Shinde holds high-level meet, says Centre, states will launch joint action against Naxals

Days after the brutal attack by Maoists on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday said that the Centre and states would undertake joint operations to eliminate the Naxal threat.

Shinde, who was presiding over a high-level meeting to review the security situation in Chhattisgarh in the wake of the May 25 Naxal attack, said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating whether their was a security lapse that led to the tragic Bastar incident.

Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt and Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh participated in the meeting that was attended by other top officials and chiefs of all central and state security agencies.

Shinde on his arrival earlier in the day visited the native place of former Chhattisgarh PCC Chief Nand Kumar Patel in Raigarh to convey his condolences to the bereaved family. He also visited the injured admitted to a hospital in Raipur.

Shinde had earlier on Thursday assured full protection to politicians working in Naxal-affected states irrespective of their party affiliation.

“The security arrangement for everyone will be strengthened and especially for those persons, who are working towards bringing a democratic set up in the Maoist-affected (areas). Leaders and workers of all parties will be given full security,” he told mediapersons in the national capital last evening.

Shinde admitted that the ultras pose a threat to urban cities of the country.

“We have intelligence reports of the same. In Pune also, I had said that Maoist outfits are spreading their wings. We have information that the rebels might attack many urban cities,” he said.

The Home Minister also refuted media reports about him extending his stay in the United States, saying he had to stay on for consultations with an eye specialist.

Shinde had earlier led a delegation to the United States for a homeland security dialogue before deciding to stay back for eye-related consultations.

An all-party meeting convened by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh on the Maoist issue yesterday urged the Central Government to come out with a work plan, and called for better coordination to tackle the threat.

The meeting, which was attended by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left Parties, concluded that the Maoist issue is a national problem and not specific to a particular state.

Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh had earlier on Tuesday said anti-Naxal operations will be intensified with more security forces and modern weapons being provided by the Central Government to the affected regions.

“We will coordinate with Naxal-hit states adjoining Chhattisgarh and forces and modern weapons would be provided by the Centre for anti-Naxal operations,” he told mediapersons in Raipur after holding a meeting of senior officials at the police headquarters.

Singh further said a judicial inquiry has been set up to find out the error.

“The state government has requested the honourable Chief Justice to nominate a sitting judge. We will come to know where was the error,” he said.

Singh further said there is proper coordination with the neighbouring state governments, and added that the ultras are on the backfoot at several places.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the attack by the Maoists on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on Saturday ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state”s Bastar district, killing 28 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 37 others.

Former Union Minister V.C. Shukla injured in the attack is being treated at a Medanta hospital in Gurgaon. His condition is stated to be critical, but stable. (ANI)