November 26, 2009

Maoist-related fatalities in 2008: Orissa ranks

Deba Prasad Dash

First Published : 26 Nov 2009 03:51:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Nov 2009 09:17:17 AM IST

MALKANGIRI: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Task Force’s recent report on national security and terrorism has painted a grim picture for Orissa. With 100 fatalities in Maoist violence, Orissa ranks third in 2008, the report reveals. With 113 fatalities, neighbouring Jharkhand stands first followed by Chhattisgarh with 102 fatalities.

Out of 100 fatalities in Orissa, 76 are security personnel and 24 are civilians. While Naxals have lost 32 of their cadres during the period in Orissa, in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand the number of Naxals killed stands at 66 and 40 respectively.

The report said CPI(Maoist) has consolidated its position in several parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Orissa which offer almost a contiguous territory to the armed cadres.

It said the armed guerrillas are spreading their tentacles across the states holding sway over many parts of country. It is a far more complex insurgency. Maoism is deeply entrenched in the socio-economic realities of the poor and the Maoists enjoy wide support among the locals and are drawing strength from the inefficient government structures present in their area of influence, the report pointed out. In 2003, 55 districts spread over nine states were Maoist affected, but by the end of 2005, the number of Maoist-infested districts jumped to 160 spread over 13 states.

The Maoist rebels are drawing strength from the deprived and the alienated section of the people and trying to establish liberated zones to dispense with basic state functions. Citing various reasons which contribute to growth of Naxal movement, the report said various government-sponsored employment schemes are dogged by corruption. The report quoting an audit report on NREGS in Orissa in 2007 said out of Rs 700 crore development funds, Rs 500 crore did not reach the beneficiaries. Meanwhile, intelligentsia and police officials in southern Orissa said decade-long neglect of tribal areas has led to alienation of people. The government should not adopt the same strategy to deal with Maoist activities as it is doing for jehadi terrorists. There must be an end to the battle between the Maoists and cops to restore peace in the area, a top police officer said. Socio-economic development coupled with a sincere dialogue with Maoist rebels will help restore peace in the region, he said.

No comments: