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143 per cent increase in surrenders, how security forces are breaking backs of naxals

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    The surrender of naxalites has been a major feature and this has led to a considerable dip in the number of incidents where Left Wing Extremism is concerned. The surrenders by naxalites has increased by 143 per cent.

    143 per cent increase in surrenders, how security forces are breaking backs of naxals

    The data provided by the Union Home Ministry shows that between 2016 and 2018, 4,123 naxalites have been arrested. In the year 2016, the number of arrests carried out stood at 1,840 while in 2017 it was 1,888. The figures till March 15 2018 suggests that the number of arrests made stood at 395.

    In the month of March 2018 there were two major incidents reported from Odisha and the Chattisgarh-Telangana border. While three women cadres of the naxals were killed in the Odisha encounter, the one on the Telangana border on March 1 2018 saw the killing of six women naxalites. One Greyhound constable was however martyred in the attack.

    In February the security forces managed to kill four naxalites- Rakesh Bhuiyan, Lallu Yadav, Rinki and Ruby. The encounter took place at Jharkhand.

    Mounting pressure:

    The Home Ministry says that that a comparison of various statistics of left wing extremism related violence indicated a significant improvement. Incidents of violence reduced by 36.6% from 6524 to 4136. LWE related deaths decreased by 55.5% from 2428 to 1081.

    Elimination of LWE cadres increased by 14.6% from 445 to 510. Surrenders by LWE cadres increased by 143% from 1387 to 3,373.

    Security officials say that the mounting pressure is what is leading to such a large number of surrenders. Another important aspect is the reduction in the numbers of civilian casualties. 188 were reported in 2017 which is the lowest in the category since 1999. The maximum number of civilians killed in naxalite violence was in 2010 when 720 deaths were reported.

    Data prepared by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SAT) suggested that the number districts from where fatalities were reported declined from 42 in 2016 to 40 in 2017.

    Civilian fatalities were reported from 33 Districts in 2017, as against 35 in 2016. Similarly, SF fatalities were reported from 12 Districts in 2017, as against 18 in 2016. The overall spread of Naxalite violence recorded a decline through 2017, with the number of Naxalism-affected Districts dropping from 104 in 13 States in 2016, to 100 districts in 12 States in 2017, the SATP data suggests.

    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had told the Lok Sabha in March 2017 that the number of naxalite affected districts had fallen from 106 to 68. Major attacks involving three or fatalities too declined from 33 in 2016 to 19 in 2017. SATP says that of the 19 major incidents in 2017, 12 were initiated by the security forces which resulted in the death of 52 naxalites and six security personnel.

    Decline in naxal related incidents:

    • 2009: 2,258
    • 2010: 2,213 
    • 2011: 1,760
    • 2012: 1,415 
    • 2013: 1,136 
    • 2014: 1,091 
    • 2015: 1,089 
    • 2016: 1,048 
    • 2017: 908
    • 2018: 178 (Till March)

    Geographical Spread reduced:

    • States reporting violence reduced from 10 (2013) to 9 (2017). 
    • Districts reporting violence reduced from 76 (2013) to 58 (2017). 
    • Police Stations reporting violence reduced from 330 (2013) to 291 (2017).

    Need to sustain:

    Security officials argue that while there has been a massive dip in the strength of the naxalites, the need to sustain the strategy is crucial. Any let up in the strategy could see the naxalites bouncing back.

    The Home Ministry says that it has introduced a host of measures to ensure that the naxalite menace is completely curbed. While security forces would continue to do the job on the ground, a host of reforms have also been introduced. A new scheme with an outlay of Rs. 3,000 crore (Rs. 1,000 crore per annum) has been introduced. Under the scheme funds will be provided to 35 most affected LWE districts to fill the critical gaps in public infrastructure and services, which are of emergent nature. Rs.175 crore has been released under the scheme in 2017-18.

    An Empowered Committee was constituted under Additional Secretary (LWE) to monitor and guide developmental initiatives through co-ordination with various Central Ministries.
    Two committees have been formed in May 2017 for improving operational performance of forces in LWE areas. These are:- Committee for use of Cutting Edge technologies in LWE Theatre. Committee for fixing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for LWE Theatre. The committees have already submitted the reports.

    In order to enhance local representation among the security forces and also provide employment to local youth, a Bastariya Battalion has been raised. 743 Scheduled Tribes candidates from four most affected LWE districts of Chhattisgarh, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Sukma have been recruited. This figure includes 242 female candidates.

    All recruitment formalities have been completed and training is in progress, the Home Ministry says.

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