Two days after the killing of 26 CRPF men in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, state home minister Nanki Ram Kanwar sounded the war cry against the extremists. “It is high time to storm the dens of the enemy to settle scores,” he said, claiming that the state government would ensure better coordination between the central forces and the state police.
Against this backdrop, the CRPF and the state police were not exactly preparing for better coordination in the battle against the Maoists. They were trading charges against each other over the latest attack on the central security forces.
“The CRPF men left early in the morning. So, they should have gathered intelligence inputs one night before,” said the state’s DGP Vishwaranjan. He said the CRPF had been informed of the presence of Maoists in Narayanpur.
Said a senior police officer who did not want to be named: “The CRPF decides to have its own course in Maoist hot spots and ignores the intelligence inputs we provide them. When the central forces don’t rely much on us, what is the point in shouting about the big gap in coordination?”
But the CRPF seemed to be in no mood to accept such charges.
“We are not fools to neglect intelligence inputs given to us. But in the first place, they should be appropriately available,” said a CRPF officer on condition of anonymity. Some police officers here also blamed the CRPF men for failing to familiarise themselves with the dense forests and inhospitable terrain. “When the poorly-trained and ill-equipped CRPF flouts standard operating procedures, the blame falls on the state police,” an officer said.
On the other side of the battle-line, Maoist spokesperson Gudsa Usendi on Thursday told a local TV channel that the Maoists targeted the security forces as they were indulging in “torturing of innocent tribals, killing them and raping hundreds of Adivasi women”.
PM calls meet
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will discuss a new strategy to fight Naxalism, prepared by the Planning Commission, with Chief Ministers at the meeting of National Development Council (NDC) on July 24.
CMs of all states are expected to participate in the meet, which has Naxalism and the panel’s mid-term appraisal of the 11th plan on its agenda.
As per the new strategy, the commission will ask state governments to include locals in the development process through implementation of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA). PESA is the law to provide self-governance in tribal areas.
The commission, in its ground research, has found that the law has not been implemented in totality. “PESA can bring tribals into national mainstream,” planning secretary Pillai said in a note.
The Planning Commission has prepared a Rs 3,000-crore intergrated action plan for 34 worst Naxal-affected districts. Panel’s deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia is expected to approve the action plan next week before it is sent to the Prime Minister’s Office.
With inputs from Delhi