The state government is likely to table a stringent anti-Maoist bill in the upcoming monsoon session to rein in the ultras in four districts: Gadchiroli, Bhandara, Gondia and Chandrapur.
The proposed law envisages sweeping powers for district authorities, including the right to arrest Maoist suspects for the first three days without seeking permission from the state government and later for 21 days with the permission of the additional chief secretary of the home department, an official said.
It aims to empower the superintendent of police and district collectors to arrest people involved in Maoist activities, including the distribution of the literature.
The ambit and provisions of the proposed law are likely to be similar to that of Chhattisgarh.
Oddly, the decision to table the bill comes on the heels of claims by the home department that there has been a steady decline in Maoist activities owing to development work and security strategies in the so-called red-corridor districts.
The home department expects the new law will be more effective.
“The law will have the provisions similar to that of Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling (COFEPOSA) and Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act (MPDA), which empowers government officials at the district level to arrest people involved in anti-national activities,” said the official.
KP Bakshi, additional chief secretary, home department, said that the government was likely to table the bill in the monsoon session after the state cabinet’s nod.
He also added that the government would soon announce a 5% reservation in government jobs to the families, affected by Maoist activities.