Faced with a spurt in Naxal violence and the need to evolve a cohesive strategy to counter the menace, the Centre has convened a meeting here of Chief Ministers of the affected States for July 14.
To be presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the day-long meeting will see the participation of the Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Jharkhand, under President's rule, will be represented by its Governor, official sources in the Home Ministry said here on Tuesday.
The meeting comes in the wake of the June 29 massacre of 27 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh. Earlier, in April 75 CRPF jawans and one State policeman lost their lives. In the space of three months, 102 CRPF jawans fell victims to Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh, sending shock waves in the government as well as the security establishment. The reported lack of coordination between the CRPF and the State police came to the fore in the aftermath of the Naxal strikes.
In West Bengal, Maoists targeted a passenger train, derailing it and resulting in the death of nearly 150 passengers.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has pointed to the need for “revisiting” the deployment of Central forces in the Naxal-affected areas. At the July 14 meeting, the government will elicit the views of the Chief Ministers and take them as crucial inputs in finalising a fresh strategy to counter Maoist violence. The government has been maintaining that accelerated development and calibrated police action are the two pillars of its anti-Naxal policy. The Planning Commission has also put on fast track development schemes in more than two dozen Naxal violence-hit districts.
According to figures available here, Naxal violence has claimed the lives of over 10,000 civilians and security personnel in the last five years. Of the 10,268 casualties between 2005 and May 2010, as many as 2,372 deaths were reported in 2009 as against 1,769 in 2008 and 1,737 in 2007.