference‘ in Bihar.

1994

February: All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) is launched at national women’s conference at New Delhi.

Indian People’s Front is dissolved and fresh attempts are initiated to forge a united front of various sections of Leftists and Socialists with an anti-imperialist agenda.

Interactions among various Communists and Left parties intensify in India and abroad to revive the movement drawing lessons from Soviet collapse.

1995

May: N T Ramarao relaxes ban on Peoples War Group in Andhra Pradesh for three months. PWG goes in for massive recruitment drive in the state.

1996

CPI(ML) takes initiative to form a Tribal People’s Front and then Assam People’s Front

CPI (ML) joins hands with CPI and Marxist Coordination Committee led by Comrade A Roy to strengthen Left movement.

CPI (ML) initiates the Indian Institute of Marxist Studies. Armed clashes between ultra-leftists and upper caste private armies (like Ranvir Sena) escalate in Bihar.

The Progressive Organization of People, affiliated to revolutionary left movement, launches a temple entry movement for lower castes in Gudipadu near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. It emerges successful.

1997

CPI (ML) organises a massive ‘Halla Bol’ rally in Patna. A left supported Bihar bandh is organised as part of “Oust Laloo Campaign” in view of the Rs 950-crore fodder scam.

1999

CPI (ML) Party Unity merges with Peoples War Group.

Naxalites launch major strikes. CPI (ML) PW kills six in Jehanabad on February 14. MCC kills 34 upper caste in Senai village of Jehanabad.

Dec 2: Three top PWG leaders killed in Andhra Pradesh leading to a large scale brutal naxalite attacks on state forces.

Dec 16: PWG hacks to death Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Likhiram Kavre in his village in Blalaghat district to avenge the killing of three top PWG leaders in police encounter on Dec 2.

2000

PWG continues with its revenge attacks. Blasts house of ruling Telugu Desam Party MP G Sukhender Reddy in Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh in January. In February it blows up a Madhya Pradesh police vehicle killing 23 cops, including an ASP. It destroys property worth Rs 5 crore besides killing 10 persons in AP in the same month.

Dec 2: PWG launches People’s Guerrilla Army (PGA) to counter security forces offensive.

2001

July: Naxalite groups all over South Asia form a Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) which is said to be first such an international coalition. PWG and MCC are part of it.

As per the Intelligence reports, MCC and PWG establish links with LTTE, Nepali Maoists and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence to receive arms and training. Naxalites bid to carve out a corridor through some areas of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh up to Nepal.

Dec 2: Naxalites, mainly in AP, Orissa and Bihar celebrate People’s Guerilla Week hailing the formation of PGA on Dec 2. The week unfolds major violence in the three states – Bihar, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh.

2004

Formation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) or simply CPI (Maoist): The Naxal movement in India entered yet another phase of organizational transformation with the merger of two of the principal armed organizations, viz. People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCC-I), which resulted in the formation of the CPI (Maoist). Since then, the morale of the left wing extremist elements has been on the rise due to enhanced ideological and operational synergy to the detriment of the state, which is always slow to react.

The improvised aim of the CPI (Maoist) as announced on the occasion of its formation is to establish a compact revolutionary zone, stretching from Nepal to Bihar to Andhra Pradesh and beyond (RED CORRIDOR) . While continuing their pursuit of a people’s democracy, the ultimate aim of the CPI (Maoist) is to seize power through protracted armed struggle. The rebels reject participation in elections or involvement with any established government, as the state is seen as ineffectual and ignorant to the needs of the poor. Land use is a particular issue.

Read on about the Present Status of Maoist Movement in India.

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