Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NAXALISM aka MAOISTS : A bigger menace than ultras in Kashmir & NE

Gyan Varma / DNATuesday, June 23, 2009 2:30 IST Email

New Delhi: In terms of reach and violence, the Maoists are a bigger security threat to India than Islamic terrorists or insurgents from the north-east. The rebels are estimated to have 22,000 fighters and have rapidly expanded their insurgency to 186 districts from 51 in 2001.

In the past five years, 4,405 persons, including civilians, security men and naxals died in Maoist violence. Over the same period, 4,324 and 4,136 people died due to terror attacks in the north-east and Jammu and Kashmir. Security experts say that Maoists are present in 186 districts of 22 states. In 75 districts, they are a force to reckon with and have inflicted the most serious damage on security men.

After orchestrating more than 900 incidents of violence in the past six months, the Maoists have made their presence felt in nearly 30 percent of the country. A total of 180 security personnel and 41 paramilitary personnel died fighting the guerrillas in the past six months. The men in uniform have managed to gun down 262 rebels.

Though the government acknowledges the presence of Maoists in 165 districts of 14 states, an internal assessment by central reserve police force (CRPF) says the red brigade is present in 186 districts of 22 states.

"An internal study tells us that Maoists are present in 22 states, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab, which are the new entrants in the list of states that have been infiltrated by Maoists," said a senior home ministry official. He added that arrests made by the local police along with paramilitary forces confirms the presence of naxals in these states.

The fresh wave of attacks by Maoists across India has forced a change of strategy by security men to avoid being ambushed by the red brigade. Taking note of the increasing number of landmine attacks by the Maoists in affected states, senior officials informed that they have now asked their men to "walk the distance rather than use trucks and other vehicles to commute."

Men in khaki have also been cautioned against talking to the local population, particularly women, since they could be working for the Maoists. "We have issued guidelines to our men who are combating the Maoists. Our men have been asked not to interact with people of the area, particularly women, because women are being used to gather information by Maoists," added the officer.

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