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To earn their daily bread, how the urban naxals have spread

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New Delhi, Oct 9: The elimination of naxalites has increased, the geographical spread has decreased and the surrenders have shot up. There is ample data on hand to suggest that the naxalite movement is gradually seeing its last days.

The issue is being sorted out largely in the jungles, but then the propaganda in the cities is there in your face. This is largely to do with the fact that the urban movement has been witnessing a steady rise over the years, even though the movement in the jungles has been facing setbacks.

To earn their daily bread, how the urban naxals have spread

The urban naxal corridor:

Intelligence Bureau officials have identified the Surat-Pune industrial corridor, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Kolkata to be the epic-centre of the urban naxal problem. Several organisations have come up in these areas, through which desperate attempts are on to bridge the movement between the urban and rural areas.

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It is these organisations, which are putting the propaganda right out there and this has become a major problem, the Intelligence Bureau says. In addition to this several regional bureaus and sub-committees have been formed to either put out the propaganda or bridge the rural-urban gap.

The MHA says that in recent times there has been an escalation of this problem in the states of Gujarat and Punjab as well. There has been a steady rise in the urban movement and more states are being chosen to set up committees. It is clear that these persons want the propaganda machinery to work full time as the movement is seeing a steady collapse in the rural areas, an Intelligence Bureau official informed OneIndia.

The desperation:

With the naxal movement being largely subdued in the rural belts, these are desperate times for them. There are two main issues and they are the number of recruitments is down and so is the funding.

In the urban areas, naxalites have been operating largely through NGOs. However since the squeeze on NGO funding, the coffers are gradually drying up. This has led the rise in setting up committees in more states in a bid to boost recruitments and also spruce up the funding, IB officials also explain.

Also Read | How Christian missionaries are funding naxals, their urban friends to 'BREAK INDIA'

In the various states where these persons are setting up shop, they have not found to be working independently. They first get in touch with persons with a like-minded ideology and then seek their help in setting up shop. Currently this menace is on in nearly 18 states in the country, the IB says.
This is a very dangerous precedent says the IB. In both cases of terrorism and naxalism it has been noticed that it is the ideology that has been more dangerous. Hence it is of utmost importance that the spread of the urban movement is curtailed at its earliest, the officer also said.

Down, but not out:

Statistics that OneIndia has clearly suggest that there has been a decline. However it would be too early to write them off as yet as their friends in the city are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the movement is kept alive and revived in a big way.

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.

Also Read | What the urban naxals are not telling us: Their jungle friends are taking up govt jobs

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.

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.
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.

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.

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