With an aim to device strategy to hit back at left-wing extremism, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and chief ministers of 10 Maoist violence-hit states will meet today in New Delhi. The meeting will take place a fortnight after 25 CRPF men were martyred by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, according to PTI report. Notably, 37 CRPF personnel have been killed by ultras in the worst-hit Chhattisgarh in less than two months. The meeting is crucial given there are number of attacks carried out on security forces. The April 24 assault on a CRPF road opening party that claimed lives of 25 personnel was the deadliest since the April 2010 attack in Dantewada, also in Chhattisgarh, in which 76 personnel were slain, according to PTI report. It has been learned that district magistrates and superintendents of police of 35 worst-hit districts, besides heads of paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies will attend the meeting, the PTI report says.
Here are key points we expect from the meeting
1. Ahead of the crucial meeting, the strategic command headquarters of CRPF’s anti-Naxal operations was shifted from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh.
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2. Chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have been invited to meeting which would be chaired by Rajnath Singh.
3. The conclave would discuss ways to revamp intelligence gathering mechanism, take a close look at ongoing operations against Naxalites, identify problem areas and devise ways to minimise casualties among the security forces, a Home Ministry official was quoted as saying PTI. On top of the agenda will be the issue of re-calibrating the anti-Naxal strategy to make it more effective, and to minimise casualties, the official said.
4. The home minister has asked security officials to look for out-of-the box solutions to the problem of successive attacks by Naxalites on security personnel providing protection for road repair or development work in the troubled areas.
5. Road construction and other development activities in the affected areas will also be discussed. Ways to cut down on time spent on laying roads are also likely to be discussed. Road opening parties of central paramilitary forces have repeatedly come under savage assault by Naxalites in the past. Home ministry sources said currently 90 per cent of Maoist activity is limited to 35 districts, though the ultra-Left guerrillas have pockets of influence in 68 districts in 10 states.
6. Official sources said the newly appointed CRPF Director General Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar has been asked to ensure that the command begins functioning from Raipur before the high-level meeting of Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-hit states here tomorrow.
7. After the order was issued on May 4, CRPF ADG (central zone) Kuldeep Singh was air-dashed to Raipur and he took charge of the command on Friday.
8. According to PTI, a Home Ministry statement said a “holistic” review of the situation will be undertaken covering a wide canvas of security and development issues, particularly infrastructure building. The meeting will focus on devising new strategies to maintain the momentum achieved in 2016, notwithstanding a couple of incidents, it said.
9. The meeting will discuss operational issues like the role of states in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) operations, raising, employment and deployment of India Reserve (IR) battalions by recruiting local youth and Special India Reserve Battalion (SIRB), capacity building and intelligence issues like vacancies in state police forces, besides capacity building of state intelligence units.
10. Development issues will also be discussed with a view to ensuring rapid development of LWE-affected areas, the statement said.