RAIPUR: The Maoist-related incidents in Chhattisgarh declined in 2019 but the state still reported over half of the violent episodes involving the Maoists in the country.
As Chhattisgarh continues to be hardest-hit by left-wing extremism, the year didn’t see let up in the incidents of Maoist violence with 65 naxals shot dead in the conflict zone while 18 security forces were killed in an exchange of fire with the rebels.
The Maoist violence was mostly reported from the strife-torn zone of Bastar, even as the Chhattisgarh police affirmed “the rebels, now on backfoot, are restricted to small pockets in the affected districts.”
There is nevertheless a consistent decline in the naxal encounters during the previous three years, from 184 gunfights in 2017 to 150 the following 2018 and further coming down to 101 in 2019.
“Our three-pronged strategy of ‘Vishwas-Vikas-Suraksha’ is yielding good results with 40 percent decline in Maoist violence this year compared previous years. The morale of troops remains high. And people realising anti-tribal and anti-development attitude of Maoists,” Sunderraj P, inspector general of police (Bastar Zone) told Express.
The maximum casualties of Maoists in 2019 were reported in the southern districts of Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur, where 23, 14, 14 rebels respectively were killed by the forces out of the total 65.
Compared to 2018 when 1127 cadres of Red Brigade were arrested, the forces apprehended 475 naxalites in 2019. This year 304 Maoists surrendered compared to 464 in 2018.
As many as 46 civilians lost their lives in the Maoist violence. The rebels going after the soft targets triggered 39 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2019, while the forces recovered 172 such IEDs in Bastar zone and defused them.
In 2019 the Maoists looted 7 weapons, which shows a steady decline compared to 2017 (when 41 weapons were snatched away) and in 2018 (when naxals took away 16 arms).
The latest comprehensive crime statistics 2017 released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) too under the various categories of crimes by “anti-national elements” has cited that out of the 652 offences committed by the banned CPI (Maoist), 492 were reported only from Chhattisgarh — way ahead of other left-wing extremism (LWE) affected states.
The NCRB recently pointed out that among the incidents of violence unleashed by anti-National elements in 2017, the crime lodged against the Maoists is 493, which is higher than the combined registered cases of 290 — that included north-east insurgency (113) and terrorists including Jihadi (177).