Southern states focus of govt’s planned ‘decisive push’ against Maoists
The Maoist movement has weakened considerably; there has been a decline in levels of violence and the number of districts, affected by left-wing extremism, has dropped to 58 from the earlier count of 91, according to home ministry statistics.Updated: Jul 04, 2019 08:47 IST
The intensity of operations against left-wing extremists across the country will be increased in the coming days, two senior officials from the ministry of home affairs said on the condition of anonymity.
“There will be a decisive push” against the rebels, also known as Maoists, he said, adding that focus will be on southern states where increased Maoist activity has been observed of late.
The Central Reserve Police Force, which plays a lead role in anti-Maoist operations along with the state police forces, will “up the tempo”, the officer said.
The decision was taken at a high-level review meeting on left-wing extremism (LWE), chaired by home secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday.
The Maoist movement has weakened considerably; there has been a decline in levels of violence and the number of districts, affected by left-wing extremism, has dropped to 58 from the earlier count of 91, according to home ministry statistics.
In addition, an analysis of data collected by the home ministry shows that “more than two-thirds of Maoist related violence is now restricted to only 10 districts of the country,” the officer cited above said.
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra are among the states affected by the Maoist violence. “Maoists are confined to Sukma in Chhattisgarh, Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, Malakangiri in Odisha and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh,” said the second official.
In addition, security agencies have flagged increased Maoist activity in the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In particular, the Centre is keen that communist rebels do not gain any foothold in the southern states. “The home ministry in consultation with the states has opted for pre-emptive police action in these areas,” the second official said.
The home ministry works on a two-pronged strategy of development and police action to counter the menace of left-wing extremism. “The Maoist ranks have thinned considerably because of sustained action. Locals are no longer joining the group. We must capitalize on this,” the first MHA official said.
The ministry also reviewed the deployment of paramilitary forces in various Maoist affected states to optimise the results of the fresh offensive, the second official said.
“Forces have to be moved for the 2019 general elections. We have taken stock and tweaked the deployment of forces for better results,” he added.
States such as Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra have dedicated forces to fight the Maoists. The CRPF has a separate unit — CoBRA [Commando Battalions for Resolute Action] — to counter the Maoists.
“You can expect more coordinated action across state borders in the coming days as well as more specialized intelligence-based operations,” a third MHA official said, asking not to be named.