Villagers inspect a mangled vehicle the day after a landmine blast by suspected Maoists at Jamboni, some 210 km west of Kolkata, on May 1, 2009. AFP Photo
Raising a red flag over mounting casualties of security forces in the Red corridor, the home ministry has told states that Maoists had not only retained their battle capabilities over the past few years but had also extensively militarised.
The home ministry assessment of the naxal situation was shared with the states ahead of Monday's conference of chief ministers on internal security and its concerns would be reflected when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram initiate the discussions.
“The CPI (Maoists) not only retained their battle capabilities in major naxal theatres but also undertook extensive militarisation,” the Centre's assessment said. It added the movement was poised to not only consolidate in its strongholds but also grow in affected areas unless countered with “resolute and sustained action”.
The assessment indicates that the Maoist challenge — famously described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as one of the single biggest that India faces many years ago — was getting bigger.
“The current year has begun on a rather ominous note with systematic targeting of security forces by naxals," the assessment accessed by HT said. In the first 2 months of this year, Maoists have killed 31 security force personnel (SF) as against 10 during the same period last year.
And this does not include the 15 CRPF personnel killed by Maoists in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district in March.
The home ministry note said the ratio of SF vis-à-vis Maoist deaths was “heavily tilted” in favour of the naxals, which “is a cause of worry”.
The situation was the same across other parameters — naxals arrested or surrendered.
It acknowledges that there was a case for “reworking of tactics both by state police and central armed police forces” and referred to the abduction of Italian nationals and legislator in Odisha, a development that adds a new dimension to the problem.