Chidambaram to chair meeting of Maoist-affected states

January 6th, 2009 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram will chair a meeting with the chief ministers of Maoist-hit states to separately address their problems in the war against terrorism.”The Naxalite (Maoist) affected states have their own problems. I will be again meeting them tomorrow,” Chidambaram said at a press conference after an almost eight-hour long conference of chief ministers on internal security.

“I will be spending half a day with them,” the home minister added.

According to a home ministry report, 13 of India’s states are affected by Maoist violence. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkahand are the most affected states.

Just how serious the situation is can be gauged from the fact that Maoist rebels in Jharkhand struck at their will in 2008, killing a legislator and several police officials and hijacking a bank delivery van.

For the Jharkhand police, 2008 was a bad year in comparison to 2007. The year saw a total of 405 Maoist-related incidents, up from 278 in 2007. A total of 39 security personnel, including a deputy superintendent of police, were killed against 11 in 2007, according to police data.

The police said they succeeded in killing 99 Maoists over the year against 60 in 2007. Police officials claimed that more rebels were killed in 2008, but they were rarely able to recover the bodies of the rebels killed.

At the same time, the number of civilians killed went down in 2008 to 148 civilians, against 175 in 2007. Of them, 39 were termed police informers by the Maoists and killed, up from 27 killed in 2007 for the same reason.

In Bihar, more policemen rather than Maoist rebels have been killed in over 100 gun battles in the last five years, police officers said.

A police officer in the state home department said that in the last five years, there were 130 shoot-outs in Bihar between the police and the activists of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), in which 76 policemen and 63 rebels were killed.

In Andhra Pradesh, however, Maoist violence touched its lowest ebb ever in 2008 with a 30 percent decline in extremist activities during the year as compared to 2007, said K. Arvind Rao, additional director general of police (intelligence).

Though the state’s elite anti-Maoist force Greyhounds lost its 38 personnel in a major ambush by Maoists in neighbouring Orissa, the Andhra police managed to keep the Maoist activity in check through intensive combing operations Rao added.

The New Delhi conclave was held to take stock of the various measures taken on the security and intelligence gathering and sharing fronts in the wake of the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror attacks that claimed more than 170 live, including those of 26 foreigners.

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