Nip Maoist menace in bud, Centre tells Assam

GUWAHATI: The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has advised the state government to adopt coordinated measures to tackle the Maoist problem that is currently at a nascent stage in Assam. These holistic measures include security enhancement along with development, ensuring rights of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management.

A source said chief minister Tarun Gogoi made it clear that the state government would deal firmly with any threats posed by Maoists while the Centre will closely monitor the situation and supplement the state’s efforts. “The Maoists have been trying to lure the youth. They are also trying to forge links with groups like the anti-talk Ulfa and others. But, our government is aware of the matter and we have already formulated an action plan to deal with the situation before it gets worse,” a government official said.

According to the state government’s data, Maoist presence and their activities in the state have been found mostly along the border with Arunachal Pradesh. The police, however, are finding it difficult to differentiate between a sympathizer of the anti-talk Ulfa faction and a Maoist. “In most cases, we have found that anti-talk Ulfa supporters are actually doubling up as Maoists,” the source said.

The MHA has advised the state government to augment the police force, strengthen the intelligence bureau and make the primary facilities of health, education, drinking water, electricity easily accessible to people immediately.

Another important strategy to tackle the Maoist problem is to identify critical infrastructure and development projects in the affected areas, particularly in the sphere of connectivity and formulate action plans to implement these. Moreover, there should be mechanisms of public grievance redressal to create an overall positive environment and build the confidence of the people.

Like the governments of other Maoist-affected states, the chief minister has also asked for financial assistance from the Centre for the state’s backward areas as these are usually the breeding ground of the Maoists. Gogoi also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week and discussed the Maoist problem in the state.

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