Hearts and Mines: A District Level Empirical Analysis of the Maoist Conflict in India
International Area Studies Review, 15(2), 2012
30 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 5, 2017
India’s rapid economic growth over the last decade has been coupled with a Maoist insurgency that competes for the allegiances of rural populations with the state. In response to the threat, the Government of India has securitized development, using public works programs in an attempt to sway locals away from Maoist allegiance. However, these areas are also home to massive iron, coal, and steel factories that drive India’s growth. This study uniquely aimed to address the lack of local-level analysis and the lack of a robust dataset by merging previous qualitative fieldwork with disparate conflict data sources at the district level to explore different potential explanatory variables for the Maoist insurgency, including the relationship between development works, violence, and natural resource extraction. We find that while effective implementation of development programs like NREGA may indeed be loosely related to the suppression of violent activities in districts affected by the Maoist conflict, it is the presence of significant mining activity that is the best predictor of violence.
Keywords: Socio-economic development, Maoist conflict, insurgency, India, resource war, civil conflict
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