Maoist violence in the country has reduced significantly during the past five years. The Maoist insurgency in India was at its peak in 2010, but adopting a mixture of engagement and rehabilitation policies, and increasing personnel in Special Police Forces, the Centre and states have been able to wean away many Maoists from Left Wing Extremist (LWE) groups and bring down Maoist violence in the country. According to official figures from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) till 15 September this year, the Maoist violence problem has reduced to a large extent. However, the government is intent on completely eradicating it. Casualties of security personnel in Maoist attacks have reduced by around 26% from the same time last year.
However, the number of incidents has not seen much decline as the count had reached 787 till mid-September this year from 804 last year. Chhattisgarh has seen a rise in incidents from 236 last year to over 330 this year. Concurrently, strikes on roads and highways have increased from 69 last year to 90 this year. This year, the number of people killed in left-wing extremist violence stood at 167.
Out of 167, 117 were civilians, including 57 police informers and another 50 security forces personnel. Around the same time last year, the death toll stood at 309, including 69 police informers and another 68 security forces personnel.
Till 15 September this year, 57 Maoists were killed in police action, 1,108 were arrested, 542 arms were recovered, 11 arms training camps were reported to have been organised by Maoists and 28 Jan Adalats (people’s courts) were reportedly convened by the Maoists.
Last year, 50 Maoists were killed in police action, 1,101 were arrested, 532 arms were recovered, 27 training camps were organised and 45 Jan Adalats were convened.
The numbers are a far cry from the figures recorded in 2010.
At its peak, the number of incidents stood at 2,213, while the death toll stood at 1,005 which comprised 720 civilians (out of which 323 were police informers) and 285 security personnel. In the same year, 172 Maoists were killed, 2,916 were arrested, 266 surrendered, 256 arms were snatched, 642 arms were recovered, 94 arms training camps were organised and 75 Jan Adalats were convened.
A senior bureaucrat in the MHA said, “To effectively deal with left wing extremists, it is crucial to upgrade the Special Police Forces (SPF) in the states. The security forces must have specialized knowledge of LWEs and specialized skills to deal with guerrilla warfare tactics. They need to understand the mindset of these LWEs. There are critical gaps that need to be filled in Special Police Forces in the states and a massive hiring of personnel is needed so that the burden of providing Central Armed Police Force units is also reduced. This calls for upgradation and meeting the shortfall of thousands of personnel in SPF units in states to deal exclusively with Left extremism.” “The government is committed to eradicating Maoists from the country. This will include escalation of force if required and rehabilitation as well. Both go hand in hand if we are to succeed. Operation Greyhound in the past had been effective in Andhra Pradesh, but that is not a permanent solution. We need to hit them at the heart. Stop recruitments and give these cadres a way out from these extremist groups,” the official added.
Anurag Sharma, DGP Telangana, told The Sunday Guardian, “The anti-Maoist policy has to be a multi-pronged approach. We need to identify the areas in terms of the level of prevailing Maoist violence. The core policy we have been following is of rehabilitation and trying to wean them away from the Maoist units. ”
“Due to the Centre’s sincere action, the states are also coming together with cohesive efforts to rid the country of the Maoist problem,” Sharma added.