President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said the areas where naxals operate and perpetrate violence have come down significantly over the years and now 70 districts in the country are affected by the menace, from an earlier 126 districts.
Addressing the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament at the beginning of the Budget Session, Kovind also said that a peace accord has been signed with insurgent groups in Assam's Karbi Anglong district to end decades long conflict, and a new chapter of peace and prosperity has been ushered.
"Due to concerted efforts of my government, the number of naxal-affected districts in the country has also come down from 126 to 70 today," he said.
On September 21, 2020, the then Union minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy had informed Rajya Sabha that a total of 90 districts in 11 states in the country are considered naxal or left-wing extremism (LWE) affected, and are covered under the Security Related Expenditure scheme of the home ministry.
Reddy had also said that LWE-related violent incidents were reported in 61 districts in 2019 and in only 46 districts in the first half of 2020.
According to home ministry data, between 2004-2020, 8,380 people were killed by the Maoists in different parts of India.
The majority of civilians killed were tribals. They were often branded as 'police informers' before being brutally tortured and killed.
The tribal and the economically underprivileged sections, whose cause the Maoists claim to espouse, have been the biggest victims of the so-called 'protracted peoples war' of the naxals, the home ministry has said.
Referring to the insurgency in the Northeast, the president said the efforts of the Modi government to establish peace in the region have attained "historic success".
"Just a few months ago, a settlement was reached between the central government, the state of Assam and the Karbi groups to end the decades-old conflict in Karbi Anglong. This has ushered in a new chapter of peace and prosperity in the region," he said.