Rajnath Singh outlines new ‘aggressive’ operational strategy to take on Maoists

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New Delhi | May 08, 2017 10:45 PM

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday called for choking financial resources of left-wing extremist groups as he outlined a new operational strategy 'SAMADHAN'

Rajnath Singh said there was no short cut to find a solution left wing extremism. (PTI)

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday called for choking financial resources of left-wing extremist groups as he outlined a new operational strategy ‘SAMADHAN’, which calls for aggression in thinking, strategy, operations as well as road construction to deal with the Maoist threat.

Chairing a review meeting attended by leaders and officials of 10 Left Wing Extremism-affected states, Rajnath Singh said the fight against Maoists is “coordinated battle on security and development fronts” that has to be fought to finish and won. “The presence of our forces should instil fear in the Left Wing Extremists and a sense of confidence among the local people and tribals. Let your action speak for itself,” he said, in the meeting which came days after leftist rebels killed at least 25 CRPF troopers in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma.

The Chief Ministers of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh and senior ministers from other states attended the meet along with the Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of the states.

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The central government had vowed to review its anti-Maoist policy following the Sukma attack.

States made several demands including helicopter support for operations against Maoists and exemption from payment for deployment of central armed police force battalions.

Rajnath Singh said there was no short cut to find a solution left wing extremism and the strategy was encompassed in “SAMADHAN” which denotes ‘S – Smart Leadership, A – Aggressive Strategy, M – Motivation and Training, A – Actionable Intelligence, D – Dashboard-based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas), H – Harnessing Technology, A – Action Plan for each threat and N – No access to financing’.

Elaborating on each point, he called for a more proactive approach to deal with the rebels and pushed for use of unmanned aerial vehicles). “We need to have enough unmanned aerial vehicles with each battalion. Since extremists use looted weapons, we need to have trackers in the weapons, embed biometrics in triggers and have unique identification numbers in explosive material,” he said.

He said martyrdom of CRPF personnel will not go in vain. “The day is not far when this mindless violence will end.”

District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police of 35 worst-affected districts had been specially called for the meeting to work out an “integrated strategy” of security and give impetus to development.

Rajnath Singh asked the states to take the ownership of Maoist operations and said the paramilitary forces should cooperate with them fully. “At the same time, the force on the ground should not lack leadership.

“Learning from the old incidents, we need to bring aggression into our policy. Aggression in thinking, aggression in strategy, aggression in deployment of forces, aggression in operations, aggression in development and aggression in road construction,” he said.

“We will have to be cautious that extremely defensive deployment may result in reduction of operational offensive,” he added.

Rajnath Singh also asked if benefit of intelligence from surrendered Maoist cadres was being derived, while acknowledging that technical intelligence inputs in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region were very low compared to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the reason was 20 per cent effective connectivity.

He called for using high resolution cameras, Global Positioning System, thermal imaging, radar and satellite images as well as other technical aspects in their fights.

Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters after the meeting that a committee had been set up fine tune anti-Maoist strategy and improve use modern technology.

Answering queries, Mehrishi said there was no question of involving Army for anti-Maoist operations but the central para-military forces will continue to get specialised training from the Army like earlier

He said the government’s demonetisation move helped choke Maoist funds which is evident from their desperation to snatch firearms.

Mehrishi said that the word ‘aggression’ used by Rajnath Singh should be seen in proper context and it means quicker, faster and more effective action including in bringing about development.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal told the meeting that all villages in Maoist-affected areas will be electrified by the end of next year, while Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that there were plans to use new technologies in road construction.

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