Maoists suffer less casualty in war against security forces

Maoists suffer less casualty in war against security forces

The Union government holds the Maoist menace as the “biggest threat to internal security” but when it comes to neutralising the ultras, it appears that the latter have an edge over security forces.

This year’s figures show that more security personnel fell to the bullets of Maoists than vice versa. As many as 71 security personnel, excluding Monday's casualties, were killed in Maoist attacks this year till November 15 while the forces could neutralise only 58.

However, the civilian casualty is much more and counted at 197 this year. According to Union Home Ministry, the highest number of security personnel were killed in Chhattisgarh this year where 44 uniformed men lost lives followed by 12 in Maharashtra and eight in Jharkhand. Chhattisgarh also has the highest Maoist casualty at 30 followed by Maharashtra (10) and Jharkhand (8).

The highest civilian killings is in Jharkhand where 77 people were killed in Maoist ambushes followed by Chhattisgarh (48) and Odisha (25).

For the security establishment, the matter to cheer is about the rise in numbers of surrenders.

This year, till October-end, 472 Maoists have surrendered with 247 alone from Chhattisgarh. Last year, the numbers were 283 and in 2012 it was 445.

“If you see the Maoist killings, yes, the numbers are not on our side. But one has to take things in perspective. The surrenders have increased in a huge way,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

He pointed out that in Chhattisgarh, the surrenders were 28 last year and 26 in 2012 but this year, it has “dramatically gone up because of the effective steps taken by the establishment”.

The word of caution had come from Home Minister Rajnath Singh two weeks ago when he warned against lowering the guard in tackling Maoists though the insurgency is on the wane.

“The security establishment is encouraged since the LWE insurgency is on the decline. However, this (decline) should not lull us into a sense of complacency,” Singh said in mid-November.

Minister of State Kiren Rijiju has said the Centre believes that a combination of “calibrated police action, focused development efforts and improvement in governance” are the effective instruments to combat the Maoists in the long term.

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