21 July 2017

News Report: Maoist Rebels on the Run in India Over the Last Three Years

India has recorded a 22 percent decline in violence in Maoist insurgency-affected states since the Narendra Modi government came to power. Experts said the government has adopted a carrot and stick approach which is yielding results but challenges remain in wiping out leftist insurgents.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's Deputy Home Minister Hansraj Ahir informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the left wing extremism-affected areas have seen a reduction in incidents of violence.

Between July 2014 and June 2017, the number of incidents of violence committed by Maoists, or Naxals in local parlance, have come down from 3,999 to 3,109, registering a 22.5 percent decline compare to the preceding three years.

Experts said the Modi government and its predecessor governments have adopted a dual approach towards the problem.

"Security approach alone cannot eliminate the menace as the root cause of the Naxal problem lies in extreme poverty in many of the tribal-dominated areas. The governance deficit, notably lack of basic amenities and infrastructure, gave ammunition to the Naxal propaganda and filled in huge sense of alienation among them. Now, the government too has realized this and many state governments like in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra have really given impetus to development, road infrastructure, mobile towers etc. Situation on the governance front now is looking promising and well-coordinated security operations to remove Naxal leadership is giving results," Pravas Kumar Mishra, Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, and former Additional Director General, Border Security Force and an expert on left-wing extremism, told Sputnik.

That said, however, the situation may go out of control if the governments both at the Centre and states, fail to capitalize on recent successes.

"While last year's demonetization gave a body blow to Naxal funding and network, they are regrouping and setting up new channels of funds generation. Their nexus with and extortion of local contractors is reviving and also drug trade and poppy cultivation. Security forces need to be equipped with superior surveillance technology to monitor even the remotest parts," Mishra added.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.