Left wing extremism violence down in country, but force personnel deaths rising in Chhattisgarh: Govt

While incidents of Naxal violence in the country have dropped by 77 per cent between 2009 and 2021, deaths of security force personnel due to Maoist violence have more than doubled in Chhattisgarh in the past three years, the Union government told Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

According to the data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Lok Sabha during Question Hour, Left Wing Extremism (LWE) violence has decreased from 2,258 in 2009 to 509 in 2021.

“Similarly, the resultant deaths (civilians + security forces) have reduced by 85 per cent from all-time high of 1,005 in 2010 to 147 in 2021,” Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said in a written reply to a question.

However, state-wise and year-wise data provided by Rai on deaths of security personnel between 2019 and June 2022 shows that the LWE problem continues to rage in Chhattisgarh even as it appears to be petering out in other states.

According to the data, 22 security force personnel were killed in Naxal violence in Chhattisgarh in 2019, 36 in 2020 and 45 in 2021. In the first six months of 2022, six security force personnel were killed in the state. The countrywide figures for 2019, 2020, 2021 are 52, 43 and 50 respectively.

In 2021, Chhattisgarh accounted for 90 per cent (45 out of 50) of all security personnel deaths in the country. Jharkhand is the only state that recorded security personnel deaths (5) besides Chhattisgarh in 2021. In 2019, when 52 security force personnel deaths were recorded in the country, Chhattisgarh accounted for just 42 per cent (22) of those with Maharashtra accounting for 16 deaths and Jharkhand for 12 deaths.

Other states for which data has been provided by the government are Bihar, Odisha and Telangana. All recorded zero deaths in 2021. In 2022, Odisha recorded three deaths while Jharkhand recorded two.

Rai said the geographical spread of the violence has reduced as only 46 districts reported LWE-related violence in 2021 as compared to 96 districts in 2010.

“Decline in geographical spread is also reflected in the reduced number of districts covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. The number of SRE districts was reduced from 126 to 90 in April 2018 and further to 70 in July 2021. Similarly, the number of districts contributing approximately 90 per cent of the LWE violence, categorised as ‘most LWE-affected districts’ came down to 30 from 35 in 2018 and further to 25 in 2021,” Rai said.

Interestingly, in reply to another question, the MHA has pointed out that the number of deaths of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in all theatres of conflict has steadily declined since 2019. While 90 CAPF personnel died in action in 2019, the number came down to 39 in 2020 and 27 in 2021.

According to the data, 307 CAPF personnel died during conflicts in the past five years with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) accounting for about 60 per cent of the deaths (180).

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