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 the Maoists.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the top civil and police brass of 10 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 media persons after chairing a high-level meeting.
Chief secretaries and director generals of police of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and chiefs of paramilitary forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force 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 National Democratic Alliance 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.
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.
The central government and the states, during the meeting, also unanimously decided to undertake a four-pronged approach to tackle the Naxal problem taking into account security and development issues, entitlement to social welfare schemes like providing land authorisation and right to avail government policies by the tribals and locals.
The government also plans to make good use of perception management amongst the public in this endeavour. Sources said the home ministry was of the view that rewards for surrendering Naxal leaders and cadres should be increased to make such schemes attractive and workable.
The home minister also sought to enhance the incentives and allowances for central security force troopers deployed in these areas bringing them on par with those deployed in the counter-militancy grid in Jammu and Kashmir. At present, a jawan working in the anti-Naxal operations grid earns Rs 4,000 less than his colleague deployed in J and K.
An official said that the Home Minister made it clear to the states that funds will not be a constraint in the fight against Maoists. During the meeting, few states, including Chhattisgarh, sought more helicopters for aiding forces involved in anti-Naxal operations.
The home ministry was of the opinion that road networks should be built in all the states to help in the movement of security forces and also ensure development work percolates down to far flung areas. The government made it clear to the states that any attack by the Maoists should be retaliated effectively even as it asked the states to allocate more funds for new projects in
the affected areas. The home minister asked the states to appoint young, bold and courageous district magistrates and superintendents of police in Naxal-hit districts to provide better administration and good leadership. A decision was taken, the sources said, for enhancing skill-building initiatives in these areas.