The situation in the Maoist-affected states is a cause for “grave concern” and the spike in the incidents of Naxal violence will continue this year, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has warned.
More than 300 security personnel were killed in the Naxal belt in 2009, three times the number of troops killed in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeastern states — areas where violence is at an all-time low — put together.
Nearly 600 civilians were also killed in the Naxal areas against 342 civilians killed in the other two theatres of insurgency.
Chidambaram, who will be travelling to Kolkata next week to fine-tune the coordinated offensive against the Maoists, attributed the increased violence to the decision of the states to deploy troops and engage the rebels in the districts dominated by them.
The authorities in Naxal-affected states had lived in a state of denial for too long, he said. “… I believe that it is necessary that the authority of the civilian government is established in these districts where in large tracts of land, the authority is not with the civilian government,” he said at his briefing to present the ministry’s monthly report.
Asked about his plan for reorganising the ministry, Chidambaram said the Prime Minister would decide the matter. There was no follow up on his proposal, but he had decided that more work related to non-internal security would be allocated to the two ministers of state.
Mumbai for all
Chidambaram rejected the Shiv Sena's Mumbai-for- Marathis campaign, saying it was a "pernicious" thesis that should be rejected. “Mumbai belongs to all of India and all Indians are free to live and work in Mumbai.” He also “guaranteed” the safety of Australian and Pakistan cricketer if they play in Mumbai.
He also announced the government’s decision to declare 2010 as the “Year of Forensic Science”. A team will examine the state of forensic science teaching, training and laboratories.