The formation of People’s War Group in Andhra Pradesh subsequently in 1980 under the leadership of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah gave a new lease of life to the movement. The PWG’s program included:
- Redistribution of land
- Enforcing payment of minimum wages to the farm labor
- Imposing taxes and penalties
- Holding people’s courts
- Destroying government property
- Kidnapping government functionaries
- Attacking policemen
- Enforcing a social code
The PWG is believed to have redistributed nearly half a million acres of land across Andhra Pradesh. Its activists also insisted on a hike in the daily minimum wages and the annual fee for year long labor. The poorer sections found that what the politicians had been talking about and the government promising year after year could be translated into a reality only with the intervention of Naxalites. Kidnappings to secure the release of its own cadres were frequently resorted to by the PWG activists.
The revolutionary writers of the Jana Natya Mandali, the cultural front of the PWG, greatly helped in preparing the environment in which the Naxalite ideology found ready acceptance. Its moving spirit was Gummadi Vittal Rao, better known as Gaddar. He was a balladeer who fought the establishment with the power of his songs. The PWG gradually spread its organizational network to the coastal and Rayalaseema districts in the state. It extended its tentacles to the adjoining areas of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa and made a dent even in the bordering districts of Karnataka and certain pockets of Tamil Nadu.
The Andhra Pradesh government banned the PWG and its six front organizations in 1992. At the same time, the state police, assisted by the central paramilitary forces, undertook well-organized counterinsurgency operations. As a result, Naxalites were liquidated and activists were apprehended in 1992. The arrest of Kondapally Seetharamaiah and other important leaders meant further setback to the PWG. There was demoralization among the ranks and many Naxals surrendered before the authorities.
In Bihar, the Maoist communist centre, another major naxalite formation, perpetrated acts of violence. Its organizational network extended to most of the Central Bihar districts. What began as a fight for social and economic justice actually degenerated into a caste conflict with a veneer of class struggle. The MCC ran virtually a parallel judicial system in certain pockets. These were described as Jan Adalat or People’s Court where they would even behead them.
The third phase of the movement commenced with the holding of the Ninth Congress of the PWG in 2001, when it was decided to militarize the armed component of the party by giving more sophisticated weapons to the People’s Guerilla Army.
The disturbing features of the movement are:
- Spread over a large geographical area
- Increase in potential for violence
- Unification of PW and MCCI
- Plan to have a Red Corridor
- Nexus with NE insurgents and Nepalese Maoists.
The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described Naxalite movement as the single biggest threat to the internal security of the country. The Naxal’s potential for violence has increased substantially with their acquisition of sophisticated weapons and expertise in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The movement got a tremendous boost when its two major components, the People’s War (PW) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), decided to merge on March 21, 2004, though a formal announcement was made on October 14, 2004 only. The unified party was called the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The merger, apart from augmenting the support base of the movement, has given it the character of a pan-Indian revolutionary group. The Naxal’s plan is to have a Compact Revolutionary Zone stretching from Indo-Nepal border to the Dandakaranya Region.
The Naxalites groups nexus with the other extremist organizations has added to the complexity of the problem. The PWG cadres received training in the handling of weapons and IEDs from some ex-LTTE cadres.