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PM's ideas to tackle Naxalism
September 05, 2006 14:19 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday proposed the constitution of an Empowered Group of Ministers to closely monitor the spread of Naxalite movement.
The group could be headed by the home minister and include select chief ministers and meet at frequent intervals, Dr Singh said in his introductory remarks at the chief ministers' conference on internal security.
He said the group could discuss special measures that need to be taken and the nature of assistance to be provided besides exchange of personnel between states.
The prime minister emphasised on improving the intelligence mechanism.
"I also recommend to you paying more attention to improving the software needed for the maintenance of peace. I mean by this, improving intelligence generation and collection, as also the overall strengthening of your intelligence mechanism," he told the chief ministers.
He said that analytical capabilities needed to be enhanced and proper benchmarks established against which progress and performance could be measured.
"Unless you devote personal attention to these matters, results cannot be expected," he said.
Dr Singh said, "We need a blend of firm, but sophisticated, handling of Naxalite violence with sensitive handling of the developmental aspects."
He said that it was in the most neglected areas of the country that Left wing extremism is thriving today.
"These are also the main recruiting grounds for Naxalite outfits," he said.
The prime minister said that while Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh were in the forefront of Naxal-related activities, many other states remained vulnerable.
"Chief ministers must personally take in hand what deliverables are possible even while preparing to meet Naxalite violence through effective law and order measures," he said.
Expressing concern over the increasing activities of 'externally inspired and directed' terrorist outfits in the country, Dr Singh said intelligence agencies warn of further intensification of violence, with the possibility of more of suicide bombings, attacks on economic and religious targets besides those on vital installations, including nuclear establishments and army camps.
"Reports also suggest that terrorist modules and sleeper cells exist in some of our urban areas, all of which highlight the seriousness of the threat," he said.
Describing these as serious matters, the prime minister said this will necessitate greater alertness on the part of the states and local intelligence agencies, as also the police. "Unless the beat constable is brought into the vortex of our counter-terrorist strategy, our capacity to pre-empt future attacks would be severely limited," he said.
Dr Singh also said that in the battle of terrorism, the role of the public will be vital.
"A major effort is necessary on our part to sensitise the public into becoming allies in this war and persuade some of them to function as counter-terrorist wardens, who could report on any kind of unusual activity," he said.
Seeking to allay insecurity among minorities, especially Muslims, the prime minister said the adverse consequences of the prevailing insecurity 'can be extremely deleterious for our polity'.
"It is unfortunate that terrorism has resulted in certain sections of our population being targeted, with the result that a wrong impression has been created of the radicalisation of the entire Muslim community," he said.
Dr Singh said it was imperative to embark immediately upon a pro-active policy to ensure that a few individual acts did not result in tarnishing the image of an entire community, and remove any feelings of persecution and alienation from the minds of the minorities.
Recognising that the Muslim community in large parts of the country nursed a strong grievance of not having been an active participant and beneficiary of process of social and economic development, he said, "All of us have an obligation to redress legitimate grievances of our minorities" and reminded the chief ministers of their special role.
He cautioned that while dealing with terrorism, no innocent person should be harassed. If a mistake is made, effective remedial and corrective measures must be taken well in time, he said and asked government agencies to have intimate contacts with community leaders.