Civilians biggest casualty of Naxal violence

While left wing extremism (LWE) — the government's preferred phrase for Naxal-related violence — has caused over 20,000 deaths in the country since 1980, it is not the extremists or the security forces who have suffered the most. Data accessed by The Hindu shows that a majority of those killed were civilians.

In fact, the ongoing conflict has claimed at least one life every single day over a 35-year period beginning 1980. The total body count, as on June 30, 2013, stood at 19,327, according to information obtained under the Right to Information Act.

Latest data compiled by the Ministry of Home Affairs adds another 685 fatalities to the record taking the total tally to 20,012 as on March 30, 2015. As many as 12,146 civilians lost their lives to LWE-related violence across the country during this period for which official data, accessed by The Hindu, is available.

During this period, 4,761 extremists and 3,105 security personnel were killed. That adds up to about two security personnel dying for every three extremists killed.

Bloodiest year

The year 2010 was the bloodiest of this insurgency, leading to the death of 1,177 persons — over 60 per cent of them civilians. The year saw the horrific Dantewada ambush that led to the death of 75 CRPF men and one Chhattisgarh police constable, the Gyaneshwari Express derailment, the Dantewada bus bombing and the Silda camp attack in Midnapore among other incidents.

In fact, the six years from 2005 to 2010 were the bloodiest in the entire two-decade timeline, with the reported death of 5,916 persons.

The information was provided by the Naxal Management Division of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to Delhi-based RTI activist Ved Pal, under the Right to Information Act.

The data also shows that the number of deaths among all three categories declined consistently between 2011 and 2013. Curiously, the records show no fatalities in 1986, immediately after which deaths in all categories — especially security forces — witnessed a rapid surge.

LWE-affected States have their differing policies on providing financial compensation to families of civilians and state police personnel killed in such violence. However, under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, the central government reimburses expenditure incurred by the state governments for payment of ex-gratia to the victims — Rs. 1 lakh for every civilian and Rs. 3 lakh for each security personnel killed in LWE violence.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 11:06:20 PM |

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