Govt may consider Army deployment to crush Naxals

Cuttack: Union minister Nityanand Rai on Sunday urged Naxals to shun violence and lead a peaceful and dignified life but made it clear that if they don’t do so, the Centre will exercise all options, including deployment of Army, to free areas held by left-wing extremists.

The Union minister of state for home affairs said Naxals should return to the mainstream by accepting the flexible rehabilitation scheme offered by the government.

If they don’t, Rai warned, the Centre will be forced to weigh the option of using the Army to crush Naxals.

“Naxal-prone areas in the country are shrinking everyday and there has been a drastic reduction in the cadres of left-wing extremism,” he told reporters here.

Para-military forces are deployed in sufficient numbers in the last Naxal-hit pockets, he said.

Rai said many rebels have given the path of violence and returned to the mainstream because of the anti-Naxal operations by security forces and the rehabilitation scheme.

Over the last five years, security forces have minimised Naxal threats in the country, he said, adding that the Central government has been giving due importance to external and internal security matters.

The government said in an RTI response in February this year that security forces have killed as many as 1,190 left-wing extremists in the country since 2010.

The data had also showed a decline in the number of LWE incidents since 2010, when 2,213 incidents were reported, until 2018, which witnessed 833 incidents.

Ninety districts in 11 states are considered LWE-affected, then MoS in Home Ministry Hansraj Ahir said in February this year Parliament in response to a question.

The LWE-affected areas are in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.