In the 4 years of Modi government, the war against Naxalism has yielded very sweet fruits for the security forces. According to the official statistics published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, there has been a steady decline in Maoist violence ever since Narendra Modi came to power at the Center. Livemint quoted an unnamed senior Home Ministry official as saying, “If you look at the last four years, we have made significant progress. LWE areas, especially those in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, were neglected before 2014. But we have introduced infrastructure projects that are ushering in development in these areas and have also been sending out troops on area combing operations to destroy Naxal hideouts.”
In April 2018, the security forces conducted one of its most successful operations against the Naxalites. Over 35 terrorists were slaughtered during the operations, it is regarded as one of the most terrible blows the Naxals have suffered in quite a while. Earlier in the month, 44 districts were removed from the list of districts affected by Left-Wing extremism. Recently, Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that Chhattisgarh will also get a specialized unit to combat Maoist insurgency in the state.
In May 2017, Rajnath Singh announced the formulation of a new security operation doctrine against the Naxals, ‘SAMADHAN’. The acronym SAMADHAN stands for Smart leadership, Aggressive strategy, Motivation and training, Actionable intelligence, Dashboard Based KPIs (key performance indicators) and KRAs (key result areas), Harnessing technology, the Action plan for each theatre, and No access to financing. The focus has been on utilizing technology for surveillance and assistance in conducting operations combined with strategic attempts at choking the funding mechanism of Naxalites. In March, the Enforcement Directorate had attached properties worth Rs. 68 lakh of one Maoist leader. More recently, the central government has set up a multidisciplinary committee to choke the funding received my Left-Wing extremists.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said after the announcement of SAMADHAN, “We have to bring aggression in our policy, there should be aggression in our thinking, aggression in our strategy, aggression in the deployment of security forces, aggression in operations, aggression in bringing development, aggression in road construction. We will have to be cautious that extremely defensive deployment may result in the reduction of operational offensive.” One other significant takeaway is the encouragement for the troops to be proactive in eliminating or neutralizing threats rather than reactive.
There has also been a concerted attempt at infrastructure development and increased connectivity in Maoist areas. In May last year, it was reported that the Center had announced that it will spend Rs. 11,000 crores in increasing road connectivity in 44 Maoist affected districts. In November 2017, Indian Railways started operating its first express train service in the Maoist affected region of Dantewada. It is, perhaps, a testament to the success of the Modi government’s policy towards Maoists that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) completed the construction of a bridge in just 30 days in the Maoist-infested Kaneri village of Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district, a feat which could not be achieved for the past 9 years.
The War against Naxalism may well be on its last legs due to the efforts of the current ruling disposition. It was reported in January that Naxal influence had been shrinking to merely 58 districts. Even Narendra Modi’s most vitriolic detractors have to concede, the offensive against Naxals has been one of the crowning jewels of his government’s achievements.