Red corridor

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Areas with Naxalite activity in 2007 (left), in 2013 (center), and in 2018 (right)

The red corridor, also called the red zone,[1] is the region in the eastern, central and the southern parts of India where the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency has the strongest presence. It has been steadily diminishing in terms of geographical coverage and number of violent incidents, and in 2021 it was confined to 25 "most affected" (accounting for 85% of LWE violence) and 70 "total affected" districts (down from 180 in 2009)[2] across 10 states in two coal rich, remote, forested hilly clusters in and around Dandakaranya-Chhattisgarh-Odisha region and tri-junction area of Jharkhand-Bihar and-West Bengal.[3]

The Naxalite group mainly consists of the Guevarist armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).[4] These areas span parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal.[5][6][7][8]

All forms of Naxalite organisations have been declared as terrorist organizations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of India (1967).[9][10][11][12]

Socio-economic conditions[edit]

Economic condition[edit]

The districts that make up the red corridor are among the poorest in the country. Areas such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Telangana (formerly part of Andhra Pradesh), are either impoverished or have significant economic inequality, or both.[13][14][15]

A key characteristic of this region is non-diversified economies that are solely primary sector based. Agriculture, sometimes supplemented with mining or forestry, is the mainstay of the economy, which is often unable to support rapid increases in population.[16][17][18] The region has significant natural resources, including mineral, forestry and potential hydroelectric generation capacity. Odisha, for example, "has 60 percent of India’s bauxite reserves, 25 percent of coal, 28 percent of iron ore, 92 percent of nickel and 28 percent of manganese reserves."[19]

Social condition[edit]

The area encompassed by the red corridor tends to have stratified societies, with caste and feudal divisions. Much of the area has high tribal populations (or adivasis), including Santhal and Gond. Bihar and Jharkhand have both caste and tribal divisions and violence associated with friction between these social groups.[20][21][22] Andhra Pradesh's Telangana region similarly has deep caste divide with a strict social hierarchical arrangement.[23][24] Both Chhattisgarh and Odisha have significant impoverished tribal populations.[25][26][27]

Territories of the red corridor[edit]

Affected districts[edit]

As of June 2021, 70 districts across 10 states are affected by Naxalist extremism.[28]

State No. of districts in State No. of districts affected Districts affected
Jharkhand 24 16 Bokaro, Chatra, Dhanbad, Dumka, East Singhbhum, Garhwa, Giridih, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Khunti, Latehar, Lohardaga, Palamu, Ranchi, Saraikela Kharsawan, West Singhbhum
Bihar 38 10 AurangabadBankaGaya, Jamui, KaimurLakhisarai, Munger, NawadaRohtasWest Champaran
Chhattisgarh 28 14 BalrampurBastar, BijapurDantewadaDhamtariGariyabandKankerKondagaonMahasamundNarayanpur, RajnandgaonSukma, Kabirdham, Mungeli
Odisha 30 10 BargarhBolangir, Kalahandi, KandhamalKoraput, Malkangiri, NabrangpurNuapada, Rayagada, Sundargarh
Kerala 14 3 Malappuram, Palakkad, Wayanad
Andhra Pradesh 13 5 Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, West Godavari
Telangana 33 6 Adilabad, Bhadradri Kothagudem, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Komaram Bheem Asifabad, Mancherial, Mulugu
Maharashtra 36 2 Gadchiroli, Gondia
West Bengal 23 1 Jhargram
Madhya Pradesh 55 3 Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori
Total 369 70

The Odisha gap[edit]

