Jharkhand records highest Naxal violence this year

NEW DELHI: Jharkhand not only fared as the state with the highest incidence of Naxal violence in the first quarter of this year, but it also further consolidated its lead over Chhattisgarh with twice the incidents and thrice the deaths reported by the latter.

According to the latest statistics of Red terror compiled by the Union home ministry, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar together account for over 80% of Left-wing extremist violence across the country. Odisha has shown a significant decline in Red terror, while West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh reported nil/negligible violence.

The total number of incidents relating to Naxalism fell to 272 (until March 31, 2013) from 417 in the corresponding period of 2012, and deaths to 89 as compared to 120 in the first quarter of last year.

However, the share of Jharkhand in the nationwide Naxal violence is a worrying trend. The state, which has been under the President’s rule since January, accounted for over 40% of the countrywide incidents and over 58% of the deaths in the first three months of this year.

Chhattisgarh, which was the worst-hit state in terms of Red terror until Jharkhand overtook it in 2011, recorded 59 incidents and 14 deaths in first quarter of this year — down from 91 incidents and 17 deaths in the corresponding period of last year. The figures for Chhattisgarh are far lower than those in Jharkhand, which reported 118 incidents and 52 deaths between January and March, 2013.

Of the 52 people who died due to Naxal violence in Jharkhand, 37 were civilians (of which 14 were killed after being branded ‘police informers’) and 25 from the security forces. Though the figures are lower this year as compared to 2012, Chhattisgarh showed higher civilian killings (up from 6 to12).

However, to give the counter-Naxal forces credit, killings of Maoists by the security forces rose to 18 in the first quarter of 2013 from 14 in the corresponding period of last year. Of these, most Naxalite killings were in Chhattisgarh (8); followed by Maharashtra (6) and Jharkhand (3).

Arrests of Naxalites were up from 107 to 120 in Jharkhand, from 52 to 82 ( Andhra Pradesh) and from 83 to 100 (Chhattisgarh). While arms snatching dipped to five in the first three months of 2013 from 26 in the corresponding period of last year, arms recoveries rose from 149 to 167, of which 60 were from Jharkhand alone.

Nationwide police encounters with Naxalites rose to 55 — from 46 last year — till March 31.

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