A week before the crucial meeting of seven chief ministers to firm up the government’s anti-naxal strategy, the Home Ministry told the Railways on Tuesday to ramp up security during the two-day CPI (Maoist) bandh. The bandh has been called to protest the killing of Naxal leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad.
Besides threats from the CPI (Maoist), Home Ministry officials said they had also received intelligence inputs about the possibilities of naxal attack on trains to hold passengers hostage as well as derailing trains.
“We have advised the Railways to run pilot engines ahead of trains through naxal-affected districts and suspend night operations in sensitive areas,” a home ministry official said.
For instance, Railway officials said night operations would be suspended in Kharagpur division.
The home ministry had sounded a general alert after Maoists spoke of retaliatory attacks after Azad’s killing. “A fresh advisory was issued today for the Railways,” an official said.
Concerns for the safety for the Railways have mounted after interrogation of Maoists in recent weeks indicated that the CPI (Maoist) had disregarded the casualties of civilians in the derailment of Jnaneswari Express on May 29.
The alert comes even as the Centre is fine-tuning its anti-naxal strategy.
In a move to get the states on board its anti-naxal approach, the Centre has convened a conference of CMs of seven Naxal-hit states on 14 July to firm up a coordinated strategy.
The CMs meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would focus on the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security last month as well as seek to tighten Central monitoring for the over Rs 13,000 crore to be pumped into three dozen districts.
“It is no use if the Centre prepares plans that the states do not implement,” a home ministry official said, emphasising that the conference would be followed by a meeting of police chiefs on 25 August. "The anti-naxal strategy would be a key element of this conference of directors general of police from across the country,” the official said.