New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will hold a meeting with chief ministers of 10 Maoist-hit states tomorrow to discuss steps to tackle the menace, a fortnight after 25 CRPF personnel were killed by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.
Ahead of the crucial meeting, the strategic command headquarters of CRPF’s anti-Naxal operations was shifted from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh. The conclave would discuss ways to revamp intelligence gathering mechanism, take a close look at on-going operations against Naxalites, identify problem areas and devise ways to minimise casualties among the security forces, a home ministry official said today.
Altogether 37 CRPF personnel have been killed by Naxalites in the worst-hit Chhattisgarh in less than two months. The April 24 assault on a CRPF road opening party that led to the death of 25 personnel was the deadliest since the April 2010 attack in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, where 76 CRPF men were killed.
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 Home Minister Rajnath Singh. District magistrates and police superintendents of 35 worst-hit districts, besides heads of paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies will also attend the meeting.
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. 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. 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.
Home ministry sources said that, currently, 90 per cent of Maoist activity is limited to 35 districts, though the terrorists have pockets of influence in 68 districts in 10 states. Meanwhile, in a move to shore up its capabilities to tackle Maoist violence, the CRPF has ordered “immediate” shifting of the command headquarters of central zone of the force from Kolkata to Raipur.
The move comes roughly seven years after it was shifted from Raipur to Kolkata due to logistical and connectivity issues. Official sources said the newly appointed CRPF Director General Rajiv 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.