SS Negi/Asian Age
The heavy civilian toll in Friday’s train derailment believed to have been targeted by Maoists and blowing up a bus mainly carrying common citizens in Dantewada a week earlier are being cited as indicators of a new trend in their strategy not to spare even the common man. However, the data submitted to the Supreme Court by the
Chhattisgarh government belied this perception as it revealed that the civilian toll in Naxal attacks has been almost on par with that of security forces personnel.
As per the data provided by Chhattisgarh home secretary A.N. Upadhyay in his sworn affidavit, Maoists have killed 406 civilians, including 15 government servants. since 2007 in the state. The data also reflected that during the same period the Maoists had killed 356 police and paramilitary personnel and 118 special police officers (SPOs), including Home Guards.
The data does not include the killing of 76 CRPF personnel and 18 SPOs in the last two months as the home department of Chhattisgarh had compiled it prior to these attacks.
Mr Upadhyay submitted the affidavit in response to a PIL pending since 2007, filed by academician Nandini Sundar and some human right activists questioning the concept of salva judum evolved in Chhattisgarh to counter Maoists by involving the civilian population.
Ms Sundar and her associates had attacked the Chhattisgarh government for supporting salva judum levelling various allegations against its activists and the top court had ordered an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission, which found that many of the incidents alleged by the petitioners were not correct.
According to the Chhattisgarh government, 166 civilians were killed by Maoists in the state in 2007, 143 in 2008, 58 in 2009 and 24 up to March in 2010. They had killed 124 security forces personnel in 2007, 68 in 2008, 89 in 2009 and 79 in 2010. The toll of the SPOs during the four years was 75, 17, 18 and 5, respectively.
Besides, Naxals had attacked 17 industries, 34 railway installations, 29 telephone exchanges and other networks, 119 school buildings, 294 forest buildings and public works department installations, 43 power transmission towers since 2007 in the state to disrupt the public services.
“The state machinery is the only body which is aware of the ground realities of the area and no outside agency or individual can understand the intricacies of the problem,” the state home secretary has said, alleging that the human rights activists “are eulogising Maoist activity”.