Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chose not to touch the contentious issue of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) at the Chief Minister’s conference on internal security here on Wednesday, though he called for “…coordinated effort by Central and State agencies to deal with terrorism and other security challenges.”
Dr. Singh, however, termed Left Wing Extremism a “very grave threat” to the nation and asked the States to come up with concrete measures to deal with it.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Singh said: “Time has now come to view the challenges of terrorism, communal violence and Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner. I think each one of us needs to be completely objective in our approach to these issues, acting in national interest, rising above narrow political and ideological divides.”
Referring to the killings of senior Congress leaders by Maoists in Chhattisgarh last month, he said such violence had no place in democracy and urged that a broader national consensus be built on the strategy to tackle Naxalism. The government convened a meeting of all parties for June 10 to discuss this crucial issue.
Dr. Singh said the Centre adopted a two-pronged strategy to deal with the Left Wing Extremism: conducting proactive and sustained operations against Naxals; and addressing issues of development and governance in the Maoist-affected areas. “Even as we intensify our efforts to strengthen the security and intelligence apparatus in areas affected by Maoist violence, we should be able to ensure that people residing in Left Wing Extremist-affected areas are able to live in… peace and security and derive full benefits of our development efforts.”
Improvement in Valley
Pointing out that the security situation in the Kashmir Valley had improved significantly as terror incidents last year were lowest in the past 20 years, Dr. Singh said: “Our strategy to prevent cross-border infiltration by militants and our intelligence-based counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in a decline in the level of terrorist violence by about one-third in 2012, compared with 2011.”
Noting that the number of tourists visiting the State went up considerably, he said: “The record inflow of tourists and pilgrims during 2012 also points to an improved security situation in the State.” Infrastructure projects were being taken up, while the Centre’s skills development initiatives for youth were a hit. All these were “welcome developments.”
However, the security situation in the northeast was “complex,” Dr. Singh said, pointing out that peace talks with various insurgent groups were going on. “The security situation in the northeast continues to be complex, with insurgency, extortion and agitations being the main disruptive elements in the hands of the insurgents.”
Keywords: Chief Ministers' Conference on internal security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, north-eastern States, security situation, coordinated action, insurgents, ULFA, NDFB(P), NDFB(RD), NSCN, GTA, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration