New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has reviewed the security situation in the ten Naxal-hit states of the country. Saying that Left Wing Extremism used violence and had no place in Prime Minister Modi’s vision for ‘New India’, Shah asked the participating states to work on the surrender policy that would help mainstream those “caught in the trap of Left-wing violence”. (Also read: ‘Arrangements Will be Made For Those Not Included in NRC,’ Says Shah)

At Monday’s meeting, Shah pointed out that Improvised Explosive Devices had caused many casualties this year so there had to be measures to prevent those. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel reportedly told Shah that the state government had started withdrawing “fraud cases” registered against tribals.

After coming to power in 2018, the Congress-led Chhattisgarh government announced that all cases registered against the tribals in the past 15 years when the state was ruled by the BJP, would be reviewed.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar protested that “stoppage of funding for Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS)” by the Ministry of Home Affairs will “affect the ongoing development work in the Naxal-hit districts” and asked for the scheme to be continued.

Kumar, an ally of the NDA government at the Centre, also protested against the Ministry’s move to reduce funding under the modernisation of police forces scheme. He said that the fight against Naxalism was a responsibility of both the Centre and the state so the financial burden should also be shared by both.

Shah said Naxalism could not be removed without the efficiency of local police and for that, he asked the states to utilise Central schemes as well as their own budgets to modernise the force.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das wasn’t too enthused about the withdrawal of Central Armed Police Forces from the state. “Naxalism is on its last legs in Jharkhand and to keep up the momentum against the Maoists, it is crucial that their deployment is not reduced for the next two-three years. Recently some Central forces were pulled out of the state on a temporary basis and there is a proposal to withdraw some forces permanently,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath asked the Centre to provide 4G mobile connectivity in two Naxal-affected districts of Balaghat and Mandla. He said the communication network in these areas was dependent on police wireless systems, and due to poor telephone and mobile network coverage, 50 % tribal blocks only had 2G connectivity.

On a positive note, Shah said there has been a sharp drop in the number of Naxal-related incidents, from 2,258 incidents reported in 2009 it had come down to 833 in 2018.

The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand. The Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Telangana and Maharashtra stayed away.