The red corridor is almost contiguous from India's border with Nepal to the absolute northernmost fringes of Tamil Nadu. There is, however, a significant gap consisting of coastal and some central areas in Odisha state, where Naxalite activity is low and indices of literacy and economic diversification are higher.[29][30][31] However, the non-coastal districts of Odisha, which fall in the red corridor have significantly lower indicators, and literacy throughout the region is well below the national average.[29][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bhattacharjee, Sumit (26 June 2021). "When Greyhounds struck in Andhra Pradesh's fading red zone". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Press Information Bureau". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  3. ^ Deaths in Naxal attacks down by 21%. The Times of India. 26 Sept 021.
  4. ^ Agarwal, Ajay. "Revelations from the red corridor". Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Armed revolt in the Red Corridor". Mondiaal Nieuws, Belgium. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  6. ^ "Women take up guns in India's red corridor". The Asian Pacific Post. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 22 June 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  7. ^ "Rising Maoists Insurgency in India". Global Politician. 13 May 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  8. ^ "Bihar ranks third among 10 states hit by Maoist violence".
  9. ^ ::Ministry of Home Affairs:: Archived 10 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Maoist Communist Centre – Extremism, India, South Asia Terrorism Portal". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  11. ^ "People's War Group – Extremism, India, South Asia Terrorism Portal". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  12. ^ Sukanya Banerjee, "Mercury Rising: India’s Looming Red Corridor", Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2008.
  13. ^ Magnus Öberg, Kaare Strøm, "Resources, Governance and Civil Conflict", Routledge, 2008, ISBN 0-415-41671-X. Snippet: ... the general consensus is that the insurgency was started to address various economic and social injustices related to highly skewed distributions of cropland ...
  14. ^ Debal K. SinghaRoy, "Peasant Movements in Post-colonial India: Dynamics of Mobilization and Identity", Sage Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-7619-9826-8.
  15. ^ *Loyd, Anthony (2015). "India's insurgency". National Geographic (April): 84. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  16. ^ Fernando Franco, "Pain and Awakening: The Dynamics of Dalit Identity in Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh", Indian Social Institute, 2002, ISBN 81-87218-46-0. ... Land deprivation is the major cause of mass poverty especially in view of the low level of economic diversification in rural areas. Amongst all major states, Bihar has the second highest proportion (55 per cent) of landless or quasi-landless households in the rural population ...
  17. ^ Dietmar Rothermund, "An Economic History of India: From Pre-colonial Times to 1991", Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-08871-2. Snippet: ... Eastern India has been bypassed by the 'Green revolution' to a great extent ... Instead of urbanization, we can find rural areas with an amazing degree of overpopulation ...
  18. ^ Rabindra Nath Pati, National Organization for Family and Population Welfare, "Population, Family, and Culture", Ashish Publishing House, 1987, ISBN 81-7024-151-0.
  19. ^ "Forbes India: Orissa's war over minerals". IBNLive. Archived from the original on 4 July 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Bihar: Caste, Politics & the Cycle of Strife". Mammen Matthew, SATP. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  21. ^ "Bihar caste clashes kill six". BBC. 26 October 2002. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  22. ^ Smita Narula, "Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's untouchables", Human Rights Watch, 1999, ISBN 1-56432-228-9.
  23. ^ A. Satyanarayana, "Land, Caste and Dominance in Telangana", Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 1993.
  24. ^ Tulja Ram Singh, "The Madiga: A Study in Social Structure and Change", Ethnographic & Folk Culture Society, 1969.
  25. ^ Ajit K. Danda, "Chhattisgarh: An Area Study", Anthropological Survey of India, Government of India, 1977.
  26. ^ Gyanendra Pandey, "Routine Violence: Nations, Fragments, Histories", Permanent Black, 2006, ISBN 81-7824-161-7.
  27. ^ Oliver Springate-Baginski and Piers M. Blaikie, "Forests, People and Power: The Political Ecology of Reform in South Asia", Earthscan, 2007, ISBN 1-84407-347-5.
  28. ^ "Naxal affected Districts" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  29. ^ a b "National Family Health Survey". International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  30. ^ B. B. Jena and Jaya Krishna Baral, "Government and Politics in Odisha", Print House (India), 1988. Snippet:... The literacy rate of the four coastal districts is much higher than that of other districts ...
  31. ^ Sanjoy Chakravorty and Somik V. Lall, "Made in India: The Economic Geography and Political Economy of Industrialization", Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-19-568672-1. Snippet:... and Punjab are considered advanced regions, while Bihar and Odisha are considered lagging regions. With the district level data used here, it is possible to create new data driven definitions of advanced and lagging regions that are distinct from politically defined regional ...
  32. ^ Sevanti Ninan, "Headlines from the Heartland: Reinventing the Hindi Public Sphere", Sage Publishers, 2007, ISBN 0-7619-3580-0. Snippet:... This one state (Madhya Pradesh) alone, taken together with Chhattisgarh, accounted for 17.9 percent of the total decadal decrease in illiteracy in India in the 1990s ...