With Maoist guerrillas fighting a bloody battle across nine states conceding that their fighting abilities were getting severely dented, the Centre has asked police chiefs to redouble efforts to cripple the armed insurgency that has killed more than 7,000 people over the last decade.
In the same breath, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde also asked states to guard against Maoists scaling up their offensives, particularly Chhattisgarh that goes to polls this year and Bihar that the home ministry accuses of playing spoilsport.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of seizure of CPI (Maoist) documents that indicated the guerrillas were under tremendous pressure from the security establishment that had launched a coordinated offensive in November 2009.
Nearly 95 battalions of central forces are currently deployed across the naxal heartland besides thousands of state police personnel to restrict the movement of the Maoists.
Home ministry sources said the offensive along inter-state borders, however, was still far below optimum levels with egos and commitment to the offensive standing in the way. At Wednesday’s meeting of the states, the home ministry also advised states to focus on accelerating developmental projects – particularly road building projects – in the naxal-affected areas.
The Centre also called for targeting middle and senior Maoist leadership and dealing sternly with urban front organisations of Maoists.
The home ministry view – that states need to adopt a uniform strategy against Maoists – was also emphasised at the meeting. Else, it was pointed out in remarks targeted at Bihar, the Maoists would just shift out of areas where they are under pressure to quieter territory.
As first reported by Hindustan Times on 19 August, home ministry had also sent a stinker to the Nitish Kumar government to nudge the state to pull up its socks last month. But the home ministry believes it hasn’t had any effect.