The recurring Maoist attacks are shocking, but there could be more, feels the country’s security establishment. The government fears Maoist violence could peak to 1971 levels — the year that saw nearly 3,600 instances of red terror — before the Naxals could be reined in.
Home Secretary G.K. Pillai recently admitted as much to Parliament’s standing committee on the home ministry.
Pillai explained as government agencies enter new territories where the Maoists had remained unchallenged until now, there were likely to be more attacks and counter-attacks, a member of the parliamentary panel said.
Pillai also spoke about increased attempts by the Maoists to mobilise armed cadre outside the 11 states where their influence is concentrated.
“Mobilisation is being done in eight other states which could translate into violence in due course,” he told the panel. On Monday as reports of fresh killings came in, Pillai slammed the Maoists: “This pattern of killing unarmed civilians has been the hallmark of Maoists violence over the years”.
Killings by Maoists have already surpassed 1971 levels. In 2009, 908 people were killed as compared to the 865 lives lost in 1971.
But there are fewer incidents.
But there is a big difference between the Naxal situation of 1971 and 2010; the spatial spread of the violence profile. A security official said unlike 1971 when incidents of naxal violence were largely confined to West Bengal, the situation was a lot more dispersed in 2010.
“This would make any attempt to counter naxalism bloodier,” he said.