Noose set to tighten around Naxals, propaganda outfits

The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday reviewed the Naxal situation in the country and decided to ask the affected State Governments to take strictest possible measures to check the propaganda machinery of the frontal outfits of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The Government also decided to advise the State Governments to take initiatives to take on the Maoists and highlight the development initiatives of the Government in order to quell the propaganda of the Naxals. The Maoist propaganda against the state and its institutions demoralises the security forces, particularly the Central paramilitary forces, officials said.

A number of Naxal-sympathising outfits take up the cause of the ultras and demonise the security forces, especially after successful operations by the security forces against them. The high-level meeting was attended by senior officials of the Central paramilitary forces, officials of the Intelligence Bureau and the Union Home Ministry. A decision was also taken to increase the deployment of the paramilitary forces from the present 81 battalions to 90 battalions, sources said, adding the assessments point out to the requirement of deployment of at least 100 battalions to contain influence of the Maoists. The Centre also decided to ask the affected State Governments to develop ground level intelligence for a better understanding of the Naxal situation in their respective areas of administration.

Union Home Secretary RK Singh has in the past expressed concern over the lack of initiative by the State police forces in undertaking the anti-Naxal operations and poor collection of ground level intelligence by the police forces of the States. According to the laid-down provisions, the State police forces are supposed to undertake operations and the Central forces are mandated to assist them in anti-Naxal operations. But in many of the States, the reverse is true and the State police forces participate in the anti-Naxal operations only for a formality. There has been concern over the CPI(Maoist)-determined efforts to create new bases in several districts of western Odisha and adjoining parts of Chhattisgarh.

Activities of the armed Maoists continue unabated in their strongholds with the outfit organising village-level meetings to solicit new recruits, threatening/killing civilians branding them as police informers and warning the inhabitants against associating with the security forces. The Centre has earmarked an amount of `10 crore under the head of Advertisement and Publicity for psychological operations in the Naxal-affected States through the Song and Drama Division and the State Governments are required to frame their own psy-ops tactics in a holistic manner to counter the Naxal propaganda against the State.

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