Accessibility to fast-paced development is very essential to ensure that common and innocent people do not join left-wing extremists, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.
While chairing a review meeting on ‘Left Wing Extremisms’ (LWE) with Chief Ministers and their representatives of 10 Naxal-hit states, the Home Minister said that without eliminating the Naxal menace, “neither we will be able to spread democracy to the bottom nor will we be able to develop the underdeveloped areas.”
“So, instead of being satisfied with what we have achieved so far, we need to increase speed to get what is left,” Shah said appealed to all Chief Ministers of Naxal-hit states to give priority to the menace for the next one year for its permanent solution and arrange review meetings with the Director Generals of Police (DGPs) and officers of central agencies at least every three months.
The Home Minister also urged the states that the Chief Secretaries of the affected states should hold a review meeting with the Director-Generals of Police (DGPs) and officers of central agencies at least every three months to deal with LWE, and “then only we can take this fight forward.”
He said that in the last two years, a huge and successful effort has been made to increase security camps in areas where security was not stringent, especially in Chhattisgarh, as well as in Maharashtra and Odisha.
Shah said that if a regular review is done at the level of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and DGP, then the problems of coordination at the lower level will automatically get resolved.
The Home Minister also suggested neutralising the sources of income of the LWEs. “The agencies of the Central and state governments should try to stop this by making a system together,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Union Minister made it clear that “those who want to give up arms and become part of democracy are warmly welcome but those who take up arms and hurt innocent people and the police will be given the same response.”
“We welcome all those who want to leave the violence and join the mainstream,” he added.
Noting “unless we get rid of the problem of LWE completely”, Shah said, “Full development of the country and the states affected by it is not possible.”
Focussing that the Central government is committed to the development of LWE affected states, Shah said the development is continuing and “now the Naxalites have also understood that innocent people will not be misled by them, which is why it is very important to continue uninterrupted development.”
Shah said that in decades of fighting, we have reached a point where the death toll is less than 200 for the first time and this is a huge achievement for all of us.
He also mentioned that while the incidents of LWE have come down by 23 per cent, the number of deaths has come down by 21 per cent.
The Minister said that the fight against the problem, which has claimed the lives of more than 16,000 civilians in the last 40 years, has now reached its end and it needs to be accelerated and made decisive.
Shah said that recently, the Central government has been successful in getting many extremist groups to surrender and lay down arms, especially in the North East.
So far, about 16,000 cadres have joined the mainstream of the society, including the Bodoland Pact, the Bru Pact, the Karbi Anglong Pact and the surrender by the insurgent cadres of Tripura.
Shah said that the state administration should be proactive and move ahead in coordination with the central forces.
He said that efforts have been made to fulfill the demands of the states regarding the deployment of Central forces.
The Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken an important decision to bring down the fixed expenditure of the States on the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
As a result of this, the Minister said, there has been a reduction in the expenditure of the states on the deployment of CAPFs by about Rs 2,900 crore in 2019-20 as compared to the year 2018-19.
“The Prime Minister has continuously reviewed it and is constantly guiding us all,” he said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that left-wing extremism has been a significant security challenge for last so many decades.
Though primarily a State subject, the MHA has promulgated a ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ since 2015 to address the LWE menace holistically and the progress and the situation is being monitored rigorously and this policy consists of a multi-pronged approach.
The significant features of the policy are zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of development reached the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas.
Ministry said that it is supporting the state governments for Capacity Building and strengthening of Security Apparatus by the deployment of CAPF Battalions, provision of helicopters and UAVs and sanction of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs)/ Special India Reserve Battalions (SIRBs). Funds are also provided under the Modernization of Police Force (MPF), Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme and Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) for modernization and training of State Police.
For the development of LWE affected states, the Central government has taken several developmental initiatives which include sanction of 17,600 Kilometers of the road out of which 9,343 have already been constructed.
To improve telecom connectivity in LWE affected districts, 2,343 new mobile towers have been installed and 2542 additional towers will be installed in the next 18 months.