Chhattisgarh govt not doing enough on naxal front: Centre

Maoist violence in the country may be on the downward slope in the past three years but the situation in Chhattisgarh remains a “cause of concern” for the Centre, which feels that the state is “not doing enough” to corner the Left wing extremists.

Upset over the slow pace, the Union Home Ministry has summoned top officials of the Chhattisgarh government to New Delhi to give a tough talk and review the progress made by the state on the anti-naxal front. Top officials from the state government and police would attend the meeting.

Sources said the meeting would be held at the official-level, as Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh would not be able to reach New Delhi due to personal problems.

The security establishment is not enthused with Chhattisgarh administration’s efforts on the ground in dealing with naxals. They believe that the state police forces are not trying to capitalise on the forward movement the forces had earlier achieved.

The feeling in the Home Ministry is that the state is not engaging with the Maoists and pushing them further, thus resulting in the regrouping of the naxals enabling them to launch spectacular attacks.

Sources said there were several cases were naxals wanted to surrender but they could not as there was no follow up action from the state’s side.

The Annual Report 2013-14 of the Home Ministry, tabled recently in Parliament, had also acknowledged the serious situation in Chhattisgarh.

The report pointed out that naxal violence has “significantly declined” since 2011 but 2014 has witnessed “major strikes” by Maoists in Chhattisgarh. “The situation in the State of Chhattisgarh is a cause of concern,” the Ministry said.

However, it added, the government is optimistic of eradicating the naxal menace through the “strategic vision” combining development and security related interventions.

Sources said the Centre has provided funds in abundance and they would expect results on the ground. Under the head of Security Related Expenses, the Centre has already released Rs 14.80 crore between April and July this year while Rs 47.78 crore was released in 2013-14 fiscal. The Centre has also released Rs 16.55 crore so far, the highest for any naxal-affected state, under Special Infrastructure Scheme.

Chhattisgarh has witnessed 184 naxal-related incidents out of 620 this year until July 7 as against 355 incidents in 2013. While 111, including 44 security personnel, were killed last year, 72 people, including 37 security personnel, lost their lives in naxal violence.

Ten districts, including Bastar and Dantewada, had witnessed naxal violence while six other districts had witnessed some naxal activities.

Only Jharkhand has more incidents than Chhattisgarh at 202 this year and 387 last year.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 28, 2014)

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