Bullet holes in village walls

India’s Naxalite challenge

Authored by: Ajai Sahni

Handbook of Indian Defence Policy

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138939608
eBook ISBN: 9781315674742
Adobe ISBN: 9781317380092


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Since 1999, the earliest year for which consolidated data is available in the open source, and till 15 November 2014, 12,353 persons have been killed in Left Wing Extremist (LWE, also called Naxalite or Maoist) violence in India. This total includes 7,205 civilians, 2,445 Security Force (SF) personnel and 2,703 Naxalite cadres. Fatalities peaked in 2009 and 2010, at 1,128 and 1,177 killed, respectively, and have recorded a sharp decline since, to 710 in 2011, 488 in 2012 and 497 in 2013. 2014 recorded 326 total fatalities till 15 November (Government of India 2014a). At its worst, the movement afflicted 223 of India’s 640 districts across 20 of the country’s 28 states in 2009 (Government of India 2009), a geographical spread far greater than any preceding insurgent movement in India’s independent history. This territorial extension had, however, diminished substantially by 2013, to comprehend 182 districts in 20 states (Government of India 2014b).

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