MAMOONA ALI KAZMI The Naxals are disrupting the Indian elections. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has called for boycott of elections through handwritten wall posters found in Tiryani Mandal village of Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh. Naxalites asked the people to boycott voting process. They declared that those who participate in voting will face dire consequences. Naxalites attacked polling booths in Dantewada and Narainpur regions in Chhattisgarh, triggering IED blasts and exchanging fire with security forces during polling in the state. The strong presence of Maoists in many states of India poses a serious challenge to authorities in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. The administration is apprehensive as the Maoists have put up posters calling for boycott of the polls in Malkangiri and Rayagada districts of Orissa. Security agencies say conducting elections peacefully is a major challenge in Naxal-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa among others besides insurgency-hit Assam. The Naxals have already increased their activities in all the three states with the left-wing extremists attacking police, CRPF and even candidates. Naxals are disrupting the elections because they have no faith in the Indian administration and consider elections an instrument of maintaining the status quo. The 40-year old Maoist insurgency is beginning to register on the national consciousness as a significant threat to India's rural hinterland. The rebels' influence has extended to around 170 administrative districts stretching from the southern tip of India all along its eastern half and up to Nepal. The Naxal movement gets sustenance because the government does not treat it as a politico-ideological and socio-economic problem. The Indian administration always handles the issue through force by claiming that Naxals are involved in aimless violence. Instead of recognizing this new consciousness as a positive democratic phenomenon, Indian government claimed that it is detrimental to Indian democracy as according to them democracy does offer institutions and instrumentalities of social transformation. In case of Naxal violence this thesis proves to be true that all political violence is rooted in economic and social deprivation. Historical wrongs and contemporary inequalities are responsible for Naxal violence. Almost all the governments of India didn't bother to address the real issues which are causing such a mass alienation and retaliation. India can't tackle this menace through coercive methods and it needs to tackle the causes of rebel movement such as poverty, landlessness and unemployment. There is a direct correlation between extremism and poverty, in practice, but the Indian government is treating the Naxal problem as a law and order problem. The social, political, economic and cultural discrimination faced by scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, who are among India's poor people, has resulted in discontented people finding succor in immediate justice provided by the Naxalites. Rahul Gandhi toured insurgency-hit areas of the eastern state of Chhattisgarh. Gandhi asked why Maoism was on the rise in the area. Congress sources told that nongovernmental organizations and party local tribal youths informed Gandhi that decades of total neglect of local tribal masses by various governments in welfare schemes and governments failure to work out a proper plan for the social and economic development of tribal have nurtured Maoism. As Paul Wilkinson notes, "rebellions do not generally just fade away. They have to be put down ruthlessly and effectively if normal life and business are to be restored". India is blindly following this school of thought and is using force to crush this movement. Since its inception in 1967, the movement only sees coercion from the government side. Instead of addressing the real causes of Naxalism the Indian government is implementing draconian laws to tackle the armed movement. The adoption of draconian laws such as new Special Public Protection Act to address the Naxalite armed movement is leading to serious human rights abuses. The Special Public Protection Act is a vague and overly broad law that allows detention of up to three years for "unlawful activities". The term is so loosely defined in the law that it threatens fundamental freedoms set out by the Indian constitution and international human rights law, and could severely restrict the peaceful activities of individuals and civil society organizations to investigate such allegations. All state and national security legislation that does not provide for international standards of due process or fair trials or allows for prolonged and arbitrary detention should be repealed. The government must cease the sponsorship of and take steps to dismantle armed vigilante groups that commit human rights abuses. But even if the movement declines and is suppressed, its ideology will continue to threaten the Indian ruling powers as long as they fail to put an end to the grinding poverty and social oppression that crush the Indian poor. Their pitiable living conditions nourish the soil for the rejuvenation of Naxalism. What is peculiar to Naxalism is not the physical occupation of and administrative control over land by its leaders and followers, but its lasting popularity among the economically impoverished and socially oppressed rural people.