The Centre has ticked off the Bihar government for blaming the Union home ministry for pulling out Central Reserve Police Force personnel on anti-naxal duties from Sitamarhi that bore the brunt of two naxal attacks last week.
Naxalites had attacked a police station and loot public sector bank in Riga town of Sitamarhi last week; the state government had cited the diversion of central forces from the naxal-infested district to Uttar Pradesh for election duty as one contributory factor for the attack that killed one special auxiliary policeman.
The Union home ministry had taken offence to the state government’s view and summoned a senior home department official to North Block this week. A home ministry official said this meeting was convened by the additional secretary incharge of the anti-naxal desk at the ministry.
The Centre is understood to have pulled up the Bihar home commissioner on two points at the meeting.
The first was that the home ministry had asked the state government to temporarily relieve 10 of the 30 companies of central forces deployed in the state. “The decision of the locations from where the force would be withdrawn was left to the discretion of the state government, depending on the available intelligence and circumstances,” said a home ministry official. “It is not just unfair, but blatantly unethical of the state, to blame the Centre if they made an error in judgment,” the official said.
The second point that the Centre is reported to have made relates to the state government dilly-dallying on raising the India Reserve (IR) Battalion sanctioned by the home ministry. “The home ministry had sanctioned three IR battalions for the state, they have raised only two,” the official said.
The home ministry’s argument is that if the state government had been quick in raising the third battalions, the state government’s dependence on the central forces would have been minimal. As long as states depend on central forces, they have to provide for a situation where the central government may need to, in this case temporarily, relocate its forces.
With the Centre already having deployed nearly 90 per cent of the available central forces, officials said the only way that the home ministry could meet additional demands for forces was re-deployment.