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New way to fight Red terror

Though law and order is a state subject, the new mechanism vests certain powers with the Union government to combat the Naxal menace.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 03:09 IST

The drift is curious. The Centre will provide funds to the affected states to fight Naxal terror, but it is not willing to let go off the warship’s  reins. It will continue to control training and recruitment of battalions to be raised by state governments.

Though law and order is a state subject, the new mechanism vests certain powers with the Union government to combat the Naxal menace.

Cash-strapped state governments like Orissa have found nothing amiss in the directives as long as the Centre is funding the IRBs to take on the Naxals. While sanctioning the raising one India Reserve Battalion (IRB) by the Orissa government, Ranjanesh Sahai, director (police finance) of MHA, in a letter dated April 27, 2006, said, “The state government must ensure that the following steps are taken during the recruitment process….The battalions must have a cosmopolitan character and should be suitably oriented to serve anywhere in the country…30% of the vacancies in the states affected by extremist violence must be filled up by recruits hailing from the districts notified as Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected.

The latter states that “the percentages for reserved categories must also be adhered to and recruitment should be conducted through as many recruitment centres considered necessary in such areas to ensure that militancy-affected areas are not denied opportunities”.

The letter warns that conditions stipulated above should be strictly adhered to and deviation, if any, without prior approval of the ministry of home affairs, would lead to a freeze in release of funds. The letter ended saying, “The Centre at any point of time may audit the process of raising/training either through inspection of records or through physical inspections”. It has also been mentioned that the Centre will reimburse 75 per cent of the standard cost of raising the battalion.

In other words, the Centre will bear Rs 12.75 crore out of Rs 17 crore to raise the force. In addition, 50 per cent of the capital cost (excluding the cost of land) will be reimbursed subject to a maximum of Rs 8 crore on submission of requisite details regarding expenditure incurred on infrastructure.

The annual recurring expenditure as also the balance expenditure of capital nature will be borne by the state government. The latter adds, “The Government of India would exercise the right of first call on the IR Battalion and shall have full authority to ask the state to make the battalion available for deployment, anywhere in the country, as and when required.

“The state government would be under obligation to comply with such requests whenever the Centre feels the need to requisition the battalion.

“Recruitment would be made by a state-level selection board, in which one of the members will be a Central Police Forces (CPFs) officer, not below the commandant rank.”

Training will be imparted according to the “model syllabus” so as not to “impede the operational efficiency of the force”.