In the aftermath of the May 25 ambush on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, there is a tangible hardening of stance in the Centre’s policy towards the Maoist insurgency in the entire “red corridor” spread across five states.
The Centre is preparing a blueprint to be presented at the Chief Ministers’ meeting, slated for June 5, which will focus on enhanced security cover for vulnerable politicians, coordinated action in the Maoist-hit areas and, most importantly, a specific action plan to target Maoists’ military strategists and guerrilla warfare experts.
However, the politics over the killings of Nanda Kumar Patel and Mahendra Karma, just before the elections may come in the way of a united Centre-state strategy.
Sources said it was on the Centre’s direction that state Chief Minister Raman Singh called an all-party meeting on Thursday, which the Congress legislative party has decided to boycott saying that the meeting’s agenda hasn’t been shared with them. Both AICC in-charge B K Hariprasad and Congress spokesperson Bhaktacharan Das targeted the state government.
“What is the point of an all-party meeting now, why did the CM not call the meeting earlier? If the security measures have been taken prior to the massacre, we would not have lost our leaders and workers,” they asked.
In a review meeting in Raipur on Tuesday, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the government needs to change the standard operating procedures (SOPs)to ensure that leaders on the Maoists’ hit list are persuaded to hit the road for political rallies. “It would be the befitting reply to Maoists who tried to throttle democracy by killing Congress leaders,” a source said.
In the case of Karma, an official pointed out, only six out of the 16 commandos were present and there was no escort vehicle or wireless set.
The Home Secretary made it clear that implementation of the SOPs is the state’s responsibility and the politicians should ensure that their full strength is deployed during the rallies.