July 26, 2017

Rajnath calls for 'unity of purpose' to tackle Naxal terror

09 May 2017, 07:52 | Ignacio Smith

Home minister Rajnath Singh goes into a huddle with chief ministers of Maoist-affected states on Monday

Rajnath Singh

However, the Minister's remarks were criticised by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who said that "if all work had to be done by States with their own resources, then what was the objective of having such a meeting?"

Topping the agenda is the issue of re-calibrating strategy to make it more effective and to minimise casualties.

In his speech, Nitish said that in a "federal structure, Centre can not relegate itself to mere reviewing role by throwing the ball in the court of states for taking effective action to neutralise this threat of Left Wing Extremism which has emerged as a challenge to internal security".

Home minister Rajnath Singh today said senior IPS officers handling anti-Maoist operations should "lead from the front" instead of sitting in the comfort of their offices in Delhi or other urban centres, articulating a resentment among troops on the ground. He added that the groups would "never succeed in suppressing democracy and development in the country".

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, district magistrates and superintendents of police of 35 of the worst-hit Naxalite-affected districts, along with heads of paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies are also attending the meeting. To prevent use of looted weapons and pilfered explosives by Maoists, forces were advised to have trackers in weapons and gear like bullet-proof jackets, biometrics in smart gun triggers and unique identification number for gelatine and other explosive materials.

Short, medium and long-term policies need to be formulated at different levels to deal with the problem, the home minister said. The camps of the CRPF or Central Reserve Police Force should be adequately equipped with power and water and connectivity.

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Mr. Nitish Kumar in his address pointed out that Centre had declined Bihar's request for a helicopter for quick deployment of forces in anti-Maoist operations and suggested that the State share a chopper with Jharkhand. "The day is not far when this mindless violence will end", Singh said.

Rajnath Singh also emphasised on finding mechanisms of detecting these incidents before they happen.

"We need to use high resolution cameras, Global Positioning System, thermal imaging, radar and satellite images". The CRPF has moved its strategic command headquarters for anti-Maoist operations from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh.

The minister also focused on establishing specific procedures between state police and central forces for the exchange and use of intelligence.

After a string of deadly Naxal attacks on security forces over the past few months, the government has made a decision to adopt an aggressive strategy to contain the Maoist violence.

Issues like role of states in assisting paramilitary forces in their operations, raising and employment of India Reserve Battalions and Special India Reserve Battalion were expected to be part of the discussion, the statement said.

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