February 13, 2017 2:37:25 am
ALTHOUGH THE government has cited surrenders by Maoist cadres to claim huge successes in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), such areas saw a 21 per cent increase in bomb blast incidents in 2016 as compared to 2015, according to data collated by the National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) of the National Security Guard. Casualties in such incidents went up by almost 60 per cent, the NBDC said in its annual report. In fact, 65 per cent of all IED blast casualties occurred in LWE-affected areas, according to the report. The NBDC said the situation in such areas has remained as bad as ever as far as targeting of security forces and civilians through IED blasts are concerned.
“The higher fatalities ratio in the LWE states indicate that the Maoists are lethal, resolute, aggressive and well-adapted to the jungle terrain. The high rate of casualties have been caused by explosion of high-intensity IEDs,” the NBDC said in its report on IED incidents across the country. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has repeatedly said that Maoist violence in the country is under control and diminished to a great extent. “The situation of Naxal violence is under control. We have been successful in controlling the problem and will continue with that. The situation today is the best in the past 15-16 years,” Singh had said last year.
As reported by The Indian Express on December 27, 2016, the government claimed that 2016 saw an almost three-fold increase in Maoist surrenders over the previous year. According to figures available till December 15, 2016, 1,420 Maoists surrendered last year as compared to 570 in 2015. According to the NBDC report, in Chhattisgarh particularly, IED incidents increased by 50 per cent and Andhra Pradesh, which had been free of Maoists for the past few years, saw a five-fold increase over 2015. Odisha witnessed an almost 100 per cent jump in IED incidents — from 15 blasts in 2015 to 29 blasts in 2016.
Only Jharkhand and Bihar witnessed a decrease in IED incidents. Jharkhand witnessed nine IED explosions in 2016 as compared to 15 in 2015. In Bihar, it was 10 against 12 in 2015. Sources in the CRPF, the largest force involved in anti-Maoist operations, said IEDs continue to be the most potent weapon used by the rebels against security forces. Although there are well-laid out SOPs on how to comb Maoist-hit areas, every year security forces suffer setbacks in the jungles of Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Flagging the problem, the NBDC report said, “Identifying and blocking the source of supply of explosives to the Maoists, combined with more search operations can considerably reduce the IED blast incidents in the LWE areas.” In the Northeast, there was a sharp dip in IED incidents and casualties in 2016. From 72 incidents in 2015, Northeast states witnessed 59 IED blasts in 2016. Casualties saw a drop of 73 per cent. Manipur continues to be the most volatile with 40 IED blasts followed by Assam, which witnessed 11 IED blasts in 2016.
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