At least 160 left-wing extremists died due to causes such as police encounters, diseases and accidents over the past year in eight Naxal-affected states of India, a letter issued this month by the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) revealed. The central committee of the CPI (Maoist) released the 16-page press note and announced that a Martyr Week would be observed from July 28 to August 3. Giving details of the death toll, the letter said that apart from 101 casualties in Chhattisgarh’s Dandakaranya, 11 were in Bihar-Jharkhand, 14 in Odisha, eight in Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (MMC), 11 at the Odisha-Andhra border, 14 in Telangana and one in the Western Ghats.
The Maoists or Naxals, who claim to be fighting for the rights of rural people and the poor, have battled government forces across large swathes of India since the 1960s.
The central committee says that 95 Naxals were killed in encounters with the police. A total of 13 Maoists, including Haribhushan who carried a bounty of Rs 40 lakh, died of diseases. The note mentions that five extremists died in accidents. 42 were killed in staged encounters, the document alleges. The details of how the other five Naxals died were not with the central committee.
Bastar’s inspector general of police Sundarraj Pattilingam confirmed to News18 that the letter issued by the CPI (Maoist) reveals that in the past 12 months a total of 107 guerrillas died in various encounters and diseases, etc, of which 101 were from the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the extremists in Bastar.
“Over the past few years, the strength of CPI (Maoist) has weakened to a great extent…their hold is becoming weak to a great extent and certainly very soon we will be in a position to curb the movement of CPI (Maoist) by taking effective action," he said. “And in this direction, the government’s vishwas (trust) and vikas (development) driven action plan is also showing positive results. Seeing all this, we have full hope of establishing peace and order in Bastar region very soon. We also appeal to the Maoist organisation to renounce violence and join the mainstream of society and take advantage of the schemes of the government, and with the effect of this appeal, many Maoist cadres have also surrendered themselves."
The IGP said that particularly in Dantewada district, a Lone Varatu (come back home) campaign is being conducted. “Under this, hundreds of local Maoists have surrendered and are leading a normal life. Whatever necessary action should be taken for their rehabilitation, is also being done. It is expected that the outside leadership of CPI (Maoist) like in Telugu and other provinces tried to mislead the local people towards a violent movement," he said. “Its attractiveness is gradually decreasing now. The real face of the Naxalites, the anti-development face, has been recognised by the local people. And so now, the local cadres of Bastar will very soon leave the Maoist organisation and surrender themselves, and very soon success will be achieved in establishing peace and order in this area."
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