After undertaking the first review of Left Wing extremism after he assumed office last month, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday ruled out talks with Maoists. However, Mr. Singh asserted that the government would adopt a “balanced approach” to resolve the problem through administrative leadership and political commitment.
Mr. Singh said Central forces would give a “befitting reply” if attacked and announced that the Centre would raise funds for an elite commando force on the lines of the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh. This force will be for other Left Wing extremism-affected States such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. It was reiterated that any attack by Maoists should be retaliated effectively and States were asked to allocate more funds for new projects in the affected areas.
The Home Minister, who chaired a meeting of Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of 10 Left Wing extremism-affected States and the chiefs of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), assured that enough funds would be provided to States to equip and modernise their police forces.
“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,” Mr. Singh told journalists after the meeting.
The performance of different States in counter-insurgency measures, anti-Left Wing extremism operations, road connectivity and installation of mobile towers came up for discussion.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded high priority on improving Centre-State relations, Mr. Singh said the Central government would respond positively to suggestions of the States in overcoming the Naxal extremism in a coherent and cohesive manner.
“There will be better coordination between the Centre and States through confidence and commitment of all concerned,” Mr. Singh said. He said road construction and telecom connectivity would be taken up on a priority basis.
It was also decided that the Central Government would micro-manage the ongoing road construction works in Naxal violence-affected States to ensure their completion in a time-bound manner.
Later, a senior Home Ministry official said talks with the Maoists would be held only if they give up violence and come forward for a dialogue.
Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and chiefs of paramilitary forces such as the CRPF and the BSF and top officials of the Home Ministry attended the four-hour long meeting.