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India to spend billions
to eliminate communist rebels
Ashok Sharma in New Delhi | September 20, 2005 09:41 IST
India will invest billions of rupees to upgrade its police force in a bid to wipe out communist rebels who are active across the country, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said on Monday.
Patil said the government will spend Rs 16.45 billion (US$366 million) a year to modernise the police.
Chief ministers and police officers of 12 Naxalite-hit states meeting in Delhi also agreed to set up interstate joint task forces that would share intelligence as part of efforts to combat the insurgents.
Naxalites are mainly active in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and Chattisgarh.
Another six neighbouring states, which are on the fringes of the insurgency, also sent representatives to Monday's meeting.
More than 6,000 people have been killed since the Naxalites launched their rebellion in 1981.
The rebels oppose what they call oppression of the poor by the government and landowners.
Indian police accuse them of extorting money from poor villagers, forcing many of them to migrate to towns and cities.
A special taskforce would be set up in each of the 12 states to encourage better governance and faster socio-economic development in areas where the rebels have a stronghold and where poverty is often more entrenched, Patil said.
Police will recruit locals from these areas to jobs within the force.
Every district affected by rebel violence will get Rs 20 million (US$444,000) from the Centre to modernise its police force and improve intelligence gathering, Patil said.
He did not say how many districts in total will receive funds.
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