80 Maoists killed, 125 arrested, 150 surrendered in Chhattisgarh in 4 months

Security force personnel patrol after an attack by Maoist fighters in Bijapur in Chhattisgarh, April 4, 2021. Photo: File/ Reuters.

New Delhi: At least 80 Maoists have been killed and more than 125 arrested while 150 have surrendered this year so far in Chhattisgarh, where 29 ultras were gunned down two days ago in a fierce encounter with security forces, officials said on Thursday.

Left-wing extremism-related violence has declined in the country by 52 per cent and the number of deaths by 69 per cent from 6,035 to 1,868 in 2014-23 compared to 2004-14, according to Union Home Ministry data.

Since the formation of the Vishnu Deo Sai government in Chhattisgarh in December 2023, pro-active operations have been carried out and, as a result, at least 80 Maoists have been eliminated and more than 125 arrested while 150 have surrendered since January, an official said.

Late last year, following a detailed review of the security situation in Maoist-affected states, Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed security forces to carry out operations against Maoists proactively.

Shah's direction led to the formation of a high-powered committee, the members of which included director generals of police, director generals of the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Forces, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Intelligence Bureau, and other officials of the anti-Maoist grid. The result of the pro-active action against Maoists is now visible on the ground, the official said.

On Tuesday, security personnel gunned down 29 Maoists, including some senior members, in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district in the biggest-ever encounter in the state. This was the highest number of fatalities suffered by Maoists in a single encounter in the history of the state's fight against Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

Three security personnel suffered injuries in the fierce gun battle that also led to a large quantity of weapons being seized. Security forces started setting up camps in Maoist-dominated areas since 2014. More than 250 such camps were set up after 2019, ending the security vacuum.

According to home ministry data, LWE incidents have reduced from 14,862 to 7,128 in 2004 - 14 compared to 2014 - 23. The number of deaths of security personnel due to Left Wing Extremism has declined by 72 per cent from 1,750 in 2004 -14 to 485 during 2014 - 23, while the number of civilian deaths has declined by 68 per cent from 4,285 to 1,383.

The number of districts with incidents of violence was 96 in 2010. This declined by 53 per cent to 45 in 2022. Along with this, the number of police stations reporting violence decreased from 465 in 2010 to 176 in 2022.

In the last five years, more than 5,000 post offices were set up in 90 districts that have Maoist presence or where the ultras were present. As many as 1,298 bank branches were opened and 1,348 ATMs were made operational in the 30 most affected districts, officials said.

A total of 4,885 mobile towers were constructed for Rs 2,690 crore in Maoist-hit areas and 9,356 km of roads were constructed at Rs 10,718 crore. The officials said 121 Eklavya residential schools, 43 ITIs and 38 skill development centres were set up to engage the local youth. 

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