Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Govt shores up security infrastructure; Maoist threat looms large

29 Aug 2009, 0947 hrs IST, TNN


The home ministry continues to be on its toes, maintaining the pace it set last December while launching its grand plan of shoring up the country’s
security and intelligence infrastructure after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Though the deadline for the ministry’s own Action Plan (II) ends only on September 30, its track record in the first 100 days of the second UPA government appears encouraging. There’s perceptible improvement in intelligence sharing, which shows in the fact that the country has not witnessed any terror incident beyond the disturbed zones of Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast.

However, the continuing Maoist mayhem remains a major concern particularly when the Red ultras have been successfully trapping and killing security personnel. The anti-naxal operation being carried out in Lalgarh since June has shown some results as the Centre, in coordination with the state government , has been experimenting with an altogether new method to fight the ultras. Instead of adopting the usual practice of leaving the area after an operation, the security forces stay there till the local administration assumes full charge and puts basic civic/police infrastructure in place.

Considering Lalgarh as a laboratory for anti-naxal operations, the Centre is now in the process of replicating the strategy of full-area domination followed by infrastructure development in other states, including the worst hit Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Obviously, the task will not be easy unless states come fully on board. The recent chief ministers’ conference on naxal issues showed encouraging results with non-UPA ruled states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh , Orissa and West Bengal showing signs of narrowing differences over security matters.

The conference took up each point of the home ministry’s Action Plan II (June 1 to September 30) with states on August 17 and found near unanimity over the need to strengthen security and intelligence infrastructure.

As for raising resources to augment police strength and training, for which the states collectively need Rs 25,000 crore, the ministry on August 6 wrote to the Finance Commission for increasing outlays.

The 100-day period of the UPAII also took care of the home ministry’s first Action Pan (February 21 to May 31), which among other things talked about increasing the strength of central paramilitary forces (CPMFs). The items that have spilled over from the first Action Plan have been included in Action Plan II and seem to be implemented to tackle terrorism, naxalism and insurgency in northeast in a much more effective manner.

HITS

Four NSG regional hubs — Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai — get operational on time

Peaceful conduct of Amarnath yatra, World Badminton Championship and Independence Day celebrations despite threats

MISSES

Increasing casualties among securitymen in anti-naxal ops

Jharkhand, despite being under central rule, continues to be a soft target for Maoists

Alleged fake encounter cases in Manipur virtually derail peace process, raising questions over methods of security forces

CHALLENGES

Ridding states of naxal presence . Hope rests on the upcoming grand anti-naxal operation

Strengthening nationwide security , intelligence infrastructure

Handling the boiling Northeast. Focus has to be on a solution to Naga issues; elimination of Ulfa in Assam

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