Govt can use any element of its national power against Maoists: Rajnath Singh’s new anti-Naxal Policy

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    NEW DELHI: The new anti-naxal policy devised by the Home Ministry under Rajnath Singh has stipulated that the the government reserves the right to “use any element of its national power” to resolutely deal with Maoists, as the situation warrants.

    It has not been specified whether this would mean the Centre even taking a recourse to the Armed Forces. Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and state police forces are presently dealing with the Maoist menace. The new policy says experience of previous counter insurgency campaigns in India in states of Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura suggests that state police should take the lead in the campaign with support from Central forces in an attempt to fine-tune the existing policy measures. “The CAPFs have the responsibility of holding the counter-insurgency grid together,” the policy says, asking states to take the lead and CRPF to act as “a glue” to hold the grid together across the states.

    It has been specified that the government will consider any offer of talks with the CPI (Maoist) Party only once they “renounce violence” as the means of capturing state power and “express faith in the democratic process.” The policy also specifies the new government’s priority of “winning the hearts and minds of tribal population and other marginalised groups”, saying this aspect will lie at the core of the counter-insurgency strategy and all security and development interventions will revolve around this aspect.

    “All devlopment interventions need to be project-based targeting specific sections of society like the Adivasis. “The outcomes should portray the state in the role of a benefactor before the insurgency affected population especially the Adivasis, who are central to this entire narrative,” the new policy says.

    The Policy has also specified that there should be more frequent interaction between bordering states, and if necessary, one-to-one meetings at the highest political level. “In many of the states, the Unified Command set up at the apex level and headed by Chief Minister or Chief Secretary does not meet regularly,” the policy says. “In the worst left-wing extremism affected areas, security interventions will be followed by development interventions; in moderately affected areas, both the interventions will go hand in hand and in less affected areas, development interventions will take precedence,” the policy says on the twin-pronged approach. It has also been specified that recruitments in CAPFs will have a much higher proportion of tribal youth from the Maoist affected areas and special recruitment rallies will be convened in these areas.

    “The CAPF personnel deployed in LWE affected areas would be given incentives on par with the maximum prevailing levels — those available in J&K,” the policy says. It has also been specified that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will visit the crime scenes of all serious offences committed by Maoists in the future.

    A plethora of committees have also been proposed by the Home Ministry now as an Oversight mechanism. The main committee will be a core group of Ministers at the National Level — including Ministers of Home, Finance, Tribal Affairs, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport and Highways and Environment and Forests as well as Chief Ministers of the 10 Naxal-affected states — to monitor the Naxal situation in the country and address any coordination measures. “This body should meet at least twice a year,” the policy says. There will also be an inter-ministerial group of officers at the central government level of Secretary-level from the said ministries, a coordination committee at the Centre-state level and a committee for integration and coordination at the state government level, as per the Policy.

    The Policy also specifies that due recognition should be bestowed upon adivasi icons and leaders by celebrating their anniversaries and naming airports, buildings and roads after them as part of public perception management related measures. State patronage should be given for funding of celebration of adivasi festivals and museums and cultural centers should be set up dedicated to adivasi themes, the policy says. Other measures specified in the policy include posting the most competent District Collectors, Superintendents of Police and Station House Officers in the 23 worst naxal-affected districts, modifying the existing Security Related Expenditure and Special Infrastructure Scheme and out-of-turn promotions to non-gazetted ranks of CAPF personnel for work done by them in anti-naxal operations.

    The Home Ministry has also demanded control over the Integrated Action Plan Scheme from the Planning Commission, and said the scheme should be implemented in the worst-affected blocks and not the worst-affected districts. The Policy also asks for speeding up the execution of the Phase-1 of the Road Requirement Plan covering 5700 kilometers of raods in naxal-affected areas and concurrent sanction for Phase 2 of the same plan to cover another 5600 kilometers.

    Source: The Economic Times