Rajnath Singh Meets Chief Ministers, Asks To Firm Up Anti-Maoist Strategy

Demonetisation helped choke Maoist funds Home Secretary

Calling for "unity of purpose" amongst all Naxal-affected states, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today advocated the formation of a strategic and unified command to foil attempts to "stall development and throttle democracy at gunpoint".

Chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh attended crucial meetings called by the home ministry on Monday to take stock of anti-Maoist strategies after the Central Reserve Police Force lost 37 of its men to the radicals in March and April alone in Chhattisgarh.

Highlighting the pro-active surrender and rehabilitation policy of the state government, Patnaik said: "Determined efforts of the state to contain the extremist activities have been substantially successful in weaning away the population in the affected areas of the state from the ideology of violence and extremism. LWE groups are trying to weaken democracy in the country".

He has suggested the use of technologies and gadgets like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones), pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, Global Positioning System tracking and thermal imaging to track Naxalite movement in states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

In addition, the home minister said, unique identification numbers should also be used in gelatin and other explosive materials. Mr Singh also claimed that in order to evolve actionable intelligence, it was important that all intelligence agencies and security forces establish a good network with the local people.

In a sign of things to come, the Centre today underlined the need to have "aggression" in the battle against left-wing extremism (LWE) in the country and stated that the state governments should take the ownership of anti-Naxal operations.

"There is a need to chalk out a specific action plan for each threat with short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies clearly defined".

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The meeting comes a fortnight after 25 CRPF personnel were killed in a Maoist attack in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

"I am convinced that their martyrdom will not go in vain".

He stressed on the need to discuss and work out an "integrated strategy" of security by giving impetus to development in 35 worst-affected districts to eliminate the Maoist influence.

Rajnath Singh asked the states to take the ownership of Maoist operations and that the paramilitary forces should cooperate with them fully.

"Left Wing Extremism is one of the most critical internal security challenges faced by the nation in present times and the recent incident of attack on the security forces in Sukma area of Chhattisgarh is highly disconcerting".

Rajnath Singh also raised the need to ensure that the residential camps of security forces should be well equipped with power, water facility and better connectivity.

"We need to use high resolution PTZ cameras, Global Positioning System tracking, hand-held thermal imaging, radar, satellite imaging etc", he said.

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