Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, Dec. 20: Underlining again, that Maoists posed the single biggest security challenge to India, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today urged chief ministers to cripple their rebellion with all means at their command.
Delving at length on the Maoist movement that affects at least 12 states, Dr Singh reiterated the need to shore up the country's internal security machinery and called for superior policing techniques to defeat the insurgency. "Not a day passes without an incident of left-wing extremism taking place somewhere or the other. There also seems to be a consolidation of various groups with better coordination and strike capabilities," the Prime Minister told chief ministers attending a conclave on internal security. "I have said in the past that left-wing extremism is the single biggest security challenge to the Indian state. It continues to be so, and we cannot rest in peace till we have eliminated this virus. We need a coordinated response to this challenge. The answers to the problem are well known. We need to cripple Naxalite forces with all the means at our command."
Although the number of violent incidents blamed on the Maoists fell from 1,509 in 2006 to 1,285 until Oct 31 this year, the number of security personnel killed by them rose from 157 last year to 188 until the end of October in 2007.
Referring to this week's jailbreak in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district ~ the epicentre of the Maoist rebellion ~ where nearly 300 prisoners along with Maoists escaped, Dr Singh lamented the paucity of policemen to counter the fast-emerging challenges including hinterland terrorism.
"I hear that there were only three personnel at the Dantewada jail. Inadequate, ill-equipped, ill-trained, poorly-motivated personnel cannot take on the Naxal extremists who are increasingly better equipped and organised."
"They are carefully targeting all aspects of economic activity. They are targeting vital economic infrastructure so as to cripple transport and logistic capabilities and also slow down any development activity," he said. He urged the chief ministers to strengthen core policing, fill up vacancies in police forces and show better leadership and resolve to face up to the challenge.