Home minister talks tough on Maoists, rules out dialogue

The government on Friday ruled out holding any talks with Naxalites but said a balanced approach will be adopted in close coordination with states to tackle the violence perpetrated by Maoists.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Home minister Rajnath Singh told the top civil and police brass of ten Maoist-hit states that enough funds will be provided to equip and modernise their respective police forces and asked them to give a fitting reply if the Maoists try to challenge their authority.

‘There is no question of any talks now. We will take a balanced approach. But the forces will give a befitting reply if the Naxals launch attacks,’ Singh told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting.
Chief secretaries and DGPs of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and chiefs of paramilitary forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) and top officials of the Home Ministry attended the meeting.

This was for the first time that the new Home minister was briefed by each of the states about the Maoist menace in their respective areas as Singh spelled out the priorities of the NDA government.
A Home Ministry official later said talks with the Maoists will be held only when the rebels shun violence and come forward for dialogue.

During the meeting, the Home Minister asked all states to adopt a uniform and concerted approach to tackle the Maoist movement. The states assured him of their full support to the central government’s initiatives in this regard, the official said. Incidentally, a presentation made by the Intelligence Bureau at the meeting is said to have rated Odisha and Maharashtra as better performers on the counter-Naxal front, followed by Chhattisgarh. Jharkhand and Bihar were ranked the lowest.
According to sources, Bihar, which had earlier been at variance with the Centre and other states on tough policing against Maoists, on Friday joined other states in unanimously backing a uniform approach against Left-wing extremism.

Rajnath Singh said that the Home Ministry will fully fund formation of special forces on the lines of the elite anti- Naxal force Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and initially such squads will come up in
the four states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar.

The nearly four-hour long meeting also decided that the central government will micro-manage the ongoing road construction works in Naxal-affected states for their better and time-bound completion.
At the review meeting, attended by MoS for home Kiren Rijiju and heads of paramilitary forces, the Union home minister insisted on better road connectivity in Naxal areas to bring out the tribals from areas claimed as ‘liberated’ by the Left-wing extremists. ‘The Centre will micro-manage road projects,’ said a home ministry official after the meeting.

The new initiatives also include making skill building the focus of the Integrated Action Plan scheme, under which Rs 30 crore is directly given to top district officials across 88 districts every year for development works.
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