Centre wakes up to Naxal menace

Published: Tuesday 15 January 2008

the centre will recruit around 37,000 personnel under the Indian Reserve battalion scheme for deployment in Naxal-affected states. The decision comes after prime minister Manmohan Singh urged states to "choke Naxal infrastructure and cripple their activities" in a two-day chief minister's conference on internal security in the capital on December 19-20. Referring to Naxalism as "the single biggest security challenge", he urged the states to raise forces on the 'Greyhound' model anti-Naxal force set up by N Chandrababu Naidu, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Incidentally, the United Progressive Alliance government, at the beginning of its term, had advocated a soft approach towards extremism and attempted to negotiate truce with Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh.

He also said that Naxalites were getting more involved in "local struggles relating to land and other rights" and that "they feed on the perceived lack of development. Correcting this requires a lot of effort". He reiterated the importance of local police being well armed and special pay packages for officers posted in Naxal-infested areas. "I notice there are large vacancies of police personnel across most states," he said at the meeting. Among other things, he also said that states should coordinate better among themselves on the issue and asked them for ways to reduce funds flow to Naxal groups.

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