India’s rapid economic growth over the last decade has been coupled with a Maoist insurgency that competes with the state for rural allegiance. In response to the threat, the Government of India has securitized development, using public works programmes in an attempt to sway locals away from Maoist allegiance. However, these areas are also home to massive iron and coal mines that drive India’s growth. This study aims to address the lack of local-level analysis and the lack of a robust dataset by merging qualitative fieldwork with disparate district-level conflict data sources 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 programmes is loosely related to the immediate suppression of violent activities in Maoist-affected districts, and under certain conditions mining activity increases the likelihood for conflict, it is the presence of scheduled caste and tribal communities that is the best predictor of violence.
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