New Delhi: More than a hundred and sixty police districts in the nation were affected by terrorism in 2019, according to an estimate.
The affected 161 districts cut across the likes including Maoist-hit states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, terror-hit Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and other Northeastern states.
The inputs were recently submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) by its Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) organisation in its Data on Police Organisations-2019.
In 2019 the numbers came down comparing to 174 in 2018, marking a slight dip in districts affected by terrorism.
The MHA is reportedly is focusing on reducing the number at its maximum level in 2021.
Following the annual report, Ministry's concerned wings under the guidance of Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and in overall supervision of Home Minister Amit Shah have contacted states concerned and Director Generals of all Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to bring down the number of these terrorist-affected districts to a minimum.
In early December 2020, Shah had emphasised a 'zero tolerance' against terrorism and directed security agencies for a coordinated approach in national security, to make India developed and safe, according to the report.
"National security is paramount and the Central government is making sincere efforts to give equal attention to all aspects related to the security", the Minister on Saturday said.
As per the BPR&D's latest report, "a total of 161 police districts are affected by terrorism or extremism".
Jharkhand tops with 22 districts being affected by terrorist or extremist problem in 2019 followed by Bihar (17); Assam and Manipur (with 16 each); Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir (with 15 each); Chhattisgarh (14); Nagaland (11); Telangana (8); Andhra Pradesh (6); five each in Kerala and West Bengal; three each in Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh; and Madhya Pradesh (2).
"The number of police districts affected by the terrorist or extremist problem, during the last ten years (2010-2019) shows a mixed trend. A slight decrease was noticed from 2010 to 2014 and, thereafter, a slight increase from 2015-17 and again a decrease in 2019 can be seen".
A graph accompanying the report puts the number of police districts affected in 2011 at 188, which went down in 2012 to 176 districts, before another fall in 2013 marked 173 districts, and 170 in 2014.
With a slight jump of 172 districts in 2015, the number went up to 181 in 2016 and maintained its earlier top position with 188 terrorism affected districts in 2017 -- the third year of the reign of the Narendra Modi-led government.
IANS report with edits