Red Recedes

Sharp drop in Naxal violence, areas under LWE influence shrink

Subhashis Mittra

There has been a significant decline in left-wing extremism (LWE) violence as well as the geographical spread of LWE in the last eight years. Comparison of data shows a reduction in incidents in 2022 as compared to 2013. The number of incidents of violence perpetrated by left-wing extremists was 413, while 118 were security force-initiated incidents in 2022-23, according to the Union home ministry’s annual report for 2022-23.

The data shows that there has been a 75 per cent reduction (397 to 98) in LWE-related deaths in 2022 as compared to 2013. In 2022, the resultant deaths and casualties to security forces reduced by 33 per cent and 68 per cent, respectively, in comparison to 2021. At the same time, the developmental outreach by the government of India has seen an increasingly large number of LWE cadres shunning the path of violence and returning to the mainstream.

In 2022, Chhattisgarh (61 deaths) remained the worst-affected state followed by Jharkhand (12 deaths), Odisha (11 deaths), Maharashtra (eight deaths), Madhya Pradesh (two deaths) and Bihar (one death).

The overall improvement in the LWE scenario can be attributed to greater presence and increased capacity of the security forces across the affected states, better operational strategy, and better monitoring of development schemes in affected areas.

‘The resolute implementation of the national policy and action plan by the government has resulted in unprecedented improvement in the left-wing extremism scenario across the country,’ said the ministry of home affairs (MHA) report.

The report noted that Maoist violence has pushed back the development process in many parts of the country by decades which needs to be recognised by civil society and the media to pressure the Naxals into eschewing violence and joining the mainstream.

The report further pointed out that it is necessary that the Naxals recognise the fact that the socio-economic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st-century India are far removed from the Maoist worldview.

‘The government of India has been addressing the menace holistically by adopting the multi-pronged approach and the results have been encouraging. The LWE theatre has witnessed a consistent decline in violence and considerable shrinkage in geographical spread since 2014,’ the report said.

The ministry said it is clear that the Maoists do not want root causes like underdevelopment addressed in a meaningful manner, since they resort to targeting school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure and communication facilities, in a major way.

‘The Maoists wish to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalised to perpetuate their outdated ideology. Consequently, the process of development has been set back by decades in many parts of the country under LWE influence,’ the report noted. It also said that the government was optimistic about eradicating the LWE problem through strategic vision.

The MHA report said the Union government monitors the LWE situation on a regular basis at the level of the Union home minister, Union home secretary and special secretary/additional secretary. A review group, chaired by the cabinet secretary, also reviews the LWE situation and the progress of development schemes in affected areas through meetings and video conferences with the representatives of the central ministries and departments concerned and the state governments.




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