The Indian districts infested by the threat of Maoists have now shrunk down to 58, if reports are to be believed. This incremental drop comes over a two year period, with 67 districts reporting violent attacks in 2016 to 58 districts reporting it in 2017. In 2015, about 75 districts had reported such attacks.
The Maoist sphere of influence currently seems to be restricted to the four states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, from where 90% of the Maoist attacks have been reported.
This reduction in Maoist influence is being credited to a redrawn counter-insurgency plan which is backed by real time intelligence via the use of modern tech like drones. It also involves coordinated day and night operations by security personnel, which allows Maoists to be targeted deep in the jungle.
As per officials, senior Maoist leaders and informers are targeted via precise intelligence and recent times have also seen more coordinated operations between the CRPF, IAF, BSF, ITBP and state police.
Besides this, what has also helped is the renewed focus on development of the Maoist infested regions. This includes setting up of mobile towers and construction of roads. The construction of roads come in the backdrop of the Centre deciding to spend a whopping Rs 11,000 crore for providing road connectivity to 44 Maoist-affected districts, including Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, where 25 CRPF personnel were killed in a deadly Maoist ambush in April.
To list out a few other development works, we had reported how the Indian Railway had successfully started the first Express train in the Maoist bastion of Dantewada.
The ITBP jawans had given another jolt to Maoist aspirations by building a bridge over Tatoda river in the Maoist-infested Kaneri village of Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district, in just 30 days. This bridge before its completion was pending for about 9 years due to the Maoist threat and its construction would help around 10,000 villagers of 60 villages.
As per CRPF’s Director General Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, the Naxal influence is now restricted to mere three pockets which are, Bastar-Sukma which have an area of about 1200 sq km, Andhra-Odisha Border a 2,000 sq km region and the 4.500 sq km Abujmaad forest area.
2017 also saw more 150 Maoist cadres getting killed, which made it one of the most successful year for the security forces.
This success against the Maoists has carry-forwarded to 2018, with the police arresting four Maoist couriers on Tuesday while they were on route to deliver a shipment of medicines for their counterparts holed up in Bastar.