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Naxal violence on the wane in Bengal February 28, 2007

Posted by naxalwatch in Uncategorized.


Rohit Khanna

Kolkata, February 27: The Union Government’s policy of ‘zero-tolerance’ towards the various Maoist and Naxalite groups active across the country has led to an overall decline in Naxalite related violence, with West Bengal gaining further following the launch of development works in the affected areas.

In the first two months of 2007 also, the state reported fewer incidents —- just two incidents and one civilian death. The last calendar year had begun on a violent note because of the Assembly elections.

Overall, incidents of Naxalite violence in India declined by 6.15 per cent in calendar 2006 over 2005.

According to officials of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA), in West Bengal, the number of such incidents declined to 23 during 2006, with eight security personnel, nine civilians and two Naxalites reported killed.

Last year, the Union Government deployed 33 battalions of central paramilitary forces on anti-Naxalite duty across the Naxal belt and sanctioned the raising of 29 battalions of the India Reserve Force (IR).

Meanwhile, the Centre has also increased its spending to modernise the forces in terms of weaponry, telecommunication equipment and infrastructure. While Rs 371 crore was released during 2006, compared with Rs 506 crore in 2005-06, it also reimbursed the affected states Rs 219 crore under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme for Naxal affected areas.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pointed out that Naxalite violence is not only a law and order problem but a socio-economic problem. The Union government has earmarked special funds for the development projects in the Naxalite affected states.

It has provided Rs 2475 crore under the Backward District Initiative (BDI) to fill in critical gaps in physical and social development. Funds are given now under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) Scheme.

According to planning commission figures, West Bengal was allotted Rs 360 crore under the BDI during 2003-06, but it received only Rs 157.50 crore till September last year.

MHA officials said the decline in Naxal violence in West Bengal was a result of development works being carried out in different districts.

Moreover, 2006 had begun on a violent note because of the assembly elections in the state. The incidents of Naxalite violence declined after the elections.

In a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the Naxal affected states in Delhi last year, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had urged the Centre to start operation along the ‘Red corridor’, the hideout of the Naxalite groups.

Starting from Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Red Corridor’ runs through eastern Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar, covering almost 155 districts in India.

It links the ‘liberated zones’ of India with the Maoist held territories of Nepal. MHA officials feel the ‘Red Corridor’ helps in uniting the left-extremists of India with their counterparts in Nepal.

After the July 9, 2005, incident in Bankura district, where three CPIM leaders and a policeman were killed in two separate attacks by left-wing extremists of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, events of such big magnitude were on the decline in West Bengal.

According to an official in the state home department, “the current version of terror culture is an import from Andhra Pradesh”. “Neither this is an extension of the Naxalite movement nor does it have any local basis. They are not local people. They are outsiders who are using some local youth in a game of bloodshed,” he felt.

Meanwhile Center has established Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) and Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI) and a special cell to fight Naxals in order to facilitate coordination of intelligence efforts among the Central intelligence agencies and between the Central and state intelligence agencies.


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