More tech use, agressive line in war on Naxals

Demonetisation Helped Choke Maoist Funds: Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi

The Home Minister also called for the need for a unified co-ordination and intelligence sharing among various forces to curb Naxalism.

Singh said technology is a force multiplier and many new techniques are also being used in dealing with law and order and the crime.

He said the newly formed "Bastaria battalions" comprising local tribal people will be a game-changer in the fight against the Left wing extremists.

Around 12,000 people have lost their lives to Maoist violence in last 20 years, he said, expressing "confidence that together, with the new strategy and new force, we will confront the Naxals and will be successful against them".

The Home Minister added that left-wing extremist groups were trying to weaken democracy in the country but would "never succeed" in doing so.

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National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, district magistrates and superintendents of police of 35 of the worst-hit Naxalite-affected districts, along with heads of paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies are also attending the meeting.

In a sign of things to come, the Centre today underlined the need to have "aggression" in the battle against left-wing extremism (LWE) in the country and stated that the state governments should take the ownership of anti-Naxal operations.

Stressing the need for pre-emptive action, Singh said: "Should we react only after the attack? The day is not far when this mindless violence will end". To prevent use of looted weapons and pilfered explosives by Maoists, forces were advised to have trackers in weapons and gear like bullet-proof jackets, biometrics in smart gun triggers and unique identification number for gelatine and other explosive materials.

"Left Wing Extremism is one of the most critical internal security challenges faced by the nation in present times and the recent incident of attack on the security forces in Sukma area of Chhattisgarh is highly disconcerting".

Stating that "extremely defensive deployment" may result in a reduction of "operational offensive", Singh emphasised that "states take the ownership of LWE operations and CAPFs cooperate with them fully".

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The minister also focused on establishing specific procedures between state police and central forces for the exchange and use of intelligence. "We need to use high-resolution PTZ cameras, Global Positioning System tracking, hand-held thermal imaging, radar and satellite imaging", he said.

Ahead of the crucial meeting, the strategic command headquarters of CRPF's anti-Naxal operations was shifted from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh. Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were represented by ministers and West Bengal and Telangana by their chief secretary and DGP.

The states also raised related issues like the deployment of additional CAPF battalions, exemption from payment for CAPF battalions provided by the Centre, helicopter support for operations, use of modern technology by the state police and the CAPF.

"A holistic review of the situation will be undertaken covering a wide canvas of security and development issues, particularly infrastructure building", the statement said.

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