A high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh today decided to strengthen the human intelligence network in Maoist-hit areas to minimise casualties of security forces engaged in anti-naxal operations. The meeting, held two days after the killing of 25 CRPF personnel by naxalites in Chhattisgarh, stressed on revamping the intelligence gathering mechanism, meticulously analysing the ongoing operations, identifying problem areas and resolving them for better results.
The top security brass, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and others focused on re-calibration of the anti-naxal strategy, and discussed as to how to make it more effective and minimise casualties.
The extra-stress on human intelligence stemmed from reports that the naxalite guerrillas attacked the CRPF team in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma after taking shelter in the houses of local tribals without the security forces getting a whiff of it.
Had the intelligence gathering mechanism been strong enough, the incident could have been averted. Hence, there should be more engagement with the local population in the coming days, an official who attended the meeting said.
The home minister directed the officials that there should be no let up in the anti-naxal operations in the aftermath of the recent reverses. Instead, the operations be intensified further, he said.
Singh told the officials to look for out of the box solutions to the problem of successive attacks on Road Opening Parties (ROP) in areas where development works were going on.
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Road construction activities in naxal-hit areas was also discussed threadbare and Singh asked the officials to look for alternative modern technology so the projects could be completed speedily.
The top officials told the home minister that currently 90 per cent of Maoist activities was limited to 35 worst-hit districts, even though the naxals have influence in areas spread over 68 districts in the country.
Singh asked the officials to prepare a blueprint of the proposed new strategy for tackling left-wing extremism which would be presented at the May 8 meeting to be attended by chief ministers and top civil and police officials of 10 naxal-affected states.
The day-long meeting is expected to be attended by district magistrates and superintendents of police of the 35 worst-hit districts. The home minister had asked acting director general of the CRPF, Sudeep Lakhtakia, and senior security advisor in the home ministry, K Vijay Kumar, to stay put in Chhattisgarh to supervise well-coordinated operations against naxalites.
The two officers will stay in Chhattisgarh to ensure a robust anti-naxal operation is carried out against those involved in the killing of 25 CRPF personnel on Monday.
Singh’s directive came as he was apparently unhappy over the functioning of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has faced setbacks in the recent past, with several personnel getting killed and wounded in naxalite attacks.
He has asked the CRPF brass to resolve some “inherent” problems like shortages of weaponry and logistics, besides shortcomings in the intelligence gathering mechanism to ensure increased lethality and minimise casualty.