On October 3, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Adesh Chauhan claimed that incidents related to left-wing extremism reduced by 70% in India under the Narendra Modi-led central government.

“Incidents of left-wing extremism down by 70% under Sri Narendra Modi Ji govt. The Modi Govt is changing the face of the Maoist-hit areas with a wave of development!” tweeted the MLA from Uttarakhand.

The archived version of this tweet is here.

A similar claim was made by BJP on September 28. While Chauhan compared left-wing extremism cases in 2020 with that in 2010, the BJP’s Twitter post made the comparison between 2020 and 2009. The graphic in BJP’s tweet read, “India gets safer under Modi government.”

What data shows

However, this claim is misleading. The first error in Chauhan’s tweet is showing the number of left-wing extremism incidents in 2009 as 2010, which is represented correctly in the BJP’s tweet. For further analysis, FactChecker looked at annual reports of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs dating back to 2001 and referred to responses given in the Lok Sabha.

This showed that left-wing extremism cases saw a sudden rise in 2009 – 2,258 from 1,591 in 2008. And since then, it has been steadily decreasing. This means that although left-wing extremism incidents have reduced by 70% from 2,258 in 2009 to 665 in 2020, the United Progressive Alliance regime saw a majority of this decline.

Between 2009 and 2014, the number of left-wing extremism cases came down by 51.6%, showed the 2019-’20 Annual Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs. After BJP came to power in 2014, the number of left-wing extremism incidents contracted by 39.04% till 2020, shows a response given by Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai in the Lok Sabha on July 27.

In fact, during the UPA regime, left-wing extremism incidents in West Bengal saw a major decline – from 350 incidents and 258 deaths in 2010 to one incident and no death in 2013. Since then, no incident or death had been reported in the state till last year.

When FactChecker contacted Chauhan, he said he did not remember making such a claim and that he would recheck and respond. However, he stopped answering calls after that and we had not received a response from him by the time of publishing this article. We shall update the story as and when we do.

The 10 states listed by the Ministry of Home Affairs where left-wing extremism violence is registered are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Between 2009 and 2020, 15,086 left-wing extremism incidents have been reported and more than 5,000 people have been killed in them across the country. Of these, Chhattisgarh with 4,876 incidents and 1,848 deaths accounts has seen the most left-wing extremism incidents in the 11 years.

Multi-pronged approach

In 2020, Chhattisgarh with 315 incidents and 111 deaths was the worst affected state, followed by Jharkhand (199 incidents and 39 deaths), Odisha (50 incidents and nine deaths), Maharashtra (30 incidents and eight deaths) and Bihar (26 incidents and eight deaths).

These incidents increased by around 87% between 2001 and 2009, after which the number has been steadily decreasing. The year 2009 saw 2,258 incidents making it the year with the most such attacks not only between 2001 and 2010 but also in the last two decades.

In 2015, the government formulated a National Policy and Action Plan which looks at a “multi-pronged approach comprising security, development and ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities”, according to a Rajya Sabha response given on March 18, 2020.

The security measures in this include deployment of Central Armed Police Force Battalions, provision of helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, sanction of India Reserve Battalions/Special India Reserve Battalions. Funds are provided under the Modernisation of Police Force Scheme, Security Related Expenditure Scheme and Special Infrastructure Scheme for capacity building of state police, intelligence agencies and Central Armed Police Force, the response said.

This article first appeared on FactChecker.in, a publication of the data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit IndiaSpend.