Pakistani intelligence agency ISI is having close liaison with some pro-naxal overground organisations through banned SIMI in West Bengal and helping them to instigate people against the government, a top police officer of the state said on Thursday.
Addressing a meeting of chief secretaries and police chiefs of nine Maoist-hit states, West Bengal DGP Naparajit Mukherjee said he had information that several pro-Maoist overground outfits have joined hands with some elements of banned SIMI, which have close links with ISI.
These elements have held several meetings jointly in 3 districts of West Bengal, including Murshidabad, staged protests against alleged violation of human rights and have been instigating people against the government, Mukherjee is learnt to have told the meeting.
The senior police officer said ISI was having direct links with these elements.
This is for the first time that a senior officer has come on record blaming ISI for helping naxals carry out anti-government activities.
The meeting was chaired by Union home secretary RK Singh and attended by chief secretaries and DGPs of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and representatives of Uttar Pradesh.
The high-level meeting discussed the draft policy for dealing with any Maoist-created hostage crisis. The policy suggested the government should not release hardcore naxals and those convicted for serious offences like murder and waging a war against the state.
The policy, for which opinion of the states were sought, favoured formation of dedicated team of negotiators and a back-up plan like armed intervention through commando operation if talks fail.
Constitution of a Special Investigation Team to probe violence perpetrated by Maoists, monitoring of trials of important cases, implementation of development programmes on the lines of Jharkhand's Saranda and implementation of Forest Right Act also came up for discussion.
The Centre has already written to naxal-affected states to reconstitute the Unified Command structure with the chief minister as its head and hold its meeting at least once a month.
The meeting also had a discussion on the draft policy for tackling any crisis arising out of Maoists using civilians as human shield.
The policy advocates maximum precaution to avoid collateral damage, collection of better intelligence about extremists as well as the human shield, deployment of adequate security personnel and knowledge of topography of the area before launching any operation to resolve the crisis.
Use of non-lethal weapons and night vision device were other two key suggestions advocated in the draft policy to deal with the human shield crisis.
Several innocent lives were lost in the recent past when naxals used human shield for their safety as security forces tried to end the crisis.
Recruitment of youth in paramilitary forces from naxal-hit areas and review of the fortification of isolated police stations are others issues to be discussed.
The meeting unanimously resolved that the Integrated Action Plan, through which the Centre is carrying out special development projects in 82 worst naxal-affected districts, should be continued in the present form in the next five year plan also.