Naxalite–Maoist insurgency

Naxalite–Maoist insurgency
India map Naxal Left-wing violence or activity affected districts 2013.SVG
Insurgency map as of 2013.
Date18 May 1967 (1967-05-18)–present
(52 years, 5 months and 4 days)


Right-wing paramilitary groups:


Commanders and leaders

India Ram Nath Kovind
India Narendra Modi
(Prime Minister)
India Amit Shah
(Minister of Home Affairs)
Flag of Central Reserve Police Forces.png Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar
(Director General)
Flag of Central Reserve Police Forces.png Pranay Sahay
(Former Director General)[15]

Mahendra Karma  
(leader of Salwa Judum)
Brahmeshwar Singh  
(leader of Ranvir Sena)
Ankit Pandey
Sabyasachi Panda (captured)
Prashant Bose (captured)
Yalavarthi Naveen Babu  
Narmada Akka  
Shamsher Singh Sheri 
10,000–20,000 members (2009–2010 estimate)[17][18]
10,000–40,000 regular members and 50,000–100,000 militia members (2010 estimate)[19][20]
6,500–9,500 insurgents (2013 estimate)[21]
Casualties and losses
Since 1997: 2,277–3,440 killed[22][23]Since 1997: 3,402–4,041 killed[22][23]
Since 1997: 6,035–8,051 civilians killed[22][23]

Since 1996: 12,877–14,369 killed overall[24][23]

The Naxalite–Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict[25] between Maoist groups known as Naxalites or Naxals, and the Indian government supported by right-wing paramilitaries. The conflict in its present form began after the 2004 formation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-Maoists), a rebel group composed of the People's War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). In January 2005, talks between the Andhra Pradesh state government and the CPI-Maoists broke down and the rebels accused authorities of not addressing their demands for a written truce, release of prisoners and redistribution of land.[26] The ongoing conflict had taken place over a vast territory (around half of India's 29 states) with hundreds of people being killed annually in clashes between the CPI-Maoists and the government every year since 2005.[27][27][28]Of late, it has mostly been confined to Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.

The armed wing of the Naxalite–Maoists is called the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) and is estimated to have between 6,500 and 9,500 cadres, mostly armed with small arms.[29][30] According to a study of the newspaper The Times of India, 58% of people surveyed in the state of Andhra Pradesh have a positive perception of the guerrilla, and only 19% against it.[31] The Naxalites have frequently targeted tribal, police and government workers in what they say is a fight for improved land rights and more jobs for neglected agricultural labourers and the poor.[32] The Naxalites claim that they are following a strategy of rural rebellion similar to a protracted people's war against the government.[33]

In February 2009, the Indian central government announced a new nationwide initiative to be called the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for broad co-ordinated operations aimed at combatting and underming support for the Naxalites in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. This plan included funding for grass-roots economic development projects in Naxalite-affected areas as well as increased special police funding for better containment and reduction of Naxalite influence.[34][35] After the first full year of implementation of the national IAP program, Karnataka was removed from the list of Naxal-affected states in August 2010.[36] In July 2011, the number of Naxal-affected areas was reduced to 83 districts across nine states.[37][38][39] In December 2011, the national government reported that the number of conflict-related deaths and injuries nationwide had gone down by nearly 50% from 2010 levels.

The Naxalite–Maoist insurgency again gained international media attention after the 2013 Naxal attack in Darbha valley resulted in the deaths of around 24 Indian National Congress leaders, including the former state minister Mahendra Karma and the Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel.[40]


Naxalites are a group of far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. Their origin can be traced to the splitting in 1967 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), leading to the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist). Initially the movement had its centre in West Bengal. In recent years, it has spread into less developed areas of rural central and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

In 2007, it was estimated that Naxalites were active across "half of the India's 28 states" who account for about 40 percent of India's geographical area, an area known as the "Red Corridor", where according to estimates they had influence over 92,000 square kilometers. In 2009, Naxalites were active across approximately 180 districts in ten states of India[41] In August 2010, Karnataka was removed from the list of Naxal-affected states[36] In July 2011, the number of Naxal-affected areas was reduced to (including proposed addition of 20 districts) 83 districts across nine states.[37][38][39]