According to the latest figures of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Maoist incidents have come down drastically in almost all the states, and remain confined mainly to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. However, these two states, too, have shown considerable decline in the number of Maoist incidents compared to a few years ago.
There were as many as 771 incidents of Maoist violence till August, compared to 2,258 incidents in 2009. While 908 persons, including security personnel, were killed in Maoist incidents in 2009, this number is 211 this year so far.
West Bengal, from where Naxalism began (Naxalbari), is a case in point where not a single incident has taken place this year (till 31 August), as per the ministry’s figures. In contrast, there were 255 Maoist incidents in 2009 in which 158 people were killed in the state.
Talking about this year’s incidents, while Chhattisgarh witnessed 282 incidents in which 78 persons have been killed so far, there have been 241 incidents in Jharkhand, killing 65 persons. Bihar witnessed 93 incidents so far in which 24 persons were killed. There were 58 incidents reported from Maharashtra, killing 19 persons. Odisha saw 62 such incidents in which 18 were killed.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently asserted his government’s resolve to bring an end to Naxalism, militancy and terrorism. While addressing police officials at the regional training centre of the “Greyhounds”, the special anti-Naxal operations forces of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Singh said the Maoists’ morale at present is at its lowest.
According to a senior police official involved in anti-Naxal operations, this is quite an encouraging trend. “There has been a massive and sustained operation against the Maoists which has put them on the back foot. Add to that, development works have started reaching out to Maoist-infested areas, as a result of which Maoists are no longer in a position to ‘sell’ their ‘ideology’. The Maoists are losing the support of the tribal community, which is gradually joining the mainstream,” he said.
In some states, there were fissures in the Maoists’ ranks, which worked in favour of the government in the long run. In Jharkhand, for example, at least three splinter groups came up in the past few years, which weakened the Maoists — People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), and the Jharkhand Jana Mukti Parishad (JJMP).
Dr Bibhu Prasad Routray, a former deputy director of the National Security Council (NSC), said: “Naxals are weak at the moment. The security forces have been successful in confining the Maoists to only parts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. However, I would like the government to be careful as they may revive their activities at a later stage. The government’s strategy has been to use force against them, as well as carrying out development work in the Maoist affected areas. I think the first part has been successful. There is a need to take care of the second part in a better manner so that there is no discontent among the tribal community, which has been their main support base for a long time.”