Raipur: This year’s Naxal attacks culminated in a meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday afternoon, to re-evaluate India’s counter-insurgency strategies. Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district was the review meeting’s focus, as it has borne the brunt of the recent Naxal ambushes.
Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh delineated his “Mission Sukma” at the session, bringing to the fore new anti-Naxal strategies, chief among them being the use of aerial strategies to kill Naxal leadership. Sukma is at the heart of Maoists and a core area for the Naxalites. We should start a mission with a clear aim to rid Sukma of this problem.
Aerial intervention coupled with strong development schemes for the worst-affected Maoist areas were Raman Singh’s key points on Monday afternoon. The chief minister also advocated a re-structuring of “unified command”, authorising district-level officials to direct anti-Naxal operations at the ground level, security intervention in new areas and camping with aerial aid.
Other suggestions made by Raman Singh include strengthening anti-Naxal operations in the interiors, stronger security control over the Naxal-hit zones and unabated development, especially to build more roads in order to eliminate Naxal elements.
During the period, when we come up after any (Naxal) incident, we keep the front open for Naxals. This should change. We should keep air reinforcement capability ready so that Naxals are also afraid of (getting) attacked.
According to the Chhattisgarh CM, a total of 135 Naxals were killed in 2016. Earlier, the number of naxals killed used to be 30 per year on an average, whereas in 2016, this number was three times more than that of the security personnel martyred.
According to Raman Singh, the newly established Bastaria battalions’ will herald a new anti-Naxal movement. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has also selected 743 people from Bastar for Bastaria battalions. Five battalions of these locals will change the ground situation in Sukma and Beejapur (naxals-hit districts).
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar lashed out at the Centre today for the cessation of funds for anti-Naxal schemes and operations. Kumar advocated a renewal of the UPA-created Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) and Integrated Action Plan (IAP), which were discontinued last year.
The Bihar CM also criticized the government for discontinuing funds for three UPA-created counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist schools. Not to be left behind, the Madhya Pradesh government too joined the new Anti-Naxal fight. MP Home Minister Bhoopendra Singh Thakur demanded helicopters from the Centre, in order to help security personnel execute anti-Naxal operations.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has also asked the Centre to establish an Air Surveillance Unit in Ranchi and modernise the state’s madrasas to fight Naxalism.
Even as the review meeting for new anti-Naxal strategies in New Delhi was in progress, an IED blast was executed by Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district on Monday morning. Like other recent Naxal attacks, this too took place at a construction site being sanitised by security forces.