Patil asks states to fill up police vacancies

March 19th, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Home Minister Shivraj Patil Wednesday asked states to fill up police vacancies to take on Maoists and terrorists while describing as exaggerated figures about the spread of Maoist insurgency in India. Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Patil asked state governments to strengthen the police and security forces, filling up the existing vacancies in the forces.

“There are states with 25-30 percent vacancies in their police forces,” he said.

“Some people feel that the police is a non-productive force. But I say security is important for improving productivity.”

At the same time, the minister dismissed as inflated the much-publicised figures about the spread of Maoism in the country.

“We have heard here several times that 10 states and 180 districts are affected by Naxalism. This would bring the figure to 33 percent of the country being affected.”

“But when I asked how many police stations (are affected), they said 300 police stations, which makes it nearly three percent. And when we look at the villages, it is only 14,000 villages, which works out to less than one percent.”

But the minister admitted that the spread of Maoists in the country was a serious issue.

“But that does not mean we will be cowed down by gun toting terrorists. I appeal to you (that) we will further strengthen them if we try to exaggerate their impact and influence.”

Patil said that Chhattisgarh was the most seriously affected state because of Maoist insurgency.

“We have given 15,000 officers to the state, any number of armoured cars and many helicopters to tackle the issue.”

He conceded that the issue can be tackled effectively only with people’s cooperation.

“Without obtaining the cooperation of the people in the villages and the city mohallas, it will not be easy to curb terrorism. It will not be impossible but the cost will be very high. Some states have started enlisting the cooperation of the village and mohalla committees.”

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