From Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 19: His "soft stand" towards Naxalites notwithstanding, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy actually hit hard at the extremists during the past 10 months, if official figures are any indication.
An analysis of statistics available with the State Home department reveals that the Rajasekhar Reddy government cracked the whip on Naxals with almost twice the force applied by the previous Telugu Desam regime. The Naxals, on their part too, hit harder after the change of guard in the State despite the new Congress government extending an olive branch.
During the past one year, 12 Naxalites are arrested every day in the State on an average. This is in contrast to eight arrests per day in 2003. While the Chandrababu Naidu regime arrested 2874 extremists including 2354 Peoples' War Naxals (now Maoists) during 2003, as many as 4110 Naxals including 3775 Maoists were put behind the bars last year.
And since January this year police arrested nearly 250 Naxalites, besides killing more than 20 Maoists in "encounters". In all about 100 people including 15 politicians died in Naxal violence and encounters so far this year.
There were 1035 surrenders, 175 Naxal deaths, 173 exchanges of fire, seizure of 287 weapons in 2003. However, the number of surrenders came down to 351 and deaths to 52 in 2004. There were only 71 exchanges of fire and seizure of 103 weapons. The Congress government went slow on "encounter deaths" during the initial days of peace talks.
Neither the police nor the Naxals kept quiet even during the "ceasefire" period. Between May 14 and November 18 (peace period), the Maoists indulged in 255 violent incidents including four murders and 1007 unlawful activities like wrongful confinement, intimidation and holding of praja courts.
Since the process of "peace talks", Naxalites committed 1762 violent and unlawful activities including about 50 murders, 18 attempts to murder, 107 assaults, 15 arsons and 24 blasts.
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