The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit extended to reflect further developments.
Another ghastly Naxal attack on our security forces has left 26 Central Reserve Police Force personnel (CRPF) killed. This is a developing news story and the toll may go up as 11 soldiers are critically ill and seven are missing. Details about the group of Naxals that killed are still sketchy. It is the worst Naxal attack on the CRPF since June 29, 2010, when a Maoist ambush had killed 26 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district.
According to the eyewitness accounts of the injured soldiers, a group of around 300 Naxals, organized in different teams, ambushed a road opening party of the CRPF in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, that comes in the South Bastar region, among the worst Naxal affected areas. According to the injured soldiers, the group of 90 CRPF soldiers did respond to the indiscriminate firing by the terrorists, claiming to kill many of them but details are yet to come.
Left-wing extremism (LWE) or Maoist terrorism or Naxal violence, in fact, has been the biggest killer of our security forces if we go by the data of the past decade.
According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), a data driven website on terrorism in South Asia, since 2004, 3912 security forces personnel have martyred in India in different theatres of conflict, in Jammu & Kashmir, in our North-Eastern part of the country and in the Naxal corridors of India.
The portal has maintained records of the Naxal violence since 2005 and according to the data available here, 1885 security forces personnel have lost their lives in Naxal attacks. The data on the site is updated till April 16 this year. So, today’s death toll makes it 1911 lives lost in the Left-wing extremism in India.
That casualty count is much higher than even the most debated theatre of conflict in India – Jammu & Kashmir. In the same period, since 2004, according to the SATP, 1369 security forces personnel lost their lives in Jammu & Kashmir, a significantly higher numbers, but much lower when we see it in comparison with the 1911 lives lost in the Maoist violence in the same period.
The North-East of India comprising seven sister states, i.e., Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura and Sikkim, is the third major theatre of conflict where the fatality rate of our forces is quite high. The SATP data since 2004 shows that till now, 609 soldiers have lost their lives in the North-East terrorist violence.
MAOISTS DEADLIEST IN INDIA
A 2016 report by the US Department of State found the outlawed CPI(Maoist) the deadliest terror outfit of India, joining the deadliest terror outfits of the world in terms of violence they perpetrate. Its violence was ranked fourth after the Taliban, the Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. According to the report, the Maoist violence had killed 176 people in 2015 in 343 terror incidents.