New Delhi: As the security establishment grapples with unbridled Naxalite violence in over a dozen states, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have earned the dubious distinction of accounting for 68.16 % of the total incidents and 76.42% of the total casualties last year.
Latest official figures compiled till the end of November last reveal that security forces suffered heavy casualties in the fight against the Maoists as 214 personnel were killed compared to 133 during the same period in 2006.
Though the number of incidents of Naxal violence was 1,385 -- almost the same as 1,398 in 2006 -- the causalities suffered by civilians was less. While 418 civilians were killed till November 2007, the toll was 501 during the corresponding period the year before, reflecting a shift in the Maoists’ strategy, Home Ministry sources said.
Rather than targeting the people, the Naxalites have set their eyes on economic installations, with the Railways bearing the worst brunt in the badly affected states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh, making senior officials in the security establishment sit up.
Realizing that the menace, described by Manmohan Singh, prime minister at regular internal security meetings as the “single biggest security challenge” to the country, cannot be dealt with the gun alone, the Centre is concentrating on evolving a holistic plan with focus on all-round development to wean away misguided youth.