Maoists Had a Deadly Run in 2016 in Red Corridor: Terror Report

GTI report claims Maoists were responsible for more than half the killings in the Red Corridor in 2016.

3 min read
As many as 10 Maoists surrendered before the police in Lohardaga, Jharkhand, in April 2017. 

Maoist extremists have had a deadly run in 2016 with their involvement in half the killings in the Red Corridor, a report by a Sydney-based think tank on global terror has said.

More than half of the 340 deaths in 929 terror attacks in 2016 were committed by Maoists operating in the eastern, central, and the southern areas of India,  known as the Red Corridor.

The fifth edition of the Global Terror Index (GTI) report released on Wednesday, 15 November, stated that Maoists predominately targeted the police and private citizens.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, founded by Hafiz Saeed, was responsible for 30 deaths arising from 20 attacks in the country, while Hizbul Mujahideen, headed by Syed Salahuddin, claimed five lives despite international sanctions against the terror groups, said the report.

"The two deadliest Islamist terrorist groups in 2015 in India were LeT and Hizbul, both of which are also operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh," the report stated.

Released annually by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, the GTI report stated that the dispute with Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir remains the main source of "Islamist terrorism.”

India has witnessed 18 percent increase in deaths resulting from terrorism in 2016 and has been ranked eighth in the list. Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia are ranked one to seven in the 2017 report.

From 2002 to 2015, India has been ranked between second and sixth, but in the last two years, its ranking improved to eight.

Although 340 deaths from terrorism were recorded in 2016 alone, the figures were still the third-lowest since 2000.

Maoist rebels on a hill in Nepal
Maoist rebels on a hill in Nepal
(Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
The report said that though there has been a palpable dip in terror-related deaths in the last couple of years, the number of terror attacks have actually increased 16 percent over the last year. A total of 929 terror-related incidents were reported in the country as compared to 800 in 2015.

However, India still has the lowest rate of deaths per attack among the top 10 countries that are most impacted by terror-related violence. India had an average of 0.4 deaths per attack compared to 2.7 deaths for the rest of the countries in top 10.

The report elaborated that most of the non-lethal explosions were designed to attract people and the government’s attention, and aimed at evoking a shock-and-awe effect. In fact, such blasts were intentionally carried out some distance away from crowded places to lessen the impact.

It said that these bombings were largely by Maoist groups.

"This discrepancy between the number of attacks and deaths reflects how the nature of terrorism in India differs when compared to other countries. There are a large number of terrorist groups, but many are seeking political recognition and so their attacks are not aimed at killing people."

The report said that most terrorist attacks in India have low casualties.

Over three-quarters of the attacks in 2016 were non-lethal, with only 2 percent of attacks resulting in more than two deaths, it said, adding that in reflecting this, there were many groups which committed terrorist acts that did not kill a single person with only 20 of India's 56 terrorist groups responsible for fatalities.

India’s northeast region has continued to see ethno-political unrest from various ethnic secessionist movements. The deadliest of these groups in 2016 were the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) which killed 15, and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) which killed seven. The ULFA claimed responsibility for five deaths in 2015.

(Published in an arrangement with IANS)

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