Nothing much changed in naxal hot-bed

Exactly a year ago, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for an “introspection” on what led to the killing of 12 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma despite naxals suffering “unprecedented losses” in 2016. But, it seems nothing much have changed in the naxal hot-bed.

Official figures showed that naxal violence in Chhattisgarh is on the rise this year so far compared to corresponding period of previous year though the overall figure is on the decline.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), there were 61 incidents in Chhattisgarh this year till February 15 as against 53 during the same period last year. While 15 people were killed in naxal violence this year, it was 17 in Chhattisgarh in 2017. Chhattisgarh also continue to be on the top of the list of naxal-infested states.

The attack on a mine-protected vehicle comes a year after a similar incident in Sukma when 12 CRPF personnel were ambushed.

Making a statement in Lok Sabha on 14 March, 2017, Singh then said, “there is a need for introspection on this incident. I have directed the Director General, CRPF to conduct a detailed enquiry into the incident so that the lapses that led to the incident can be identified which will reduce the possibility of repetition of such incidents in the future.” This time too, Singh has directed the CRPF chief to rush to the spot.

He had then said, “sustained operations by the Security Forces ensured that South Bastar districts, considered to be the nucleus of LWE strength witnessed a considerable fall in violence in 2016 (252 incidents as against 326 in 2015).”

In the latest budget, the government has earmarked Rs 1,344 crore for fighting naxals across the country and reaching out to people in Maoist-infested districts with development projects. The bulk of the allocation goes to projects proposed by states in 35 worst naxal-infested districts to tackle development issues.

Another Rs 200 crore is allocated for Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme for paying ex gratia to families of those killed in naxal violence, insurance premium of police, training and operational requirements, compensation for surrendered Maoists, security related infrastructure and other expenses of village defence committees.

The scheme is expected to reduce naxal violence and number of attacks on security personnel deployed in such areas.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 14, 2018)


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