MHA plans centre for sharing Red intel

NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry is mulling over a proposal by the CRPF to set up a multi-agency centre, NAMAC, dedicated to coordination and sharing of intelligence inputs related to Left-wing extremists.

The proposal was discussed at a meeting of the existing multi-agency centre (MAC) on Wednesday. Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Nehchal Sandhu and CRPF director-general K Vijay Kumar attended the meeting. Police chiefs of nine Maoist-affected states took part in the meeting via video-conferencing.

Though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has often called the Maoist insurgency the “biggest security threat” facing the country, the existing MAC, housed in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), does not handle intelligence about the ultra-Left outfit. Latest figures released by the home ministry showed there were 244 deaths in 864 instances of Maoist violence till June 30. During this period, 162 civilians, 82 security force personnel and 49 Maoists were killed.

CRPF chief Vijay Kumar said, “We had an interaction with intelligence agencies today. CRPF is keen on a mechanism that would deal with Maoist-related intelligence.”

The CRPF wants to involve the police and intelligence units of Maoist-hit states for the centralized NAMAC. Last month, the CRPF brass held a meeting with police chiefs of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

The IB is yet to decide on a separate MAC for Maoist-related intelligence. For now, the existing MAC will deal with it.

The biggest hurdle in anti-Maoist operations is the lack or almost absence of quality intelligence, said an officer involved in the operations.

Besides problems of coordination in matters related to anti-Maoist operations, weak intelligence sharing between states and central agencies is a major concern. Also, quality real-time intelligence inputs about Maoists is hard to come by. Gathering human intelligence in vast swathes of land, especially in Maoist liberated zones, where the government has almost no access or connect with the people is equally challenging. Poor connectivity in these remote areas hampers technical intelligence too.

Quality intelligence would reduce casualties and increase efficacy of anti-Maoist operations, said an officer.

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