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Unacceptably high casualties in Maoist violence: PC

November 09, 2011 22:23 IST
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday told the Orissa and Jharkhand governments that civilian and security force casualties in Maoist violence were "unacceptably high" and should be brought down.

"The number of civilian and security personnel casualties is still unacceptably high. First it should drop considerably. I think a lot of work is to be done," he told reporters at Ranchi after a visit to Orissa. Between June and October there have been some significant successes, but I don't think we can rest on our successes (as) the level of violence (in Jharkhand) is still unacceptably high," he said.

From three battalions in the state five to six years ago, he said the state now had 14 CRPF and two CoBRA battalions, besides its own 13,000-14,000 personnel to combat Maoists.

After reviewing steps and actions being taken by the state against Maoists in the presence of Chief Minister Arjun Munda, Chidambaram said Jharkhand was one of the most affected states as far as Left-wing extremism was concerned and roughly 130 police station areas were affected.

Stating that the Centre would stand by but it was the state's responsibility to deal with Maoists, he hoped that there would be 'greater and greater' results in the future.

Reviewing the progress of infrastructural work in the 14 districts covered in the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), he said on the physical side 50 per cent work was complete and on the financial side 58 per cent.

Chidamabaram expected 70 per cent infrastructural work in Jharkhand to be completed by the end of November and 95 per cent to 100 per cent by March as per targets set. "We are giving Rs 55 crore to each of district (under the IAP). It's a lot of money, and a lot of infrastructure can be placed, and I am reasonably satisfied with the progress, but I will continue to monitor it."

Earlier in Bhubaneswar, he told the Orissa government to "learn" from other states and the Centre to tackle Maoists. "I have learnt their (state) problems. Now Orissa should learn a little more from other states and the Centre... the state administration and the police should gain mastery over the situation," he said after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

"The number of casualty of civilian and security forces stand at 48 by the end of October. By end of the year, it may go a little beyond 50. This is unacceptably high level of casualty," he said.

Pointing out that about 60 police station areas were affected by Left-wing extremists, Chidambaram said, "Four years ago, we had only four battalions of central armed police in the state. Today, their number is 13 battalions besides one battalion of Cobra force.

"Effectively, we inducted about 10,000 more central armed constables and officers in the state. I have impressed upon the state administration to show results," he said.

Maintaining that the level of violence was still high and unacceptable, Chidambaram hoped that the "edge of the Naxalites will be blunted."

The chief minister, however, claimed that there was a decline in Maoist related casualty in the state in comparison to the previous years. "We have made much progress on the Maoist front," he said.
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