Union Home Minister Amit Shah to review situation in Naxal-hit areas with 10 CMs on Sunday

The states invited for the meeting are  Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah (Photo | PTI)
Union Home Minister Amit Shah (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: For the second time since he was sworn-in as the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah is scheduled to chair a high-level review meeting with Chief Ministers of 10 states in the capital on Sunday. The meeting is being held nearly five months after 23 jawans from Chhattisgarh’s state police forces and CRPF were killed in an ambush in Bijapur, in April earlier this year.

According to sources, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Intelligence Bureau Director Arvind Kumar and senior officials of the home ministry, chief secretaries of the states and DG, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), will be in attendance for the meet that is scheduled to take place at Vigyan Bhawan on Sunday.

The Chief Ministers and police chiefs of the ten states who have been invited for this meeting are - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The agenda of the meeting is to discuss ways of further intensifying anti-Naxal operations, particularly in Chhattisgarh, which remains the worst-hit state by the Naxal menace in the country. One of the ways of doing this, according to a highly placed source, is to install Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and security camps in Naxal dominated areas on a war-footing.

“We have been able to curtail the movement of Naxals to a great extent by crisscrossing the areas held by them with new security camps and roads. As a result of this, the restlessness among their cadre has increased and they have become more desperate in their actions,” a senior CRPF officer told TNIE.

According to sources, a total of 15 forward-operating bases (FOB) since 2019 has reduced and confined Maoist activities in Chhattisgarh. Sources added that while the construction activity, both of new roads and security camps, were somewhat curtailed due to Covid-19 restrictions, the momentum towards this has started building again as supply routes have resumed normally.

A senior government functionary said that the government plans to build at least 10 more security camps in Chhattisgarh this year and the Union Home Minister is likely to take personal stock of the progress made towards this in the meeting that he chairs on Sunday.

Amit Shah is also likely to address a few lacunae that, according to sources, have been brought to his notice, such as a perceived reluctance among senior ranked officers of the CRPF in participating in anti-Naxal operations and delay in setting up tactical resting sites for the ground troops, due to which, the quality of the operations against the red extremists is said to have come down.

Sources told TNIE that the Home Minister is likely to review the number of operations carried out by personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) deployed in Naxal affected areas and by respective police departments. According to sources Jharkhand topped the list of states with the most anti-Naxal operations at 36, followed by Maharashtra at 33. Chhattisgarh was third on the list with 33 operations against Naxals being carried out this year. At the same time, according to CRPF, over the last two years nearly 200 operations of various nature, including area domination exercises and rescue operations, have been carried out by it in Chhattisgarh alone.

The government is also likely to take stock of the funds spent in Naxal-affected zones. The Union Home Ministry has spent around Rs 23.3 crore on improving the living condition of troops deployed and strengthening the security of the camps, developing a new field hospital, and developing some other facilities for locals at these places. Another agenda of the meeting will be to review the cooperation between security forces and development authorities.

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