In the last four years, Naxal violence has cost more civilian lives than the conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states, a report released by the Asian Centre for Human Rights has said.
The number of civilians killed between 2005 and 2008 in Naxal conflicts is 1,965.
In comparison, the number of civilians killed in the strife-torn northeast is 1,666 and in Jammu and Kashmir is 1,195.
Similarly, the number of security personnel killed in Jammu and Kashmir or North East decreased by more than half between 2005 and 2008. The number of security forces killed in the Naxal conflict doubled during the same period.
The number of security forces killed decreased from 189 in 2005 to 75 in 2008 in Jammu and Kashmir and from 71 in 2005 to 46 in 2008 in the North East while the number of security forces killed in the Naxal conflict increased from 153 in 2005 to 231 in 2008.
"It is not only because the Naxals were responsible for the maximum number of killings of innocent civilians during the latest parliamentary elections, but also because of the consistent rise in the loss of lives in the Naxal conflicts in comparison to the North East or Jammu and Kashmir in the last four years," ACHR director Suhas Chakma said.
Among the armed opposition groups, the Naxals were responsible for the gross violations of international humanitarian law, the report said.
"The methods of the Naxals include violence of extraordinary brutality, including the gouging out of eyes, bludgeoning to death and slitting of throats of those suspected of colluding with the State," the report said.
Calling for a parliamentary debate on security responses to the Naxal crisis, the ACHR concluded that the current security-driven responses are not working; indeed they are counter-productive. "India requires an answer to the increased violations both by the security forces and the Naxalites," it said.
In contrast, Home Minister P Chidambaram has of late been mentioning that the root cause approach will not work. He has said that the idea of police action and development work happening side by side is not feasible. Only after the security forces have cleared an area can development work happen there, believes the home minister.
"Violations of the rights of the people either by the state or Naxalites is unacceptable. The home minister perhaps might have said what he has said in the backdrop of large scale violence by the Naxalites and their spectacular actions like holding up of a train for over five hours, the NALCO attack and the slaying of police personnel in Maharashtra twice this year," P Ramana, of the Institute for Defence & Strategic Analysis, said.