The Narendra Modi government seems to have put a lid on Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) during its three-year tenure.
Official figures point towards a steady decline in the number of casualties suffered by security forces in the districts affected by LWE. Though it is little comfort that civilians and security personnel continue to die as a result of Naxal insurgency, these figures raise hopes of a solution.
According to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) data accessed by Firstpost, there has been a steady decline in the number of Maoist attacks across the country since 2014. While 2,213 such incidents were reported in 2010, it came down to 1,048 in 2016 – a 111 percent decline.
|Left Wing Extremism (2010 - 2017): Incidents-Deaths-Encounters|
|YEAR||INCIDENTS||Maoists Killed||Security Personnel Died||Citizens Died|
|* Source: MHA|
|** As on 30.06.2017|
Currently, 106 districts in 10 states that comprise the Red Corridor are the worst affected. However, according to the latest MHA report, in 2016, incidents of Maoist violence have been reported in only 68 districts. Of this, 90 percent of the cases were from 35 worst affected districts in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.
“Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh have emphasised zero tolerance policy for terrorism and LWE. The Centre has adopted a multi-pronged approach comprising operational tactics by security forces, development projects in Naxal-prone areas, ensuring the rights of tribals, building up para-military forces and intelligence sharing between the forces and local police. All these factors have led to a decline in Maoist attacks and fewer deaths of security personnel and civilians, while the more and more Maoist cadres have been killed," an MHA official says.
The report also claims that there has been a sharp rise in the number of Maoists surrendering. While only 570 Maoists surrendered in 2015, 1,442 and 911 Maoists surrendered in 2016 and 2017 (as of 30 June) respectively.
“There has been a decline in attacks, with more cadres surrendering. This is all because of the pressure created by CRPF, BSF and special task forces like COBRA, Grey Hound and their frustration. Many have found themselves disillusioned by the ideology,” said counter-terrorism analyst Anil Kamboj.
Initiatives by Centre to counter LWE
- Number of battalions in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have increased since 2014. In 2014, 105 battalions were deployed in Red Corridor, but now 119 battalions have been deployed.
- To expedite intelligence gathering process and reduce timing, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) base has been shifted from Hyderabad to Bhilai in Chhattisgarh.
- A fleet of additional MI-17, V-5 and Dhruv choppers of the Indian Air Force and BSF has been deployed in LWE zones.
- Between 2014 and 2017, construction of 1,504-kilometre road has been completed for better connectivity with areas that are vulnerable to Naxal attacks.
- The Centre, under Universal Service Obligation Fund, approved Rs 3,567 crore in 2014 for installation of 2,199 mobile towers: Of which 2,187 towers are operational.
After the killing of 37 CRPF personnel in two Maoist ambushes this year, the central government decided in May to shift the strategic anti-Naxal operations command headquarters of the CRPF, headed by an ADG-level officer, from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh, a state hit by Naxal violence. This was done to tighten the government's grip. During the UPA regime, this headquarters was shifted from Raipur to Kolkata due to logistical issues.
“Since 2010, there was a huge increase in the number of attacks on security personnel. Now, with the command back in Raipur, it will be easier to exercise control on the problem and take decisions a lot quicker,” a senior CRPF official said.
Besides development projects, the Centre allocated Rs 675 crore under security-related expenditure fund to counter Maoist insurgency.
“Centre provides funds to Maoist-hit districts to strengthen security operations and for development, but it is the responsibility of state governments to ensure proper utilisation of funds and execution of projects. Despite noble intentions, many a time, very few things are implemented on the ground, which defeats the Centre's hard work. There is also a need to generate employment among the youth in districts affected by LWE in order to stop them from joining the cadres,” added Kamboj, who has led anti-Naxal operations.
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Updated Date: Jul 24, 2017 12:03:27 IST