A total of 460 Left Wing Extremists, also called Naxals, have been killed by security forces in the country since 2018, an RTI response has revealed. During the same period, 161 security force personnel laid down their lives in the line of duty, the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, stated in the reply.
Noida-based lawyer and RTI activist Ranjan Tomar had sought the data on deaths of security personnel and killing of LWEs from the MHA between 2018 and 2020. The official response, however, had figures updated till November 2020.
In its reply, the division stated that 460 Left Wing Extremists have been killed and 161 security force personnel died in LWE violence from 2018 to November 2020. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in September 2020 said the LWE or Naxal violence had reduced considerably in the country with the menace being prevalent in just 46 districts.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy had said that 90 districts in 11 states in the country were considered left-wing extremism (LWE) affected and covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme of the MHA. In separate information provided by the MHA on September 16, 2020, the ministry had stated that the number of deaths of civilians and security force personnel in LWE-related violence reduced consistently from 1,005 in 2010 to 202 in 2019.
In 2020 (till August 15), deaths further reduced from 137 to 102 in comparison with the corresponding period of 2019, it stated. The combined fatalities of civilians and security force personnel stood at 263 in 2017, 240 in 2017, 202 in 2019 and 102 in 2020 (till August), the ministry had stated.
On its website, the MHA states that between 2004 and 2019, as many as 8,197 people have been killed by the LWE in different parts of India and the majority of the civilians killed are tribals, often branded as 'police informers' before being brutally tortured and killed.