Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivered his strongest message yet to states in the grip of Naxal violence on Thursday, unequivocally telling them to set up specialised units, cripple the movement and choke their support infrastructure.
Singh warned that Naxalite violence could intensify and underlined that precise and actionable intelligence was the key to fighting them. He asked all states to enhance their ability to counter terror threats, promising to help them meet the cost. “Every possible step must be taken to free our citizens from the shadow of terror,” he said.
“We need to cripple the hold of Naxalite forces with all the means at our command,” the PM told a conference of chief ministers before asking them to cut the flow of funds to Naxals who extort money from contractors and tendu patta operations in the hinterland.
Naxalism, Singh said, continues to be the single biggest challenge to the Indian state, “and we cannot rest in peace till we have eliminated this virus”. He went on to advocate setting up dedicated anti-Naxal units at the state and central level modelled on the Grey Hounds, the anti-Naxal commando force set up by Andhra Pradesh. As reported by HT on Wednesday, the home ministry is already veering towards setting up a similar unit within the CRPF.
The PM focussed on the large number of vacancies in state police forces, and their inability to take the challenge head on. “Inadequate, ill-equipped, ill-trained poorly-motivated person cannot take on Naxal extremists who are increasingly better equipped and organised,” he said.