Sukma: A view of the 212 CRPF Battalion anti-landmine vehicle that was blown up by Maoists in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on March 13, 2018.
Nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers were killed in a Maoist bombing in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on March 13, 2018, adding to a death toll of more than 1,200 security personnel over nine years to 2017, or twice as much as Jammu and Kashmir over the same period, according to ministry of home affairs data.
“Incidents”--as violent encounters with Maoists are officially described--attributed to left-wing extremists have declined 60% over the last nine years, from 2,258 in 2009 to 908 in 2017.
Aside from the nine soldiers who died in the latest attack, six were injured, four of whom are reported to be critical.
Deaths of security forces in naxal-affected areas increased 27% over two years, from 59 in 2015 to 75 in 2017.
On February 18, 2018, two security force personnel were killed and six injured in a gun battle with Maoists in Sukma district, the Indian Express reported on February 18, 2018.
There were reactions on social media condemning the attack:
The Maoist attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh in which 9 CRPF jawans lost their lives is tragic. It reflects a deteriorating internal security situation due to flawed policies.— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) March 13, 2018
My condolences to the families of those killed. To those who have been injured, I wish a speedy recovery.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans. I spoke to DG @crpfindia regarding the Sukma incident and asked him to leave for Chhattisgarh.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 13, 2018
#CRPF has been repeatedly suffering big losses in this area, this means the CRPF authority is not taking remedial action, we should learn from mistakes:SK Sood,Former DG,BSF on Sukma attack pic.twitter.com/yO095OenQA— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2018
For the first time in a decade, 2017 reported less than 1,000 Maoist incidents, the Hindu reported on December 31, 2017. The decline in these incidents is because of “attrition of various level cadres of Maoists and the other to the possibility of Maoists deliberately lying low”, according to a senior official of the union home ministry.
More than 120 incidents were reported this year up to February 15, 2018, in which nine security force personnel and 10 civilians were killed, according to government data.
As many as 2,270 encounters with police and 1,356 attacks on police, including with landmines, were reported over the last nine years.
About 300 naxals were killed by security forces in Chhattisgarh over the last two years since 2016, the state’s home minister, Ramsewak Paikra told the legislative assembly, The Times of India reported on February 21, 2018.
Chhattisgarh reported more incidents (41%) and deaths (49%) than any other state (41%) in 2017, according to official data.
Over nine years to 2017, 2,811 terrorist incidents were reported in Jammu and Kashmir; 497 security forces have been killed, according to home ministry data.
The number of security forces killed in Jammu and Kashmir have also doubled over the last two years to 2017.
The year 2017 was the worst year for terror-related civilian deaths in Jammu and Kashmir in five years, IndiaSpend reported on February 14, 2018.
(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)
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