There were fewer than 1,000 cases of Maoist violence in 2017, for the first time in a decade, data from the Ministry of Home Affairs shows.

Till December 15, 2017, 851 incidents of violence were reported in 10 states, which the ministry identifies as affected by left-wing extremism. In the same period in 2016, 1,016 incidents were recorded.

In 2017, Chhattisgarh (353) and Jharkhand (240) recorded the most number of cases.

Such violence in the 10 states have always been above the 1,000 mark, with 2009 seeing the most number of cases so far – at 2,258, The Hindu reported.

Ministry officials said the drop may be a result of Maoists “deliberately lying low”, an ageing top leadership and poor recruitment, the report said.

“The youth are no more enamoured to join the Maoists, which has led to the attrition in cadres at all levels,” K Vijay Kumar, senior security adviser at the ministry, told The Hindu. “The other reason could be strategic: to lie low.”