In the first six months of this year, Naxalites have gunned down as many as 82 security personnel, while losing only 48 of their cadres in the bloody battle between Maoist groups and security forces that continues unabated in the central and eastern parts of India.
Naxal violence has claimed 244 lives in the first six months, including those of civilians who get dubbed as police informers. The figure includes the recent deaths in the encounters that happened in Bijapur. The total number of deaths are only slightly better than in the same period last year when 301 people had lost their lives, according to the latest official data.
And while Chhattisgarh remains the main battlefield, Naxal groups are enhancing their presence and influence in Orissa and Jharkhand, an official assessment says. The total number of casualties in Chhattisgarh, 211 in the first six months, has actually declined as compared to the same period last year, when it was 243, but both Jharkhand and Orissa saw more deaths.
The assessment says that CPI(Maoist) — the main Naxalite group that is banned by the government — has retained its core battle capabilities and its large armed contingents are able to move freely across the different zones of their influence. It acknowledges that the attacks on the security forces have continued while the casualties inflicted on the Maoists by the police have declined sharply. The bright spot during this period has been the neutralisation of Technical Research and Arms Manufacturing nodes of the CPI(Maoist) in Kolkata and Mumbai.
It says that while the security forces had been able to make major inroads into a number of previously Naxal-dominated areas, the overall result in neutralising the cadres has been less than satisfactory.