New Delhi: Home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday upbraided Naxal-affected states such as Chhattisgarh over their intelligence gathering while chalking out a multi-pronged strategy to clamp down on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in the 35 worst affected districts of the country.
He was chairing a high-level meeting to take stock of the Centre and states’ anti-Naxal strategy after the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost 37 of its men to Naxals in March and April alone in Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh, which has seen an increase in the number of Naxal attacks in the last two months, faced the heat as Singh stressed on the need to revamp its intelligence apparatus.
“In comparison to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the technical intelligence inputs in Bastar Zone of Chhattisgarh are very low and the reason for this is only 20 per cent effective connectivity in Bastar. It is only four per cent in a district like Sukma. There is a need to create special action plans to increase connectivity across the entire LWE area," Singh said.
Of the 12,000 people killed by Naxals, 2,700 were jawans of the security forces and the other 9,300 were innocent civilians, Singh said.
Spelling out a strategy for districts hit by Naxalism, he said, “For this, short term, medium term and long term policies need to be formulated at different levels and it lies in the SAMADHAN strategy, involving Smart leadership, Aggressive strategy, Motivation and training, Actionable intelligence, Dashboard-based KPIs (key performance indicators) and KRAs (key result areas), Harnessing technology, Action plan for each theatre and No access to financing," Singh said.
Singh stressed the importance of good leadership for the security forces, especially the need for unified coordination and command.
“Even in the year 2017, figures show that LWE incidents have decreased by 23.3% (377 to 289). But two to three incidents have occurred in which security forces have suffered heavy losses. Therefore, it is necessary that an analysis of these events is carried out, in order to assess the reasons as to why such incidents occur," Singh said.
While infrastructure has been a point of concern for the centre, especially in Chhattisgarh, the home minister stated that plans were afoot to link all LWE-affected districts with communication and road networks.
“The Road Requirement Plan is being implemented by the Centre to improve connectivity in 35 LWE-affected districts of eight states, whereby 4,290km of the sanctioned 5,422km of the road have been completed," Singh added.
Home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said that states had demanded a slew of measures including the deployment of additional troops of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), helicopter support for anti-Naxal operations and the use of modern technology by the state police. He said there was also a need to review the current Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in order to choke funds going to the Naxals.
The meeting was attended by the chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, the home ministry said in a statement.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee abstained.
The meeting was also attended by the secretaries of the central ministries, chief secretaries and director generals of the respective state police of the LWE-affected states along with the union ministers in charge of Ministries of MoRTH (Ministry of road transport and highways), Railways, Civil Aviation, MoRD (Ministry of rural development), Power, New and Renewable Energy and Telecom.