K. Srinivas Reddy

More civilian fatalities due to Left-wing extremism, says Ministry report

HYDERABAD: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil might want the country to believe that Left-wing extremism is not a big challenge to the internal security of the country, but his Ministry has now ‘unwittingly’ declared statistics which reveal that the Maoist activity had actually surpassed militancy in the north-eastern States and in Jammu and Kashmir in terms of killings of civilians and security forces personnel.

Status paper

The latest status paper on the ‘Internal Security Situation’ discloses that as many as 2,281 civilians and 821 security forces personnel were killed between 2004 and 2008 (up to August 31) due to Maoist activity.

The comparative figures for the same period show that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir resulted in the killing of 1,883 civilians and 789 security forces personnel. The militancy-related fatalities in the north-east were 1,909 civilians and 361 security forces personnel. It was none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who cautioned the States — in December 2007 at a conclave on internal security — that Maoist insurgency was the single biggest challenge to security. Just about two months later, Mr. Patil disagreed with Dr. Singh and said the Left-wing extremism did not pose such a danger to internal security.

Answering a question in the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme on CNN-IBN, Mr. Patil argued that there was no need to create a fear psychosis among the people about the Maoist insurgency. Playing on words, the Home Minister pointed out: “If one went by 130 districts affected, it would mean 25 per cent. But if one took into account the number of police stations, it would give a picture of only three per cent.”

And now the Ministry status paper points out that the Maoist violence has become very intense in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa. “Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand accounted for 68.07 per cent of the total incidents and 58.56 per cent of total casualties.” The Ministry puts it on record that the Maoist activity is present in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal.

However, intelligence officials unofficially admit there is widespread consolidation of Maoists across the country.