The political power grows out of the barrel of the gun, believed India based followers of late Chinese Marxist icon Mao. So much so, that in 2008 the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Maoist insurgency “the single biggest internal security challenge to India.” He would repeat the same warning in the succeeding four years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed all that dramatically, ever since he came to power in 2014. . According to the latest figures, compared to 2008, last year witnessed a 77 per cent dip in cases of Maoist violence and an 85 per cent reduction in casualties. The geographical spread of their areas of influence has also come down from 126 districts to 46.
These figures, provided by the Government in the current session of Parliament, are likely to be dubbed by perennial sceptics as “fake narratives” of the BJP. But these are based on the data provided by state governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana, most of which are not ruled by the BJP.
Development Swallows Maoism
Clearly, the steadfast implementation of the National Policy and Action Plan to address Left-Wing Extremism-2015 (LWE) has resulted in the self-styled Maoists losing steam. In a statement issued under the banner of ‘Track the Truth’, 14 former IPS officers have called the policy launched by Prime Minister Modi a “game-changer”.
The policy envisages a multipronged strategy involving security-related measures, development interventions, and ensuring the rights and entitlements of local communities. On the security front, the Central Government supports the LWE affected state governments by providing Central Armed Police Forces battalions, helicopters, training, funds for the modernisation of state police forces, arms and equipment, sharing of intelligence and construction of fortified police stations.
The Centre also provides funds for capacity building of the LWE-affected states under various schemes, like the SRE Scheme and Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) to fight the menace effectively.
On the development front, the Centre has taken several specific initiatives in LWE affected states. Special thrust has been given to expansion of road network, improving telecommunication connectivity, skill development and financial inclusion. More than 10, 300 km of roads have already been constructed in LWE-hit