Mamata Banerjee the best Maoist fighter

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has proved to be a better administrator in containing Maoism than the chief ministers of the nine Maoist-affected areas, according to data compiled by the home ministry. In contrast, Maharashtra’s Prithviraj Chavan has emerged as one among the worst.

The latest compilation of data shows that Maoist-related killings have come to zero in all the three Moist-affected districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. Not a single death was reported in all the three districts this year till August 15. These districts, especially Midnapore, which accounted for 453 killings and 636 incidents, had emerged among the worst Maoist-affected districts during 2009-11.

As far as the incidents this year are concerned, West Midnapore has reported only 5 and the other two districts have not reported any incidents. In comparison, the two Maoist-affected districts of Maharashtra - Gadchiroli and Gondia - have seen an increase in both Maoist-related incidents and killings. In the back and beyond of Vidarbha, the Gadchiroli district has emerged as a new flash point with 35 killings and 74 incidents reported till August 15.

Though last year 103 incidents and 53 killings were reported from Gadchiroli, given the trend, the figures are expected to either increase this year or remain the same.

Incidentally, all other Maoist hotspots, including Dantewada, Bastar, Sukma and Bijapur in Chhattisgarh, have reported lesser killings and incidents than Gadchiroli. In Gondia, the Maoist violence-related incidents this year have already risen to 14, compared to only 6 incidents last year. Though the district has reported 2 killings so far this year compared to just 1 last year, the figure can change, warn officials.

“The reason lies in how strongly the state administration feels about the Maoist issue and reacts to it. While most states have responded at different scale to tackle the issue, West Bengal has been the best because of the CM’s steadfastness. However, response from Maharashtra has been almost zero. We feel that the state has not even acknowledged that Maoism is a threat,” a senior official said.

They officials rue the lack of political will and interest in Maharashtra for doing simple things like filling up police vacancies, building basic public infrastructure and reaching out to people through developmental schemes.

“If the Maharashtra government does not react even now, Gadchiroli can become worse than Dantewada as it sits on the trijunction of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra with vast swathes of dense forests around,” warned the official.


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