The move broke the backbone of Maoists in the state: Study
In poll-bound Chhattisgarh, the Bharatiya Janata Party is hopeful that the Narendra Modi government’s decision of demonetisation could secure the party’s return to power. Similarly, the Raman Singh-led state government’s work in the social and education sectors in Chhattisgarh has also raised the party’s hopes. A study prepared by a BJP think-tank has found that demonetisation broke the backbone of the Maoists/Naxals in the state and helped bring down the violence significantly. It said that the “financial choking” of the Maoists was also instrumental in exposing the “urban Maoists”.
Elections in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases on 12 November and 20 November.
Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC), the think-tank, in its study titled “Demonetisation: Impact on combating Naxalism” said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation decision broke the backbone of the Left-wing extremists.” The report was prepared on the basis of a study conducted in 33 villages in the worst Maoist-hit districts of Chhattisgarh—Sukma, Bijapur, Rajnandgaon and Narayanpur.
Releasing the report, BJP’s vice-president and PPRC’s director, Dr Vinay Shasrabuddhe said that post-demonetisation, there was a 55% rise in the arrest and surrender of Maoist leaders compared to 2015. Similarly, cases of Maoist violence in the state had also come down by 20%. Also, there has been a rise of 50% in the number of Maoists killed in Chhattisgarh during this period.
“A political will was always required to resolve the problem of Naxalism by nullifying it and not utilising it. The Narendra Modi government has been successful in incentivising the youth who played a key role in tackling the menace of Naxalism,” Shasrabuddhe said, adding that some governments and political parties in the past either promoted Maoists or used them for their political gains.
“It was learnt that Naxals collected the required money annually. The annual collection from Chhattisgarh alone ranges between Rs 350 crore to Rs 400 crore. Demonetisation of higher currency notes curbed the financing of the Maoists and cash stored for them became useless,” the report said. It added that during this period, there was significant reduction in the recruitment of the Maoist cadre and security agencies managed to develop local intelligence.
“The BJP governments at the Centre and Chhattisgarh incentivised the mainstreaming of Naxals. Inputs received from Naxal leaders as well as police officials give enough evidence to state that demonetisation choked the financial reserves of the Naxals,” it said, adding that due to the cash crunch, they were not able to implement their strategies to ambush the security forces.
Another report prepared by the think-tank, “Including the Excluded Through Education: A Case Study of Chhattisgarh”, said that the innovative schemes of livelihood colleges have increased the education as well as employment facilities for the youth. Setting up of “Prayas Residential Schools” with the vision to provide the students of Maoist-affected districts quality and competitive education, has been termed as a major step towards social and educational improvement. The report also highlights the “education cities” in all districts of Bastar region. In Sukma alone, an education city has benefited around 25,000 children who were left out till now.
“Almost all 27 districts of Chhattisgarh have livelihood, ITI and polytechnic colleges where youngsters are provided skill development training in various trades. More than 2.35 lakh children have been trained so far,” the report said.