Naxal movement in India: A Feminist Critique

Date01 June 2011
Published date01 June 2011
Subject MatterArticle
Naxal movement in India:
A Feminist Critique
Rajat Kumar Kujur*
Sexual and gender-based violence is one of the most insidious violations of
women rights during armed conflict. Sexual assault and exploitation are
frequently employed by different actors in an armed conflict situation;
victimization leads to isolation, alienation, prolonged emotional trauma,
and unwanted pregnancies that often result in abandoned children. Sexual
violence against women during conflict is a tactic of war that has reached
epidemic proportions. For example, up to 500,000 women were raped,
many at gunpoint, in Rwanda in 1994. (OAU 2000) Amidst a number of
armed conflicts going on different parts of the country, in India too women
are at great risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Of course India's
decade old experience of handling insurgencies have resulted in the
development of law and policy on addressing sexual and gender-based
violence in armed conflict, yet individual cases as well as patterns of abuse
against women still continue to be reported. In a country like India where
women are still looked down with inequality, women experience greater
violations being caught between different violators and in view of the fact
that in such situations, patriarchal values are strongly reinforced. On the
one hand, the state targets women and uses violence against them as a
means of suppression and on the other the community is apathetic to the
special problems faced by women.
Naxal Movement1 is one such case of armed conflict in India where
the role of women or the position of women is one of the most talked
* Assistant Professor, P.G Department of Political Science & Public Administration
Sambalpur University, Orissa.
1. I^cal Movement' refers to the Left Wing extremist movement that traces its origin to
the May 1967 peasant uprising at Naxalbari in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
Its prominent ideologues and leaders in the first phase included Charu Mazumdar,
Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal. The movement was launched under the banner of the
Communist Party of Indian (Marxist) (CPI-M), but, in April 1969, a split occurred in
the Party and the radical platform was adopted by the new formation, the Communist
Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML) whose programmes and activities were

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