M A I N   N E W S

Left-wing extremism biggest test: PM
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20
Terming Left-wing extremism as single biggest security challenge to the nation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked states to establish specialised and dedicated forces to eliminate this virus.

“Left-wing extremism continues to affect many districts of our country. Not a day passes without an incident of Left-wing extremism taking place somewhere or the other. It continues to be single biggest security challenge to the Indian state and we cannot rest in peace until we have eliminated this virus,” the Prime Minister told a high-level meeting of Chief Ministers here.

“The reach of terrorists is such that no one can say that they are fully immune from such attacks,” he said adding intelligence agencies have warned about terror groups intensifying violence. “The country’s internal security challenges need your personal attention and leadership,” he said.

“Over the last year, the activities of Naxal groups have revealed new aspects. They seem to have developed the capability in some areas to launch frontal attacks on police forces and establishments,” he said adding to check this we need improved intelligence gathering capabilities, improved policing capabilities, better coordination between the centre and the states and better coordination between states and better leadership and firmer resolve.

Urging states to establish specialised, dedicated forces to fight such extremism, the Prime Minister said: “These forces should be led by capable, highly motivated officers who can imbue the necessary fighting spirit in their personnel.”

“The home ministry will provide all possible assistance to these forces. States also need to consider joint operations and joint mechanisms for effective police operations in appropriate cases,” he said.

He also urged Chief Ministers to fill up vacancies in police forces and show better leadership and resolve to face the challenge.

Referring to this week’s jailbreak in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewad district, the epicentre of the Maoist rebellion where nearly 300 prisoners along with Maoists escaped, the PM lamented the paucity of policemen to counter the fast-emerging challenges, including hinterland terrorism.

“I hear that there were only three police personnel in 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 (Naxals) are targeting vital economic infrastructure so as to cripple transport and logistic capabilities and also slow down any development activity. This helps them sustain their ideology of deprivation and neglect. They have even managed to eliminate some important political leaders and their associates in some states,” he said.

Pointing to the high-profile terror attacks in Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Punjab and the multiple strikes in Uttar Pradesh this year, the PM stressed the importance of sprucing up the intelligence machinery by proper staffing, equipping of special branches and involving people to fight the menace.

“They key to success in fighting terror is intelligence and intelligence needs to be precise and capable of being acted upon,” he said.

“The other aspect I notice is the increased focus of terrorists on soft targets. These include transport systems as we saw in Mumbai, public places, as we saw in Hyderabad and Punjab and religious shrines, as we saw in Ajmer,” he said.

“We need to improve our surveillance and preventive systems to reduce the probability of terror attacks. This is a cost, but a cost we must learn to bear for the sake of the safety and security of our citizens,” he said.



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