Women flock to Naxal cause


The nation’s elected representatives haven’t been able to agree on the Women’s Reservation Bill. The police find it very hard to increase the representation of women in their ranks. The Naxalites have no such problem, however, as the Union home ministry has found out.

According to a recent Ministry of Home Affairs estimate, women constitute 60 per cent of active Maoists in the states affected most by left-wing extremism. Unlike past years when women did not take on combat roles, now almost all are in battle zones and involved in fighting the security forces. Sources say women have been an integral part of some of the big operations carried out by the red rebels recently.

Investigations into the attack on Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh that wiped out the top leadership of the party on May 25 earlier this year, reveal that the operation included not only women but many children too. It’s a recent development. Till as recently as 2010, women formed 40 per cent of the Naxalite fighting force; it was under 25 per cent in 2008. “The women are part of the Red ranks. They are directly involved in combat roles,” said an MHA official. The home ministry is alarmed by the new trend. Despite increasing cases of women being subjected to sexual exploitation and quitting, their numbers and importance continue to rise, with some divisional committees being headed by women.

Zonal committees also have a good representation of women. Experts are of the view that increasing the women’s cadres could be part of a strategy to increase their base. “Women are often at the receiving end of economic and physical injustice. They are easy to motivate. With more women joining the ranks the cadre strength only increases,” said Ved Marwah, former DG, National Security Guard. Prakash Singh, former DG, Border Security Force, says women’s cadres are a known fact but the fact that they outnumber men is phenomenal.


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