Wants him as Security Adviser in fight against Maoists

After failing to secure a year’s extension for K. Vijay Kumar as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director-General, the Union Home Ministry is keen on getting the retired Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer appointed as Adviser (Security) with the specific role of guiding the government in its fight against Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

Mr. Kumar, who superannuated last month after a two-year stint as head of India’s largest paramilitary force, will also play a key role as a facilitator between the MHA and other Ministries which are carrying out various Centre-sponsored development projects in the Maoist-affected areas in nine States.

“Besides guiding the paramilitary forces, particularly the CRPF that is fighting Maoists in 82 LWE-affected districts, Mr. Kumar will ensure that the government’s development agenda is carried forward in the region. It is not just the MHA but Ministries such as Rural Development, Finance, Road Transport, and Health that want the government to utilise the services of Mr. Kumar,” a senior MHA official told The Hindu.

“Through his strategies and orientation towards development agenda, Mr. Kumar has been able to isolate Maoists in several areas in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra. He has not only lifted the morale of the CRPF but also managed to acquire modern weaponry to take on the Maoists. In Jammu and Kashmir too, where the CRPF took over from the BSF post-Kargil war, there has been considerable change in the overall scenario,” the official added.

Stakes high

For the government, the stakes are high as it believes that the ongoing Integrated Action Plan (IAP) being implemented in 82 select tribal and backward districts in LWE-affected States is key to bringing people back to the national mainstream and counter the anti-government propaganda of the Maoists.

“Till March 2012, the government had released Rs.3,840 crore to execute over 80,000 small and big projects which include construction of schools and anganwadi centres, drinking water facilities, rural roads, skill development and training, irrigation works and health centres,” the official pointed out.

The PMO also seems to have agreed to the MHA’s plan to bring on board Mr. Kumar. Significantly, it is not just Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, but his predecessor and now Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, and Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Jairam Ramesh who are also pushing for Mr. Kumar’s appointment.

When contacted, Mr. Ramesh told The Hindu that the government should continue to use Mr. Kumar’s services in some way or the other, especially in the LWE-affected areas where he had delivered during his two-year tenure as the CRPF chief.

“We can fight the Maoists only through development agenda… the government has opened its coffers to ensure speedy development of the LWE-hit areas which are remote and backward. I believe Mr. Kumar’s appointment as Adviser on security would help in better coordination among the security agencies and government departments and officials carrying out development work there… it will help us in making further progress in our fight against the Maoists,” Mr. Ramesh noted.

While talking to media on his last day as CRPF chief, Mr. Kumar had stressed the need for winning over people’s hearts in LWE areas to defeat Maoists. “We have to have perseverance, the Indian state has to be patient, security forces have to be competent and the development has to be rapid. With all these, I hope things will happen. We need to win over the people... win their minds and hearts,” he had said. Apart from his work in the LWE-hit areas, Mr. Kumar has two major achievements to his credit — elimination of forest brigand Veerappan and killing of Maoist leader Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji.

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