BSF to get powers to arrest Maoists, CRPF to grill them

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is looking at giving wider role and powers to the paramilitary forces to quell Maoist insurgency.

In the just-concluded annual Director Generals of Police conclave in the capital, the ministry strongly suggested equipping Border Security Force (BSF) with the legal powers to arrest and formation of joint interrogation cells to let the Central Reserve Paramilitary Force (CRPF) engage in questioning the accused in areas affected by the Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

The proposals were debated hotly in a separate meeting on the sidelines of the DGPs conference with the states. The MHA’s proposal for joint interrogation cell, however, met with resistance from the states who argued that given the federal nature the move is legally not possible and could lead to undermining of state police’s powers.

Given the increased Maoist build up in Orissa, the MHA agreed to double the strength of the Special Operations Group. With the increased paramilitary forces presence in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and a military training centre coming up in Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh, the Maoists have started moving their armed cadres to Orissa which can increase the violence levels in the coming days, sources said.

The Ministry has also asked the state police chiefs of the Maoist-affected states to concentrate mainly on neutralising the top Maoist leadership belonging to the polit bureau, central committee, central military commission and zonal committees and preferably try to arrest them so it could lead to more information and arrests.

Currently, of the 15 member polit bureau of the CPI (Maoist), seven are in jail while eight, including general secretary Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganpati, senior members Nambala Keshav Rao, Mallojula Koteshwar Rao, Kattam Sudarshan, Mallojula Venugopal, Misir Besra, Prashant Bose alias Kishan Da and Malla Raji Reddy are on the run.

Among the 33 central committee members, 16 members, including 7 PB members, are still in the fighting mode while nine have been arrested and one, Lanka Papi Reddy surrendered in 2008.


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