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Is the naxalite movement dying? The steady fall of geographical spread suggests so

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, Aug 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address said that districts affected by left-wing extremism had come down from 160 to 90. He also added that the work on finding a solution to the problem is on and also progressing rapidly.

    Is the naxalite movement dying? The steady fall of geographical spread suggests so

    Modi said left-wing extremism has been bleeding the country and violent incidents, people fleeing from homes and hiding in forests were a matter of daily occurrence.

    Also Read | Success: Forces gun down 8 dreaded naxals

    "However, today because of continuous efforts by our security forces, launching of development projects and efforts to connect the people with national mainstream, left-wing extremism which affected 126 districts has now been reduced to 90 districts.The work on finding a solution to put an end to left-wing extremism from those districts is progressing rapidly," he said.

    Going after left-wing extremism:

    Home Ministry data available with OneIndia suggests that in the past two years, between 2016 and 2018, the number of naxalites arrested is 4,123. Security officials say that the high number of arrests are due to better coordination and concrete intelligence. The intelligence is being made actionable and this has led to such a large number of arrests.

    Take for instance the year 2016, the number of naxalites arrested stood at 1,840, while in 2017, it was 1,888. The number of naxalites arrested in 2018 until March stood at 395.

    Also Read | How Urban naxals, Khalistanis and ISI came together to break India

    Reduction in violent incidents:

    Another significant development in the war against naxalites is the reduction in the number of violent incidents and deaths. Incidents of violence reduced by 36.6% from 6,524 to 4,136. Left Wing Extremism related deaths also decreased by 55.5% from 2,428 to 1,081.

    The naxalites however witnessed severe casualties. The elimination of naxalites have increased by 14.6 per cent fro 445 to 510, while the surrenders increased by 143% from 1,387 to 3,373.

    Civilian casualties which had been reported in large numbers too have reduced considerably. In 2017 there were 188 civilian deaths reported. This is a marked improvement since in 2010, the number of civilians who lost their lives in naxalite related violence stood at 720.

    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.

    Surrenders are up:

    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.

    Also Read | The rise of naxalism in Kodagu: Time for a crackdown on the southern corridor

    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.

    Reduction in geographical spread:

    • 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).

    A steady decline:

    • 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)

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