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Special Naxal Cell to be set up in Home Ministry

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 19:29 IST
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In view of the sudden spurt in attacks by Maoists in different parts of the country, the government has decided to create a special Naxal Cell in the Union Home Ministry.

"The Cell will be entrusted with the task of coordinating with states affected by Naxalite problem," Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters in New Delhi.

The move comes close on the heels of the massacre of over 30 villagers in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. Naxalites had also injured 20 in the incident.

Jaiswal said the Cell will look after all matters related to Naxal violence in different parts of the country.

Sources in the Ministry said the Cell will function on the lines of the one on Kashmir.

Jaiswal said the 'Salwa Judum' movement in Chhattisgarh against the Maoists was good but felt that if the state administration did not provide adequate security to anti-naxal activists, they would keep falling prey to ultras.

The Minister said state governments could hold talks with Naxal outfits if they eschewed the path of violence.

Referring to the Dantewada incident, he said the Chhattisgarh government had sought additional battalions and two helicopters to meet the situation. The Centre has given all assistance to the state and it was now for the state government to act, he said.

Jaiswal said the Chhattisgarh government should provide adequate security to refugee camps to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

He said the Naxalites were "frustrated" because of the success of 'Salva Judum' movement against the Maoists and were acting out of sheer desperation.

To a question, the Minister clarified that the chopper rushed to Chhattisgarh was meant only for transporting the injured, despatching security forces and keeping a vigil, but would in no way be used for aerial bombing.

Meanwhile, the proposed high-level meeting, convened by Union Home Secretary VK Duggal in Bhubaneshwar on July 21, to take stock of the situation in Naxal-hit states has been postponed.

Home Ministry sources said the postponement was because of the preoccupation of senior officials in the wake of Mumbai blasts.

They indicated the meeting might now be held in the national capital at a later date.

In the last such exercise held in Delhi, state Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police had reviewed the status of various policies involving intelligence, networking and coordination between the Centre and Naxal-affected states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.