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Democratic Policy Decision-making and Counterinsurgency: A Case Study of India’s Left Wing Extremism

Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

In a liberal democracy, a rights-based movement metamorphosing itself into an insurgency over time is a reflection of abject failure of the state in fulfilling its responsibilities towards its citizens. When this is said about a country which is home to the world’s second largest population, is the largest democracy, and the movement/insurgency has raged on for over six decades, the scale and magnitude of such failure is vast. The purpose of this talk is to identify the role of democratic politics and public policy decision-making processes in relation to the emergence of, and response to, Left Wing Extremism. The study is based on the hypothesis that one of the key factors contributing to Left Wing Extremism in India is the failure of effective representation and inclusion of key stakeholders like indigenous tribal communities and traditional forest-dwellers, and assumes that reinstatement of these can provide people with the power to shape state policy and the consequent action will prevent and counter Left Wing Extremism. Despite being the world’s largest democracy, failure of true spirit of representation thus far has caused multiple conflicts in India, LWE being one of the most severe.

Medha Chaturvedi graduated in International Economics from Poona University and holds a Masters in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Delhi. She is currently a Global Challenges Fellow at the School of Public Policy/Institute for Advanced Study at CEU. Her primary areas of focus are democratic systems and developmental challenges in India’s Left Wing Extremism and indigenous and ethnic conflicts in Myanmar, examining the role of governance deficit including the role of federal structures (PESA, PRIs and Gram Sabhas in the Indian context). She has also examined the impact of these conflicts on the most vulnerable sections of society, women and children, and have worked on issues of trafficking and forced migration in India and Myanmar. She has also conducted research on conflict induced displacement of people of Indian origin in Myanmar.