The Union Home Ministry has recorded a three-fold rise in the number of Maoists who have surrendered but its figures for 2016 also show a rise in the number of civilians, mostly alleged police informers, who died in violence involving left-wing extremists, when compared to last year.
According to figures available till December 15, 2016, 1,420 Maoists surrendered this year as compared to 570 in 2015, 670 in 2014 and 282 in 2013. Of the 202 civilians who died this year in Maoist violence, 115 were allegedly police informants who, officials said, were executed by left-wing extremists. In 2015, 156 civilians died out of which 85 were identified as “informers”.
Officials said that the Home Ministry has scaled up its focus in the 36 worst-affected districts of the total 106 Naxal-affected districts, most of which are in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
“The two-pronged theory of development and security is being pushed aggressively in these 36 districts with an aim to further bring down the scale of violence,” said a senior official.
Speaking about casualties suffered by security forces, the official said, “These deaths have been a cause of grave concern… most of them were due to landmines.”
According to a senior officer engaged in anti-Naxal operations in Telangana, “The anti-Naxal operations and arrest of key cadres have brought down the morale of Naxals. The sharp rise in the number of arrests is mainly because of operations this year and the biggest success was in Odisha where close to 24 Maoist cadres were killed by special forces.”
Earlier, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had made an offer for talks to Maoists but only if they shunned violence. “The situation of Naxal violence is under control. We have been successful in controlling the problem and will continue with that. The situation today is the best in the past 15-16 years,” Singh had said.
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