Director General of Police Pervaram Ramulu on Tuesday said left-wing extremist violence is on the decline in Andhra Pradesh.
Addressing reporters in Hyderabad on the crime situation in the state for the year 2002, he said the naxalite violence has decreased by almost 32 per cent during the year. This, according to him, is low compared to the previous year and attributed the downtrend to the stepped up operations by the police.
As against 940 offences, including 191 murders committed during 2001, all the naxalite groups together committed 638 offences, including 106 murders, in the year 2002.
"[The] People's War Group suffered a severe setback during the year as 81 of their important cadres were killed in the exchanges of fire with the police. The police confronted the extremists on 79 occasions. The number of policemen killed in extremist violence have also come down drastically from 41 in 2001 to 14 this year," Ramulu pointed out.
Nearly 1,148 naxalite cadres have been arrested while 544 cadres have surrendered, disillusioned with the PWG ideology. Many were encouraged by the attractive rehabilitation policy announced by the government.
He said that the naxalites had been neutralized in many of their traditional strongholds in the Telangana district. The People's war Group has spread its activities to Palnadu area of Guntur and Prakasam districts as well as some pockets in Khammam district.
"Due to effective and timely preventive action of police, there has not been a single death in communal incidents during 2002 all over Andhra Pradesh, which is a big achievement, Ramulu said. "However, the number of communal incidents, most of them minor ones, increased from 33 in 2001 to 58 in 2002."
This was despite the attempts by the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan to instigate communal riots in different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh.
The Counter-Intelligence Wing, which was formed in the year 2000 to combat the ISI activities in the state, has been effective, the DIG said.
Maintaining that the state continued to be peaceful this year, he admitted that the total volume of crime in the state had risen to 131,000 cases, which was higher than the figure of 117,000 cases last year and 110,000 cases during 2000.
But the level of violent crimes was much less compared with the situation in the previous years, he added. Dacoities and robberies have registered an all time low.
The crime rate in the state was the lowest when compared with the neighbouring states, the DGP said. "Our state stands 19th in the crime rate per 100,000 of population among all the states in India. The average rate in Andhra Pradesh was 162 per 100,000 of population in 2001, as against the national average of 167."
He admitted that the spurt in economic crimes, such as cheating and counterfeit currency cases, was a matter of concern for the police. Most of the cheating cases seemed to have been committed by financial companies and chit fund companies. The total number of cheating cases had risen to 5,327 --- an increase of 27 percent --- during 2002, compared to 4,193 cases in 2001 and 3,897 cases in 2000.
Hyderabad had the highest number of cheating cases [1,264], followed by Vijayawada  and Rangareddy .
There has also been an increase in gender crime, with 15,646 cases reported in 2002, as against 13,495 cases in 2001 and 13,061 cases in the year 2002.
Offences against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, however, came down to 1,891 cases this year as against 2,251 cases last year.
Factional crime in Rayalaseema region, too, decreased with only three factious murders reported this year as against 14 in 2001 and 24 in 2000.
A total of 1,731 cases were booked in Rayalaseema in 2002, the DGP said.