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‘Naxalism biggest security challenge’

PM told police chiefs of naxal-affected states to redouble their efforts in controlling Naxalism, reports Aloke Tikku.
Hindustan Times | By Aloke Tikku, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 05, 2007 04:00 AM IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told police chiefs of naxal-affected states on Thursday to “redouble their efforts” in controlling Naxalism and showcased Andhra Pradesh – as a success story in handling the problem.

This is the first time that Singh – who had earlier described Naxalism as India’s biggest internal security challenge – sent out a clear message that stronger police action was needed.

Andhra Pradesh – that initially tried to hold talks with the Maoists – is considered the best example of a state where naxal activity has abated and the naxalites are on the run due to concerted police action.

In his speeches at the annual conference of police chiefs in previous years, Singh had made it a point to mention the need for a security response to Naxalism. He had also stressed the need to address the basic causes for alienation of the people and the lack of development.

Singh kept it straight on Thursday “I have said in the past that there are many dimensions to the problems of Naxalism. While concerted efforts are being made on the development front to remove any feeling of alienation, the police forces need to redouble their efforts to control this phenomenon,” he told the police chiefs unequivocally.

“Some states like Andhra Pradesh have demonstrated that where there is a will, there is a way forward,” Singh, who had spent several hours at the conference discussing internal security challenges earlier in the day, told the gathering.

“Other States need to work with determination and in tandem to eliminate this menace,” he added, asking the security establishment to work with “greater commitment” towards eliminating the threat posed by Naxalism.

Singh ran the delegates through a few terrorist and naxal attacks, saying that these incidents should make them aware of the formidable challenges that lie ahead and stressed on the need to improve the internal security machinery, a point that home minister Shivraj Patil had mentioned on Wednesday.

“We need better police forces – better in all senses… We need superior intelligence capabilities, which can alert us about looming threats. We need greater discipline, lesser politicization and zero corruption,” he said, asking the police chiefs to provide the leadership and direction to the forces under their command in this context.

Singh also pointed to the global face of terrorism, saying that the security agencies have the challenge of facing determined, committed and highly motivated adversaries working with an evil intent and design.

“We need to go far beyond conventional responses in facing terrorist threats”.

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