New Delhi, Sep 10: In the year 2017, a report prepared by the United States of America had said that the CPI-Maoist is the deadliest terror outfit in India. Looking at the casualty rate and number of lives naxal related violence had claimed, it is only behind the Taliban, Islamic State and Boko Haram.
Since then there has been a considerable drop in the number of naxalite related incidents. Their geographic spread had reduced considerably and this has led to several surrenders as well.
The surrender among naxalites is not linked only to the upping of security and better intelligence coordination. Take for instance the interrogation of Pahad Singh, a deadly naxalite who recently surrendered. He said that he was disillusioned with the naxalite ideology. There was discrimination between the cadres of the Andhra Pradesh unit and the others. Hauling from Durg in Chattisgarh, he said that the AP and Maharashtra cadre always looked at others as outsiders.
A CRPF official from Chattisgarh tells OneIndia that of late there have been several cases in which naxals have come forward and surrendered because they are disillusioned. Many feel that there is not much happening in the movement and they have come forward to reform and have also sought for jobs in the government.
The biggest problem that the movement is facing is that the younger lot are leaving in large numbers. They were hired with the thought that they were going to fight for a cause, but it turned out that the senior leaders were getting a better piece of the pie, while the young lot were left to do the dirty work.
The other issue that daunts the naxal movement is the lack of funds. The extortion mafia is down, with the villagers refusing to pay up. What has hit them the worst is the squeeze on the NGOs and the monitoring of their friends in the urban areas. Those part of the propaganda machinery in the cities were the ones who would channelise the funds.
Former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, C D Sahay tells OneIndia that people in the cities are brainwashed in social circles, urban clubs, think-tanks, media and these days WhatsApp debates. This in fact is the most important component of the naxal movement.
Sahay says that even if the movement is on the decline, there should be no complacency. In the past too the movement has gone down, but due to complacency they have bounced back.
The CRPF official further added that many youngsters have said after surrendering that they had been brainwashed by people who come into the villages from the cities. The ideology they spoke about was very different when compared to what actually happens on the ground. One surrendered naxal even told the police that at the time of recruitment, he was told that they were fighting for the upliftment of the poor. However on the ground what he witnessed was an extortion mafia. The big money would be pocketed by the seniors and the youngsters were left out in the jungles to fight, with no reward.
How the numbers have fallen:
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.
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.
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.
How the geographic spread has fallen:
- 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).
- 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)