Left-wing extremism steadily increasing in Karnataka: Gowda

Left-wing extremism (LSE) is steadily increasing in five districts of Karnataka, chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda today said, demanding support from the Centre in training and provision of infrastructure to tackle it. Addressing the chief ministers’ conference on internal security,Gowda said while hardcore Naxal-affected states were being provided with additional funding, states like Karnataka which are also affected by the menace were not getting any support.

“The grand plan of left-wing organisations to infiltrate and expand their activities to infiltrate and expand their activities in the states sharing the Western Ghats is well known to the central government. As part of this plan, Naxal activities in the five Western Ghats’ districts of Karnataka are steadily increasing,” he said.

He said the state is requesting support from the central government in strengthening the manpower of anti-Naxal force by way of training, additional funding and provision for state-of-art arms but no such assistance has been given by the Centre.

Gowda asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure assistance to the state through CRPF’s COBRA unit in training of Anti-Naxalite Unit staff of Karnataka Police and also to extend additional funding and supply of appropriate arms to the unit.

He said while Naxal-affected states have been allowed to set up critical infrastructure in the forest areas through relaxation of Forest Conservation Act, Karnataka has not been allowed to do so.

“In spite of our repeated requests, no such relaxation is being extended so far by the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment. Through this forum, I impress upon the Prime Minister to extend such relaxation to the Naxal-affected areas of Karnataka also,” he said.

On the National Counter Terrorism Centre issue, Gowda said it has been modelled on such an agency in the United States but the scheme of things were different in the two countries.

He said, “We must not forget that the police, and law and order are state subjects under the Constitution and any direct entry into those areas by the Union government through such devices as the NCTC would encroach into the very federal arrangements and erode the powers of the states.

“The past experience seems to indicate the occasional misuse of criminal laws and central police establishments as well as para-military forces for political gains against the opposition-ruled states. There is no reason to suspect that the proposed arrangement in the NCTC will be an exception to it,” he said.

The chief minister also underlined the failure of 12 boats, provided under the coastal security scheme, by the Centre to face turbulant weather and ferry to long distances.

“The boats supplied cannot be operated during inclement weather. They also cannot venture beyond four-five kilometres from the coastline. Secondly, co-ordination between the Coastal Police, the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy leaves much to be desired,” he said.

He said communication arrangements covering the Navy, the Coast Guard and the Coastal Police were neither adequate nor comprehensive.

Gowda said boats of all types including fishing boats, merchant vessels and pirate vessels should be identified in such a way that fishermen from one state are not harassed by the Coastal Police of another state, which was frequently happening now.

He sought the Centre’s help in intercepting communication among the terrorist organisations, through internet telephony, and satellite communications, with the assistance of agencies like the CBI and the RAW and also to clear supply of arms from ordnance factory.

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