The Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 “broke the backbone of left-wing extremists”, said a report published by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s think tank, the Public Policy Research Centre. The study titled “Demonetisation: Impact on Combating Naxalism” was released on Wednesday. November 8 marks the second anniversary of the note ban exercise.
A research team visited the Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh – Bijapur, Sukma, Rajnandgaon and Narayanpur – and spoke to Adivasis and surrendered Maoists, the report said. The report comes just weeks before Assembly elections in the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh on November 12 and November 20. The results will be out on December 11.
“Demonetisation invalidated maximum of the stored currency of high denominations,” the study said. “Police reports suggest that in Chhattisgarh alone, money worth crores were seized from various locations in LWE [Left Wing Extremists]-hit districts after demonetisation.”
The report claimed that demonetisation affected the left-wing extremist movement as it curbed its finances, led to an increase in the arrest of Maoists and the implementation of government projects, and brought down Maoist offences and recruitment of cadre.
It added that after demonetisation, several organisations Maoists used to get their invalidated currency exchanged through were put under the scanner.
The report also accused “several front organisations” of spreading Maoist propaganda. “Popularly called as urban Naxals, these are the people whose goal is the same as to the Naxals fighting with arms and ammunition in the jungle area of the country,” the report said. “The only difference being that the Naxals are fighting openly with the state in the jungle while these urban Naxals fight silently and take forward their agenda in the name of fighting for oppressed class and and the marginalised.”
The think tank’s director and BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said there was a 55% rise in Maoist arrests and surrenders in 2017, compared to 2015. “A political will was always required to resolve the problem of Naxalism by nullifying it and not utilising it, which was shown by the Narendra Modi government,” Sahasrabudhhe told PTI. “Whereas, in the past some political parties either promoted Naxals or used them for their interests.”