Chhattisgarh Attack: MHA Sends Advisory to Naxal-Hit States

Jolted by Maoist targeting Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, the Centre today asked all Left Wing Extremism-hit states to revamp security of political workers and appoint nodal officers to coordinate political programmes so that such deadly attacks do not occur in future.

The Home Ministry said the indiscriminate killing of political workers was a new development which needs to be addressed on priority in view of impending elections in many Naxal-affected states.

"The level of mainstream political activities in these states will increase. Hence, there is a continuing possibility of more attacks on political personalities and programmes. There is an urgent need to factor this into the security architecture of all the states concerned," it said.

The Home Ministry said this in its advisory to Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

Assembly elections are due in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in next one year while Lok Sabha elections will also be held by May 2014.

"It is advised that a nodal officer be appointed at the Police Headquarters to coordinate programmes of all political parties. He should also coordinate with field formations on security related matters including security arrangement for rallies, protection along route, carcade plan and enhanced security for persons with high threat perceptions," it said.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on Saturday ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Bastar, killing 27 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar, and injuring 32 others, including former Union Minister V C Shukla. 

The Home Ministry told the states that in political programmes, the Superintendents of Police should issue written orders on all aspects of security plan, conduct rehearsals, and the DIG Police and IG Police of the respective ranges should act similarly when programmes cut across districts.

"The idea is to provide the best possible security to facilitate mainstream political activities in these areas to the extent possible. The nodal officer can also advise political parties on the security situation in a particular area," the advisory said.

The MHA said such exercises should be carried out to prevent incident similar to the one that occurred in Bastar and also to facilitate mainstream political process in all Maoist-hit areas.

Referring to Saturday's attack on Congress leaders, the Ministry said the attack in many ways betrays the anti- democratic ethos of the Maoist insurgency and indicated that they were ready to unleash mindless violence to prevent the democratic process from reaching areas which they dominate.

The Home Ministry said in the recent past, CPI(Maoist) has suffered significant losses of their leaders and cadres and also territory, while intelligence reports indicate a great deal of disquiet among top leadership of Maoists over this development.

"The latest attack has to be viewed in this context, wherein a soft target has been attacked to recapture national media space to motivate their own cadres. This is also intended to serve as a statement of their continued resilience," the advisory said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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